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Will Germany Set Off a Gold Run?

Lew Rockwell Institute - 1 ora 37 min fa

WSJ’s John Carney has a report out on a very important story. The plan of the Germans to audit and physically inspect all their gold.

Writes Carney:

A German federal court has said that country’s central bank should conduct annual audits and physically inspect its gold reserves worldwide, including gold in the custody of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In addition to the FRBNY, Bundesbank gold is stored in London, Paris and Frankfurt.

For decades, the Bundesbank has relied on written confirmation of its gold holdings in London, Paris and New York. According to the report from the German audit court, the last time Bundesbank officials physically inspected the central banks gold holdings was, well, never.

This is big.

There has long been speculation that the New York Fed does not have anywhere near the gold in its vaults that it claims to hold for various countries. If other countries follow in Germany’s path and demand accounting of their gold, with physical inspection, this could cause a major problem for the Fed, if  it does not hold the gold reserves it claims to hold.

A stalling by the Fed of foreign audits would be a warning signal to foreign countries that the gold alleged to be on hand at the Fed may not be there. The wise foreign country treasurer, upon seeing delaying tactics, would surely consider pulling his country’s gold out at that time, in the hope that he won’t be stuck as the last man with a Fed receipt with no gold to back it.

Carney understands this:

[I]f the gold isn’t there, well, calamity could follow as trust in the central bank gold depositories evaporated instantly.

But there is a question to be raised as to how thorough of an audit will actually be able to be conducted given the sloppy methods the Fed uses in  recording actual gold ownership . Carney writes:

In any event, it looks like Bundesbank officials will soon be visiting the Fed’s vault, which is located 80 feet below street level and 50 feet below sea level. The vault is accessible only by elevators controlled by an operator in a remote location. I’ve been told by a source that the elevator operator is actually not in New York City at all, although I can’t confirm this and the Fed won’t discuss this sort of thing.

Down in the vault there are 122 compartments assigned to depositing countries and international organizations. Smaller gold depositing countries get shelves in shared library compartments.

The compartments do not have labels reading “Germany’s gold” and so on. They are instead numbered, and only a few people at the Fed know what numbers correspond to which country. The Fed says it does this to protect the privacy of the depositors. But this also makes actual inspection less reliable. There’s no way for Germany to know that the gold it is being shown is Germany’s, as opposed to some other depositor’s. In an extreme case—which I have no reason to believe is true—miscreants at the Fed could just show everyone who came to visit the same pile of gold.

But there is a long-term workaround to the US sloppy recording methods. The German auditorscould audit the gold and also mark the bars, say with  “Property of the  the Federal Republic of Germany” and a serial number for each bar. It is after all their gold!

This would make it much more difficult  for the Fed to show this to other countries as gold belonging to them, instead of Germany. Especially, if auditors show up with short notice (as auditors are supposed to do!) and if this gold auditing catches on–as it should.

And speaking of gold audits. What about US gold held by the Treasury? I have long believed that an “Audit the Gold” campaign would be much  more important than the “Audit the Fed” push.

Curiously, the gold of the United States of America has never been audited. And that leads to all kinds of speculation.Carney explains:

The gold of the United States government, which officials say is held in the United States Bullion Depository in Fort Knox, has been rumored—probably since the Depository’s founding in 1937—to have been looted and replaced with gold-painted tungsten, for instance. The government treats this as nonsense—which it most likely is—but nonetheless it does conduct regularly scheduled audits of the gold in Fort Knox, including doing purity tests on a small sample of the gold.

If Senator Rand Paul wanted to take a step toward getting back in the good graces of libertarians, his promoting an Audit the Gold bill in Congress would be an excellent step.

Reprinted with permission from Economic Policy Journal.

Crash or a Long-Term Slide?

Lew Rockwell Institute - 1 ora 37 min fa

Sometimes less is more (less good data is moar good for stocks) and in the case of Marc Faber’s recent appearance on Bloomberg’s “What’d You Miss”, 66 seconds of honesty was all that the hosts could take.

Reprinted with permission from Zero Hedge.


Lew Rockwell Institute - 1 ora 37 min fa

“And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.” John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

Everyone has seen the pictures of the unemployed waiting in soup lines during the Great Depression. When you try to tell a propaganda believing, willfully ignorant, mainstream media watching, math challenged consumer we are in the midst of a Greater Depression, they act as if you’ve lost your mind. They will immediately bluster about the 5.1% unemployment rate, record corporate profits, and stock market near all-time highs. The cognitive dissonance of these people is only exceeded by their inability to understand basic mathematical concepts.

The reason you don’t see huge lines of people waiting in soup lines during this Greater Depression is because the government has figured out how to disguise suffering through modern technology. During the height of the Great Depression in 1933, there were 12.8 million Americans unemployed. These were the men pictured in the soup lines. Today, there are 46 million Americans in an electronic soup kitchen line, as their food is distributed through EBT cards (with that angel of mercy JP Morgan reaping billions in profits by processing the transactions).

