Thursday, October 19, 2017

Asia Unhedged — PBOC ‘Minsky moment’ comments blown out of proportion

CNBC cobbled together a video using reporting from Reuters, set to a somewhat ominous driving baseline, which began with the words “China’s economy may be in trouble.” The content of the video went on to imply that Zhou Xiaochuan said just that, in stark contrast to the confidence other Chinese leaders are espousing.
In fact, Zhou’s words align with the central leadership’s consistent calls for efforts to reign in financial risks and continue to push for deleveraging. And the rising household debt? It still pales in comparison to what is seen in other countries, Zhou merely said that China should watch this to avoid running into a problem that China still has no need to worry about.

Edward Harrison — Crony capitalism and redistribution

What Ed Harrison call "crony capitalism" is a feature of neoliberalism as government capture that favors special interests. "Crony capitalism" is an egregious example of the underlying assumption that capital formation should be favored over other factors in the interest of growth, based on the further assumption of trickle down. This results in upward distribution and growing inequality of income and wealth, which eventually leads to social dysfunctionality.

Credit Writedowns
Crony capitalism and redistribution
Edward Harrison


Be sure to follow the link in the P.S. in the post below.

The one data you should follow to know if the US expansion is in good shape

David F. Ruccio — Laughter is the best medicine

So what are the problems according to Blanchard and Summers? In their view, “the events of the last ten years have put into question the presumption that economies are self stabilizing, have raised again the issue of whether temporary shocks can have permanent effects, and have shown the importance of non linearities.”
Only mainstream macroeconomists could possibly have thought that capitalism is self stabilizing. The rest of us—who have read Marx and Keynes as well as the work of Robert Clower, Hyman Minsky, and Axel Leijonhufvud—actually knew something about the roots of capitalist instability: the various ways a monetary commodity-producing economy might (but not necessarily) generate imbalances and instabilities based on the normal workings of the system.
Yes, of course, temporary shocks can have permanent effects. How could they not, when tens of millions of people are thrown out of work and, especially in the wake of the most recent crash, inequality has soared to new heights?
And then there are those “non linearities,” the idea that financial crises are characterized by feedback effects such that shocks, even small ones, “are strongly amplified rather than damped as they propagate.” Bank runs are the quintessential example—whether customers demanding their deposits in the first Great Depression or the run on financial institutions (including insurance companies that issued credit default swaps) that occurred in the midst of the second Great Depression. But that’s not all: when corporations, facing a declining profit rate, choose to sell but not purchase, they make individually rational decisions that can have large-scale social ramifications—for workers, indebted households, and other corporations (on both Main Street and Wall Street).
So mainstream macroeconomists appear to be waking up from their slumber and seeing capitalism as it is—and as it has functioned for 150 years or so.
Moreover, the reason that conventional economists are concerned is not economics but politics. Capitalism is not working and the result is social dysfunction that is creating a political backlash against not only politicians but also economists. I suspect that if this were not happening, everything would be just fine. Even so, they are not actually questioning basic assumptions, the adverse consequences of which heterodox economists and political theorists have pointed out from many different angles.

Occasional Links & Commentary
Laughter is the best medicine
David F. Ruccio | Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame

See also
The real sea change is the third one -- the reconsideration of what recessions really are. Most modern econ theories posit that recessions arrive randomly, instead of as the result of pressures that build up over time. And they assume that recessions are short-lived affairs that go away of their own accord. If these assumptions are wrong, then most of the theories written down in macroeconomics journals over the past several decades -- and most of those being written as we speak -- are of questionable usefulness....
Bloomberg View
Fixing Macroeconomics Will Be Really Hard
Noah Smith, columnist

Áine Cain — Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos' mentor used a simple test to figure out who is a true leader

According to the late Bill Campbell, who established a reputation as the "coach" of Silicon Valley, only one thing determines whether or not you're a leader: the opinions of those you're supposed to be leading.…

[Former Apple CEO John] Sculley shared one of the best pieces of advice Campbell ever gave him: "Your title makes you a manager. Your people will decide if you're a leader, and it's up to you to live up to that."...
"Basically, how you make that happen is if you believe that leadership is not about putting greatness into people, leadership is about recognizing that there's a greatness in everyone and your job is to create an environment where that greatness can emerge," [Current Intuit CEO Brad] Smith told Business Insider....
How do political leaders stack up? Polls are one indication, but generally polls don't measure intensity.

