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[Free book of the day]: The Nameless War

Deep Politics Monitor - 2 ore 55 min fa
An absolute must read, imho. The author spent years in jail without any trial for this book. The Nameless War - Ramsay 

Who Hacked the DNC?

Lew Rockwell Institute - 9 ore 51 min fa

We haven’t seen this kind of hysteria since the darkest days of the cold war: a spy scare that is being utilized by one political party against another in a national election, with charges of disloyalty and even “treason” being hurled by one side against the other. The publication of the Democratic National Committee’s emails by WikiLeaks has caused a storm of spin and counter-spin that threatens to throw the entire election discourse off balance – not that it was all that centered, to begin with – and cause an international incident with perilous consequences for us all.

The media, one and all, have decided that the DNC hack was the work of the Russian government, and the Democrats have taken this one step further and declared that Moscow is pushing the candidacy of Donald Trump due to his oft-stated hope to “get along” with Vladimir Putin. And US government officials have added their voices to this chorus, with the New York Times reporting that unnamed members of the “intelligence community” believe “with high confidence” that the Russian state is behind the hack.

This is impressive, at least in Washington, D.C., where the pronouncements of government officials are taken as holy writ. For the rest of us, however, who remember that this same “intelligence community” declared with certainty that Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction,” this assertion should be taken with a very large grain of salt. Indeed, one might almost be tempted to write this conclusion off as quite obviously erroneous and self-serving, given the record of the people who are making it.

Indeed, the whole narrative reeks of confirmation bias in the context of what preceded it: a systematic campaign by cold war liberals and Democratic party hacks (or do I repeat myself?) tagging Trump as “Putin’s puppet,” “Putin’s poodle,” not to mention “Putin’s pawn.” Aside from the rhyming scheme, what all these smears have in common is the simple assertion that anyone who doesn’t want to start World War III over who shall rule over the ramshackle mess that is Ukraine, and who questions in any way our commitment to an obsolete and increasingly expensive alliance, is quite obviously a Manchurian candidate controlled by the Kremlin.

So when the DNC hack made headlines, the anti-Trump media – i.e. the entire “mainstream” media – pushed the Kremlin conspiracy narrative hard. But what is the technical evidence for such a charge? As it turns out, it is thin-to-nonexistent.

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Jeffrey Carr, author of Inside Cyber Warfare, who runs Taia Global, a cybersecurity firm, and founded the “Suits and Spooks” annual cyber-warfare conference, shows that the identification of the hacker groups – dubbed “Cozy Bear” and “Fancy Bear” – as Russian state actors are based on arbitrary definitions that exclude all exculpatory evidence.

Journalists covering the political and foreign policy scene are not usually conversant with the technical details of computer science: and this is a real handicap when dealing with the question of attributing a hacking to a state or nonstate actor. The issues are complex, impossibly nerdy, and go against the popular conception of “science” as identical with precision and even a kind of omniscience. Because, when it comes to attribution in these cases, there is no such thing as certainty. As Carr puts it:

“It’s important to know that the process of attributing an attack by a cyber security company has nothing to do with the scientific method. Claims of attribution aren’t testable or repeatable because the hypothesis is never proven right or wrong.”

Cyber-security companies like CrowdStrike, which was hired by the DNC to investigate the hack, are in the business of assuring their clients that they can know what isn’t knowable unless a) a hacker is caught in the act, and b) a government employee leaks the truth. It doesn’t help their profit margin to make these facts widely known, and so they hide the inherent subjectivity of attribution behind the mantle of “science.” This is what Carr calls “faith-based attribution,” and plenty of journalists – who are already prone to believe the worst of the Russians (and Trump) – are fooled, or have managed to fool themselves. As Carr writes:

“When looking at professions who use an investigative process to determine a true and accurate answer, the closest profession to the attribution estimate of a cyber intelligence analyst is that of a religious office like a priest or a minister, who simply asks their congregation to believe what they say on faith. The likelihood that a nation state will acknowledge that a cybersecurity company has correctly identified one of their operations is probably slightly less likely than God making an appearance at the venue where a theological debate is underway about whether God exists.”

Read the Whole Article

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You thought Jeb Was Low Energy?

Lew Rockwell Institute - 9 ore 51 min fa

For months Donald Trump has bestowed the “Crooked Hillary” moniker upon the Democratic Presidential candidate with what appear to be very damaging results to her credibility and honesty.

Always one to entertain, and often without a script, Trump has a couple of new nicknames he recently threw into the mix.

First, knowing how effective the label was when applied to Jeb! Bush, Trump referred to Hillary as not just “low energy,” but noted that she is a “napper” who simply doesn’t have the ability to deal with the nation’s pressing issues:

Reprinted with permission from

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A World War Has Begun

Lew Rockwell Institute - 9 ore 51 min fa

This is an edited version of an address by John Pilger at the University of Sydney, entitled A World War Has Begun.

I have been filming in the Marshall Islands, which lie north of Australia, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Whenever I tell people where I have been, they ask, “Where is that?” If I offer a clue by referring to “Bikini”, they say, “You mean the swimsuit.”

Few seem aware that the bikini swimsuit was named to celebrate the nuclear explosions that destroyed Bikini island. Sixty-six nuclear devices were exploded by the United States in the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958 — the equivalent of 1.6 Hiroshima bombs every day for twelve years.

The answer ought to be glaringly obvious. The United States is encircling China with a network of bases, with ballistic missiles, battle groups, nuclear -armed bombers.

This lethal arc extends from Australia to the islands of the Pacific, the Marianas and the Marshalls and Guam, to the Philippines, Thailand, Okinawa, Korea and  across Eurasia to Afghanistan and India. America has hung a noose around the neck of China. This is not news. Silence by media; war by media.

In 2015, in high secrecy, the US and Australia staged the biggest single air-sea military exercise in recent history, known as Talisman Sabre. Its aim was to rehearse an Air-Sea Battle Plan, blocking sea lanes, such as the Straits of Malacca and the Lombok Straits, that cutoff China’s access to oil, gas and other vital raw materials from the Middle East and Africa.

In the circus known as the American presidential campaign, Donald Trump is being presented as a lunatic, a fascist.  He is certainly odious, but he is also a media hate figure.  That alone should arouse our scepticism.

Trump’s views on migration are grotesque but no more grotesque than those of David Cameron. It is not Trump who is the Great Deporter from the United States, but the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Barack Obama.

According to one prodigious liberal commentator, Trump is “unleashing the dark forces of violence” in the United States. Unleashing them?

This is the country where toddlers shoot their mothers and the police wage a murderous war against black Americans. This is the country that has attacked and sought to overthrow more than 50 governments, many of them democracies, and bombed from Asia to the Middle East, causing the deaths and dispossession of millions of people.

No country can equal this systemic record of violence. Most of America’s wars (almost all of them against defenceless countries) have been launched not by Republican presidents but by liberal Democrats: Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Obama.

In 1947, a series of National Security Council directives described the paramount aim of American foreign policy as “the world substantially made over in [America’s] own image”.  The ideology was messianic Americanism. We were all Americans. Or else. Heretics would be converted, subverted, bribed, smeared or crushed.

Donald Trump is a symptom of this, but he is also a maverick. He says the invasion of Iraq was a crime; he doesn’t want to go to war with Russia and China. The danger to the rest of us is not Trump, but Hillary Clinton. She is no maverick. She embodies the resilience and violence of a system whose vaunted “exceptionalism” is totalitarian with an occasional liberal face.

As presidential  election day draws near, Clinton will be hailed as the first female president, regardless of her crimes and lies – just as Barack Obama was lauded as the first black president and liberals swallowed his nonsense about “hope”. And the drool goes on.

Described by the Guardian columnist Owen Jones as “funny, charming, with a coolness that eludes practically every other politician”, Obama the other day sent drones to slaughter 150 people in Somalia.  He kills people usually on Tuesdays, according to the New York Times, when he is handed a list of candidates for death by drone. So cool.

In the 2008 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton threatened to “totally obliterate” Iran with nuclear weapons.  As Secretary of State under Obama, she participated in the overthrow of the democratic government of Honduras. Her contribution to the destruction of Libya in 2011 was almost gleeful. When the Libyan leader, Colonel Gaddafi, was publicly sodomised with a knife – a murder made possible by American logistics – Clinton gloated over his death: “We came, we saw, he died.”

