Sunday, December 10, 2017

Bill Mitchell — British Tories reject the ‘free market’ neoliberal myth

The conservatives in the British Labour Party are obviously worried. The UK Guardian article (December 2, 2017) – Labour faces subversion by Momentum and far left, says Roy Hattersley – reports the claim by former Deputy leader, Roy Hattersley that British Labour is “facing the biggest crisis in its history” because left-wingers are engaged “in a systematic takeover of the party”. Gosh. Sounds shocking. A traditionally left-wing political party slowly wresting it back to mission after being hijacked by the right-wing, neoliberal Blairites. That sounds like Armageddon. The Blairites tried to kill off Jeremy Corbyn several times as they continued to undermine him in the public eye and bleated about how he was going to destroy the Labour Party. They then fell silent when he nearly delivered the Party government in the recent national election and saved many of their jobs. Now, with a by-election in Watford, the conservatives are back to it although it has to be said that Hattersley cannot be called a Blairite. He represents the pre-Blairite right-wingers who backed Dennis Healey as he imposed Monetarist ideology on the Party in the mid-1970s. And this article came out soon after the Tory government announced a major ‘socialist’-style industrial plan. In its press release (November 27, 2017) – Government unveils Industrial Strategy to boost productivity and earning power of people across the UK we learn that the Tories are finally understanding that it can actually improve the fortunes of British workers
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
British Tories reject the ‘free market’ neoliberal myth
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity 
(CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Kai-Fu Lee and Jonathan Woetzel — Dynamism by design: China as digital giant

China has firmly established itself as a global leader in consumer-oriented digital technologies. It is the world’s largest e-commerce market, accounting for more than 40% of global transactions, and ranks among the top three countries for venture capital investment in autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, robotics, drones, and artificial intelligence (AI). One in three of the world’s unicorns (start-ups valued at more than US$1 billion) is Chinese, and the country’s cloud providers hold the world record for computing efficiency. While China runs a trade deficit in services overall, it has lately been running a trade surplus in digital services of up to US$15 billion per year....
Interesting read. Chinese entrepreneurs are on a roll.

Most people in the West don't realize this yet, but US tech giants like Google, Apple, and Amazon are getting some real competition from Chinese dragons like Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent. China is taking its place along side of Japan and South Korea as a tech powerhouse and owning to its size is beginning to dwarfs the US, which has only a third of the population of China even though it one of the world's most populous countries.

The EU was political and economic alliance designed to combing the population of Europe, which is comparable to the size of the US. But the US (325 million) and Europe (510 million) added together (835 million) doesn't come close to matching China in population (1.4 billion).

Change in GDP tracks population and development. As China continues to develop, it is pulling away from the pack, already exceeding the US on a PPP basis. China is also committed politically to taking distribution effects into account and addressing asymmetries, while the West is not and instead of largely ignoring the increasing economic asymmetry.

I am reminded of Japan after WWII as it started to rebuild and come back on line. I am old enough to remember the poor reputation of Japanese goods and the lack of market power as a result. But the Sixties that was a thing of the past and not long after, Japanese companies began to dominate in electronic and then automobile manufacturing with the high-quality products Japan is now famous for.

Asia Times
Dynamism by design: China as digital giant
Kai-Fu Lee, co-founder and CEO of Sinovation Ventures, a leading venture capital firm investing in China and North America, and Jonathan Woetzel, Shanghai-based senior partner of McKinsey & Company and a director of the McKinsey Global Institute

Barkley Rosser — The End Of The "Islamic State."

Barkley Rosen explained how the US papers of record, the New York Times and the Washington Post, not only got it wrong but also imposed their view on the media echo chamber based on their authoritative position as papers of record.

