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From: Broken_Clock9/25/2023 2:17:57 PM
1 Recommendation   of 436144
In the current Age of mass propaganda, the truth has a personal cost.

The Band of Debunkers

Busting Bad ScientistsStanford’s president and a high-profile physicist are among those taken down by a growing wave of volunteers who expose faulty or fraudulent research papers

By Nidhi Subbaraman

Sept. 24, 2023 5:30 am ET


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An award-winning Harvard Business School professor and researcher spent years exploring the reasons people lie and cheat. A trio of behavioral scientists examining a handful of her academic papers concluded her own findings were drawn from falsified data.

It was a routine takedown for the three scientists—Joe Simmons, Leif Nelson and Uri Simonsohn—who have gained academic renown for debunking published studies built on faulty or fraudulent data. They use tips, number crunching and gut instincts to uncover deception. Over the past decade, they have come to their own finding: Numbers don’t lie but people do.

“Once you see the pattern across many different papers, it becomes like a one in quadrillion chance that there’s some benign explanation,” said Simmons, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the trio who report their work on a blog called Data Colada.

Simmons and his two colleagues are among a growing number of scientists in various fields around the world who moonlight as data detectives, sifting through studies published in scholarly journals for evidence of fraud.

At least 5,500 faulty papers were retracted in 2022, compared with 119 in 2002, according to Retraction Watch, a website that keeps a tally. The jump largely reflects the investigative work of the Data Colada scientists and many other academic volunteers, said Dr. Ivan Oransky, the site’s co-founder. Their discoveries have led to embarrassing retractions, upended careers and retaliatory lawsuits.

Neuroscientist Marc Tessier-Lavigne stepped down last month as president of Stanford University, following years of criticism about data in his published studies. Posts on PubPeer, a website where scientists dissect published studies, triggered scrutiny by the Stanford Daily. A university investigation followed, and three studies he co-wrote were retracted.

Marc Tessier-Lavigne stepped down as president of Stanford University in August.Photo:Winni Wintermeyer for The Wall Street Journal
Stanford concludedthat although Tessier-Lavigne didn’t personally engage in research misconduct or know about misconduct by others, he “failed to decisively and forthrightly correct mistakes in the scientific record.” Tessier-Lavigne, who remains on the faculty, declined to comment.

The hunt for misleading studies is more than academic. Flawed social-science research can lead to faulty corporate decisions about consumer behavior or misguided government rules and policies. Errant medical research risks harm to patients. Researchers in all fields can waste years and millions of dollars in grants trying to advance what turn out to be fraudulent findings.

The data detectives hope their work will keep science honest, at a time when the public’s faith in science is ebbing. The pressure to publish papers—which can yield jobs, grants, speaking engagements and seats on corporate advisory boards—pushes researchers to chase unique and interesting findings, sometimes at the expense of truth, according to Simmons and others.

“It drives me crazy that slow, good, careful science—if you do that stuff, if you do science that way, it means you publish less,” Simmons said. “Obviously, if you fake your data, you can get anything to work.”

The journal Nature this month alerted readersto questions raised about an article on the discovery of a room-temperature superconductor—a profound and far-reaching scientific finding, if true. Physicistswho examined the work said the data didn’t add up. University of Rochester physicist Ranga Dias, who led the research, didn’t respond to a request for comment but has defended his work. Another paper he co-wrote was retracted in Augustafter an investigation suggested some measurements had been fabricated or falsified. An earlier paperfrom Dias was retracted last year. The university is looking closelyat more of his work.

Experts who examine suspect data in published studies count every retraction or correction of a faulty paper as a victory for scientific integrity and transparency. “If you think about bringing down a wall, you go brick by brick,” said Ben Mol, a physician and researcher at Monash University in Australia. He investigates clinic trials in obstetrics and gynecology. His alerts have prompted journals to retract some 100 papers with investigations ongoing in about 70 others.

Among those looking into other scientists’ work are Elisabeth Bik, a former microbiologist who specializes in spotting manipulated photographs in molecular biology experiments, and Jennifer Byrne, a cancer researcher at the University of Sydneywho helped develop software to screen papers for faulty DNA sequences that would indicate the experiments couldn’t have worked.

“If you take the sleuths out of the equation,” Oransky said, “it’s very difficult to see how most of these retractions would have happened.”

Leif Nelson, left, and Joe Simmons at the University of California, Berkeley.Photo:Ian Bates for The Wall Street Journal
Training by accidentThe origins of Data Colada stretch back to Princeton University in 1999. Simmons and Nelson, fellow grad-school students, played in a cover band called Gibson 5000 and a softball team called the Psychoplasmatics. Nelson and Simonsohn got to know each other in 2007, when they were faculty members in the business school at the University of California, San Diego.

The trio became friends and, in 2011, published their first joint paper, “ False-Positive Psychology.” It included a satirical experiment that used accepted research methods to demonstrate that people who listened to the Beatles song “When I’m Sixty-Four” grew younger. They wanted to show how research standards could accommodate absurd findings. “They’re kind of legendary for that,” said Yoel Inbar, a psychologist at the University of Toronto Scarborough. The study became the most cited paper in the journalPsychological Science.

When the trio launched Data Colada in 2013, it became a site to air ideas about the benefits and pitfalls of statistical tools and data analyses. “The whole goal was to get a few readers and to not embarrass ourselves,” Simmons said. Over time, he said, “We have accidentally trained ourselves to see fraud.”

They co-wrote an article published in 2014that coined the now-common academic term “p-hacking,” which describes cherry-picking data or analyses to make insignificant results look statistically credible. Their early work contributed to a shift in researchmethods, including the practice of sharing data so other scientists can try to replicate published work.

“The three of them have done an amazing job of developing new methodologies to interrogate the credibility of research,” said Brian Nosek, executive director of the Center for Open Science, a nonprofit based in Charlottesville, Va., which advocates for reliable research.

Nelson, who teaches at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, is described by his partners as the big-picture guy, able to zoom out of the weeds and see the broad perspective.

Simonsohn is the technical whiz, at ease with opaque statistical techniques. “It is nothing short of a superpower,” Nelson said. Simonsohn was the first to learn how to spot the fingerprints of fraud in data sets.

Working together, Simonsohn said, “feels a lot like having a computer with three core processors working in parallel.”

The men first eyeball the data to see if they make sense in the context of the research. The first study Simonsohnexamined for faulty data on the blog was obvious. Participants were asked to rate an experience on a scale from zero through 10, yet the data set inexplicably had negative numbers.

Uri Simonsohn at the Esade Business School in Barcelona, Spain.Photo:Edu Bayer for The Wall Street Journal
Another red flag is an improbable claim—say a study that said a runner could sprint 100 yards in half a second. Such findings always get a second look. “You immediately know, no way,” said Simonsohn, who teaches at the Esade Business School in Barcelona, Spain. Another telltale sign is perfect data in small data sets. Real-world data is chaotic, random.

Any one of those can trigger an examination of a paper’s underlying data. “Is it just an innocent error? Is it p-hacking?” Simmons said. “We never rush to say fraud.”

