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Keynesian Ideas Can Only Make Things Worse

In the New York Times on September 8, 2020, Paul Krugman suggested that

“The CARES Act, enacted in March, gave the unemployed an extra $600 a week in benefits. This supplement played a crucial role in limiting extreme hardship; poverty may even have gone down”.

For Krugman and many economic commentators, it is the duty of the government to support the economy whenever it falls into an economic slump. Following in the footsteps of John Maynard Keynes, most economists hold that one cannot have complete trust in a market economy, which is seen as inherently unstable.  If left free the market economy could lead to self-destruction. Hence, there is the need for governments and central banks to manage the economy. Successful management in the Keynesian framework is done by influencing overall spending.

It is spending that generates income. Spending by one individual becomes income for another individual according to the Keynesian framework of thinking. Hence the more that is spent the better it is going to be. What drives the economy then is spending. If during a recession, consumers fail to spend then it is the role of the government to step in and boost overall spending in order to grow the economy.

In the Keynesian framework of thinking the output that an economy can generate with a given pool of resources (i.e. labour, tools and machinery, and technology) without causing inflation, is labelled as potential output. Hence the greater the pool of resources, all other things being equal, the more output can be generated.

If for whatever reasons the demand for the produced goods is not strong enough this leads to an economic slump. (Inadequate demand for goods leads to only a partial use of existent labour and capital goods).  In this framework then, it makes a lot of sense to boost government spending in order to strengthen demand and eliminate the economic slump.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Tens Of Millions Of People Displaced By The ‘War On Terror’, The Greatest Scam Ever Invented

Tens Of Millions Of People Displaced By The ‘War On Terror’, The Greatest Scam Ever Invented

new report from Brown University’s Costs of War project has found that at least 37 million people have been displaced as a result of America’s so-called “war on terror” since 9/11, a conservative estimate of a number that may actually be somewhere between 48 million to 59 million.

That number, “at least 37 million”, happens by pure coincidence to be the exact same number of Americans reported to suffer from food insecurity because their government spends their wealth and resources killing and displacing people overseas.

This inconvenient revelation, which was actually reported on by The New York Times for once, is causing conniptions for all the right people, with The Washington Post‘s neoconservative war propagandist Josh Rogin ejaculating, “The @nytimes should be ashamed for running this as ‘analysis.’ Blaming the U.S. for the displacement of 7 million Syrians is crazy and dishonest. Way to launder anti-American propaganda.”

Sure Josh, it’s not like the extremist forces who flooded Syria with the goal of toppling Damascus were backed by the US and its allies and sprung into existence as a direct result of the regional destabilization caused western interventionism in the name of fighting terror. Oh wait no that’s exactly what happened.

“This has been one of the major forms of damage, of course along with the deaths and injuries, that have been caused by these wars,” the lead author of the report David Vine told The New York Times. “It tells us that U.S. involvement in these countries has been horrifically catastrophic, horrifically damaging in ways that I don’t think that most people in the United States, in many ways myself included, have grappled with or reckoned with in even the slightest terms.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

This Russia-Afghanistan Story Is Western Propaganda At Its Most Vile

This Russia-Afghanistan Story Is Western Propaganda At Its Most Vile

All western mass media outlets are now shrieking about the story The New York Times first reported, citing zero evidence and naming zero sources, claiming intelligence says Russia paid out bounties to Taliban-linked fighters in Afghanistan for attacking the occupying forces of the US and its allies in Afghanistan. As of this writing, and probably forevermore, there have still been zero intelligence sources named and zero evidence provided for this claim.

As we discussed yesterday, the only correct response to unsubstantiated claims by anonymous spooks in a post-Iraq invasion world is to assume that they are lying until you’ve been provided with a mountain of hard, independently verifiable evidence to the contrary. The fact that The New York Times instead chose to uncritically parrot these evidence-free claims made by operatives within intelligence agencies with a known track record of lying about exactly these things is nothing short of journalistic malpractice. The fact that western media outlets are now unanimously regurgitating these still 100 percent baseless assertions is nothing short of state propaganda.