The End Of The "Islamic State."
J. Barkley Rosser | Professor of Economics and Business Administration James Madison University

Saturday, December 9, 2017 — India heading towards civil war, riots have entered home, says Kanhaiya Kumar

India appears to be more divided than the US. There is also an economic component to it.
India heading towards civil war, riots have entered home, says Kanhaiya Kumar

Kori Schake — The North Korea Debate Sounds Eerily Familiar

Trump’s national-security officials are making many of the same arguments Bush’s did in 2003....
When you lose The Atlantic....

The Atlantic
The North Korea Debate Sounds Eerily Familiar
Kori Schake, fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University

The Trump administration is preparing to roll out its new National Security Strategy, a document meant to guide its national security policies. Yet a Trump administration staffer who reviewed a draft of the document—and shared key excerpts with me—describes it as “divorced from the reality” of Trump’s presidency. (This person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the document before its release.) A few classically Trumpian themes are there—the wall, concern over trade imbalances—but much of the document reflects the values and priorities of the president’s predecessors….
Trump's National Security Strategy is Decidedly Non-Trumpian
Kate Brannen | Deputy Managing Editor of Just Security, Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council, Former Senior Reporter covering the Pentagon for Foreign Policy

Morgan Strong - Armageddon: Pence, Israel and the Evangelicals

I don't want to worry you guys, but...

On Monday, Vice President Mike Pence delivers the keynote speech at the annual summit of Christians United for Israel.
Pence once again pledged that the Trump administration would move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, this time to Christian supporters of Israel who have become increasingly restive at President Donald Trump’s failure to make good on his campaign promised for Israel — signaling what some see as a new ideological shift for the White House.
Pence is a willing, servile foil to Trump, but his wife Karen is not amused (The Atlantic, Jan/Feb 2018) “She finds him reprehensible—just totally vile,” a campaign aide said.
When the United States recognized the capital of Israel to be Jerusalem we do so, at least in part, to summon the Messiah and begin preparation for the battle at Armageddon. That is what the Christian Zionists believe, and have relentlessly demanded of the administration. Armageddon is to be the final battle to rid the world of all non-Christians Zionists. The bible tells us Jesus will be back to fix it all.
The Moslems, the Jews, the Buddhists, the Hindus, the Shintos, the Animists, the Voodooists, the Catholics, agnostics, and atheists,  et al, will be converted to the Christian Zionists legions of the Lord, The Messiah, Jesus Christ will prevail and undo all evil that now befalls us.
But first they believe ancient Israel must be made whole and unencumbered by Moslem heretics in order to fulfill the biblical prophecy of Christ’s return to earth.
Once the land of Israel is made whole and pure, a series of cataclysmic events, yet to be discovered, will ensure the second coming. That second coming however does not bode well for the Israeli’s according to the Christian Zionist liturgy. Israel will sadly be no more. Israel will be destroyed during this apocalypse. Jesus distressed that the Jews did not regard him as the Messiah will kill all Jews who refuse to convert to Christianity, or more precisely Christian Zionism. Jesus it seems is not one to turn the other cheek when slighted.
If you believe otherwise, if you believe that Biblical prophesies as interpreted by the Christian Zionists are lunacy, you are in the helpless majority. Because the Christian right has extraordinary influence in the administration of President Trump and Mike Pence. Pence is one of their number. He does not attempt to hide this; he is quite deliberate in his public discussions of his re-birth, and his salvation. He was saved from a life of excess, it seems, when he embraced the rigorous teachings of the Christian Zionists. Or perhaps he realized that an Irish Catholic in Indiana did not have a chance in hell to win an election.
The Christian Zionists managed, through the positioning of Mike Pence in the White House an incredible measure of influence over perhaps the most powerful nation on this earth. They believe that only the apocalypse will purify the souls of the heretics, and the United States shall be that instrument which brings forth God’s wrath. The great resources, the military might, of the United States is part of the divine plan to bring the Apocalypse upon us.

Zaida Green - Google hiring 10,000 reviewers to censor YouTube content

We've always been told that the West is the bastion of free speech. 