To keep up with their blog and other ventures, the trio text almost daily on a group chat, meet on Zoom about once a week and email constantly.

Simonsohn’s phone pinged in August while he was on vacation with his family in the mountains of Spain. Simmons and Nelson broke the news that they were being sued for defamation in a $25 million lawsuit.

“I was completely dumbfounded and terrified,” Nelson said.

‘She’s usually right’Bad data goes undetected in academic journals largely because the publications rely on volunteer experts to ensure the quality of published work, not to detect fraud. Journals don’t have the expertise or personnel to examine underlying data for errors or deliberate manipulation, said Holden Thorp, editor in chief of the Science family of journals.

Thorp said he talks to Bik and other debunkers, noting that universities and other journal editors should do the same. “Nobody loves to hear from her,” he said. “But she’s usually right.”

The data sleuths have pushed journals to pay more attention to correcting the record, he said. Most have hired people to review allegations of bad data. Springer Nature, which publishes Nature and some 3,000 other journals, has a team of 20 research staffers, said Chris Graf, the company’s research integrity director, twice as many as when he took over in 2021.

Retraction Watch, which with research organization Crossref keeps a log of some 50,000 papers discredited over the past century, estimated that, as of 2022, about eight papers have been retracted for every 10,000 published studies.

Bik and others said it can take months or years for journals to resolve complaints about suspect studies. Of nearly 800 papers that Bik reported to 40 journals in 2014 and 2015for running misleading images, only a third had been corrected or retracted five years later, she said.

The work isn’t without risk. French infectious-disease specialist Didier Raoult threatened to sue Bik after she flagged alleged errors in dozens of papers he co-wrote, including one touting the benefits of hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19. Raoult said he stood by his research.

Elisabeth Bik at home in California.Photo:Clara Mokri for The Wall Street Journal
Honest workSimonsohn got a tip in 2021 about the data used in papers published by Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino. Her well-regarded studies explored moral questions: Why do some people lie? What reward drives others to cheat? What factors influence moral behavior?

The three scientists examined data underlying four studies and identified what they said were irregularities in how some entries appeared. Numbers in data sets look to have been manually changed. In December 2021, they sent their discoveries to Harvard, which conducted its own investigation.

Harvard concluded Gino was “responsible for ‘research misconduct,’” according to her lawsuit against Harvard, Nelson, Simmons and Simonsohn. The Harvard Business School asked journals that published the four papers to retract them, saying her results were invalid.

In June this year, the trio posted their conclusions about Gino’s studies on Data Colada. Data in four papers, they said, had been falsified. When they restored what they hypothesized was correct information in one of the four studies, the results didn’t support the study’s findings. The postssent the social sciences community into an uproar.

Gino is on administrative leave, and the school has begun the process of revoking her tenure. In her lawsuit, Gino said Harvard’s investigation was flawed as well as biased against her because of her gender. A business school spokesman declined to comment. The suit also contends that the Data Colada blog posts falsely accused her of fraud. The three scientists said they stood by their posted findings.

Gino, through her lawyer, denied wrongdoing. She is seeking at least $25 million in damages. “We vehemently disagree with any suggestion of the use of the word fraud,” said Gino’s lawyer Andrew Miltenberg. Gino declined to comment.

Miltenberg said Gino was working on a rebuttal to Data Colada’s conclusions.

In August, a group of 13 scientists organized a fundraiser that in a month collected more than $300,000 to help defray Data Colada’s legal costs.

“These people are sending a very costly signal,” Simmons said. “They’re paying literal dollars to be, like, ‘Yeah, scientific criticism is important.’”

Write to Nidhi Subbaraman at

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From: Broken_Clock10/20/2023 12:08:19 PM
   of 436144
US Declares ‘War’
October 20, 2023


Michael Brenner subjects the audaciously aggressive U.S. strategic posture to the kind of examination that he finds remarkably absent, even at the highest levels of government.

The Armed Forces Farewell and Hail for 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Mark Milley and 21st Chairman General Charles Q. Brown, Sept. 29 at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia. (White House, Carlos Vazquez)

By Michael Brenner
U.S. foreign policy has set the country on a course destined to lead to a world of rivalry, strife and conflict into the foreseeable future. Washington has declared “war” on China, on Russia, on whomever partners with them.

That “war” is comprehensive — diplomatic, financial, commercial, technological, cultural, ideological. It implicitly fuses a presumed great power rivalry for dominance with a clash of civilizations: the U.S.-led West against the civilizational states of China, Russia and potentially India.

Direct military action is not explicitly included but armed clashes are not absolutely precluded. They can occur via proxies as in Ukraine. They can be sparked by Washington’s dedication to bolster Taiwan as an independent country.

A series of formal defense reviews confirm statements by the most senior U.S. officials and military commanders that such a conflict is likely within the decade. Plans for warfighting are well advanced. This feckless approach implicitly casts the Chinese foe as a modern-day Imperial Japan despite the catastrophic risks intrinsic to a war between nuclear powers.

The extremity of Washington’s overreaching, militarized strategy intended to solidify and extend its global dominance is evinced by the latest pronouncement of required war-fighting capabilities.

Recommendations just promulgated by the congressional bipartisan Strategic Posture Commission include developing and fielding “homeland integrated air and missile defenses that can deter and defeat coercive attacks by Russia and China, and determine the capabilities needed to stay ahead of the North Korean threat.”

They were endorsed by former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley in his post-retirement interview where he proposed adding up to $1 trillion to the current defense budget in order to create the requisite capabilities.

President Joe Biden, in his weekend interview on 60 Minutes, reiterated the dominating outlook with buoyant optimism:

“We’re the United States of America, for God’s sake!; the most powerful nation in the history of the world.”

This is the same country whose war-fighting record since 1975 is one win, two draws and four losses — or five losses if we include Ukraine. (That tabulation excludes Granada which was a sort of scrimmage). Moreover, the U.S. stock of 155mm artillery ammunition is totally exhausted – as is that of its allies.

No Discussion

Biden at the Department of Defense in February 2021. (DoD, Lisa Ferdinando)

This historic strategic judgment is heavily freighted with the gravest implications for the security and well-being of the United States — and will shape global affairs in the 21st century.

Yet, it has been made in the total absence of serious debate in the country-at-large, in Congress, within the foreign policy community, in the media and — most astonishing — at the highest levels of the government as well.

The last lapse is evinced by the superficiality of the statements issued by Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Milley and their associates.

We have heard nothing in the way of a sober, rigorous explication of why and how China or Russian poses so manifest a threat as to dictate committing ourselves to an all-out confrontation.

Nor do we hear mention of alternative strategies, their pluses and minuses, nor are there candid expositions of the costs that will be incurred in their implementation. Most certainly, silence reigns as to what happens if this audacious, all-or-nothing strategy fails — in whole or in part.

The stunning rise of China along with the reemergence of Russia as a formidable power are developments apparent to attentive observers for quite some time.

For Russia, the landmark dates can be identified.

