Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ria Novosti — Whitewashing Nazis in Eastern Europe Equate Nazism to Communism: Simon Wiesenthal Center director

Eastern Europeans, who attempt to whitewash Nazi war crimes, try to liken Nazism to communism to create an illusion that the Soviet Union is as responsible for what happened during World War II as the Third Reich, Ephraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, warned in a discussion hosted by Radio VR’s moderator Dmitry Babich.…
The expert dwelled upon the situation in Ukraine with respect to the rehabilitation of Nazism. He underlined that the current Ukrainian government is sending the wrong message to its people. “Just a few days ago, the Ukrainian president [Petro Poroshenko] called members of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) heroes. One may remember how [Nazi collaborator Roman] Shukhevich was posthumously honored by Yushchenko’s government. The presidential decree was revoked by the Yanukovich administration, but still this is a problem in Ukraine,” Zuroff said. 
If UPA members are considered heroes and statements to this effect are made by the government, then “this is definitely a wrong message,” the expert insisted. Zuroff also said he was concerned about education in Ukraine. “If the children in Ukraine are taught that Shukhevich is a hero and Stepan Bandera is a hero, that is a huge problem!” he said.
Ria Novosti
Whitewashing Nazis in Eastern Europe Equate Nazism to Communism: Expert

Milton Friedman didn't understand gov't as monopolist

If you've ever played the game of Monopoly you should have total understanding of our monetary system.


Amitai Etzioni — The U.S. Should Not Fear Competing With China

U.S. opposition to the new bank illuminates a much greater issue: Will the U.S. seek to contain every international initiative by China, or will it only counter aggression but welcome China’s non-coercive engagement in regional and world affairs? Some students of international relations expect that China will buy into the existing international order – the one formed and promoted by the United States – at least until China develops much more. Under this reasoning, the United States should therefore welcome China’s increased contributions to various international bodies, something the U.S. has long been seeking. Others, however, point out that the United States is instead increasingly of the view that China is seeking to form its own world order, which is leading the United States to labor to block such initiatives. One can see these blocking moves when China moves to expand its EEZ, boost its investments in Africa and in Latin America, or set up a new Asian development bank. 
These analyses assume that rising powers must either accept the prevailing order as it is, or must set out to form a new order of their own. However, the prevailing world order is not etched in stone; it is continuously modified. There is no a priori reason to assume that rising powers must either buy into the order “as is” or reject it in toto. The world order can be, and most likely will have to be, renegotiated and recast, one hopes in ways that will work for both the new and old powers. An attitude of “my way or the highway” invites conflict; mutually beneficial third ways should be considered.
Someone ask Professor Etzioni what the state policy of uncontested US military superiority is for anyway. His view is both idealistic and practical, and at the same time ridiculous in light of realities. It would involve the US giving of its policy of global hegemony to "make the world safe for democracy."

For instance, Professor Etzioni writes:
What I call, lacking a better term, the “redder red and greener green” option represents such a third way forward. It holds that the United States (and China) should strongly oppose any and all attempts to change the status quo by use of force. This is the red light part: strongly opposing changing borders and resolving territorial disputes by force, whether force is used in the Asia-Pacific region or in the Middle East or elsewhere. In effect, U.S. President Barack Obama followed this approach with regard to the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands when he stated that the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan extends to the islands. Since then, China has done precious little to gain control of them.
Stating "that the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan extends to the islands" is a threat to use force. Doh.

He continues:
In short, the rise of a new power calls for characterizing some acts as particularly objectionable, the coercive ones, and seeking to block them, while viewing other new initiatives as fully legitimate and constructive. This dual approach of combining some containment with some new openness in effect means that the world order itself will need to be recast. It will have to be more ready to negotiate changes in the rules as long as rising powers respect the Westphalian norm, that is the sovereignty of nations, and the commitment to work out differences about borders and territorial rights in peaceful ways.
Not respecting the Westphalian norm is exactly what Vladimir Putin accused the US of doing and he warned that this course threatened global chaos.

