Saturday, April 21, 2018

NK suspends nuclear and missile tests

More winning!!!!  Kim's definitely looking good for that invite to Mar-A-Lago if he keeps this type of thing going...

Double trigger fingers!!!!

John Quiggin — We are all socialists now

Socialism is much more than public ownership of productive enterprises. Still, if there is one policy that clearly distinguishes socialists from their (or rather our) opponents, it is support for public enterprise as a way of organizing large-scale production, and, in particular, as the preferred model for industries characterized by natural monopoly or other major market failures. The opposite view, dominant since the 1970s, is the market liberal framework that favors comprehensive private ownership, with “light-handed” regulation as the response to market “imperfections”.
Now that I’ve explicitly adopted the term “socialist”, I’ve been struck by the fact that I seem to be pushing against an open door....
As a socialist, I support a mixed economy in which both public and private ownership play important roles. The evidence of the past century shows, in my view, that most large-scale infrastructure should be publicly owned, and operate on a statutory authority model, accountable to the public through governments, but with politicians kept at arms length from day-to-day decisions. On the other hand, small business should be left to private ownership. That leaves a large share of the economy to balance between large for-profit corporations and public enterprise. The design of a mixed economy involves getting that balance right.

In my view, feudalism is a socio-economic system that prioritizes land (control of territory) as a factor of production. Capitalism is a socio-economic system that prioritizes capital (ownership). Socialism is an socio-economic system that prioritizes workers (people).
John Quiggin's Blog
We are all socialists now
John Quiggin | Professor and an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow at the University of Queensland, and a member of the Board of the Climate Change Authority of the Australian Government

Larry Elliott — World Bank recommends fewer regulations protecting workers

Reminder whose interests international institutions represent and open what basis. This time it's the World Bank, but it includes the IMF, Bank of International Settlements, and other institutions upholding market-centric interpretation of the Washington Consensus that favors "capital formation" as the foundation for growth. Workers are just another commodity priced in the market based on their monetary worth as the market determines the value of the labor power they offer.
The World Bank is proposing lower minimum wages and greater hiring and firing powers for employers as part of a wide-ranging deregulation of labour markets deemed necessary to prepare countries for the changing nature of work.
A working draft of the bank’s flagship World Development Report – which will urge policy action from governments when it comes out in the autumn – says less “burdensome” regulations are needed so that firms can hire workers at lower cost. The controversial recommendations, which are aimed mainly at developing countries, have alarmed groups representing labour, which say they have so far been frozen out of the Bank’s consultation process.….
Peter Bakvis, Washington representative for the International Trade Union Confederation, … added that the WDR’s vision of the future world of work would see firms relieved of the burden of contributing to social security, have the flexibility to pay wages as low as they wanted, and to fire at will. Unions would have a diminished role in new arrangements for “expanding workers’ voices”.
The paper “almost completely ignores workers’ rights, asymmetric power in the labour market and phenomena such as declining labour share in national income,” Bakvis said....
The Guardian

Friday, April 20, 2018

RT — Trump not Putin is greater threat to world peace – German poll

More than 90 percent of Germans want better relations with Russia, while more than three-quarters think US President Donald Trump represents a greater threat to world peace than Vladimir Putin, a new poll says.
Painting Russia as a boogeyman and a threat to the West has been the narrative of both the mainstream media and a number of Western states for some time. Now, a poll conducted by the Forsa Institute on behalf of the Wiese Consult group has revealed a substantial difference between the main narrative in the media and general public opinion.

It revealed that 83 percent of Germans said they weren’t afraid of Russia, while half of all respondents blamed American policy for creating a tense relationship between Russia and the West. Only a quarter of Germans believed that conflict was Russia’s fault. More than three-quarters of respondents (79 percent) said they considered US President Donald Trump to be a greater threat to world peace than his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.
While Washington has been imposing sanctions on Russia under various pretexts, more than half of German respondents (55 percent) opposed tough anti-Russian restrictions. Germany already saw a considerable negative economic impact of earlier rounds of sanctions against Moscow.
Signal for the German political leadership. Adjust course.

Reuters — Democrats sue Russia, Trump campaign for alleged 2016 election conspiracy

The need for more popcorn is unending. Please pass the popcorn.

Democrats sue Russia, Trump campaign for alleged 2016 election conspiracy
Mark Hosenball, David Alexander


Trump returns fire.

Zero Hedge
Trump To "Counter" DNC Lawsuit; Seeks Servers, Clinton Emails And "Pakistani Mystery Man"
Tyler Durden

Asia Times China approves ambitious Xiongan New Area master plan

Creating the city of the future.
A new blueprint was released Friday for a massive development that, if successful, will be merged with Beijing and nearby Tianjin into a megalopolis unlike any place in the world, and it sounds every bit as ambitious as promised.
The vision at its core is to create a “new area” south of Beijing in Hebei province, which will serve as a testing ground for a new type of city fitted to industries of the future, while drawing residents away from the congested capital city....
Asia Times
China approves ambitious Xiongan New Area master plan

Pepe Escobar — Syria, Iran and ‘chaos in international relations’

Update on the situation in the Middle East. The backstory is the effect of US policy on Europe.

Asia Times
Syria, Iran and ‘chaos in international relations’
Pepe Escobar

Intel Today — Roger Waters : “White Helmets Is A Fake Organization That Creates Propaganda for Jihadists and Terrorists”

Exposé of the White Helmets.

Intel Today
Roger Waters : “White Helmets Is A Fake Organization That Creates Propaganda for Jihadists and Terrorists”

Lars P. Syll — Marx predicted the present crisis – and points the way out

Self-identified "erratic Marxist" Yanis Varoufakis. He absolutely and totally understands Marx and Engels' fundamental assumption (freedom and happiness) and method (engagement).

Most either miss this or obscure it intentionally. 

Psychologist Erich Fromm got it in his Marx's Concept of Man (1961). He begins the work with a section entitled,  The Falsification of Marx's Concepts, which reveals the caricature of Marx that has been created as a straw man to attack.

Like the anarchists whom Marx opposed and debated with, he was a libertarian of the left that looked forward to humanity transcending oppression based on class structure and class rule. 

Between demonizing Marx and glorying him, the middle way is to see his work for what it is and the assumptions on which it is based. While the significance of Marx and Engels  is mostly historically now, they are also two of the giants on whose shoulders we stand, like it or not.

But bourgeois liberalism expressed through various forms of capitalism views that degree of honest inquiry as threatening, just as monarch and aristocracy correctly viewed advocates for bourgeois liberalism and their works as threatening to what is now the old order.

As with all that have gone before who have contributed to the endowment of knowledge, the intelligent approach is learn from Marx, both positive and negative, and to adapt this to contemporary conditions and the opportunities and challenges they present.

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
Marx predicted the present crisis — and points the way out
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

See also

The tractability hoax in modern economics

Unsold aluminum piling up at sanctions-hit Rusal factory

Trump's sanctions...