The consensus-manufacturing, Overton window-shrinking western propaganda apparatus has been in full swing with mass media outlets claiming on literally no basis whatsoever that they have confirmed one another’s “great reporting” on this completely unsubstantiated story.

“The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post have confirmed our reporting,” the NYT story’s co-author Charlie Savage tweeted hours ago.

“We have confirmed the New York Times’ scoop: A Russian military spy unit offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to attack coalition forces in Afghanistan,” tweeted The Washington Post‘s John Hudson.

“We matched The New York Times’ great reporting on how US intel has assessed that Russians paid Taliban to target US, coalition forces in Afg which is a pretty stunning development,” tweeted Wall Street Journal’s Gordon Lubold.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

NYT Finally Gets Around to Reporting OAS Fraud Election Claims in Bolivia Were Bogus

NYT Finally Gets Around to Reporting OAS Fraud Election Claims in Bolivia Were Bogus

The Times only covered the problems with the OAS analysis after a study from three independent researchers found flawed data and analysis.

Bolivia’s Evo Morales in 2008. (Joel Alvarez, Wikimedia Commons)

More than seven months after claims of fraudulent elections sparked an undemocratic coup that led to the ouster of Bolivian President Evo Morales, The New York Times late Sunday reported on new research showing the U.S.-led Organization of American States used flawed data and analysis to support its widely cited contention the voting was rigged.

“It was clear from the start, but now even the NYT is admitting: what happened in Bolivia was nothing short of a coup by the U.S. and its OAS puppet, deposing one of the most successful democratically elected leaders in modern Latin American history,” tweeted journalist Glenn Greenwald in response to the Times reporting.


Progressive International@ProgIntl

It was a coup.

It was — then as now — clearly a coup.

The @ProgIntl was founded to break the myths and counter the misinformation that has justified right-wing regime change around the world.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/07/world/americas/bolivia-election-evo-morales.html …A Bitter Election. Accusations of Fraud. And Now Second Thoughts.A close look at Bolivian election data suggests an initial analysis by the O.A.S. that raised questions of vote-rigging — and helped force out a president — was flawed.nytimes.com


As Common Dreams reported in November, U.S. officials cited the OAS report on the election as a justification for backing the coup that deposed Morales, the left-wing Indigenous former president.

Despite reporting from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) casting doubt on those claims within 24 hours of the OAS making them, the Times only covered the problems with the U.S.-dominated organization’s analysis after a study (pdf) from three independent researchers found the same results. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Anonymous sources and the guys and gals who made the Iraq war a reality are now claiming that the Kremlin is at it again!

Anonymous sources and the guys and gals who made the Iraq war a reality are now claiming that the Kremlin is at it again!

Those hapless individuals who run the United States are again slipping into a fantasy world where Americans are besieged by imaginary threats coming from both inside and outside the country. Of course, it is particularly convenient to warn of foreign threats, as it makes the people in government seem relevant and needed, but one might recommend that the tune be changed as it is getting a bit boring. After all, there are only so many hours in the day and Russian President Vladimir Putin must pause occasionally to eat or sleep, so the plotting to destroy American democracy must be on hold at least some of the time.

Yes, anonymous sources and the guys and gals who made the Iraq war a reality are now claiming that the Kremlin is at it again! Hints over the past year that Putin might try to replay 2016 in 2020 only do it better this time have now been confirmed! Per one news report the enemy is already at the gates: “U.S. intelligence officials told lawmakers last week that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election campaign by aiming to cast doubt on the integrity of the vote and boost President Donald Trump’s re-election.”