One of Clinton’s closest allies is Madeleine Albright, the former secretary of State, who has attacked young women for not supporting “Hillary”. This is the same Madeleine Albright  who infamously celebrated on TV the death of half a million Iraqi children as “worth it”.

Among Clinton’s biggest backers are the Israel lobby and the arms companies that fuel the violence in the Middle East.  She and her husband have received a fortune from Wall Street. And yet, she is about to be ordained the women’s candidate, to see off the evil Trump, the official demon. Her supporters include distinguished feminists: the likes of Gloria Steinem in the US and Anne Summers in Australia.

A generation ago, a post-modern cult is now known as “identity politics” stopped many intelligent, liberal-minded people examining the causes and individuals they supported — such as the fakery of Obama and Clinton;  such as bogus progressive movements like Syriza in Greece, which betrayed the people of that country and allied with their enemies.

Self-absorption, a kind of “me-ism”, became the new zeitgeist in privileged western societies and signalled the demise of great collective movements against war, social injustice, inequality,  racism and sexism.

Today, the long sleep may be over. The young are stirring again. Gradually. The thousands in Britain who supported Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader are part of this awakening – as are those who rallied to support Senator Bernie Sanders.

In Britain last week, Jeremy Corbyn’s closest ally, his shadow treasurer John McDonnell, committed a Labour government to pay off the debts of piratical banks and, in effect, to continue so-called austerity.

In the US, Bernie Sanders has promised to support Clinton if or when she’s nominated. He, too, has voted for America’s use of violence against countries when he thinks it’s “right”. He says Obama has done “a great job”.

In Australia, there is a kind of mortuary politics, in which tedious parliamentary games are played out in the media while refugees and Indigenous people are persecuted and inequality grows, along with the danger of war. The government of Malcolm Turnbull has just announced a so-called defence budget of $195 billion that is a drive to war.  There was no debate. Silence.

What has happened to the great tradition of popular direct action, unfettered to parties? Where is the courage, imagination and commitment required to begin the long journey to a better, just and peaceful world? Where are the dissidents in art, film, the theatre, literature?

Where are those who will shatter the silence? Or do we wait until the first nuclear missile is fired?

Reprinted from

The post A World War Has Begun appeared first on LewRockwell.

Comrade Vladimir and Comrade Donald

Lew Rockwell Institute - 9 ore 51 min fa

It is a dark night in New York, a city that knows how to keep its secrets. But on the top floor of Trump Tower, one man sits in solitude, tweeting out life’s painful truths. Donald Trump, billionaire.

Far below, a black limousine pulls up at the rear entrance in an unlighted, narrow alley. A lone figure in dark glasses, a black trench coat, and an even blacker fedora alights with the agility of a seasoned athlete. He is quickly admitted.

Running up the many flights to the top floor he is ushered into the billionaire’s presence.  He takes off his hat but not his glasses.  The billionaire gives him a big hug:

And I have one more favor to ask of you.  Do you know who has the 30,000 missing emails of Hillary’s?

Vlad. We do not know.  But our best information is that Mossad has them.  Perhaps you should offer a reward for them.

The Donald.  Not on your life.  I do not want to spend the money.

Good night Comrade Vlad.

Vlad.  Good night. Comrade Donald.

(He mutters under his breath as he leaves.)

He is certainly a great man of peace – but cheez, what a cheapskate.

Endnote: Thanks to Guy Noir for inspiring the opening paragraph. 

The post Comrade Vladimir and Comrade Donald appeared first on LewRockwell.

The Car Bubble

Lew Rockwell Institute - 9 ore 51 min fa

A guy who smokes meth can pull a week of 15 hour days. But come next week… .

That’s how artificial “incentives” work on the economy. On the macro level, it is the Boom – and Bust – business cycle, whose unnatural peaks and valleys are caused by manipulation of money and credit, which causes excessive and unwarranted “investment” that – inevitably – leads to a downturn (or even a crash) when the artificially induced supply is disproportionate to demand. The housing bubble of the early 2000s is an obvious example of this.

Cash for Clunkers (same era) is another – and its unfortunate effects are just now beginning to become obvious.

One, the government keeps piling on mandates – safety and emissions – which add parts or require new designs, none of which comes free and often comes very expensive. The VW Diesel Debacle is a case in point. We know now that the cost per car to make the “cheating” diesels meet Uncle’s mandates amounts to several thousand dollars per car – an amount so high that the cars are not worth “fixing” and so will be thrown away instead. And because the cost to make Uncle-compliant diesel is so high, VW has decided to make them no longer (see here).

Two, buyers want gadgets.

Even “economy” cars now come with or offer LCD touchscreens and power pretty much everything.

Which is fine – except people can’t really afford this. Or the mandated-by-Uncle equipment. Debt is necessary to make it all feasible… temporarily.

Read the Whole Article

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Effortless Weight Loss?

Lew Rockwell Institute - 9 ore 51 min fa

By Dr. Mercola

If you don’t drink enough water, you can easily become dehydrated. Many actually mistake their thirst for hunger, and this is one of the basic premises behind the idea that drinking water may alleviate hunger and help you lose weight.

Many studies support this idea, though, so it’s not just pure hype. Most recently, researchers found that adults who were chronically under-hydrated had higher body mass index (BMI) and were more likely to be obese compared to well-hydrated adults.1,2,3,4,5

A BMI of 25 is considered overweight; 30 obese. Those deemed sufficiently hydrated had an average BMI of 28 whereas inadequately hydrated individuals had an average BMI of 29.

This water can hold energy, much like a battery, and can deliver energy too. This is the kind of water your cells contain; even your extracellular tissues are filled with EZ water, which is why he believes it’s so important to drink structured water for optimal health. I drink vortexed water (which increases EZ) nearly exclusively.

Sources and References

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Trump Will Destroy the Republican Party

Lew Rockwell Institute - 9 ore 51 min fa

We have something special to share with you over the next couple days. Instead of our usual market commentary, we’re featuring a recent interview between Nick Giambruno, editor of Crisis Investing, and Casey Research founder Doug Casey. Today, in part one of the interview, Doug tells Nick why he thinks Donald Trump will destroy the Republican Party…and why that’s a good thing.

Nick Giambruno: There is a popular conception that only the “best and brightest” go into government. I think this is a sacred cow that needs to be slaughtered. What’s your take, Doug?

Doug Casey: It’s a real problem when a pernicious myth subverts reality. Everybody believes that the institution of government is like Camelot—a wise ruler assisted by noble paladins. Maybe that meme gained traction in recent times with John Kennedy and his good-

With a little bit of luck, Trump will end up destroying the Republican Party, which is held together by chewing gum and bailing wire. Its disparate elements have very little in common with each other. The neocons, the evangelical Christians, the social conservatives and people who think they support the free market are there only for lack of a better alternative. They really have nothing in common except a dislike of the Democratic Party.

Although I suspect Trump will win, I expect the Republican Party itself will blow up. The situation is not unlike that before the War Between the States. Very unstable.

Reprinted with permission from Casey Research.

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A Fully Functioning Antikythera Mechanism

Lew Rockwell Institute - 9 ore 51 min fa

When we talk about the history of computers, most of us will refer to the evolution of the modern digital desktop PC, charting the decades-long developments by the likes of Apple and Microsoft. What many don’t consider, however, is that computers have been around much longer. In fact, they date back millennia, to a time when they were analogue creations.

Today, the world’s oldest known “computer” is the Antikythera mechanism, a severely corroded bronze artefact which was found at the beginning of the 20th Century, in the remains of a shipwreck near the Mediterranean island of Antikythera. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the importance of the Antikythera mechanism was discovered when radiography revealed that the device is, in fact, a complex mechanism of at least 30 gear wheels.

Inside history

When first made, the mechanism was about the size of a shoe box, with dials on both its front and back faces. A handle or knob on the side of the box enabled the user to turn the trains of gears inside –- originally there were considerably more gears than the 30 that still survive. On the front, pointers showed where the sun and moon were in the sky, and there was a display of the phase of the moon. On the rear, dials displayed a 19-year cycle of lunar months, the 18.2-year Saros cycle of lunar and solar eclipses , and even a four-year cycle of athletic competitions including the Olympic games.