Rusal and Deripaska were included on a U.S. sanctions blacklist this month, scaring off many of its customers, suppliers and creditors who fear they too could be hit by sanctions through association with the company. 
A number of traders and customers of Rusal’s aluminum have stopped buying the firm’s products, citing the sanctions risk, and Rusal has stopped shipping some of its products for export, according to a logistics firm and a railway operator that used to carry much of its aluminum. 
While shipments have stalled, Rusal cannot readily reduce its production of aluminum because the electrolysis pots that are at the heart of the manufacturing process can be irreparably damaged if they are shut down. 
U.S. customers cannot do business with Rusal any more under the sanctions, while major Japanese trading houses asked Rusal to stop shipping refined aluminum and other products and are scrambling to secure metal elsewhere, industry sources said. 
Rusal is encountering problems at the other end of its production cycle too, with the sanctions affecting the overseas operations that supply it with the raw materials it uses to produce metal.

Trump hires Rudy

sundance at TLR has an interesting take:

Guiliani joining team to negotiate exit of Special Counsel Robert Mueller is confirmation of earlier analysis on Mueller “referee” intent. 
The investigative and indictment balance was always between Hillary Clinton allies and President Donald Trump. Robert Mueller was recruited by Clinton and Washington DC allies and those within the small group; and was/is generally facilitating the investigation of Trump as leverage. 
The only way for Mueller to protect his Swamp Allies and Institutions, was to generate leverage against Trump. Having established only political leverage, nothing factually unlawful or illegal, the Mueller investigation begins to dry up. Leverage diminishes. 
Without direct leverage against President Trump, Team Mueller moved to position leverage against those Trump cares about… that’s a secondary approach; but the secondary leverage approach is fraught with public noting Mueller is on a “witch hunt”… the investigation into outlying Trump allies becomes transparent in motive. Support for Mueller erodes amid independent-minded people. 
Enter Rudy Giuliani, a political and legal Subject Matter Expert – with direct knowledge of evidence held by NYPD and NY FBI field office of gross criminal conduct by Hillary Clinton. (Weiner Laptop etc) Buried by SDNY Clinton Allies. 
With Special Counsel Mueller having exhausted most of his investigative leverage, Giuliani enters to negotiate Mueller’s exit and discuss his team’s path of retreat and image face-saving. 
The discussion from Mueller’s perspective will not center around Trump, but rather center around how much risk to Hillary Clinton, and by extension political allies within FBI and DOJ – including Obama White House, Mueller will permit. 
Mueller will be looking to protect the interests of Obama, Clinton, Lynch, Comey, Brennan, Clapper, etc. and negotiating degrees of risk to the institutions each represents. 
This is the political horsetrading phase. The leverage cards held by each participant are laid on the table for discussion. Low leverage officials will be sacrificed by Mueller to protect those holding more leverage.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Reuters — U.S. sorghum armada U-turns at sea after China tariffs

Trade war in progress. Proceed with caution.

Exclusive: U.S. sorghum armada U-turns at sea after China tariffs
Karl Plume, P.J. Huffstutter

Equilibrium in Economic Theory

Everything you may have wanted to know about equilibrium in economics.

Post Keynesianism generally dismisses the neoclassical assumption of equilibrium in economic theory, but these posts serve to clarify the concept and the debate around it. David Glasner explores the history, while Jason Smith comments on the concept for the POV of physics and explains it in terms of information equilibrium.

Uneasy Money
On Equilibrium in Economic Theory
David Glasner | Economist at the Federal Trade Commission

Information Transfer Economics
An agnostic equilibrium
Jason Smith

See also

The Undercover Historian
What is the cost of ‘tractable’ economic models?

Asia Times — Alibaba developing advanced chip for AI computing

Alibaba’s R&D arm DAMO Academy said it is developing a neural network chip — Ali-NPU — which will be used in image analysis, machine learning and other AI reasoning calculations, reported....

Multiplier Effect — 27th Annual Minsky Conference Presentations

The 27th Minsky Conference — “Financial Stability in a World of Rising Rates and the Repeal of Dodd-Frank” — just wrapped up yesterday. Anyone interested in the slide presentations can find them below….
Multiplier Effect
27th Annual Minsky Conference Presentations
Michael Stevens

Patrick Armstrong — Russian Federation Sitrep 19 April 2018

Commentary and links.

Russian Observer
Russian Federation Sitrep 19 April 2018
Patrick Armstrong

Don't miss the link Armstrong cites:

ISIS Used Chemical Weapons at Least 52 Times in Iraq and Syria, Analysis Shows
Jack Moore

Philip Giraldi — Why Each US President Ends Up As Ruthless Interventionist These Days

In the wake of last week’s cruise missile attack on Syria, there was a joke going around the internet saying that it doesn’t matter who Americans vote for, they always wind up getting John McCain as President of the United States. The humor derives from the fact that the past three presidents all ran for office committed to reducing America’s interventionism overseas but once in office they reversed course and expanded US military commitments worldwide, turning them into facsimiles of John McCain, who has never seen a war he didn’t like....
Pundits see the process whereby all new presidents turn into hawks as evidence of the pervasiveness of the Deep State in US foreign policy, but as the Deep State operates largely in the open in the United States, it might also be referred to as the Establishment consensus. The persistence of the Establishment view in what has become increasingly a national security state is largely due to the fact that there is little pushback against it.
The media is fully on board and Congress, which should be serving as a brake on presumed presidential prerogatives to go to war, benefits substantially from the bloated budgets and other emoluments that derive from American imperialism. Defense and related budgets grow in spite of the lack of any real threat and the public is fed a steady diet of fear by the media and government regarding fabricated threats to US national security.…
Establishment politics has meant that the United States is now a rogue nation defined by its propensity to go to war. America’s bombing of Syria is illegal, immoral, ineffective and dishonest.
Strategic Culture Foundation
Why Each US President Ends Up As Ruthless Interventionist These Days
Philip Giraldi, former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer, now Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest

Reuters — Trump launches effort to boost U.S. weapons sales abroad

The Trump administration rolled out a long-awaited overhaul of U.S. arms export policy on Thursday aimed at expanding sales to allies, saying it will bolster the American defense industry and create jobs at home.

Trump launches effort to boost U.S. weapons sales abroad
Mike Stone

Syria Update

Moon of Alabama
Syria - Who Is Stalling The OPCW Investigation In Douma?

Militants blocking OPCW inspectors from ‘chem-attack’ site in Douma – Russian deputy FM

Emails reveal White Helmets tried to lobby ex-Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters

See also

Russia Insider
Hillary's Sociopathic Wikileaks Emails: Kill Assad, Destroy Syria - Deep State Goal for 10 Years
Patrick Fleming

See also

I also posted a separate link to this.

The Unz Review
The Neocons Are Selling Koolaid Again!
Col. W. Patrick Lang, US Army (ret.)

See also

Sputnik International
Militants Who Attacked UN Mission in Douma Were Warned in Advance - Lavrov

Syrian Center Struck in US Missile Attack Specialized in Cancer Drugs - Employee

See also

Lots more links, some the same as here. Plus Novichok links.