And there’s more! In a New York Times article headlined “Same Goal, Different Playbook: Why Russia Would Support Trump and Sanders: Vladimir Putin is eager both to take the sheen off U.S. democracy and for a counterpart who is less likely to challenge his territorial and nuclear ambitions,” it was revealed that the Kremlin is intending to also help Bernie Sanders, so whichever way the election goes they win.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

NYT: “The Coronavirus Is Not A Civilization-Ender But…”

NYT: “The Coronavirus Is Not A Civilization-Ender But…”

Just because the New York Times Opinion Section is a perennial object of ridicule by both the right and the left doesn’t mean its writers don’t occasionally make a good point.

And today, we’d like to draw our readers’ attention to a column published Tuesday by Ross Douthat, a member of the NYT’s editorial board.

As Douthat points out, the outbreak has put Democrats, and liberals more broadly, in a difficult position. Eager to jump at every opportunity to criticize President Trump, many are secretly hoping the outbreak gets worse in the US because it could hurt Trump’s chances of reelection. Many, including top Dems like Schumer, Pelosi etc., have already accused the administration of being unprepared and not doing enough.

But if the outbreak does get worse, it could deal another savage blow to the system of global frictionless exchange of people, goods, services and capital, by making countries more suspicious of allies and enemies alike.

This is why liberals are bashing Trump while arguing that pointing out China’s failures is “racist.”

Republicans also have an incentive to play down the outbreak, as Trump is doing: They need to keep the market buoyant and stave off a recession that could tilt the election in favor of the insurgent socialists backing Bernie Sanders.

In other words: The virus may not be a civilization-ender, as Douthat points out. But it could be the straw that breaks globalization’s back. 

* * *

Investors who figured this out last week are already cleaning up. But maybe there’s still something to be learned here:

Read the text below: 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

NYT: ‘Iran-Backed Militia’ Attack That Provoked Soleimani Killing Was Possible ISIS False Flag

NYT: ‘Iran-Backed Militia’ Attack That Provoked Soleimani Killing Was Possible ISIS False Flag

The initial major rationale and justification the US administration offered for the drone assassination of IRGC Gen. Qassem Soleimani and commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was the Dec.27 rocket attack on K1 camp in Kirkuk, which houses coalition forces. 

That attack involving surface-to-surface missile strikes killed an American contractor and reportedly wounded several US troops. Washington immediately blamed the Iran-backed Iraqi paramilitary group Khataib Hezbollah, with Mike Pompeo saying of the attack: “We will not stand for the Islamic Republic of Iran to take actions that put American men and women in jeopardy,” after he briefedPresident Trump. But top Iraqi military and intelligence officials are now calling this entire narrative into question.

A new lengthy New York Times investigative report cites multiple top Iraqi officials who go on record to say of their analysis of the Dec.27 Kirkuk incident: “These facts all point to the Islamic State, Iraqi officials say.”

ISIS terrorists in Iraq, file image.

The Pentagon says it has evidence decisively pinning it on Khataib Hezbollah, known for its closeness to Tehran; however, the paramilitary group itself has denied that it was behind the operation. US officials have from the start been scant on details and have not made public any evidence or intelligence.

This led some analysts in the days after the attack to question whether ISIS cells, still known to be active in the area, might have been behind it — given also it would be to the Sunni terrorist group’s benefit to sow a major rift between US and local Iraqi Shia forces, which is precisely what happened (Trump has recently gone so far as to threaten “very big sanctions” on Baghdad if US forces are kicked out). Alternately the White House perhaps appeared ready to manufacture a justification to take out Soleimani.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…


Alarming NYT Op-Ed Reveals “Disturbing” Secretive Surveillance State Powered By Your Phone’s Location Services

Alarming NYT Op-Ed Reveals “Disturbing” Secretive Surveillance State Powered By Your Phone’s Location Services

Millions of Americans are walking around with phones that have, unknowingly, created one of the most disturbing and unintentional “surveillance states” to ever exist. 

A explosive new opinion piece in the NY Times aims to demonstrate that detailed smartphone tracking is far more ubiquitous than many think, despite the ongoing claims by companies that people’s data is “anonymous”. 

