Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 22, 2019

Venezuela - After Opposition Support 'Deflated' - U.S. Targets Food Aid Supply

The hot-air figures the U.S. used for its regime change efforts in Venezuela failed to do their job. The New York Times declares their movement "deflated".

Eleven hours after the story went live (and the White House had called?) the headline changed.

While it still repeats propaganda claims, the report makes clear that Guaidó is lacking public support:

CARACAS, Venezuela — It was a daring gambit: Juan Guaidó, Venezuela’s opposition leader, stood by a military base alongside dozens of uniformed officers and political allies, calling for a military uprising against President Nicolás Maduro.
...
Three weeks later, Mr. Guaidó is shuttling among a half-dozen safe houses to escape capture. ... And the protests that filled the streets with Mr. Guaidó’s supporters are dwindling ..
...
Weakened and unable to bring the political crisis gripping Venezuela to a quick resolution, Mr. Guaidó has been forced to consider negotiations with Mr. Maduro. Both sides have sent representatives to Norway for talks, a concession Mr. Guaidó previously rejected.

This change is a turning point for the opposition, which in January had gathered momentum, attracting broad international backing and huge crowds of supporters. Now, that momentum has nearly dissipated — a testament to Mr. Maduro’s firm hold on power even as the country crumbles around him.

The government of Venezuela is talking with some of the opposition parties, there is no confirmation yet that Guaidó's party, which is the most radical opposition element, is actually involved. It is doubtful that the government would want to 'negotiate' with it.

Interestingly the NYT now leaves out the false "interim president" attribute that it previously used to describe Guaidó.

That Guaidó failed with his clownish coup attempt does not mean that the U.S. will give up on its regime change efforts.

Venezuela's economy is in a deep economic crisis. The cause are not the minor socialist attempts its government made, but the economic war the U.S. is waging against it:

United States sanctions are ravaging Venezuela’s vital oil sector and imports, making it increasingly difficult for Mr. Maduro to govern. The country largely ground to a halt over the weekend because of a lack of fuel — a shortage that Mr. Maduro has blamed the sanctions for.

Luckily no one in Venezuela has yet to die for lack of food. But there are severe problems:

[T]hree years have passed since oil prices plummeted from over US $100 a barrel in early 2014 to around US $40 in early 2015. Three years have also gone by since the first sanctions against Venezuela were implemented by the Obama administration, since being intensified by the current US government. The result has been a combination of these two factors with the enormously complex structure of the Venezuelan food system, which is reliant on imports, heavily colonised by northern tastes and swollen by the oil boom of recent decades. Currently, and despite all efforts, the dynamics of food-access depends on income: those who have more money eat more and better.

In 2015 the opposition used its support from large producers, importers and distributors to create artificial scarcity of food and hygiene products. The government responded by creating the Local Provision and Production Committees (CLAPs) which deliver monthly packages to more that 6 million families:

The CLAP program is an arrangement between the government and grassroots groups aimed at distributing subsidised food and other basic household goods to low income Venezuelan households.

The poor welcome their packages but the more wealthy opposition supporters in the U.S. and on the ground always hate the program:

While Venezuela’s commune movement largely supports the CLAPs, the opposition has long claimed the program discriminates against households that don’t support the government. According to the government, the CLAPs have reduced hunger and food scarcity across the country.

The packages program is means based. But there are also CLAP markets (vid) where everyone can buy. CLAP does not discriminate between government or opposition supporters. It just happens that the poor are not the ones who support the neo-liberal politics the opposition parties prefer.

During recent riots opposition supporters burned down CLAP storehouse and packaging centers.

The Trump administration is now joining the opposition effort to increase the number of people in Venezuela who go hungry:

The United States is preparing sanctions and criminal charges against Venezuelan officials and others suspected of using a military-run food aid program to launder money for President Nicolas Maduro’s government, according to people familiar with the matter.
...
Sanctions and fraud indictments are under consideration against Venezuelan military officials and politicians as well as Venezuelan business people and foreign partners, the sources said.
...
Many Venezuelan families rely on the subsidized food program, known by its Spanish initials CLAP, for their basic necessities in the oil-producing South American nation ...

How can a Maduro government subsidized food program "launder money for President Nicolas Maduro’s government"? Their is no logic in the argument the Trump administration makes.

The move will be ineffective. It will not help to 'regime change' the government. Targeting subsidized food distribution for the poor will not increase support for the opposition. Any disruption of CLAP will be blamed on it. The less the people receive, the more they will dependent on even a reduced CLAP and on other government programs.

It is pure viciousness, not thought through politics, that drives this.

Posted by b on May 22, 2019 at 18:41 UTC | Permalink

Comments

Good old (for now) archive.org has two captures of the page (May 21, 2019, at 21:54:35 and 23:36:04); both feature the original title - https://web.archive.org/web/20190521233604/https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/21/world/americas/venezuela-juan-guaido-nicolas-maduro.html">https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/21/world/americas/venezuela-juan-guaido-nicolas-maduro.html">https://web.archive.org/web/20190521233604/https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/21/world/americas/venezuela-juan-guaido-nicolas-maduro.html

Posted by: Vasco Valente | May 22 2019 19:01 utc | 1

Most DS Americans don't care,,, they've been hoodwinked into believing it's all due to socialism. I've stopped buying Citgo gas as it appears the US may end up stealing the money like it has Venezuela's gold and other US holdings. Russia and China could help by helping them build refineries and develop oil fields but they don't appear to want to. Venezuelans are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Posted by: ken | May 22 2019 19:09 utc | 2

And here's my comment that the NY Times refused to post yesterday May 21st when I first read the NY Times fables you start with:

But Juan Guaidó has no legitimate claim to the presidency. He’s not some party to a contested election. He’s just Trump’s pick.

So there’s pretending he’s representing some kind of valid opposition is just delusional.

And the NY Times seems to have forgotten that the Supreme Court shut down the Venezuelan National Assembly because it wasn’t passing laws/governing.

So what is there to “negotiate”?

Answer: Nothing.

Don’t like Maduro then win against him in at election time, don’t sit out the next presidential election. Also don’t call for the US to attack Venezuela if you want to be treated as legit opposition.


Submitted May 21st 8:13 PM Eastern


Gee, I wonder why my comment wasn't approved at the NYT? Sarcasm.

Posted by: Jay | May 22 2019 19:25 utc | 3

The Venezuelan government documented all major acts of financial-economic aggression from the US, which is published as a impressive timeline of US Sanctions, Violations Against Venezuela on SputnikNews, this Monday evening.
It shows very clearly the desperate effort of the empire to destroy the State that wants to be independent, have free education, free medical care, social programs, intent to care for the poor and even dare to develop the independent crypto currency 'Petro'
The best way to beat the media channels and congo's of the empire who try to put the blame for the economical crisis on the Bolivarian government, is to republish this list where ever you can.
There already is a

Posted by: iano | May 22 2019 19:32 utc | 4

The House Organ of American Empire™ wrote:"Three weeks later, Mr. Guaidó is shuttling among a half-dozen safe houses to escape capture." I propose a more accurate version: "Three weeks later, Mr. Guaidó is shuttling among a half-dozen safe houses to escape assassination by the CIA."

Posted by: Peter VE | May 22 2019 19:36 utc | 5

@ken #2:

Russia and China could help by helping them build refineries and develop oil fields but they don't appear to want to.

Both Russia and China are, in fact, developing oil fields in Venezuela.

Venezuela should focus on improving food security. There’s enough arable land in Venezuela to feed everybody many times over, but it has to be worked efficiently. Trying to grow food in a public square in the middle of Caracas is not an efficient use of labor. Venezuela should ask Bolivarian activists to move to the countryside and work the land using modern agricultural machinery and fertilizers. Russia and China can help with that.

Posted by: S | May 22 2019 19:41 utc | 6

In this article it is stated:
“Luckily no one in Venezuela has yet to die for lack of food.”

I certainly hope that you correct, but are you saying that these reports are incorrect, or did I misread something?

https://www.democracynow.org/2019/5/1/economist_jeffrey_sachs_us_sanctions_have

“More than 40,000 people have died in Venezuela since 2017 as a result of U.S. sanctions, according to a new report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research co-authored by economists Jeffrey Sachs and Mark Weisbrot. The report examines how U.S. sanctions have reduced the availability of food and medicine in Venezuela and increased disease and mortality. We speak with Jeffrey Sachs in our New York studio. In the report, he writes, “American sanctions are deliberately aiming to wreck Venezuela’s economy and thereby lead to regime change. It’s a fruitless, heartless, illegal, and failed policy, causing grave harm to the Venezuelan people.”

Trump Has Murdered Over 40,000 Venezuelans With Sanctions

https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/trump-has-murdered-over-40-000-venezuelans-with-sanctions-6eb3e7f0eb7f

Posted by: stever | May 22 2019 19:41 utc | 7

I republished a Dutch translation of the "timeline of US Sanctions, Violations Against Venezuela", referring to the original source.
I would encourage your to refer to the original english tekst , translate it in your own language and republish it wherever you can.

Posted by: iano | May 22 2019 19:49 utc | 8

Ah crap.very first post fucks up the format. OK, I won’t mention it anymore. Yes, there’s the « reader view » which form ats it down to like 3 words perline. A happy medium, say 10-15 words perline is perfect (as it is by default) . Sorry for whining about this again. I won’t mention it again. Isn’t there some code that would fix the width, and nt let it get f’d up ?

Posted by: Featherless | May 22 2019 20:12 utc | 9

I supposed it'd be amiss of us not to point out that the deliberate targeting of the food supply of the civilian population is a crime against humanity and a violation of "International Law", but once again the American people and their government have shown that they just don't care about "Law" or "Humanity". During "O-bomb-ya", I was infuriated by his complete denial of US actions that were blatant violations of International Law (and as it turns out domestic law as well), however Trump's administration is even more warmongering belligerent, this really is nothing less than pure gangsterism without even a legal fig leaf to justify it. The US was never a moral power, but the frequency of these crimes certainly seems to have accelerated over the past 5 or 6 years (especially over the past 2 yrs), it seems every day the US is threatening, attacking, insulting or sanctioning some country. Unfortunately, this process of threatening countries every day can't continue forever, eventually some country will stand up to the US and force them to put up or shut up and given how delusional the US has been behaving since 2001 I don't think they will make a rational decision.

Posted by: Kadath | May 22 2019 20:37 utc | 10

Has Venezuela counterattacked? ZeroHedge reports thousands of managers being laid-off by major corporations and the total demise of Dressbarn, which is closing all of its 650 stores. And if not Venezuela, then it must be Iran, or China, or Russia, or any other nation other than the USA. Ah Ha!! I have it! Trump's secretly sanctioned his own economy! What's that? It's not a secret? It's all due to the Trade War Trump escalated that began under Obama?! But, just look at the Markets! They're all close to their all time highs! Surely that's a sign of good economic health and we shouldn't be concerned about these permanent layoffs and store closings, right?

Trump bankrupted most of his business ventures. Jack Rabbit may have been onto something as the Deep State couldn't have found a better candidate to oversee the USA's bankruptcy, although Trump wasn't its primary agent.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 22 2019 20:55 utc | 11

I wonder if, at this point, the Trump regime/deep state have a rational goal for its efforts against Venezuela. Are they planning to starve VZ into surrender? Are they just throwing a tantrum? In Syria, with Iran and Venezuela, the regime's actions are incoherent and half-assed at best.

