Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, center, strolls with Stanley Fischer, right, vice chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and Bill Dudley, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, before her speech to the annual invitation-only conference of central bankers from around the world, at Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park, north of Jackson Hole, Wyo., Friday, Aug 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) Photo: Brennan Linsley, STF / Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribu

Most Americans are ignorant to the history and impact of central bank policy in the US on the problems we are experiencing and have experienced before regarding our economy.  The first failure came when Alexander Hamilton introduced the concept of having a Central Bank in America right after the revolutionary war. His idea was to place the US in a positon to be able to get loans or credit from lenders and be able to borrow great sums of money. To get the bank started, he proposal to fund a national debt via several bills in 1790 including the Debt-Assumption and Debt Funding Bills. With this concept would come massive speculation and fractional reserve banking. Many were against this idea. Thomas Jefferson wrote about this when his cousin Chief Justice John Marshall used the views of Hamilton to uphold the constitutionality of a national bank in his McCulloch v Maryland decision, in essence putting the nation on a dependency of credit. Jefferson noted that the constitution had not delegated to the congress to be able to incorporate a bank (10th amendment) nor to borrow or regulate commerce and that the establishment of a national bank was not necessary, merely a convenience and congress had the constitutional duty to do what was necessary only (pps. 502-574).

Failures of Federal Reserve policy since then and over the years have been too numerous to cite.  The issue is that the Federal Reserve and the concept of central banks in general act as if they are independent institutions when the truth is they are never independent. This was understood by both Andrew Jackson and FDR, and to a lesser extent Abraham Lincoln. Central banks seem to operate in a vacuum that is isolated from the public and even worse, the public angst and disdain regarding their policy efforts. 

Central banks are failing and have been failing for a long time since their most recent establishment under the Woodrow Wilson administration under the cloak of darkness. These chronic problems keep rearing their ugly head because the models that they employ are broken for they fail to connect monetary policy with the real economy (aggregate demand). This has become more problematic since the reign on Alan Greenspan. This Greenspan culture operates on constructs that don’t exist in the real world and even seems to suggest central bankers of the current batch have no idea of what is going on in the rest of the world outside of Jackson Hole. No matter what they do it always fails and never accomplishes the goals or objectives that said monetary policy was supposed to accomplish. 

Take the example of quantitative easing and keeping interest rates artificially low and constant.  This was supposed to put more loot into the coffers of business and to some extent the people and spur consumption - the assumption being that if you give folk more loot they will spend it, or at least consume more. But we see just by looking at consumption behavior, business are not spending by either investing or buying equipment and regular folks are saving instead of spending. Even with mortgage rates at 3.5 percent, people are not buying homes.  It begs the question what world are central bankers living in because all they talk about (if Janet Yellen can be taken at her word) is raising interest rates. On the one hand the public is being told the Central bank can control economic outcomes but can’t control inflation – a concept that anyone can see is not only problematic but also ridiculous.

Why would they slow the economy down by raising interest rates when it is growing at a staggering and paltry pace already? This makes no sense in particular when the average citizen is confronting real economic hardship and despair and all the evidence (weak fundamentals) indicates this. If this is the path the US central banks takes, it will only prove what many already believe, that the central bank is for the wealth plutocratic class only and it only implements policy on their behalf that presents modern capitalism as merely socialism for the rich. If this is the case then maybe, just maybe, central banks shouldn’t take on fiscal policy. In all honesty, maybe fiscal policy should be only implemented by folks the citizens vote on, or maybe we should vote for central bankers for that matter.

If I was given the authority first step I would take to destroy this Greenspan culture of hybrid fiscal/monetary policy would be to get rid of the Volcker rule in its entirety.  Maybe this way we won’t have to hear dumb azz Janet Yellen cite David Reifschneider anymore. Reifschneider for the record seems to be Yellen’s go to guy. Whatever he says she holds on to like it was the word of God. Reifschneider is a Senior Economist for the Federal Reserve Bank and posits (really guesses without evidence) that bond purchases and low-rate promises should be enough for the Fed to deal with severe recession if such were to occur. This is why I think she has not been out into the real world for she is always saying the same thing, or rather something to the effect that US GDP growth to lift labor markets. Again, an observation I don’t see even looking at BLS data, for there is no known value for potential economic output whether one is taking about labor or GDP – all of this is just speculative talk.

Simply put, central banks, in particular the US Federal Reserve should not be involved in developing, formulating or implementing fiscal policy. This should be left in the hands of the Treasury department in my opinion. One should ask what is their policy and where would we be if they couldn’t buy assets? Since 2008, the US Federal Reserve bank has amassed $2.5 trillion in Treasury securities and $1.8 trillion of mortgage-backed securities (maybe even more) through its asset-purchase programs, yet we still have deplorable growth and horrific levels of unemployment if you read between the lines. What will be next? Will we follow the lead of Japan and start to buy exchange-traded funds (ETFs), or the ECB and begin to purchase corporate debt? Or even worse follow the path of Prime Minister Modi in India and remove cash from circulation?  It is even easier to do in The US with electronic/digital money.  More so given that today, money has no real value in and of itself due to separation of them from the original sources of money – gold and silver. Used to be a time when paper money just represented how much gold and silver we had, but not anymore. Add this to the massive depreciation and devaluation of money over past decades, a cashless society could be a real manifestation. But I regress.

All I am saying is that the philosophical acceptance of Greenspan economics has shown the ineffective, foolish and disconnection from reality that Fed policy is, and that we need to move beyond the make believe boundaries of Central bank policy (guessing) before it is too late.  It is impossible to look at all economic activity in a contrived environment, under a contrived lens in which all stating points begin with full employment, inflation at 2 percent, and interest rates atnormal longer-run levels.  Honestly, like the Euro, the Federal Reserve Bank was flawed from birth.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Since the democratic and republican primaries, trade has become a central issue mainly due to the rhetoric of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.  Although Hillary Clinton jumped on the bandwagon, her insincerity did not add to much credibility to her position or even inform others on her position to international trade deals in particular the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), given her documented back and forth between supporting and being against the agreements.