Russian Milestones

Valdimir Putin delivers the Munich speech, 2007. (Kremlin)

The first was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech to the Munich Security Conference in 2007. There, he made clear his rejection of the Western script that relegated Russia to a subordinate position in a world system organized according to principles and interests defined largely by the United States.

Whether fashioned as neo-liberal globalization or, practically speaking, American hegemony, it was unacceptable. Instead, Putin set forth the twin concepts of multipolarity and multilateralism. While emphasizing the sovereign status and legitimate interest of all states, his vision did not foresee conflict or implacable rivalry. Rather, it was envisaged demarcating international dealings as a collective enterprise that aimed at mutual gain based on mutual respect for each other’s identity and core interests.

Washington, though, interpreted it otherwise. In their minds, Putin had thrown a monkey wrench into the project of fashioning a globalized world overseen by the United States and its partners.

President George W. Bush’s administration made the judgment that an irksome Russia should be fenced-in and its influence curbed. That objective animated the campaign to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, the sponsorship of the doomed Georgian attack on disputed South Ossetia, on the attempt to block the building of a new gas pipeline from Russia to Germany and on setting strict terms for commercial exchanges.

It culminated in the 2014 Maidan coup in Kiev and the bolstering of Ukraine as a power that could keep Russia in its place. The rest of that story we know.

Then, the image of Putin as a diabolical Machiavellian who works relentlessly to cripple the U.S. was given a thick layer of varnish by the Russiagate charade — a scheme concocted by presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton and her allies in order to explain how she could lose an election against somebody who started the fall campaign with a personal unfavorable poll rating of 67 percent.

The Chinese Challenge

Purple Light Pavilion in Beijing, 2013. (State Department, Flickr, Alison Anzalone)

The confrontation with China is not marked by equally clear events or decision points. Designation of China as the challenger to the U.S. position as global supremo crystallized more gradually.

It was the Middle Kingdom’s growing strength in every dimension of national power and capacity that stirred first anxiety and then fear. This challenging rival had become a threat to the foundational belief in U.S. exceptionalism and superiority. Hence, an existential threat in the truest sense.

(“This town ain’t big enough for both of us!” is a familiar line to Americans for the way it punctuates showdowns in hundreds of Westerns. Now it has spilled into foreign policy as a neat summation of Washington’s attitude toward Beijing. Instead, how about inviting the other guy for a drink at the Long Branch and a long talk? Dutch treat.)

The string of disputes over this or that issue were symptoms rather than the cause of the antagonism mixed with dread that has led the U.S. to treat China as a mortal foe. When we look at the chronology of events, it becomes evident that the U.S. bill of indictment does not come close to justifying that conclusion.

The fashionable — now official — view is that it’s all China’s fault.

President Xi Jinping & Co supposedly spurned the opportunity to join the outward-looking community of liberal nations; they have grown increasingly repressive at home — thereby, disqualifying themselves from partnership with the democracies; they have been aggressive in pushing their territorial claims in the South China Sea; they have not composed their differences with neighbors, most importantly Japan; and they have deviated from the Western (i.e. American line) toward Iran while mediating a modus vivendi with Saudi Arabia.

Closer to home, China is accused of operating extensive spying networks in the United States designed to purloin valuable high technology; of systematically manipulating commercial dealings to their advantage; and they are extending their cultural influence in a porous American society.

In this bill of indictment no reference is made to dubious actions by the United States. Washington’s record as a global citizen is less than impeccable. Specifically in reference to China, it is Washington that made what are by far the most provocative moves.

Let’s recall the jailing of Huawei’s CFO in Vancouver at the Trump White House’s insistence on specious grounds (violation of Washington’s own illegal sanctions campaign against Iran) in order to thwart the company’s success in becoming a dominant player in the IT field. Former President Donald Trump himself admitted as much in stating that the United States might refrain from pursuing her prosecution were China ready to concede to his demands in the bilateral trade negotiations.

Nancy Pelosi, left, visiting Taiwan’s legislature in August 2022 while she was serving as House speaker. (Legislative Yuan, Wikimedia Commons)

The ultimate provocation has been the series of steps in regard to Taiwan that signaled clearly Washington’s intention to prevent its integration into the PRC. Thereby, it crossed the most indelible of red lines — one that the United States itself had helped draw and had observed for half a century. It is tantamount to an Old Europe aristocrat slapping another in the face with his gloves in public. An unmistakable invitation to a duel that precludes negotiation, mediation or compromise.

Not Just a Rival

The United States finds it far easier to deal with manifest enemies, e.g. the U.S.S.R., than sharing the international stage with countries that match it in strength whatever degree of threat it poses to American national security.

The latter is far harder for Americans to handle — emotionally, intellectually, diplomatically.

Hence, the growing tendency to characterize China as not just a rival for global influence but as a menace. That results in a caricature of China’s ambitions and a downplaying of prospects for fostering a working relationship among rough equals.

An enormous amount of energy is being put into this delusional enterprise. The target is America itself. The project is a bizarre form of conversion therapy designed to substitute a confected version of reality for the irksome real thing.

Stunning evidence of this self-administered treatment is available on a routine basis in the pages of The New York Times. Every day we are treated to two or three long stories about what’s wrong with China, its trials and tribulations. No occurrence is too recondite or distant to be exempt from being used in an exaggerated diagnosis of social or political illness. The extremes to which the editors go in this re-education program is pathological.

The threat China presents is to an exalted self-image more than to any tangible interests. At its root, the problem is psychological.

By time that the Biden administration arrived in office, the scene had been set for the declaration of war and the taking of concrete steps in that direction. But it’s odd that such a momentous commitment should be made by such a lackluster team of individuals with a diminished, distracted president as its nominal head. That can be attributed to two factors.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz at the Pentagon on March 1, 2001. (DoD photo by R. D. Ward)

First is the dogmatic worldview of the principals. Their outlook represents an absorption of Paul Wolfowitz’s notorious memo of 1992 laying out a manifold strategy for consolidating and extending U.S. world dominance in perpetuity.

Second is the neocon passion to shape other countries in the U.S. image. That blend was laced with a dash of old-fashioned Wilsonian idealism along with a drizzle of humanitarianism from the Responsibility to Protect movement (R2P).

[Related: Chris Hedges: R2P Caused Libya’s Nightmare]

This potent brew had become orthodoxy for nearly all of the U.S. foreign policy community. In addition, a rudimentary version has gained the adherence of the political class and has shaped the thinking of Congress to whatever extent its members do any thinking about external relations beyond habitual resort to convenient hackneyed slogans.

Alternative No. 1

Objectively speaking, alternatives did exist.

The first we might call inertial ad-hocism. Its features would have been the continued segmentation of the country’s external dealings into more-or-less discrete packets — geographical and functional.

The Middle East’s two sub-categories: Israel and the Gulf; the desultory “War On Terror” wherever; the aggressive promotion of neo-liberal globalization featuring the ensconcing of a heteroclite corporate/technocratic/political elite as guides and overseers; bilateral relations with new economic powers like India and Brazil to bring them into the neo-liberal orbit; business-as-usual with the rest of the Global South.