Posted by: NoOneYouKnow | May 22 2019 20:57 utc | 12

thanks b... "The cause are not the minor socialist attempts its government made, but the economic war the U.S. is waging against it" exactly... and this is what the west is now known for - financial sanctions on countries that don't want to bow and be servant to them.

ditto @ 6 peter ve and @11 kadaths comments too...

the usa is fucked.. not sure how the world moves to a multipolar one, or to a world where different systems of living will be allowed.. it is so bizarre just how vicious and hostile the usa system is towards a country that doesn't allow itself to be exploited 24/7 like all the other well behaved countries... too bad the nyt pimps for this same ideology 24/7 and people even bother to read it..

Posted by: james | May 22 2019 21:09 utc | 13

NoOneYouKnow @ 14:

Part of your answer is that the US government does not want a socialist government that succeeds in getting rid of poverty in its own backyard. Because if a socialist government can and does succeed, that in itself is a message to other poor people, especially other poor Spanish-speaking people, and there are millions of those in the US. Washington can't afford to have its own plebs with pitchforks arriving on its own doorstep.

The US has been starving North Korea since the end of the Korean War with one set of sanctions after another of varying severity and by timing its military exercises with South Korea close to the NK border at rice-sowing and rice-harvesting times in NK. Most of the conscripts in NK's army are farm labourers. (NK doesn't have agricultural machinery because of the, er, sanctions.) How did that work out for the US? NK still hasn't surrendered.

Posted by: Jen | May 22 2019 21:29 utc | 14

@iano #9,

There is a far better one done by Romain Migus in french actualized each month:
Chronologie des sanctions économiques contre le Venezuela

Posted by: Made in Quebec | May 22 2019 22:22 utc | 15

Part of the assault on Venezuela's related to its hydrocarbons. Today, I received word of a new report by my pals at the Post Carbon Institute: "How Long Will the Shale Revolution Last?: Technology versus Geology and the Lifecycle of Shale Plays." The email announcement contained a graphic showing the increase in horizontal lateral drilling lengths and water injection volume from 2012-2018 that prompted me to click the link to this report synopsis. The summation is similar to a similar report on NatGas:

"The [advanced] suite of drilling techniques 'have lowered costs and allowed the resource to be extracted with fewer wells, but have not significantly increased the ultimate recoverable resource ... Technological improvements 'don’t change the fundamental characteristics of shale production, they only speed up the boom-to-bust life cycle'."

And the resource inputs are driving up costs which indicate the maxing out of extraction rates and signal the coming onset of decline. The same goes for NatGas extraction. The US Government likes to denounce nations that subsidize the cost of hydrocarbons to consumers and Venezuela has gotten its share. But what's never mentioned is the US Government does the same thing albeit in different ways. A longstanding canard is wells run dry, only they don't. What happens is the remaining hydrocarbons become too expensive to extract and the well gets capped until at some future point it becomes economical to resume. The USA contains thousands of capped wells and will create thousands more.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 22 2019 22:23 utc | 16

Jay at 4 Your post looks OK for the Times. Maybe you didn't post because you don't have an account? I post there under the Spanish version of my name. Thanks to the Simpson family, "Bart" was already taken

Posted by: Bart Hansen | May 22 2019 22:45 utc | 17

Stever at 8 Thanks for mentioning the Jeffrey Sachs piece. In the past he has had some rough patches here, but this research indicates his good will.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | May 22 2019 22:48 utc | 18

This just in from Code Pink
"Breaking news: The governments of Venezuela and Turkey have agreed to sign a Protecting Power Agreement that would allow the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC to be under the charge of the Turkish government. To be operative, however, it must be approved by the State Department. Please sign this petition urging the State Department to give its approval.

It is in the U.S. interest to approve this agreement because then the Venezuelan government will approve a similar Protecting Power Agreement reached between the United States and Switzerland to give the Swiss government control of the US Embassy in Caracas and provide critical functions such as assisting U.S. citizens.

There are disagreements within the US government, however, with the John Bolton faction wanting to hand the Venezuela Embassy over to the representatives of opposition leader Juan Guaidó, even though they have no control inside Venezuela and would not be able to carry out any of the functions of an embassy. We must convince the more rational members of the Trump administration that approving the Protecting Power Agreement between Venezuela and Turkey is in the interest of the U.S. government and in the interest of the people of both nations."
They have a petition online asking the State Dept to accept Turkey's offer www.codepink.org

Posted by: frances | May 22 2019 23:29 utc | 19

frances @21--

The Trump administration has "rational members"? Oh yeah, that's right. I did write that the plans made by psychotics can be rational, but I was just paraphrasing Chomsky.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 23 2019 0:08 utc | 20

AmeriKKKa's ham-fisted clumsiness and ineptitude in Venezuela is crying out for a ditty about deflection. There's a ready-made oldie from last century which ties together a similarly disparate, nonsensical, and parallel cast of characters...
The Walrus: John Bolton
A King: Nicolas Maduro
A Cabbage: Juan Guaido

Cabbages and Kings

The time has come, the walrus said,
To speak of other things.
Of shoes and ships and sealing wax,
Of cabagges and kings.
And why the sea is boiling hot,
And whether pigs have wings.
Kaloo Kalay no work today,
For cabbages and kings

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 23 2019 0:13 utc | 21

Excellent primer from socialist leaning website for anyone wanting to know more about the politics of food in Venezuela. Very well researched and documented, and a great history lesson on Venezuela in general.

https://monthlyreview.org/2018/06/01/the-politics-of-food-in-venezuela/

Posted by: KC | May 23 2019 0:44 utc | 22

"Venezuela's economy is in a deep economic crisis. The cause are not the minor socialist attempts its government made, but the economic war the U.S. is waging against it."

Well, well well, i thought that the US is "rapidly collapsing", or was it "World to the US: you are fired" as some in the Alt Media assured me? How could the rapidly collapsing US, that is being fired by the whole world, do that? And how could they put the iranian and turkish economies in deep economic crisis as well? How could they get EU and India to cave? I mean, the US is rapidly imploding, right?

Man, many of you guys (i won't say gals because gals usually don't do that) underestimate you opponents. Or want the good things to happen until you are young. Or alive. Do you really think that reality cares about what you want? Or about what i want? No.

Meanwhile, some like Escobar are waking up and smelling the cofee - a long civilizational conflict is coming.

This is the latest - Britain's Largest Cell Phone Networks Drop Huawei Phones From 5G Launch.

Japan, UK Join US crackdown on Huawei. (I remember the idiots bragging how the UK would defy the US on Huawei).

"Japanese-owned chip designer ARM Holdings has notified its staff to halt "all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements" with Huawei and its subsidiaries in order to comply with the recent US clampdown"

"ARM is the foundation of Huawei’s smartphone chip designs, so this is an insurmountable obstacle for Huawei," said Geoff Blaber of CCS Insight, adding: "That said, with an abundance of companies in Huawei’s supply chain already having taken action to comply with the US order, Huawei’s ability to operate was already severely affected."

Canada works to ship Huawei CFO to US, calls on democracies to counter "China's aggression".

More bans on Chinese companies in the US incoming.

Germany joins US, Wants Turkey to Drop S-400 Missile Systems Deal With Russia. (I doubt that Turkey will agree with that though. But their economy will be in deep sh).

Now Bannon says the US is going to destroy Huawei and Trump boasts that he is owning China in the trade war. Now why would they be boasting so loudly about that if the US is "rapidly collapsing"?

It will be difficult for foreign users to stop using Google services and switch to Chinese analogues. Outside of the Chinese market, most use Google and other US apps and services. Chinese apps are currently not as popular and not known for high quality.

China will have to create a global information infrastructure rivaling Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc. This will take lots of time. And will be in trade war and various sabotage conditions. The global dominance of the english language as above national lingua franca is also helping US information dominance.

The estimates from before 5 years were about China catching up with the US GDP in 2024.
The estimates from before 1 year (after the trade war started) were about China catching up with the US GDP in 2031.
And with the further escalating trade war, (IMF projects bigger losses for China than for the US) who knows how much this will be postponed? 2035? 2040? Until China's bad demographics kick in and China gets old before it gets rich? The US needs to slow down China so that exactly this happens. And this will be their strategy.

Things that could stop the US. Europe? No. Latin America? No. Russia? Weak economic growth, stagnant incomes, poor demographics.

A powerful earthquake in California? This will do it.

US debts? Problem can be fixed by raising retirement age, or cutting benefits by 17 % - 20 %. Will this increase internal problems in the US? Yes. Will this collapse the US? Most likely no. Now, if you look at projected US debt levels for 2050, they are very high. So at that point there will be a significant loss of power for the US. But the way i see it, no "rapid collapse" anytime soon.

In the words of the pro-russian South Front itself - Hybrid wars forever. Or at least for a long time.

Posted by: Passer by | May 23 2019 0:51 utc | 23

@ Passer by | May 22, 2019 8:51:24 PM | 25

Yes, you're probably correct in that it'll be a long and painful path until this show comes to a screeching halt. But there's also the possibility of some unexpected events that may accelerate the decline of the US dramatically. After all, it's just physics - maybe there's a merciful butterfly somewhere that is just about now flapping its wings.

Posted by: Hmpf | May 23 2019 1:09 utc | 24

@Passer by #25: The increasingly aggressive U.S. actions based on complete lies and fabrications betray their desperation and serve as a strong indicator that their collapse has already begun. Right now we are witnessing a collapse of international standing and trust the U.S. has been enjoying since the end of WW2. Economic collapse will follow. China will never forget this blatant unprovoked aggression. They will build their own processor architectures, their own operating systems, their own application ecosystems, and eventually take the international market away from the U.S. The arrogant U.S. has just signed Silicon Valley’s death warrant. Now let’s get back on topic, which is Venezuela.

Posted by: S | May 23 2019 2:35 utc | 25

Kadath@11 and Passer @25 I wonder if it would be proper to say, the American people are law abiding and are among the most humane in the world, but it is highly doubtful the American people have a government, instead, it seems, The USA, a global armed rule-making structure, base in Jerusalem, has the American people and there is little the American people can do about it. It will be interesting to watch as the globalist try to smash the Chinese by making the American people even more poor than they already are.." The Japanese tried that at Pearl Harbor expecting 25 to 30 years for the USA to recover, only to discover within 4 years. propaganda propelled, human rights driven Americans (not the economics driven USA) made a mountain of from the bomb dust at Pearl. Further I think Russia can quickly replace Intel and the arm processor .. with the new processor Russia has already developed..

Trump bankrupted most of his business ventures. Jack Rabbit may have been onto something as the Deep State couldn't have found a better candidate to oversee the USA's bankruptcy, although Trump wasn't its primary agent.Posted by: karlof1 | May 22, 2019 4:55:33 PM | 12z
I too believe Jack Rabbit has driven the nail that will hold..Trump is a Hitler boomerang, Hitler was a Trojan planted to destroy Germany, ..and .

Posted by: snake | May 23 2019 2:38 utc | 26

A "Rapid Collapse" of the US is a highly subjective term, if you mean, will the US collapse overnight due to a single crisis event? Then no, that is highly unlikely because even modest modern states have comparatively large reserves of the resources (financial, political, cultural) which they can leverage to endure multiple crisis one after another or even several major crises simultaneously. Turkey is an example of this, as it has endured multiple crises (military, political, diplomatic, economic & monetary) since 2014 and no one is predicting an immediate collapse of the state, the overall situation is just predicted to get worse.

