Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Death Of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi And Related Matters

The self-proclaimed "Caliph" of Da'esh/ISIL/ISIS, Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarri, who took the name Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has blown himself up after US special forces successfully attacked his compound in Idlib province of Syria near the Turkish border after a US military dog attacked him. (His nom de guerre was chosen for its links to historical caliphs, the leaders of global Sunni Islam after the death of the Prophet Muhammed supposedly in his place, with Abu Bakr being the first such after the death of his son-in-law the Prophet and al-Baghdadi invoking the capital of the most powerful of all the caliphates, the Abbasid that ruled for 500 years from their capital in Baghdad).  A few observations.

While President Trump Trump bragged about this success of the US military for 46 minutes as a personal success of his own, the event was delayed for nearly a week and almost did not happen as al-Baghdadi was reportedly on the verge of moving again from the compound he was caught in because Trump had allowed Turkey to invade northeastern Syria, disrupting the Syrian Kurds there who had been the main US allies against Da'esh and al-Baghdadi, thus disrupting temporarily the planned attack.

While Trump most prominently thanked Russia and secondarily Turkey for their assistance in his speech while barely mentioning the US Kurdish allies, it was the latter who not only were largely responsible for ending the self-proclaimed caliphate as an entity ruling over people and territory in Syria, but also reportedly according to the Washington Post developed the mole within al-Baghdadi's circle who provided the crucial intelligence on al-Baghdadi's whereabouts and the details of his compound that made it possible to carry out this attack successfully.  The only thing Russia did was allow this attack to go forward as they reportedly control the airspace over Idlib province.  I am unaware of anything Turkey did to help this at all and in fact had in the past allowed goods to flow to Da'esh across the Turkish-Syrian border and most recently has been de facto supporting the al-Qaeda-related groups controlling Idlib province on the ground, with al-Baghdadi's compound near the Turkish border and the remnants of Da'esh apparently forming an alliance with those groups after having split from al-Qaeda in Iraq originally, with al-Qaeda considering them to be too violent.

In his bragging account of the successful operation Trump appears to have made up some details out of whole cloth in order to heighten the drama of it all, including perhaps most importantly a claim that al-Baghdadi was crying and screaming in a cowardly way at the end, something that has not been supported or verified at all by anybody publicly having primary knowledge of the events there.

Obviously Trump's decision to let Turkey invade Syria against the Kurds there and to describe these allies without whom al-Baghdadi would not have been found to be "worse terrorists then ISIS" as well as "no angels" as well as approving the entry of Russian and Syrian national troops into northeastern Syria reflects his admiration for the leaders of Turkey and Russia, where has major hotels in Istanbul and long has had financial relations with Russian oligarchs and desires to have a Trump Tower in Moscow.  His willingness to nearly botch this operation by betraying the Kurds (language used by Putin's press secretary, Peskov, regarding his actions) seems best explained by Trump's ongoing view of himself as "being primarily in the hospitality business" as his Acting Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney inadverdently put it in an interview on TV.

We finally have the absurd spectacle of Trump deciding to keep 200 troops in Syria to control a small group of oil wells there that Da'esh had gotten money from selling oil from until the SDF took control of them, but with the largely Syrian Kurdish SDF (which includes Christian Arabs) on the run thanks to the Turkish invasion, control of those wells might fall into the hands of either Da'esh agaiin, who will probably gain from this invasion given the freeing of over 100 fighters, despite the death of its leader, al-Baghdadi, or Syrian national troops backed by the Russians or maybe even the Turks.  Trump is under the fantasy that this oil might be developed and sold by an American company, but none will do so given that they are actually in Syrian national territory and thus this would be illegal internationally, as well as the area being a war zone.  Trump is simply delusional on this matter.

While I do not wish any particular person dead and oppose the death penalty, I do not mourn the horrible al-Baghdadi and am glad to see him no longer around to lead the remnants of Da'esh/ISIL/ISIS (I continue to be appalled by the insistence of western media of calling this renegade murderous outfit "the Islamic State" thus spreading the group's own propaganda).  But rather than deserving praise for this outcome, President Trump deserved the booing and "Lock Him Up" chants he experienced at the fifth game of the World Series given his betrayal of the Kurds that nearly made this operation impossible.