William Bowles
Syria News Links April 18-19 2018

Novichok News Links 14-19 April 2018

Pat Lang — The Neocons Are Selling Koolaid Again!

Excoriating smackdown.
The neocons believe so strongly that America must lead the world and mankind forward that they accept the idea that the achievement of human progress justifies any means needed to advance that goal....
The Unz Review
The Neocons Are Selling Koolaid Again!
Col. W. Patrick Lang, US Army (ret.) 
At the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lang was the Defense Intelligence Officer (DIO) for the Middle East, South Asia and counter-terrorism, and later, the first Director of the Defense Humint Service. At the DIA, he was a member of the Defense Senior Executive Service. He participated in the drafting of National Intelligence Estimates. From 1992 to 1994, all the U.S. military attachés worldwide reported to him. During that period, he also briefed President George H. W. Bush at the White House, as he had during Operation Desert Storm.

He was also the head of intelligence analysis for the Middle East for seven or eight years at that institution. He was the head of all the Middle East and South Asia analysis in DIA for counter-terrorism for seven years. For his service in the DIA, Lang received the Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive. — Wikipedia

Asia Times — ZTE fears being kicked out of Android family after ban

Now it has emerged that, on top of the embargo on exports of chips and hardware, even mobile operating systems – developed by US companies and licensed to ZTE for its smartphone business – may also fall into the sphere of the far-reaching ban as the US Commerce Department has prohibited the Shenzhen-based tech firm from transactions involving any commodity, software or technology to be exported from the US, for a period of seven year…
Washington’s punitive order to single out ZTE in an escalating its trade row with Beijing has further fueled a nationalist groundswell in China.

Hu Xijin, chief editor of the tabloid Global Times, sister publication of the top Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily, has joined Beijing’s fresh call to expedite the development of chips and semiconductors at home in the face of the US interdiction.

On his Weibo account, Hu, nowadays an Internet and media personality known for his rather sensational grandstanding and preaching about patriotism, appealed for a boycott of everything made or invented in the United States.…
China to join Russia against US and its allies in Cold War 2?

Asia Times
ZTE fears being kicked out of Android family after ban

See also
Even before Donald Trump got into the White House and raised the prospect of a trade war with China, Beijing was aiming to reduce its reliance on foreign technology.
In 2014, the government urged the military, banks, and state-owned enterprises to switch to domestic suppliers for any tech products or services they used. A year later, it announced plans for Chinese industryto raise the domestic content of core components and materials to 40% by 2020, and to 70% by 2025.
It’s unclear whether Chinese suppliers can really match what their foreign counterparts offer. But they’ll soon be put to the test, now that the US has taken punitive measures towards a major Chinese smartphone maker....
China wants to wean itself off foreign technology. Now it will see how hard that will be
Josh Horowitz

See also
A U.S. ban on sales of American components to ZTE Corp) has unleashed a patriotic backlash in China’s cyberspace, highlighting the growing tension between the world’s two largest economies....
U.S. ban on sales to ZTE triggers patriotic rhetoric in China
Sijia Jiang

See also

Not just China either. Germany wavering? US losing an ally?
The German business community hates and detests the costly Russia sanctions
Russia Insider
Berlin to Implore Trump Admin Not to Force Germany to Comply With US Sanctions on Russia

The Psychology of Russiagate — An Interview With Glenn Greenwald

Excellent. The Democratic Party establishment as the real villains in the piece.

An Interview With Glenn Greenwald

The consequences of this villainy.
Incessant Kremlin-baiting of President Trump is risking a Cuban missile–like crisis that he, unlike JFK in 1962, may not be permitted to resolve peacefully.
The Nation
‘Russiagate’ Allegations Continue to Escalate the Danger of War With Russia
Stephen F. Cohen | Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies, History, and Politics at New York University and Princeton University

See also

Comey and McCabe Leap From The Moral High Ground Into The Trump Abyss
Jonathan Turley | Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington Universitylso

See also

Real News Network
Paul Jay interviews Democratic activists and primary challengers

Joe Mellor — Watch - New process contributing to sea level rise and climate change discovered

Melting of glaciers from beneath.

The London Economic
Watch - New process contributing to sea level rise and climate change discovered
Joe Mellor

Chris Dillow — Facts vs hand-waving in economics

On Twitter this morning Jason Smith asked a good question. Is this, he asked, an “anonymous blog comment from a simpleton? ... Or analysis from a prominent financial economics professor?”...
Stumbling and Mumbling
Facts vs hand-waving in economics
Chris Dillow | Investors Chronicle

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Not a bad day in Trumpland....

18 holes at your club in the morning...

Followed by a nice light gourmet business lunch, perhaps some cracked stone crab cocktail,  negotiating some bilateral trade agreements...

Meanwhile back in DC your allies in Congress send criminal referrals over to Dept. of Justice jail for all of your enemies....

Dinner then back at the club with your new business partner...

After dinner some relaxing with your model wife....

WINNING!!!!  Double trigger fingers day!!!!

Inder Comar — Four Lessons From the Strike on Syria

The lessons from last weekend’s strike on Syria by the United States of America and two of its allies do not bode well for the future of democracy or the future of peace, says Inder Comar. 
More warnings than lessons. "It can't happen here."
Inder Comar


Are most Americans "good Americans" like the "good Germans" that not only did not oppose Hitler but elected him and stood by him when he later made war illegally and aggressively for idealistic reasons?
The fact that this poll did not show close to 100% contempt by the American people regarding what the U.S. government and its two allies, UK and France, had just done, indicates not only that the American people are astoundingly ignorant that the U.S. and its allies are international outlaws and warmongers (which makes sense for a nation that invaded and destroyed Iraq 2003, Libya 2011 and has been trying to do it since 2011 in Syria), but that they are also astoundingly misinformed as to which side in this war is guilty, and which side is not.
Nothing new though. Ronald Reagan invaded Grenada, G. W. H. Bush invaded Panama, Bill Clinton bombed Serbia, G. W. Bush invaded Iraq, Barack Obama inserted ISIS into Syria and put US forces there, and now Donald Trump has doubled down. Hardly anything heard in protest from the people of the United States.

Washington's Blog
Poll Shows Americans Support the Invasion of Syria
Eric Zuese

Nature — How to retool our concept of value – Mariana Mazzucato

Must-read in full. It's short and to the point.