As for China and Russia, one would be treated as a formidable rival and the other as an overreaching nuisance to be stymied in places in Syria and Central Asia. Concrete steps to counteract the Chinese commercial and technological challenge would have been taken either unilaterally or in hard-nosed direct bargaining. Support for Taiwan would have increased but stopped short of ruffling Beijing’s feathers by calling into question the One-China Principle.

Xi and Putin during the Chinese leader’s visit to Moscow in 2019. (Kremlin)

The foundational premise of this approach is that an ever-deepening neo-liberal system would pull China into its field as a politico-economic centrifugal magnet. Hence, by an incremental process a potential challenge to American-Western hegemony would be gradually neutralized, avoiding a direct confrontation.

Russia, for its part, could be treated more roughly: the post-2014 sanctions tightened, its approaches in Syria and on other matters rebuffed and the quiet build-up of Ukraine continued. This, in essence, was the tack taken by former President Barack Obama and Trump.

Today’s uniform assumption that a momentous battle with the Chinese is written in the stars, the culmination of a zero-sum rivalry for global dominance, is of relatively recent vintage.

Not so long ago, the consensus was that the most sensible strategy composed two elements.

The first was peaceful engagement emphasizing economic interdependence leading to China’s participation in a more-or-less orderly world system whose rules-of-the-road might have to undergo some modification but where power politics was restrained and contained.

(Regarding the restructuring of existing international organizations, the IMF stands out. Since its post-war founding, the United States has held veto power over any or all of its actions. It adamantly refuses to relinquish it despite the drastic shifts in the constellation of global financial and monetary power. Hence, the IMF serves as a de facto subsidiary of the State Department. This state of affairs soon will prove absolutely unacceptable to China and the BRICs.)

July 30, 2023, BRICS Map key: Blue = Members; Light Blue = Joining on Jan. 2, 2024; Orange = Applicants; Yellow = Expressed interest in joining; Gray = No relationship with BRICS. (MathSquare, Wikimedia Commons, Dmitry Averin is author of original source image; CC BY-SA 4.0)

The second was a measure of military balancing to remove any temptation as might exist in Beijing for empire-building while reassuring neighbors. The open question focused on exactly where and how the balance should be struck.

That was the prevailing perspective until roughly the second Obama administration. These days, that approach has lost its place in the mainstream of foreign policy discourse. There is no fixed day or event, though, that marks the abrupt and sharp change of course.

This disjointed incremental line of approach has its advantages despite its leaning toward conflict. Paramount is that it avoids locking the United States into a position of implacable hostility vis a vis China. There is no embedded logic propelling us toward armed conflict. It implicitly leaves open the possibility of U.S. thinking moving in a more positive direction.

Whatever the odds of such an evolution occurring, and on the arrival in the White House of a president with the bold vision of a true statesman, such a development would not be excluded as it is by the current mobilization for generational “war.”

Alternative No. 2

There is another, radical alternative grounded on the belief that it is feasible to fashion a long-term strategy of nurturing ties of cooperation with Russia and China. Taking some form of partnership, it would be grounded on a mutual commitment to the maintenance of political stability and fashioning mechanisms for conflict avoidance. This is by no means as far fetched as first glance might suggest — in concept.

The idea of a great power concert comes to mind. However, we should envisage an arrangement quite different from the historic Concert of Europe that emerged at the Conference of Vienna in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars.

One, the objective would not be a buttressing of the status quo by the dual strategy of refraining from armed conflict among the underwriting states and suppressing revolutionary movements that could endanger existing monarchies. Its attendant features were the concentration of custodial power in the Big 5 co-managers of the system; the stifling of political reform across Europe; and the disregard of forces appearing outside their purview.

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By contrast, a contemporary partnership among the major powers would presume a responsibility for taking the lead in designing a global system based on the mutually reinforcing tenets of openness, sovereign equality and the promotion of policies that deliver plus-sum outcomes.

Rather than rule by a directorate, international affairs would be structured by international institutions modified in terms of philosophy, multilateral decision-making and a measure of devolution that empowers regional bodies. There would be an established pattern of consultation among those governments whose economic weight and military capacity quite naturally should be expected to play an informal role in performing system maintenance functions and facilitating the involvement of other states. Legitimacy would be established through conduct and performance.

The drastic fall in respect for U.S. world leadership will facilitate that process — as the BRICs’ successes already demonstrate.

The crucial starting point for such a project is a meeting of the minds among Washington, Beijing and Moscow — accompanied by dialogue with New Delhi, Brasilia et al.

There is reason to believe that conditions, objectively speaking, have been conducive to an undertaking of this order for several years. However, it was never recognized in the West, much less seriously considered — an historic opportunity lost.

“The threat China presents is to an exalted self-image more than to any tangible interests. At its root, the problem is psychological.”

The most significant sufficient factor is the temper of Chinese and Russian leadership. Xi and Putin are rare leaders. They are sober, rational, intelligent, very well informed and capable of broad vision.

(China’s traditional goal always has been to exact deference from other countries while bolstering their own strength — not to impose an imperium on them. Much less do they share the American impulse to arrange the affairs of the entire world according to a universalization of their own unique civilization. Therein lies an opportunity to avoid a “war of transition.”

However, there is no American leader on the horizon who recognizes this overarching reality and who seems prepared to grasp the opportunity to “bend the arc of history.” Obama briefly toyed with the idea — before relapsing into the stale rhetoric of American exceptionalism: “We’re number One — you better believe it. Nobody else is even close!”)

While dedicated to securing their national interests, above all the well-being of their peoples, neither Xi nor Putin harbor imperial ambitions. And both have long tenures as heads of state. They have the political capital to invest in a project of this magnitude and prospective. Washington, unfortunately, has not had leaders of similar character and talents.

As for U.S. allies, no counsel of restraint can be expected from that quarter. Those loyal vassals have moved from being craven irrelevancies to active, if junior, partners in crime.

An Odious Spectacle

Biden and Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Oct. 18. (U.S. Embassy in Israel)

It is stomach-churning to observe the leaders of Europe lining up for slap-on-the-back meetings with Bibi Netanyahu in Tel Aviv while he inflicts atrocities on Gazans. Barely a word of concern for 2 million civilians, just the hurried dispatch of more weapons diverted from the Ukrainian killing fields. This odious spectacle was eclipsed by Biden’s disgraceful performance this week in Jerusalem.

Summit meetings by Bush, Obama, Trump or Biden always have concentrated on either small-bore issues or instruction on what their opposite number should be doing so as to conform to the U.S. view of the world. Both are wastes of precious time insofar as the imperative to foster a long-term, common global perspective is concerned.

The sensible approach to inaugurate a serious dialogue might be a president with statesmanlike qualities who sits down alone with Putin and Xi for an open-ended session and asks such questions as: “What do you want, President Putin/President XI? How do you see the world 20 years from now and your country’s place in it?”

