Tuesday, 21 February 2017

How the UK Left Lost the Working Class

Chris Beck: There seem to be some areas of legitimate concern, but have they made Islam the scapegoat?

Steve Hall: The Islam issue has allowed UKIP to deflect the blame from global neoliberalism, the true source of the working class’s problems. This is the principal service UKIP offers to the establishment.

Read the full interview here.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Concerning Romania & all interested outsiders

The Constitutional Court of Romania just bitch-slapped the opposition, the prosecutors, and the superior council of the magistrates. The prosecutors & the magistrates DON'T MAKE the law. They APPLY the law. There is no conflict between the Executive and the Judiciary regarding Government decree nr 13.

Monday, 6 February 2017

The best article I've read, explaining the shit going on in Romania

Bogdan Herzog nails it.

Update. So I found out that this think tank is a Russian far right revisionist think tank. 😠 I've read many articles in mainstream publications, and all of them were lacking in key facts. This article is by far the most pertinent I've come across.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Double Standards: Where Were the Liberal Protesters During Obama's Wars?

The election of Donald Trump has sent millions of people pouring out onto the streets to protest a man they think is a racist, misogynist, xenophobic bully who will destroy US democracy in his quest to establish himself as supreme fascist ruler of the country.

Maybe they’re right. Maybe Trump is a fascist who will destroy America. But where were these people when Obama was bombing wedding parties in Kandahar, or training jihadist militants to fight in Syria, or abetting NATO’s destructive onslaught on Libya, or plunging Ukraine into fratricidal warfare, or collecting the phone records of innocent Americans, or deporting hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers, or force-feeding prisoners at Gitmo, or providing bombs and aircraft to the Saudis to continue their genocidal war against Yemen?

Where were they?

Read the whole article here! http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/01/26/double-standards-where-were-the-liberal-protestors-during-obamas-wars/

Saturday, 21 January 2017

A friend shared this story with me

"I was traveling with two women... my partner and her best friend, who is a PhD biologist at our university. I'm at the airports. They were playing the inauguration of Trump, and at one point she mentioned that she was going to the 'women's march' today. Our conversation went something like this:

Her: Tomorrow I'm going to the women's march to protest.

Me: What are you going to be protesting?

Her: Against women's oppression for women's equality.

Me: Where are women oppressed?

Her: Umm...well...it's about women's health issues and against the patriarchy that has prevailed in this country for generations.

Me: Do you have healthcare?

Her: Well, yes, but many women can't afford basic checkups, and we don't want Trump to overturn our rights to abortion.

Me: That's true! But aren't there lots of men who can't afford basic care also? That seems more like a class issue than a gender issue. Where in the country can you not get an abortion for free?

Her: Basic healthcare is more important to women than men, we need it more, and 'planned parenthood' is under attack.

Me: Isn't planned parenthood a privately funded organization?

Her: Well, mostly, but they do get some public funding.

Me: That's great! So we're already giving special funding for women's health, that men don't get. Are there any other areas where women are oppressed today?

Her: Well, women are underrepresented in some fields like engineering and economics.

Me: Aren't men underrepresented in social sciences? Isn't the most powerful economist in the country a woman (Yellen)?

Her: Girls aren't encouraged to go into those fields.

Me: But women outnumber men in almost all universities, does that mean men are oppressed?

Her: 😠well, the march is about providing a voice for oppressed women all over the world, and it shows they're not alone.

Me: That's great! We should encourage the liberation of women everywhere, but would you say that women in westernized countries are severely oppressed?

Her: This election was about misogyny, that is why Trump got elected. I'm going to carry a sign that says, "This pussy grabs back."

Me: But didn't Hillary receive the majority of the popular vote? It seems more like an electoral college anomaly than a statement of patriarchy. Don't women hold power in universities, politics, and corporations?

Her: I'm not sure you understand what women face every day.

Me: Then give me specifics, so I can help you fight against the oppression.

Her: 😡well, it's also about race and fighting white nationalism.

Me: Ahh, ok. I certainly don't want to see that either. But as far as women's rights go, it seems like you should call it the 'Women's Victory March' right?