Paul Ohm, a law professor and privacy researcher at the Georgetown University Law Center, said that describing location data as anonymous is “a completely false claim that has been debunked in multiple studies.”

He added: “Really precise, longitudinal geolocation information is absolutely impossible to anonymize. D.N.A. is probably the only thing that’s harder to anonymize than precise geolocation information.”

The op-ed looked at trying to identify people in positions of power. It identified and tracked “scores” of notable people, like military officials with security clearances, as they drove home at night. They also tracked law enforcement officials and high powered lawyers. Though they didn’t name any of the people, they followed them on private jets, vacations and taking their kids to school. 

Despite some of the data pointing to “scandal and crime”, the purpose of tracking them was to document the risk of under-regulated surveillance.

One person identified was Mary Millben, a singer based in Virginia who has performed for three Presidents. When told her phone was putting her “on the map” for everyone to see, she said: “To know that you have a list of places I have been, and my phone is connected to that, that’s scary. What’s the business of a company benefiting off of knowing where I am? That seems a little dangerous to me.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

One million plant & animal species at risk of extinction

One million plant & animal species at risk of extinction

As usual, no mention of birth control or carrying capacity. 

Plumer, B. 2019. Humans Are Speeding Extinction and Altering the Natural World at an ‘Unprecedented’ Pace. New York Times.

Extinction rates are tens to hundreds of times higher than they have been in the past 10 million years. 

Over the past 50 years, global biodiversity loss has primarily been driven by activities like the clearing of forests for farmland, the expansion of roads and cities, logging, hunting, overfishing, water pollution and the transport of invasive species around the globe. 

All told, three-quarters of the world’s land area has been significantly altered by people, the report found, and 85 percent of the world’s wetlands have vanished since the 18th century.

Humans are transforming Earth’s natural landscapes so dramatically that as many as one million plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction, posing a dire threat to ecosystems that people all over the world depend on for their survival, a sweeping new United Nations assessment has concluded.

The 1,500-page report, compiled by hundreds of international experts and based on thousands of scientific studies, is the most exhaustive look yet at the decline in biodiversity across the globe and the dangers that creates for human civilization.

Its conclusions are stark. In most major land habitats, from the savannas of Africa to the rain forests of South America, the average abundance of native plant and animal life has fallen by 20 percent or more, mainly over the past century. With the human population passing 7 billion, activities like farming, logging, poaching, fishing and mining are altering the natural world at a rate “unprecedented in human history.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Assange, Attack, Guardian, Journalism

Assange, Attack, Guardian, Journalism

Piet Mondriaan Self portrait 1918

Guardian columnist Owen Jones, a self-described left activist and socialist, was attacked in the streets of London at 2 am Saturday morning in what he himself describes as “a blatant premeditated assault” by a bunch of guys. He says he was kicked, punched, but then saved by the friends he was with, and nothing really happened to him. Or he would have taken photos and published them. Owen was fine, before and after. But his pride was not.

No pictures of black eyes or anything, but a brick load of indignation. No matter that in Britain, people are attacked all the time, certainly at that hour, in bar fights, in knife fights, people die every weekend. But for some reason Owen Jones thinks his role in this is special. That the incident happened because of his political views, and because the far right is getting more aggressive.

From Jones’s own Guardian:

Owen Jones Attacked Outside London Pub

The Guardian columnist and activist Owen Jones has been physically assaulted in London while celebrating his 35th birthday with friends. In an attack he called “a blatant premeditated assault”, Jones said he was kicked, punched and thrown to the ground by a group of men in the early hours of Saturday morning. He said that he and his friends went to a pub and left at 3am. 