The meaning of "value" is one of the most pertinent questions in economics and political economy. Michael Hudson has been emphasizing this for some time, as have Marxists and Marxian. Consideration of value of other than as price revealed in competitive markets is ruled out in conventional economics by methodological assumptions.
What we value and how we value it is one of the most contested, misunderstood and important ideas in economics. Economist Mariana Mazzucato’s comprehensive The Value of Everything explores how ideas about what value is, where it comes from and how it should be distributed have changed in the past 400 years, and why value matters now more than ever. Mazzucato emphasizes the need to reopen debate to make economies more productive, equitable and sustainable. The 2008 financial crisis was just a taste of looming problems — climate disruption, massive biodiversity and ecosystem-services decline, even the possible collapse of Western civilization — unless we learn to value what really matters.
Early economists focused on the production of value from land (François Quesnay and the ‘physiocrats’), labour (Adam Smith to Karl Marx) and capital. In this view, value determines price (Four decades ago, I described this in terms of embodied energy: see R. Costanza Science 210, 1219–1224; 1980). By contrast, the current mainstream ‘marginalist’ concept bases value on market exchanges: price, as revealed by the interaction of supply and demand in markets, determines value, and the only things that have value are those that fetch a price.
This has major implications for ideas about the distinction between value creation and value extraction, the nature of unearned income (‘rent’) and how value should be distributed....
How to retool our concept of value — Mariana Mazzucato
Robert Costanza

Colin Todhunter— Behind Theresa May’s ‘Humanitarian Hysterics’: The Ideology of Empire and Conquest

Once Britain lost its empire, it managed to secure a degree of global influence by throwing in its lot with the US as a junior partner in Washington’s quest for global hegemony. And if the 21st century tells us anything so far, it is that the centuries’ old colonialist mentality of the British state has not gone away: the mindset of Empire, conquest and duplicity persists.…
British elite trying to remain relevant on the world stage and in the great game.

Colin Todhunter delivers a blistering smackdown, citing evidence.

Counter Currents
Behind Theresa May’s ‘Humanitarian Hysterics’: The Ideology of Empire and Conquest
Colin Todhunter

Jimmy Dore - Bombshell: Professor Stuns MSNBC Panel On Syria

And this is very is even better. Boy, listen to this Professor Jeffrey Sachs talk, no messing here, he says the CIA and Saudi Arabia went into Syria to destabilise the country to get rid of Assad. That's the US messing in another countries politics to change a leader - that's serious.

Bombshell: Professor Stuns MSNBC Panel On Syria

Jimmy Dore - The Real Reason We're in Syria.

Jimmy Dore is so good, and this video excellent. I wrote in the comments under another another Jimmy Dore video that he is one of the most important people on the left right now. He can put serious politics across in a very entertaining way. 

This video below goes over the same ground. 

Michele Lastella explains how, why and what is really happening behind the war in Syria. Mass media is hiding the truth about most of the main news.

James Russell — The Strike Warfare Chimera

The reality is that strike warfare—long range strikes by planes and missiles—has rarely achieved its advertised strategic consequence. Yet it remains a dangerous, drug-like chimera to states desperately searching for some sort of easy, low-cost fix in the search for influence in the chaotic international system. Like all drugs, the initial rush feels great, but the long-range addiction is, in the end, far more destructive, dangerous, and difficult (if not impossible) to kick.…
Yet despite these uncertain results and even colossal failures, we remain addicted to strike warfare, telling ourselves that we can police the politics on the ground by dropping bombs from on high. The reality is, of course, different. Those fighting the wars on the ground are fighting for political objectives, and it is on the ground that the fight will be determined—not by the missiles and airplanes flying around above it. This fact is not lost on Assad. His response to the strikes? He reportedly stepped up attacks against his enemies on the ground.
Therein lies the strategic dilemma for the West, which has invested billions in the strike, information, surveillance, and reconnaissance complexes that are designed to blow things up with little collateral damage. The revolution in military affairs (and billions of taxpayer dollars) indeed delivered the complex—much to the delight of political leaders, who saw in it a low-cost substitute for sending armies to the four corners of the globe to police political disputes.
Yet the foreign policy establishment in the United States desperately clings to the myths they helped create that the strike complex would mean that these wars would be short, low cost and that we could control the bad behavior of our enemies by bombing them.
Our enemies must surely back down in the fact of such might. Right?
Substituting a tactic and wishful thinking for a strategy. Vietnam, and the experience of France there before the US, should have taught a lesson. It did not. The US keeps on making the same mistake and is unleashing carnage. People like John Bolton don't think the US has unleashed enough of it and the solution is to double down.

The Strike Warfare Chimera
James A. Russell | Associate Professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA

Adam Johnson — Out of 26 Major Editorials on Trump’s Syria Strikes, Zero Opposed

A survey by FAIR of the top 100 papers in the US by circulation found not a single editorial board opposed to Trump’s April 13 airstrikes on Syria. Twenty supported the strikes, while six were ambiguous as to whether or not the bombing was advisable. The remaining 74 issued no opinion about Trump’s latest escalation of the Syrian war.
This is fairly consistent with editorial support for Trump’s April 2017 airstrikes against the Syrian government, which saw only one editorial out of 47 oppose the bombing (, 4/11/17). The single paper of dissent from last year, the Houston Chronicle, didn’t publish an editorial on last week’s bombing….

World Economic Forum — The world's biggest economies in 2018

The emerging world is catching up fast.

World Economic Forum
The world's biggest economies in 2018
Rob Smith

Gareth Porter — An Alternative Explanation to the Skripal Mystery

"Compounding factors."
For weeks, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson have insisted that there is “no alternative explanation” to Russian government responsibility for the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury last month.
But in fact the British government is well aware that such an alternative explanation does exist. It is based on the well-documented fact that the “Novichok” nerve agent synthesized by Soviet scientist in the 1980s had been sold by the scientist–who led the development of the nerve agent– to individuals linked to Russian criminal organizations as long ago as 1994 and was used to kill a Russian banker in 1995.

The connection between the Novichok nerve agent and a previous murder linked to the murky Russian criminal underworld would account for the facts of the Salisbury poisoning far better than the official line that it was a Russian government assassination attempt.

But in fact the British government is well aware that such an alternative explanation does exist. It is based on the well-documented fact that the “Novichok” nerve agent synthesized by Soviet scientist in the 1980s had been sold by the scientist–who led the development of the nerve agent– to individuals linked to Russian criminal organizations as long ago as 1994 and was used to kill a Russian banker in 1995.

The connection between the Novichok nerve agent and a previous murder linked to the murky Russian criminal underworld would account for the facts of the Salisbury poisoning far better than the official line that it was a Russian government assassination attempt....
Gareth Porter

Lars P. Syll — Sometimes we do not know because we cannot know

Knight’s uncertainty concept has an epistemological founding and Keynes’ definitely an ontological founding. Of course, this also has repercussions on the issue of ergodicity in a strict methodological and mathematical-statistical sense. I think Keynes’ view is the most warranted of the two.
The most interesting and far-reaching difference between the epistemological and the ontological view is that if one subscribes to the former, Knightian view – as Taleb, Haldane & Nelson and “black swan” theorists basically do – you open up for the mistaken belief that with better information and greater computer-power we somehow should always be able to calculate probabilities and describe the world as an ergodic universe. As Keynes convincingly argued, that is ontologically just not possible....

To Keynes, the source of uncertainty was in the nature of the real — nonergodic — world. It had to do, not only — or primarily — with the epistemological fact of us not knowing the things that today are unknown, but rather with the much deeper and far-reaching ontological fact that there often is no firm basis on which we can form quantifiable probabilities and expectations at all....
The difference between unknown unknowns and unknowable unknowns.