These 46 million people represent 14% of the U.S. population. There are 23 million households on food stamps in a nation of 123 million households. Therefore, 19% of all households in the U.S. are so poor, they require food assistance to survive. In 1933 there were approximately 126 million Americans living in 30 million households. The government didn’t keep official unemployment records until 1940, but the Department of Labor estimated 12.8 million people were unemployed during the worst year of the Great Depression or 24.9% of the labor force. By 1937 it had fallen to 14.3% or approximately 8 million people.

The number of people unemployed during the 1930’s is an excellent representation of the number of households on government assistance during the Great Depression because 79% of all households were occupied by married couples with 4 people per household versus 48% married couple households today with 2.5 people per household. The unemployment rate averaged 19% during the heart of the Great Depression. Therefore, approximately 19% of all the households in the U.S. needed government assistance to feed themselves. That happens to be the exact percentage of households currently needing food stamps to feed themselves.

We are now supposedly five years into an economic recovery. The unemployment rate, according to the government, has fallen from 10% to 5.1%. Maybe a comparison to the the Great Depression in 1937, five years after the worst of it, would reveal some truth. It is not easy to do an apples to apples comparison because very few women worked outside the home in 1937 and the average life expectancy in the 1930s was 60 years old. Today, the majority of women are theoretically in the work force and the average life expectancy is 78 years old. In 1937 only 5% of the population was over 65 years old versus 13% today.

There were approximately 55 million Americans in the labor force in 1937, according to the DOL, and approximately 47 million of them were employed. So 85% of the eligible work force was working. There was no BLS to massage, manipulate, seasonally adjust, or fake the data to make things appear better than they were in 1937. Edward Bernay’s Propaganda techniques and methodologies weren’t perfected for a few more years. According to Census information there were 52 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 44, along with another 21 million between the ages of 45 and 64 in 1937. So even considering that very few women worked and many people died by the age of 60, we had a workforce of 55 million out of an age eligible population of 73 million at a maximum. That yields a participation rate of 75%.

These facts reveal the utter falsity of the propaganda drenched duplicitous data dumped by the BLS on behalf of vested interests who have captured our government and have an agenda requiring the public to be kept in the dark regarding their own dire financial situation. No matter how you slice the data, it reveals an absolute parallel to the situation during the Great Depression. There are 251 million Americans of working age and only 149 million are employed, of which 20 million are part-time and 8 million are self employed. Only 59% of working age Americans actually work. The BLS has the cajones to declare that only 157 million of the 251 million working age Americans are actually in the labor force.

This outrageous assumption flies in the face of all reasonableness, facts, and truth. In 1937, even with women not working outside the home and very few people living past 65 years old, the participation rate was 75%. Today, with the majority of women capable and willing to work and older Americans working well into their 60s, the BLS actually expects a critical thinking person to believe the participation rate is only 62.4%, the lowest since 1977. It’s a pure and simple despicable lie. The true participation rate should exceed the rate in 1937, based on the facts. Using the 75% participation rate today, yields a true unemployment rate of 21%, not the preposterous 5.1% shoveled by the bullshit artists at the BLS. The 21% rate ties very closely to the figure arrived at by John Williams at Shadowstats. An unbiased assessment of the facts reveals unemployment numbers and people on government assistance numbers that match or exceed those of the Great Depression.

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Hunting Preserves for Psychopaths

Lew Rockwell Institute - 1 ora 37 min fa

USA – -( President Obama, in his address on the Oregon Community College shooting, asserts that we are “collectively answerable”.

As a responsibly armed American I heartily agree—we are answerable for the disastrous failure of so-called “gun-free zones” to stop mass shootings.

The Chattanooga recruiting center, Charleston AME church, and Lafayette theater shootings, and now the massacre at Umpqua Community College all happened in so-called “gun free zones”.

Obama concludes by promising to bring this up every time it happens and by repeating his mantra that we need to change our laws.

I cannot agree more! Each time this happens we should continue to bring this issue up. We can do something about it, and we do need to change the laws.

We have to get rid of the so-called “gun free zones” whether by law or by local policy and rules!

Famed self-defense guru Massad Ayoob has referred to “gun free zones” as “hunting preserves for psychopathic murders”. This simple but profound truth has been proven time after time. It is time for the killing to stop. End “gun free zones”.

Reprinted with permission from

The Art of Making Smart Decisions

Lew Rockwell Institute - 1 ora 38 min fa

Your days are filled with a constant stream of decisions. A study from Columbia University found that we’re bogged down by a good 70 decisions a day.

Some decisions are minor, like what to eat, which route to drive to work, or in what order to tackle tasks. Others are more difficult, like deciding between two job offers, whether to move to a new city for someone you love, or whether to cut a toxic person out of your life.

With so many decisions taking up each day, learning to prioritize them and make them effectively is essential to your success and happiness.

While I’m familiar with many strategies successful people use for effective decision-making, what follows are the cream of the crop.