Google is escalating its campaign of internet censorship, announcing that it will expand its workforce of human censors to over 10,000, the internet giant announced on December 4. The censors’ primary focus will be videos and other content on YouTube, its video-sharing platform, but will work across Google to censor content and train its automated systems, which remove videos at a rate four times faster than its human employees.

Human censors have already reviewed over 2 million videos since June. YouTube has already removed over 150,000 videos, 50 percent of which were removed within two hours of upload. The company is working to accelerate the rate of takedown through machine-learning from manual censorship, according to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki in an official blog post.

World Socialist Web Site 

Zaida Green - Google hiring 10,000 reviewers to censor YouTube content

The Holberg Debate 2017: "Propaganda, Facts and Fake News" with J. Assange, J. Pilger & J. Heawood

It's 2:40 long.

At the 2017 Holberg Debate, Julian Assange, John Pilger and Jonathan Heawood discussed the presence of propaganda in news and social media, and its democratic implications. About 00:11:00 Julian Assange About 00:56:00 Questions for Julian Assange About 01:19:00 Jonathan Heawood About 01:43:00 John Pilger About 02:17:11 Las Q&A Session Is there an escalating war of information that is threatening our democracy and our ability to make informed decisions? The event took place at the University of Bergen, Norway, on December 2nd, 2017. About the speakers: Julian Assange joins the panel via videolink. Assange is an award-winning journalist and the founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks. He is also a programmer, cryptographer, author and activist. Founded in 2006, WikiLeaks has published millions of leaked documents and several videos. This includes logs that relate to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the controversial “Collateral Murder” video from Iraq, U.S. diplomatic cables, and election campaign related e-mails from the Democratic National Committee and from Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, John Podesta. Jonathan Heawood is the CEO and founder of IMPRESS, the only press regulator to be recognised as independent and effective under the Royal Charter in the United Kingdom. He has previously worked as a journalist and human rights campaigner, and he is a former director of English PEN. Heawood has written on free speech and regulation for various publications, including The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction, Critical Quarterly, Journal of Media Law, Ethical Space and Communications Law. John Pilger is an Australian journalist, author and documentary film-maker. Pilger has covered military, political and cultural conflicts around the world for more than five decades, and his criticism of American, Australian and British foreign policy is strongly reflected his documentaries and writings. He worked at the Daily Mirror from 1963 to 1986 and wrote a regular column for the New Statesman magazine from 1991 to 2014. Pilger has won numerous awards as a journalist and film-maker, and he is one of only two people to win British journalism’s highest award twice. The Holberg Debate 2017 is a collaboration between the Holberg Prize, the Fritt Ord Foundation and Norwegian PEN (Western Norway).

Satoshi Nakamoto: The Bitcoin Legend

In 2009  Satoshi Nakamoto put out his research paper on Bitcoin and the software engineers and cryptologists who studied it said it was bullet proof, but in 2011 he vanished into thin air saying he had other interests to pursue and his Bitcoin wallet has been untouched ever since which is now worth $4 Billion. Maybe he isn't bothered because he knows that in a few years time it would have doubled, and then later, double again in value, but I would have thought it would be worth at least cashing in a $Billion of it to make sure you have it in the bag (or bank, rather), but thinking about it, maybe it's safer in Bitcoin.

Some conspiracy theorists believe that Satoshi Nakamoto never existed and the CIA invented Bitcoin to smuggle drugs around the world. Anyway, a number of people have been put forward as the inventor behind Bitcoin, including a Japanese physicist whose birth name is Satoshi Nakamoto who works in California, but all have denied being the founder of bitcoin.  The scientist and businessman, Craig Wright, says he is the inventer of Bitcoin but he has been written off as a scam artist.