The Diplomat
The U.S. Should Not Fear Competing With China
Amitai Etzioni | University Professor at The George Washington University

Isaiah J. Poole — New Insight Into A Progressive Populist Path To Victory

Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg is not all doom and gloom about the Democratic Party's chances of keeping control of the Senate. The polls may suggest otherwise, but Greenberg still sees a way for Democrats to have a good outcome Tuesday – and it's through the Democratic Party's base in the "rising American electorate" of single women, millennials and people of color. 
But to get to that path of victory, Democrats will have to pivot much more strongly and convincingly toward a populist economic message that identifies the villains responsible for economic inequality and middle-class decline as well as the policies needed to address those problems.
This election hangs on turning out the base. The Democrats are in the unfortunate position of having to forfeit their base or their donors if they throw red meat to the base. So voter intensity is with the GOP.

Crooks and Liars
New Insight Into A Progressive Populist Path To Victory
Isaiah J. Poole

Alex Kane — Our Warped Idea of Terrorism: It Only Applies to People Who Oppose America and Its Allies


"Terrorism" as more Orwellian double-speak.

AlterNet
Our Warped Idea of Terrorism: It Only Applies to People Who Oppose America and Its Allies
Alex Kane | AlterNet's New York-based World editor, and an assistant editor for Mondoweiss

Andrew G Haldane: Managing global finance as a system

Text of the Maxwell Fry Annual Global Finance Lecture, given by Mr Andrew G Haldane, Executive Director and Chief Economist of the Bank of England, at Birmingham University, Birmingham, 29 October 2014
Bank of International Settlements
Andrew G Haldane: Managing global finance as a system

Dmitri Trenin — Russia's Great-Power Problem

Emotionally, the centerpiece of Putin’s intervention was the lack of respect in the West for Russia and its interests: a recurrent theme with him for the better half of the decade. Essentially, he told the international audience of scholars and journalists: when Russia called itself the Soviet Union, was arming itself to the teeth with nuclear weapons and had leaders like Nikita Khrushchev, who famously banged his shoe at the UN General Assembly and came close to banging the United States with nuclear-tipped missiles, Moscow was respected, and its interests taken into account—if anything, out of fear. Now that Russia has shed communism, gotten off the backs of a dozen satellites, allowed its own fourteen borderlands to form independent states; embraced capitalism and begun moving toward democracy, its interests are being wholly ignored.

This diagnosis is generally correct, but the analysis needs to go deeper. Putin, a self-avowed student of history and a champion of the Westphalian tradition in international relations, certainly understands that the balance of interests—a phrase he should not have borrowed from Mikhail Gorbachev—rests on the balance of power or equivalent. This, by the way, is well understood in Beijing, where I heard—also last week—that the talk of multipolarity is just talk, for the lack, now or in the foreseeable future, of multiple poles. In reality, the world was moving toward new bipolarity, this time between the United States and China, with all other countries aligning themselves with either of the two poles. Thus, Europe and Japan would side with the United States; and Russia would go to China.
 
The way the Chinese see it, Russia is not an all-round “major power.” It has territory, resources and a sizable nuclear arsenal, for all that is worth today, but it lacks real economic strength. Unless it deals with this massive deficiency, Russia will not be able to play in the global top league. And, given the present circumstances, it will have nowhere to go other than to China. Exit Greater Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok; enter Greater Asia from Shanghai to St. Petersburg.
The geopolitical and geostrategic question now is whether Russia will align with the West under the US as the pole or with the East under China as the pole. Previous to the Ukraine crisis, Russia was leaning strongly westward. Now the push is toward the East.