The inscriptions are thought to have been a description for the user of what it was they were viewing as they operated the mechanism. However, the newly published texts add more to what we know of the mechanism: they establish that the positions of the five planets known in antiquity were also shown – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

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Philly vs. Cleveland

Lew Rockwell Institute - 9 ore 52 min fa

Wednesday was the best night of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Joe Biden, Tim Kaine, and Barack Obama testified to her greatness and goodness and readiness to be president. And all saw at the Republican Convention in Cleveland a festival of darkness and dystopia.

Nor is this unusual. For, as the saying goes, the ins “point with pride,” while the outs “view with alarm.”

Yet the clash of visions between Cleveland and Philadelphia is stark. We appear to be two separate and hostile peoples, living apart in two separate Americas.

Obama’s America is a country of all races, creeds, colors, lifestyles, a kumbayah country to be made more wonderful still when Clinton takes the helm.

Would the party of Cleveland accept President Clinton?

Hard to believe. Divided we stand. So, where do we go?

Given the distance between the two halves of America, given the contempt in which each seems to hold the other, we can probably drop from the Pledge of Allegiance the word “indivisible,” right after the Philadelphia Democrats succeed in cutting out the words, “under God.”

We are told our allies are nervous. They should be.

Even FDR could not lead a divided nation into war. When America divided over Vietnam, Richard Nixon had to lead us out. Our division led to America’s first defeat.

In the absence of a Pearl Harbor or 9/11 attack that brings us together in patriotic rage, Americans are not going to salute the next commander in chief, and then go fight Russia in the eastern Baltic or China over some reefs or rocks in the South China Sea.

Even when we were more united during the Cold War, Ike and LBJ never considered using force to roll back Soviet invasions in Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

Our strongest ally in the Arab world, Egypt, and our NATO ally in the region, Turkey, are both descending into a dictatorship. Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen are bleeding profusely in sectarian and civil wars, breaking apart along tribal and religious lines.

Could President Trump, or Clinton, rally us to stand together and send another Army of Desert Storm over there? Not likely.

Barack Obama believes the more diverse a country we become — religiously, racially, ethnically, culturally, linguistically — the greater, better and stronger a nation we become. And with his immigration policies, he has put us, perhaps irretrievably, on that road.

Yet, outside that Wells Fargo Center, where such sentiments seem to enrapture Democratic delegates, Europe, Africa, the Mideast and South Asia are all being pulled apart, right along those same fault lines.

And measured by the rhetoric of Philadelphia and Cleveland, so are we.

The post Philly vs. Cleveland appeared first on LewRockwell.

Hazardous Household Chemicals

Lew Rockwell Institute - 9 ore 52 min fa

Did you know that every day in your home you come in contact with toxic and hazardous chemicals? If you don’t pay attention and make a concerted effort, it’s almost impossible to avoid this stuff. Let’s look at the most common household chemicals, and what you can do to reduce your exposure and susceptibility to their negative impact on health.

Are Air Fresheners Hazardous?

Just because something smells nice and fresh doesn’t mean that it is good for you. Air fresheners are a prime example. Air fresheners can work by interfering with your sense of smell by coating your nasal passages with an oily film, or they can contain nerve-numbing agents.

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A Vote for Barbarism

Lew Rockwell Institute - 9 ore 52 min fa

Keeping up with Hillary’s abuses of power, scandals and criminality could be a full-time job. They go back decades. In 1978 and 1979, there is the cattle futures trading scandal. The Whitewater scandal erupted in 1992-1993 and goes back to the 70s and 80s. These financial scandals culminate recently with the Clinton Foundation’s sales of influence and her secretive Wall Street speeches and commitments for extraordinary fees. CNN reporters, our moral arbiter on such matters, tell us “There is nothing illegal or unethical about former Secretaries of State earning money on the speaking circuit. And according to sources in the industry, there is nothing unusual about someone with the name value of Hillary Clinton being able to charge so much.” Washington is corrupt to the bone. The entire operation is a sty, and CNN is part of it.

Several e-mailers provide further thoughts on Hillary’s e-mails. One link is here. That one suggests that Clinton’s attack on Trump on national security grounds implicitly admits that her missing e-mails contained important government matters, not just yoga routines and magically transform American-committed homicides, injuries and massive destruction of property into “self-defense”. And if there are not CNN reporters stepping up to defend murder, then there will be the national security establishment and a host of neocons.

One quick reply is that not a single preemptive military engagement of the U.S. passes the Caroline test: “The Caroline test is a 19th-century formulation of customary international law, reaffirmed by the Nuremberg Tribunal after World War II, which said that the necessity for preemptive self-defense must be ‘instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation.’”

Saddam Hussein had already been bombed and cowed into submission and a condition of toothless weakness. He posed no immediate or instant or overwhelming threat to America. He had no means of attacking her. Neither did the Taliban in Afghanistan. Neither did Gaddafi in Libya. Neither did any part of the former Yugoslavia. Neither does Assad in Syria, which is where Hillary Clinton is determined to act. Neither do Ukraine, Crimea or Donbass. In all these cases, there was “no choice of means”. There were plenty of other possible choices. There was plenty of time for deliberation. None of these passed the Caroline test, a test that is virtually common sense. Either U.S. officials have taken leave of their senses, Hillary Clinton among them, or they have abandoned prior standards of lawfulness in international relations and reverted to savage behavior, making the world far more dangerous, or both. Voting for her is a vote for barbarism claiming to be responsible and morally right.

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The Power of ‘Nyet’

Lew Rockwell Institute - 9 ore 52 min fa

The way things are supposed to work on this planet is like this: in the United States, the power structures (public and private) decide what they want the rest of the world to do. They communicate their wishes through official and unofficial channels, expecting automatic cooperation. If cooperation is not immediately forthcoming, they apply political, financial and economic pressure. If that still doesn’t produce the intended effect, they attempt regime change through a color revolution or a military coup or organize and finance an insurgency leading to terrorist attacks and civil war in the recalcitrant nation. If that still doesn’t work, they bomb the country back to the stone age. This is the way it worked in the 1990s and the 2000s, but as of late a new dynamic has emerged.

In the beginning, it was centered on Russia, but the phenomenon has since spread around the world and is about to engulf the United States

The media chattering heads and the establishment politicos are at this point painfully aware of this problem, and their predictable reaction is to blame it on what they perceive as its ultimate source: Russia, conveniently personified by Putin. “If you aren’t voting for Clinton, you are voting for Putin” is one recently minted political trope. Another is that Trump is Putin’s agent. Any public figure that declines to take a pro-establishment stance is automatically labeled “Putin’s useful idiot.” Taken at face value, such claims are preposterous. But there is a deeper explanation for them: what ties them all together is the power of “nyet.” A vote for Sanders is a “nyet” vote: the Democratic establishment produced a candidate and told people to vote for her, and most of the young people said “nyet.” Same thing with Trump: the Republican establishment trotted out its Seven Dwarfs and told people to vote for any one of them, and yet most of the disenfranchised working-class white people said “nyet” and voted for Snow White the outsider.

It is a hopeful sign that people throughout the Washington-dominated world are discovering the power of “nyet.” The establishment may still look spiffy on the outside, but under the shiny new paint, there hides a rotten hull, with water coming in through every open seam. A sufficiently resounding “nyet” will probably be enough to cause it to founder, suddenly making room for some very necessary changes. When that happens, please remember to thank Russia… or, if you insist, Putin.

Reprinted with permission from Dmitry Orlov.

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GREEK DEBT: IEO slams IMF/EU, paves way for debt repudiation & relief

Deep Politics Monitor - Ven, 29/07/2016 - 12:05
BY JOHN WARD Yesterday’s mind-blowing piece from Ambrose Evans-Pritchard at the Daily Telegraph may not have reverberated around the world just yet, but it should. The article not only features a coruscating condemnation (by its watchdog the Independent Evaluation Office – IEO) of the IMF’s actions in relation to ClubMed austerity, but also an apology from the IMF board and Lagarde herself

La promessa dell’economia cristiana — Parte 2

Von Mises Italia - Ven, 29/07/2016 - 10:37

L’Economia è Vera?

