Monday, September 22, 2014

Robert Parry — High Cost of Bad Journalism on Ukraine

The costs of the mainstream U.S. media’s wildly anti-Moscow bias in the Ukraine crisis are adding up, as the Obama administration has decided to react to alleged “Russian aggression” by investing as much as $1 trillion in modernizing the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal.
On Monday, a typically slanted New York Times article justified these modernization plans by describing “Russia on the warpath” and adding: “Congress has expressed less interest in atomic reductions than looking tough in Washington’s escalating confrontation with Moscow.”…
Russia has also announced its intention to beef up its nuclear arsenal. China won't be sitting on the sidelines just watching either.

Cold War II is here, along with a renewed arms race, and the military-industrial complex is celebrating and toasting their neocon partners for another job well  done.

Where I think Parry falls short is in apparently missing that the neocon objective all along has been regime change in Russia to a neoliberal regime that makes Russia an other US vassal. The objective now is "spontaneous" uprising in Russia and the US actively promoting it. John McCain lead the charge for regime change in the Ukraine and he has now shifted his focus to Russia and replacing democratically elected President Putin with a "democratic" uprising similar to the US backed and financed on that overthrew the democratically elected president of the Ukraine in a "democratic" uprising led by neo-Nazis. (But they were "our" neo-Nazis.")

This is dangerous ground. Russia is not the Ukraine, and Putin is forewarned.

Incidentally, right-wing conspiracy sites were calling this and documenting it many month before it happened, while the press and pundits on the left missed it.

Consortiumnews.com
High Cost of Bad Journalism on Ukraine
Robert Parry

Wounded Veterans: The One time We Can't Afford An Ounce Of Prevention? It Is Criminally Stupid To Allow This Neglect.

   (Commentary posted by Roger Erickson)

And it's worse than even that statistic implies. Much worse.

Yet that's how we repay those who serve their country .... anywhere EXCEPT Wall St.

"Communities weigh how to deal with battle-scarred soldiers who do wrong after coming home."
??

What about those battle-oiled banksters who do continuous wrong BEFORE going home from the war on our own Middle Class? (And then argue for austerity, so that "their" embezzled currency doesn't "depreciate" in buying power.)

I better quit. I'm gonna unleash a string of un-deleted expletives.

Vincent Cate — CMMT - Cate's Modern Monetary Theory

This CMMT model is just a slight correction to MMT or Modern Monetary Theory. While they have #1,#2,#3 above they are not consistent in how they treat bonds and do not have #4,#5. They say all government spending is from new money but then also have the government spending money from bonds. They say all spending is from new money but also say new money is not spent to pay off bonds. These errors make standard MMT far more complicated and not match reality. In particular, hyperinflation really happens but in MMT there is no reason for it. They have to say that the cause of the hyperinflation of money is outside their theory of money. This is just silly. With this little fix hyperinflation is easily explained. So CMMT is a big improvement over MMT. CMMT also stands for Corrected Modern Monetary Theory. :-)
FYI

Seeking Alpha (free registration required)
CMMT - Cate's Modern Monetary Theory
Vincent Cate

Tony Wikrent — US elites beginning to realize there's a problem

There were two important articles in Foreign Affairs, the quarterly journal and associated website run by the Council on Foreign Relations.… 
The first article two weeks ago, "America in Decay," was written by Francis Fukuyama, the neo-conservative economics and political science professor whose 1992 book The End of History and the Last Man provided unceasing thrills and pleasure to USA elites by arguing that the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe marked not only America's victory in the Cold War, "but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government."… 
The gist of Fukuyama's article is that it has turned out that Western liberal democracy is not the end point of human political development, and there seems to be more history in the offing, because it has been replaced by - holy unforeseen development, Batman! - oligarchy and plutocracy. Of course, Fukuyama does not use these words, but the idea is clear enough: his subtitle is "The Sources of Political Dysfunction."… 
But it gets even more interesting, because at the same time, another article appeared in Foreign Affairs, entitled Print Less but Transfer More. This one was written by Mark Blyth, a professor of international political economy at Brown University and author of Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea; and Eric Lonergan, a hedge fund manager living in London and the author of - what else? - Money. The gist of their article is pretty well captured by their subtitle - and no, I am not making this up - "Why Central Banks Should Give Money Directly to the People."… 
Make no mistake: the articles in Foreign Affairs are clear signs that USA elites are starting to worry that more and more of us are beginning to demand solutions that will, inevitably, have to either take away the wealth of the rich, or take away the power of the rich to create and allocate new money and credit.
Lots more than this. Read the whole thing. It contains a good critique of "Keynesianism"as fundamentally oriented to saving the capitalist class, to which Keynes belonged, from it own overreach. The world needs more.