The working out of this is crucial to the geopolitics of the 21st century, in which the US and Europe's economic dominance is beginning to be offset by the emerging nations, where development is now strongly outpacing that of the West as the Global South plays catch up with the Global North, leapfrogging on technology. The US is already trying to restrain the growing power of the BRICS alliance by undercutting the proposed BRICS bank as an alternative to Western dominated international organizations, in particular the IMF and World Bank.

The National Interest
Russia's Great-Power Problem
Dmitri Trenin | Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center

Kremlin Economy Boss: Please Don't Cancel Sanctions - They're Helping Russia — Nikolai Petro interviews First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov

Igor Shuvalov, the top Kremlin official responsible for the economy: Sanctions force companies to modernize, be more efficient, less complacent. We've been saying this for months: sanctions are helping Russia. Western media is getting this badly wrong.… This is an extract from an interview to Russia Direct, by the American political scientist, Nikolai Petro.
Russia Insider
Nikolai Petro interviews First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov

Yves Smith — Germany Turning Sour on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

This does not mean the TTIP is dead, but it is a serious blow. And it is important to get the word out in the US, since one of the tricks of negotiators is to create a sense of inevitability to push the various parties into acting. This deal is not near completion and is losing momentum. Alert your Congressman that the Germans and the European Parliament are against the TTIP, and they should oppose it as well.
Naked Capitalism
Yves Smith 

Russia Insider — Stalin is Seriously Popular In Russia



Here's another thing the Western media isn't reporting.

Stalin is seen by huge numbers of Russians as a hero, including many top intellectuals and political leaders. Their reasoning is too complex to go into here. We'll try to address this is a future article. But trust us, it's a very main-stream opinion. Off-hand guess: - maybe half of Russians believe this…
For now - here is a photo we came across of a billboard in Tatarstan, which is in central Russia. It says: 
He destroyed the "Fifth Column". (In Russian political discourse, the "Fifth Column" is a broad term for liberals, people sympathetic to Western ideas, people who consciously or unconsciously undermine the Russian government, traitors. It is a term heard frequently today to describe liberals and people opposed to Putin.) 
Under his leadership we were victorious against Nazi Germany, freed Europe, and rebuilt Russia from complete ruin. 
He protected our culture with the iron curtain. 
Under him, study and sport were respected. 
Under him, there was no corruption. 
Under him, we were the most respected nation and people on the earth. 
He made Russia into a super-power.
Compare with the growing popularity of neo-Nazism in the West and —déjà vu.

Russia Insider
Stalin is Seriously Popular In Russia
RI Staff

Marshall Auerback — The Fed Will End Its Bond Buying Program. Does It Matter?


MMT view of QE and its effectiveness.

Macrobits by Marshall Auerback
The Fed Will End Its Bond Buying Program. Does It Matter?
Marshall Auerback

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Derek Wall — What Elinor Ostrum taught: democratic control is not only possible, it's normal

The market fundamentalism of Hayek seems to dominate political discourse. Hayek, the liberal free market Austrian economists, argued that state planning would end in failure and only the market could promote economic efficiency. This agenda seems, since Thatcher and Reagan, to have swept the world but it is, of course false. Neo-liberals far from reducing state intervention use the state to support corporations. Privatization is about helping powerful firms and market competition is no longer an issue. A good example is the current transformation of the NHS into a cash cow for Virgin and US health corporations. Neo-liberals promote corporate welfare and monopoly. Elinor Ostrom is powerful ally for all those of us who want to challenge that neo-liberal dogma and create people centred cooperative economics. 
Elinor Ostrom, who sadly died in 2012, was the first and so far only women to win a Nobel Prize, strictly speaking the Swedish bank prize, for economics. She was awarded it for her work on commons, collective resources and collective communal property. If we want a practical alternative (s) to privatisation she helps in a number of ways.…
Open Democracy
What Elinor Ostrum taught: democratic control is not only possible, it's normal
Derek Wall | International Coordinator of the Green Party of England and Wales. He is a political economist, whose last book was ‘The Sustainable Economics of Elinor Ostrom’ Routledge 2014. He is married to the community musician Emily Blyth and is a founder of Green Left, the anti-capitalist network in the Green Party. He is also a columnist with the Morning Star and is completing his new book for Pluto ‘The Economics of anti-capitalism’ which will be published in 2015.

