Thursday, March 21, 2024

False Dichotomy

 Fundamental Analysts,

  Alex Krainer (who grew up in Communist Yugoslavia, has thrived as a hedge-fund manager and financial advisor), Untangling the "socialism" vs. "capitalism" dichotomy
​  Few ideological dichotomies polarize opinions as readily and as completely as that between "socialism" and "capitalism." Those who embrace socialism tend to blame capitalism for everything that's wrong with our world today. Those who embrace capitalism harbor a seething contempt for socialists, but both camps base their views on ideology with only vague notions about the true nature of either system.
​  The “socialists” think of capitalism as a rapacious system of exploitation that favors a few at the detriment of many. There is some truth in that. The "capitalists" think of socialism as a system that gives free stuff to the lazy and undeserving, choking society's progress. There's some truth in that too, but having lived in both systems and having experienced the ideological brainwash from both sides, I find neither side convincing.
​  Both systems’ ideological foundations amount to marketing, the intellectual gloss on the cover of their respective sales brochures. But the gloss never captures the essence of either system - an omission that is so egregious that it is almost certainly deliberate...
​..I'd rejected the Marxist ideology already as a teenager, not because I had any deep understanding of the economic and socio-political issues we faced but because the system wasn't delivering as advertised... But the more I learned about the "capitalist" system, the more I became convinced that the same seed of doom that made "socialism" unsustainable was also baked into the foundation of the "capitalist" system.
​  For starters, in both systems we had the familiar old fiat currency with fractional reserve lendingThis one element guarantees the collapse of both systems: over time it reliably corrodes the democratic framework of society, suffocates free market economy, kills entrepreneurship and innovation, and guarantees that government sector of the economy will gradually displace more and more private enterprise. It does this due to an economic effect called the deflationary gap.​..
​..[Deflationary Gap explanation paragraphs] ...
..The system can be balanced either by lowering the supply and prices of goods, by enhancing its total purchasing power, or a combination of bothLowering prices and production of goods will stabilize the economic system at a low level of economic activity​ [Nixon tried this]. Increasing the purchasing power in the system will stabilize it on a higher level of activity​.
​  Left to itself and without intervention, a modern economic system would fall into what we call a self-reinforcing deflationary depression: the deflationary gap would lead to falling prices and output, decline of income and rising unemployment. Furthermore, in recessions and depressions, the level of investment typically declines even more rapidly than savings. To avert this, government intervention is necessary.
​  Without government intervention, the economy would stabilize when the level of savings declined to the level of investments which would be at a depression level of activity. This is an anathema in all modern economies, and governments invariably pursue the imperative of economic growth. To generate growth, they must inject new purchasing power into the system. This cannot be done through taxation since taxation doesn’t create new purchasing power: taxes only transfer money from those who earn it to the government.
​  This is why governments have no alternative but to continuously engage in deficit spending​ [when money is debt-based​, or mining more gold & silver, or printing more bills], adding debt in excess of their tax receipts. This is why virtually all governments in the world today run budget deficits and chronically grow public debt. In spite of all the incessant talk about balancing the budget, paying down debts or imposing debt ceilings, the debts only keep rising at rates that predictably accelerate over time. It doesn't matter whether we call the system “socialist” or “capitalist,” they both necessitate an ever growing role of government in the economy​ [when ​economic growth is desired]​.
​  Today, in many of the “capitalist” nations, government spending accounts for almost half of the GDP and in some cases significantly more. In the UK, the mothership of capitalism, the government's share of GDP is 44%. In France it's over 58%.​...
..There’s no point railing against “socialism” and dreaming about a small government, private capital utopia which doesn't, and cannot exist so long as our economies are based on fiat currencies with fractional reserve lending. Even if we start with zero public debt, the pursuit of economic growth will lead to the same outcomes.​ With fullness of time, the government sector will progressively crowd out private enterprise: it’s a mathematical certainty.​..
..With that, we can address the false dichotomy between “socialist” and “capitalist” economies as they're commonly discussed. Namely, in what we call “capitalist” economies, a larger proportion of government-injected purchasing power flows top-down. In what we call "socialist" economies, it flows bottom-up.
  Capitalist governments splurge their largesse on large private corporations in the form of subsidies and generous government contracts. Socialist governments splurge on social welfare programs like low-cost or free health care, education, generous unemployment benefits and pension plans, and programs that maintain full employment even where jobs couldn't be justified by private enterprise...
..The idea that the state would splurge on the lazy and undeserving free-loaders is understandably revolting. However, all those undeserving free-loaders might also be your customers, so even the hard-core entrepreneurial types benefit if the lazy bums have money to spend.
  The alternative in governments splurging on large corporations is far more dangerous. If purchasing power is distributed bottom up, the decisions about how to spend that purchasing power are up to the ordinary people. As such, they'll tend to benefit ordinary businesses that produce consumer goods and services: bakers, apparel makers, restaurants, coffee shops, musicians, tour guides, bicycle repairmen, etc.
  By contrast, if the state spends top-down, it runs the moral hazard of determining the winners and losers in the supposedly free market competition. The winners will tend to be those corporations and groups that can “invest” the most in political lobbying efforts.  As a result, we get the TBTF banking behemoths, big Ag, big Pharma, big Media, big Tech and a massively bloated military-industrial complex. Ultimately, this favors the emergence of "corporatism​", as Benito Mussolini characterized fascism. Today we prefer the sanitized term, “private-public partnership.”
​  These are the musings that get me labelled “communist,” but, whatever. If we want to fix what's wrong in the world today it is essential that our analysis goes past the handy but misleading labels of “socialism” vs. “capitalism,” or left vs. right, and that we deconstruct our challenges down to their essential building blocks.​.. Labels only perpetuate our problems and make it difficult to transcend the dysfunctional elements in our system and evolve toward better social arrangements.