However, if you mean a "Rapid Collapse" within a single human lifetime, then that is much more possible. The Soviet Union had been dealing with a progressively worse economic and social situation since at least the mid-1970s before it collapsed, so that was a single generation, or put another way there were people old enough to remember Tsarist Russia who lived through world war 1, the revolution, the Russian civil war, world war 2 and then saw the collapse of the Soviet system. There were even more people who lived during the height of the Soviet system (mid-1950 to mid-1960s) who also lived to see the collapse (almost 2 generations, nearly 40 years). If we assume a similar situation for the US, whether you think of the height of American power as 2000 or 2003, then the collapse still comes long before 2050. Admittedly, applying the lessons of the Soviet System to the current American is an imperfect comparison, but the points I am making are

1. the US is quantitatively weaker in many respects (politically, culturally, economically, militarily, monetarily, diplomatically) now than it was previously, it has expended significant resources in the pursuit of an ever greater Empire and in doing so it has burdened itself with the higher upkeep costs required to maintain this enhanced Empire, this makes it less able to endure future crises (financial, militarily, diplomatic, etc..) that will certainly arise in the future.

2. People tend to overestimate the changes that will occur over a short timeframe (say within 5 years) and underestimate the changes that will occur over the long timeframe (within 10 or 20 years). The trend we've seen from the US over the past 15 years is increasing political and social instability, international hostility, exorbitant spending, and most notably an inability to resolve actual problems. Everything just gets kicked down the road for the next administration to deal with (I personally remember President Bill Clinton complaining about the need to solve the problem of illegal immigrant and that was more than 20 years ago). Eventually, the US will run out of road and they will have to "shed" or "default" on many of the obligations of the current US Empire, in doing so, it will effectively cease to exist as we currently recognize it and will be replaced by something else, just as the Soviet Union ceased to be and was largely replaced by the Russian Federation. The maddening questions facing us is how will the current US Empire end and what exactly will replace it.

Posted by: Kadath | May 23 2019 2:44 utc | 27

...
In the words of the pro-russian South Front itself - Hybrid wars forever. Or at least for a long time.
Posted by: Passer by | May 22, 2019 8:51:24 PM | 25

Thanks for listing the MSM-promoted bullhorn factors, and 'forgetting' the jeopardy these factors impose on the Impunity Myth which the Yankees, intoxicated by their own bullshit, seem to have fallen in love with to the point of demented stupefaction.
Impunity is very fragile daydream and the US is exposed on hundreds of indefensible fronts worldwide.
The question now is WHEN will it all come crashing down, not IF.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 23 2019 2:59 utc | 28

@Passer by 25

Did you really post ". . . why would Trump be boasting so loudly. . ."?

I would also add that your comment on a 17% -20% reduction in benefits solving retirement issues is way off if you consider state and municipal pension obligations, and even more off if you consider unfunded Medicare obligations, and not even close to reality if you add union, state and municipal healthcare liabilities.

Posted by: Schmoe | May 23 2019 3:09 utc | 29

Passer by @25

Sadly many here will see your comment as an affront instead of a warning to avoid group-think.

I use the term "dreamers" for those that think that USA is fated to fall. But that term doesn't really do justice to the phenomenon.

Some of them hope that Trump is working against the Deep State. Some hope that Trump is really pro-Russia. Some believe that Europe really is against JCPOA and really will develop a backbone. And most accept the false narrative that democracy works! despite clear signs that politics has been gamed so much that, for the most part, it works AGAINST the people.

I have written many times of Kissinger's 2014 WSJ Op-Ed in which he called for meeting the challenge from Russia and China. Part of Kissinger's prescription was MAGA. And sure enough, in 2016, a MAGA nationalist was elected, and neo-McCarthyism was initiated.

IIRC, Kissinger explicitly said that saving the Empire will go through stages. Trump is one stage. You may think he's a dip-shit that f*cks up everything he touches, but he's just part of team Deep State - he's not allowed enough personal power to actually f*ck things up. Don't be fooled by his two-faced act or the 'kayfabe' between Trump and Deep State or Trump and establishment Democrats.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

After the 2008 global financial crisis, establishment mouth-pieces repeatedly told the public that nobody could've foreseen the danger. But many of us know that was a lie.

Now some ask that we not to see the determination of the Empire to smack-down its rivals. One commenter here actually claimed, on several occasions, that there is no Cold War and attempted to distract us by drawing false equivalences between Empire and the upstarts. How many rushed to challenge such nonsense? Very few.

Note: To acknowledge that the Empire has strength and determination is not to say that they are right or that they will prevail.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 23 2019 3:22 utc | 30

Thank you to those that see value in my comments.

I honestly just hope that we can avoid nuclear war and the worst forms of dystopia.

I think it helps when people are informed and have some basis for understanding the relevant issues. I think more people will be looking for that understanding as various conflicts heat up.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 23 2019 3:42 utc | 31

stever @ 8

AMY GOODMAN: How did you come up with the number 40,000 dead as a result of these crippling U.S. sanctions?

JEFFREY SACHS: Let me be clear: Nobody knows. This was a very basic, simple calculation based on estimates of universities in Venezuela that mortality had increased by a certain proportion after the sanctions. I don’t want anyone to think that there is precision in these numbers.


This is the cheapest kind of propaganda and is so over the top... well, I suppose it will work with the people who believe the Russiagate thingy.

Posted by: Procopius | May 23 2019 5:28 utc | 32

S #35

You are clearly infatuated with jackrabbit and so too with your image but that does not make us 'other' stupid. I appreciate jackrabbits regular reminders and asides because he shakes me by the collar and politely whispers 'wake up and put the cool aid down". I am grateful for those reminders.

But S, your insulting put downs to others here are just boring, Trumpish if I can use that term. Try a little enlightened compassion and contribute to our search.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 23 2019 5:42 utc | 33

@Passer by #25
Your commentary exhibits a large numbers of misunderstanding and/or overlooking of important details.

Let's start with: "It will be difficult for foreign users to stop using Google services and switch to Chinese analogues. Outside of the Chinese market, most use Google and other US apps and services. Chinese apps are currently not as popular and not known for high quality."

Foreign users don't need to use Google. China has its own search engine, as does Russia. Even in the US, there are still a large number of companies, including Microsoft, that can deliver search. Android in turn is not a gate towards cellular. Besides AOSP, there are plenty of cell phone operating system software which a company could choose to adopt. They just use Android because it is easier - note that interoperability really doesn't matter. Play store matters somewhat more, but the reality is that you do not have to list an app in Play Store in order to install on a phone, unlike iOS/iPhones. The Chinese apps comment is utterly wrong; Chinese use Chinese apps plenty. It is just that the language barriers work both ways - foreigners don't have any particular reason to use WeChat any more than Chinese have a reason to use Whatsapp.
As for quality: WeChat is able to selectively filter out images embedded in chat messages - that technological capability is beyond Twitter, Facebook or Google at the moment, granted that they have less reason to want to do so. The capability, however, is really impressive because it functions at the packet level.
Net net: you are ignorant over real state of what Chinese tech can and cannot do.

Next wrong assertion: "China will have to create a global information infrastructure rivaling Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc."
First of all, these companies have a global structure *only for their own purposes". Google, Miccrosoft, Twitter, Facebook, etc don't actually have anything to do with the actual information pipes, the last mile to the consumer, the telecoms and their regulation, etc. Even the Internet - the actual computers handling the data are, by and large, not operated by the above companies. They have enormous infrastructure but it is for their own purposes, and it is equally wrong to say that the billion plus citizens of China (numerically greater than the US and EU combined) have greatly less internet usage/traffic than the US and EU. Alibaba and Tencent have enormous infrastructure too, it is just (rightly) focused on their core audience. You confuse the state of a 3rd world nation and its "free riding" on infrastructure vs. what China can and has done.

"The estimates from ..."
China's GDP was 6% of US GDP in 1984. In dollar terms, it isn't equal but it is absolutely greater in purchasing power parity. And more importantly, a "recession" in China is 6% growth while a boom in the US is 1.78% growth (2007) - even the "travails" of China today still have that nation gaining ground, by any measure, on the US.

"Things that could stop the US."
Ongoing growth of inequality leading to UberTrump I and SuperUberTrump II in the 2nd to 5th elections from now.
US deficit spending causing overall debt to increase beyond 100% of GDP to 150% of GDP - which at present rates, could be in a double handful of years.
US decisions on more foreign entanglements creates a 2nd Vietnam - the first Vietnam is what forced the US off the gold standard and to unilaterally break the original Bretton Woods agreement.
The list goes on and on and on.
Note that I actually agree that the US could still turn things around, but only if the people running things either do a 180 on policy or they get kicked out en masse. Between Citizens United and normal oligarchical grip on power, I don't see that happening.

"US debts? Problem can be fixed by raising retirement age, or cutting benefits by 17 % - 20 %. Will this increase internal problems in the US? Yes. Will this collapse the US? Most likely no. Now, if you look at projected US debt levels for 2050, they are very high. So at that point there will be a significant loss of power for the US. But the way i see it, no "rapid collapse" anytime soon. "
Utterly, absolutely wrong. I agree that US debts are easily fixable - you simply inflate like mad. But the people who have the wealth now - and also hold the reins of power - won't allow this to happen.
Cutting benefits and that kind of crap won't do it, nor will raising retirement age.
The US deficit today has an average interest rate of 2.5%+ ; it was 2.2% or so 1 year ago. US Treasury link
That additional 0.3%, for the entire US Federal debt of $22.3 trillion, equals an additional $67 billion in interest payments every year. To put this in context, this is almost 2% of the entire federal budget.
Pimco says that the interest rate needed for a stable national debt in the US is 1.7%; we're 0.8% over that.
More critically, the entire US debt is 25% of the entire planet's GDP. Foreigners, both governments and individuals, used to buy a significant fraction of new US debt - they stopped doing so in 2012.
Debts that can't be repaid, won't be.

All in all, your clearly provocative post has added insight or information to me.

Posted by: c1ue | May 23 2019 5:44 utc | 34

Considering Karlof1 @18

Per impressive reliability of Dutchsinse' earthquake forecasting, Oklahoma alone has over 500,000 existing oil/gas/fracking wells [incl. active and inactive], each of which penetrates into the tectonic plate. These collectively may act to weaken the resistance of even the thicker areas of the plate to upheaval forces. To wit, Oklahoma's recent spate of quake activity, albeit the magnitudes do not force much attention.

There may be downside surprises to deep-well drilling of Earth's crust, which penetrations are only in
the last 125 years.

And there is no historical data, at all, of effects from Terahertz electronic wave effects. Such effects are being quietly used in recent years to survey/map mineral, etc resources at very deep-earth levels [extending the already known effects associated with radar, etc. to deep-earth depths and into mountains, at which terahertz-frequencies have hitherto unparalleled abilities]. This is even done from airplanes flying far above ground level.

The astoundingly cheap energy from crude oil has already passed and there is no sure substitute. Unlimited resource-grabbing is prime action of the 0.01%, and the only way they know to preserve their accumulated privileges even if their flailing and "Got mit uns" yields WW3. [WW2 Wehrmacht belt-buckle slogan.]

Posted by: chu teh | May 23 2019 5:56 utc | 35

uncle tungsten 37
Might pay to read it again.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 23 2019 7:05 utc | 36

Uncle Tungsten @37
Thank you for your wisdom as always , regarding jackrabbit he is a bedrock on this site !
The genuine commentators on this site may disagree but have the best motives, (right over might) we should rise above the devide and rule ,and reckonise it for the subconcouse mind control that it is. We can all contribute to the pool of enlightenment!
All except those that come here with deliberate disruption motives. ‘s’ Your good too ! Time to mob up. Ya all.