They Pay Attention To Their Emotions

There’s an old saying: “Don’t make permanent decisions based on temporary emotions,” and it definitely rings true. Successful people recognize and understand their emotions (including their intensity and impact on behavior) so that they are able to look at decisions as objectively and rationally as possible.

Unfortunately, most people aren’t good at managing or even recognizing their emotions. TalentSmart has tested more than a million people and found that only 36% of us are able to accurately identify our emotions as they happen. Strong decision makers, on the other hand, know that a bad mood can make them lash out or stray from their moral compass just as easily as a good mood can make them overconfident and impulsive.

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No More Affordable Diesels

Lew Rockwell Institute - 1 ora 38 min fa

VW was the only major automaker selling affordable diesel powered passenger vehicles in the United States. You could, for instance, buy a diesel-powered Jetta sedan, Golf or Beetle for about $22k.
Not anymore.

At least, not for awhile.

VW announced yesterday (Wednesday; see here) that it will withdraw emissions certification applications tendered to the EPA for all 2016 model year diesel-powered VW passenger car models. This means they will not be legal for sale in the U.S.

Which means they will not be sold.

Which means, if you want an affordable diesel-powered car, you had better hurry to your local (or not-so-local) VW dealer and buy a 2015 Jetta, Golf or Beetle TDI before the remaining inventory runs out.

After that, you’ll be out of luck.

With the diesel VWs out of the game, there is only one diesel-powered car remaining that costs less than $30,000. That would be the diesel-powered version of Chevy’s Cruze sedan, a kinda-sorta rival of the Jetta TDI’s. Kinda-sorta, because it’s about the same size. But it’s much more expensive. Base price: $25,660 vs. $21,640 for the VW.

A difference – a price jump – of about $4,000.

Now, the Chevy’s a nice car. But its price tag – the price difference – does a number on the economic argument for the diesel engine under its hood. You will have to drive many miles before the savings at the pump make up for what you paid up front. And that, as they say, is the rub.

VW’s “sin” was to sell affordable diesels.

When people ponder purchasing a diesel-powered car, they weigh the diesel’s mileage vs. that of an otherwise similar gas-engined car and base their decision about which to buy on whether the diesel’s higher price “up front” would be amortized over time by the diesel engine’s superior fuel efficiency. If it is, then the diesel makes economic sense.

If it’s not, then not.

The Cruze doesn’t make economic sense – even though it gets very good mileage (27 city/46 highway). Buy it because it’s well-equipped (it is; Chevy only sells the Cruze diesel in one “loaded” trim) or because you enjoy the right-now torque output of the turbo-diesel engine.

But if you’re buying it to save money, you’re math skills are lacking.

And it is the only remaining diesel-powered car on the market that’s priced under $30,000.

Next up after the Cruze is the Audi A3 diesel. It’s an Audi, so an entry-luxury model. Base price, $32,600. It makes even less economic sense than the Cruze diesel. After that, you’re definitely swimming in the deep end of the pool with models like the diesel-powered version of the BMW 3 Series sedan (the $39,000 to start 328d) and the Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec ($54,300).

Some inside baseball:

Mazda had planned to bring an affordable diesel to market. The 2014 Mazda3 sedan (and the 2015 CX5) were supposed to have been available with Mazda’s new “Sky-D” diesel engine. And they are.

Just not here.

Mazda was unable to figure out a way to make them compliant with federal rigmarole and both efficient enough and priced low enough to make them plausibly competitive in the U.S. market. To meet the federal requirements, efficiency would suffer – and the cost would go up. While people might pay $32k for an Audi diesel (or $54k for a Benz diesel) a $26k (or more) Mazda diesel is a much harder sell.

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America’s Laughable Military Officials

Lew Rockwell Institute - 1 ora 38 min fa

Is it just me, or does our Secretary of Defense look like a certain comedian from the 1950s? I mean, it’s hard to take this guy seriously. Not because of that, but because of what he says. Take a gander at this article.

It seems our illustrious SecDef has made the earth-shattering discovery that people die in wars. Gee, I thought they just went directly to jail, did not pass Go, and did not collect $200. “This will have consequences for Russia itself which is rightly fearful of attacks … in coming days, the Russians will begin to suffer from casualties,” Carter said at a NATO meeting in Brussels (Home Of The Original Brussels Sprouts!) No! Really? Gee, Ash, and what was going to happen to us if our planes got shot down over there, huh? Were they just going to invite the pilot to tea and cookies? No, more like they’d have invited him to a barbeque—his own.

So, what, this is supposed to scare a country that soaked up ten million dead in military casualties alone during World War Two? Come on, Ash, you’re going to have to do better than that. I don’t think this is going to convince them to take their ball and go home. Gee, what did we do in this case? We smuggled home our dead on discreet military transport planes, flown in secretly during the middle of the night. Then we quietly whisked them away like contraband so no one noticed that Americans were dying in Iraq. And we censored pictures of those caskets, too, when we didn’t outright forbid taking the photos. Yepper, learned that little trick in the after-action assessment of the Vietnam War, we did.