Business Insider
Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos' mentor used a simple test to figure out who is a true leader
Áine Cain

Reuters — China's central bank Anticipates a "Minsky moment."

Hyman Minsky goes to China.
China will fend off risks from excessive optimism that could lead to a "Minsky Moment", central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said on Thursday, adding that corporate debt levels are relatively high and household debt is rising too quickly.
A Minsky Moment is a sudden collapse of asset prices after a long period of growth, sparked by debt or currency pressures. The theory is named after economist Hyman Minsky....

"If there are too many pro-cyclical factors in the economy, cyclical fluctuations are magnified and there is excessive optimism during the period, accumulating contradictions that could lead to the so-called Minsky Moment," Zhou was speaking on the sidelines of China's 19th Communist Party congress.
"We should focus on preventing a dramatic adjustment," he said. China will control risks from sudden adjustments to asset bubbles and will seriously deal with disguised debt of local government financing vehicles, Zhou said....
China's central bank just warned of a sudden collapse in asset prices

Sarah K. Burris — Former CIA director says it’s ‘implausible’ that Russians didn’t meddle in our election without American help

John Brennan doubles down and insinuates that some connected with Trump colluded with "the Russians" in the "fake news" campaign that purportedly cost HRC the election, since "the Russians" would have need direction about targeting vulnerable states.

Reaching for straws.

Raw Story
Former CIA director says it’s ‘implausible’ that Russians didn’t meddle in our election without American help
Sarah K. Burris

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Defending and extending the periphery

Defending the periphery of the empire while also attempting to extend it.

U.S. Says Syrian Government Will Never Have Foothold In Raqqa, Acccuses Damascus & Allies Of Hindering Efforts To Liberate City

Netanyahu says Israel won't tolerate Iran presence in Syria

Robert Parry — Blaming Russia for the Internet ‘Sewer’

Even former Clinton political strategist Mark Penn has acknowledged the absurdity of thinking that such piddling amounts could have any impact on a $2.4 billion presidential campaign, plus all the billions of dollars worth of free-media attention to the conventions, debates, etc. Based on what’s known about the Facebook ads, Penn calculated that “the actual electioneering [in battleground states] amounts to about $6,500.”
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Monday, Penn added, “I have 40 years of experience in politics, and this Russian ad buy mostly after the election anyway, simply does not add up to a carefully targeted campaign to move voters. It takes tens of millions of dollars to deliver meaningful messages to the contested portion of the electorate.”
When you loose even Mark Penn.…

Consortium News
Blaming Russia for the Internet ‘Sewer’
Robert Parry

David P. Goldman — In China's state-dominated economy, a large part of Chinese leverage is state infrastructure spending masquerading as corporate debt

Finally figuring it out.
The net debt of the non-financial components of the Shenzhen 300 Index is heavily concentrated in a dozen or so companies, all of which contribute to basic energy or transport infrastructure. A full 10% of the net debt of non-industrial SHSZ300 companies is owed by Petrochina alone.
This suggests that a great deal of Chinese corporate indebtedness should be viewed as “public works” investment by the Chinese sovereign. There certainly are aspects of the increase in indebtedness that recall Japan’s dependence on public works spending as a channel for economic stimulus. But the point to take away is that we are NOT looking at a speculative bubble in corporate debt but a heavily-concentrated investment in state-sponsored infrastructure.…
But the company-by-company breakdown of the location of the debt suggests that in China’s state-dominated economy, this distinction blurs the underlying economics: A very large part of Chinese debt is state infrastructure spending masquerading as corporate debt.
That is not the stuff out of which financial crises are made.
While the West waits for China to crater from growing debt, the steamroller rolls on. Somebody better tell these people to get out of the way or they will be crushed.

Asia Times
In China's state-dominated economy, a large part of Chinese leverage is state infrastructure spending masquerading as corporate debt
David P. Goldman

Adam Garrie — Xi Jinping’s 3.5 hour speech before the 19th CPC National Congress is actually a succinct introduction to China’s road-map for the future

Overall, the prognosis for Xi Jinping and his successors being able to deliver on the monumental promises made in today’s speech, seem surprisingly doable. China has shown the world that it can make the difficult happen with speeds that shock many sceptics and with an exactitude that confounds students or previous rising economic giants.
In this sense, it is not at all beyond the scope of reality that a 3.5 hour speech, may shape the next 100 years of Chinese and world history.
Marx and Lenin get the last laugh?