Posted by: Mark2 | May 23 2019 7:36 utc | 37

My above comment now should read uncle tungstone@34
The numbers changed

Posted by: Mark2 | May 23 2019 10:08 utc | 38

@ karlof1 | May 22, 2019 6:23:48 PM | 17 <>

Improvements in efficiency create increases, not decreases, in consumption of resources. This is generally known as "Jevons' Paradox"..
Jevons was examining coal extraction and use, but the principle seems to be universal, and of course in the specific example of extraction "frackoil" there are obvious similarities in chemistry and physics.

Most people are deceived when they are induced to believe in other-then-Jevons.

Who, here, has realized this? Yup, almost nobody...

Why is it that so few know of this basic principle in engineering?

You wanna know who (of what) rules you, ask, who cannot be criticized?

You can't criticize a thing if you do not understand that it exists...

Posted by: Walter | May 23 2019 10:59 utc | 39

I'm a bit confused about that Venezuela list of US sanctions. Seems they started counting in 2014?? What about prior to that? Were there no sanctions? Because Venezuela was a mess long before 2014. I remember talking to Venezuelans and who actually lived there not expats, and they told me crazy stories of not being able to purchase products and having their apartments taken by the government as early as 2005.

I'm very torn on this subject as I know lots of good Venezuelans who have suffered under Chavismo. At the same time I believe it did help the ultra poor in Venezuela. But it seems Chavez was too extreme and cut off his own foot. The best would be for them to start anew and of course without US influence or intervention. But it might be too late, too many superpowers have too much invested in this apple.

Venezuelans are doomed either way we can just hope this doom does not spread to other Latin American nations.

Posted by: Comandante | May 23 2019 12:35 utc | 40

I'm a bit confused about that Venezuela list of US sanctions. Seems they started counting in 2014?? What about prior to that? Were there no sanctions? Because Venezuela was a mess long before 2014.
Posted by: Comandante | May 23, 2019 8:35:38 AM | 41

Venezuela was a mess for a long time indeed, why do you think Chavez got to power? Because the parties that dominated Venezuela before him lost credibility. This is also the reason why the opposition is so fragmented. Imagine that both two dominant parties in UK loose credibility, loose election to an upstart movement and fragment among hellish infighting. Of course, that would not happen in UK, but if both major parties messed up too much, it is conceivable (what, they DID mess up too much already?).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 23 2019 13:48 utc | 41

Hansen:

"Maybe you didn't post because you don't have an account?"

So you don't understand what "submitted" means?

The NY Times chose not to post my comment. That you just invent some reality where that means I don't have an account with the NY Times' comments forum speaks to your desperation to excuse the NY Times and its lying about Venezuela.

When I submitted my comment, I expected the NYTimes would reject it. They're not into allowing challenges to the groupthink that is their "reporting" on Venezuela. The NY Times is far more likely to post comments challenging "Russia-gate".

Posted by: Jay | May 23 2019 13:50 utc | 42

@ passer by 24

"Now why would they be boasting so loudly about that if the US is "rapidly collapsing"?"


“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”

― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Posted by: manny | May 23 2019 13:51 utc | 43

Procopius @ 33
Not sure how this has anything to do with Russiagate

From the report:

http://cepr.net/images/stories/reports/venezuela-sanctions-2019-04.pdf

“According to the National Survey on Living Conditions (ENCOVI by its acronym in Spanish), an annual survey of living conditions administered by three Venezuelan universities, there was a 31 percent increase in general mortality from 2017 to 2018. This would imply an increase of more than 40,000 deaths.”

Posted by: stever | May 23 2019 13:59 utc | 44

@Passer by | May 22, 2019 8:51:24 PM | 24

Yours was such a large collection of nonsense, I won't try to answer point by point.

Your general message was that the U.S. is still unstoppable. If so, why did the U.S. overwhelmingly lose (9-128) a vote in the UN on Jerusalem as Israel's capital? This happened in spite of Nikki Haley's threats to "take names".

Okay, I'll address one of your points.

And with the further escalating trade war, (IMF projects bigger losses for China than for the US)

China’s growth forecast for 2019 raised by IMF despite trade war and global downturn.

Posted by: Cyril | May 23 2019 15:22 utc | 45

Walter @40--

I'm well aware of Jevon's Paradox; it got lots of discussion at The Oil Drum over its years of operations. Outlaw US Empire behavior is to use up resources at an ever increasing rate as you note, while its actions against Venezuela and Iran have caused them to slow their rate of resource use so more will be available to them in the long term, perhaps the only aspect of sanctions that are positive for the targeted nation.

chu the @36--

It's possible all the fracking will loosen the triple-junction and failed rift that underlies the Mississippi River Valley, the triple-junction being roughly located where the states of Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Illinois intersect. The region's known as the New Madrid Seismic Zone. IMO, action will occur at the Mendocino Triple Junction well before New Madrid; but then, Geologic Time is fickle and something might happen later today.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 23 2019 15:31 utc | 46

41;The doom is spreading in Latin nations?No,the doom in Latin nations neocapital doom.

Posted by: dahoit | May 23 2019 16:06 utc | 47

IMO, the comments by Passer by are very similar to ones I often see on Zero Hedge. This sureness of greatness and strength seems to be based on the propaganda machine of exceptionalism.
I cannot see a policy of such negativity succeeding. Sanctioning, threatening, embargoes, bombing, 200,000 tons of diplomacy acts. Never a positive, not one. I'm not a big believer in Karma but I do think that such negativity will not ever produce a satisfactory positive result and will cause deep failure at some point.

Posted by: arby | May 23 2019 16:54 utc | 48

Recall, the recent Venezuela Failed Coup care of the Trump admin. is the *first* time
that post-ww2 in ‘developed’ countries, it was summarily announced by the US,
followed by the endorsement of several EU countries (some had more gingerly positions..)
that a constitutionally elected President, Maduro, was not the leader of the country, and some ‘opposition’
person, Guaido, became, by fiat, as proclaimed by the ‘democratic world’, an interim
President who had all Supremo powers.

Err what? Usually when regime change is implemented, violence and murdering those in power,
ex. Saddam, Milosevic, Kahdafi, is a necessity.

This change of scenario did not work out!


Posted by: Noirette | May 23 2019 16:55 utc | 49

S | May 22, 2019 10:35:34 PM | 26

"The increasingly aggressive U.S. actions based on complete lies and fabrications betray their desperation and serve as a strong indicator that their collapse has already begun."

Do you know western history? This is how things always were. Very, very aggressive. World wars, Cold war and everything. You mistook the relative calm after 1990 for normality. It wasn't. The Empire was sleeping. Well, it now woke up.

International standing of the US? Why did India and Brazil move into pro-US direction? Why are Aus, Can, Japan supporting them eagerly? Why is the EU such a vassal? Where is the european army?

Economic collapse for the US? Not as long as the dollar is the world reserve currency. Replacing it will take lots of time. Europe is not willing to do that yet - the INSTEX mechanism for trade with Iran is not operational and the euro is shaky - see Italy or Greece.

China replacing processors and application ecosystems? That would have happened anyway, this is what Made in China 2025 is all about.The US decided to act before they are ready. It would have happened anyway, but in the current case the costs for China would be far higher, and growth projections for China dropped significantly.

c1ue | May 23, 2019 1:44:34 AM | 35


"It will be difficult for foreign users to stop using Google services and switch to Chinese analogues."

Point behind this statement -

Android holds 75 % market share. With it, you very often get the rest of Google services. Users are comfortable with all of it and have experience with this. Why would they want to switch to unknown chinese OS and chinese apps? Btw why would people use chinese services (like search engine or Weibo for example) if they offer heavy level of censorship? I'm not sure that China is interested in globalising many of its own services, it looks like they want to keep them mostly for chinese speaking people, and for related internal censorship needs.


"China will have to create a global information infrastructure rivaling Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc."

They are a global propaganda and spying machine, and China does not have anything like this deployed on global level, only on local level, not to mention the profits they bring by dominating the global markets.

"The Chinese apps comment is utterly wrong; Chinese use Chinese apps plenty."

Oh, i'm talking about the global level here, not about the situation in China. I don't see where you got that. That Chinese use Chinese apps plenty is pretty well known. China also bans some western corps and mostly cornered its own market. But on a global level, they are not popular. Globally used software is US dominated.

"quality of chinese apps"

I will admit that this is what i heard from other people using such apps, i do not use many chinese apps. I'm sure that China will be dominating the world market if their apps were of higher quality. This is not the case now.

"China's GDP was 6% of US GDP in 1984. In dollar terms, it isn't equal but it is absolutely greater in purchasing power parity. And more importantly, a "recession" in China is 6% growth while a boom in the US is 1.78% growth (2007) - even the "travails" of China today still have that nation gaining ground, by any measure, on the US."

In PPP is greater, but not in nominal. Most comparisons do use nominal gdp. IMF for example uses it to declare who has the world's biggest economy. The nation is gaining ground on the US, this is a fact, but the projections these days are far different than those from before 2017. So my point is pretty clear - China catching up with the US in nominal GDP is being prosponed from 2024 to 2031 and maybe later. In other words the US is actively slowing down China. So that it gets old before it gets rich. This is the point behind the trade war, i believe.

"Ongoing growth of inequality leading to UberTrump I and SuperUberTrump II in the 2nd to 5th elections from now."

It is possible. But i do not see Trump winning another election. A recession is projected to hit by 2020, so it will be extremey difficult for him to win again. Now that you mention inequality, it is already very high in Russia and China, according to GINI it is at US levels.

"US deficit spending causing overall debt to increase beyond 100% of GDP to 150% of GDP - which at present rates, could be in a double handful of years."

Under current law, with no reforms, US debt to gdp is projected to reach 93 % in 2029.

"US decisions on more foreign entanglements creates a 2nd Vietnam"

I do not think the US will get into another big war, i think it is aware of its limitations. So it will be hybrid wars from now on.

"Cutting benefits and that kind of crap won't do it, nor will raising retirement age."

It will fix the US budget and growth in debt to GDP according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Social Security will be fixed by 17% across-the-board benefit cut today; in 2034, that cut rises to 23%.

Also: the US health care system is very inefficient, compared to Europe. US tops the world in health care spending, which is a big driver of US deficit growth. Health care reform and implementing european practises will be able to significantly cut spending.

For the retirement age increase stopping the growth in US debt, this is the view of Martin Feldstein.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-03-23/marty-feldstein-warns-debt-crisis-coming


"More critically, the entire US debt is 25% of the entire planet's GDP. Foreigners, both governments and individuals, used to buy a significant fraction of new US debt - they stopped doing so in 2012."

I agree with that. The world can not finance the US by buying new debt. And it can not bail it out. Although most US debt is not held by foreigners. But i suspect that dollars will be printed instead, and the US already has the world reserve currency. The Euro does not seem capable of replacing the dollar, too many problems in Europe. They also don't have an eurobond to compete with the US treasury market. China, from what i read, is far away from internationalising the RMB. It has very small share in global reserves and payments. From what i'm reading (Adam Garrie) this is planned for the medium term, but not for now.

"your clearly provocative post"

As for the post being provocative, i deliberately made it that way. Because i want to spur a discussion about the issues i'm interested in and i learn interesting insights from all of this.


Schmoe | May 22, 2019 11:09:49 PM | 30

Did you really post ". . . why would Trump be boasting so loudly. . ."?