A final note is that in the wake of this, for the first time ever, the US House of Representatives has passed a resolution condemning Turkey for its refusal to recognize and apologized for the genocide carried out by the Turkish-dominated Ottoman Empire in 1915 against the Armenians.  This resolution, likely not to be passed in the Senate, had strong bipartisan support in the House.  It is about time, and the credibility of  Turkey's claims of innocence in the 1915 matter are as good as their  claims that the SDF was carrying out terror attacks against them, which is basically near zero in both cases.

Oh, Happy Halloween everybody.  I figures this makes for an appropriate post on Halloween.

Barkley Rosser

11 comments:

Unknown said...

I would like to see America recognise and participate in the International Criminal Court. I'm not at all sure that it was the case in this instance, however it is not appropriate for a state (or any other entity) to be targetting people for assassination.

AXEC / E.K-H said...

Macroeconomics and the fake History of Economic Thought
Comment on George Akerlof on ‘What They Were Thinking Then: The Consequences for Macroeconomics during the Past 60 Years’*

Napoleon is supposed to have said “History is a myth agreed upon.” or “History is a set of lies people have agreed upon”. This, of course, holds also for the History of Economic Thought.

Economics is a scientific failure for 200+ years. The major approaches — Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism, MMT — are mutually contradictory, axiomatically false, and materially/formally inconsistent. Yet, on top of the heap of proto-scientific garbage, George Akerlof tries to erect a false-hero-memorial for MIT: “The primary public policy lesson of Keynesian economics ― that we now knew how to respond to economic downturns ― had been a hard-won fight. It had been fought for decades, with high stakes: nothing less than the maintenance of full employment, rather than lapses into Great Depression.” and “The great public policy question of the day ― how to fight underemployment ― had thus also been solved. This message, significantly homegrown at MIT, was revolutionary relative to the thinking of the early 1930s, when economists could reach no clear consensus regarding how to restore full employment.”

This is a clear case of auto-hypnosis which is the defining characteristic of economists and it traditionally finds expression in the self-propagation of economics as the Queen of Social Sciences.

And this is how MIT economists pulled off their PR stunt: “At the time, Paul Samuelson of MIT was the world’s most famous living economist, known for his Foundations of Economic Analysis and for his numerous articles, but especially for his bestselling introductory textbook. Its early editions began with macroeconomics based on the keystone ‘Keynesian cross’ diagram of Samuelson’s invention, which was the uncontested heart of macroeconomics at MIT.”#1

That much is correct, Samuelson started the economics textbook industry. Needless to emphasize that economics textbooks are scientifically worthless to this day.#2, #3

And this is in detail how the hallucinatory scientific revolution happened: “As a reminder, the Keynesian cross plots income on the horizontal axis and expenditures on the vertical axis. Equilibrium occurs where income and expenditures are equal ― along a 45-degree line from the origin ― but this equilibrium could occur either as a ‘deflationary gap’ below full employment, or at full employment, or as an ‘inflationary gap’ above full employment. The analysis behind the figure explored the consequences of observing that, as Keynes had claimed, equilibrium income occurs where desired savings equals desired investment.”

The first methodological blunder was, of course, to apply the equilibrium concept. Samuelson failed to realize that equilibrium is a NONENTITY.#4, #5, #6, #7 The second fatal blunder was inherited directly from Keynes.

The formal basis of the General Theory is given with: “Income = value of output = consumption + investment. Saving = income − consumption. Therefore saving = investment.” (p. 63)

This elementary two-liner is conceptually and logically defective because Keynes did not come to grips with profit: “His Collected Writings show that he wrestled to solve the Profit Puzzle up till the semi-final versions of his GT but in the end he gave up and discarded the draft chapter dealing with it.” (Tómasson et al.)#8

Let this sink in: Keynes had no idea of macroeconomic profit.

See part 2

AXEC / E.K-H said...

Part 2

Because the foundational concepts of profit/income are ill-defined the whole analytical superstructure of Keynesianism is provably false. Samuelson, though, did not realize that the Keynesian macrofoundations were fatally flawed and neither did Post-Keynesians, New Keynesians, and Anti-Keynesians to this day.#9, #10, #11

Practically this means that economic policy guidance has NO sound scientific foundations since Adam Smith. Economists bear the intellectual responsibility for the social devastation of economic crises.#12

Because both Walrasian microfoundations and Keynesian macrofoundations are defective the so-called Keynesian-Neoclassical Synthesis is provably false, in particular, all IS-LM models #13, #14 and all Phillips-Curves #15, #16 (except the original one) are proto-scientific garbage.