Would they be prepared to expound an articulate response? Putin certainly would. That is exactly what he has been proposing since 2007 — on numerous occasions vocally or in his writings. Instead, he was stonewalled, and — since 2014 — treated as a menacing pariah to be defamed and personally insulted.

Here is Barack Obama’s take:

“The Russian President is a ‘physically unremarkable’ man, likened to ‘the tough, street-smart ward bosses who used to run the Chicago machine.”

This comment from Obama’s first volume of his published memoirs, The Promised Land, says more about his own inflated yet vulnerable ego than Putin’s character.

In fact, it was the Chicago machine along with money and encouragement from the Pritzker network that made Obama what he became.

Contrast: when Bismarck met Disraeli at the 1878 Berlin Conference — going so far as to invite him, a Jew, home twice for meals — he did not nag the British prime minister about trade restrictions on German exports of textiles and metallurgical goods or the systematic British abuse of tea plantation workers in Assam.

Nor did he comment on the man’s physique. Bismarck was a serious statesman, unlike the people in whose custody we place the security and well-being of our nations.

Putin and Obama meeting in San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico, June 18, 2012. (White House, Pete Souza)

The upshot is that Putin and Xi seem puzzled by feckless Western counterparts who disregard the elementary precepts of diplomacy. That should be a concern as well — except by those who intend to conduct the U.S. “war” in a linear manner that pays little attention to the thinking of other parties.

The vitriol that is thrown at Putin with such vehemence by his Western counterparts is something of a puzzle. It is manifestly disproportionate to anything that he has done or said by any reasonable measure — even if one distorts the underlying story of Ukraine.

Obama’s condescension suggests an answer. At its core, their attitude reflects envy. Envy in the sense that he is subconsciously recognized as clearly superior in attributes of intelligence, knowledge of contemporary issues and history, articulateness, political savvy and – most certainly – diplomatic skill.

Try to imagine any U.S. leader emulating Putin’s performance in holding three-hour open Q & A sessions with citizens of all stripes — responding directly, in detail, coherently and with good grace. Biden? Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau? German Chancellor Olaf Scholz? British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak? French President Emmanual Macron? Ursula von der Leyen, president of the EU Commission? Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallis?

Even Obama, from whom we’d get canned sermons cast in high-minded language that distills into very little. That’s why the West’s political class assiduously avoids paying attention to Putin’s speeches and press conferences — out of sight, out of mind.

Act in reference to the make-believe cartoon instead of the real man.

The Ukraine Era

Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Feb. 20 during the U.S. president’s unannounced visit to Kiev. (White House/Adam Schultz)

These days, in the Ukraine era, the rigid Washington consensus is that Vladimir Putin is the quintessential brutal dictator — power mad, ruthless and with only a tenuous grip on reality.

Indeed, it has become commonplace to equate him with Hitler — as done by such leading lights of the U.S. power elite as Hillary Clinton and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi along with “opinion makers” galore. Even 203 noble Nobels lend their collective brains and celebrity credentials to an “open letter” whose second sentence pairs Russia’s attack on Ukraine with Hitler’s assault on Poland in September 1939.

Sadly, the idea that those who make those decisions should bother to know what they are talking about is widely deemed as radical if not subversive.

In regard to Putin, there is absolutely no excuse for such painful ignorance. He has presented his views on how Russia visualizes its place in the world, relations with the West and the contours/rules of a desired international system more comprehensively, historically informed and coherently than has any national leader I know of. Shouted declarations “we’re No. 1 and always will be – you better believe it” (Obama) are not his style.

The point is that you may be troubled by his conclusions, question his sincerity, suspect hidden strands of thought, or denounce certain actions. However, doing so has no credibility unless one has engaged the man based on what is available — not on cartoon caricatures. So, too, should we recognize that Russia is not a one-man show, that it behooves us to consider the more complex reality that is Russian governance and politics.

President Xi of China has escaped the personal vilification thrown at Putin — so far. But Washington has made no greater effort to engage him in the sort of discourse about the future shape of Sino-American relations and the world system for which they are destined to be primary joint custodians.

Xi in Moscow in 2019, at a gala marking the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and China. (Kremlin)

Xi is more elusive than Putin. He is far less forthright, more guarded and embodies a political culture very different from that of the United States or Europe. Still, he is no dogmatic ideologue or power-mad imperialist. Cultural differences too easily can become an excuse for avoiding the study, the pondering and the exercise in strategic imagination that is called for.

Shaping the World Structure

The approach outlined above is worth the effort – and low costs that it entails. For it is the understandings among the three leaders (and their senior colleagues) that are of the utmost importance.

That is to say, agreed understandings as to how they view the shape and structure of world affairs, where their interests clash or converge, and how to meet the dual challenge of 1) handling those points of friction that may arise, and 2) working together to perform ‘system maintenance’ functions in both the economic and security realms.

At the moment, there is no chance that American leaders can muster the gumption, or have the vision, to set out on this course. Neither Biden and his team, nor their Republican rivals are up to it.

In truth, American leaders are psychologically and intellectually not capable of thinking seriously about the terms for sharing power with China, with Russia or with anybody else – and developing mechanisms for doing so over different timeframes.

Washington is too preoccupied with parsing the naval balance in East Asia to reflect on broad strategies. Its leaders are too complacent about the deep faults in our economic structures, and too wasteful in dissipating trillions on chimerical ventures aimed at exorcising a mythical enemy to position ourselves for a diplomatic undertaking of the sort that a self-centered America never before has faced.

A drive to revalidate its presumed virtue and singularity now impels what the U.S. does in the world. Hence, the calculated stress placed on slogans like “democracy versus autocracy.” That is a neat metaphor for the uneasy position in which Uncle Sam finds himself these days, proudly pronouncing enduring greatness from every lectern and altar in the land, pledging to uphold a standing as global No. 1 forever and ever.

But the U.S. is also constantly bumping its head against an unaccommodating reality. Instead of downsizing the monumental juggernaut or applying itself to a delicate raising of the arch, it makes repeated attempts to fit through in a vain effort to bend the world to fit its mythology. Invocation of the Concussion Protocol is in order — but nobody wants to admit that sobering truth.

This is close to a condition that approximates what the psychologists call “dissociation.” It is marked by an inability to see and to accept actualities as they are for deep-seated emotional reasons.

The tension generated for a nation so constituted when encountering objective reality does not force heightened self-awareness or a change in behavior if the dominant feature of that reality is the attitudes and expressed opinions of others who share the underlying delusions.

Michael Brenner is a professor of international affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.

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To: Broken_Clock who wrote (436123)10/22/2023 12:20:39 PM
From: Broken_Clock
   of 436144
The Shredded Social Contract
By Jeffrey A. Tucker October 17, 2023 Government, Society 8 minute read


This is not about whether there is such a thing as a literal social contract. The phrase has always been a metaphor, and an imprecise one since it was first invoked by Enlightenment-era thinkers trying to sort through a rationale for collective practice of some sort.

It’s easy enough to regard the social contact not as explicit but implied, evolved, and organic to the public mind. At the most intuitive level, we can think of it as a widely shared understanding of mutual obligation, a tie that binds, and also the exchange relationship between society and state. The bare minimum idea of a social contract is to seek out widespread security, thriving, and peace for as many members as possible.