The Duran

Jayati Ghosh — The De-Digitisation of India

Back to business as usual. Nothing accomplished other than a lot of hassle.

The De-Digitisation of India
Jayati Ghosh | Professor of Economics at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, School of Social Sciences, at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, in New Delhi

Xinhua — Highlights of Xi's report to 19th CPC National Congress

Socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era.
The CPC has given shape to the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, a long-term guide to action that the Party must adhere to and develop.
The Thought builds on and further enriches Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development. It represents the latest achievement in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context....


Xi calls for making China into a country of innovators

Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for making China's interest rates and exchange rates more market-based.

Xi calls for boosting fundamental role of consumption in China's economic growth

Xi pledges 'sweeping victory' in anti-corruption

China's socialist democracy the most effective: Xi

Xi calls for 'putting quality first' in economic development

Xi says achieving national rejuvenation will be 'no walk in the park'

Global Times — New Chinese sex-ed textbook for female students in Shanghai stirs controversy

"Take a look at the history of the human race, women are documented to suffer from discrimination and suppression both in Oriental civilizations and in Western countries. Women have much more difficulty than men in defending their rights in life and marriage."
This is the very first sentence from Radiant Girls, a new sex-ed textbook published by Shanghai Educational Publishing House especially for girls in the fourth or fifth grade of elementary school....
Teaching basic feminism right out of the gate.

New Chinese sex-ed textbook for female students in Shanghai stirs controversy
Global Times


Summary of the Reuters' report.

Russia Insider
Moscow Is Safest Megacity for Women - Reuters
Anatoly Karlin

Trump Impeachment Articles Could Soon Gain Republican Support, House Democrat Claims

Perhaps it's time for Trump to go, but who's going to replace, Mike Spence? Is there anyone who is a safe pair of hands out there, well, the world depends on it? A war with Iran would be an terrible tragedy and the loss of life enormous. Regardless of their leaders the Iranians are world renowned for their friendliness, which has something to do with Iran being a trading route in the past where traders brought goods and custom. 

Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen said Sunday that it's not just members of his own party that are considering articles of impeachment against President Trump. 
"Privately they will tell you, by their words and by their expressions, that they would like to see an end to the Trump administration and don't approve of what he's doing", Cohen said. 
Cohen, who announced his plan following Trump's controversial comments in the wake of the deadly violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, said he is looking to get between seven and 10 co-sponsors before taking impeachment articles to the House. 
"We have a president who is known to be unstable", he told U.S. cable channel MSNBC.

The Cobess News 

 Trump Impeachment Articles Could Soon Gain Republican Support, House Democrat Claims

JP Koning — An example of tax-driven money during the greenback era

Some interesting history.

An example of tax-driven money during the greenback era
JP Koning

Gallup — Trump Presidency Draws Strong Support, Stronger Opposition


Trump Presidency Draws Strong Support, Stronger Opposition
Jim Norman

Mehdi Hasan — In the Age of Trump, Tom Cotton May Be America’s Most Dangerous Senator

You might call Cotton, who is now being touted as the next director of the CIA, the “Trump whisperer.” In fact, according to the Weekly Standard, in a recent meeting with his top national security and foreign policy advisers, “having failed to receive the decertification option from his own team, Trump called Senator Tom Cotton and put him on speakerphone. The president asked Cotton to make the case for decertifying the Iran deal. Cotton took five minutes and walked Trump and his team through the case, emphasizing one point in particular: re-certifying the deal would be declaring that it was in the national security interest of the United States, something Cotton understood that Trump didn’t believe.”
The Weekly Standard report added that Trump “left the phone call” convinced that the decision to decertify was “the right one.”
Got that? The reality TV star who now occupies the Oval Office defied the advice of his own inner circle, including Defense Secretary James Mattis; ignored the pleas of America’s closest allies; and dismissed the evidence offered by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran is in compliance with the terms of the deal. Instead, he decided to go with the advice of a 40-year-old freshman senator from Arkansas, who has zero expertise in Middle East diplomacy and none in the field of nuclear proliferation.
Probably not just Tom Cotton. I suspect that Trump had already made up his mind and Cotton was just a cover. But the fact Trump chose Cotton for this is indicative.