Yes, this point sounds good (at first). But Trump's boasting was in the context of a recent interview where what he said is backed up by current IMF (and other) projections - that China will not be catching up with US gdp anytime soon. Thus i see the trade war as doing its purpose - slowing down China, until the demographic issues there kick in.

"I would also add that your comment on a 17% -20% reduction in benefits solving retirement issues is way off if you consider state and municipal pension obligations, and even more off if you consider unfunded Medicare obligations, and not even close to reality if you add union, state and municipal healthcare liabilities. "

I wrote about these issues above in the comment, but for state level debts and pension risk - they are currently not high in most US states, with the exception of IL and NJ.

"most states have healthy reserves and inherently strong fiscal flexibility, Illinois and New Jersey both have low levels of reserves relative to the potential revenue decline in our recession scenario. In addition, they both show weakness in their pension risk scores."

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-05-21/illinoisans-will-be-among-nations-hardest-hit-next-recession

City wise, the 3 biggest US cities have large debts, though. So this will affect the situation in the US negatively.


Cyril | May 23, 2019 11:22:52 AM | 46

"Your general message was that the U.S. is still unstoppable."

No. My general view is that the US will fight hard to retain its power, and that there will be a gradual decline of it. But no "muh rapid collapse real soon". I personally blame Europe for this, if Europe switched sides it will be all over by now.

"Okay, I'll address one of your points"

First - it is forecast from April, made before the current escalation. It contains writings such as "Conditions have eased in 2019 as the US Federal Reserve signalled a more accommodating monetary policy stance and markets became more optimistic about a US-China trade deal". Which is no longer the case.

Second - the IMF sees China as losing more than the US.

https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/2167587/trade-war-escalation-will-cut-chinas-gdp-16-cent-and-us-09

Posted by: Passer by | May 23 2019 17:27 utc | 50

The United States is officially in a state of war with Venezuela and has been since March 2015 when the Obama administration declared the country an "unusual and extraordinary threat to US national security" with Executive Order 13692. Coercive use of economic and legal tools will continue until the Bolivarian government is replaced and their policies repealed, or until the Executive Order is rescinded. That the NY Times dropped the term "interim president" from Guaido indicates that the project since 2015 to install Lopez has now been acknowledged as a failure, and a new crowd of willing collaborators must be cultivated. The legal and economic harassment will continue for the foreseeable future.

Posted by: jayc | May 23 2019 17:41 utc | 51

Foreign users don't need to use Google. China has its own search engine, as does Russia. Even in the US, there are still a large number of companies, including Microsoft, that can deliver search. Posted by: c1ue | May 23, 2019 1:44:34 AM | 35

One should expect that an increasing number of foreign government will discourage or prohibit the use of Google search. I do not have a link at hand, but Mueller indictment of alleged GRU members builds the case that they hacked DNC e-mail in part by listing web searches of one of them on the day before Guccifer posted a claim that he/she is in the possession of HRC emails, and the English phrases from those searches were included in that post. True or false, Mueller lawyers seem to have accesses Google log of web searches of a foreign individual that apparently was used for a purpose different that pestering that individual with "targeted ads". Precise log of searches of the majority of citizens in the hands of American intelligence is not something that an independently minded government would support. There is also a mercantile angle: diverting a percentage of domestic ad revenue to an American company -- billion dollars here and there and the national balance of payments is affected.
Probably we will see more and more "national" search engines, the know-how exists, and a preferred company is bound to collect a nice buck, hence no dearth of investors.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 23 2019 17:44 utc | 52

@karlof1 - 17

Fracking is the definition of peak oil, it is literally the bottom of the barrel. The peak of conventional oil has been masked by unconventional sources such as tar sands and fracking. The fracking industry has been kept afloat by low interests rates and financialization schemes.

The world around you would not exist without fossil fuels. They are what drives modern civilization... plastics, medicines, fertilizers, pesticides, jet fuel, diesel, so called renewables, etc. It is no coincidence that Venezuela and Iran are in the cross hairs of the Empire. The real reason will never be televised.

In a rational world without nuclear weapons and psychopaths who believe in infinite growth on a finite planet we would be discussing what century we want to go back to. Unfortunately at this point only abrupt climate change can prevent WWIII... not a good outlook.

Posted by: Tobin Paz | May 23 2019 18:04 utc | 53

@Passer by #51
You responded to my comment concerning Google with: "Android holds 75 % market share"

You're still being ignorant of reality. Android is not "owned" by Google; you can get an AOSP (Android Open Source Project) set of code and roll your own. Companies like Cyanogen and others have been doing this for some time.

Play store is a more legitimate barrier, but that mostly only matters if you're trying to migrate Samsung users in the 1st world. Feature phone users won't care. Old people won't care. Security conscious, paranoid people won't care. Really young people won't care.

So while there is some impact from Google's pulling of Huawei's access to Google's version of Android, it is not the same as banning Huawei from making an Android OS phone.

You don't seem to be a programmer since there is a parallel in Linux. Linux is open source, but there is Red Hat and other "commercial" versions of Linux. Red Hat could withdraw its license from a Chinese company, but nothing stops the Chinese company from going to base Linux, forking their own or buying some other alternative license to a "Red Hat-like" Linux. You're imprinting the iOS model onto Android - which is totally wrong.

Regarding Chinese apps: You said: " But on a global level, they are not popular"
Uh, there are 7+ billion people on the planet. Around 20% are in mainland China. The US and EU combined at a bit over half the population of China. Why again does Chinese demand not matter at a global level, even by itself? More importantly, just how important are US and Western European apps for Southeast Asians? South Americans? Africans? It matters to the app makers, it doesn't matter to Huawei or China.

Regarding China vs. US economy: You said: "In PPP is greater, but not in nominal."
Purchasing power is what matters for real life goods and services. Nominal is economist's and central banker's imaginations. Whatever the actual difference in size, the reality is that China has grown enormously and is continuing to grow faster than the US. If we assume a 6% growth rate going forward for China and a 2% growth rate going forward for the US (both optimistic but reasonable), then China catches the US in nominal GDP in 2020 if they're nominal GDP is 10% smaller today. If 20% smaller, the catchup occurs in 2023. This is a very, very short period of time.

Do the math, don't listen to idiot economists.

Regarding Trump: You said: "It is possible. But i do not see Trump winning another election. A recession is projected to hit by 2020, so it will be extremey difficult for him to win again."

A recession that hits in 2020 means Trump wins another term. Only if the recession hits next year, will it occur in time for Trump to suffer the economic consequences. You forget that recessions are never recognized until at least 6 months after they start.

US Debt: You said: "Under current law, with no reforms, US debt to gdp is projected to reach 93 % in 2029."

I have no idea where you are getting this from. Even wikipedia says US federal debt to GDP is already over 100%

Retirement benefits: You said: "It will fix the US budget and growth in debt to GDP according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Social Security will be fixed by 17% across-the-board benefit cut today; in 2034, that cut rises to 23%."

Social Security is still more or less breaking even today. The above is nonsense, because the surpluses Social Security had been accumulating for the past 2 decades was appropriated and spent by the US government (and owed to Social Security).

You said: "Also: the US health care system is very inefficient, compared to Europe. US tops the world in health care spending, which is a big driver of US deficit growth. Health care reform and implementing european practises will be able to significantly cut spending."

Agreed with the inefficiency. Disagreed on reforms. The US government is controlled by money, and the addditional 8-10% of GDP in extra health care spending is revenue and profit for US corporations. I personally would be amazed and gratified if these corporations are brought to heel, but I see zero chance of that happening without a literal revolution.

More retirement: You said: "For the retirement age increase stopping the growth in US debt, this is the view of Martin Feldstein.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-03-23/marty-feldstein-warns-debt-crisis-coming""

Social Security isn't the problem - it is overall US Deficit spending which largely equates to the military budget. I'm seeing zero pushback on military spending - today and in the foreseeable future, and so $1T+ annual deficits are going to continue vs. GDP growing around than $300B per year. That's why the debt to GDP is going to hit 150% sooner rather than later.

I personally would note that any expertise from someone who was a board member at AIG (which Feldstein was) during AIG's descent into chaos in 2008, should not really be considered an expert in any type of economics. The boosters all talk about Feldstein's NBER experience but never that. I'd also note that NBER's record in forecasting recessions is pretty much 0% - yet another reason not to listen to them.
NBER is good at announcing past recessions though... /sarc

Posted by: c1ue | May 23 2019 18:37 utc | 54

@Piotr Berman #53
Google searches are recorded and aggregated by Google as well as on the user's machine. The same is true for most other search engines. A logged in Google user can access this in their browser, particularly Chrome, or can get a dump of all data supposedly kept by Google on them.
It wouldn't be surprising for even a GRU agent to use Google to search for English language things on American web-sphere. What is less clear is if these searches are truly unique - I would imagine even a deskbound analyst in charge of monitoring current affairs in the US would be searching for DNC emails, whatnot to keep abreast of what is going on. Evidence, but circumstantial unless there are really some unique terms or timing.

Posted by: c1ue | May 23 2019 18:43 utc | 55

I'm not a lawyer, nor have I ever played one on TV, only watched a lot of Law & Order. But there's one aspect of this story that has happened before, and which continues to astound me. How can the law enforcement officials of sovereign nation A draw up criminal indictments of people in sovereign nation B for acts carried out wholly within the territory and jurisdiction of sovereign nation B? Talk about the US being the world's policeman! This comes up every so often and never seems to generate much comment.

@47 karlof1 (and others who mention the possibility of a sudden event causing US decline) I share this post about the Old River Control Structure (ya gotta love the acronym "orcs") on the Mississippi River in the open thread last weekend, but will mention it here again. Heavy flooding, which is occurring right now and which could increase dramatically over the summer could bring it down. And you mentioned the New Madrid Fault; that could be a factor, too. Or combination of both.

Link is to first part of a three-part post on the excellent Weather Underground "Category Six" blog. It contains links to the other two parts and some good supplemental reading.

@54 Tobin Paz In a rational world without nuclear weapons and psychopaths who believe in infinite growth on a finite planet we would be discussing what century we want to go back to

The writer and environmentalist Derrick Jensen has told about an exchange he had with a fellow activist, name escapes me at the moment. Jensen asked his friend, "So, what stage of civilization in history do you think we could go back to that would be sustainable?" The friend replied, "Derrick, don't be stupid; the only sustainable level for humans to live on Earth is the Stone Age. Sooner or later we'll be back there; the only question is what kind of planet will we have left?

Posted by: PrairieBear | May 23 2019 19:16 utc | 56

It's so nice to see a group of people who realize just what the USA is up to, but there is much more to it than what I see posted here. The US government is fully aware that the US economy is going to go into a major crisis, and within 2 or 3 years the US dollar/petro dollar is going to fail (there are at least 13 other countries just as aware - google 'de-dollarization' - even Canada and Japan are involved, won't do Canada much good however, because they don't have a Trump style border wall.

Our government knows it's last hope to avoid the angry masses when the 10s of millions who worked hard their entire lives and put their $ into 401ks, and believe those funds and their pension funds will still be there, (they wont look into what the Federal Reserve banking cartel has been doing to 'tighten' it's balance sheet - forcing those fund managers to 'invest' in the longer term Treasury bonds... this is because all the other countries, except a tiny country will less than 5 million people, Ireland... is now the worlds 3rd largest country holding (and only one still buying) the longer term Treasury bonds, that's obviously a scam, though I have no proof of that, my guess is someone is funding those to make it appear there is still a international market to the soon to be worthless US long term treasury bonds. Unless of course they are able to raise the Fed Fund rate to at least 4 or 5% - making it worth the obvious risk that the US economy will still be viable in 10 years (few actually believe this, as well as the fact if they do raise the interest rates that high they will not even be able to pay the interest on the current debt, and will have to sell even MORE treasury bonds.