​  De-dollarization is urgent as an ethical and humanitarian imperative against the barbaric invasions of the West, Mauricio Metri 
​  To sum up, it is not difficult to see that the energy that feeds the United States machine of violence in different parts of the world (as such as the militarization in the South China Sea, the hot war in Ukraine, or even the genocide in Gaza) comes from a leading source of supply: the disproportionate financing and spending capacity of the United States, derived from the position of its currency in the global monetary hierarchy and the way the international economic system has been in operation since the end of the Cold War. In this way, the world, by continuing to absorb, without apparent limit, American public debt bonds, finances the violence perpetrated by Washington, however contradictory that may seem.
​  Therefore, the de-dollarization of the international system has become a “silver bullet” to dismantle an essential part of this war machine without military confrontation. For this reason, de-dollarization is urgent not only as a first-order geopolitical objective for the so-called Global South but also as an ethical and humanitarian imperative against the barbaric invasions of the West.

​  Pepe Escobar: Donetsk, Avdeyevka, Mariupol - on the Road in Electoral Donbass
​  At Yasinovata, very close to Avdeyevka, we visit the MBOU, or school number 7, impeccably rebuilt after non-stop shelling. The director, Ludmilla Leonova, an extraordinary strong woman, takes me on a guided tour of the school and its brand new classrooms for chemistry and biology, a quaint Soviet alphabet decorating the classroom for Russian language. Classes, hopefully, will resume in the Fall.
​  Close to the school a refugee center for those who have been brought from Avdeyevka has been set up. Everything is spotlessly clean. People are processed, entered into the system, then wait for proper papers. Everyone wants to obtain a Russian passport as soon as possible.
​  For the moment, they stay in dormitories, around 10 people in each room. Some came from Avdeyevka, miraculously, in their own cars: there are a few Ukrainian license plates around. Invariably, the overall expectation is to return to Avdeyevka, when reconstruction starts, to rebuild their lives in their own town.
​  Then, it’s on the road to Avdeyevka. Nothing, absolutely nothing prepares us to confront total devastation. In my nearly 40 years as a foreign correspondent, I’ve never seen anything like it – even Iraq. At the unofficial entry to Avdeyevka, beside the skeleton of a bombed building and the remains of a tank turret, the flags of all military battalions which took part in the liberation flutter in the wind.
​  FPVs loiter overheard – detected by a handheld device, and our military escort is on full alert. We find out that as we enter a ground floor apartment which is being kept as a sort of mini food depot – housing donations from Yasinovata or from the military – that very same room, in the morning, had been converted into a polling station. That’s where the very few remaining Avdeyevka residents actually voted.
​  A nearly blind man with his dog explains why he can’t leave: he lives in the same street, and his apartment is still functional – even though he has no water or electricity. He explains how the Ukrainians were occupying each apartment block – with residents turned into refugees or hostages in the basements – and then, pressed by the Russians, relocated to nearby schools and hospitals until finally fleeing.
​  The basements are a nightmare. Virtually no light. The temperature is at least 10 degrees Celsius lower than at street level. It’s impossible to imagine how they survived. Another resident nonchalantly strolls by in his bicycle, surrounded by derelict concrete skeletons. The loud booms – mostly outgoing - are incessant.
​  Then, standing amidst total devastation, a vision: the elegant silhouette of the Church of Mary Magdalen, immaculately preserved. Dmitry, the caretaker, takes me around; it’s a beautiful church, the paintings on the roof still gleaming under the pale sunlight, a gorgeous chandelier and the inner chamber virtually intact.