real economics
US elites beginning to realize there's a problem
Tony Wikrent

Philip Pilkington — Is Economics a Science? Dogmatic Economics Vs. Reflective Economics


Meaning is contextual. Economics is a social science, therefore, its context is historical time. The only timeless laws in social science are tautologies (identities) that are empty of empirical content until interpreted semantically. This interpretation varies in applicability in different historical contexts, so that general descriptions and patterns held to be necessarily invariant do not hold over time. History is time-independent and non-ergodic.

Another way of putting this is that economic theory that claims to be timeless truth is utopian, idealistic and "Platonic." It is another instance of metaphysics spun from so-called self-evidence based on introspection. When it assumes the cloak of authority, its speculative metaphysics devolves into dogmatism.

Fixing the Economists
Is Economics a Science? Dogmatic Economics Vs. Reflective Economics
Philip Pilkington

Defining something as an X implies that the definition excludes this set from the set non-X. This involves specifying criteria for making the distinction. Generally speaking, saying that something is a science or is scientific implies that it it not something else than that, such as dogmatism based on authority, an ideology based on subjective values, or speculation based on claims of self-evidence by appeal to introspection. It is also a claim that the subject is not purely formal, that is, a branch of logic or mathematics.

Generally speaking, science involves claims having to do with discovering invariant patterns of actual events. There must be some way to connect the claims of science with actual events, that is to interpret theory and hypotheses semantically in such a way that claims are semantically true.

For social science, which includes economics, to be a science comparable to the natural sciences the behavior of whose subject matter is invariant across time, it would be necessary to discover time-invariant patterns of human behavior and to express this through operational definition that leaves no loose ends with respect to terminology.

Whether this is possible, we do not yet know. What we do know is where it has not been possible, and theorizing has failed either  semantically as an accurate representation of actual events or syntactically as a formal system that is well-formulated and internally coherent, that is, follows formation and transformation rules, e.g., adhering to operational definition.

The great promise at present is in the investigation of the brain and nervous system as the foundation of mental events and behavior. Cognitive science, molecular biology, and the application of quantum mechanics to consciousness are still in their infancy and the jury is still out on whether fundamental questions are solvable.

Discover Interview: Roger Penrose Says Physics Is Wrong, From String Theory to Quantum Mechanics
One of the greatest thinkers in physics says the human brain—and the universe itself—must function according to some theory we haven't yet discovered.… 
In your book The Emperor’s New Mind, you posited that consciousness emerges from quantum physical actions within the cells of the brain. Two decades later, do you stand by that?
 In my view the conscious brain does not act according to classical physics. It doesn’t even act according to conventional quantum mechanics. It acts according to a theory we don’t yet have. This is being a bit big-headed, but I think it’s a little bit like William Harvey’s discovery of the circulation of blood. He worked out that it had to circulate, but the veins and arteries just peter out, so how could the blood get through from one to the other? And he said, “Well, it must be tiny little tubes there, and we can’t see them, but they must be there.” Nobody believed it for some time. So I’m still hoping to find something like that—some structure that preserves coherence, because I believe it ought to be there.
When physicists finally understand the core of quantum physics, what do you think the theory will look like?I think it will be beautiful.
Penrose is saying that discovery is based on elegance. The objective of science is to provide the most economical explanation of aspects of the world that are precise, accurate, and conform to the appearances (Aristotle — "save the appearances").

Obviously, physics is a science although not yet comprehensively definitive. It is therefore possible that economics met the criteria of being a science and not a dogma, ideology or speculative metaphysics, at least in some areas. In other areas, theory has demonstrably failed. There has been a modicum of success in other areas. Unfortunately, some economists have tended to exaggerate success.

Probably the question to ask is to what degree economic methodology is scientific.