The question now is when Mattis, McMaster, Kelly and Tillerson are going to resign before their credibility and reputations are shredded.

The Intercept

TASS — Bank of Russia to start buying gold on Moscow Exchange

"Starting from November 1, 2017, the Bank of Russia will post gold procurement bids during trading sessions of the Moscow Exchange along with gold purchases on the over-the-counter market for purposes of developing the organized market of precious metals and increasing the number of counterparties," the Central Bank said.
Bank of Russia to start buying gold on Moscow Exchange

Joshua Landis — Trump’s Iran Policy Is More about Rollback than Nukes

The renewed US offensive against Iran is not so much about its nuclear capability or even its missile program; it is about Iran rollback and hobbling its economy.
Ever since President Obama signed the Iran agreement, howls of disapproval were heard from both Israel and a number of Gulf States, which were not dismayed so much at the sunset clause on Iran’s nuclear refinement as they were at Iran’s escape from economic sanctions. The real danger, in their eyes, is Iran’s economic break out and potential success. The more money Iran has, the more it can consolidate the success of its Shiite allies in the region: Hezbollah, the Syrian government and the Iraqi government.
President Trump’s latest announcement follows increased U.S. sanctions on both Hezbollah and Syria, as well as increased aid to Syria’s Kurds in their effort to expand territorially. It is the latest in a policy of rollback that has been developing for some time.
It is a policy that both Saudi Arabia and Israel have been pushing on Trump. It is one that also suits his personality as well as the inclinations of his military advisers because it means supporting friends and hurting enemies. It represents the opposite of Obama’s effort at balancing Sunnis and Shiites along with Saudi Arabia and Iran, not to mention his effort to distance the U.S., ever so slightly, from Israel..
Although, the much ballyhooed “land bridge” from Iran to Lebanon through Iraq and Syria cannot be severed by the US army, a high price for building it can be exacted against Iran and its Shiite allies. They can be weakened economically, which is the point of scuttling the Iran deal. The West is also likely to boycott any reconstruction effort in Syria. The new anti-Iran policy will have a profound and far reaching impact on the region. It will ratchet up Sunni-Shiite hostility as well as beggar more countries....
Again, what could go wrong? Professor Landis explains.

Trump’s Iran Policy Is More about Rollback than Nukes
Joshua M. Landis | Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma

Dirk Ehnts — MMT, Tajikistan and foreign bond investors

One criticism of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) that I hear very often is that it applies only to the US or the countries with hard currencies that can issue bonds on international bond markets....
econoblog 101
MMT, Tajikistan and foreign bond investors
Dirk Ehnts | Lecturer at Bard College Berlin

Bill Mitchell — British productivity slump – all down to George Osborne’s austerity obsession

Apparently, whenever some poor economic news is published about the United Kingdom, journalists have to weave in their on-going gripe about the outpouring of democracy in June last year that saw the Brexit vote to leave successful. Its hysterical really. The most recent example is from the otherwise sensible Aditya Chakrabortty from the UK Guardian (October 17, 2017) – Who’s to blame for Brexit’s fantasy politics? The experts, of course. The story has nothing much to do with the June 2016 Referendum but more about massive forecasting failures of the Office of Budget Responsibility. But somehow the story opines about the lies told about Brexit and a fiscal “bloodbath” – the latter being the description for the fact that the fiscal deficit is likely to increase a little as a result of a slower than expected economic growth outcome.
The UK Guardian continually writes about these two obsessions – the first that Brexit will be a disaster and the second that the fiscal position of the British government is in jeopardy and will undermine the capacity of the government to defend the economy if a major downturn comes along (as a result of the ‘Brexit disaster’). The narratives are interlinked – Brexit is bad, it will cause deficits to rise which are bad, and the government will be powerless as a result of the rising deficits to stop the bad consequences of Brexit – which is a big bad. All propositions are largely nonsense.
Brexit will be bad if the British government continues to implement neoliberal policy. Rising deficits do not alter the spending capacity of government. And as a currency-issuing government, Britain can always arrest a recession, if there is political will. The fact is that the OBR forecast errors are just part of the neoliberal lie. And the productivity growth slump the OBR has now ‘discovered’ predates the Brexit referendum by years and is all down to the misplaced austerity imposed by George Osborne in June 2010. But it is disappointing to read this sort of stuff being repeated by so-called progressive commentator. There is clearly more work to be done via education.
Paragraphing added.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
British productivity slump – all down to George Osborne’s austerity obsession
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Zero Hedge — US Army Is Preparing For Decades Of Hybrid Wars