In January 2009, a fairly unknown name — Satoshi Nakamoto, became synonymous with a phenomenon. This name took the world by storm with the creation of what is now the most globally successful cryptocurrency. You guessed it right! We are talking about the ‘Original Bitcoin Client’, or Bitcoin — which had now been implemented as open source for the world to use. In 2011, subsequent to finishing what he set out to create and accomplish, he vanished in the endless and everlasting world of Internet.
The Satoshi Impact
Satoshi Nakamoto, the pioneer of digital money and the incredible unknown maker of Bitcoin, is a big mystery inside and outside of the Bitcoin community. In 2008, he distributed a paper (Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System), which depicted the utilization and points of interest of the shared system. He proposed a decentralized cash which at last brought about the formation of the blockchain.
While he was working in the beginning periods of Bitcoin programming in 2009, correspondence was done electronically. The absence of data made it difficult to discover the character of Nakamoto. In 2011, he vanished into thin air.
It is accepted under his control, the market capitalization of Bitcoin crossed $1 billion by 2013. His personality is a vital inquiry as he holds a staggering $4 billion worth of Bitcoins in his wallet at today’s exchange rate. These coins remain untouched, and his wallet remains idle. Nakamoto truly seems to have left the bitcoin world.
While it has been impossible till date to know the real identity of the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, his name’s significance in Japanese is very intriguing. ‘Satoshi’ means “clear thinking; wise”. ‘Naka’ means “medium, inside, or relationship”. “Moto” means “origin”. Nobody on record knows for sure if he is of Japanese origin but the world is inclined towards believing this.
Over the past decade, many people have been speculated to be the real Nakamoto. Who do you think it is?
In the article below are a list of people who are thought could be the inventor of Bitcoin

How Hayek’s Evolutionary Theory Disproves His Politics — David Sloan Wilson interviews Sam Bowles

As an evolutionist critiquing the field of economics, I felt like a disciplinary outsider until I encountered the work of Friedrich Hayek. The Austrian economist was himself critical of Walrasian general equilibrium theory and proposed a radical alternative: Economic systems are a form of distributed intelligence that evolved by cultural group selection. They work without having been designed by anyone.
That was my area of expertise. I had to admire Hayek as a pioneer, especially since group selection was a heresy and the study of human cultural evolution was in its infancy when he wrote. Nevertheless, both topics have advanced by leaps and bounds since then and do not support his view that economic systems work best in the absence of regulations. Instead, cultural group selection theory points to a middle road between laissez faire and centralized planning that is rich with possibilities.
More recently, three distinguished economists—Samuel Bowles, Alan Kirman, and Rajiv Sethi–have made their own assessment in a retrospective titled Friedrich Hayek and the Market Algorithm published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives. 
How Hayek’s Evolutionary Theory Disproves His Politics
David Sloan Wilson interviews Sam Bowles

Dan Crawford — Americans and debt…

Employment opportunities at debt collection agencies.

Should drive up alcohol and drug sales, too.

Angry Bear
Americans and debt…
Dan Crawford

Brian Romanchuk — Bitcoin As A Vindication Of Mainstream Monetary Economics!

Say what you want about the backers of Bitcoin, they managed to create a currency unit that acts in the insane fashion that matches the way money works in mainstream economic models. For anyone with any attachment to reality, it offers a very good real world explanation why the DSGE approach to economics is inherently useless. It is an extremely safe bet that this lesson will be completely missed by the mainstream economics profession....
Bond Economics
Bitcoin As A Vindication Of Mainstream Monetary Economics!
Brian Romanchuk

MUST-READ Gilbert Doctorow — Speech to The National Press Club, Washington, D.C., 7 December 2017


Une parole franche
Speech to The National Press Club, Washington, D.C., 7 December 2017
Gilbert Doctorow | European Coordinator of The American Committee for East West Accord Ltd.

Glenn Greenwald — The U.S. Media Yesterday Suffered its Most Humiliating Debacle in Ages: Now Refuses All Transparency Over What Happened

Just a tip of the iceberg. We're all "shocked, shocked, shocked" that the US media would do such a thing.

As I tell my many friends who know I watch this stuff, if you can't be sure what is true and what is not, don't believe any of it.