Alcuni economisti sembrano riguardare alla fisica come la regina delle Scienze, e l’Economia, scimmiottando la fisica, viene reputata la regina delle scienze sociali, dato che solo l’Economia può (1) prevedere il comportamento umano, previsioni che possono essere testate empiricamente, e (2) usare calcoli e formule matematiche, allo stesso modo dei fisici. Secondo questi economisti, l’Economia è predittiva, testabile e precisa, soddisfacendo pertanto i criteri generalmente accettati per farne una scienza legittima.

Ora a me non interessa disputare se l’Economia sia una scienza o meno. A me pare che sia dopotutto una questione di come si definisca scienza, e comunque questo ha poche importanti implicazioni, sempre che ne abbia. Certo è difficile sfuggire all’impressione che gran parte delle dotte discussioni sulla scienza e l’economia del ventesimo secolo siano state solo un cavillare intorno alle parole.

Ma la questione molto più importante, la questione fondamentale è se l’economia è vera. Virtualmente ignorata nelle erudite disquisizioni eppure molto più significativa della questione se l’economia sia una scienza o meno.

Come conclusione in una mia precedente lezione ho suggerito che sono stati i razionalisti in economia, gli economisti Austriaci, e in particolare Ludwig von Mises, nonostante il loro fallimento nel fornici di conoscenza economica, ad aver avuto il maggior potenziale per dare un contributo alla nostra comprensione dell’Economia Cristiana, perché quantomeno il loro metodo è valido, nonostante loro stessi, sulla base dei loro stessi princìpi, non hanno saputo render conto del metodo o del contenuto della disciplina.

Giunto alle questioni intorno la verità, uno degli economisti Austriaci ha affrontato con realismo la questione, quello che è stato in un certo modo il più umile di tutti gli economisti. Mises scrisse in uno dei suoi ultimi libri Theory and History:

Avevano ragione quei teologi che ritenevano che soltanto la Rivelazione avrebbe potuto fornire all’uomo una certezza perfetta. La ricerca scientifica umana non può andare al di là dei limiti tracciati dall’insufficienza dei sensi dell’uomo e della ristrettezza della sua mente. Non esiste alcuna possibile dimostrazione deduttiva per il principio di causalità e dell’inferenza ampliativa di un’induzione imperfetta; si può soltanto ricorrere al non meno indimostrabile enunciato che esiste una rigida regolarità nella congiunzione di tutti i fenomeni naturali. Se non facessimo riferimento a questa uniformità, tutti gli enunciati delle scienze naturali apparirebbero soltanto come generalizzazioni affrettate.

Molti universitari Cristiani professanti potrebbero imparare molto da questo professore ateo, ma temo non che gli abbiano prestato alcuna attenzione.


Filosofia ed Economia

Come voi tutti vi sarete resi conto, la filosofia ha una portata molto più vasta dell’Economia. Essa abbraccia temi come Dio, la creazione, l’uomo, la storia, l’etica, la salvezza, il governo e il mondo a venire. Io credo che comprenda anche l’economia, se la comprendiamo come suggerì Mises, ovvero lo studio della logica della scelta e dell’azione umana. L’Economia non è storia, ma può aiutarci a comprendere la storia. L’Economia non è psicologia, ma può aiutarci a comprendere come le persone si comportano. L’Economia non è etica, ma può renderci più chiare le conseguenze delle nostre scelte. L’Economia non è statistica, ma può dotarci della conoscenza che rende le statistiche (a volte) significative. L’Economia è una disciplina logica, una disciplina a priori, affine all’aritmetica o la logica. Entrambe queste discipline, come l’economia, vengono sussunte nella filosofia Cristiana e possono essere derivate dalla Bibbia.

Sia la Teologia Cristiana che l’Economia Cristiana si appoggiano esclusivamente al ragionamento deduttivo. Entrambe usano la logica, la teologia e la filosofia cominciano con l’assioma della Rivelazione, la Bibbia solamente è il Verbo di Dio, e l’economia come formulata da Mises prende le mosse dagli assiomi dell’azione umana: gli uomini agiscono con uno scopo, solo gli individui agiscono, e ogni uomo agisce nel suo (percepito) auto-interesse.

Avrò qualcosa da dire in un’altra lezione riguardo questi postulati. Ma in questo momento vorrei far rivolgere la vostra attenzione alla logica e al ragionamento deduttivo. Ho citato Mises in altro luogo a proposito la fallacia del ragionamento induttivo. Attraverso i suoi libri potete trovare riferimenti alla fallibilità dei sensi e la fallacia dell’induzione. Se l’Economia deve elevarsi al livello della conoscenza, deve rigettare in toto l’empirismo. Deve partire con assiomi veri e procedere mediante rigorosa deduzione.

L’insistenza sull’uso del solo ragionamento deduttivo è quello che separa l’Economia Misesiana dall’economia di Chicago, l’economia Keynesiana, l’economia Storica o quella Marxista, per nominare alcune delle più influenti scuole di pensiero economico del ventesimo secolo. Ogni maggiore scuola di economia tranne quella Misesiana sembra incorporare nella sua metodologia la dipendenza dall’empirismo o lo studio della storia. (L’economista Austriaco Murray Rothbard ruppe col suo maestro Mises e tentò di escogitare un fondamento Aristotelico per la sua versione dell’Economia Austriaca). Questo rende l’Economia Misesiana il rivale più promettente dell’Economia Cristiana.

Dato che l’economia Misesiana comincia con assiomi e procede per deduzione, mostra una somiglianza con la teologia Cristiana, almeno nella forma e nel metodo. Sfortunatamente l’economia Misesiana non deriva i suoi assiomi dalla Bibbia, infatti Mises non ha potuto dare buone ragioni per cui si dovrebbero accettare i suoi assiomi e non quelli di un altro sistema di economia.

L’economia Misesiana non ha alcun “Così dice il Signore” al suo fondamento, infatti i suoi postulati né anche includono alcuna pretesa di verità. Ma se gli assiomi dell’economia Misesiana sono di fatto presenti nelle Scritture o, messa in altro modo, se Mises ha preso in prestito i suoi postulati dal Cristianesimo, magari inconsapevolmente, allora la base epistemologica per una economia deduttiva è presente.

Un’altra somiglianza tra la teologia Cristiana e l’economia Misesiana che scaturisce da questa similitudine nel metodo è il loro rigetto del polilogismo. Il Polilogismo, svariate logiche, è una dottrina naturalista, e assume varie forme. Nel Marxismo gli uomini non solo hanno idee differenti a causa della loro posizione nella struttura economica della produzione, ma nel concreto pensano anche in modi differenti. Il multiculturalismo è un’altra forma di polilogismo, secondo il quale gli uomini pensano in modi differenti non per via della loro classe, ma a causa della loro cultura. Il Razzismo è un’altra varietà di polilogismo, che asserisce che uomini di differenti razze pensano differentemente. Il Cristianesimo respinge il polilogismo sulla base della creazione dell’uomo a immagine di Dio. Tutti gli uomini sono discendenti da Adamo, tutti sono fatti di uno stesso sangue, e le menti di tutti gli uomini sono illuminati dalla stessa logica, il Logos di Dio. Mises ammise, in una delle affermazioni che ho citato in altro luogo, di non poter provare che tutti gli uomini abbiano la stessa logica. Ma i Cristiani lo possono fare e la dimostrazione si trova nel primo capitolo del Vangelo di Giovanni.

Una terza somiglianza tra Cristianesimo e l’economia Misesiana è quella che ho già menzionato altrove: entrambi prendono le mosse da assiomi. Ovviamente, tutti i sistemi di pensiero economico, e gli economisti stessi cominciano con dei postulati. Ma alcuni, tra teologi ed economisti, si sforzano di negare o camuffare questo fatto, il Cristianesimo e l’economia Misesiana, no.

Entrambi comprendono che se il pensiero deve avere un punto di partenza, deve farlo da qualche parte, e questi primi principî sono chiamati assiomi. Il Cristianesimo e l’economia Misesiana si adoperano a rendere espliciti i loro assiomi, piuttosto che pretendere di non averne alcuno.