  In his election victory speech on Sunday night,  President Vladimir Putin has accepted the 87% Russian voter mandate to finish the war by securing the Novorussian territories east of the Dnieper River, and converting western Ukraine into “a certain sanitary zone in today’s territories subordinated to the Kiev regime.”
  In military terms, this zone extends westward from the Dnieper to the full 500-kilometre range of NATO missiles supplied to the Ukrainian forces;  and to the 900-km range of the drones in the current Ukrainian inventory.  With direct flight distance from Odessa to Lvov at 630 kms, and between Kharkov and Lvov of 975 kms, this means that all of the “territories subordinated to the Kiev regime” will become a sanitary zone, demilitarized to the Polish Border... “I do not exclude that, bearing in mind the tragic events taking place today, we will be forced at some point – when we deem it appropriate — to create a certain sanitary zone in today’s territories subordinated to the Kiev regime.” The president did not specify how soon is “appropriate”,  or  how deep the demilitarized or sanitary zone will be, except that in calculating the depth and taking Russian control of it, the range of weapons includes “first of all, of course, [weapons] of foreign production." ...
​..Now, with the conclusion of the election, Russian military bloggers have begun to voice open criticism of the performance of the military in preventing drone and missile attacks from striking civilians in Belgorod, as well as oil refinery targets up to 900 kms from the border.​..
​..Military sources in Moscow have been discreetly acknowledging that the decisions on how far the Russian military operation should extend westwards were postponed during the election campaign. During this time, the sources have also been warning, the Ukrainians were able to construct extensive surface fortifications and command-and-control bunkers north of Chernigov facing an expected offensive drive of Russian forces toward Kiev; and around Odessa to block a Russian offensive in the south.  These lines are reportedly manned by fresh and well-supplied  Ukrainian reserves, who are being held out of the meat-grinder battles along the line of contact, like Bakhmut and Avdeyevka.
​  Threats to reinforce these new fortified lines with a French-led “coalition” have come from President Emmanuel Macron. In parallel, detailed planning by the German Luftwaffe, backed by Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, of long-range Taurus missile attacks, launched from aircraft based outside the Ukraine, has become public knowledge.
   In response, a well-informed Moscow source believes the parameters of Russian strategy are becoming clearer “now that Putin is waving the green flag. It’s clear, for example, that although there will not be battles inside cities like Odessa, Kharkov, and Kiev, there cannot be a military outcome for the General Staff and the Kremlin which will allow terrorism against Russia forever from inside those cities,  or from whatever remains of the Ukraine. So there must be regime change in Kiev– and a form of Russian occupation that will be surprising.”
​  “I am not ready to talk about what, how, and when,” Putin said on Sunday. Likewise, no Russian military source is ready. There is, however, frustration at the delay in the operational decision-making.