Some unknown unknowns are knowable in principle and this may point toward the need for research. But, Keynes claimed, some are not. The trick is distinguishing them.

Research pursues unknown unknowns, but must avoid pursuing the unknowable as wasteful. How to distinguish them?

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
Sometimes we do not know because we cannot know
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Tazra Mitchell — Some House Leaders Ignore Evidence, Cite Flawed Reports to Justify Taking Basic Assistance Away From Needy Individuals

Some Republican policymakers continue to propose basing eligibility for assistance programs on participants’ ability to meet strict work requirements — most recently with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway’s proposal to reauthorize SNAP (formerly food stamps)[1] — despite a lack of credible evidence that the requirements would work as intended.[2]

To build support for work requirements that take away assistance from adults who cannot work a set number of hours per month, conservative policymakers are pointing to three methodologically flawed studies touting the policy’s alleged success in Kansas’s and Maine’s cash and food assistance programs. The three studies misrepresent or omit key findings, and in many instances, make inappropriate claims about the impact of work requirements on work and earnings that the facts do not support.
Our analysis of the same data sharply contradicts the studies’ findings. We found that many adults in these programs already worked or would likely work soon anyway, but many of them found it difficult to find steady work and had earnings far below the poverty line or would have otherwise still qualified for assistance after their exits from the program....
The studies have at least four key flaws....
Center on Budget And Plicy Priorities
Some House Leaders Ignore Evidence, Cite Flawed Reports to Justify Taking Basic Assistance Away From Needy Individuals
Tazra Mitchell

Joseph Thomas — Vietnam Locks Up US-Funded Agitators

There is a growing understanding of US regime change strategies and tactics. It used to be that the CIA would work covertly to build opposition movements that would remove governments that did not cooperate with the United States and its corporate interests. This still occurs but many of those functions have been buttressed by the US Agency for International Development and the National Endowment for Democracy. Countries are catching on to this. The article below describes how Vietnam is responding to US funded and trained regime change activists.
Popular Resistance
Vietnam Locks Up US-Funded Agitators
Joseph Thomas,

Brian Romanchuk — Forecastability And Economic Modelling

When most people think about macroeconomics, what they want is the ability to forecast economic outcomes. However, economists' (of all stripes) reputation as forecasters is not particularly high. My view is that this is not too surprising: what we want forecasters to accomplish is probably impossible. (I am hardly the first person to note this, as variants of this idea go back at least to Keynes; I could not hope to offer a history of this idea.) However, I think if we want to approach macro theory formally, we need to formalise the notion that outcomes cannot be forecast, which means we need to define non-forecastability formally.
This article gives one potential definition of forecastability, and then applies the concept to a simple stock-flow consistent (SFC) model. It should be noted that these are my preliminary thoughts, and I believe that the definition will need to be refined.…
This is one of the key questions in philosophy of economics, as well as philosophy of science and philosophy of social science.

The purpose of science is to provide as general an explanation of data ("data" means "the given.") The data set is determined by the nature, scope and scale of the subject matter being explained. This is accomplished through modeling, both conceptual and mathematical.

Prediction comes in with respect to testing outcomes of theoretical models, using hypothesis the theory generates and carefully designing testing apparatus.

The difference between philosophical speculation based on reasoning and science is that scientific reasoning can be tested by subjecting hypotheses to disconfirmation, since a general statement (theory) is contradicted by a single false instance.

No amount of true instances can definitely confirm a general statement that is not a tautology and therefore empty of content about how things stand in the world. This is the case logically, even though we call theoretical assumptions that are well confirmed by hypothesis testing "scientific laws."

Science is always tentative on the next outcome unless it is established that all the factors involved are known to be true based on observation. A logical argument is sound if and only if the logical from is valid and the premises are true. Then the conclusion necessarily follows.

This implies that a great deal of that which is considered scientific is speculative. That is to say, it is not science but philosophy.

There is nothing wrong with philosophy. Not everything is explained by scientific reasoning. The questions involving key fundamentals of life and reality have not been answered using scientific reasoning. They are "the enduring questions" that are the domain of philosophy. When methods are developed to answer such questions using scientific reasoning, then they become the subject matter of science.

I don't wish to give the impression that fundamental issues in philosophical method are resolved. They are not for the simple logical reason of lack of criteria that are universally agreed up. But the above more or less summarizes what is generally accepted practice based on logic., even though there are issues in the foundations of logic, too.

Hopefully, Brian's post will contribute to getting economists thinking more  about the foundations of their field and doing this more carefully.

Bond Economics
Forecastability And Economic Modelling
Brian Romanchuk

See also
My point is merely that forecasting is not the same as modelling, nor the same as telling a good story.
Stumbling and Mumbling
On thin predictions
Chris Dillow | Investors Chronicle

See also
There are many arguments for the use of models in economics, including notions of rigor and transparency, or that models can help you to see relationships you otherwise might not have expected. I don’t wish to gainsay those, but I thought of another argument yesterday. Models are a way of indexing your thoughts. A model can tell you which are the core features of your argument and force you to give them names. You then can use those names to find what others have written about your topic and your mechanisms. In essence, you are expanding the division of labor in science more effectively by using models.
Austrian economists of typically better at examining the foundations of economics, probably since Mises and Hayek were philosophers. Austrian economists have also written at great about the foundations of liberalism as a social and political theory.

Marginal Revolution
Models as indexing, and the value of GoogleTyler Cowen | Holbert C. Harris Chair of Economics at George Mason University and serves as chairman and general director of the Mercatus Center

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Scholar Explains Macron's Involvement in Syria — Sputnik interviews Dr. Binoy Kampmark

Sputnik spoke to Dr. Binoy Kampmark, a Senior Lecturer at RMIT University, Melbourne and former Commonwealth Scholar at Selywn College, Cambridge University; who is also a contributing editor to CounterPunch to find out more about the France's role in Syrian conflict as well as about the recent Emmanuel Macron's statements on the topic.
Nails it here.
Macron is playing what has been termed a more ‘reserved’ game to his predecessors Sarkozy and Hollande, who both felt that French power should be projected militarily in Africa and the Middle East.…
France is pursuing its role as a revived colonial power, of sorts. It has treasured a role in interfering in Middle Eastern states since its days of empire, and has been aggressively seeking an overthrow of the Assad regime, sponsoring a range of anti-Assad forces.…
The parties of the left and right of Europe disagree with the strikes on ideological grounds (there is, certainly in France, an admiration for the Russian cause in Syria), but they also see little gained in continued involvement on the part of France and European powers in what essentially looks like a revived colonial theatre of conflict....
Sputnik International
Scholar Explains Macron's Involvement in Syria
Sputnik interviews Dr. Binoy Kampmark

Asia Times — New US sanctions threaten to cripple Chinese tech giant ZTE

Long-time pundit of Chinese politics, Bill Bishop, whose newsletter is well-read among Washington China policy circles, wrote on Tuesday:
“The ability of the US government to decimate a major Chinese tech firm by cutting off access to US components is another reminder to China, as the Snowden revelations were, that China cannot ensure information security until it completely de-Americanizes its information technology infrastructure and replaces it with indigenous products.”
Asia Times
New US sanctions threaten to cripple Chinese tech giant ZTE

Bloomberg — Trump Says South Korea Has His 'Blessing' for North Korea Peace Deal

Trump suggested he was responsible not only for the negotiations on a formal peace treaty ending the war but also the success of this year’s winter Olympics in South Korea.
“They’ve been very generous that without us and without me in particular, I guess, they wouldn’t be discussing anything and the Olympics would have been a failure,” Trump said. “As you know North Korea participated in the Olympics and it was really quite an Olympics. It was quite a success. That would not have happened.”...
The art of the deal.