Mises afferma che l’assioma dell’azione è una categoria a priori della mente umana. Murray Rothbard, uno dei suoi studenti, sostenne che per Mises è

“solo l’assioma fondamentale dell’azione ad essere un a priori; egli concesse che gli assiomi sussidiari della diversità dell’umanità e della natura, e delle comodità come beni di consumo , sono ampiamente empirici.”

Ora se le cose stanno così, abbiamo un incoerenza al punto di partenza dell’economia Austriaca. Se Rothbard aveva ragione, l’economia Misesiana è irrimediabilmente fallata. Ma quel difetto non riguarda l’economia Cristiana, che non si appoggia ai dati empirici per sviluppare i suoi principî e approfondimenti.

C’è tuttavia un altro difetto nefasto nell’economia Misesiana, che si aggiunge agli altri che abbiamo discusso altrove: i suoi postulati non avanzano alcuna pretesa di verità. Supponiamo che l’intero corpo dell’economia Misesiana sia stato dedotto rigorosamente dai suoi assiomi, che non ci siano errori logici presenti. Ci si pone quindi la domanda: perché mai si dovrebbero accettare quegli assiomi, e i teoremi derivati, come veri? Non pretendono mica di essere veri. In questo senso, anche se l’economia Misesiana può impressionare quanto la geometria Euclidea, non c’è alcuna ragione di pensare che sia vera. Forse duemila anni, o duecento anni, o due anni da oggi spunterà un genio che dedurrà un differente corpo di teoria economia da un differente insieme di assiomi economici. Forse Mises ha il suo Lobachewsky o il suo Riemann in attesa dietro l’angolo. La deduzione di per sé stessa, mentre può certo rafforzare la coerenza, non può dotarci di verità. Gli assiomi dell’economia devono essere trovati altrove che in una presunta intuizione a priori della mente, e l’esperienza, come abbiamo visto, non può essere quella fonte. Lo stesso Aristotele non fu in grado di offrire ragioni coerenti per le origini delle leggi della logica o della percezione.


Economia Cristiana

Questi problemi tuttavia sono risolti nell’economia Cristiana: i postulati dell’economia, se questa deve elevarsi al livello di conoscenza invece di rimanere al livello di semplice opinione, devono essere individuati nella Bibbia. Se lo sono, allora mentre possono funzionare come assiomi per la disciplina economica, non svolgeranno quel ruolo per l’intera filosofia. Rintracciare i postulati dell’economia nella Bibbia li trasforma in teoremi dedotti per buona e necessaria conseguenza dall’assioma della rivelazione. I postulati dell’economia divengono perciò teoremi della filosofia Cristiana, e l’economia come corpo di conoscenza può procedere sulla base di proposizioni divinamente rivelate che queste sì avanzano la pretesa di essere verità.

Quello che sto proponendo è questo: i postulati dell’economia Misesiana, si badi bene, non l’epistemologia Misesiana, che abbiamo già visto essere inadeguata al compito, devono essere collegati alle Scritture. Se questi si trovano nella Bibbia, e se i teoremi economici da essi ricavati sono dedotti effettivamente mediante buona e necessaria conseguenza, allora quei postulati e teoremi diventano parte di un completo sistema di verità basato sulla rivelazione proposizionale, e non sull’esperienza o su intuizioni a priori. Dopotutto lo stesso Mises dovette ammettere che “avevano ragione quei teologi che ritenevano che soltanto la Rivelazione avrebbe potuto fornire all’uomo una certezza perfetta.”

Se l’economia può esser in questo modo dedotta dalla Bibbia, una intera nuova disciplina nell’ambito della filosofia Cristiana può essere quindi sviluppata. Quella filosofia ricopre l’intero campo della conoscenza, teologia vera e propria, etica, politica, epistemologia e metafisica. L’economia diventa parte di un completo sistema di pensiero, con ogni parte che promuove le altre, e con tutte che si sostengono a vicenda. Sviluppando l’economia Cristiana come parte di una più ampia filosofia non solo il suo status epistemico viene innalzato, ma diventa altresì parte dell’armamentario di argomenti che possono essere usati a sostegno della libertà e di una società libera, cosa che l’economia Misesiana da sola non è in grado di fare.

Questo è un aspetto pratico molto importante, perché l’economia Misesiana di per sé non può difendere la libertà e una società libera. Ci sono diverse ragioni per questo: primo l’economia è una disciplina descrittiva e non normativa, essa tratta con i cos’è e non con i come dovrebbe essere. Nella terminologia economica è wertfrei, priva di valori. Da disciplina priva di valori, come l’aritmetica o la chimica, la teoria economica al meglio può mostrare quale sia il probabile risultato del corso di una azione o di una politica. Non può stabilire se quel risultato è buono o cattivo, può solo indicare i modi come ottenerlo. Come la chimica, l’economia può istruirci su come ottenere un risultato, ma non può dirci se quel risultato sia desiderabile. La teoria economica può investigare se una misura legislativa possa portare a compimento il risultato voluto dai legislatori, e se l’economista scopre che la misura proposta non raggiunge lo scopo voluto e che invece avrebbe effetti che nemmeno i suoi sostenitori ritengono desiderabili, egli può fare raccomandazioni contro la misura o la politica solo su basi economiche, ad hominem.

Per fare un esempio attuale, se innalzare il salario minimo, una misura concepita o intesa per aiutare gli elementi meno produttivi nella nostra società, invece tende a danneggiarli causando disoccupazione o sottooccupazione, è compito dell’economista informare i politici di questo. Ma se il governo non dovesse avere buone intenzioni, e la storia sembra suggerirci che i regnanti non sempre siano stati degli angeli, allora una maggior disoccupazione potrebbe essere proprio il risultato cercato e l’economista, sulla base della sola teoria economica, non potrebbe fare raccomandazioni contro quella politica. Ha raggiunto qui i limiti della teoria economica. Non c’è alcun si deve nell’economia, ma è presente nell’etica. Se l’economia, l’etica e la politica sono parti di un sistema filosofico, come lo sono nel Cristianesimo, allora parleranno tutte con una sola voce, e là dove l’economia deve ritirarsi e tacere, l’etica e la teoria politica si faranno sentire.

Fatemi comunque continuare con le affinità tra la teologia Cristiana e l’economia Misesiana. Nel fare lezione alle mie classi sui principî dell’economia, provo sempre piacere a evidenziare il debito che l’economia ha nei confronti della teologia. L’economia per esempio, deve la sua teoria del valore alla teologia Cristiana. È stato solamente negli anni 70 del diciannovesimo secolo che alcuni economisti finalmente compresero che il valore non era intrinseco, come Aristotele aveva insegnato, ma soggettivo, che gli scambi avvengono solo perché il valore è soggettivo, e che la ragione perché una merce così indispensabile come l’acqua, per usare un famoso paradosso del diciottesimo e del diciannovesimo secolo, è così a buon mercato mentre merci affatto dispensabili come i diamanti sono di valore inestimabile, è che il valore è imputato e non intrinseco.

Come ho menzionato in una precedente lezione per più di duemila anni l’autorità di Aristotele ha dominato qualunque pensiero economico che sia emerso. Ma è nella Scrittura e non nella Politica che troviamo le moderne idee di imputazione e di valore soggettivo. La grande dottrina della giustificazione per sola fede è centrata sull’imputazione da parte di Dio della rettitudine di Cristo al suo popolo, e l’imputazione dei loro peccati a Cristo. I peccatori non diventano effettivamente retti nella giustificazione, e Cristo non diventa effettivamente peccaminoso. Rettitudine e peccato sono imputati, ascritti, messi in conto, non sono inerenti o innati.

Rettitudine, peccato e valore sono imputati, e se qualcuno non riesce a vedere questo nel Nuovo Testamento, certamente l’avrà trovato nel Vecchio, nel quale Dio ripetutamente dice agli Israeliti di non averli scelti perché erano numerosi, o potenti, o intelligenti o buoni. Il loro valore era dovuto al fatto che Dio lo aveva imputato loro, e non perché fossero inerentemente preziosi. Se gli economisti avessero prestato più attenzione alla Bibbia e meno ad Aristotele, o se non avessero letto la Bibbia attraverso le lenti distorcenti di Aristotele, la disciplina dell’economia Cristiana si sarebbe potuta sviluppare molto prima. Oggi, duemila anni dopo Cristo, abbiamo appena cominciato.