Her: 🔥😡🔥"

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Monday, 2 January 2017

Friedman and blatant sophistry

Hendry told Ericsson that:
The graph in Friedman and Schwartz … made UK velocity look constant over their century of data. I initially questioned your plot of UK velocity–using Friedman and Schwartz’s own annual data–because your graph showed considerable nonconstancy in velocity. We discovered that the discrepancy between the two graphs arose mainly because Friedman and Schwartz plotted velocity allowing for a range of 1 to 10, whereas UK velocity itself only varied between 1 and 2.4.
Hendry went on:
Testing Friedman and Schwartz’s equations revealed a considerable lack of congruence. Friedman and Schwartz phase-averaged their annual data in an attempt to remove the business cycle, but phase averaging still left highly autocorrelated, non-stationary processes.
As Hendry puts it in the interview:
Margaret Thatcher – the Prime Minister – had instituted a regime of monetary control, as she believed that money caused inflation, precisely the view put forward by Friedman and Schwartz. From this perspective, a credible monetary tightening would rapidly reduce inflation because expectations were rational. In fact, inflation fell slowly, whereas unemployment leapt to levels not seen since the 1930s. The Treasury and Civil Service Committee on Monetary Policy (which I had advised in … had found no evidence that monetary expansion was the cause of the post-oil-crisis inflation. If anything, inflation caused money, whereas money was almost an epiphenomenon. The structure of the British banking system made the Bank of England a “lender of the first resort,” and so the Bank could only control the quantity of money by varying interest rates.
In the book by J.D. Hammond (1996) Theory and Measurement: Causality Issues in Milton Friedman ‘Monetary History, published by Cambridge University Press (page 199) you see the letter that Hendry wrote to Friedman on July 13, 1984. In part it said:
… if your assertion is true that newspapers have produced ‘a spate of libellous and slanderous’ articles ‘impugning Anna Schwartz’s and … [your] … honesty and integrity’ then you must have ready recourse to a legal solution.
Friedman never sued!
As Hendry notes in the interview:

One of the criticisms of Friedman and Schwartz was that is was “unacceptable for Friedman and Schwartz to use their data-based dummy variable for 1921—1955 and still claim parameter constancy of their money-demand equation. Rather, that dummy variable actually implied nonconstancy because the regression results were substantively different in its absence. That nonconstancy undermined Friedman and Schwartz’s policy conclusions.
Friedman and Schwartz (FS) have claimed (page 624) that their UK money demand model was constant (that is, stable in its estimated parameters):
… more sophisticated analysis … reveals the existence of a stable demand function for money covering the whole of the period we examine.

As HE showed – it was certainly a fudge in the FSs models. They wrote that FSs models were not constant once the evidence was properly considered and that the:

… inferences which Friedman and Schwartz draw from their regression would be invalid … [due to biases]
They also report a range of problems with the FS models.
In conclusion they say:

Taking this evidence together … [the FS preferred model] … is not an adequate characterization of the data and is not consistent with the hypothesis of a constant money-demand equation … none of the relevant hypotheses could have been tested by Friedman and Schwartz … without their having obtained a rejection …
Excerpts from here http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=20281
For those unfamiliar with the notion of money velocity, here's Asher Edelman (aka Gordon Gekko) explaining it in under a minute.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

"Germany's record trade surplus is a bigger threat to euro than Greece"

Interesting (or rather, boring by now) how Germany is allowed to break Maastricht rules, but the Periphery is immediately stomped if it does. Wanting to be a net importer of Aggregate Demand is fine, but allow the Periphery to be a net exporter of Aggregate Demand for Christ's sake. Recirculate the money. Recycle the funds back into the system - otherwise you force people in the Periphery to spend from private debt, which they can no longer due because they're tapped out & are seeking to deleverage. And imposing on them austerity (aka pro-cyclical fiscal policy) isn't going to help the Periphery, and in the long run it's not going to help Germany either. Things as they are only contribute to higher poverty and unemployment and only benefit extremist parties and the corrupt establishment who's making a killing in the process.