A peek into the military mind.
Tyler Durden

Heather Digby Parton — Trump's Rumored Candidate to Run the CIA Could Plunge America into a Hot War

Backgrounder on Tom Cotton.
According to Molly Ball of The Atlantic, Cotton's Harvard thesis reveals his philosophy:
Cotton insists that the Founders were wise not to put too much faith in democracy, because people are inherently selfish, narrow-minded, and impulsive. He defends the idea that the country must be led by a class of intellectually superior officeholders whose ambition sets them above other men. Though Cotton acknowledges that this might seem elitist, he derides the Federalists’ modern critics as mushy-headed and naive.
“Ambition characterizes and distinguishes national officeholders from other kinds of human beings,” Cotton wrote. “Inflammatory passion and selfish interest characterizes most men, whereas ambition characterizes men who pursue and hold national office. Such men rise from the people through a process of self-selection since politics is a dirty business that discourages all but the most ambitious.”
On the surface, such a belief would seem to be an odd mix with the allegedly populist Donald Trump and his "alt-right" white nationalist allies, but it really isn't. Trump himself is a big believer in eugenics and Steve Bannon is looking for a few good men to lead his army into the big final battle. Tom Cotton may be just the grownup they've been looking for.
Democracy is for "liberals."

Where do they find these people?


Justin Huebner — US Air Force AIRLIFTS! ISIS Fighters From Raqqa to Fight Russians - Russian TV Report

Despite completely leveling Raqqa Dresden-style, the US deliberately let 1000 ISIS fighters escape, and, get this: AIR-LIFTED! them to Deir ez-Zor, to aide in the battle against Russia and Syria there.
Russian TV keeps hammering away at the US, accusing them of all manner of double-dealing and treachery - deliberately helping ISIS hang in there in Syria, despite the fact that their situation is hopeless militarily.
US aide to ISIS has become a very loud refrain on Russian TV, covered in detail on a daily basis....
Russia Insider
US Air Force AIRLIFTS! ISIS Fighters From Raqqa to Fight Russians - Russian TV Report
Justin Huebner

Edward Harrison — Germany’s coalition talks are sowing the seeds of the euro’s breakup

For years now within Germany’s policy circles, there have been many who have pushed for an ‘expulsion’ or ‘voluntary exit’ mechanism for the Eurozone. I am now hearing this position advocated by FDP head Christian Lindner, a potential finance minister in the new German governing coalition. I believe this affects Italy the most and sets up an existential crisis down the line for the EU....
The upshot here is two-fold. First, in a crisis situation, a politically independent hardline German finance minister will not toe the line. Angela Merkel must deal with a more robust power center and cede ground. Second, if and when we do have a crisis, the lack of a common deposit insurance scheme is going to create capital flight that will quicken the pace of crisis. And because of Europe’s new bail-in rules that will force bank creditors to suffer losses before any bailout occurs, political implications could be severe....

Sputnik — Old Habits Die Hard: US Digs Up Cold-War Tool Seeking to 'Bankrupt Russia'

US-Russian relations continue hanging in the balance with NATO's expansion in Eastern and Central Europe and the Pentagon's controversial actions in Syria. While the US continues portraying Moscow as an adversary, the standoff is unlikely to translate into a nuclear conflict, American academic Vladimir Golstein told Sputnik.

The US and the NATO are no longer hiding their goals, they are beefing up their military presence on Russia's borders, Vladimir Golstein, Associate Professor of Slavic Studies at Brown University, told Sputnik, adding that the West is trying to manipulate Moscow into engaging in yet another arms race with the Atlantic bloc....
Professor Goldstein argues that the US is provoking another arms race to force them to drain funding from domestic projects, believing that the Reagan arms buildup forced the collapse of the USSR.

Goldstein doesn't mention it but this is also happening in the case of China.

This has the advantage of direction government spending in the US toward the military-industrial complex and away from domestic welfare. What's not to like?