This, of course, is NOT the conclusion of George Akerlof. Economists are struggling scientists and prone to error and neglect like anybody else: “The Keynesian-neoclassical synthesis that had emerged by the early 1960s put constraints on macroeconomics. Foremost, it divorced macroeconomists from working on financial stability. Luckily, after the crash of 2008, the prior work of finance economists has been belatedly acknowledged, and the subfield of macro stability has also emerged as quite possibly the most vibrant research frontier in economics.”

The general public appreciates the humbleness of what it is told are Nobel-worthy scientific geniuses.#17 These repeating We-were-a-bit-wrong-then-but-now-we-are-vibrantly-on-the-right-track confessions are part of the PR stunt called economics. The fact of the matter is: economics is NOT science but political agenda-pushing and economists are NOT scientists but clowns and useful idiots in the political Circus Maximus.#18

The History of Economic Thought, including the History of Macroeconomic Thought#19, is a fake from Adam Smith onward to George Akerlof and beyond. All this stuff ends up with absolute necessity at the Flat-Earth-Cemetery.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

See part 3

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

And thus has what to do with this thread, Egmontt? Not a damn ed thing, near as I can tell, and you have bored us with this stuff previously numerous times.

AXEC / E.K-H said...

Barkley Rosser

You say: “And thus has what to do with this thread, Egmontt? Not a damn ed thing, near as I can tell, and you have bored us with this stuff previously numerous times.”

Time to face reality. The readers of EconoSpeak are tired of your kill-and-dump murder stories (Bin Laden, Khashoggi, Al-Baghdadi). You may be bored reading that macroeconomics is proto-scientific garbage since Keynes. However, it is certainly a sensation for the EconoSpeak audience to learn that your whole academic cohort got the elementary algebra of macro wrong. From this, they may conclude that your foreign policy comments, too, are worth even less than a fart.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

No, Egmont, nobody is making elementary algebra mistakes. You are just insisting that variables are different from what others say. That is a completely different thing.

So for a+bx=0, the solution is x=-a/b. However you are saying it is actually a*=bx=0, for which the solution is x=-a*/b. Nobody is making an algebra mistake. There is simply a disagreement over whether that first variable is a or a*.

It is bad enough you are a crank; tey not to be an idiot on top of that.

AXEC / E.K-H said...

Barkley Rosser

I=S ⇒ false macro algebra ⇒ Keynes et al.
Q=I−S ⇒ correct algebra.

The formal proof has been given in the References which were not uploaded because of space restrictions at EconoSpeak. See #9
https://axecorg.blogspot.com/2019/11/macroeconomics-and-fake-history-of.html

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

Egmont,

YOu have just confirmed that I am right and verified that you are mathematically incompetent and innumerate. There is no algebra problem here. The issue is simply one of competing definitions.

So, Egmont, as I have pointed out here on numerous occasions, the US National Income and Product Accounts (NIPS), whose practices are imitated in nearly all nations now, defines investment and savings in a way that I = S, simply by definition. That is what is "a."

You insist that this is not the correct definition, and that I and S should be "a*,", but, sorry, nobody agrees with you. You cannot simply impose your definitions on everybody else. No wonder you are unable to publish anything. Your work is just totally crackpot.

AXEC / E.K-H said...

Barkley Rosser

You say: “You have just confirmed that I am right and verified that you are mathematically incompetent and innumerate. There is no algebra problem here. The issue is simply one of competing definitions.”

When confronted with a clear-cut true/false question, the swampies of economics always take the emergency exit of ‘That’s just a matter of definition’. This is excuse No. 26 from my 54-item compilation of economists’ brain-dead methodological blather: “The issue is largely definitional and, as Lewis Carroll pointed out, everyone is entitled to his own definitions. (Blinder)”#1 This is the Humpty Dumpty Fallacy.#2 Definitions have to be consistent. The methodological fact of the matter is that the definitions of profit/income/saving are inconsistent for 200+ years.