The Intercept
The U.S. Media Yesterday Suffered its Most Humiliating Debacle in Ages: Now Refuses All Transparency Over What Happened
Glenn Greenwald

See also
Having been on the receiving end of three "fake news" stories in the past week, betwee the ABC Flynn debacle, the Bloomberg Deutsche Bank subpoena, and now CNN, Trump demanded that CNN fire "those responsible," and commented that an ABC reporter who was suspended for a separate erroneous report should be fired as well.…
However, despite Trump's demands a CNN spokesperson said there will not be disciplinary action against the reporter involved, because the reporter used multiple verified sources, following CNN's editorial process.…
Just how does one "verify" a falsity? Oh wait, this is the US media after all.

Zero Hedge
Trump Lashes Out At "Fake News" CNN For "Vicious And Purposeful" Mistake, Demands Terminations
Tyler Durden

Joaquin Flores — OFFICIAL: US and Russian Air Forces engaged in Syria, US acts as ISIS' air force

And so it begins.

Fort Russ
OFFICIAL: US and Russian Air Forces engaged in Syria, US acts as ISIS' air force
Joaquin Flores


Moon of Alabama
Syria - ISIS Is Defeated - The U.S. Is Next In Line
KtovKurse - translated by Inessa Sinchougova


Debunking British intelligence propagandist Bellingcat (Elliot Higgins).

Dolphin hunting in LuganskPaul Robinson | Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa

Huge rally in European bank stocks

Bank regulatory parameters matter both pro and con...

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision on Dec. 7 issued new rules on how banks estimate the risk of mortgages, loans and other assets. The compromise, reached after fierce lobbying by the industry, will cause “no significant increase” of overall capital requirements, the regulator said. For some big banks, capital demands will actually decline.

 The "stability creates instability!" morons don't understand this.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Emily C. Bell — Millennials and Capitalism Just Don't Mix

Data show rising dissatisfaction with economic status quo.
The millennial generation is the largest demographically, and it is poised to begin taking over power as the boomers start fading.

Millennials and Capitalism Just Don't Mix
Emily C. Bell

Asia Times — Erik Prince’s plan for Afghanistan’s rare metals revealed

Leaked pitch to Trump administration warns of China’s goal to control key tech resource
Resources wars?

Michael Hudson - Cheat, Lie & Steal: Michael Hudson on the Capitalist Way

Nothing new here for most of you guys but go to 1:50 where Michael Hudson had me laughing my head off. And it is a good interview too.

We’re living in a time of economic babble, where politicians and economists throw out words like “reform,” “privatize,” and “austerity” to prop up corrupt capitalist opportunists. So says our guest this week, economist Michael Hudson, author of J is for Junk Economics.

Elsa B. Kania — China Is On a Whole-of-Nation Push for AI. The US Must Match It

The prize.

Defense One
China Is On a Whole-of-Nation Push for AI. The US Must Match It
Elsa B. Kania | Adjunct Fellow With the Technology and National Security Program at CNAS (Center for a New American Security)

See also

Putin and Musk are right: Whoever masters AI will run the world
Gregory C. Allen | Adjunct Fellow at the Center for a New American Security

Ted Nace - State of Fear: How History’s Deadliest Bombing Campaign Created Today’s Crisis in Korea

Although I knew of most of what is written below but this article still deeply shocked me. The US fire bombing of north Korea is an evil beyond evil and how people could do something so awful to other people is terrifying indeed. But the evil doers of these crimes have gotten away with it as the media whitewashes it out of history. 