Alexandra Kulikova — What is really going on with Russia's new internet laws


Alexandra Kulikova, an independent ICT and internet policy researcher, provides what seems to be an objective assessment.

Open Democracy
What is really going on with Russia's new internet laws
Alexandra Kulikova

Chris Mayer — Modern Monetary Theory (MMT): How Fiat Money Works


Chiefly about Warren Mosler.

Daily Reckoning
Modern Monetary Theory (MMT): How Fiat Money Works
Chris Mayer | managing editor of the Capital and Crisis and Mayer's Special Situations newsletters

Roberto A. Ferdman — Why the South is the worst place to live in the U.S. — in 10 charts


Charts ranking the states on various criteria.

Rather concerning that the some seem dedicated to making the whole of the US look more like the South.

The Washington Post
Why the South is the worst place to live in the U.S. — in 10 charts
Roberto A. Ferdman

Theme Song For MMT? "We Make Money (Money Don't Make Us)"

   (Commentary posted by Roger Erickson)


Jerry Jeff Walker
Last I'd heard, he'd retired from San Antonio to Costa Rica. (Or was it Belize?)

Anyone know how to contact Jerry Jeff about licensing that jingle?

Or making a dedicated version:
We Make Fiat (Fiat Don't Control Us)


Or commission a new album: Mr. Banksterangles?



Kevin G. Hall — New book slams economists, their theories and their forecasts

Jeff Madrick has a bone to pick with the economics profession, and that’s putting it nicely. Consider the title of his new book: “Seven Bad Ideas: How Mainstream Economists Have Damaged America and the World.”… 
Madrick is a longtime writer on economic matters for Harper’s magazine and a former New York Times columnist. He dropped by McClatchy’s Washington Bureau recently to discuss his book. Here are some of his thoughts, edited into a question and answer format.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/10/29/245048_new-book-slams-economists-their.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/10/29/245048_new-book-slams-economists-their.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy
McClatchy DC
New book slams economists, their theories and their forecasts
Kevin G. Hall | McClatchy Washington Bureau


TASS — Most Russians consider US major enemy of Russia — pollster

According to a poll by the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center, 73% of respondents said the US was Russia’s number one enemy…
…less than one percent named the United States a partner-country, while 73% agreed that America was Russia’s number one enemy. Besides the US, Ukraine (32%), the EU and Germany (10%) are believed to be among Russia’s rivals. Moreover, Italy, France and Japan were considered Russia’s partners by only one percent of the surveyed. 
As a matter of fact, 82% of the respondents supported the idea that the criticism of foreign mass media towards Russia’s President Vladimir Putin could be considered as an attempt to destroy the country and to make it fall apart. Nevertheless, 12% disagreed with the statement, while 6% remained unsure.

Lindsay Abrams — The energy myth that refuses to die: Why renewables are taking over in the developing world

Poor nations are embracing clean energy at twice the pace of rich ones, a new report finds
Not surprising. emerging nations went directly to cellphones, and digital payments, too.

Salon
The energy myth that refuses to die: Why renewables are taking over in the developing world
Lindsay Abrams

Greg Palast — Jim Crow Returns



Election officials in 27 states, most of them Republicans, have launched a program that threatens a massive purge of voters from the rolls. Millions, especially black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters, are at risk. Already, tens of thousands have been removed in at least one battleground state, and the numbers are expected to climb, according to a six-month-long, nationwide investigation by Al Jazeera America.

At the heart of this voter-roll scrub is the Interstate Crosscheck program, which has generated a master list of nearly 7 million names. Officials say that these names represent legions of fraudsters who are not only registered but have actually voted in two or more states in the same election — a felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison.