This would involve recognizing that there are different economic methods. This seems to be the crux of the issue, in that the mainstream asserts that the methodological debate is now over and they won, so other considerations are irrelevant.

This brings up the issue of how that claim justified scientifically, or is is dogmatic, based on authority? That's a debate the mainstream does not want to have based on observed performance. This record of failure — we are on the second round of the Treasury view in a second great depression following "the Great Moderation" — suggests the question as to whether or to what degree economics, is descriptive or performative, or normative, or rhetorical. This pertains especially to especially macroeconomics which serves as a "policy science."

Is economics purely theoretical and only of interest to theoreticians, or it does it have application to policy and management similar to physics and engineering, or biology and biochemistry to medicine? If so, how do the successes and failures compare across these fields?

Even philosophy has become more formalized, focusing more on formal logic, and more scientific in consulting cognitive science wrt to epistemology, for example. The history of economics can be viewed as the transition from its more philosophical phase in classical economics to its more formal and putatively more scientific turn with the introduction of mathematical modeling by Alfred Marshall and the development of physics-like neoclassical theory seeking to discover economic "general laws of motion." What has survived in the crucible of experience and what has perished. Is economics about to experience a revolution similar to quantum mechanics and relatively in a transition from analysis of non-complex systems to complex systems?

Argentina's Fernandez to meet billionaire investor Soros in New York


Looks like the INET organization may be coming into some more "money", story from Reuters via Yahoo! here.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez on Monday will meet bondholder and billionaire financier George Soros, who is suing a U.S. bank caught in the middle of the country's latest debt default, a government minister said. 
The meeting comes as Fernandez's leftist government struggles to kick-start growth and contain runaway consumer prices after failing to complete a June interest payment to Soros and other holders of bonds restructured after a previous default. 
Argentina last week enacted a new law removing BNY Mellon as trustee and replacing it with a state-controlled bank in Buenos Aires. In an advertisement published in local papers on Monday, Argentina again demanded the U.S. bank "resign" as paying agent.
I don't see how it could be helpful to get rid of BNY as a 'paying agent' for a USD liability and replace it with an Argentine state bank...

It would seem to me that the US Fed could help by forcing a 3-way deal between the US Fed, the Argentine CB and any number of other CBs that are holding $Trillion of USD balances as official reserves... but I suppose this could be seen as violating so-called 'free market' libertarian principles so it doesn't happen

Libertarianism strikes again and the chaos-fest continues.


Lars P. Syll — Keynes vs. Wicksell on loanable funds theory

"The fundamental difference between Keynes and Wicksell and in general the supporters of the LFT [Loanable Funds Theory] lies in the specification of the consequences of the presence of bank money.…
In contrast, Keynes states that the spread of a fiat money such as bank money changes the structure of the economic system. He underscores this point by introducing the distinction between a real exchange economy and a monetary economy.…
Keynes notes that the classical economists formulated an explanation of how the real-exchange economy works, convinced that this explanation could be easily applied to a monetary economy. He believed that this conviction was unfounded …" — Giancarlo Bertocco
Lars P. Syll’s Blog
Keynes vs. Wicksell on loanable funds theory
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Bill Mitchell — G20 meetings and structure part of the problem

The G20 structure is part of the problem and given its current ideological outlook will never be anything but.
It is just an excuse for well-paid officials, most of whom are being supported by the public purse, to swan around the world, wine and dine in opulent hotel and resorts, talk a bit, and do virtually nothing that delivers any benefits to people at large.
Like the IMF and the OECD, the whole institutional structure of the G20 should be abolished.
The fundamental problem is not economic ineptitude. It is oligarchy masquerading as liberal democracy. These leaders are just shills for the global ruling elite mouthing their lines from the neoliberal playbook. Sacking is too good for them given all the immiseration they have wrought delivering for the oligarchs.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at the Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory, Australia

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Any Idea How The "Economics" Discipline Missed 500 Years Of Bio/Anthro/Sociological Science?

   (Commentary posted by Roger Erickson)

Not to mention 10,000 years of myth & religion, and +200,000 years of human cultural operations?




The Looming Death of [The Frankenstein Called Economics]*
Hint: It was never alive in the 1st place. That was just a lie big enough to sell to gullible & cowed peasants.
"The mainstream view that people are wholly self-interested economic actors denies our innate capacity for reciprocity, fairness, and moral responsibility."
Ya think? This is news? Where has this discipline BEEN the last 500 years? With it's head stuck somewhere where the sun don't shine?