No matter how narrow or broad you understand that phrase, it includes most fundamentally the shared expectations of what government should and should not do. Above all else, it means protecting the public from violent attack and hence defending the rights and liberties of the people against imposition on person, public or private.

The reality today is that the social contract is broken in nations all over the world. This concerns the widespread failure of social welfare, health systems, and sound money. It includes the medical conscription called vaccine mandates. It impacts on mass migration as well as crime, and many other issues as well. Systems are failing the world over with ill health, low growth, inflation, rising debt, and widespread insecurity and distrust.

Let us consider the most shocking case in the news: the mind-boggling failure on the part of the Israeli government to protect its citizens against hostile elements just across its border. A revealing news article in the New York Times explains the aftermath. It includes:

“a total breakdown of trust between the citizens and the state of Israel, and a collapse of everything Israelis believed in and relied on. Initial assessments point to an Israeli intelligence failure before the surprise attack, the failure of a sophisticated border barrier, the military’s slow initial response and a government that seems to have busied itself with the wrong things and now appears largely absent and dysfunctional.”

Moreover: “Public fury at the government has been compounded by Mr. Netanyahu’s refusal so far to openly accept any responsibility for the Oct. 7 disaster.”

Nahum Barnea, a prominent Israeli commentator, put it this way: “We are mourning for those who were murdered, but the loss does not end there: It is the state that we lost.”

True, there has been very little discussion of this terrible topic and understandably so. Israel at its base, as a project and history, is a promise of security for the Jewish people. That is the core of it all. If it fails here, it fails everywhere.

After all, the attacks from Hamas were extremely well planned over two or perhaps three years. Where was the famed Israeli intelligence? How is it possible that it could have failed in so many ways that end in unspeakable mayhem and murder, even to the point that Israel itself is hamstrung in its response by the existence of so many hostages?

It’s utterly heartbreaking, not only for the loss of life but also for the loss of shared trust that this nation depends on so foundationally.

So what is the answer? Part of the answer is that 3.5 years ago, the Israeli government turned its attention to chasing down a virus as a national priority. It wasn’t only social distancing and business closures. It was contact tracing, mass testing, and masking. The vaccine mandates in the country were some of the most coercive and universal in the world.

Almost immediately at the onset of the crisis, the Israeli government maxed out stringencies, going further than the US. Nearly a year later, they grew even tighter, only relaxing a full year later.

As Sunetra Gupta pointed out early on, this was already a near-universal violation of the social contract on how to handle infectious disease. In nearly every nation, we had rules of isolation to protect workers in some classes while workers in other classes were shoved in front of the virus.

This contradicted all modern public-health practice, which had long eschewed dividing classes this way. The theory of the past is that infectious disease is a burden shared socially with special efforts to protect the vulnerable – based not on class, race, and access, but on traits of the human experience shared by everyone.

The warnings poured in from dissident scientists from the very onset – even dating back a decade and a half earlier – that anything like a lockdown would wreck trust in public health, respect for science, and confidence in government institutions and those allied with them. That is precisely what has happened the world over.

And it was only the beginning. The mandates to get a shot hardly anyone really needed or wanted was next-level crazy. It required an “all-of-government” approach, and it became a priority that trumped all others.

Every national experience is different in the particulars but the theme in all nations that attempted extreme measures of virus control neglected other concerns. In the US, every other concern was shelved.

For example, during these years, the immigration issue became paramount in people’s lives, particularly those in border states that had long lived with a delicate balance of friendly relations and controlled flows of the human population. During the Covid years, this was blown up.

It was obviously true with educational policy too. Decades of focus on educational health and outcomes were thrown out in favor of full school closures that extended a year and longer.

It was also true with economic policy. Suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere, no one could be bothered with the age-old warnings against too much expansion of the money stock and public debt. It’s as if all the old wisdom was put on a shelf. Surely the gods would reward a nation that controlled the virus by not allowing them to reap the whirlwind stemming from outrageous levels of spending and printing. Sure enough, all those embedded forces of nature came anyway.

The idea of closing nations and economies to focus on virus control was millenarian in its ambitions. It was sheer fantasy. Time doesn’t stop. We only pretend to stop it. Societies and economies always move forward with time, like seas embedding and flowing with the rotations of the earth. No government in the world is powerful enough to stop it. The attempt produces calamity.

It’s been three and a half years since this grand experiment began, and now a plurality of people the world over are only now fully realizing the extent of the damage and who caused it. After all, we do have the Internet to document what happened, so it does no good for the pushers of lockdowns just to pretend like nothing happened. When given the chance, voters have begun driving these people from office, or they are escaping before facing humiliation.

Over the weekend, this is what happened in New Zealand, one of the most locked down states in the world during the Covid years. The prime minister from those years, who claimed to be the one source of truth, has found sanctuary at Harvard while the politics of the nation have entered the upheaval stage.

Each nation has a story of failure and tragedy but the one that grips us most is perhaps the Israeli one. I’m writing in the aftermath of the bloodthirsty attacks on innocents which occurred during a national crisis, the response from which will inevitably unleash new forces of violence and blowback. The questions about the security failings that led to this are not going away. They are growing more intense by the hour.

A nation like Israel, geographically young and fragile, depends foundationally on a government that can keep its commitments to its people. When it fails so spectacularly and with such enormous cost, it brings forth a new moment in national life, one which will echo far into the future.

Less spectacularly, other nations are dealing with a similar crisis of confidence in leadership. All the reminders that “We told you so” do not fix the underlying problem we face the world over today. There are crises piling on crises, and analysts warning that we are in a 1914 moment seem to be speaking a truth we don’t want to hear but we should.

The idea of the modern state was that it would be better than ancient states because it would be accountable to the people,the voters, the press, the private-sector watchdogs, and above all to do the one job it was assigned: defending the rights and liberties of the people. That is the very center of the modern social contract. Bit by bit and then all at once, the contract was shredded.

If we really are looking at something along the lines of 1914, history should absolutely record what immediately preceded these awful days. Governments of the world turned vast resources and attention to the grand project of unprecedented scope: the universal mastery of the microbial kingdom.

We were only beginning to process just how spectacularly the central plan failed when we are dealing with the most egregious fallout that not even the most pessimistic among us could have foreseen. The social contract is shredded. Another one of a different sort must be drafted – once again, not literally but implicitly and organically.

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From: Broken_Clock10/22/2023 12:29:25 PM
1 Recommendation   of 436144
From Applauding Nazis To Backing An Actual Genocide In Under A Month

Caitlin Johnstone

Oct 19, 2023

Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Listen to a reading of this article (reading by Tim Foley):

The premise behind this current onslaught and those which preceded it is that you can bomb people into consenting to oppression and apartheid. That you can abuse them into accepting abuse. The whole entire argument is that if you bomb and shoot and teargas and beat and imprison enough Palestinians with enough aggression, eventually they will see the error of their ways and accept the status quo you are trying to impose upon them.