You say: “So, Egmont, as I have pointed out here on numerous occasions, the US National Income and Product Accounts (NIPS), whose practices are imitated in nearly all nations now, defines investment and savings in a way that I=S, simply by definition.”

No. Keynes’ I=S rests on the premise “Income = value of output”#3 which is provably false because it implies that macroeconomic profit is zero which is obviously NOT the case. So I=S is NOT true “simply by definition” but empirically false. Q=I−S is materially and formally correct. The remaining question is whether economists are too stupid for elementary algebra or whether they intentionally let profit disappear from the sectoral balances equations.#4-#10

I am well aware of the practice of NIPS accounting and I have shown in detail where it goes wrong.#11 See, in particular, section 1.9 Cooked transaction recording.

As a fake scientist, you do not address the clear-cut challenge [I=S ⇒ false, Q=I−S ⇒ true) but appeal to authority (NIPS) and majority (nearly all nations).

From the fact that all national accountants define things “in a way that I=S, simply by definition” does NOT logically follow that I=S is true but that all national accountants are either stupid or corrupt or both.

What is known for 2300+ years ― except to economists ― is: “The only way to arrive at coherent languages is to set up axiomatic systems implicitly defining the basic concepts.” (Schmiechen)

The methodological fact of the matter is that both microeconomic axioms and macroeconomic axioms are materially/formally inconsistent and this explains why economics is not more than incoherent blather and why the “Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel” is a fraud.

Economics has NEVER been anything else than brain-dead political agenda-pushing and your Al-Baghdadi post just proves it again.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

#1 Failed economics: The losers’ long list of lame excuses
https://axecorg.blogspot.com/2017/01/failed-economics-losers-long-list-of.html

#2 Humpty Dumpty is back again
https://axecorg.blogspot.com/2015/11/humpty-dumpty-is-back-again.html

#3 “Income = value of output = consumption + investment. Saving = income − consumption. Therefore saving = investment.” (GT, p. 63)

#4 Wikipedia and the promotion of economists’ idiotism (II)
https://axecorg.blogspot.com/2018/07/wikipedia-and-promotion-of-economists.html

#5 The magic circuit and how economists got it wrong
https://axecorg.blogspot.com/2016/12/the-magic-circuit-and-how-economists.html

#6 Why economists know nothing
https://axecorg.blogspot.com/2016/12/why-economists-know-nothing.html

#7 Substandard reasoners
https://axecorg.blogspot.com/2016/07/substandard-reasoners.html

#8 Economists’ slapstick methodology
https://axecorg.blogspot.com/2016/01/economists-slapstick-methodology.html

#9 Mental messies and loose losers
http://axecorg.blogspot.com/2015/07/mental-messies-and-loose-losers.html

#10 How to get out of the swamp of ignorance
https://axecorg.blogspot.com/2016/03/how-to-get-out-of-morass-of-ignorance.html

#11 The Common Error of Common Sense: An Essential Rectification of the Accounting Approach
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2124415

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

This is my last comment on this thread.

Egmont,

First you say "No," NIPA does not use an accounting system that has I = S, but then later you admit it does, but then pronounce that it is "wrong" to do so. Sorry, but this is definitional, and you do not have the rght to imposee your defnition on others, no matter how many unpubllished and unupblishable on your argument.

AXEC / E.K-H said...

Barkley Rosser

You say: “So, Egmont, as I have pointed out here on numerous occasions, the US National Income and Product Accounts (NIPS), whose practices are imitated in nearly all nations now, defines investment and savings in a way that I=S, simply by definition.”

I say: “I am well aware of the practice of NIPS accounting and I have shown in detail where it goes wrong.#11 See, in particular, section 1.9 Cooked transaction recording.”

I conclude: “From the fact that all national accountants define things “in a way that I=S, simply by definition” does NOT logically follow that I=S is true but that all national accountants are either stupid or corrupt or both.”

You conclude: “Sorry, but this is definitional, and you do not have the rght to imposee your defnition on others, …”

I do not impose anything on anybody, I just bury macroeconomics from Keynes to Hicks to Samuelson to Akerlof to Krugman#1 to Barkley Rosser, including the peer-reviewed economic journals and textbooks of the last 80+ years, at the Flat-Earth-Cemetery.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

#1 Mr. Keynes, Prof. Krugman, IS-LM, and the End of Economics as We Know It
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2392856