My first guess is that orthodox economics evolved as a "court phenomenon" serving purely to curry gratitude from aristocrats interested in promoting their fantasy of a divine right to manage "their" peasants.

Orthodox Economics: a disciplined method of brown-nosing;
   The Devil's Evolving Dictionary



* Apparently, no one ever tried to make a Frankstein Man out of straw before. :( So the common folk didn't recognize it, until everything went up in flames .... repeatedly.

Of course, there's a competing theory about the sect called orthodox economics, even though the labels were changed to protect the criminal.



Scott Kaufman — Former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince says his mercenaries could have stopped ISIS if not for Obama

At the Maverick PAC’s annual conference Friday night, Blackwater founder and former CEO Erik Prince said it was “a shame the [Obama] administration crushed my old business,” which could have easily defeated the Islamic State, The Daily Beast reports.
Blackwater, Prince said, “could’ve solved the boots-on-the-ground issue. We could have had contracts from people that want to get there as contractors. You don’t have the arguments of U.S. active duty going back in there.”
 
His mercenaries “could have gone in there and done it, and be done, and not have a long, protracted political mess that I predict will ensue.”…
He encouraged conference attendees to pressure their Republican representatives to fight for conservative values. “I want you to tell your congressman that we pay them to fight,” Prince said.
Out thugs are better than their thugs.

The Raw Story
Former Blackwater CEO says his mercenaries could have stopped ISIS if not for Obama
Scott Kaufman

Paul R. Pillar — Neocons Grow Frantic over Iran Progress

With an agreement on constraining Iran’s nuclear program within reach, Official Washington’s neocons are getting apoplectic about the need to rev up new animosities toward Iran, an approach not helpful to real U.S. security needs, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
Consortiumnews.com
Neocons Grow Frantic over Iran Progress
Paul R. Pillar | former CIA analyst and currently a visiting professor at Georgetown University for security studies

Joe Conason — Americans' Faulty Memory: Polls Show Majority Like GOP's Discredited War Policies

If the latest polls are accurate, most voters believe that Republican politicians deserve greater trust on matters of national security. At a moment when Americans feel threatened by rising terrorist movements and authoritarian regimes, that finding is politically salient -- and proves that amnesia is the most durable affliction of our democracy.
Stumbling toward war in Dumbfuckistan.

AlterNet
Americans' Faulty Memory: Polls Show Majority Like GOP's Discredited War Policies
Joe Conason

Peter Dorman — Why Paul Krugman Is Wrong about the Cost of Climate Protection, and Why it Matters

Who’s right, those who think that economic growth can’t coexist with protection of the climate, or Paul Krugman who says “saving the planet would be cheap and maybe even come free”? Alas, neither, but for different reasons.…
Econospeak
Why Paul Krugman Is Wrong about the Cost of Climate Protection, and Why it Matters
Peter Dorman, Professor of Political Economy, The Evergreen State College

Chris Dillow — Capitalism & The Low-Paid

Is capitalism compatible with decent living standards for the worst off*? This old Marxian question is outside the Overton window, but it's the one raised by Ed Miliband's promise to raise the minimum wage to £8 by 2020.…
Stumbling and Mumbling
Chris Dillow | Investors Chronicle

Heidi Moore — Brad DeLong, Tyler Cowen, Stephanie Kelton and Emanuel Derman on Why is Thomas Piketty's 700-page book a bestseller?

Thomas Piketty is a French economist whose Capital in the Twenty-First Century has swept American discourse. Four experts – Brad DeLong, Tyler Cowen, Stephanie Kelton and Emanuel Derman – take on why that is.
Heidi Moore

Lars P. Syll — The loanable funds fallacy


Keynes and Minksy answer Krugman and Mankiw.

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
The loanable funds fallacy
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Saturday, September 20, 2014

AFP — Mikhail Khodorkovsky breaks political silence, saying he would lead Russia


The plot thickens. The West definitely wants regime change back to the pro-Western oligarchs and oligarchic "democracy." Grooming a replacement for Putin.
The former oil tycoon and adversary of president Vladimir Putin has launched a pro-European political platform from exile.
The former tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who spent a decade in jail after challenging the Kremlin, says he would be ready to lead Russia if called upon.
Khodorkovsky’s statement, at the launch of an online movement called Open Russia, appears to break his promise to steer clear of politics, which he made after being pardoned by president Vladimir Putin in December.