I learned of the TPP years ago but only read of its details when portions of the massive 12 nation trade deal was released by WikiLeaks.  This was verified by a release of the document by member signee New Zeland some few months later. For some reason, it is considered a good deal and represents all associated with “free trade.” Unfortunately, TPP is never discussed in nuance – in respect to free trade versus fair trade. Many feel that since President Elect Donald Trump has vowed to scrap TPP and readdress previous deals such as NAFTA that free trade will take a major hit and will strike a strong blow against US economic prosperity and the average citizen.  However in my simple view, this is and will not be the case.

The market the TPP addressed represented 40 percent of the global economy and from reading it, one can reasonably question two pertinent points of order: 1) does it place foreign interest over US interest and 2] does it place global international corporate interest before US corporate interest? In addition, no one seems to ask if the TPP portends significant economic benefits and/or whom are these benefits for? I ask this because now, both Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and other democrats have reversed course and are saying it would be bad to renegotiate it since Trump plans to table the deal.

For starters in the US, the TPP if implemented will lead to the creation of only a small amountof jobs. In reading the text, it is clear that there are no parameters that mandate or even suggest that the other eleven signees invest in the US but rather that the US and other nations invest in all nations in exclusion of the US. For example, not including the main body of the TPP agreement, it also includes 58 side agreements of which Japan alone enjoys 14 of these.  These specifically lay out distinctive conditions for Japan’s participation in the TPP for targeted economic sectors they feel are essential for their domestic economic advantage. Is this free trade? Is this fair trade? If it isn’t, it supports the contention of what one of the writers of a blog I regularly read when he stated: “free trade is an unwise policy that has a cascade of negative consequences” and that as a policy “inevitably produces poverty and economic instability, not prosperity.”

Thus from this purview, this Trans-Pacific Partnership will do nothing in reality to address the dwindling US middle class or increase stagnant wages experienced by the majority of US workers and most likely make their economic condition even worse. To begin with, the nations involved in this deal are not equal and vary in many respects.  National wealth, standards of living, wage differences and even currency valuation. In fact most of the TPP doesn’t even address trade but rather investment. The most significant parts of the TPP pertain to investment provisions that make it easier and beneficial for US corporations to put more loot in these nations in the form out sourcing jobs and production to these eleven nations more than serving to increase wages for US workers and job growth.

With most of the 25,000 plus categories of exported good, the US exported basically nothing to TPP nations over the past few years which mean US exporters and producers will remain at a virtual disadvantage to the other eleven participant nations.

Then there are wages. Macro and micro economic theory historically has documented that wages are a major part in the cost of producing goods. Karl Marx even wrote a book on this concept. Thus US corporate interest can only reap large profits via an overall decrease in wages by having these products produced in nations in which wages are substantially lower than they are in the US. This means if this is the definition of free trade, it only means a massive transfer of wealth from US workers to nations outside of the US. Thus meaning that the real and only winners being US transnational corporations and Wall Street. This is even without the consideration of currency manipulation. Since presently the dollar is freely traded in markets as the world’s reserve currency, it will never be in a position to compete with member TPP nations since most engage in some form of currency manipulation that give their products an inherent competitive advantage over US goods.

One doesn’t have to take my word for it. The Peterson Institute , Economic Research Service report and the World Bank show limited if any benefits from the TPP and indicate that gains (if any) to the US economy will be negligible in regards to GDP.  This is even supported by economists at Tufts University, which predict a net GDP loss for the US via TPP. Another study reports that increases in imports from these countries will result in significant job dislocations and wage declines in the U.S. which means US workers will have to settle forlower-quality jobs.

TPP from my analysis will only mean unequal growth for the US economy compared to the other member nations. Sure, the macroeconomic benefits of the deal are unquestioned, but from my point of view the issue should be the microeconomic impact in the US. If I remained honest, the TPP clearly is more about China than trade or economic development in the US the way in which President Obama describes it. For it will only impoverish the US working class even more, resulting in an even more downward trend on wages, meaning US workers would not even be in an economic condition to by these products. To put it as plainly as possible, the more we import, the more US jobs are displaced (see 2012 US–Korea free trade agreement. 

What proponents of the TPP (Obama Administration, IMF, World Bank, transnational corporations & Wall Street) forget is that you can’t have true free/fair trade without addressing at a minimum currency manipulation and Value Added Taxes (VATs) applied to American exports at the port of entry. But this makes too much sense and common sense in modern economic policy since the Clinton administration has long been thrown out of the window to benefit the top 1% instead of the average US family.

Monday, November 21, 2016

I found it thoroughly comical and insulting that during the final stretch of the general election that instead of stating policy specifics, or going around from county to county, Hillary Clinton fell back on staying to large urban cities and using the classic pandering strategy of pulling out entertainers to appeal to that portion of the voting populous that was fond of mindless self-absorbed celebrity twaddle and suckers for the old bread and circus trick. Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Big Sean, J. Cole and Chance the Rapper and LeBron James among many other  were among the huge out of touch with the real-world stars called out like trained circus animals to publicly perform for blacks and beg for support on their behalf for them to back Hillary Clinton from mainly urban black millennials.

This is the tradition of the democratic party toward blacks: the poorly read black population don’t need to be taken seriously, just entertained, nothing more nothing less.  She doesn’t even care that she brings a Big “Anthony Weiner sexting” Sean out on stage albeit she is accusing trump of objectifying women because she knows and don’t care that blacks whom would vote for her because she has Jay-Z and Beyoncé on stage with her are dumb as fck anyway. Or a Jay-Z, whom with R. Kelley has a song called Pussy.

It is as if the only thing we care about is drooling over famous folks whose lives are far removed from us regular cats. What the DNC and HRC campaigned failed to grasp is that black folk can think and do frequently think for ourselves and have an uncanny ability to see beyond the snake oil. Despite parading all of them tricks in front of young black voters she was unable to convince black voters that we were a monolith, a single mind, or worse that we wanted four more years of the nothing we got from Obama with the exception of Frantz Fanon called the “Black Skin, White Mask.”