The amount of scams, frauds and bubbles are all going to collapse like a house of cards - likely in dominio fashion as the contagon spreads to the now non infected (are there any?) parts of the economy, as well as other countries on the verge themselves...those with 0% or even negative interest rates.

The REAL agenda for the US government is that if they can get their hands on that oil, they will have more power to force countries to use petro dollars, thus slowing the demise of the US dollar and petro dollar as the worlds reserve currency...

failing getting their trained PUPPET Guerdio - to give them the rights to that oil, they will go to war with them in order to ensure the anger of the US people in 2 or 3 years when they start to learn just how bad the US economy is and why... they won't be able to organize in protest because of course that will be spun as us 'not supporting our troops' in a time of war.

I literally could write a book in this comment section about how much fraud and corruption is behind this move against Venezuela, and Trump is their puppet and falling right into the trap and will be the scape goat, fall guy in this as well as the collapse of the US economy which was absolutely going to happen regardless of who's in the whitehouse... but of course the Democrats don't want to be the blame, even though they were every bit a part of this.

That all being said I do have a solution but can only write one part of it here - we need to all realize when people become aware of how or government on both sides of the isle gave over complete and total control over the US economy to the Fed Reserve cartel, and rating agencies and handful of corps... we absolutely should not check the box of ANY of these guys that have been in office (at least prior to 2018...) not 1... they are all complacent and I don't care how good everyone thinks their congressman / senator is the 'good' one - it's everyone else. Is your congressman telling you all exactly how bad things really are and warning you to prepare, or letting you know what's really going on with your 401ks and pension funds or comex, or the 'subprime' autoloans or CLOs or *any of this* no - why not? If he had your best interest at heart everyone in his district would know. You should not check anyone else invovled in this name on the ballet, and you should tell a friend what I just said and ask them to tell a friend.

We need an entirely new government with a left leaning and right leaning side with each candidate writing a mueller size report on how they plan to address these issues (I will leave it at that my plan on what each should include and how we are going to vett them is long) but get started on this between now and 2022 on making sure EVERYONE knows not to check any of these guys names on the ballet - how we pick those who will be checked we can work out between now and then (I've got terminal cancer so maybe not me but I plan on sharing my ideas as far and as wide as possible between now and then)


I am so sick of our government killing people all over this world and leaving cities in absolute ruin 'for their own good' so sick of millions having to flee bombs and starvation being stripped of their homelands and all that. I used to be a proud American - now I am ashamed to be an American because other countries really believe we are allowing this, and maybe they are right.... so many are too busy with their texting and social media to try and do anything to stop our government...so we are allowing it and lately I've seen American's verbally attacking China, China is going to be bringing over 2 BILLION people out of poverty and starvation and into a global economy of buyers and sellers so I totally support what they are doing and can't wait to see the reaction when other countries realize they are planning to back their Treasury bonds (debt) with gold... perhaps only 40% gold reserves at first but that's going to be the safest investment on earth at that point - when few will trust fiat currency again for decades, if ever. Go World - stop killing people in the name of freedom, or your own power and wealth US government.

I wonder what would happen if the US could organize a group of rotating American citizens like 1000 a week to go be human sheilds down there spread out in the most likely places the US government would attack? I'd donate to that crowdsourcing and volunteer to spend a week every few months down there to keep our government from killing it's citizens and starving it's people and causing the other economies in the area to suffer badly from millions of war refugees.

Posted by: Whitney | May 23 2019 19:54 utc | 57

Shoot - I totally did a mistake in my above post and no way to edit

I didn't mean within 2 or 3 years the US dollar/petro dollar is going to fail (it's the economy going into crisis in 2 or 3 years that I mean) it's possible the US dollar/petro dollar can make it a bit longer than that - possibly up to another 6-8 years.

Posted by: Whitney | May 23 2019 19:56 utc | 58

PrairieBear @57--

The concept's known as Extraterritoriality and is a component of Imperialism that's been around for centuries.

The flooding in middle of USA is a not well known crisis but does have the potential to become a big political handicap for Trump as he refuses upgrading infrastructure. Many got lucky on the recent tornado outbreaks. As for the Mississippi River, it will eventually remake its channel thus proving the human folly of trying to prevent that from happening. And if we remain stuck in the current weather pattern we've been in for the past several months, that event might happen this year.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 23 2019 20:25 utc | 59

@Passer by | May 23, 2019 1:27:20 PM | 51

No. My general view is that the US will fight hard to retain its power, and that there will be a gradual decline of it. But no "muh rapid collapse real soon". I personally blame Europe for this, if Europe switched sides it will be all over by now.

Europe did switch sides in the UN vote that overwhelmingly annulled Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. All the European countries voted against the US, every one of them, including Germany, France, UK, Italy.


Second - the IMF sees China as losing more than the US.

That would be true only if you take as gospel that China's trade surplus with the U.S. is the widely-reported $500 - $600 billion per year. That is almost certainly fake news, as China doesn't actually earn that much. For example, for the Apple iPhone, China earns only 4% of the reported cost but is charged with having exported all 100% of the alleged cost. Nobody knows what the actual trade balance is, because US multinationals are very good at lying about how much tax they owe: they don't report the actual 4% cost, they pretend that they incurred all 100% of the claimed cost elsewhere (that is, in China), and they pocket the difference tax-free. This dodge is called "transfer pricing".

In reality, the China/US trade is probably almost balanced. (If it were not, the US would not have allowed it for so long -- guaranteed.) If so, then the U.S. will lose: China's trade with the U.S. is only about 4-5% of GDP; internal consumption can easily rise to absorb what would have gone to the Americans. In contrast, the U.S. will have trouble finding alternative sources of low-cost goods: building the necessary infrastructure in other countries will not be easy. Cheap goods are absolutely needed in the US, as 59% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Thus the U.S. will lose the trade war, big time.


Posted by: Cyril | May 23 2019 21:48 utc | 60

@Cyril | May 23, 2019 5:48:05 PM | 61

Europe did switch sides in the UN vote that overwhelmingly annulled Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. All the European countries voted against the US, every one of them, including Germany, France, UK, Italy.

Oops, not quite all European countries voted against the US. Poland abstained.

Posted by: Cyril | May 23 2019 22:07 utc | 61

We need Venezuela oil before we can launch a war with Iran. This is all about ensuring supply lines after the Straits of Hormuz shuts down.

Posted by: RenoDino | May 23 2019 22:24 utc | 62

@65 I'm sure Venezuela will be happy to sell it. They may even give you a discount if you stop helping Guiado.

Posted by: dh | May 23 2019 22:38 utc | 63

@Passer by | May 23, 2019 1:27:20 PM | 51

Economic collapse for the US? Not as long as the dollar is the world reserve currency. Replacing it will take lots of time. Europe is not willing to do that yet - the INSTEX mechanism for trade with Iran is not operational and the euro is shaky - see Italy or Greece.

The decline is not so far away. The US dollar is still the world's favorite reserve currency, but it will not continue to be for long.

In 2015, the US dollar was used in 52% of international payments.

In 2017, that percentage had declined to 40%.

(Warning: both links yield documents in PDF format.)

Note that both links go to SWIFT, the system used for international payments. They certainly know what is happenning.

In just two years, the US dollar declined from 52% to 40% of international payments. This means that other countries are dropping the dollar, rather quickly. If they use the dollar less, they need to keep fewer greenbacks in reserve. Thus the dollar's days as the world's favorite reserve currency are numbered.

Posted by: Cyril | May 23 2019 23:18 utc | 64

@Cyril | May 23, 2019 5:48:05 PM | 61

Europe did switch sides in the UN vote that overwhelmingly annulled Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. All the European countries voted against the US, every one of them, including Germany, France, UK, Italy.

Oops, not quite all European countries voted against the US. Poland abstained.
Posted by: Cyril | May 23, 2019 6:07:55 PM | 64

The (western) European independence from USA is extremely limited. On issues like Iran and Israel, "the lips say no but the body says something else". On sanctioning to the point of preventing essential supplies for civilians they are almost completely cooperative, even though in the case of Iran the lips were quite vocal saying no. What madness overtook them to cooperate in the case of Venezuela, I just cannot explain except for the ingrained instinct of "canine devotion". And what abuse EU meekly absorbs in the meantime! If you just go by the current behavior of EU and European NATO, Passer by is absolutely right.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 23 2019 23:28 utc | 65

Cyril @67--

Thanks for providing those stats! I knew usage was declining, but not the amount or speed, both of which have negative ramifications for US economy. IMO, by the 2020 election, the situation will become critical.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 23 2019 23:35 utc | 66

@Piotr Berman | May 23, 2019 7:28:04 PM | 68

The (western) European independence from USA is extremely limited. On issues like Iran and Israel, "the lips say no but the body says something else". On sanctioning to the point of preventing essential supplies for civilians they are almost completely cooperative, even though in the case of Iran the lips were quite vocal saying no. What madness overtook them to cooperate in the case of Venezuela, I just cannot explain except for the ingrained instinct of "canine devotion". And what abuse EU meekly absorbs in the meantime! If you just go by the current behavior of EU and European NATO, Passer by is absolutely right.

This article is probably a little hyperbolic, but it's an indication that Europe is not as tightly bound to the US as you seem to think:

The Nordstream 2 pipeline represents the last stand of U.S. influence over the internal affairs of Europe.

Once finished it will stand as a testament to the fundamental split between the European Union and the United States.

I think the Nordstream 2 gas will still be priced in dollars, but quite obviously could easily switch to Russian rubles.

Posted by: Cyril | May 23 2019 23:52 utc | 67

Trump says his policy goal re: Venezuela is to bring it democracy, what's known as democracy promotion. The Neocon roots of that long ago failed policy ploy is noted by historian Walter LaFeber in the linked short essay. Yes, it's a tad dated, but as you read you'll note that it differs little from what Bolton designed for Iraq and others, and Pompeo's certainly on board as well as Trump.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 23 2019 23:55 utc | 68

@karlof1 | May 23, 2019 7:35:10 PM | 69

Thanks for providing those stats!

You're welcome. The decline of the American buck in international payments is probably not linear. It might be asymptotic: dropping rapidly at first, then slower and slower as time goes on. Reserves of the dollar may never actually fall to zero.

Posted by: Cyril | May 24 2019 7:02 utc | 69

Cyril has provided USD usage figures based on Swift statistics. The latest Swift figure I can find from 2019 shows the USD share still hovering around 40%.

But of course since 2017 many countries having either felt or fearing blockage of their trade by settling payment through Swift would have switched to alternative transfer mechanisms like the Chinese CIPS and the Russian one.

We can hardly rely on Swift to report these figures as quite likely they don't know what they are, but it is almost certain that the USD market share will be much lower than on Swift.

It will be interesting to see if anyone is independently collating trade figures across all platforms. I would not be surprised to find that the USA does have such data if only because of their eavesdropping ability. Perhaps their current hyperactivity is caused by the realisation that USD is in free fall.