“I would not be interested in the idea of becoming president of Russia at a time when the country would be developing normally,” he was quoted as saying by Le Monde newspaper.

“But if it appeared necessary to overcome the crisis and to carry out constitutional reform, the essence of which would be to redistribute presidential powers in favour of the judiciary, parliament and civil society, then I would be ready to take on this part of the task.”
Open Russia is intended to unite pro-European Russians in a bid to challenge Putin’s grip on power.…
The Guardian
Agence France-Presse


Saker — Ukraine SITREP September 20, 23:34 UTC/Zulu: War or Peace?


Long but useful if you are following this.

The Vineyard of the Saker
Ukraine SITREP September 20, 23:34 UTC/Zulu: War or Peace?
Vineyardsaker

Jesse — Upton Sinclair: The Brass Check Jesse


Nice Upton Sinclair quote. The more things change, the more they remain the same. Or as the Vietnamese say, "The dungheap remains the same, only the flies change."

Jesse's Café Américain
Upton Sinclair: The Brass Check
Jesse

And remit to us our debts, as we also remit those of our debtors...


Title here a quote from Mat 6.  The excerpt is from what is often termed "The Lord's Prayer", this verse and the surrounding verses of this popular prayer which contains economic metaphor provided here:

"Thus, then, you be praying: 'Our Father Who art in the heavens, hallowed be Thy name.
 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, on earth also.
 Our bread, our dole, be giving us today.
 And remit to us our debts, as we also remit those of our debtors.
And mayest Thou not be bringing us into trial, but rescue us from the wicked one.'" Mat 6:9-13

The Lord is advising (whoever He is talking to) to pray to God that He (God) would be paying them back, as if God owes them a debt.

Apostle Paul further explains how the concept of a debt is related to wages:  "Now to the worker, the wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as a debt." ( Romans 4:4)

So the overall scheme that the Lord advises whoever He is talking to, is to pray for a remittance of  a debt and perhaps wages.

The wage is reckoned as a debt, and the Lord is telling, again whoever he is talking to in Mat 6, to be praying that God would be paying them back for what either that they are owed, or, what they think they are owed, just like they would pay back those whom they may be owing a debt (or wages).

The Lord uses the metaphor of wages often; here is one of many uses of the concept of wages he uses:  "And whenever you may be praying, you shall not be as the hypocrites, for they are fond of standing in the synagogues and at the corners of the squares to be praying, so that they may appear to men. Verily, I am saying to you, They are collecting their wages!"  Mat 6:5

We perhaps can equate whoever the Lord is talking to here to the people who we see today advocating for a Job Guarantee, as in the JG, the recipient earns wages.

I would also lump in the people who have the view of "money is debt" into this same cohort of mankind, perhaps we can call them the 'wages and debt' cohort.

With these people, its all about "wages and debt".

Contrast this with the advocates of a universal income or basic income guaranty, a scheme under which those receiving it would not be earning wages or being paid a debt, but rather would be receiving rations, which are opposite wages and not associated with debt schemes, but perhaps rather in the context of slavery and warfare.

Paul uses the metaphor of rations a few times:

"For the ration of Sin is death" Romans 6:23 [Ed: Sin is provisioned by death... which we have NO control over...]

"Who is warring at any time supplying his own rations?" 1 Cor 9:7

"Other ecclesias I despoil, getting rations for dispensing to you." 2 Cor

Paul discusses wages here:

"If anyone's work will be remaining which he builds on it, he will get wages.
If anyone's work shall be burned up, he will forfeit it, yet he shall be saved, yet thus, as through fire."
1 Cor 3: 14-15

There is a dichotomy here between a scheme of debt and wages versus a scheme of rations.

The people who are on the side of the JG are associating with the people the Lord advised to pray that God would be paying them back a debt or wages; while the people who are on the side of a universal income I would say are not.

We can see this same division within mankind identified within the context of the Greek Scriptures from 2,000 years ago continuing to be present within the debates we are having today about a JG vs. a UI.