And since she didn’t secure our vote at the same levels of our first Mulatto president, she and the DNC now wish to lay some of the blame on the Black voting block for her election night loss of the presidency. The roots of Donald Trump's shocking, long-shot, and divisively improbable rise to the presidency can be traced back to election night four years ago when black voter percentage, for the first time in American history, surpassed whites. Black voters led the multiracial groups of voters that re-elected Barack Obama and seemed poised to do so for any democrat in the future.

The election of Donald Trump signifies a lot of things but one was a rebuke to popular culture’s political influence in general – for if you depending on the black vote to win you already loss, especially with your record which you desire us to ignore. And true city Negroes ignored it, us real ones did not. And I say really because city cats got it twisted.  We know how democrats pimp our votes, and sure, we mad when a police officer kills a black man, any black man, even criminals, but we even more upset when our kids die as a result of gang members killing our kids. Point being we know liberal democrats and many cops don't really care about black folk anyway. In one case we just a vote and the other just target practice.

After all, you can’t do no more to get the black vote than to entertain them and giving us fish in the form of free shit that makes us dependent on your monkey azz than to assist us in learning to fish and providing for and taking care of ourselves. It should have been an easy task even for a closet racist the likes of Hillary Clinton for all she had to do was play on our ignorance of history and employ the mainstream media to convince us that all of our ills are all due to Republicans (even in cities where they have not been in power 70 years or more).  See the Democrats know that regardless of race, if one is ignorant, don’t read, uneducated, under-educated and watch TV,  propaganda campaigns work every time – even when you have no message or plan but rather only the use of dog whistles (sexist, racist, xenophobic) and name calling you pay millionaires to repeat.

True you may mention some shit about Planned Parenthood even though Margaret Sanger was racist who viewed blacks as inferior and deserved to be a part of her genocide to exterminate blacks and other less desirables via abortion, but that is only catchy for women whom think murdering a child in utero is just another form of birth control, nonetheless, the Democrats remains and will always remain the party of racism and its voters too imprudent to know they're supporting racism each time they cast their votes for democrats. As if black folk can’t do anything for ourselves without the democrats – a train of thought eerily similar to the attitudes and beliefs of paternalistic Democrats just scores of years prior when they  justified slavery, fought to keep slavery legal, founded the KKK, pushed  Jim Crow laws into existence and opposed school segregation and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And I won’t even mention Chicago (but I did) where black folk 12 times more likely to be shot than whites and where Democrats been on control since the 1930s.

Fact is democratic policies have worsen black poverty, which is still twice that of white poverty and has basically destroyed the black family. So yea, I’m certain Beyoncé and Jay Z threw down, but the votes the Democratic Party and HRC got from such was from a group of pusillanimous embarrassing and unctuous hypocritical whining simpletons that actually accurately reflects the political acumen of Beyoncé and Jay Z.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

I am on record saying that one of the biggest scams in the world is the U.S. Federal Reserve bank.  Now I am prepared to announce that the biggest hustle in the world is the International Monetary Fund (IMF). From its inception, the IMF has only served as legalized vehicle for extortion.  I observed this firsthand the two years I lived in Nigeria from 1992 to 1993.  Then the creature of choice was what the IMF called Structural Adjustment Programs. These programs basically gave loans from the IMF (with the World Bank) to nations that were experiencing economic hardship. These programs were supposed to grow the economies of developing nations, by making them more market focused in an effort to increase trade and as a consequence reduce poverty.  That was all everyone across Nigeria spoke of, SAP and how it was driving their nation to economic ruin. It was the first time I’d ever heard of the program or really paid attention to the IMF.

In order to qualify for the loans, borrowing nations have to follow a strict guidance provided by the IMF to make sure they will be able to make debt repayments on the older debts owed to international bankers, governments and the IMF/World Bank.  The biggest catch is what I refer to as legalized pillaging – the requirement that borrowing countries devalue their currencies against the dollar; lift all regulations and restrictions on imports and exports and establish price control mechanisms. Although these programs have gone by the wayside in name, they still very much exist in practice (See Greece and Egypt).

Established in 1945 as the agency supposed to oversee the Bretton Woods system and encourage economic growth globally, the IMF basically is an international credit union that is supposed to serve the needs of poorer nations around the world. Unfortunately, the vast majority of IMF programs typically increase poverty rates in the country they say they desire to assist. This comes about because most IMF policies end up making less developed and developing third world countries more dependent on wealthier western nations. How is it that this is the case with an organization whose primary mandate is to reduce poverty yet instead makes it worse?  Namely through the implementation of policy that transfers control of economic factors to the private sector from the public sector (Neoliberalism). Through neoliberalism, and focusing on pegging currency to the dollar and debt repayment being top priorities of IMF programs, developing countries end up reducing spending on things the need like health, education and infrastructure development.

Let’s us look at the recent example of Egypt.  The IMFjust approved a three-year, more than $11 billion euros bailout program for Egypt aimed at trying to get the nations besieged economy back on a steady foot. But in order to get the loan, Egypt had to take out another loan of more than 5 billion euros from a combination of funds from other banks, China, other G7 countries and via bond issues. More troubling was that the government had to let the Egyptian Pound devalue by almost half and was mandated by the IMF to end subsidies for fuel, introducing a value-added tax to raise revenues and writing new legislation to decrease Egypt’s public sector wages. All of this being an incentive for increasing poverty in Egypt with lower wages and higher fuel prices for the average citizen. The hope is the IMF loan will make Egypt more stable, not lead to further unrest (utter hilarity).

We can also look at what happened in Greece in their relationship with the IMF. After the fact we now see the IMF was way out of step with pragmatic economic policy with respect how they handled the economic problems of the nation of Greece as noted in a report conducted by their Independent Evaluation Office (IEO). In Greece, the IMF signed off on a bailout in 2010 itself was not certain it would help to bring country’s debts under control or lead to an economic recovery. Still, the IMF did what it usually did – tried to force through an "internal devaluation" via deflationary wage cuts since the Greek economy was on the Euro. The result however was a disaster.  Not only did this action shrink the economic base and grow the national debt, it weighed down the Greek citizenry since the objectives of the bailout were to protect the EU-IMF monetary union rather than the nation. Since the introduction of these excruciating economic measures, the Greek economy has been in a depression ever since.