Until now, state elections officials have refused to turn over their Crosscheck lists, some on grounds that these voters are subject to criminal investigation. Now, for the first time, three states — Georgia, Virginia and Washington — have released their lists to Al Jazeera America, providing a total of just over 2 million names.

The Crosscheck list of suspected double voters has been compiled by matching names from roughly 110 million voter records from participating states. Interstate Crosscheck is the pet project of Kansas’ controversial Republican secretary of state, Kris Kobach, known for his crusade against voter fraud.

The three states’ lists are heavily weighted with names such as Jackson, Garcia, Patel and Kim — ones common among minorities, who vote overwhelmingly Democratic. Indeed, fully 1 in 7 African-Americans in those 27 states, plus the state of Washington (which enrolled in Crosscheck but has decided not to utilize the results), are listed as under suspicion of having voted twice. This also applies to 1 in 8 Asian-Americans and 1 in 8 Hispanic voters. White voters too — 1 in 11 — are at risk of having their names scrubbed from the voter rolls, though not as vulnerable as minorities.

If even a fraction of those names are blocked from voting or purged from voter rolls, it could alter the outcome of next week’s electoral battle for control of the U.S. Senate — and perhaps prove decisive in the 2016 presidential vote count.

“It’s Jim Crow all over again,” says the Rev. Joseph Lowery, who cofounded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Martin Luther King, Jr. Lowery, now 93, says he recognizes in the list of threatened voters a sophisticated new form of an old and tired tactic. “I think [the Republicans] would use anything they can find. Their desperation is rising.”

Though Kobach declined to be interviewed, Roger Bonds, the chairman of the Republican Party in Georgia’s Fulton County, responds, “This is how we have successfully prevented voter fraud.”

Based on the Crosscheck lists, officials have begun the process of removing names from the rolls — beginning with 41,637 in Virginia alone. Yet the criteria used for matching these double voters are disturbingly inadequate.…

Al Jazeera America
Jim Crow Returns
Greg Palast

Alexey Eremenko — Russia Wants State Control of Root Internet Infrastructure

Russia has mounted an effort in recent weeks to bring the root infrastructure of the Internet under control of state-affiliated bureaucracies, both internationally and at home.
The global push is likely to fizzle out, industry experts said — but at home, the plan has every chance of succeeding.
 
Backers of the Kremlin line say bigger state control of the Internet is mandatory for national security, hinting that the U.S. could disconnect Russia from the Web.
But critics say that Russia, which already censors the Internet, simply wants to expand its means of political censorship.
 
"Russia wants state control of the global network … instead of public control," said Artem Kozlyuk, a freedom of information activist with Rublacklist.net, an independent Internet freedom watchdog. 
The latest wave-generating proposal came from Russian Communications and Mass Media Minister Nikolai Nikiforov, who urged the launch of a reform at the United Nations to give control of the Internet to national governments. 
The move would prevent deliberate disconnections of national segments of the Internet, Nikiforov said earlier this week in South Korea at a session of the International Telecommunications Union, a UN body. 
He identified the United States as a possible threat to other nations' Internet access, according to a transcript on the ministry's website.…
The Moscow Times
Russia Wants State Control of Root Internet Infrastructure
Alexey Eremenko

Alexander Mercouris — Putin Just Made the Most Important Speech of His Career. The West Should Listen More Closely


Putin as a traditional (Burkean) conservative valuing law, order and stability positioned against a liberal US policy of favoring a new world order under its conception of (Lockean) liberalism manifesting as neoliberalism and neoconservatism.
What he really wants are stability, rules, and a global balance of power - traditional conservative ideas. He thinks the rest of the world needs to rein-in out-of-control US global activism.
Russia Insider
Putin Just Made the Most Important Speech of His Career. The West Should Listen More Closely
Alexander Mercouris

See also
The National Interest
Putin's Play at Valdai — A Russian quest for stability?
James W. Carden

Lars P. Syll — Macroeconomic aspirations


More on micro foundations and realism. Microfoundations are supposed to add realism. They don't, because the assumptions of conventional modeling are unrealistic. Representative agent models are hopelessly simplistic and agent based model quickly get intractable unless they are kept very simple, too. Simplicity may be a virtue, but over-simplying in modeling isn't. And complexity is complex. 