It seems to break down along the lines of 'wages and debt' vs. 'rations'.


ITAR-TASS — Ukrainian minister’s statement about Russian nuclear strike on Lugansk absurd - DM

The Russian Defence Ministry on Saturday flatly denied the Ukrainian military chief’s allegations about the use of tactical nuclear weapons at Lugansk’s airport in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian media earlier in the day quoted Geletei as telling one of the journalists that the Russian army had delivered two tactical nuclear strikes on the Lugansk airport from a self-propelled Tyulpan 2S4 mortar system, thus causing the Ukrainian troops to leave the area.
 
“The strikes were so powerful that they demolished buildings completely from top to bottom,” media reports quoted him as saying.

JW Mason — Why Not Just Mail Out Checks?

A friend writes: 
Let's suppose that the United States could get a Universal Basic Income, but it had to trade a bunch of stuff for it. What would be important to keep after a UBI? 
Obviously, various income support could right out the door (food stamps, unemployment insurance). But would we be willing to trade labor regulations (minimum wage, union laws)? Public schools? Medicare? Curious as to your thoughts.
This sort of choice comes up all the time these days. Of course in practice it's a false choice: They take our parks and public insurance, and never send out those UBI checks. 
Or occasionally, as in New York, they give us our universal pre-K and parks and bike lanes, and we don't have to give up our meager income-support checks to get them. 
Still, it's an interesting question. How should we answer it?
The Slack Wire
Why Not Just Mail Out Checks?
JW Mason | Assistant Professor of Economics, John Jay College, City University of New York

Lorenzo Del Savio and Matteo Mameli — Machiavelli and Oligarchic Democracy

Machiavelli wrote that when we are trying to understand politics and the history of human societies, much can be explained in terms of the eternal conflict between two fundamental desires. One is the desire of the grandi - that is, the super-rich and the super-powerful - to protect their wealth and power, and to accumulate more wealth and power. The other is the desire of ordinary citizens - that is, anyone who is not super-rich or super-powerful - to live in peace and freedom without being subjected to the predatory activities of the grandi. As stressed by John McCormick, Machiavelli thought that the predatory tendencies of oligarchs were the gravest threat to the liberty and well-being of ordinary people.
Truthout
Machiavelli and Oligarchic DemocracyLorenzo Del Savio and Matteo Mameli, Truthout | Op-Ed

Richard D. Wolff — Socialism and Workers' Self-Directed Enterprises

Global capitalism has huge problems coping with the second worst collapse in its history. Its extreme and deepening inequalities have provoked millions to question and challenge capitalism. Yet socialists of all sorts now find it more difficult than ever to make effective criticisms and offer alternatives that inspire. 
Part of the problem lies with classic socialism as it evolved over the last 150 years. Positions and strategies that once mobilized the victims and critics of capitalism are no longer, by themselves, effective. Not only has capitalism changed, but its celebrants also developed powerful critiques of socialist theory and especially of actually existing socialisms such as the Soviet Union (USSR). Socialism has not responded well to capitalism's changes nor to its critiques; it has not made the necessary strategic and tactical shifts. Nonetheless, socialism retains the means to overcome its problems with some long-overdue self-criticism and innovation.…
Truthout
Socialism and Workers' Self-Directed Enterprises
Richard D. Wolff | Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, New York City

Stephen Rosenfeld — Federal Appeals Court Ridicules Florida Cops For Using SWAT Team To Check On Barbershop Licenses

“It was a scene right out of a Hollywood movie,” the Court’s ruling began. “Teams from the OCSO [Orange County Sheriff’s Office] descended... with some team members dressed in ballistic vests and masks, and with guns drawn, the deputies rushed into their target destinations, handcuffed the stunned occupants—and demanded to see their barbers’ licenses. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office was providing muscle for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s [DBPR] administrative inspection of barbershops to discover licensing violations.” 
The Cout’s 44-page ruling, which will allow four barbers to proceed with a lawsuit that the cops violated their Fourth Amendment protection from unconstitutional searches, vividly describes how a team of local and state police ran amok—and then claimed immunity from prosecution, which the Court rejected, when the raid’s victims sued. 
Notably, the ruling didn’t even talk about the blatant constitutional violations first, but instead snidely asked if the cops involved were complete idiots who thought they were so far above the law that they could ignore previous multiple rulings from the very same Court ordering cops not to conduct militarized SWAT raids as a routine tactic….
AlterNet
Federal Appeals Court Ridicules Florida Cops For Using SWAT Team To Check On Barbershop Licenses
Stephen Rosenfeld