“We were about 30 metres away, saying goodbye to each other, when four men charged directly towards me: one of them karate kicked my back, threw me to the ground, started kicking me in the head and back, while my friends tried to drag them off, and were punched trying to defend me. “It was clearly a premeditated attack and I was their target. They all attacked me and only assaulted my friends when they tried to defend me.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“This Cannot Be Tolerated”: Beijing Hints It Could Send Troops Into Hong Kong If Protests Don’t Stop

“This Cannot Be Tolerated”: Beijing Hints It Could Send Troops Into Hong Kong If Protests Don’t Stop

A few days after another round of violent protests rocked Hong Kong, Beijing on Wednesday issued its harshest warning yet to the citizens of Hong Kong: It sought to remind them that Beijing has the authority to mobilize the People’s Liberation Army garrison in Hong Kong if it felt that the central government’s authority was threatened. 

The New York Times reports that the warning was part of the unveiling of the Communist Party’s new “defense strategy” which relied heavily on demonizing the western powers – an oblique reference to the US and the UK – for encouraging the protests.

Col. Wu Qian

Citing the Sunday protests, Senior Col. Wu Qian, a spokesman for China’s defense ministry, implied that the destructive behavior – protesters painted the central government’s liaison office with graffiti, the latest example of the extradition bill protests leading to the vandalism of government buildings – was swiftly straining the patience of Beijing.

“The behavior of some radical protesters challenges the central government’s authority, touching on the bottom line principle of ‘one country, two systems,'” Colonel Wu said during a news conference in Beijing where he laid out the government’s new strategy. “That absolutely cannot be tolerated.”

When pressed, Wu said that “Article 14 of the Garrison Law has clear stipulations,” and refused to elaborate, the SCMP reports.

Hong Kong’s government would need to request the garrison’s assistance, like it does during a natural disaster.

In response, a spokesman for the Hong Kong government said on Wednesday that the city was “fully capable” of dealing with its own affairs.

“There is no need to ask for assistance from the garrison,” he said.

Eric Chan Kwok-ki, director of the Chief Executive’s Office, dismissed Wu’s reference to the Garrison law, suggesting that it wasn’t a threat.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Permafrost Collapses 70 Years Early

Permafrost Collapses 70 Years Early

Fasten your seat belt! Global warming is on a rampage.

As a consequence, many ecosystems may be on the verge of total collapse. In fact, recent activity in the hinterlands surely looks that way. Over time, the backlash for civilized society, where people live in comfort, could be severe, meaning extreme discomfort.

But still, nobody knows when or how bad it’ll get. As it happens, an ongoing climate catastrophe, like the show-stopping catastrophic collapse of permafrost in the Canadian High Arctic (more on this later) is hard evidence that climate scientists have been way too conservative for far too long. Evidently, they never expected climate change to hit with the force of a lightening bolt.

Still in all, and in fairness, climate scientists have been warning about the dangers of global warming for decades. Now, it’s happening, in spades. It should be noted that America’s politicians are guilty of ignoring warnings by their own scientists. Those warnings officially started 31 years ago when Dr. James Hansen, then head of NASA Institute for Space Studies, testified before the Senate, “Global Warming Has Begun, Expert Tells Senate,” NY Times d/d June 24, 1988.

The NYT article of 31 years ago went on to say: “If the current pace of the buildup of these gases continues, the effect is likely to be a warming of 3 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit from the year 2025 to 2050, according to these projections. This rise in temperature is not expected to be uniform around the globe but to be greater in the higher latitudes.” Hmm, that’s where the permafrost is located.

Global warming is prominent throughout the North. Ergo, climate news doesn’t get much worse (well, actually, it could, and will) than the collapse of permafrost in the Canadian High Arctic’s extreme coldest region:

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What About Venezuela’s Hacked Power Grid?

What About Venezuela’s Hacked Power Grid?

Russia and the US are engaging in tit-for-tat hacking of each others’ power grid, the New York Times is reporting, in what is really a kind of cyber “cold war” where the hackers from each country’s military and intelligence services load electronic “explosives” in the computer systems of critical infrastructure of the other, that in a crisis or war could be “detonated” to create chaos or bring down electric grids.