The post La promessa dell’economia cristiana — Parte 2 appeared first on Ludwig von Mises Italia.

Il savataggio di Monte dei Paschi è in pericolo, così come i risparmi dei suoi obbligazionisti subordinati

Freedonia - Ven, 29/07/2016 - 10:01
Per molto tempo ho continuato ad avvertire i miei lettori circa i problemi della banca toscana Monte dei Paschi e di come non rappresentasse altro che un investimento improduttivo. Ho scritto e continuamente dimostrato come rappresentasse una dolina finanziaria in cui ogni centesimo lanciato sarebbe stato semplicemente sprecato. Inutile dire che le cose sono andate precisamente come ho sottolineato io. Ho doti onniscienti, per caso? No, è semplicemente l'applicazione della teoria Austriaca. Ma attenzione, perché neanche un'altra grande malata se la passa bene: Unicredit. E questa è la stessa gente che vorrebbe piazzare sul mercato sofferenze bancarie e racimolare spiccioli per campare ancora un altro giorno. La paura che tirino pacchi a destra e a manca è molto alta, e chiunque abbia questo timore ne ha ben donde. Mi domando chi sarà talmente fesso da rispondere alla IPO di Unidebit. Uhm, forse gli stessi fessi che hanno risposto alla IPO di Poste Italiane. È proprio vero che gli sciocchi vengono sempre separati dal proprio denaro. Ma In un mondo di pazzi è inutile aspettarsi qualcosa di razionale. Quindi le strombazzate a favore di una presunta stabilità bancaria europea, oltre ad essere fuori luogo, negano totalmente la realtà dei fatti. Qual è la realtà? La maggior parte delle banche europee sono zombie che camminano e la BCE ha fatto di tutto per ungere di oli profumati questi cadaveri ambulanti, ovvero, espansione monetaria artificiale senza precedenti e tassi a zero. Ma se un cadavere è un cadavere, nessun profumo toglierà per sempre l'olezzo di morte, il quale sta emergendo prorompente: tassi negativi. Il "dead cat bounce" dopo la crisi finanziaria 2008-9 era solamente l'effetto una tantum delle politiche straordinarie delle banche centrali. Ma ora che sono bloccate allo zero bound, dove credono di andare? Cosa credono di stimolare? Se la ripidità a destra del primo grafico vi sembra sconcertante, aspettate a vedere la prossima.

da Zerohedge

Due giorni fa abbiamo riferito che in un ultimo disperato tentativo per evitare un potenziale contagio all'interno del proprio sistema bancario, compreso di corse agli sportelli ed investitori e risparmiatori furiosi, il governo di Matteo Renzi stava correndo per organizzare un piano di salvataggio privato a favore di Monte dei Paschi, presumendo una possibile bocciatura agli esiti degli stress test di oggi. In particolare a partire da lunedì scorso, secondo il FT, il governo italiano s'è interessato per garantire un piano di salvataggio privato in favore di Monte dei Paschi di Siena: un piano per raccogliere €5 miliardi di capitale in modo da evitare la nazionalizzazione.

Non c'era alcuna garanzia che quest'ultimo tentativo avrebbe avuto successo, soprattutto alla luce della capitalizzazione di mercato di Monte Paschi, che è scesa a €800 miseri milioni, il che suggerisce che il piano di salvataggio sarebbe stato una sorta di fallimento "stragiudiziale"; esso sarebbe stato strutturato come un quasi-investimento, con denaro fresco proveniente da nuovi proprietari azionari mentre si sarebbero diluite di oltre il 90% gli stakeholder esistenti.

Inoltre non c'era alcuna garanzia che i nuovi fondi non avrebbero fatto la stessa fine degli €8 miliardi di capitale già raccolti nel corso degli ultimi due anni, soldi che sono stati "vaporizzati" nella dolina finanziaria chiamata Monte Paschi.

Momenti fa abbiamo appreso che questo processo di "salvataggio privato" sembra essersi arenato, soprattutto quando Reuters ha riferito che Morgan Stanley e altri istituti di credito italiani (UniCredit e Intesa SanPaolo) si sono allontanati dalla "proposta" di Monte Paschi per raccogliere €5 miliardi in liquidità.

Come conferma Reuters: "L'istituto di credito travagliato sta cercando di mettere insieme un consorzio bancario per garantire nelle prossime 24 ore il suo aumento di capitale, in modo che abbia un piano nel momento in cui usciranno i risultati degli stress test europei sulle banche. Fonti bancarie dicono che la banca abbia capitale sufficiente per resistere ad una recessione economica."

Monte Paschi non è ancora condannata, poiché alla porta ci sono ancora Citigroup Bank of America, Deutsche Bank e Credit Suisse. Non a caso, queste ultime due banche sono quelle che ci perderebbero di più se divampasse una crisi bancaria italiana e successivamente valicasse il confine con la Germania o la Francia.

Come aggiunge Reuters, sono state contattate altre banche, tra cui Societe Generale, UBS e Nomura, affinché condividessero il costo della transazione proposta, la quale si dice che coinvolga l'emissione di azioni da parte di Monte dei Paschi tra lo 0.5% e lo 0.6% del suo valore contabile tangibile.

Tuttavia le cose non sembrano andar bene, e la fonte di Reuters aggiunge che "per come stanno le cose ora, il consorzio è debole. C'è bisogno che salgano a bordo più banche." Un'altra fonte, che è vicino all'istituto di credito toscano, ha detto che Monte dei Paschi rilascerà venerdì le linee guida del suo piano di salvataggio, ed è fiducioso che "a tempo debito" si raggiungerà un pre-accordo con un numero sufficiente di banche.

Sebbene apprezziamo l'ottimismo, ci chiediamo se l'Italia sia pronta per l'alternativa, vale a dire, il tanto temuto "bail-in"?

Siamo certi che la risposta sia no, per un semplice motivo: l'ultima cosa che può permettersi il sempre più impopolare governo Renzi, è la rabbia della popolazione scaturente dal bail-in della terza banca italiana più grande, procedura una che può diffondersi ad altri istituti di credito altrettanto in difficoltà.

Il problema, come ha scritto Bloomberg in un articolo di oggi, è che se l'Italia dovesse prendere la strada del bail-in, milioni di investitori ordinari potrebbero veder completamente spazzati via i loro investimenti. Si consideri che al culmine della crisi finanziaria, tra il luglio 2007 e il giugno 2009, l'80% delle obbligazioni delle banche italiane era stato venduto agli investitori ordinari, secondo il regolatore della Consob. Attraverso i risparmiatori, le banche si sono finanziate con un costo simile a quello del governo italiano, mentre hanno dato ai gestori di fondi un ulteriore punto percentuale d'interessi sul debito.

Quelli che "raccoglievano fondi per le banche" erano persone come Vincenzo Imperatore.

Vincenzo Imperatore ci tiene a farci sapere che stava semplicemente seguendo gli ordini: vendere obbligazioni rischiose ai clienti alla ricerca di rendimenti in vista dell'età pensionabile, era solo una parte del lavoro. Quando i mercati finanziari divennero insidiosi durante la crisi finanziaria, per le banche italiane i depositanti si trasformarono nella fonte più affidabile di finanziamento. "I miei capi mi chiamavano cinque o sei volte al giorno per spingermi a vendere questi prodotti finanziari," dice Imperatore, che per sei anni ha contribuito a vendere suddetti prodotti ai clienti ordinari presso UniCredit SpA a Napoli e ha scritto due libri sulla sua esperienza.

E come documentato ampiamente anche su queste pagine, se l'Italia dovesse procedere col bail-in, le famiglie che hanno contribuito a sostenere le banche italiane durante la crisi si ritroveranno ancora una volta in prima linea per sostenere il sistema finanziario italiano vacillante. Il debito subordinato di cui sono titolari può essere il primo a subire le perdite, in una ricapitalizzazione orchestrata dal governo ora in corso di negoziazione tra Roma e Bruxelles.