The challenge is accounting for the complex as simply ("economically") as possible, while also "saving the appearances," as Aristotle put it. The danger lies in generalizing a special highly stylized case based on assumptions that make the model irrelevant to reality.

The basic challenge of science lies in successfully connecting models with reality. Many models can be devised to account for the same data. The generally accepted criteria are correspondence, consistency, elegance (simplicity, economy) and practicality. Preferring consistency and simplicity to correspondence and practicality doesn't cut it.

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
Macroeconomic aspirations
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Matt O'Brien — The worst possible case for the worst possible idea, the gold standard


Paul Krugman versus Peter Thiel.

The Washington Post — Wonkblog
The worst possible case for the worst possible idea, the gold standard
Matt O'Brien

Bill Mitchell — The case of the financial commentator who turned into a banana

On June 2010, Halligan gave an – Interview – to CNBC about the impact of : “If this policy isn’t inflationary, I’m a banana!” 
During that interview he claimed the combination of “a big budget deficit and the Bank of England’s quantitative easing policy” would cause inflation to get get worse.
He said:
This really is economics 101 … We’re running a budget deficit of 12-13 percent of GDP, if that’s not inflationary I am a banana … 
Inflationary expectations start to spiral once inflation is above a significant level
He also claimed that the bond market would see the higher deficit and eventually stop funding the government. This is a government that issues its own currency.
 
The following graph (courtesy of the BBC) shows the evolution of the Consumer Price Index and the Retail Price Index in the UK since 2000.
Britain is now heading towards very low inflation.
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
The case of the financial commentator who turned into a banana
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at the Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory, Australia

Brian Romanchuk — For Fiscal Policy, The Future Is Now

The problem with modern analysis of fiscal policy is that it has fallen into the trap of following a certain conventional wisdom: it has to be very forward looking, in fact it is meant to have an analysis horizon longer than the expected lifetime of the Universe (depending upon the cosmological model). Upon reflection, I think the correct philosophy was the one expressed by the famed American Football coach George Allen: The Future Is Now.…
Bond Economics
For Fiscal Policy, The Future Is Now
Brian Romanchuk

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Wolf Richter — New Home Prices Plunge the Worst EVER (in One Ugly Chart)


Wolf Street
New Home Prices Plunge the Worst EVER (in One Ugly Chart)
Wolf Richter

See also
Zero Hedge
This Has Never Happened Before Without A Massive Bubble Bursting

Wolf Richter — Beyond the Sanctions, Russia Wins Currency War


Is Russia laughing up its sleeve? Reminiscent of Br'er Rabbit pleading with Br'er Fox not to throw him in the briar patch.
So the Central Bank of Russia has been selling $20 billion of its stash of foreign currency and buying rubles to mop them up and relieve some pressure. But rather than trying to stop or reverse the ruble’s decline, the Central Bank appears to be managingthe decline. A sudden crash of the ruble could have chaotic consequences, while an orderly decline in the middle of a currency war may well be just what it wants.
Wolf Street
Beyond the Sanctions, Russia Wins Currency War
Wolf Richter

Dr. Housing Bubble — Rental rates are outpacing wage growth: What are the implications of rising rents when wages are simply not keeping up?


Dr. Housing Bubble Blog
Rental rates are outpacing wage growth: What are the implications of rising rents when wages are simply not keeping up?
drhousingbubble

Shane Ferro — Peter Thiel: There Was Virtue In The Gold Standard


Huh? Theil has been hanging with Glenn Beck too much?