Spiegel — Playing with Fire: Trump Risks New Conflagration in Middle East

U.S. President Donald Trump made it clear last week that he is close to withdrawing from the Iran accord unless Iran agrees to make changes. His chances for success are slim - and his blustering risks a dangerous escalation.…
European diplomats are also concerned about the effects of a collapsed Iran accord might have on the conflict with North Korea. The Iran deal, after all, is the only blueprint available for how talks with the regime in Pyongyang might be initiated. "The worst thing you can do is try to dismantle it," the EU high representative for foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini, told PBS in an interview last Wednesday. "The message that America would send to the rest of the world is that America cannot be trusted, because a deal that American voted for just two years ago in the UN Security Council, ... a deal that American helped to shape enormously, would be rejected by the same country."
Germany signaling.
Susanne Koelbl, Juliane von Mittelstaedt, Peter Müller, Christoph Scheuermann and Christoph Schult | Der Spiegel

Philip Giraldi — Israel's Helpers in Media, Government, and Academia - Al-Jazeera Documentary

Exiled by the media like Seymour Hersh and Noam Chomsky, Philip Giraldi doubles down in the alt-media
Last year, al-Jazeera Media Network used an undercover reporter to infiltrate some U.K. pro-Israel groups that were working closely with the Israeli Embassy to counter criticisms coming from British citizens regarding the treatment of the Palestinians. In particular, the Embassy and its friends were seeking to counter the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), which has become increasingly effective in Europe. The four-part documentary released late in 2016 that al-Jazeera produced is well worth watching as it consists mostly of secretly filmed meetings and discussions.
The documentary reveals that local Jewish groups, particularly at universities and within the political parties, do indeed work closely with the Israeli Embassy to promote policies supported by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
It also confirms that tagging someone as an anti-Semite has become the principal offensive weapon used to stifle any discussion, particularly in a country like Britain which embraces concepts like the criminalization of “hate speech.”.…
Very revealing article. Read the whole thing and relate it to "Russian influence."

Russia Insider
Israel's Helpers in Media, Government, and Academia - Al-Jazeera Documentary
Philip Giraldi | former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and presently Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest

See also
At first glance, the decision last week by the Trump administration, followed immediately by Israel, to quit the United Nation’s cultural agency seems strange. Why penalise a body that promotes clean water, literacy, heritage preservation and women’s rights?
Washington’s claim that the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) is biased against Israel obscures the real crimes the agency has committed in US eyes.
The first is that in 2011 Unesco became the first UN agency to accept Palestine as a member. That set the Palestinians on the path to upgrading their status at the General Assembly a year later.…
The agency’s second crime relates to its role selecting world heritage sites. That power has proved more than an irritant to Israel and the US.
The occupied territories, supposedly the locus of a future Palestinian state, are packed with such sites. Hellenistic, Roman, Jewish, Christian and Muslim relics promise not only the economic rewards of tourism but also the chance to control the historic narrative....
The third crime is the priority Unesco gives to the Palestinian names of heritage sites under belligerent occupation. 
Jonathan Cook

Paul R. Pillar — Americans Wrote the Russians’ Material

Ha ha. Gives "echo chamber" new meaning.

The notion that "Russian" amplification of what Americans were already saying played a significant part in US politics or the elections is simply absurd, especially considering the relative amounts spent.

HRC is making a fool of herself, the Democratic Party is self-destructing, and the Establishment is toying with imposing censorship over this, all to control the narrative.

US politics operates not on issues but on narratives. Whoever controls the narrative, controls the country.

The National Interest
Americans Wrote the Russians’ Material
Paul R. Pillar | senior fellow at Georgetown University's Center for Security Studies, nonresident senior fellow in the Brookings Institution's Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, and retired CIA officer.

Ryan Browne — Kazakhstan plans to launch its own cryptocurrency

  • Kazakhstan's government-supported Astana International Finance Center (AIFC) said Tuesday it had signed a deal of cooperation with Maltese firm Exante
  • Exante said it would work with the AIFC to develop the ex-Soviet nation's untapped cryptocurrency market
  • Kazakhstan's entry into the digital currency ecosystem would be underpinned by Exante's new blockchain platform, 'Stasis'
When it rains it pours.
In August, Estonia proposed its own state-backed digital asset, which would be called "estcoin". The small Eastern European nation said it was considering the launch of estcoin through an initial coin offering (ICO) — a crowdfunding method that has garnered much scrutiny in recent weeks.
And last month, Japan signaled the potential launch of its own digital currency, called J-Coin....