Honestly, the bailouts for Greece, Portugal and Ireland demonstrated the ineptness of the EU, Christine Lagarde and the IMF to the surface for all to see – that they had either no understanding of the seriousness of the problem or lacked a complete understanding of currency theory.

The problem with the IMF in simple terms is that it has the primary aim of extracting wealth from nations suffering during troubling economic times and despair.  Moreover, they have no real policy tools (at least currently) to aid in reducing public debt and controlling inflation in a manner that will also guard the country’s poor against the ramifications of what happens when debt repayment is the top priority. Until this changes, IMF policies will continue to keep on reducing the people of developing countries and poorer nations to lower standards of living.

The extortion of poorer nations and/or taking advantage of a country in a time of economic desolation is criminal. There are really no other choices when such economic adversity occurs. First, for foreign investment to come in, investors typically ask that regulations be removed that were designed to be safe guards for the people. The impact of such are more often than not even more distressing and frequently end up imparting even more misery for the developing nations as well as keeping them dependent on richer developed nations.

The shake down and exaction game of the IMF is tight too. After taking the loot, the target nation has to export more in order to raise enough money to pay off their debts on time (an IMF loan requirement). Next, the exports or natural resources become even cheaper to purchase to benefit the consumers in the developed countries and not the poorer nation. This mean these nations have to increase exports just to keep their currencies stable, meaning they spend less on the needs of the people, and eventually the value of labor decreases,  capital flows become more unpredictable (see Asian financial crisis of 1997 & Tequila banking crisis of 1994) and the probable outcome is social unrest, riots and protests.

Funny thing is that the IMF is still doing the same thing (although not called SAP anymore) and as I noted earlier, the most recent example is with Egypt.  Sadly, their feckless policy approach has yet to change and we are certain to see similar outcomes of civil unrest and riots if they continue on this path.  I will give Egypt less than two years.

Monday, November 14, 2016

With sixty-five days remaining before President Elect Donald Trump takes office, one of the more pressing foreign policy concerns, even from his mouth involves ISIS and Syria.  In particular given the international disquiet and precarious uncertainty member states of the European Union have displayed before and after his election.

Prior to the U.S. completion of the primary election, the EU and Obama administration were not completely inagreement on how to address Syria or ISIS.  On the one hand the Obama Administration only claim of success was the destruction of Assad’s chemical weapons capability, which was achieved mainly because of the influence of Russia.  However, outside of this, the Obama administration has been unable to contain the Syrian crisis and has resulted in a mass exodus of refugees into surrounding nation and Europe.

Consequently the EU is just as confused as the present administration and is all over the place with respect to any consistent policy options pertaining to Syria as one would expect with 28 different member states. Instead of embracing Putin, the EU adopted the position of President Obama from 2011 and the leaders of some of the nations, including Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany repeated verbatim that Assad must go.

Instead of working with Putin to attempt to destroy a common foe, the Obama administration has resulted to the childish action of name calling as opposed to formulating a geopolitical policy to address ISIS.  In one such instance, Samantha Power, US ambassador to the UN accused Russia of supporting “barbarism” upon which she and representatives to the UN from the UK and France walked out right when the Syrian representative was to address the council. Even when Obama decided to work with Putin concerning a ceasefire in Aleppo, he was unable to bring fellow NATO member Turkey along, who believes that such would end in a redrawing of the battlefield of Syria in favor of Bashar Assad’s regime and the Kurd’s.

Beyond the Islamic State group and al-Qaida, the citizens of the EU are more concerned with the massive influx of immigrants and a succession of terror attacks in France, Belgium and Germany more than Assad. Trump’s approach is more in line with the citizens of the EU and US than the leadership of the US and EU independent nations.

Trump’s election will obviously take U.S. Syrian foreign policy in a direction in contrast to the EU and President Obama. His approach seems to be more political and diplomatic including working with Putin and Assad if his views on regime change are sincere. Trump has said the U.S. will close its borders to refugees from the Syrian civil war which is in diametric opposition to the stance taken by Merkel.  It is also understood from his statements made during the second presidential debate that his focus would be on defeating the Islamic State (IS) as opposed to going against Russia or Assad, or seeking regime change in Syria.

He has also openly stated he viewed Putin as a good leader and a person he could work with looking for peace and cooperation as opposed to war and animosity.  Similarly, he has offered a not too positive picture of the Saudi’s and NATO. One reason for this is that during the republican primary and general election Trump placed domestic policy as his most unyielding concern. 

Just this past week Trump indicated that he would stop supplying weapons to anti-Assad forces on the ground. This is consistent with some of his past statements in which he has been quoted as saying “My attitude was you’re fighting Syria, Syria is fighting ISIS, and you have to get rid of ISIS. Russia is now totally aligned withSyria, and now you have Iran, which is becoming powerful, because of us, isaligned with Syria... Now we’re backing rebels against Syria, and we have noidea who these people are.” He has even warned that if the US attacks Assad, “we end up fighting Russia, fighting Syria.”

All of this is speculation with the exception of the President Elect’s words and his media described “isolationism.”  We still have to wait for him to put together his administration and name a secretary of state. What is certain is that the back and forth that pigeon-holed the Obama Administration, his Department of State, the Pentagon and CIA on ISIS and regime change in Syria are over.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

It is obvious that a sizeable corpus of US citizens are still walking around in a daze, shell shocked for lack of a better phrase after the stunning (for some) upset defeat of the Hillary Clinton and DNC campaign machine to novice Donald Trump for the presidency of the United States of America.  Not me, in fact I expected such.