As the world watches with mounting concern the growing tensions and bellicose rhetoric between the United States and North Korea, one of the most remarkable aspects of the situation is the absence of any public acknowledgement of the underlying reason for North Korean fears—or, as termed by United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, “state of paranoia”—namely, the horrific firebombing campaign waged by the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War and the unprecedented death toll that resulted from that bombing.
Although the full facts will never be known, the available evidence points toward the conclusion that the firebombing of North Korea’s cities, towns, and villages produced more civilian deaths than any other bombing campaign in history.
Historian Bruce Cumings describes the bombing campaign as “probably one of the worst episodes of unrestrained American violence against another people, but it’s certainly the one that the fewest Americans know about.”
In May 1951, an international fact-finding team stated, “The members, in the whole course of their journey, did not see one town that had not been destroyed, and there were very few undamaged villages.”
On June 25, 1951, General O’Donnell, commander of the Far Eastern Air Force Bomber Command, testified in answer to a question from Senator Stennis (“…North Korea has been virtually destroyed, hasn’t it?):
“Oh, yes; … I would say that the entire, almost the entire Korean Peninsula is just a terrible mess. Everything is destroyed. There is nothing standing worthy of the name … Just before the Chinese came in we were grounded. There were no more targets in Korea.”
In August 1951, war correspondent Tibor Meray stated that he had witnessed “a complete devastation between the Yalu River and the capital.” He said that there were “no more cities in North Korea.” He added, “My impression was that I am traveling on the moon because there was only devastation…. [E]very city was a collection of chimneys.”
Several factors combined to intensify the deadliness of the firebombing attacks. As had been learned in World War II, incendiary attacks could devastate cities with incredible speed: the Royal Air Force’s firebombing attack on Würzburg, Germany, in the closing months of World War II had required only 20 minutes to envelop the city in a firestorm with temperatures estimated at 1500–2000°C.
A third deadly factor was the extensive use of napalm. Developed at Harvard University in 1942, the sticky, flammable substance was first used in War War II. It became a key weapon during the Korean War, in which 32,557 tons were used, under a logic that historian Bruce Cumings characterized: “They are savages, so that gives us the right to shower napalm on innocents.” Long after the war, Cumings describedan encounter with one aging survivor:
“On a street corner stood a man (I think it was a man or a woman with broad shoulders) who had a peculiar purple crust on every visible part of his skin—thick on his hands, thin on his arms, fully covering his entire head and face. He was bald, he had no ears or lips, and his eyes, lacking lids, were a grayish white, with no pupils…. [T]his purplish crust resulted from a drenching with napalm, after which the untreated victim’s body was left to somehow cure itself.”


Ted Nace - State of Fear: How History’s Deadliest Bombing Campaign Created Today’s Crisis in Korea

Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan - The Doomsday Machine in Donald Trump's Hands