Posted by: Bills | May 24 2019 7:52 utc | 70

> Note that both links go to SWIFT, the system used for international payments. They certainly know what is happenning.
> In just two years, the US dollar declined from 52% to 40% of international payments

Posted by: Cyril | May 23, 2019 7:18:08 PM | 65

Then it should be amended that it was 12% reduction **in SWIFT alone**

Because SWIFT is huge, but not exclusive.

1) there are e-Money, like PayPal, that work outside banking framework
2) there is Iran and maybe more nations, banned from SWIFT
3) there is Russia, trying to implement and promote alternative banking messages bus, after multiple threats to be banned form SWIFT too

So, we may assume that the USD share reduction in non-SWIFT international payments is at least the same, but maybe yet larger

Posted by: Arioch | May 24 2019 9:09 utc | 71

c1ue | May 23, 2019 2:43:57 PM | 56

"You're still being ignorant of reality. Android is not "owned" by Google; you can get an AOSP (Android Open Source Project) set of code and roll your own. Companies like Cyanogen and others have been doing this for some time."

Android is being mainly developed by Google though. It provides its updates, etc. As of now, Google dominates the development of Android, competing Android ecosystems are currently dwarfed by Google. They decide where the overall development of Android goes. And Google dominates the apps for it. Most Android devices ship with a substantial amount of proprietary software from Google.

"So while there is some impact from Google's pulling of Huawei's access to Google's version of Android, it is not the same as banning Huawei from making an Android OS phone."

They will have their Android OS (it is not ready yet), but will they be able to compete with Google for the dominant app ecosystem? Store, various services, etc? As well as the quality of their Android? Btw Microsoft, Panasonic and Toshiba just stopped cooperation with Huawei. Huawei will be under constant attacks and sabotage, unlike Google.


"Regarding Chinese apps: You said: " But on a global level, they are not popular"

"Uh, there are 7+ billion people on the planet. Around 20% are in mainland China. The US and EU combined at a bit over half the population of China. Why again does Chinese demand not matter at a global level, even by itself? More importantly, just how important are US and Western European apps for Southeast Asians? South Americans? Africans? It matters to the app makers, it doesn't matter to Huawei or China."

US plus EU plus Japan, plus Anglospere combined may represent smaller population, but they are far bigger market than China.

Western apps are popular everywhere, with the probable exception of China, as the West dominates sofware development and the software industry, see Windows or Android (which is dominated by Google) for example. This is why almost all of the the world's largest software corporations are Western. Best selling software, etc. See Windows, Office, Adobe, or the popularity of Google's search engine, which represents 76 % of world wide searches.

"Purchasing power is what matters for real life goods and services. Nominal is economist's and central banker's imaginations. Whatever the actual difference in size, the reality is that China has grown enormously and is continuing to grow faster than the US. If we assume a 6% growth rate going forward for China and a 2% growth rate going forward for the US (both optimistic but reasonable), then China catches the US in nominal GDP in 2020 if they're nominal GDP is 10% smaller today. If 20% smaller, the catchup occurs in 2023. This is a very, very short period of time."

Nominal GDP estimates are commonly used to determine the economic performance of a whole country or region, and to make international comparisons. It is the original concept of GDP. PPP basis arguably more useful when comparing differences in living standards between nations. PPP also does not take into account difference in the quality of goods and services. IMF also uses nominal GDP to recognise who has the biggest economy.

http://statisticstimes.com/economy/gdp-nominal-vs-gdp-ppp.php

Chinese growth rate for the 2020s is currently projected to be 5 - 5,5 %. US growth rate - 2%. My point stands, older (from before the trade war) projections were about China catching up with the US in 2024, and the newer projections are about China catching up in 2031. Since the IMF projects bigger losses for China than for the US (due to the trade war), this will additionally slow down China.

That said, i have no doubt that China will at some point catch up with the US, but the US strategy IMO is to slow down China until its bad demographics and aging population kick in.

"A recession that hits in 2020 means Trump wins another term. Only if the recession hits next year, will it occur in time for Trump to suffer the economic consequences. You forget that recessions are never recognized until at least 6 months after they start."

The economy was already feeling very bad in 2008 even before the recession was recognized. There were many worried people at that point. Lots of tension in the air. Moreover, as US demographics are changing, with every year becomes harder and harder for a republican to win. So demographic trends are against Trump.

"I have no idea where you are getting this from. Even wikipedia says US federal debt to GDP is already over 100%"

This over 100% number includes the debt that the US government owes to itself. Intra-Governmental Debt. You will often find two figures - one about 106 %, and another about around 80 %. The CBO projections and other instituions (IMF) use the ~ 80 % estimate - which is only about debt towards third parties (non US government parties).

https://www.thestreet.com/politics/what-is-the-national-debt-14848010

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_public_debt

https://www.cbo.gov/system/files?file=2019-01/54918-Outlook.pdf


"Social Security is still more or less breaking even today. The above is nonsense, because the surpluses Social Security had been accumulating for the past 2 decades was appropriated and spent by the US government (and owed to Social Security)."

It is not nonsense, it is Maya MacGuineas's Testimony to Congress. She and CRFB specialise exactly on that.

http://www.crfb.org/papers/maya-macguineass-testimony-perils-ignoring-debt

"Social Security isn't the problem - it is overall US Deficit spending which largely equates to the military budget. I'm seeing zero pushback on military spending - today and in the foreseeable future, and so $1T+ annual deficits are going to continue vs. GDP growing around than $300B per year. That's why the debt to GDP is going to hit 150% sooner rather than later."

Actually Social Security is a problem, and it is identified as such by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

As far as military spending is concerned, under current law it is projected to decline from 3,1 % of GDP to 2,5 % of GDP. Debt to GDP is currently projected to hit 93 % by 2029. This is under current law, after a crisis hits in 2020 i doubt that anyone will have an appetite for increased military spending.

"Martin Feldstein"

He is Professor of Economics at Harvard University though. One could also make a similar argument against you and your econ knowledge because you don't even know that US net government debt to gdp is around 80 % and not 105 %, which is a total (gross) government debt.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_public_debt


Cyril | May 23, 2019 7:18:08 PM | 65

Payments have declined, but as far as FX reserves are concerned, not so much. The USD represents 62 percent of global FX reserves, same as in 1995. As well as 55 percent of international loans. The other big problem is that the contenders are weak as of now. The Euro is shaky, and the internationalisation of the RMB is still at very low level. If the global FX market can not discover its price, the RMB won't be a popular currency.

Thus no change in US dollar reserve currency status anytime soon, maybe after 2030.


Cyril | May 23, 2019 5:48:05 PM | 61


"Thus the U.S. will lose the trade war, big time."

Again, the IMF does not agree with that.


"Europe did switch sides in the UN vote that overwhelmingly annulled Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital."

That wasn't a switching of sides, Europe has always maintained that it will not recognize Jerusalem as an Israeli capitol. There is nothing new in this position.

In most cases Europe is generally supportive of the US, or at least passive to its activities. In very few cases, not supportive. But is is a part of NATO and thus it is a vassal entity.

It generally supported sanctions against Russia, the attack on Syria, the attack on Libya, the independence of Kosovo, it actively supports Ukraine and tries to absorb it, sends freedom of navigation warships to support the US in Asia, stoppped buying oil from Iran, stopped most trade with Iran, did not launch trade mechanism with Iran bypassing the US, it supports the US in Venezuela, Germany is against Turkey buying the S-400, etc.

Nord Stream 2 is not an argument. There is nothing new in that, Germany traditionally buys russian energy and this is what it did during Soviet times too. Germany likes to make money. Which does not mean that it wasn't hostile to the Soviet Union or that it is not hostile to Russia currently. Germany was one of the important initiators of the Ukraine events and the main backer of anti-russian sanctions within the EU. Moreover, most in the EU, including France and the European Parliament, do not support even Nord Stream 2.

Posted by: Passer by | May 24 2019 18:26 utc | 72

@Passer by #73

You said: "Android is being mainly developed by Google though. It provides its updates, etc. As of now, Google dominates the development of Android, competing Android ecosystems are currently dwarfed by Google. "

You keep talking about things which you clearly have zero competence in.
Yes, Google is a top 10 contributor to open source - but this contribution is a shade of 1%. And very little of it is Android.
The same article notes that Android base code is only 7000 lines.
So, Google does not make the most contributions to Linux nor does it do the same for Android base code.

The second error you make in your ongoing display of Dunning Kruger is your failure to understand the difference between Android and the drivers, libraries, firmware etc surrounding it. What Google charges for is in this area, not in the Android kernel itself, and it is here that Google Play Store is included.

I strongly recommend you stop talking about areas which you clearly have zero competence.

You said: "They will have their Android OS (it is not ready yet), but will they be able to compete with Google for the dominant app ecosystem? "
You clearly don't have any idea on the app ecosystem. Go read my razor/razor blade analogy posted in a different thread. Huawei has no need whatsoever to compete with the Google Play Store; the one and only benefit for Google Play Store support is to try and attack Samsung users in the first world. You do not require Google Play Store to install apps or even maintain them - it is simply the default on Android devices, but you can install Android apps from a web page or an email.

You then said: "US plus EU plus Japan, plus Anglospere combined may represent smaller population, but they are far bigger market than China. "
Bigger market in what way? The entire Apple App store generates $29 billion in 2017 - not nothing, but Apple sold 216 million iPhones in 2017. The Android market is much larger in install base but the revenue generated by Android apps is only about equal to the Apple App store revenue. So once again, your lack of competence shows itself.
It is not at all clear that the app revenue generated by the Chinese market is significantly smaller than the US or EU, particularly since the Chinese apps market has incorporated a much higher percentage of everyday payments into its revenue stream.

You then said: "Western apps are popular everywhere, with the probable exception of China, as the West dominates sofware development and the software industry, see Windows or Android (which is dominated by Google) for example. This is why almost all of the the world's largest software corporations are Western."
This is so ridiculous that I won't even reply. Dunning Krueger strikes again. The only part of this which is true is that the largest software corporations are Western - unfortunately, 99.9999% of all apps and a similar ratio of app revenue is not generated by Western corporations

You said: "Nominal GDP estimates are commonly used to determine the economic performance of a whole country or region, and to make international comparisons. It is the original concept of GDP. PPP basis arguably more useful when comparing differences in living standards between nations. PPP also does not take into account difference in the quality of goods and services. IMF also uses nominal GDP to recognise who has the biggest economy.

http://statisticstimes.com/economy/gdp-nominal-vs-gdp-ppp.php

Chinese growth rate for the 2020s is currently projected to be 5 - 5,5 %. US growth rate - 2%. My point stands, older (from before the trade war) projections were about China catching up with the US in 2024, and the newer projections are about China catching up in 2031. Since the IMF projects bigger losses for China than for the US (due to the trade war), this will additionally slow down China."

More gobbledygook. Using whatever numbers you choose and whatever the relative nominal GDP sizes are today, China will catch the US in nominal terms in 5 years or less.

"The economy was already feeling very bad in 2008 even before the recession was recognized. There were many worried people at that point. Lots of tension in the air. Moreover, as US demographics are changing, with every year becomes harder and harder for a republican to win. So demographic trends are against Trump."

Straight from the Democratic National Committee playbook. And yet look who sits in the White House.

"This over 100% number includes the debt that the US government owes to itself. Intra-Governmental Debt. You will often find two figures - one about 106 %, and another about around 80 %. The CBO projections and other instituions (IMF) use the ~ 80 % estimate - which is only about debt towards third parties (non US government parties)."