Sure, this was an anti-beltway, anti-establishment and anti-elite election outcome, but even more so, it was against corporatism.  I know many may find this a difficult assertion to understand, and will say “but Trump is a billionaire” – and you are correct. However being a billionaire isn’t the same as being a corporatist.  Trump made his money in Real estate via a private company, not through hedge funds, big banks, or Wall Street financial institutions. These are corporations, therefore he is not beholden to the strings that come with having to depend on them for money in any form or fashion as a Hillary Clinton and most House members regardless of party affiliation.

See folk whom were surprised and even upset are removed, far removed from the daily activity associated with the lives of average Americans, in particular those that don’t regular frequent Starbucks or shop at Wholefoods, don’t use Uber and who live in country and rural areas. They don’t know what it is like to chop down a tree on their property and pull out the chainsaw and sell a couple of cords for a little pocket change, or for whom going out mean eatting at Waffle House or buying BarBQ from the black dude parked on the side of the road with a big grill on the back of his F-150.  These the cats that voted for Trump.  If my small town of 2300 is an example, I can speak for a fact that these folk ain’t racist, bigots or intolerant.  They are black, white, Asian, Latino and Hispanics.  In fact everyone in my town, White, Black, Asian or Hispanic were pro-Trump and proud.

They are straight talking people with no pomp or circumstance.  They don’t get turned off by words for actions speak louder.  They are not hypocrites: unlike the cats whom hold disdain for Trump’s perceived misogynistic statements but be up in the club or be bumping the misogyny of Lil Wayne, Drake or Jay-Z and knowing, as well as singing along with each word, if not shaking they azz in the club and don’t even include shake booty joints. Yes, this election was about the rural versus urban, country versus city divide equally.

The mainstream media and press have been dealing with Hillary so long she was basically consider as one of their own – one of them. There is a different set of values imbued in people who do their own plumbing when there is a leaky pipe, change their own oil on their truck and do their own dry walling when they need to patch a hole in a wall when compared to people that typically do not know how to do or take care of themselves in such a manner.
Image result for newsweek madam presidentThis is what pollsters have either avoided or forgotten about. When you sample mostly city and urban areas, these type of people are lost in the mix and you will have more college-educated people in your sample albeit they may not be representative of the population of “likely voters” which means you have zero external validity. This is the main reason why it is often disremembered that polls are not and can never be scientific because they are not systematic. There is no systematic standard for any poll.  Having your temperature or blood pressure taken is a systematic process because the standard method of calibration remains the same regardless of time. Unlike this, polls base their standards on prior elections which are always changing and included different proportions based on who voted in the past – this is neither scientific nor systematic. Most pollsters and statistical models gave Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning more than 90%. This was true all over – especially for Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. What happened is that these folk oversampled and adjusted their polls to give them the result they wanted instead of the result that would be true. This is not scientific for it is not objective.

But such reflects the frowzy dispositions of inherent bias and isolation proffered by urban city dwellers.  See, cats like us are seen by them as living in the places they fly over going form New York City to Miami, or Portland to Chicago. They look down from 35,000 feet and just see land, not people – this is how out of touch they are. For them, we are just cats to mock, laugh at, call ignorant and backwards. This is modern journalism and political punditry at its best – smug and contemptuous for much of the electorate because it is easier to call folk names like racists and sexists as opposed to get to know them. Why, because it is easier to think for us because they are smarter and know better. THIS is true bigotry. We ain’t followers the way mainstream elite desire for us to be, we not the kind of folk that shut up and get in line because we are told too (See President Obama as Example number one).

For me it is not the name calling that is the worse part, it is the fact that inside the belt way and other city like folk in the media and politics don’t even try, or make an effort to really try and understand folk like us. Facts are only facts when they spout them even when absent of reason and logic.  For example, the folk the media and punditry class are calling racist Trump supporters the same Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania voters who supported Obama in 2008. Many were the same who supported Sander’s over Clinton as well.  Were they racist, sexist and bigots when they supported him?

Time for city cats to wake up.  There is no post truth era. The truth is (unlike those giving the analysis) that the majority of Americans ain’t making six figures a year let alone getting six figures to give a speech for 30 minutes.  They are the 70 plus percent of households making less than $60,000 a year. So GET OUT OF YOUR FEELINGS, stop whining and crying. Man up and don’t be such a puzzy you act as if this is a shock when it wasn’t. It were you city folk that decided to poll each other (mostly college educated folk). So deal with it, you haters were on our bodies, so we shook you off – OOOUUU.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I am very well aware that there are so many conflicts occurring that it is hard to keep track of them all.  This new world era of geopolitical hegemony is tricky. Yet still, of all of the conflicts I am having a problem taking my eyes off of India and Pakistan. Tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad have been running high ever since India cracked down on protests in Indian-administered Kashmir in July.
Image result for india pakistan kashmir
Over the past month there have been several events that make this situation both interesting and frighten. There was an assault that occurred in Kashmir on sept 18 in which four gunmen took an Indian army brigade headquarters in the Indian controlled town of Uri which resulted in the death of 18 soldiers. Although no one claimed responsibility for the attack, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's accused Pakistan and even called it a terrorist state for supporting the individuals Modi believed were behind the attack. The Modi administration purports that the attack was carried out by members of Jaish-e-Mohammed (a group based in Pakistan that has the aim of forcing the withdrawal of troops in India-controlled Kashmir). More recently, an Indian army brigade headquarters near the de factor border with Pakistan was attacked which left 17 soldiers dead in the northern region of Kashmir.

Then on the 21st of October, seven Pakistani Rangers were killed and three others injured when the Border Security Force (BSF) of India retaliated shelled and fired from across the International Border at locations near and around the Kathua and Jammu districts of Kashmir. The only information that has been proffered is that Islamabad has rejected all allegations made by New Delhi's in an effort to take attention away from human rights violations in Indian-controlled Kashmir, while Pakistan has asserted that the Indian Army is just firing at citizens and military outpost without provocation.