​  Putin responds to Ukraine attacking Russia: 'We have our plans'
​  Speaking about attacks "on civilian infrastructure and on all other objects of this type,” Putin said that Russia could respond in kind, but would not do so.
"We have our own views and plans on this matter. We will follow what we have planned," Putin said.
​  At a meeting with trusted officials in the Kremlin on March 20, Putin said that the authorities would work to "increase the security of residents” of regions bordering Ukraine and promised that all those affected by Ukrainian strikes, including entrepreneurs who lost their property, would receive support.​ "Of course, we will do everything to support people,” Putin said. At the same time, he called the methods of ensuring security difficult.

​  Paris can send up to 20 thousand military personnel with aviation and artillery to Ukraine​  [French convoys reportedly spotted moving north through Romania.]
​  The introduction of troops of the French Foreign Legion into Ukraine could interfere with a possible operation of units of Russia and Belarus to advance through the western Ukrainian regions into Transnistria.
​  Also alarming are the words of French Army Colonel Vincent Arbaretier on the LCI TV channel that the number of military personnel being transferred to Ukraine could reach 20 thousand people. It is expected that the group will deploy in the Odessa region, on the right bank of the Dnieper and along the border of Ukraine with Belarus.

​  Washington expects to transfer Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems from Japan to Kyiv, as the US's own arsenal is depleted of new supplies. Military Watch Magazine writes about the acute shortage of air defense systems in Ukraine after a series of defeats of various air defense systems by Russian missiles.
​  MW reports that Tokyo approved the transfer of Patriot air defense systems and missiles to the United States for their subsequent transfer to Ukraine, despite a warning from the Russian Foreign Ministry.

​  Split Over Ukraine Aid Prompts 'Unprecedented' Czech-Slovak Rupture
Robert Fico rode to his fourth term as prime minister in Slovakia in 2023 on a wave of discontent over EU support for Ukraine in the NATO proxy conflict against Russia. Like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Fico has been against sending weapons to Kiev, and urged for maintaining good relations with Russia.​..
​..The government in Prague, led by Prime Minister Petr Fiala, is fervidly pro-Kiev, while Slovakia’s PM Robert Fico has been adamantly against sending weapons to Ukraine, Kiev’s potential NATO membership, and sanctions on Russia.
​  There had never been "open rhetorical confrontation" between the two governments until NATO's proxy conflict against Russia in Ukraine, it was stressed.

​  German children ‘must be prepared for war’ – minister
Military officers should visit schools to build “relaxed” relations with students, Bettina Stark-Watzinger has suggested

​  In the West, Israel never initiates violence, it only 'retaliates'
​  One of the remarkable things about western support for settler-colonialism in Palestine is its insistence that the Zionist act of colonisation is legitimate and does not constitute aggression against the indigenous Palestinians.
​  On the other hand, it views the resistance that the Palestinians mount against settler-colonialism as illegitimate.
​  This is why the massive repression that Jewish colonists visit upon the Palestinian natives is invariably identified by Israel, western governments, think tanks, and the obsequious western press as "retaliations" or "reprisals".

​  ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 167: Israel has killed over 100 aid workers in Gaza in the last week
Israel has killed over 100 aid workers in Gaza over the past week as its military siege of al-Shifa Hospital continues. Meanwhile, the Netanyahu government continues planning for an invasion of Rafah.

​  The real reason Israel stormed al-Shifa Hospital yet again​ 
Israel's latest attack on al-Shifa Hospital and the successful delivery of food aid to northern Gaza are connected. Here's how.
​  People flocking to the UNRWA warehouse in Jabalia refugee camp to receive the aid stood in uncharacteristically orderly lines and patiently waited for the handouts of flour, rice, and other foodstuffs. Many could be seen cheering once the aid arrived, a scene captured by Al Jazeera’s coverage.
​  But what few people know is that this successful delivery of sorely needed food aid to northern Gaza is what led the Israeli army to launch its deadly raid on al-Shifa Hospital the next day.
​  The connection between these two events can only be explained by understanding who Israel was targeting in the raid — the now-martyred Faiq Mabhouh.
​  Mabhouh was the Director of Operations of the Gaza police force, a part of the Gaza government’s civilian administration. Unlike Hamas’s military wing, the Qassam Brigades, Mabhouh did not operate clandestinely at the start of the war, because he didn’t have to — he was in charge of civil law enforcement. Hamas released a statement after his death confirming that he “engaged in purely civil and humanitarian activity.”...
..The true significance of the attack lies not in its desire to empty northern Gaza’s largest civilian refuge, which houses 30,000 people, but in foiling Faiq Mabhouh’s pivotal role in coordinating the delivery of humanitarian aid to starving civilians in Gaza while restoring a semblance of social order to the north.