This is of course stupid, and it is of course a lie. The idea was never really to abuse Palestinians into accepting abuse, that’s just the cover story; the real goal has always been to abuse them to the point where you can justify eliminating them. To push an inconvenient people into an impossible corner and then when they push back hard enough say “Well, we did all we can and we learned you just can’t help these savages. They’re going to have to go.”


I can’t stop tripping on how fast the west moved from arming and applauding Nazis to backing an actual genocide.


Israel: Our intelligence services had no idea Hamas was planning its attack on October 7.

Also Israel: Here’s an audio clip from our intelligence archives of Hamas fighters talking to each other.
If I had not bombed a hospital, I personally would refrain from publishing an easily debunked audio file of me talking to myself pretending to be two different guys telling each other Caitlin definitely didn’t bomb the hospital.


My favorite kooky conspiracy theory is the one where Hamas spent two years coordinating and training for an attack of unprecedented scale and sophistication involving motorboats, drones and motorized paragliders in an enclosed area the size of Philadelphia which also happens to be one of the most spied-on places on earth, and this conspiracy by Hamas was carried out so successfully that even Hamas was surprised at how many Israelis they were able to kill and capture, because their conspiring went completely undetected by Israeli intelligence those entire two years despite being warned by Egyptian intelligence that an attack was coming, and despite the fact that US intelligence was aware of unusual activity by Hamas on October 6.


Israel’s being so obvious about wanting to do another land grab. The solution is always to move Gazans off the land they’re on to somewhere else. It’s like a guy at a nightclub pushing you and pushing you to drink a drink he handed you; at a certain point you realize he’s probably not really interested in making sure you have enough to drink.


“Honey I took down the Ukraine flag to put up the Israeli flag, where should I put it?”

“Bottom drawer.”

“The one with the Black Lives Matter flag?”

“Yeah, just throw it on top.”

“It doesn’t fit, there’s too many other flags in there.”

“Throw out the MeToo one then.”

“Not the Pride one?”

“Whatever, I don’t care.”


I used to think it’s bad to detonate military explosives in buildings full of children but then a really smart Israel apologist called me an anti-semite so now I think it’s good.


Israel apologists are seriously asking you to believe that the only reason anyone could possibly object to a government dropping military explosives on children is that they have extremely negative opinions about adherents to the religion of Judaism.

“I see you think it’s wrong to launch missiles into locations known to be packed with children. The only possible explanation for this is that you have a deep and profound hatred for the members of a small Abrahamic religion.”


Saying it’s anti-semitic to oppose bombing areas full of children is itself anti-semitic blood libel. That’s what you are doing when you associate the murder of children with some innate quality in Jewish people instead of the violence of a specific nation’s government.


Israel apologists who are getting frustrated that nobody’s buying their “criticism of Israel is anti-semitic” routine anymore can thank the smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn a few years ago. It opened a lot of eyes to how cynically that accusation is used.


I’m always getting people calling me a Hamas supporter and saying I’m “spreading terrorist propaganda” these last two weeks. Before that I was a Chinese agent who was “spreading CCP propaganda”. Before that I was a Russian troll who was “spreading Kremlin propaganda”. I’m never just a person on the internet sharing her opinions, because any opinions which go against US information interests are “propaganda”.

At a certain point all the empire simp ad hominems all start sounding the same. These dopes just have no argument and can’t think anything they weren’t told to think.

I’m not a celebrity. I have no platform. I use the same free blogging and social media sites everyone else uses. People just share my criticisms of the world’s most powerful and destructive power structure because they like what I have to say, and empire simps can’t handle it.

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From: Thomas M.12/4/2023 10:37:06 AM
   of 436144
Why Milei Must Shut Down The Argentina Central Bank

by Daniel Lacalle

The monumental fiscal and monetary hole that Peronists Massa and Fernández have left for Javier Milei is difficult to replicate. Ex-president Mauricio Macri himself explained that the inheritance Milei receives is “worse” than the one he found from Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Peronism leaves a country in ruins and with a massive time bomb for the next administration.

The enormous economic problems of Argentina start with a primary fiscal deficit of 3% of GDP and a total deficit (including interest expenses) exceeding 5% of GDP. Moreover, it is a structural deficit that cannot be reduced unless public spending is slashed. Public expenditure already accounts for 40% of GDP and has doubled in the era of Kirchnerism. If we analyze Argentina’s budget, up to 20% is purely political spending. The previous left-wing administration only cut spending on pensions, which were half of the adjustment in real terms, according to the Argentine Institute of Fiscal Analysis.

Massa and Fernández’s interventionist policies and price controls have left a shortage of meat and gasoline in a country rich in oil and livestock, demonstrating again what Milton Friedman said: “Will we read next that government control of prices has created a shortage of sand in the Sahara?”

We must not forget that the Fernandez administration leaves Argentina with an annual inflation rate of 140% following an insane increase in the monetary base of more than 485% in five years, according to the Central Bank of Argentina.

This confiscatory and extractive fiscal and monetary policies have created a disaster in the central bank reserves. Fernandez leaves a bankrupt central bank with negative net reserves of $12 billion and a time bomb in remunerated liabilities (Leliqs) that exceed 12% of GDP and effectively mean more money printing and inflation in the future, when they mature. With a country risk of 2,400 basis points, the self-proclaimed “socialism of the 21st century” government has left Argentina and its central bank officially bankrupt, with 40% of the population in poverty and with a failed currency.

Milei must now confront this poisoned legacy with determination and courage.

Macri, who suffered from the error of gradualism, recently argued that there was no room for mild measures, and he is right.

Milei has promised to shut down the central bank and dollarize the economy.

However, can it be accomplished?

The answer is yes. Absolutely.

To understand why Argentina must dollarize, the reader must know thatthe peso is a failed currency that even Argentine citizens reject. Most Argentine citizens already save what they can in US dollars and conduct all major transactions in the US currency, because they know that their local currency will be dissolved by government interventionism. The government has 15 different exchange rates for the peso, all fake, of course, all of which have only one objective: to steal from citizens their US dollars at a fake exchange rate.

The central bank is bankrupt, with negative net reserves, and the peso is a failed currency. Therefore, shutting down the central bank is essential, and the country needs to have an independent regulator without the power to print currency and monetize all the fiscal deficit, and it must eliminate the possibility of issuing the insane Leliq (remunerated debt) that destroys the currency today and in the future.

Shutting down the central bank requires an immediate and strong solution to the Leliqs, which will have to include a realistic approach to the monetary mismatch in a country where the “official exchange rate” is half the real market rate against the US dollar. Taking a bold step to recognize this monetary mismatch, closing the central bank, and ending the monetization of debt are three essential steps to end a path to the destruction of a country comparable to that of Venezuela. Milei understands this and knows that the US dollars that citizens save with enormous difficulty should flow back to the domestic economy by recognizing the monetary reality of the country making the US dollar a legal tender for all transactions.

The monetary issue is one side of a hugely problematic coin.

The fiscal problem needs to be addressed.