"Il nostro Primo Ministro, Matteo Renzi, sta cercando di evitare un cataclisma finanziario che affosserebbe definitivamente la sua reputazione, soprattutto in vista di un referendum entro la fine dell'anno per revisionare il sistema politico -- un voto di fiducia di cui ha bisogno per rimanere al potere."
L'esposizione degli investitori ordinari è tutt'altro che banale. Gli investitori ordinari possiedono quasi la metà dei titoli più vulnerabili; le banche hanno utilizzato i loro clienti come un salvadanaio per avere accesso a finanziamenti a basso costo.

Vendere debito subordinato ai depositanti era "il modo in cui è stato ricapitalizzato il sistema bancario," ha detto Jim Millstein in un'intervista televisiva su Bloomberg, funzionario statunitense del Tesoro che ha guidato la ristrutturazione delle banche degli Stati Uniti dopo la crisi finanziaria. Imponendo perdite sugli obbligazionisti "si infliggono danni a persone che altrimenti spenderebbero quei soldi nell'economia generale."

UniCredit, il più grande istituto di credito d'Italia, ha rifiutato di commentare le parole di Imperatore. Le obbligazioni subordinate della banca in mano agli investitori ordinari erano trattate con un profilo di rischio medio/basso, quindi gli investitori non si aspettavano di subire perdite. La banca sta valutando di raccogliere €5 miliardi dagli azionisti e vendere l'intera partecipazione di Bank Pekao SA per raccogliere ulteriori capitali.
A differenza dei loro colleghi europei, gli italiani preferiscono titoli a reddito fisso per i loro risparmi. Secondo Bloomberg, alla fine del 2015 gli italiani detenevano circa €430 miliardi di obbligazioni, due volte e mezzo più dei tedeschi e tre volte e mezzo più dei britannici, secondo una relazione di Assogestioni, un'associazione nel settore degli investimenti con sede a Milano. Nel corso della storia il debito pubblico è stato tra quei pochi strumenti finanziari che hanno salvaguardato i risparmi dall'inflazione. Il tasso d'interesse medio sulle nuove emissioni di titoli di stato italiani, è stato del 14% nel 1992 ed è sceso al 3.7% quando è nato l'euro un decennio più tardi, secondo i dati del Ministero dell'Economia.

Suicidi dei pensionati

Il problema più grande per Renzi è la reazione della popolazione se Monte Paschi sarà costretta a procedere con un bail-in, e se questo si tradurrà in un contagio ad altre banche.

Non sarebbe la prima volta.

Un bidello di Urbino, che ha chiesto riservatezza sul nome, ha visto spazzati via i suoi €112,000 in obbligazioni subordinate di Banca Marche. Ha detto che nel 2007 la banca lo convinse a scambiare titoli senior con obbligazioni subordinate. Si è reso conto di aver perso tutto solo quando l'anno scorso, allarmato dalle notizie d'insolvenza imminente della banca, ha chiesto ulteriori informazioni alla filiale locale.

Come osserva BBG, l'anno scorso le perdite degli obbligazionisti sono diventate un tema caldo quando i media nazionali hanno parlato del suicidio di un pensionato vicino a Roma, il quale a Dicembre aveva scoperto d'aver perso più di €100,000 di debito junior in Banca Etruria.

Sempre lo scorso dicembre, la Commissione Europea ha sostenuto i progetti di Renzi per compensare quegli obbligazionisti incappati in "potenziali errori nelle vendite di obbligazioni." Lo scorso aprile il governo ha approvato un decreto legge per permettere agli obbligazionisti dei quattro istituti di credito falliti, d'essere rimborsati per l'80% dei loro possedimenti se avevano un reddito annuo lordo inferiore ai €35,000 o beni personali inferiori ai €100,000.

"È una cosa sorprendentemente simile a quello che le banche avevano fatto tempo prima con l'Argentina e Parmalat," ha detto l'avvocato Bisello. "Molti dei miei clienti sono operai e pensionati, i quali hanno perso tutti i risparmi che avevano. Ad alcuni di loro è stato detto che l'investimento in obbligazioni bancarie subordinate era solo un modo per guadagnare interessi più elevati, ed erano altrettanto sicuri come investire in titoli di stato italiani."

Morale della favola: se nel corso delle prossime 24 ore Monte Paschi non riuscirà ad ottenere i €5 miliardi di fondi di cui ha bisogno da un consorzio di investitori esterni, e se l'Europa rimarrà risoluta nella sua negazione di un piano di salvataggio statale, l'unico possibile passo sarebbe un bail-in e questo potrebbe innescare la prossima tappa del crisi bancaria in Europa.

[*] traduzione di Francesco Simoncelli:

Central Banks Will Create an Historic Gold Rush

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 29/07/2016 - 06:01

The central banks are leading the world into a black hole and have no idea what a disaster they have created. What initially seemed like a nice money spinner for the private bankers in 1913 when the Fed was set up has resulted in a $2 quadrillion (at least) monster that is now totally out of control.

Banks and central banks are experts at forging money

During the last hundred years, the Ponzi scheme seemed to work beautifully under the guise of Keynesianism. So whenever there was a problem in any economy in the world, all that was needed was some stimulus in the form of credit or forged money creation. And there are so many ways to forge money.Through the unlimited flexibility of the fractional banking system, money printing became a perfect perpetual motion system whereby the more credit that was created the more credit and paper money could be issued by the banks. There is absolutely no limit to how much money could be printed.

So banks and central banks have been in collusion to print or forge paper money which has no value and no asset banking. Any private individual doing the same would spend the rest of his days in jail. But when the bankers do it, it creates massive wealth and respectability for them since they have the full backing of governments. What a rotten world!

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Thus, it is a fallacy to believe that governments and central banks are the only money printers. Most of the false wealth is created by commercial banks that blow up their balance sheets 10 to 50 times. And if derivatives are included the bank’s exposure can be over 100 times the equity. Take Deutsche Bank for example; the total balance sheet exposure is 25 times equity. Adding their derivatives exposure of €68 trillion, Deutsche’s leverage is 100 times share capital and reserves. This means that a depositor hoping to get his money back from the bank should be aware that any loss above 1% of Deutsche’s assets would make them bankrupt. There is obviously no question that Deutsche will lose only 1%. They are virtually guaranteed to lose more than 10% and probably at least 50% of total assets which means that if you are a depositor you will definitely not get your money back. Most European banks are in a similar position and so are many US banks including JP Morgan, Bank of America and Citigroup. And don’t believe that Japanese, Chinese or Emerging Market banks are in a better position. This is, of course, the reason why most major banks’ share prices have fallen 75-95% since 2006.

Central banks’ balance sheets have exploded since 2006

Governments and central banks were virtually bankrupt in 2006, which is when the fraud of central banking was finally revealed to the world after almost 100 years of manipulation and abuse. Nothing, no absolutely nothing has been mended since then. With propaganda, more money printing, and interest rate hocus pokery, the world economy has been dragged forward like a fatally wounded creature. The outcome has always been certain but the road there has been long and painful. Yes, a minuscule minority of much less than 1% of the world population has continued to benefit greatly whilst the masses have been burdened with another $100 trillion in debt plus unfunded liabilities and derivatives of much more than that. And most major central banks have blown up their balance sheets by more than four times since 2006. If we just take the Bank of Japan, ECB, and the FED, their total balance sheets are expected to increase from $3.2 trillion in 2006 to $13.5 trillion in Q1 of 2017. Although this increase of “only” $10 trillion is a drop in the ocean compared to the total increase in debt, these central banks set the trend through their irresponsible policies. The assets that these three central banks hold will be totally worthless in the next 5-7 years. But before that their balance sheets will expand exponentially in a final Keynesian attempt to save the global financial system from total implosion. This will lead to a short period of hyperinflation before the deflationary implosion of the system. Because you cannot solve a problem using the same method that created it in the first place, this will be the necessary total eradication of all debt. But it is not only debt that will disappear, most of the assets financed by this debt will also decline dramatically in value, leading to a massive destruction of wealth.