The Times article, the publication of which President Trump decried in a tweet as “close to treason,” was disturbing for a number or reasons. One was that sources told the Times the hacking by the US Cyber Command of Russia’s power grid had been conducted without the president’s knowledge, for fear that he might act to prevent it or might disclose it.

In other words, an action — the hostile hacking of another rival country’s essential infrastructure, which the US government has warned other nations would be viewed as an “act of war,” is being taken by the US military, without the President’s or Congress’s knowledge!

That should be enough to send shivers down the spine of any sane person. In fact, the that could lead to a US “military response.”

If the Times is correct in both its articles, the current US hacking of Russia’s power grid is evidence of a US military establishment run amok.

Congress should be outraged and calling for immediate hearings to determine the chain of command that allowed this to happen. Either Trump is lying, and knows all about the hacking, or some high-ranking military officers who acted without his knowledge should be fired the way President Truman fired an insubordinate Gen. Douglas McArthur during the Korean War.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

All the Cyber Attack Stories from the Past Few Days Can’t Be Linked…Can They?

All the Cyber Attack Stories from the Past Few Days Can’t Be Linked…Can They?

A very important skill for anyone who hopes to be in the know is the ability to put together seemingly unrelated stories for consideration.

Over the past few days, stories about grid incursions, Russians, cyber attacks, and technological failures seemed to be at the top of the headlines. A massive cyber attack could happen far more easily than most people realize.

The good folks over in Prep Club have been posting a lot of interesting links this weekend. Let’s take a peek at each one. All these stories can’t be linked…can they?

The US Is Hacking Russia’s Grid

On Saturday, the New York Times reported (rather irresponsibly in my opinion) that the United States is escalating their “digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid in a warning to President Vladimir V. Putin” according to nameless current and former government officials.

Of course, this kind of stuff has been going on for a while. A friend of mine with a military intel background said it’s similar to how we have nukes so that other people with nukes won’t nuke us.

But the NYT story goes far beyond the mutually assured destruction theory.

The American strategy has shifted more toward offense, officials say, with the placement of potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before. It is intended partly as a warning, and partly to be poised to conduct cyberstrikes if a major conflict broke out between Washington and Moscow…

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

NYT Covers Up CIA Skripal Lie With Even Worse CIA Skripal Lie

NYT Covers Up CIA Skripal Lie With Even Worse CIA Skripal Lie

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the fact that the New York Times has corrected its CIA-Skripal story, saying that no ‘dead ducks’ or ‘sick kids’ in Salisbury due to the ‘Novichok’ nerve agent.

The New York Times corrected a report that stated UK officials shared photos with the CIA showing children and ducks who head been exposed to the Novichok nerve agent after coming into contact with the Skripals.

The NYT reported on April 16 that the British government had supplied images of “young children hospitalized” and of dead ducks, poisoned after interactions with Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia at a park in Salisbury in March of last year.

The NYT profile of CIA Director Gina Haspel had claimed the ‘dead duck’ images were used to convince US President Trump to expel 60 Russian diplomats from the US in response to the Skripal case. The New York Times now says no photos ever existed, and its report of such photos was inaccurate.

A number of people, including myself, wrote to the New York Times journalist, Julian Barnes, to point out that the piece he and his colleague, Adam Goldman, published on 16th April 2019 about the CIA Director, Gina Haspel, contained a part which unwittingly showed that she had misled President Trump into expelling 60 Russian diplomats in March 2018Here were the paragraphs of interest:

“During the discussion, Ms. Haspel, then deputy C.I.A. director, turned toward Mr. Trump. She outlined possible responses in a quiet but firm voice, then leaned forward and told the president that the “strong option” was to expel 60 diplomats.

To persuade Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the conversation, officials including Ms. Haspel also tried to show him that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were not the only victims of Russia’s attack.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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