Heather Cox Richardson — How the GOP stopped caring about you

How did the progressive Republican Party of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Eisenhower become the reactionary party of Ronald Reagan, the tea party and Paul Ryan?
There is nothing random about these ideological shifts. They reflect the party’s — and the nation’s — central unresolved problem: the tension between equality of opportunity and protection of private property.
This tension has driven American politics since the nation’s earliest days.…
The Washington Post | Opinion
How the GOP stopped caring about you
Heather Cox Richardson | Professor of History, Boston College

Steve Randy Waldman — The political economy of a universal basic income


Debate is hotting up. SRW disagrees with Max Sawicky and agrees with Ed Dolan.
I think that UBI — defined precisely as a periodic transfers of identical fixed dollar amounts to all citizens of the polity — is by far the most probable and politically achievable among policies that might effectively address problems of inequality, socioeconomic fragmentation, and economic stagnation. It is not uniquely good policy. If trust in government competence and probity was stronger than it is in today’s America, there are other policies I can imagine that might be as good or better. But trust in government competence and probity is not strong, and if I am honest, I think the mistrust is merited. 
UBI is the least “statist”, most neoliberal means possible of addressing socioeconomic fragmentation. It distributes only abstract purchasing power; it cedes all regulation of real resources to individuals and markets. It deprives the state even of power to make decisions about to whom purchasing power should be transferred — reflective, again, of a neoliberal mistrust of the state — insisting on a dumb, simple, facially fair rule.…
Like the excellent Ed Dolan, I favor a basic income large enough to matter but not sufficient for most people to live comfortably. The right way to understand a basic income as a matter of economics, and to frame it as a matter of politics, is this: A basic income serves to increase the ability of workers to negotiate higher wages and better working conditions. Market labor is always “optional” in a sense, but the option to refuse or quit a job is extremely costly for many people. A basic income would reduce that cost. People whose “BATNA” is starvation negotiate labor contracts from a very weak position. With a basic income somewhere between $500 and $1000 per month, it becomes possible for many workers to hold off on bad deals in order to search or haggle for a better ones. The primary economic function of a basic income in the near term would not be to replace work, but to increase the bargaining power of low income workers as a class. A basic income is the neoliberal alternative to unionization — inferior in some respects (workers remain atomized), superior in others (individuals have more control over the terms that they negotiate) — but much more feasible going forward, in my opinion.Interfluidity
The political economy of a universal basic income
Steve Randy Waldman

Yes! — America Keeps People Poor On Purpose: A Timeline of Choices We've Made to Increase Inequality


Yes! Magazine
America Keeps People Poor On Purpose: A Timeline of Choices We've Made to Increase Inequality

Stephanie Kelton — The Economy: Does More Government Help or Hurt (video)


The Economy: Does More Government Help or Hurt - Stephanie Kelton

Friday, September 19, 2014

David Brendel — How Philosophy Makes You a Better Leader

The goal of most executive coaching and leadership development is behavior change—help the individual identify and change the behaviors that are getting in the way of, and reinforce the behaviors associated with, effective leadership. But what about the beliefs and values that drive behavior? 
The benefits of introspection and reflection on one’s own character and beliefs receive less attention in a typical coaching session than the benefits of behavior change. Perhaps this is not surprising in our fast-paced and technology-driven business world, where there is little time to stop and think, and where people want (and are paying for) immediate outcomes. Despite growing recognition of the benefits of “mindfulness” activities (such as yoga and meditation) and an introverted style, self-reflection on philosophical issues—such as values, character virtues, and wisdom—is relatively neglected. Executive coaching and leadership development programs rarely include much, if anything, about the power of clarifying one’s philosophical world-view. But there is mounting evidence that they should. 
Neuroscience research on self-reflection supports this notion.…
How reflection makes you a better person.

"the life which is unexamined is not worth living." Socrates, in Plato's Apology, 38a

Harvard Business Review — HBR Blog Network
How Philosophy Makes You a Better Leader
David Brendel