Sadly, you again have skipped looking into the details. How much of this "owed itself" is Social Security? Those debt payments can't cancel out because they represent future outflows from Social Security. Same for the Committee for blabberty blah. There are plenty of people who want to attack Social Security - but the reality is still that Social Security is funded by the Social Security taxes; that the revenue from these taxes have exceeded outlays for 2 generations; and that future "shortfalls" are simply misidentified because they were already paid, decades past.

Sorry, but your credibility continues to sink, if that is even possible.

"As far as military spending is concerned, under current law it is projected to decline from 3,1 % of GDP to 2,5 % of GDP. Debt to GDP is currently projected to hit 93 % by 2029. This is under current law, after a crisis hits in 2020 i doubt that anyone will have an appetite for increased military spending."

Your numbers are wrong - among other things, they ignore all manner of off-budget spending (which is very considerable), future increases (which, to date, have never ceased) and things like VA spending. Zero cred.

""Martin Feldstein"

He is Professor of Economics at Harvard University though. One could also make a similar argument against you and your econ knowledge because you don't even know that US net government debt to gdp is around 80 % and not 105 %, which is a total (gross) government debt."

Harvard, schmarvard. I don't care where he's a professor - if he is an expert economist and has failed to predict any of the past 3 recessions, then he has zero credibility. If he is on the Board of Directors of AIG and failed to steer them successfully out of the 2008 GFC without literally hundreds of billions of dollars of federal government bailout, that would itself sink his credibility.

Your knowledge, obtained by reading other people's work - people who have an agenda to sell and which you are clearly ignorant of - is continuing its trend of providing no substance or actionable intelligence.

This is my last post in response - I have spent some time to understand if you are actually an idiot or simply misinformed. The conclusion is clear.

Posted by: c1ue | May 26 2019 15:48 utc | 73

"Since the IMF projects bigger losses for China than for the US (due to the trade war), this will additionally slow down China."

According to various prognostication, China was supposed to end the period of quick growth and sink in a financial crisis at least 10 years ago. Further growth cannot be based on wage competition where the edge belongs to Bangladesh, and also Vietnam, Indonesia and even India (so far, relatively less engaged in the export of goods). China cornered many types of middle-tech products, like solar panels, LEDs, and they have strong presence in many others. The switch to technology goods clearly involves more competitive environment as lower rates of growth. There are also barrier how big percentage of global raw materials can China gather -- it is pretty huge now, so again, the growth has to deccelerate.

On the other side of "the pond" (Pacific Ocean), it is not THAT clear to me how USA can expand its industrial base while enjoying the greenhouse of tariffs. China had enormous investment capital (like Japan before) from domestic saving rate. USA lacks that. Secondly, work force is tied to "services", notably healthcare system that requires millions of paper shufflers as service providers have a very labor intensive tug of war with insurance companies and governments on various levels, leaving very few people to expand industrial employment. Can factories return to small towns that were industrial 30-40 years ago? Can it happen without some national strategy to facilitate that? Is there any such strategy in sight?


Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 27 2019 4:11 utc | 74

I'm amazed at seeing many people here taking IMF points as a "real source" and forgetting it is part of the same empire itself. What the IMF says should be taken as it is; empire propaganda and nothing more. I wouldn't rely on its "figures" or "projections" on anything at all. If we really hope for a better world then we must stop giving credit to those intitutions which have made the world this worst such as the infamouses IMF and World Bank.

Coercive use of economic and legal tools will continue until the Bolivarian government is replaced and their policies repealed, or until the Executive Order is rescinded. That the NY Times dropped the term "interim president" from Guaido indicates that the project since 2015 to install Lopez has now been acknowledged as a failure, and a new crowd of willing collaborators must be cultivated. The legal and economic harassment will continue for the foreseeable future.
Seriously? "Legal tools"? What is it "legal" about them? What the US is doing is a blatant act of war violating several international laws and there's nothing "legal" about it.

Posted by: motlke | May 27 2019 15:45 utc | 75

c1ue | May 26, 2019 11:48:30 AM | 74

Me said: "Android is being mainly developed by Google though. It provides its updates, etc. As of now, Google dominates the development of Android, competing Android ecosystems are currently dwarfed by Google. "

You said: "Yes, Google is a top 10 contributor to open source - but this contribution is a shade of 1%. And very little of it is Android. The same article notes that Android base code is only 7000 lines.
So, Google does not make the most contributions to Linux nor does it do the same for Android base code."

Why is Wiki claiming that: "Android is a mobile operating system developed by Google." then?

https://www.android.com/ is a site managed by Google.

More of it - "Android has been the best-selling OS worldwide on smartphones since 2011 and on tablets since 2013. As of May 2017, it has over two billion monthly active users, the largest installed base of any operating system, and as of December 2018, the Google Play store features over 2.6 million apps."

"AOSP has been used as the basis of competing Android ecosystems, such as Amazon.com's Fire OS, which use their own equivalents to GMS. "

In other words those who use AOSP are not called Android.

Do you claim that other OS (based or not based on AOSP) have the same popularity as Google's Android?

"They will have their Android OS (it is not ready yet), but will they be able to compete with Google for the dominant app ecosystem? "
"You clearly don't have any idea on the app ecosystem."

Per wiki - "Android is also associated with a suite of proprietary software developed by Google, called Google Mobile Services[10] (GMS) that very frequently comes pre-installed in devices, which usually includes the Google Chrome web browser and Google Search and always includes core apps for services such as Gmail, as well as the application store and digital distribution platform Google Play, and associated development platform,"

Huawei will have to create all of this for its new OS. How competitive will be compared to Google's very popular software suit?

"You do not require Google Play Store to install apps or even maintain them - it is simply the default on Android devices, but you can install Android apps from a web page or an email."

Yes, but an App store makes things more convenient for consumers and they like it. Huawei will have to create an app store for the new OS too. Again a setback for the company.

"You then said: "US plus EU plus Japan, plus Anglospere combined may represent smaller population, but they are far bigger market than China. "
Bigger market in what way? The entire Apple App store generates $29 billion in 2017 - not nothing, but Apple sold 216 million iPhones in 2017. The Android market is much larger in install base but the revenue generated by Android apps is only about equal to the Apple App store revenue. So once again, your lack of competence shows itself.
It is not at all clear that the app revenue generated by the Chinese market is significantly smaller than the US or EU, particularly since the Chinese apps market has incorporated a much higher percentage of everyday payments into its revenue stream."

Market in sofware plus hardware (phones, tablets, etc). I'm pretty sure that US plus EU plus Japan, plus Anglospere combined have significantly bigger market than China, based on purshasing power alone. They represent around 40 % of the world in GDP PPP, China is about 19 %.

Western apps are popular everywhere, with the probable exception of China, as the West dominates sofware development and the software industry, see Windows or Android (which is dominated by Google) for example. This is why almost all of the the world's largest software corporations are Western."
"This is so ridiculous that I won't even reply. Dunning Krueger strikes again. The only part of this which is true is that the largest software corporations are Western - unfortunately, 99.9999% of all apps and a similar ratio of app revenue is not generated by Western corporations"

Yes, they are popular, for example Google has the world's most popular search engine, while Windows is one of the most widely used desktop OS, Google's Android is the most popular mobile OS in the world by a large margin. Then there is IOS and others.

https://www.androidauthority.com/google-android-acquisition-884194/

So who generates 99.9999% of app revenue? Chinese companies? Why don't they dominate among software companies instead?

Which Countries Lead the World in Software Development?

https://blog.andersenlab.com/en/which-countries-lead-the-world-in-software-development/

Revenues from IT Products and Services

"Ireland leads the pack in terms of revenue from IT-related products and services with an estimated $57.65bn of annual revenue. India, with its growing army of programmers, is in the second place with $55.67bn, while third place is held by the US, which sells IT products and services worth $34.22bn annually. "

"More gobbledygook. Using whatever numbers you choose and whatever the relative nominal GDP sizes are today, China will catch the US in nominal terms in 5 years or less."

Nope, if you use whatever numbers you want you can get whatever results you want. Currently, the latest projections show China catching up in 2030.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-25/hsbc-sees-china-economy-set-to-pass-u-s-as-number-one-by-2030

This prognosis was made before the escalation of the trade war. According to the IMF China will lose more than the US, so if they are correct, China will catch up even later.

"Straight from the Democratic National Committee playbook. And yet look who sits in the White House."

California is a good example how the changing demographics led to Democratic Party dominance. So yes, the more time passes, the harder it becomes for a republican to win an election. 2018 election results were pretty bad (for the republicans) in Texas and Florida, they barely made it, these states are becomig purple states.

"Sadly, you again have skipped looking into the details. How much of this "owed itself" is Social Security? Those debt payments can't cancel out because they represent future outflows from Social Security. Same for the Committee for blabberty blah. There are plenty of people who want to attack Social Security - but the reality is still that Social Security is funded by the Social Security taxes; that the revenue from these taxes have exceeded outlays for 2 generations; and that future "shortfalls" are simply misidentified because they were already paid, decades past."

For more info on this

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:0CkppRLaQoAJ:https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-us-government-doesnt-really-owe-dollar16-trillion-in-debt+&cd=1&hl=bg&ct=clnk&gl=bg&client=firefox-b-d">https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-us-government-doesnt-really-owe-dollar16-trillion-in-debt+&cd=1&hl=bg&ct=clnk&gl=bg&client=firefox-b-d">https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:0CkppRLaQoAJ:https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-us-government-doesnt-really-owe-dollar16-trillion-in-debt+&cd=1&hl=bg&ct=clnk&gl=bg&client=firefox-b-d

"Your numbers are wrong - among other things, they ignore all manner of off-budget spending (which is very considerable), future increases (which, to date, have never ceased) and things like VA spending. Zero cred."

These are not my numbers, these are Congressional Budget Office estimates. If you think they are wrong you can write a study on it and send it to Congress, they will appreciate it.

"Harvard, schmarvard. I don't care where he's a professor - if he is an expert economist and has failed to predict any of the past 3 recessions, then he has zero credibility. If he is on the Board of Directors of AIG and failed to steer them successfully out of the 2008 GFC without literally hundreds of billions of dollars of federal government bailout, that would itself sink his credibility.

Your knowledge, obtained by reading other people's work - people who have an agenda to sell and which you are clearly ignorant of - is continuing its trend of providing no substance or actionable intelligence."

This does not mean that he must be wrong for everything he says though. Yes, everybody has agenda, including him. Do you know what his agenda is? Or you are ignorant of it too and just speculating?

This by the way, (raisning retirement age and cutting benefits) is not simply his idea, as you can see from here -

https://www.crfb.org/blogs/raising-eligibility-ages-good-budgetand-economy

or here

"the 2010 Simpson-Bowles plan, which many experts considered the gold standard of deficit reduction plans, would have put debt on a downward path and reduced overall spending, including military spending. It also would have reduced Medicare and Medicaid payments and put Social Security on a sustainable footing by reducing some benefits and raising the retirement age."

https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/national-debt-dilemma

Posted by: Passer by | May 28 2019 0:12 utc | 76

Fixed link "For more info on this"

https://web.archive.org/web/20171001193028/http://www.thedailybeast.com/the-us-government-doesnt-really-owe-dollar16-trillion-in-debt">http://www.thedailybeast.com/the-us-government-doesnt-really-owe-dollar16-trillion-in-debt">https://web.archive.org/web/20171001193028/http://www.thedailybeast.com/the-us-government-doesnt-really-owe-dollar16-trillion-in-debt

Posted by: Passer by | May 28 2019 0:24 utc | 77

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