Trump Says South Korea Has His 'Blessing' for North Korea Peace Deal
Toluse Olorunnipa and Margaret Talev

The Guardian — Syrian medics 'subjected to extreme intimidation' after Douma attack

Dueling stories.
Doctors say those who treated patients after attack have been told they and their families will be targeted if they speak out,
You knew this would happen. There are no facts anymore, not that facts matter in ideological disputes anyway. Today, it's all gaslighting.

Note that the reporters of this story are not on the ground in Syria but rather relying on "sources."
Martin Chulov in Beirut and Kareem Shaheen in Istanbul — Syria Newslinks 17 April 2018

Lots of links.
Syria Newslinks 17 April 2018

Dirk Ehnts — John Maynard Keynes: “I could create, I could afford” (Public Service Employment)

Here is a quote from John Maynard Keynes, writing in 1933:

If I had the power today I should surely set out to endow our capital cities with all the appurtenances of art and civilisation on the highest standards of which the citizens of each were individually capable, convinced that what I could create, I could afford – and believing that money thus spent would not only be better than any dole, but would make unnecessary any dole. For with what we have spent on the dole in England since the War we could have made our cities the greatest works of man in the world.
econoblog 101
John Maynard Keynes: “I could create, I could afford” (Public Service Employment)
Dirk Ehnts | Lecturer at Bard College Berlin

The quote is from National self-sufficiency (Yale Review, 1933).  See the whole of Section IV. It's brilliant.

L. Randall Wray et al — Public Service Employment: A Path to Full Employment

Despite reports of a healthy US labor market, millions of Americans remain unemployed and underemployed, or have simply given up looking for work. It is a problem that plagues our economy in good times and in bad—there are never enough jobs available for all who want to work. L. Randall Wray, Flavia Dantas, Scott Fullwiler, Pavlina R. Tcherneva, and Stephanie A. Kelton examine the impact of a new “job guarantee” proposal that would seek to eliminate involuntary unemployment by directly creating jobs in the communities where they are needed.
The authors propose the creation of a Public Service Employment (PSE) program that would offer a job at a living wage to all who are ready and willing to work. Federally funded but with a decentralized administration, the PSE program would pay $15 per hour and offer a basic package of benefits. This report simulates the economic impact over a ten-year period of implementing the PSE program beginning in 2018Q1.
Unemployment, hidden and official, with all of its attendant social harms, is a policy choice. The results in this report lend more weight to the argument that it is a policy choice we need no longer tolerate. True full employment is both achievable and sustainable....
Levy Institute
Public Service Employment: A Path to Full Employment
L. Randall Wray, Flavia Dantas, Scott Fullwiler, Pavlina R. Tcherneva, Stephanie A. Kelton

Molly Fosco — This Economist Wants to Change the Meaning of Money

Imagine an end to Washington spending wars that leave filibustering senators blue in the face. Economist Stephanie Kelton does. She sees a world where the federal government can build a big, beautiful social safety net, strengthen the military and, for good measure, cut taxes on the rich. The government, in her eyes, can spend as much as it wants on anything without the bill coming due. Welcome to Modern Monetary Theory — a bizarro world that might not be as far-fetched as it sounds.
The quick-witted, passionate professor of economics at Stony Brook University in New York has done more than almost anyone to popularize the theory known as MMT, bursting onto the national scene as Bernie Sanders’ chief economist during the 2016 presidential campaign. Now she’s beating the drum at a time when government shutdown brinkmanship is the norm because of spending fights. With the activist left increasingly driving Democratic politics in the age of Donald Trump, Kelton’s ideas will become increasingly relevant as the midterms heat up and the 2020 presidential race takes shape. And Kelton insists there’s a lot for populist conservatives to love here too....
This Economist Wants to Change the Meaning of Money
Molly Fosco

Sputnik International — Russia Has Answers to Possible SWIFT Cutoff, Debt Sale Ban by US

Calling the bluff.

See also

This is not just a trade war from the US side. It is an economic war to deny China access to technology. China knows this.

Zero Hedge
China Slaps 179% Tariff On US Sorghum Hours After US Bans Exports To China's ZTE
Tyler Durden

William Craddick — The Southwestern Hemisphere Is Sliding Towards Its Own “Arab Spring”

William Craddick, attorney, investigative journalist, and founder of Disobedient Media

Christian Today — Syrian church leaders blast 'brutal' and 'unjustified' airstrikes

Western airstrikes against President Assad were 'unjustified aggression' and a 'clear violation of the international laws', Syrian Church leaders have said.
In a joint statement the heads of three major churches said they 'condemn and denounce the brutal aggression' and denied the Syrian army either owned or had used chemical weapons....
Christian Today (UK)
Syrian church leaders blast 'brutal' and 'unjustified' airstrikes
Harry Farley

Craig Murray — Living in Goebbels Land

So a tiny independent radio station in Ireland managed to interview Robert Fisk on the ground in Douma, but none of the British mainstream broadcast media today has him on, despite the political fallout from our Syria bombing attacks being the main news story everywhere? Meantime MSM propagandists including Richard Hall (BBC), Dan Hodges (Mail) and Brian Whitaker (Guardian) and many more queue up to denounce Fisk on twitter from their cosy armchairs.
It bears repeating that the information on the alleged gas attacks – which raises great doubt but which Fisk himself does not claim as definitive – is not the most important part of Fisk’s article. The Hell of rule under the jihadists that we in the West are arming, funding, training, “military advising” and giving air support, alongside Saudi Arabia and Israel, is the indisputable and much more important element of Fisk’s report, as is the clear evidence he provides that the White Helmets are part of the jihadist factions.
Institutional censorship.

Under fascism, corporations and government are entangled. Nuremberg established that precedent, too.

The bastions of liberalism — the US, UK, and France — have fallen.

So much for "Western values." Trashed.