Our SecDef has a certain panache for irony, too. “They have shot cruise missiles from a ship in the Caspian Sea without warning; they have come within just a few miles (kilometres) of one of our unmanned aerial vehicles,” Carter said. Yeah, not like us, right? Yeah, when’s the last time America fired cruise missiles at other countries without warning? Oops, gosh…well, since the 1990s and right up until we got the drones online which could do it cheaper. Now we’re whining that Russian cruise missiles might hit those drones. This is like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups moment. Remember that old TV commercial? “You got chocolate in my peanut butter!” “No, you got peanut butter in my chocolate!” Yes, indeed, they’re getting cruise missiles in our drones! How DARE they! Cue theme song: Ash Carter’s Peeeea-nut Butter Drones! Hooray! I bet they taste fantastic! Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t. Wait, that’s a different candy. It’s also the motto of the Pentagon, by the way.

“They have initiated a joint ground offensive with the Syrian regime, shattering the facade that they are there to fight ISIL,” Ash tells us. Right, unlike the United States that invaded Iraq in 2003, shattering the façade that the U.S. was engaged in war to fight terrorism. Ash, Ash, Ash…do you have a U.S. history book that doesn’t conclude at 1812? Tell us what the reasons were for, I don’t know, the Vietnam War? Didn’t a little bathtub toy clash in the Tonkin Gulf lead up to a ground invasion of Vietnam? And that’s giving credit to the United States in saying the bumping up of the North Vietnamese Tommy the Tugboat against America’s Rubber Ducky actually happened and wasn’t another lie engineered to gull us into a war. That war left a ring around the tub that took some serious scouring from Reagan Noble Cause Cleanser to finally go away.

Ash told reporters that Russia was backing the wrong horse in Syria and nagged Putin to sign up to the U.S. goal of a Syria without Assad. Excuse me, SecDef, but WE are the ones who backed the wrong horse. Except it wasn’t a horse, it was actually a donkey. All, what, 50 of them you said were left a few weeks ago? Seems these Syrian “moderates” that Russia is shuffling off this mortal coil via high explosives are probably ISIS and it’s the U.S. saying they aren’t. I mean, if Ash told us there were only 50 of them a few weeks ago, how then are there enough now to warrant spending cruise missiles on? What, they appeared through a time-space wrinkle from another dimension? “You’re entering another dimension…A dimension of lack of foresight…A dimension where things the United States says actually make sense…that’s the signpost up ahead! Joint Chiefs of Staff!” I’m sorry, but not even the Twilight Zone could have hatched a plot line such as that. This is more like Love, American Style—or else.

Now we see why Obama asked this guy to be SecDef: He can say all of this with a straight face! That’s always the deciding factor in what makes a good comedian. Keeping a straight face no matter how many pies are flying around the room. I bet this guy could do some great improv. Wait, he already does. They’re called press conferences.

Yeah, ya gotta love America! Can’t afford cable? Hey, who needs it? You want great comedy? The government provides that for free! The Roman Empire had this thing called the Annona where the government passed out free bread to everyone. Our government has taken that to a whole new level. They’re passing out free comedy to everyone. And Ash Carter’s Peanut Butter Drones.

Don’t Call Us a Stan!

Lew Rockwell Institute - 1 ora 38 min fa

ALMATY, KAZAKHSTAN – “We need a new name,” a senior official in Kazakhstan  told me.  “People keep confusing us with all the other crazy “stans.”  We are not like them.

Quite right.  Compared to neighboring Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan is an island of tranquility and quiet development.

Kazakhstan is the world’s 9th largest nation in size, some 2.7 million sq. kilometers, but has only a modest population of some 18 million people spread from the Caspian Sea in the west (from where Russia just launched missile strikes at Syria) to the border of China in the east.  To its north is Siberia and to the south, India and Pakistan.  Snow-capped mountains border the old capitol, Almaty, known in Soviet days as Alma-Ata.

The Kazakhs, unlike their neighbors,  have been fortunate to have good government.  Former senior Communist Party official Nursultan Nazarbeyev became leader of Kazakhstan in 1991 after the break-up of the Soviet Union and has ruled it ever since.

But like too many other strong rulers, the 75-year old Nazarbeyev has not allowed a new generation of leaders to grow up around him.  The youthful prime minister, Karim Massimov, is capable and popular, but lacks deep roots among the nation’s tribal society or urban elite.  As Kazakhstan seeks large amounts of foreign investment the troublesome question remains, “what will happen after Nazarbeyev departs the scene?”  No one knows. This makes foreign investors very nervous.

Kazakhs can look south at Turkmenistan, long ruled by the late Sapurmurat Niyazov, one of my favorite nutty dictators, who had gold statues of him erected across the country and proclaimed him a demi-deity.  To war-torn Afghanistan.  To scary, US-backed Uzbekistan where political opponents are boiled to death. To tiny Kyrgyzstan, which has been rent by civil war for two decades. And to Iranian-speaking Tajikistan, the main opium and heroin corridor to the north.

The US, India, China and Russia all vie for influence in this vast Central Asian region where once the fabled  Silk Road ran from China to the Black Sea.