Central banks will, of course, attempt all the methods available to them before they give up. This will include not just money printing and more negative rates but also debt forgiveness, devaluations, moratoria, stealing pension funds and bank deposits, bail-ins plus many other tricks that will impoverish most ordinary people. Neither governments nor central banks will have any qualms about totally destroying the wealth of their people.

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Lessons From the Apaches

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 29/07/2016 - 06:01

My last two articles, judging from the volume of email I got, were very well received. People want to know how history, like the seasons, tends to happen in cycles and patterns that are somewhat predictable. When it comes to the United States government repeating history, that is easier to predict than the weather. One thing I touched on in a previous article is the fact that the West, and the United States government who pulls the entire West along like a child pulls a toy wagon, is unable to understand the concept of tribal violence. In truth, tribal and clan violence has not changed, as far as motivations for it go, in several thousands of years.

First, let us understand that this violence in the Middle East is not actually created by the religion of Islam. People have mistakenly imagined

Geronimo had already seen the United States government betray his people under the guise of a “peace talk”. Geronimo and his men went out and proved that the United States military could not defend Arizona and New Mexico. Stagecoaches and freight wagons were attacked and burned. Stagecoach way stations were raided and burned. Ranches were raided and burned. People killed all over the place. The modern equivalent is attacks upon airliners, buses, trains, airports, and train stations. Basically, Geronimo was able to bring safe travel to a standstill in Arizona. The United States military would arrive after the fact to write up the casualty reports. Sound familiar?

But understand this: If one takes into account the entire “settlement” of America and let’s say it began in 1700, it took the United States government and the British government before it about 190 years to fully defeat or get a surrender from every Native American tribe. The Spanish government and Mexican government in the Southwest failed to be able to defeat the Apache and then it took the United States government decades to finally get a surrender from them. That’s pretty impressive. It seems to me that the United States government has got a long road ahead of it in the Middle East. Historically, we’re only dealing with the Powhatan Confederacy right now.

What the United States government fails to see is that tribes are not impressed by governments. Why? They don’t really need governments. They have a system of codes and taboos enforced by social values instilled from birth. Commerce is simple: trade, barter, and currency backed by some tangible object be it gold or wampum. Their markets truly are free, therefore, they don’t need much to survive. They don’t collect taxes. When tribes coalesced into civilizations, they often failed as did the Anasazi and the one based at Cahokia because the governments became too big to sustain. That’s also why large caliphates finally failed in the Middle East, too.

Make no mistake, what we are seeing is only the beginning. The United States government is stuck this time, however. They’re not going to be able to sell smallpox infected blankets to the Middle East. They are not going to be able to shoot all the buffalo and starve them into submission. They’re not going to be able force them all onto a reservation. The Middle East knows that. They can hold out for hundreds of years, and they will. For one thing, they’ve seen that treaties from the United States government aren’t worth the paper they are printed on, just like United States currency. Then there’s also the matter of revenge and blood price has not been paid. How can you think you can sit down to a peace talk without even presents to give to the tribe and clans? That has to happen first! Gifts must be made and not just some bogus “Freedom Medal” the U.S. government stamps en masse from a zinc-copper blank.

What does history say? It says prepare for these attacks to continue for at least twenty years, possibly two hundred. Look, the entire Middle East is awash with weapons and ammunition. In some places, it is a standard of exchange used in barter transactions. And the government is going to defeat them how again? Right, they can’t. There is no military solution. The only true solution is to sit down, give gifts, and find out what the blood price is. Pay it and let the Middle East live the way they wish to! It works for them, okay? We have no right to say our “way of life” is better and force it on them at gunpoint! Otherwise, the need to exact a life for a life will continue. You can thank the United States government for getting this whole thing started with their foolish idea to “bring democracy” to tribes who existed without it for thousands of years. Great going, Great Father.

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10 Ancient Megalith Monuments

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 29/07/2016 - 06:01

All over the world, historic monuments made of stone have been standing for millennia. Given that they were raised before the concept of writing extensive logs caught on, there are no records from builders or nearby residents as to the purpose of each monument.

Despite this, clues in the structures themselves may tell us why they were raised. Dolmens were used to bury the dead while some standing stones “worked together” with other monuments to help early peoples chart the stars.

Some sites, however, have histories so shrouded in mystery that it’s hard to say what they were truly for. We have hints, clues, and archaeological proof that something was happening at these locations but no decisive evidence to tell us the full stories behind these mysterious sites.

Here are 10 such puzzling monuments. What do you think they were for?

10 Beltany Stone Circle

Found in the North West of Ireland near the town of Raphoe, the Beltany Stone Circle is made of 64 stones spanning 45 meters (145 ft) in diameter with the entire setup encircling a mound. It’s thought that the stones were raised around 1400 BC to 800 BC, with the average height of the stones being about 2 meters (6 ft).

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It appears that some makeshift investigation of the site occurred around the beginning of the 20th century. When a man called Oliver Davies investigated the site in the 1930s, he stated that “the platform had been recently and unscientifically excavated and had been left in dreadful confusion.”

Despite the crude search, not much is known as to why Beltany was raised. One theory suggests that its origins are hidden in its name. The word “Beltany” might have originated from the word “Beltane,” which was the name of a pagan festival. “Beltane” originates from “Baal Tinne,” meaning “Baal’s fire.”

The festival involved lighting fires on top of hills to rejuvenate the Sun, so it might tie into that. Other theories state that the circle looks similar to the circles at Carrowmore Cemetery, hinting at a possible purpose during burial procedures. Some claim that the entire setup was built to mark a burial cairn.

9 Bada Valley Megaliths

Within Bada Valley in Indonesia, some well-sculpted monuments can be found—a collection of megaliths that have been shaped to look like Moai and Dol Hareubang statues. With their striking appearance and craftsmanship, one might think it would be easy to pinpoint when and why these megaliths were made. Yet historians aren’t even sure how old they are, let alone what they were made for. Attempting to ask the locals about their purpose only gets the response that they’ve “always been there.”

Although archaeological evidence for their purpose hasn’t been found yet, the locals have their own tales to share. Some believe that the megaliths herald back to the days of human sacrifice, some say that they exist to ward off malevolent spirits, some state that they’re criminals turned to stone, and some believe that the stones have the ability to move on their own. Regardless, given that the megaliths are made from stone not found in the area, they’re definitely very mysterious.

8 Rujm El-Hiri

Also known as the “Wheel of Giants,” Rujm el-Hiri is a large, circular, megalithic structure near the Sea of Galilee. It appears as a giant stone wheel with inner rings and “spokes” that connect everything. Right in the middle of the ring, almost like a bull’s-eye, is a place for burial.

Not only are archaeologists unsure that the burial site was made at the same time as the wheel but further investigation of the site revealed that no burials actually took place in it. It’s thought that valuable artifacts were once here because there is proof that looters hit the site, including a Chalcolithic pin potentially dropped by a looter.

As for proposed functions, archaeologists don’t believe it was a place built for dwelling or defense. Some believe that it was a calendar given how the sunrise on the solstices align with the entrances of the wheel.

One popular explanation points to the burial site, claiming that people were placed there to undergo excarnation, the act of removing the flesh from a human body. The bones would be moved to another site, which explains the lack of evidence that a burial took place. However, it would be hard, if not impossible, to prove that this actually occurred at Rujm el-Hiri.

Regardless, the site has been estimated to have taken 25,000 working days in total to build. Whatever purpose it was meant to perform, it was obviously very important.

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We Don’t Need a 3rd Party

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 29/07/2016 - 06:01

Former Texas Republican Congressman, three-time presidential candidate and the real “original libertarian” in U.S. politics Ron Paul spoke to libertarians at the Young Americans for Liberty conference this week. What makes this appearance even more interesting is that he refrained from mention Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson’s name even once.

Here is what the Daily Caller reports:

Ron Paul gave a speech to about 400 libertarians at the Young Americans for Liberty conference on Tuesday and he didn’t say Gary Johnson’s name once.

The former Texas Congressman who led the libertarian wing of the Republican Party during the 2008 and 2012 elections and ran on the Libertarian Party ticket in 1988 has shown no signs of endorsing Johnson. Paul didn’t even comment on the Libertarian Party at all throughout the 45-minute speech.

Reprinted with permission from Economic Collapse News.

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