Craig Murray Blog
Living in Goebbels Land
Craig Murray, formerly British ambassador to Uzbekistan and Rector of the University of Dundee

See also
As James Madison once said "war powers is the surest way to tyranny" and tyranny will prevail if people remain apathetic says Col. Larry Wilkerson
Col. Larry Wilkerson on Syria: War Powers is the "Surest Way to Tyranny"

See also

Sic Semper Tyrannis
Real Reporting on Syria
Publius Tacitus

See also

SouthFront (banned from FaceBook)
Video: Syrian Troops Found Underground Fortress Under Douma National Hospital

See also

Sputnik International
Russian Military Finds Chemical Weapons Warehouse in Syrian Douma - Reports

John Quiggin — For socialism and democracy

So, I’ve changed the description of this blog’s perspective to socialist. I haven’t however, adopted the formulation “democratic socialist” which was used, in the 20th century, to emphasise a rejection of the Stalinist claim to have produced “actually existing socialism” in the Soviet Union and elsewhere. That’s no longer necessary.
As has been true for most of the history of the modern world, the only serious threat to democracy is now coming from the right. So, it’s important to defend democracy as well as advancing the case for socialism.
John Quiggin's Blog
For socialism and democracy
John Quiggin | Professor and an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow at the University of Queensland, and a member of the Board of the Climate Change Authority of the Australian Government

Goldman Sachs Profit Jump 26%

Now Goldman has killed it....

First-quarter revenue at the Wall Street firm rose 25% from a year ago to $10.04 billion. Profits of $2.83 billion, or $6.95 a share, were up 26%. Both figures beat analyst expectations.
The $2.83B gets back already over half of the $5B hit they took due to the Jan 1 tax law changes... in just this one quarter.  They should get it all back and then some by end of June at this rate.

That Jan 1 markdown was probably over $30B system wide but we have seen this quarter JPM report $6B, BAC about $8B, Citi about $5B, WFC about $5B so that is about $25B+ back from C, GS, BAC, JPM, and WFC so that is about it... its taken them just 1Q to get almost all of it back.

Things should start to pick up again here shortly if no WW3.

Bill Mitchell — On the path to MMT becoming mainstream

Over the last few years, it is clear that Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is achieving a higher profile and the attacks are starting to come thick and fast. I see these attacks as being a positive development because it demonstrates that recognition has been achieved and a threat to mainstream ideas is now perceived by those who desire to hang on to the status quo. Hostility and attack is a stage in the process of a new set of ideas becoming accepted, ultimately. Clearly, some new interventions never receive acceptance because they are proven to be flawed in one way or another. But I doubt the body of work that is now known as MMT will be discarded quite so easily given my assessment that is is coherent, logically consistent and grounded in a strong evidence base. As part of this evolution there are now lots of what I call ‘sort of’ contributions coming from mainstream commentators. One of the ways in which mainstreamers save face is to claim they ‘knew it all along’ and that the existing body of practice can easily accommodate what might be considered ‘nuances’ or ‘special cases’. We are seeing that more now, with the more progressive mainstream economists claiming there is nothing ‘new’ about MMT that it is just what they knew anyway. Even though that approach is disingenuous it is part of the evolution towards acceptance. People have positions to protect. These ‘sort of’ contributions demonstrate a sort of half-way mentality – a growing awareness of MMT but with a deep resistance to its implications. A good example is the UK Guardian’s editorial (April 15, 2018) – The Guardian view on QE: the economy needs more than a magic money tree.
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
On the path to MMT becoming mainstream
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Trump's currency tantrum dooms the dollar

I would say the opposite... we need to keep an eye on this...

Monday, April 16, 2018

Global Times — China activates new precision intermediate, long-range missiles

China has activated new intermediate and long-range missiles capable of precision strikes on medium and large warships.
The domestically developed missiles, which were recently used by a missile brigade of the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) rocket force, is capable of nuclear counterattacks, and marks a further development of Chinese artillery's combat capabilities, the China Central Television (CCTV) reported Monday.
It is capable of precision strikes on medium and large targets on land, and similar sized warships at sea, CCTV reported....

Colin Drury — Mark Carney warns robots taking jobs could lead to rise of Marxism

Mass unemployment, wage stagnation and growth of communism could come from technological advances
 Karl agrees:
The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or – this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms – with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure.
In studying such transformations it is always necessary to distinguish between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, artistic or philosophic – in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out. Just as one does not judge an individual by what he thinks about himself, so one cannot judge such a period of transformation by its consciousness, but, on the contrary, this consciousness must be explained from the contradictions of material life, from the conflict existing between the social forces of production and the relations of production. No social order is ever destroyed before all the productive forces for which it is sufficient have been developed, and new superior relations of production never replace older ones before the material conditions for their existence have matured within the framework of the old society.
Mankind thus inevitably sets itself only such tasks as it is able to solve, since closer examination will always show that the problem itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution are already present or at least in the course of formation....
Karl Marx, Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy
The Independent
Mark Carney warns robots taking jobs could lead to rise of Marxism
Colin Drury

New Attacks

Syrian air defense systems have been activated in response to a missile attack apparently targeting Shayrat Airbase in Homs province, state media SANA reports.

Up to 10 missiles were destroyed by the Syrian Armed Forces, a military source told Sputnik. The Syrian air defenses managed to intercept some of the projectiles, according to a SANA reporter. Meanwhile, the Al Mayadeen news outlet is claiming that all the projectiles were intercepted and inflicted no physical damage or casualties at the targeted Syrian base.
The Pentagon has denied initiating strikes or conducting any other military activity in Homs province. “There is no US military activity in that area at this time,” the Pentagon’s spokesperson told Reuters. The same information was also shared with TASS news agency by Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon.
The raid in Homs countryside reportedly coincided with another missile attack against a military airbase near Damascus. According to various Arabic media channels, three missiles targeted Al Dumayr airport, but they were all allegedly downed by the Syrian air defenses.
According to yet unconfirmed reports, the missiles entered Syrian airspace from Lebanon, which may indicate that the Israeli Air Force could have been involved, Al-Masdar News reports, citing a military source. The outlet’s reporter also published several videos allegedly showing the launch of interceptor missiles....
Looks to me like Israel Defense Force standing a message to Putin who told Bibi that stay out of Syria.

Syrian air defenses respond to missiles over Homs province – state media

See also at RT
The US-led missile strike against Syria on Saturday targeted research centers and military facilities, including airfields, Russia’s Defense Ministry said, adding that none have received severe damage thanks to the air defenses.
Real targets of US-led strike were Syrian airfields, not research centers – MoD

See also
A senior Israeli military official admitted to NYT columnist Thomas Friedman that Israel targeted the Iranian drone command center at the T4 air base in Syria last week, an airstrike which killed 14 people, half of whom were Iranians active in Syria.
"It was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets — both facilities and people,” said the Israeli military official quoted by Haaretz.….
Israel forcing Trumps hand?

Zero Hedge
"It Was The First Time We Attacked Live Iranian Targets": Israel Admits Striking Iran Base In Syria

Craig Murray — Robert Fisk Reports Head of Douma Clinic Denies Chemical Weapons Attack

If you care to search for Robert Fisk on twitter, the attacks on his reputation and integrity at this very moment from achieve nothing neo-con trolls and media lackeys are astonishing. He is in Douma – they are at their desks.

It also says a great deal about our media that one of the greatest living British journalists is employed only by The Independent, a newspaper which has become extremely marginal, while other genuine greats like Jon Pilger, with a fantastic pedigree, do not have access to UK mainstream media at all. 60,000 people on average are reading my journalism here every day, but no mainstream outlet will carry it.
We used to think that this was characteristic of the Soviet Union.

