The Department of Don't Say You Weren't Warned
For those of you who don't know her, Pluto is a writer I met through our interaction at the place so nice they banned me twice (sure I'd love to tell you about it, but it's not relevant to this piece).
She's a ForEx trader and we don't necessarily see eye to eye on economics since she still seems to think there is some connection between money and actual goods and services (particularly in terms of investor confidence) while I'm with the MMT types that find it totally fictional except for its use as a medium of exchange (which could be replaced in a pinch) and to pay taxes (in lieu of feudal servitude), and think confidence is a scam entirely unjustified by reality.
She is whip smart and has much more practical experience than I do, so it's probably better to listen to her.
And while I would argue that gold is simply another commodity that is useful industrially for its ductility, conductivity, and inertness, and that has a certain aesthetic appeal, it is psychologically true that many people attribute special economic value to it however unjustified by facts that attitude is.
Thus I think her bottom line conclusion, that China is preparing itself to take over as the world's reserve currency is probably true. China's reluctance to do so, according to MMT, stems from the fact that the reserve currency is condemmed by account balancing to run pretty serious trade deficits, otherwise nobody else has any money.
Money is a lubricant for transactions. It has no magical, mystical inherent value (of which it is a poor store and this is a good thing because it forces productive investment rather than unproductive hoarding). But feel free to disagree, never let it be said that at TMC's and my sites (The Stars Hollow Gazette and DocuDharma) we don't entertain ideas we don't completely endorse.- ek
Reprinted with permission from The Stars Hollow Gazette
All week I've been seeing references to this headline:
"China could announce that it holds 30,000 tons of gold to back the Yuan/Renminbi."
As a Forex trader, the story took me by surprise, even though China has been stockpiling for years, and is the world's largest gold producer. Also, it's not like China to pull this trigger so fast. However, in the South China Sea last week, the US started militarily terrorizing China with war ships and fighter jets — and China warned (in so many polite words) that the US planted the seeds of its own doom.
So, maybe that's what this is all about.
The deficit is now down to under 3% of GDP, and in contemplating that fact, Paul Krugman asks why the deficit hawks aren't celebrating the precipitous fall from nearly 10% of GDP a few years ago. He then explains that:
Far from celebrating the deficit’s decline, the usual suspects — fiscal-scold think tanks, inside-the-Beltway pundits — seem annoyed by the news. It’s a “false victory,” they declare. “Trillion dollar deficits are coming back,” they warn. And they’re furious with President Obama for saying that it’s time to get past “mindless austerity” and “manufactured crises.” He’s declaring mission accomplished, they say, when he should be making another push for entitlement reform.
All of which demonstrates a truth that has been apparent for a while, if you have been paying close attention: Deficit scolds actually love big budget deficits, and hate it when those deficits get smaller. Why? Because fears of a fiscal crisis — fears that they feed assiduously — are their best hope of getting what they really want: big cuts in social programs.
It has become a commonplace observation amongst historians of the interface between politics and jurisprudence that the enunciation of Roe v Wade, as much as it brought immediate relief from unwanted pregnancy to hundreds of thousands of women, had the perverse effect of truncating the slow but inexorable progress of democratic reform of patriarchal anti-choice law.
US, Europe, Israel, Saudi Arabia have worked so hard together to bring us to the brink of WWIII.
Ukraine is where the US helped stage a coup that left violent neo-Nazis running a puppet government.
Obama and his administration were FURIOUS over losing their power grab for Black Sea control. They and the Kiev government are willing to have Russian Ukrainians in the east massively slaughtered and to create a humanitarian crisis for the survivors as collective punishment, ethnic cleansing and to provoke a military reaction from Russia.
A nuclear-armed Russia. Read more about You Don’t Believe We’re On the Eve of Destruction?
Pepe Escobar in “Empire of Chaos/Arab Spring, Jihad Summer” explains that “IS” (Islamic State) is the new branding of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) or ISIL (Islamic State of the Levant).
Effective regulation, and on that note, it is a positive thing that the Summers of our discontent can finally be laid to rest. After all the damage Larry Summers has caused in being one of the architects of this crisis, from boxing in Brooksley Born and ignoring her warnings with regard to derivatives which brought down Long Term Capital Management during the Clinton administration, to his sexism among everything else. He has now thankfully taken himself out consideration for the job.