In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers, thousands of pages of the Pentagon’s secret history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, exposing the government’s lies and helping to end the war. President Richard Nixon’s national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, called Ellsberg “the most dangerous man in America.”
Now at 86 years old, Ellsberg is revealing for the first time that the Pentagon Papers were not the first classified documents that he removed from his secure workplace. In his new book, “The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner,” he details his early years at the Pentagon, and why he took thousands of pages of U.S. nuclear war plans describing the lunacy of the U.S. nuclear war policy over 55 years ago. What he discovered is frighteningly relevant today.
Last July 20 at the Pentagon, President Donald Trump reportedly shocked the military staff gathered to brief him on national security issues by suggesting he wanted to increase the nuclear arsenal tenfold. It was after that meeting that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is said to have called Trump a “f-ing moron.” In August, NBC’s Joe Scarborough, citing an unnamed source, said Trump asked a foreign-policy adviser about using nuclear weapons. Scarborough said: “Three times [Trump] asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times he asked at one point if we had them why can’t we use them?” For over 70 years, the president has held the enormous power to launch nuclear weapons, but only one has used it: Harry Truman, ordering the dropping of two atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, killing hundreds of thousands of people. Trump, who seems to relish saber rattling and antagonizing opponents like the supreme leader of nuclear-armed North Korea, Kim Jong Un, may be pushing us to the brink of nuclear war.
Describing President Dwight Eisenhower’s nuclear war plans, which Ellsberg was tasked with improving in the early months of the Kennedy administration, the whistleblower told us on the “Democracy Now!” news hour: “They were insane. They called for first-strike, all-out war … for hitting every city — actually, every town over 25,000 — in the USSR and every city in China. … The captive nations, the East Europe satellites in the Warsaw Pact, were to be hit in their air defenses, which were all near cities, their transport points, their communications of any kind. So they were to be annihilated as well.”
Ellsberg recalled how, in 1961, the Joint Chiefs of Staff matter-of-factly predicted casualties of over 600 million people globally, when the world population was only 3 billion. “Six hundred million, that was a hundred Holocausts. And when I held the piece of paper in my hand that had that figure, that they had sent out proudly, to the president — ‘Here’s what we will do’ — I thought, ‘This is the most evil plan that has ever existed. It’s insane.'”
Ellsberg was summoned to the Pentagon to help manage the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, considered the closest humanity has come to nuclear annihilation. His personal experience there informs his opinion on Trump’s antagonism toward North Korea. The nuclear arsenals of both countries, he says, are “being pointed by two people who are giving very good imitations of being crazy. That’s dangerous. I hope they’re pretending. … But to pretend to be crazy with nuclear weapons is not a safe game. It’s a game of chicken. Nuclear chicken.”
Despite widespread concern with Trump’s mental stability, he remains in control of the world’s most powerful nuclear arsenal. He has promised to rain “fire and fury” on North Korea. U.S. Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, who oversees the entire nuclear arsenal, assured the audience at a public forum in November that “we’re not stupid,” that he would reject an illegal order from Trump to launch a nuclear attack.
Not satisfied to leave the check on Trump to the generals, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held a hearing Nov. 14 to consider changing the law to forbid the president, alone, from being able to launch a nuclear attack. Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who has publicly stated his fear that Trump may start World War III, chaired the hearing. Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut summed up the hearing’s intent, saying, “We are concerned the president of the United States is so unstable, is so volatile, has a decision-making process that is so quixotic, that he might order a nuclear weapon strike that is wildly out of step with U.S. national security interests.”
We are closer to nuclear war than we have been in many decades, which is why Daniel Ellsberg’s example as a whistleblower and his call for people in government to expose current doomsday plans are more important than ever.

Xinhua — Xi stresses new concepts to guide economic work in 2018

The essential feature of the economy at the present stage is that it is in a transitional period from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development, Xi said. 
He said from the present through the coming period, high-quality development is the fundamental requirement in determining development ideas, formulating economic policies and implementing macro-control measures.
"Achieving high-quality development is imperative for China to maintain sustainable and healthy development of the economy and society," Xi said.
According to Xi, the year 2018 is the first year in implementing the development blueprint outlined at the 19th CPC National Congress, and also a crucial year in carrying out the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020).
"Economic work should implement new concepts, focus on new targets and put into practice new arrangements so as to lay a solid material foundation for the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020," he said....
Members of non-Communist parties, All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce and those without party affiliations have submitted more than 80 opinions and suggestions during the past year, covering important topics including the Belt and Road Initiative as well as improvement of the real economy.
Xi said he hopes they can also contribute to the goals and tasks set at the 19th CPC National Congress, carry out deep investigations and research, and provide advice to resolve conflicts while also improving themselves....
Xi stresses new concepts to guide economic work in 2018

Zero Hedge — "It Was Like A War Zone" - Heavy Winds Push Wildfires Toward San Diego As Bel Air Burns

And people think that California residents are worried about earthquakes? It's the fires, stupid. It's been a issue for along time, but now it is increasing.

Climate scientists predicted more intense fires in California, bigger hurricanes on the US East and Gulf Coast, and more frequent and serious floods in the Midwest years ago. They were right.

Zero Hedge
"It Was Like A War Zone" - Heavy Winds Push Wildfires Toward San Diego As Bel Air Burns
Tyler Durden

See also
For years, climate scientists have warned us that California was entering a year-round fire regime.…
In Houston, Puerto Rico, and Los Angeles, Americans are feeling the urgency of climate change not in weather data and distant news reports, but in their pulse rate.
Climate change is no longer some abstract concept, some line on a graph, some strongly-worded scientific consensus statement.... 