It’s hard to believe that out of these endless kilometers of emptiness came the closest thing the world has ever seen to nuclear war: Genghis Khan and  the great Mongol invasions of the 13th century that extended from the Great Wall of China to Germany and Gaza.

Two tribes of the Kazakh steppe, the Cumans and Kipchaks, combined and joined the Mongol horde that terrified and ravaged Europe and the Muslim world.   Today, there is no overt sign of the nomads who terrified the globe. Today’s Kazakhs are invariably kind, friendly and often charming as I found after days in a nomad camp in a yurt.  But they still have a hard core that makes them a formidable people.

Arrogance, Hubris, Impulsiveness, and Death

Lew Rockwell Institute - 1 ora 38 min fa

Washington’s impulsive use of power is a danger to America and to the world. Arrogant Washington politicians and crazed neoconservatives are screaming that the US must shoot down Russian aircraft that are operating against the US-supplied forces that have brought death and destruction to Syria, unleashing millions of refugees on Europe, in Washington’s effort to overthrow the Syrian government.

Even my former CSIS colleague, Zbigniew Brzezinski, normally a sensible if sometimes misguided person, has written in the Financial Times that Washington should deliver an ultimatum to Russia to “cease and desist from military actions that directly affect American assets.” By “American assets,” Brzezinski means the jihadist forces that Washington has sicced on Syria.

Brzezinski’s claim that “Russia must work with, not against, the US in Syria” is false. The fact of the matter is that “the US must work with, not against Russia in Syria,” as Russia controls the situation, is in accordance with international law, and is doing the right thing.

Ash Carter, the US Secretary for War, repeats Brzezinski’s demand. He declared that Washington is not prepared to cooperate with Russia’s “tragically flawed” and “mistaken strategy” that frustrates Washington’s illegal attempt to overthrow the Syrian government with military violence.

Washington’s position is that only Washington decides and that Washington intends to unleash yet more chaos on the world in the hope that it reaches Russia.

I guess no one in hubristic and arrogant Washington was listening when Putin said in hisUN speech on September 28: “We can no longer tolerate the state of affairs in the world.”

The intolerable state of affairs is the chaos that Washington has brought to the Middle East, chaos that threatens to expand into all countries with Muslim populations, and chaos from which millions of refugees are flooding into Europe.

Not satisfied with threatening Russia with war, Washington is preparing to send US Navy ships inside the 12-nautical-mile territorial limit of islands created by China’s land reclamation project. The Navy Times reports that three Pentagon officials have said on background that “approval of the mission is imminent.”

So here we have the US government gratuitously and provocatively threatening two nuclear powers. The Washington warmongers try to pretend that land reclamation is “an act of regional aggression” and that Washington is just upholding international law by protecting “freedom of navigation.”

By “freedom of navigation,” Washington means Washington’s ability to control all sea lanes.After all of Washington’s violations of international law and war crimes during the last 14 years, Washington’s claim to be protecting international law is hilarious.

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a former director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s intelligence organization, said that Washington needs to understand that “Russia also has foreign policy; Russia also has a national security strategy” and stop crossing Russia’s “red lines.” Gen. Flynn thus joins with Patrick J. Buchanan as two voices of sense and sensibility in Washington. Together they stand against the arrogance and hubris that will destroy us.

A Surprising Way To Whiten Teeth Naturally

Lew Rockwell Institute - 1 ora 38 min fa

For far too many years, there have been stories exposing harmful chemicals found in our everyday items. Chemicals such as fluoride and triclosan found in deodorant, cosmetics, and our toothpastes, has led me to find more natural products to replace them. If you think the FDA is on our side and looking out for these harmful chemicals, think again. In fact, the FDA actually conspired with Colgate to hide the evidence of how harmful triclosan truly is.

As usual, we need to be more mindful about the products we use and try and find more natural ways to live. Making your own tooth powder is a natural way of cleaning teeth and a way of rectifying the issue of removing the chemicals from our daily lives. In fact, I came across how useful charcoal is as a natural way to clean pots and pan when you do not have soap, so why not apply the same concept to your teeth?

Making natural tooth cleaning agents is not difficult. Really, most of the items are in or around your home. When I began researching about making homemade tooth cleaning powders, I came across stories of ancient Egyptians,

34 Uses of Salt for Survival

Lew Rockwell Institute - 1 ora 38 min fa

One of the very first things I did when I first started prepping was to bolster my pantry with basic staples that could be used for a variety of purposes.  When it was suggested that I store salt, and lots of it, I was a disbeliever. After all, conventional mainstream wisdom had taught me that salt was the bad guy.

But is it really?

I made it my mission to determine whether salt is a good thing, a bad thing, or simply something best treated as an item to “use in moderation”.

Salt As the Bad Guy

22.  Non-stick pancakes Rub salt on your pancake griddle and your flapjacks won’t stick.

23.  Keeping cut flowers fresh A dash of salt added to the water in a flower vase will keep cut flowers fresh longer.

24.  Keeping patios weed-free If weeds or unwanted grass come up between patio bricks or blocks, carefully spread salt between the bricks and blocks, then sprinkle with water or wait for rain to wet it down.