It's a good thing he did. Rather than fighting for something or someone that helps people suffering from this economic crisis, President Obama strongly recommended and fought for Larry Summers to be Chairman of the Federal Reserve, a guy who lost a billion dollars as President of Harvard betting on interest rates. Yeah, let that sink in for awhile.
It's really not OK. This is why making excuses for everything the President does, as too many Democrats do without thinking of the damage, is dangerous, immoral, and unprincipled. Now it looks like the front runner to replace Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve is going to be Vice Chairwoman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and once President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Janet Yellin. Unlike Larry Summers, she at least saw the crisis coming as early as 2005.
As the Obama Administration trots out its dog-and-pony show to advocate for war, I’ve been noticing some departures from our last misadventure. Although Lambert regularly uses the terms Pravda and Izvestia for major US news outlets as our own notorious examples of Soviet-era propaganda organs, the comparison has become more and more apt, because US journalism consumers appear to be honing their skills at reading between the lines. Here are some of my observations and what I think may be their significance in the larger scheme of things. Read more about Reading between the Lines
On August 21, Chris Hedges wrote a great post called “Bradley Manning and the Gangster State.” It is consonant with my own thinking, and, more importantly, it makes one focus on the most important issue facing democracy today: “Is there a democracy in the United States anymore, or have we already evolved into a form of totalitarianism?” And if we have, then is there any return from this, a counter-evolution or revolution, that will restore our political liberties and our ability to change our political regime?
”The most spied upon, monitored and controlled population in human history”
Here's Chris's opening statement:
”The swift and brutal verdict read out by Army Col. Judge Denise Lind in sentencing Pfc. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison means we have become a nation run by gangsters. It signals the inversion of our moral and legal order, the death of an independent media, and the open and flagrant misuse of the law to prevent any oversight or investigation of official abuses of power, including war crimes. The passivity of most of the nation’s citizens—the most spied upon, monitored and controlled population in human history—to the judicial lynching of Manning means they will be next. There are no institutional mechanisms left to halt the shredding of our most fundamental civil liberties, including habeas corpus and due process, or to prevent pre-emptive war, the assassination of U.S. citizens by the government and the complete obliteration of privacy.”
Some may object to the passionate and evaluative tone of this opening, and may want to quibble about whether Americans are “the most spied upon, monitored and controlled population in human history,” seeing this as glossing over the extreme conditions existing at the height of the Nazi, Stalin, and Mao regimes in Germany, the USSR, and China. But nevertheless it is hard to deny that in the areas of concern to the National Security Surveillance State, including not just foreign policy, “homeland security,” and the big media, but also in maintaining the dominance of the FIRE, Energy, military/industrial, and health insurance sectors of the economy, this statement is, sadly, true. Read more about Are We There Yet?
Here's a memorable piece of video on Xkeyscore, featuring Piers Morgan, Glenn Greenwald, James Risen, and Jeffrey Toobin.
Risen and Greenwald get set up by Morgan pretty well to make Toobin look clueless, and silly, in his insistence that Snowden's done a very valuable thing for American democracy, but nevertheless must pay the price for releasing classified material. This is a village meme running around Washington, New York, and evidently, London, these days. Read more about Where Do You Draw the Line?
Paul Street in “Power Served, Millions Betrayed” presents the reality of Obama’s conservative neoliberal ideology and takes on the personality-cultish, propaganda-spun good will so many progressives still cling to regarding Obama:
There is, of course, one group of Americans who have clearly not been thrown under the bus by Barack Obama: the very predominantly white corporate and financial elite.
It used to be that a citizen consumer could deduct loan/credit interest charged(besides the home mortgage interest). Read more about Another example of how the tax code is structured to screw the working class hero
"What happened in Darveshpura has divided scientists and is exciting governments and development experts. Tests on the soil show it is particularly rich in silicon but the reason for the "super yields" is entirely down to a method of growing crops called System of Root Intensification (SRI). Read more about Another argument against GMO's
[Tue Feb 01, 2011 at 03:36 PM PST]
SOCIAL SECURITY "OFF THE TABLE?" YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING!!! Read more about My February 2011 "Daily Kos" Diary On Social Security Reform--Revisted [Corrected Version]