Craig Murray Blog
Robert Fisk Reports Head of Douma Clinic Denies Chemical Weapons Attack
Craig Murray, formerly British ambassador to Uzbekistan and Rector of the University of Dundee

See also
Mark Taliano reporting from Damascus
BREAKING: Pearson Sharp of One America News was on-the-ground in Douma, Eastern Ghouta today. What he discovered should not be a surprise to any informed audience, since we have seen this all before:
The “chemical weapons attack” did not occur. It was a hoax/false flag designed as a pretext for an escalation of Western war crimes in Syria.
Global Research
BREAKING: The Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria Did Not Occur. It was a Hoax, a False Flag To Justify the US-led Air Strikes, Staged by The Rebels
Mark Taliano and Pearson Sharp

The Independent‘s Robert Fisk has published a report which affirms the story so many westerners have been dismissing as Kremlin propaganda for days now after interviewing a doctor from the hospital of the area where the Douma attack was supposed to have occurred. Dr Assim Rahaibani told Fisk that what was in actuality an outbreak of respiratory distress among occupants of a dusty oxygen-deprived tunnel was made to look like the aftereffects of a chemical weapons attack when a member of the White Helmets started shouting about a gas attack in front of a bunch of video cameras. Everyone panicked and started hosing themselves down, but in the video, according to Rahaibani, “what you see are people suffering from hypoxia—not gas poisoning.”
This report was independently backed up by a reporter from One America News Network named Pearson Sharp, who gave a detailed account of his interviews with officials, doctors, as well as many civilians on the street Sharp says he deliberately selected at random in order to avoid accusations of bias. Many people hadn’t even heard that a chemical weapons attack had taken place, and the ones who had said it was staged by Jaysh al-Islam. The staff at the hospital, including a medic-in-training who was an eyewitness to the incident, gave the same story as the account in Fisk’s report. (Fisk also reported that the White Helmets in Duma had joined jihadists on Syrian government buses on the way to Idlib province.)...
Consortium News
Syrian ‘Chemical Victims’ Suffered from Dust Inhalation, Reports Say
Caitlin Johnstone

CNN SHOCKED SPEECHLESS When Congressman Questions Syria Chemical Weapons Story

Look at how disgusted the news anchor is when the congressman being interviewed says he doesn't understand why Assad would launch a chemical weapons attack when he was winning the war and it would draw the US in even further.  She says, 'So you believe the Russian?', with anger, as if you can't question the script, even if it is full of holes.

A congressman actually dares to question the officially sanctioned fake news narrative about the Syrian chemical weapons attack live on will believe what happens next! Still, it's grimly amusing to watch an anchor's mind melt down on screen.

Cracks appearing?

Zero Hedge
California Rejects Trump Order To Deploy National Guard To Southern Border
Tyler Durden

Sputnik International
Academic on UK Media Crackdown on Assad Supporters: 'Extraordinary Attack'
Interview with Dr. Tara McCormack, lecturer in international relations at Leicester University

J — Russian FM Lavrov speaks on the Skripal Posioning Issue. Samples examined by Swiss Spiez Labs

From the lips of the man who doesn't bullshit, Russian FM Lavrov briefing on the Skripal incident that was carried by Russia 24 TV:
Sic Semper Tyrannis
Russian FM Lavrov speaks on the Skripal Posioning Issue. Samples examined by Swiss Spiez Labs

David Lindorff — President Trump’s War Crime is Worse than the One He Accuses Assad of

The single most important thing that happened Friday night when the US military on President Trump’s orders launched a wave of over 100 cruise missiles against Syria was that once again the US violated the most profound international law of war: initiating a war of aggression against a nation that posed no threat, imminent or otherwise, to the US or its allies.
Called a “Crime against Peace,” this violation (whose perpetrators, under the precedent set in the Nuremberg Trials that followed World War II, can face capital punishment), is considered worse than any other war crime because, as US Nuremberg prosecutor Robert Jackson explained in his argument at the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals, a war of aggressionis “not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”...
That goes for May and Macron, too.

The American, British and French people should horrified and ashamed. This is sinking too the lowest level, commonly associated with Hitler and the Nazis. 

Nuremberg not only condemned them but also made an example of them as a warning to future leaders. 

Trump, May, and Macron ignored the message.

This puts senior officials and military of the US, UK and France at legal jeopardy along with their leaders. The Nuremberg defense of following orders was rejected and a precedent established. They all know this, and ignorance of the law is no excuse.

President Trump’s War Crime is Worse than the One He Accuses Assad of
David Lindorff

See also at Counterpunch
Donald Trump, Theresa May, and Emmanuel Macron are war criminals.
They’re certainly not the first war criminals to hold positions of power in their countries.
Every living former US president with the possible — possible — exception of Jimmy Carter has a lot to answer for, as do Tony Blair, Nicolas Sarkozy, et al....

Trump Isn’t the First War Criminal President. He Should be the Last.
Thomas Knapp

Sputnik — Trump Wanted to Target Russian, Iranian Objects in Syrian Strike - Reports

Bolton vs. Mattis. Mattis won — this time. It's far from over.

Sputnik International
Trump Wanted to Target Russian, Iranian Objects in Syrian Strike - Reports

Reuters — Trump says Russia, China playing 'currency devaluation game'

U.S. President Donald Trump accused Russia and China on Monday of devaluing their currencies while the United States raises interest rates....
Trump says Russia, China playing 'currency devaluation game'

See also
Moscow considers U.S. sanctions a form of unfair competition and any response will be in line with Russia’s interests, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday....
Kremlin says U.S. sanctions amount to asset grab

Steve Stecklow and Karen Freifeld — U.S. bans American companies from selling to Chinese phone maker ZTE

The U.S. Department of Commerce has banned American companies from selling components to leading Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp for seven years for violating the terms of a sanctions violation case, U.S. officials said on Monday.
U.S. bans American companies from selling to Chinese phone maker ZTE
Steve Stecklow and Karen Freifeld

China International Capital Corp Ltd said in a research note on Tuesday that if ZTE and the U.S. government cannot reach a settlement within one or two months, it will have a negative effect on the global telecom network construction and it is even likely to influence the building of 5G network in future....
ZTE-U.S. case: Gov't ready to protect rights of Chinese companies

“When countries lose global leadership in a generation of wireless, jobs are shed and technology innovation gets exported overseas,” Recon Analytics founder Roger Entner was quoted by trade association CTIA as saying. “Conversely, leading the world in wireless brings significant economic benefits, as the US has seen with its 4G leadership. These are the serious stakes that face American policymakers in the escalating global race to 5G.”...
“The United States will not get a second chance to win the global 5G race,” Meredith Attwell Baker, CTIA President and CEO was quoted as saying. “I’m optimistic we will leapfrog China because key leaders in the Administration, on Capitol Hill, and at the FCC are focused on the reforms needed to win the race,” she added....
Might this have something to do with it?

Asia Times
China is winning the high stakes race to dominate 5G