Milei needs to put an end to the bloated fiscal deficit, and that requires an adjustment that eliminates political spending without destroying pensions. This must involve selling some of the many inefficient and bloated public companies and the excess spending in purely political subsidies. Secondly, Milei must put an end to the ridiculous trade deficit. Argentina must slash the misguided protectionist and interventionist laws if the Peronists are open to the world to export all they can. To do this, it needs to put an end to the ridiculous “currency exchange rate clamp” and the 15 false exchange rates that the government uses to expropriate dollars from citizens and exporters with unfair rates and confiscations.

Taxes need to be lowered in a country that has 165 taxes and the highest tax wedge in the region, where small and medium-sized enterprises pay up to 100% of their sales.

Argentina must change what is currently a confiscatory and predatory state. Additionally, bureaucratic barriers, protectionist measures, and political subsidies must be removed. Furthermore, Milei must ensure legal certainty and an attractive and reliable regulatory framework where the ghost of expropriation and institutional theft does not return.

Milei’s challenges are many, and the opposition will try to sabotage all market-friendly reforms because many politicians in Argentina became very powerful and rich turning the country into a new Venezuela.

If Argentina wants to become a thriving economy that returns to prosperity, it needs a stable macroeconomic and monetary system. It must recognize it has a failed currency and a bankrupt central bank and implement the urgent measures required as quickly as possible. It will be difficult but not impossible, and the potential of the economy is enormous.

Argentina was a rich country made poor by socialism. It needs to abandon socialism to become rich again.


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From: Broken_Clock12/7/2023 1:58:15 PM
2 Recommendations   of 436144
10 years on an Obummercare update is clear...

Joe says health insurance costs are plummeting! "because we ignore it!"-Bidenomics 101

“Everyone’s looking at their pay stubs, and you’re getting kind of updated premiums from your employer,” he said.

"Those went up this year — by about 7% — according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Yet the health insurance index as measured by the CPI went down this year.

That’s because it doesn’t track health coverage premiums, said Steve Reed, an economist for the CPI program at the BLS. “It’s a little more complicated than one might expect or hope,” he said."

Via Political Calculations blog,

The Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010. It was slowly implemented, going into full effect in 2014. One of the main goals of the law was to make health insurance more affordable for Americans, but has it worked?

One way to answer that question is to see how much Americans are paying for health insurance since the ACA became law and to compare that how much American households would otherwise have paid if the preceding trend for health insurance costs remained in place.

We can make comparison using data from the U.S. Census Bureau's annual Consumer Expenditure (CEX) Survey. The CEX has reported how much an average "consumer unit", which roughly corresponds to an American household, has paid for health insurance in each year from 1984 through 2022. It compares those data points with the trend based on the actual expenditures for health insurance from 2000 through 2010. Here's the chart:


Compared to the pre-Affordable Care Act trend from 2000 through 2010, Americans household consumers paid 35% more on average for health insurance in 2022 than they would otherwise have paid based on the trend for these costs from 2000 through 2010.

How does that compare with the household consumers' other major health care expenditures? The chart is adapted from an older version and narrows in on the period from 2008 through 2022 to track the change in the average expenditures per American consumer unit for several health care expenditure categories. These categories include health insurance, medical services, drugs, and medical supplies.


Through 2022, what American household consumers pay for drugs and medical supplies has changed very little, with medical supplies within $95 and drugs within $133 of their cost in 2008.

Expenditures for medical services has seen more growth over time. In 2013, the year before the Affordable Care Act took full effect, Americans paid just $69 more for medical services than they did in 2008. By 2019, that increased to $257, which then dipped to $137 in the pandemic year of 2020. What American consumer households pay for medical services has risen rapidly since, as of 2022 they reached $457 more than they paid in 2008.

But what Americans pay for health insurance has relentlessly risen in all but one year (2017). In 2013, just before the Affordable Care Act became fully operational, Americans paid $576 more for health insurance than they did in 2008. That jumpd immediately to $1,215 in 2014, and has since risen to be $2,190 more than what American consumer units paid for health insurance in 2008.

2022 is the most recent year for which we have figures available. The Census Bureau will collect the data for 2023 in March 2024 and will crunch the numbers for several months before reporting it all sometime in September 2024.

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From: Broken_Clock12/26/2023 11:05:32 PM
1 Recommendation   of 436144
Wilol cooler heads prevail or will the fascists complete their self destructive coup de tat, lead by the Bidenistas?

Robert Shiller Warns Of 'Cataclysm' For US Dollar Reserve Status If Confiscated Russian Assets Given To Ukraine

by Tyler Durden

Tuesday, Dec 26, 2023 - 02:30 PM

If the United States shifts frozen Russian assets to Ukraine, it would be cataclysmic for the US Dollar's status as the global reserve currency, says Nobel Prize winning Yale professor, Robert Shiller.


"If America does this to Russia today… then tomorrow it can do this to anyone," he told Italian news outlet La Repubblica in an interview published Sunday.

"This will destroy the halo of security that surrounds the dollar and will be the first step towards de-dollarization, which many are increasingly confidently leaning toward, from China to developing countries, not to mention Russia itself," Schiller continued.

The US, EU, and allies have frozen some $300 billion of Russian foreign exchange reserve assets since last year after slapping the Kremlin with sanctions over the Ukraine war. Over the past year, various ideas have been tossed around regarding using the funds to aid Ukraine.

Earlier this month, the Financial Times described doing so as "a radical step that would open a new chapter in the west’s financial warfare against Moscow."

"I can’t convince myself that this [confiscation of Russian assets] is the right way," said Schiller, who received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2013, and is known for his expertise in behavioral economics and macroeconomics. He was named one of Bloomberg's '50 most influential people' in global finance.

"In addition to the fact that this will be confirmation for the Russian leader that what is happening in Ukraine is a proxy war, it could paradoxically turn against America and the entire West," he continued, adding that giving confiscated Russian assets to Ukraine would become "a cataclysm for the current dollar-dominated economic system."

Russia has called the confiscation unlawful, and warned that any country considering participating in sanctions should expect a mirror response from Moscow.

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To: Broken_Clock who wrote (436128)1/25/2024 9:35:54 AM
From: ggersh
4 Recommendations   of 436144
This is an absolutely perfect tweet for the Clown free zone thread

we're fucking surrounded by clowns!!

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From: Bid Buster2/17/2024 1:19:21 AM
1 Recommendation   of 436144
Is Mythman still around? I'm just wondering if Maria still spreads her legs at his waving command.

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From: Broken_Clock3/1/2024 10:20:45 PM
2 Recommendations   of 436144
You can easily determine how brainwashed you were during covid. Figure each month on a sliding scale...

Knew right off : mucho common sense
March 2020: skeptical but jury still out
April : WTF!
May : Something is really wrong here?
June : I'm buying Ivermectin

Still believe the hype?

Urine Idiot!

It’s Official: We Can Pretty Much Treat Covid Like the Flu Now. Here’s a Guide.
New guidelines from the CDC Friday bring Covid precautions in line with those of other respiratory viruses

yes, Fauci should be hung.

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