Whatever the case and whoever fired first, this is getting in dangerous territory. From what I have read, there have been at least four wars between India and Pakistan, if not more if I included other minor skirmishes. The first happened in 1947. This was called by many as the First Indo-Pakistani War. Like most wars it stated over some dumb shit – the belief that the royal leader of Kashmir would pledge his nation’s allegiance to India. He had the choice to join India or Pakistan or to remain independent. The problem was that he was a Hindu and ruled a majority Muslim population and this was a no-no for Pakistan, so they attacked and occupied parts of Kashmir and this was the first war.  It took UN Security Council involvement for a formal cease-fire to occur and on New year’s eve  1949,  India gained control of about two-third of Kashmir and Pakistan a third. The second war occurred in 1965 after Pakistan's military joined with militants from Jammu and Kashmir to start an insurgency against Indian rule in the region. This resulted in India launching a full-scale military attack on what was then West Pakistan. Although it only lasted for a week, the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War resulted in thousands of casualties and was considered by some historians to have been the largest tank battle since World War II. The war only ended after the Soviet Union and USA got involved to negotiate a truce between Islamabad and New Delhi. Believe it or not, the same thing happened again in 1971 and 1991.

The new region at issue is the border along the Himalayan Rivers. Just this week seven civilians, including two minors, were killed and several others wounded when Pakistani troops shelled several districts along the border. This was not the first time Pakistani troops have shelled the area or broken the ceasefire. It has been reported that India Border Security Force destroyed 14 Pakistani posts when they responded with heavy mortar fire.

It seems that almost daily we are getting information regarding either one side shooting or shelling the other side. Most recently involved Pakistani officials say Indian troops have opened fire across the Line of Control in the disputed region regularly and they continue to respond with heavy fire as a consequence.

I cannot imagine either side wanting a war.  The major issue for me is that both are nuclear powers – yes, both have the bomb(s). On bare equipment, I would think that Pakistan wouldn’t even want to engage India in a war.  India has a clearly larger military and more money. Many around the globe consider India’s economy as being more stable than its neighbor and one of the fastest growing economies in the world in the last decade. India also has several other advantages: India has a population of 1.2 Billion compared to 199 million for Pakistan; India has military aircraft- 2,086 compared to less than 1000 for Pakistan and Indian spends around 40 billion annually on its military compared to around 7 billion for Pakistan.

Likewise, India has enough problems on its hands after this past summer and its violent and bloody response to protest by the oppressed citizens of Kashmir, ever since military and police killed a young leader sparked uprisings across the Kashmir region which has resulted In the deaths of around 100 people, leaving hundreds of other blinded.  By some estimates, over the past several months almost 20,000 (adults and children) have been injured, and several thousand placed under arrest spending and living the past months under curfews in Kashmir.

With all of the violence presently happening in the world, especially in the region many call the Middle East, it is extremely important that we keep an eye on this, for history has shown us the region of Kashmir is a hotbed and its people crave independence away from India at any cost. In addition, it doesn’t take much for Islamabad and New Delhi to go to war with each other, and maybe even making use of the nuclear option. There have already been four significant wars between the two nations over the past 70 years, I just wonder if we may be seeing the start of the fifth.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Once upon a time before this age of video games, cell phones and 24 hour continuous cable television, there were four television stations and they all went off around midnight to a hollow vapid medium pitch tone with the picture of an Indian in the background.  This was a period in which if you were not outside playing and being active, if you were inside and not reading you were playing a game with your family of friends. Typically this was either in cards but mainly board games.  One such board game which was one of my favorites was Risk. Made by Parker Brothers, Risk is a strategy board that has three main objectives: to control entire continents to get reinforcement armies, to protect and watch ones borders and to protect and defend against other neighboring armies/nations that could attack you and building up ones military on their own borders for defensive purposes.
It was a heated game and brought the best and worst out in most people whom played it, with each player accumulating and stacking up those little squares in anticipation of a possible impending attack. In risk, a player has the best chance of winning if the hold continents since this is the best way to increase reinforcements. Players often attempt to gain control of Australia early in the game, since Australia is the only continent that can be successfully defended via heavy fortification (continents with fewer borders are easier to defend).

The battle for Mosul is on after Obama announcing out loud it would be eventually taking place before the end of 2016. The way I am seeing this adventure in Mosul is just like a game of Risk.  To take the city you have to first get past all of the villages on the outskirts of the city. Imagine having to go through Newnan or Smyrna, Georgia to get to Atlanta.  But in this city, every road like Peachtree Street has IEDs buried all through them and on every roof there is a sniper. If you manage to get through this, in the back of your mind you know that the cats that have been there have been dug in for two years, that they have the advantage.

The West of Mosul is the old city and from what I have been told, it will be difficult for anyone to go in and fight there – can’t drive Humvees or Tanks because the roads are too tight and thin and ISIS is going to put a stiff front against the U.S.- Iraqi coalition forces as they enter.

This doesn’t even include considering the post conflict environment in Mosul, which will be a very difficult path itself to navigate. I mean, you can’t remove 1.5 million Mosul residents for a few thousand ISIS militants and we can’t make the same mistakes we did by allowing Iraqi security forces to completely demolish everything in sight as we did in Fallujah, Ramadi or Tikrit (or it will set the same conditions that allowed ISIS to grow in the first place), unless it is the Obama Administration goal to push ISIS west into Syria. The danger of this however is that it will take a very long time to get ISIS out of Mosul and the civilians will suffer disproportionately.

How Mosul will be governed after or if ISIS leaves is another query.  Has the Obama team thought about it – a city predominantly Sunni and Iraqi security forces predominately Shia? This will be a very extremely complicated task for we will approach this act as if it is a typical Western intervention and a typical Arab city.  Unfortunately Mosul isn’t your average Arab city. It is a very multi-cultural city centered between Syria and Turkey.  It is a very diverse city filled with Sunni, Shiite, Kurds, Christians. Taking one bank of the Tigris River will be easy, but to take the entire city, will be something that will take a long time.  Which reminds me again, what the after plan is if and/or after Mosul falls?  How will the US coalition deal with a large Iraqi Force, a large Kurdish force and the desire that Shia militia have to get in on the action? All which are paramount issues that worry the Turks (Sunni), who are as we speak training anti-ISIS fighters in the strategic town of Bashiqa and want to enter Mosul and engage in battle. They are vehemently against Shia militias taking part in any fighting in the city; for Erdogan has openly said he thinks Mosul should be a city for Sunni Turkmen, Sunni Kurds and Sunni Arabs.