25.  Killing poison ivy Mix three pounds of salt with a gallon of soapy water and apply to leaves and stems with a sprayer.

26.  Deodorizing shoes Sprinkling a little salt in canvas shoes occasionally will take up the moisture and help remove odors.

27.  Relieving bee stings If stung, immediately wet the spot and cover with salt to relieve the pain.

28.  Deter ants Sprinkle salt at doorways, window sills and anywhere else ants sneak into your house. Ants don’t like to walk on salt.

29.  Clean teeth Use one part fine salt to two parts baking soda–dip your toothbrush in the mix and brush as usual.

30.  Melt snow and ice Sprinkle salt on snow or ice to melt away.

31.  Removing soot Occasionally throw a handful of salt on the flames in your fireplace; it will help loosen soot from the chimney and salt makes a bright yellow flame.

32.  For soap making Salt is a component in some soap recipes. It stimulates a chemical reaction that hardens the soap.

33.  Nasal Rinse Mix well 1/4 cup salt & 1/4 cup of baking soda and store in an air tight container, use 1/4 tsp. for each rinse. This can help stop a cold virus in its tracks, can help with seasonal allergies, and can relieve sinus pressure. Many people use a neti pot for this purpose.

34.  Dispose of disposal odor To help remove odors from garbage disposals, pour 1/2 cup of Salt directly into the garbage disposal. By running the disposal following manufacturer’s directions, you’ll send those odors down the drain.

Now granted, some of these uses are handy dandy but not 100% survival and prepper-centric.  Still, as this demonstrates, there are a ton of day to day uses for salt that will make our lives easier if not more pleasant.

What type of salt should you store?

For many purposes, not just any salt will do. Here’s a rundown on the different types of salt that are available, and the best ways to use each type.  Note: this information was compiled from Authority Nutrition.

Iodized table salt

This is the inexpensive salt you can find at any grocery store, discount center, or even dollar store across the country. It’s cheap and simple to acquire.

Unfortunately, when it is refined all of the beneficial minerals are removed. Perhaps part of the reason that salt is so hard on your body is that most of us end up consuming this version.  It is refined to the point that it’s mostly sodium chloride.

It often has additives like iodine and anti-caking agents.

This kind of salt is fine for cleaning purposes, but don’t look to it as a health supplement.

Kosher Salt

Kosher salt is very similar to regular table salt, but it is sold in flakes as opposed to finely ground. The original use of kosher salt was in the Jewish faith, to remove all of the blood from meat as per their religious requirements.

Sea Salt

Sea salt is derived from evaporating ocean water. The darker the color, the more “impurities” it has – but in this case impurities can be trace minerals and nutrients.

While it isn’t as refined as the table salt above, the serious pollution in our oceans means that sea salt may not be the healthiest option. It can be very high in heavy metals, and post-Fukushima, even radiation, depending upon the origin of the salt.

Celtic Salt

Celtic salt is a type of sea salt that comes from a specific region in France. It is grayish in color and a moist texture, unlike other types of salt that are completely dry.

It contains the same minerals as regular sea salt, and the percentage of sodium chloride is slightly lower than other salts.

Pink Himalayan Salt

Pink Himalayan salt is harvested in Pakistan. The pink color comes from iron oxide. Pink Himalayan salt also has other minerals like magnesium, calcium, and potassium.

It is often very coarse, but if you prefer it to be finer, just use a pepper grinder on a fine setting.

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Trying to Lose Weight Like You Did in Your 20s?

Lew Rockwell Institute - 1 ora 38 min fa

Are you finding it harder to lose weight as you age?

If you’re still using the same diet techniques you did in your 20s you need to stop.

In your 20s and early 30s weight loss can, for some, be the same foolproof routine.

By exercising more and eating less, shifting those few pounds can always be done with a little determination.

But what happens when your go-to diet regime stops working? Some foods can help ward off the symptoms associated with age-related hormonal changes, while others worsen any changes taking place.

Check out the list of foods for hormone balance below.

4. Eat the right foods to fill you up

If you’re eating the same amount of food you ate in your 20’s, you’re eating too much.

With the natural decline in muscle mass, hormone levels and metabolism you need fewer calories as you get older.

The super-charged smoothies, soups and whole-food meals in the age-defying diet will keep you satisfied and prevent cravings.