Russia Feed — Russia’s economic minister says lack of infrastructure is country’s biggest weakness

Maksim Oreshkin said poor roads are holding back economic development
This is a notorious issue. Russia is a huge country. It's a problem for transportation but also an economic opportunity for public investment.

Russia Feed

Tom Winter — A glimpse behind the scenes at Fort Russ

Now that Vice News has been citing us, referring, for instance, to a “website promoted by the Kremlin-linked accounts called Fort Russ” it may be a good time to pull back the curtain for a glimpse behind the scenes at Fort Russ.

First, of course, simply click “about” at the top of the FR home site. But I can only confess for one. Me.

We are all of us polyglots. In my case, following the news in six languages, thanks to the internet, I have long known that the US press was feeding the country something less than truth. In 2014 Kristina Kharlova was already doing something about it, making the Russian side available for English-speaking readers, with the motto "Read what Russia reads." For me, she is a hero, and I jumped to offer my services.

A volunteer translator for Fort Russ spends much more time scanning the world press than actually translating. Here is a typical morning, at the Nebraska Headquarters of Fort Russ, before breakfast....
Kremlin tools or Internet heroes?

Note: The historical Fort Ross is in Sonoma County, California on the northern coast just above the Bay Area. I have driven past it numerous times but not visited.

"Ross" and "Russ" are romanizations of the same Russian term, Россъ. Russia is a romanization of Росси́я.

Here is a picture of it from the Wikipedia article.

Fort Russ
A glimpse behind the scenes at Fort Russ
Tom Winter

Timothy B. Lee — Is Bitcoin a bubble? Here’s what two bubble experts told us

Is Bitcoin a bubble? It's a natural question to ask—especially after Bitcoin's price shot up from $12,000 to $15,000 this week.
So we decided to ask a couple of experts on bubbles what they thought: Brent Goldfarb is a business professor at the University of Maryland, and William Deringer is a historian at MIT. Both have done research on the history and economics of bubbles, and they talked to Ars by phone this week as Bitcoin continues its surge.
Both academics saw clear parallels between the bubbles they've studied and Bitcoin's current rally. Bubbles tend to be driven either by new technologies (like railroads in 1840s Britain or the Internet in the 1990s) or by new financial innovations (like the financial engineering that produced the 2008 financial crisis). Bitcoin, of course, is both a new technology and a major financial innovation.
Ars Technica
Is Bitcoin a bubble? Here’s what two bubble experts told us
Timothy B. Lee

See also
The number of people with Coinbase accounts has gone from 5.5 million in January to 13.3 million at the end of November
Coinbase is having difficulty handling the volume.

Business Standard
Coinbase exchange at the heart of the bitcoin frenzy
Nathaniel Popper | NYT | San Francisco 

High volatility.

Bitcoin tumbles after dramatic gains ahead of futures launch


Jesse's Café Américain
Peak Monetary Goofiness: One Thousand People Own 40% of Bitcoin Market
Frank Chaparro

David F. Ruccio — Capitalism and punishment

The danger in looking only at economic statistics and not social and political ones as well to assess the results of economic institutions and policy. Interestingly, this is usually done from the capitalist frame with respect to non-capitalistic systems in order to criticize them. But the same standard is not applied in reverse.

Occasional Links & Commentary
Capitalism and punishment
David F. Ruccio | Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame

YouTube — In 1990 Thatcher warned that the Euro would end European democracy

A clip worth saving. Short.

In 1990 Thatcher warned that the Euro would end European democracy

ht Martin Armstrong at Armstrong Economics

Jeff Desjardins — A Timeline of Every Major Disruption in Payments

Infographic and short summary of the history of money and credit.

Visual Capitalist
A Timeline of Every Major Disruption in Payments
Jeff Desjardins