Turkey already has troops in Iraq and they are not welcomed nor were invited by the Iraqi government. They are not very diplomatic because they claim that Mosul is a Turkish city while at the same time Kurds want autonomy in Iraq, especially Mosul and display even stronger and similar feelings as it pertains to in Norther Iraq.

Turkish military is also training Sunni tribes with the hope of keeping a migration from Mosul to Turkey from occurring. The Peshmerga (Kurds) are coming in from the east heading west to make sure they keep folk from going to Kurdistan and Shia militias are on the West to keep ISIS from going into Syria. Yes, this is a big old game of Risk.

And what of the U.S.? Well after getting rid of Saddam Hussein, they city still lacks consistent running water and consistent electricity due to the U.S. invasion as is the case for most of Iraq and the anti U.S. animosity remains high. For many Iraqis, the U.S. has not only failed to make life better than it was under Saddam Hussein, it has made daily living worse. Strangely, before ISIS took root in Mosul, it was touted as being more secure than Baghdad. Presently, ISIS has every vehicle, building, child, cat and dog rigged with explosives and if success is to be had in Mosul, it will be a street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood, house by house dog fight.

If America continues on this path of the feckless Obama-Clinton – Bush-Rumsfeld foreign policy approach, President Obama could be leaving his predecessor another Aleppo. Not only is the Iraqi government corrupt as all get out, none of the cats doing the fighting trust each other (U.S. military, Kurdish Peshmerga, Turks or Shia militias).

In all honesty, if Mosul is liberated, it will be the start of a bigger war and an excuse for the Obama administration to move into Syria which I believe is his true desire albeit we ALL know Washington hasn’t planned properly nor is ready for such an event (See Libya and Yemen). I may be wrong, but you tell me if the present administration, like the prior, has outlined any strategic goals or objectives for achieving such and dealing with the aftermath other than aerial bombardments? And if I am correct, it will be more wasting of the loot of the American people when our problems should be first and foremost on the table for solution finding regarding our struggling economy.

Mosul is problematic. Not only is there no central command, without the U.S., Kurds and Shia militias, the Iraqi Security Forces would never be able to take the city on their own and would probably run as they did when ISIS first entered Iraq. Add this to the tangible hatred between all involved, it would be highly unlikely for everybody, in particular when you throw the Turks in the mix, not to just end up shooting at each other. Even if this doesn’t manifest, what is consistent is that it will represent regardless of the outcome, more failed U.S. foreign policy and more dead bodies and destroyed communities since our only answer is to just give out weapons to whoever we decide to support, not based on logic nor the interest of the people living in the Middle east

And you can best believe if Hillary Clinton becomes the president elect, the D.C. neocon and neoliberal foreign policy establishment will be salivating for more U.S. intervention which would probably be in the form of a no-fly zone, that would not save anyone or help the people on the ground or get rid of ISIS, but rather cause more problems and maybe even a direct confrontation with Syria, Russia and Iran. But if I were optimist I would speculate that, we may get rid of ISIL in Mosul, eventually, but what will come next after them to fill the void is my concern.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Over the past week I have noticed many big speculators of the Wall Street ilk expressing, via their monetary and personal wealth actions, that if Trump wins the general elections that they think the market will tank.  It was cool for a while with everyone thinking Hillary had this election in the bag but recently it appears the fear that Donald Trump could win has set in on Wall Street. Some of the experts say that a Trump victory would most definitely reduce the value of the S&P 500 and other global stock markets by 10-15%. Given this, it wouldn’t surprise me if the largest panic attack is occurring in the equity market arena.

Seems major global financial institutions are afraid of what an unscripted President Trump would do.  Would he tear up trade agreements? What would that do to world markets?  Will our trade partners cause a trade war as a retaliatory action? What we do know, based on his position papers is that a Trump presidency would likely mean a major tax code transformation, the ending or renegotiation of NAFTA and taxing hedge funds, among other things.

The first sign for me was the dollar. The dollar has been slipping to yen and the euro been slowly moving up. The dollar has also added to the Mexican Peso. While at the same time, we see bond yields going down along with stocks.  Even before this, all the chatter should have given warnings of such with so much attention being placed on interest rates and inflationAround the globe, the feeling is that a rise in inflation is on the way.  Warnings of bond market inflation have been uttered from Germany to Canada. If this true then our currency will purchase less and prices will be going higher and higher.

This is what I have to say, just because the markets panic, you should not. When that piercing immediate sell-off on the markets that is bound to happen if Trump wins according to the mainstream (see Brexit) then jump in and buy, buy, buy if you got any spare loot. What I anticipate is that we will see and experience what we observed after Brexit. The market will go through a massive panic sell-off due to perceived future uncertainty and eventually bounce back. We saw this with the Brexit vote when the pound dropped sharply after the vote to leave the EU. Now some months later we see the pound jumping to an almost one-month high against the dollar. In fact the same experts are outing a similar outcome with a Trump Victory as they did with a Brexit vote – that if fully implemented, Trump's economic policies will result in a loss of any where between 4 and 11 million U.S. jobs. The main stream media is serving as an echo chamber for these sentiments.

Even before Brexit, when the first steps towards a European currency were taking place in 1972 history saw the Sterling drop out after only six weeks, weaker than ever, bowing to the dictates of the markets.  In 1976 we saw the pound fall below $2 for the first time but eventually the Sterling proved too strong.  What will likely happen, is that Central banks around the world will intervene to keep whatever currency that is on top from becoming too strong. Martin Weitzman in his 2007 paper "Subjective Expectations and Asset-Return Puzzles," noted that most of the time such economic disasters (like a 10-15%) drop on a given index like S&P) did not occur. Although it is possible theoretically that the S&P could fall by X percent for any given number of months, in economic reality you are sure to lose loot in the short-term, but eventually your expected upside will always be greater.  Even if inflation runs well above its target or above short term bond/stock yields.