Read the Whole Article

L'economia di Warren Buffet — Perché i suoi giorni sono contati (Parte 2)

Freedonia - Gio, 08/10/2015 - 10:06
La fame di rendimenti decenti tra le corporazioni americane che hanno preso in ostaggio i loro bilanci per farne carne da macello sull'altare della ZIRP, sta correndo impazzita tra le sale del casinò di Wall Street. Non è più la concorrenza lo sprone dei loro investimenti, bensì una perenne crescita attraverso i trucchi dell'ingegneria finanziaria abilitati da 81 mesi consecutivi di denaro gratis. Un aumento anche frazionale dei tassi d'interesse spazzerebbe via migliaia di questi carry trade facendo fioccare margin call da qui fino all'era della pietra. Dato questo panorama la Yellen ha affermato che ci sarà un "aumento dei tassi" prima della fine di quest'anno. Qual è il piano? Ancora una volta non l'ha detto. Però poi ha aggiunto: "[...] But if the economy surprises us, our judgments about appropriate monetary policy will change." Siamo sull'orlo di una serie di default a catena di queste corporazioni una volta che i loro bilanci saranno saturi di debiti. Il loro fallimento intaccherà pesantemente i bilanci di banche e hedge fund traboccanti di paper asset utili solamente a tenere in piedi una illusione (o per meglio dire, un gigantesco schema di Ponzi). La spiralizzazione di questo processo, in mancanza d'interventi centrali, porterà ad un default incontrollato di tutte quelle entità che sarebbero dovute fallire nel 2008, oltre a quelle che sono state coinvolte nel successivo periodo euforico. E' così che aumenteranno i tassi d'interesse nell'ambiente economico attuale. E' questa la sorpresa che la Yellen teme e a cui dice di voler far fronte ricorrendo ad un cambiamento di politica monetaria (leggi QE4). Il problema è solo uno: l'allentamento monetario è un trucco una tantum che funziona solo quando ci sono bilanci puliti. Non ce ne sono più.

di David Stockman

Se non avete letto la Parte Uno di questa serie, cliccate qui.

Non vi è alcun motivo per ritenere che sin dal 1980 la capacità finanziaria dell'economia degli Stati Uniti — o quella di qualsiasi altra economia sviluppata — sia migliorata. In realtà, negli ultimi anni le cose sono andate nella direzione opposta se teniamo conto dei dati demografici, del declino della competitività rispetto alle economie emergenti, della diminuzione dei tassi di crescita della produttività e dell'aumento del rapporto di leva per i redditi pubblici e privati.

Tutte queste macro-tendenze negative significano che la capacità dell'economia statunitense di generare crescita, redditi e profitti, si è indebolita notevolmente. Di conseguenza, poiché si è indebolita anche la sua capacità di ripagare il debito ad un tasso di mercato, uno si aspetterebbe la relativa diminuzione del rapporto tra finanziamenti e reddito nazionale.

In realtà, quando nell'ottobre 1987 Greenspan gettò in mare il suo attaccamento atavico al gold standard e assecondò le furie di Wall Street, il rapporto dei finanziamenti schizzò alle stelle. Come mostrato di seguito, aveva raggiunto un punto che sarebbe stato inimmaginabile la mattina del Lunedì Nero.

In un sistema con denaro onesto e prezzi degli asset finanziari determinati dal mercato, il valore combinato delle azioni aziendali e del debito nei mercati del credito non si sarebbe mai moltiplicato dell'8X – da $11,000 miliardi a $93,000 miliardi – nel corso degli ultimi 27 anni. Il PIL nominale è cresciuto solo del 3.5X durante lo stesso arco di tempo. In effetti, l'economia degli Stati Uniti è stata capitalizzata a tassi sempre più elevati senza alcun riscontro accertabile nei fondamentali economici.

Infatti non vi è alcun motivo per cui il rapporto tra equity e debito nel mercato del credito sarebbe dovuto aumentare dopo che nel 1986 raggiunse il 260% del PIL. All'epoca Paul Volcker aveva completato il suo compito storico di estingure l'inflazione galoppante nelle materie prime e nell'IPC, supervisionando una solida ripresa della crescita economica reale.

E, stando al rapporto dell'epoca, l'odierna economia da $17,700 miliardi avrebbe trasportato circa $43,000 miliardi tra equity e debito del mercato del credito.

In una parola, l'era Greenspan di falsificazione dei prezzi e monetizzazione di migliaia di miliardi di asset esistenti con crediti creati dal nulla, ha generato un eccesso di $50,000 miliardi di finanziarizzazione. E questo è solo per l'economia americana. Infatti, l'errore del settore bancario centrale è globale e la finanziarizzazione a livello mondiale è decisamente più grande.

A dire il vero, gli economisti e i burocrati keynesiani che gestiscono la FED non ammettono apertamente una falsificazione dei prezzi degli asset finanziari. Né si assumono la responsabilità per aver generato ciò che equivale ad una bolla da $50,000 miliardi nei soli Stati Uniti.

Ecco perché sono strettamente e meccanicamente focalizzati su un compito del tutto diverso, ma impossibile. Vale a dire, condurre l'economia americana da $18,000 miliardi verso il suo potenziale di piena occupazione. Persegue il suo cosiddetto "doppio mandato" in accordo con le restrizioni dei modelli DSGE keynesiani (dynamic stochastic general equilibrium).

Inoltre questa particolare iterazione pregna d'onniscienza, non solo viene considerata dai pianificatori centrali monetari e dai loro sostenitori accademici e giornalistici come la migliore delle scelte possibili.