​  The United States had submitted a draft resolution to the U.N. Security Council calling for an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza in return for the release of hostages held by Hamas, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said.

​  A top Israeli official was quoted in Bloomberg as saying the military is going to invade Rafah and defeat Hamas "even if the entire world turns on Israel, including the United States." Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, issued the words in a podcast interview.

​  A group of more than 100 Democratic donors sent a letter to President Biden this week warning him that his “unconditional support” for the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza could cost him the election to former President Trump.
​  The letter said that likely Biden voters “are now questioning whether the Democratic Party shares their values. If they stay home or vote for a third-party candidate, there is the very real danger that President Biden will be defeated in November.”
​  The New York Times obtained the letter and said a handful of its signatories had donated six-figure sums to President Biden’s 2020 and 2024 campaigns.

​  Politically invisible genocide? Anti-UNRWA funding agreement on track to become law
The United States would decrease money for UNRWA as part of a budget agreement that is expected to become law soon, sources familiar reported to The New York Times.
​  The ban, which is part of a major budget plan negotiated by legislators and the White House and anticipated to pass Congress this weekend, would result in a deficit of hundreds of millions of dollars for UNRWA.
​  UNRWA offers educational, healthcare, and humanitarian assistance to approximately 5.7 million registered Palestinian refugees across the Middle East. The United States, "Israel's" staunch ally and its main backer in the genocide in Gaza, has been the largest contributor to UNRWA's $1.4 billion annual budget.

​  "It's Not About Trump": American CJ Hopkins, Charged Again in Germany, Describes Global Censorship Effort​ , Matt Taibbi
Acquitted on German hate speech charges in January, American playwright CJ Hopkins is being charged again for the same offense.
​  "I’m looking at things like the Supreme Court case from a non-U.S. perspective. I’m outside of it. I’m watching the legislation that’s getting rolled out in Ireland and the UK and what’s happening to me here and what’s going on in the States, and it’s so obviously much broader than just a red-blue political story in the US. This is happening throughout the Western democratic countries.
​  I’m just desperate to get that across to people
. I think it’s so easy for people to get locked into what’s going on in their own country and not see the bigger picture.​"

​  FBI Has To Face Lawsuit Over 'No-Fly List:' Supreme Court
The FBI must face a lawsuit filed by a Muslim man who has since been removed from the bureau’s “no-fly list,” the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on March 19.
​  “The government has failed to demonstrate that this case is moot,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in a unanimous ruling. “While the government’s representation that it will not relist Mr. Fikre may mean that his past conduct is not enough to warrant relisting, that does not speak to whether the government might relist him if he engages in the same or similar conduct in the future,” he added later.

​  This case focuses on at least COVID medical treatment trials of hydroxychloroquine, employing doses far above the usual, known to be potentially fatal, and they were.
Can Scientific Misconduct Be Criminally Prosecuted?​  Pierre Kory MD
​  MP Andrew Bridgen is convening a group of experts to present evidence of criminal corruption during Covid to the Royal Police. I want a seat at that table. Oxford's trial authors should be nervous.

​  Steve Kirsch, US geriatric practice reports that COVID vaccines increased mortality by nearly 5X
We were told that the COVID vaccine saves lives. But I haven't found a single medical practice where that was true. I did, however, find a medical practice with a 5X mortality increase!!

​  He's not guilty. Julian Assange is a hero.  DOJ Mulling Plea Deal For Assange: WikiLeaks Founder Could Finally Walk Free
​  The Wednesday WSJ report says, "The U.S. Justice Department is considering whether to allow Julian Assange to plead guilty to a reduced charge of mishandling classified information, according to people familiar with the matter, opening the possibility of a deal that would end a lengthy legal saga triggered by one of the biggest classified intelligence leaks in American history."

​Unconvinced (presenting a picture of our granddaughter holding her cousin, our grandson)

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