So I say if there is a Trump effect in the markets, it will prove from now to be a great time to buy s we saw after the crash of 1929.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Before the resignation of Richard M. Nixon as president of the United States, Spiro Agnew became the first U.S. vice president to resign discredited in scandal. On that very same day, he pleaded no contest to a charge of federal income tax evasion in order to avoid being brought up on charges of political corruption. He got off lightly, just a $10,000, three years’ probation, and his professional disbarred by the Maryland court of appeals.

Agnew, a Republican, was governor of Maryland until he was nominated for the Republican vice presidential candidate in 1968. During 1972-73 the U.S. Justice Department uncovered extensive evidence of political corruption on behalf of Agnew, including the acceptance of bribes even while serving as vice president of the U.S. Lyndon Johnson described Agnew as a person who “became a political celebrity for reasons that had nothing much to do with character or capacity.

HRC has Agnew by a country mile. Just starting over the past few weeks: Abedin telling the FBI the she told the Whitehouse every time Clinton changed emails, HRC’s staff removing "top secret" classification markings off emails on her private server (possibly two felonies according to some) the most problematic being felony by possessing and storing top secret information on an insecure server, and “bribes disguised as charitable contributions.“

The latter maybe the most nefarious. Agnew was only taking bribes from U.S. corporate interest not foreign governments as is the case with HRC. This encompasses Algeria giving half a million dollars to the Clinton foundation while at the same time lobbying the HRC State Department for special favors and without the approval of the Obama administration. To put it simply, HRC has five FBI investigations (two open investigations), the Weiner pedophilia investigation, as well as the pay-to-play with the Clinton Foundation, and having her email investigation reopened.  

I am saying this because it is often projected that HRC is a lot like Obama.  Certainly she has some economic and progressive views on big ticket items like the president on guns, health care and regime change, but in disposition and historical attribute, she has more in common with former vice president and governor of Maryland Spiro Agnew.

The way I see it, the academic elitism of HRC prohibits any similarity with Obama. I would speculate that her relationship with Obama will forever change if she is indicted or eventually convicted, their relationship won't end up the same way. After Agnew’s resignation in October 1973, he and Nixon never spoke again.

Torrance T. Stephens. Powered by Blogger.

I am Author, Writer and Infectious Disease Scientist. Originally from Memphis, Tennessee.

My Old Blog & [Bitcoin Wallet]

Torrance T. Stephens on Google Scholar
Torrance T. Stephens on Research Gate








Worth A Read

24 Hr Gold
Adeyinka Makinde, Writer
Advancing Time
http://Afghanistan Times
Africa Confidential
African Independent
Ahval News
Al-Alam News Network
Al-Ayham Saleh Aggregator
American Partisan
Anadolu Agency
ANF News
Another Day In The Empire
Antonius Aquinas
The Arab Weekly
Asharq Al Awsat English
Antonius Aquinas
Article V Blog
Bakhtar News English
Bill Mitchell Blog
Borneo Bulletin
CAJ News Africa
Catalan News
Chuck Spinney
Center for Economic and Policy Research
Crime Prevention Research Center
24 Cryptogon
Dawn News
Deep Throat
Der Spiegel International Online
Diogenes Middle Finger
Dollar Collapse
Donbass International News Agency
EA WorldView
Economist View
Egypt Independent
Empty Wheel
eNews Channel Africa
Fabius Maximus
First Things
Foreign Policy In Focus
Fortune Financial Blog
France24 Debate Youtube
Frontline Magazine, India
Global Guerrillas
gods & radicals
Gold Anti-Trust Action Comm
Gray Zone Project
Greg Palast
Gubbmint Cheese
Gun Watch
Hacker News
Intercollegiate Studies Institute
If Americans Only Knew Blog Ie
Illegal Alien Crime Report.com
Independent Ie
Indian Punchline
Information Clearinghouse
Institute for New Economic Thinking
Insecurity Analysis
James Petras
James Bowman
John Brown's Public Diplomacy Press
Khaama Press News Agency
Kashmir Monitor
Land Destroyer Report
LegeNet blog
Le Monde diplomatique
Libyan Express
MIT Technology Review
Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
Mark Curtis
Measure Text Readability
Mello Reads The Meter
Mish Talk
Moon of Alabama
Morningstar News
NewBlackMan (in Exile)
Op India
Owl's Asylum
OWL In Catch Up Mode
Palestinian News & Info Agency
Paperboy - Newspaper Front Pages
PanAm Post
Philosophy of Metrics
Planet of the Chimps #2
Pogo Was Right
Prensa Latina
Prison Reform
Privacy Watch News
Professional Troublemaker
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently
Real Time Business News
Redress Information & Analysis
Ripped Em Up
Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity
Russian Insider
Seven Days
Silent Crow News
Silver For The People
Snake Hole Lounge
South China Morning Post
South Front
Spiked Online
Steve Keen's Debtwatch
Steve Lendman Blog
Straight line logic
Strategic Culture Foundation
Syrian Arab News Agency
The Asian Age
The American Conservative
The Automatic Earth
The Cable Nigeria
The Conscious Resistance.com/
The Conversable Economist
The Daily Sabah
The Day UK
The Diplomat
The Economic Collapse
The Field Negro
The Fifth Column News
The Hindu
The Ignorant Fisherman
The Money Illusion
The National Interest
Tom Dispatch
TRT World
Tyranny News
Oriental Review
The Rutherford Institute
The Slog
The Social Contract
The Standard (Hong Kong)
The Unbalanced Evolution of Homo Sapiens
Triangulum Intel
vigilant citizen
Volkay's Volcano
Wall Street On Parade
Warsaw Voice
We Kill Because We Can
Yanis Varoufakis
Yohap News Agency
Zero Anthropology