Attraverso interventi implacabili e plenari nei mercati finanziari per attenuare e ottimizzare il ciclo economico, i pianificatori centrali dell'era Greenspan hanno creduto che stessero salvando il capitalismo dal suo desiderio ricorrente di morire. Cioè, una tendenza endogena verso l'instabilità, lo scarso rendimento e il collasso depressivo.

Tutta questa storia è una bufala. Il cosiddetto doppio mandato, o Humphrey-Hawkins Act, è una delle leggi più stupide e più pericolose mai promulgate.

Significa delegare il potere ad un piccolo drappello irresponsabile di burocrati monetari, i quali sono liberi di definire gli obiettivi fondamentali — massima occupazione e stabilità dei prezzi — in modo arbitrario; poi proseguono ad esercitare il loro potere — senza norme e limiti — manomettendo tutti i prezzi finanziari in base a metriche quantitative arbitrarie, che siano efficaci o meno, e ad un presunto miglioramento della società.

In parole povere, la disoccupazione U-3 al 5.2% e il 2% d'inflazione in base al deflatore PCE sono obiettivi economicamente insignificanti. Sono impossibili da realizzare, soprattutto se è coinvolta la manipolazione dei tassi d'interesse e il resto dell'armamentario della FED, in particolare i suoi effetti ricchezza diffusi tramite il mercato azionario.

Allo stesso modo, i cosiddetti obiettivi della legge Humphrey-Hawkins non hanno alcuna relazione discernibile col miglioramento della società — perché non c'è uno straccio di prova a dimostrazione che i lavoratori stanno meglio con il 2% d'inflazione rispetto ad un 1.5%, o a qualsiasi altro valore scelto arbitrariamente per un indice dei prezzi al consumo mistificato e pieno d'errori di calcolo. E, soprattutto, costringere la macroeconomia ad aderire a questi obiettivi politici è del tutto inutile, perché non è affatto vero che il capitalismo tende intrinsecamente al suicidio ed è incline al collasso depressivo.

In realtà, è solo una storiella spacciata dai pianificatori centrali monetari e dai loro tirapiedi a Wall Street. Ho affrontato altrove l'origine di questo mito — la Grande Depressione degli anni '30. È sufficiente dire che la narrazione keynesiana non ha capito nulla.

La Grande Depressione non si originò da un difetto fatale del capitalismo, o perché la FED tra il 1930 e il 1933 non inflazionò abbastanza, o perché venne meno la presunta dedizione di Hoover alla rettitudine fiscale e al gold standard. Proprio il contrario. La Grande Depressione fu un eccesso d'interventi statali — il gigantesco indebitamento, l'inflazione della Grande Guerra e le bolle creditizie dei Ruggenti Anni Venti.

Allo stesso modo, i cicli economici del dopoguerra prima dell'arrivo di Greenspan erano di breve durata, ben contenuti e auto-correttivi; erano dovuti ad errori dello stato, non a presunti difetti del capitalismo o ad una presunta instabilità del ciclo economico che minacciava una spirale inarrestabile verso il basso.

Due recessioni in particolare sono state la conseguenza temporanea di un raffreddamento d'economie di guerra: 1953-1954 (Corea) e 1969-1970 (Vietnam). La prima venne superata grazie alla resilienza intrinseca del capitalismo di mercato (senza inutili ricorsi a stimoli fiscali o monetari) e alle restrizioni ortodosse del presidente Eisenhower e di William McChesney Martin della FED.

La recessione post-Vietnam non viene quasi mai annoverata nelle statistiche economiche — salvo per uno sciopero di 70 giorni da parte dei lavoratori nel settore automobilistico. Non era nemmeno un ciclo economico, ma uno shock imprevisto successivo alla chiusura della GM e della sua base di fornitori nell'autunno del 1970, in un momento in cui GM era al suo picco e occupava il 45% dell'intero mercato automobilistico degli Stati Uniti.

Inutile dire che lo sciopero venne risolto con le parti interessate, innescando subito dopo un rimbalzo delle vendite. Quindi nessun fallimento del ciclo economico o caduta in un buco nero economico — né le autorità fiscali e monetarie dell'epoca "stimolarorno" le forze naturali della ripresa.

Per contro, le due recessioni più profonde del periodo pre-Greenspan — la recessione 1974-1975 e quella 1981-1982 — vennero causate da "qualcuno" di ben definito: la Federal Reserve.

Come ho dimostrato in The Great Deformation, il ciclo degli anni '70 non fu causato dal post-embargo del 1973 sul prezzo del petrolio; fu il risultato dell'abietta sottomissione di Arthur Burns, presidente della FED, alla richiesta pre-elettorale (1972) di Nixon di stimolare l'economia degli Stati Uniti.

Per quanto riguarda il profondo tonfo dell'era pre-Reagan, al timone c'era il Potente Volcker perché Arthur Burns e il suo successore, lo sfortunato rimpiazzo William Miller, avevano alimentato una massiccia espansione del credito interno durante la seconda metà degli anni '70. L'inflazione a due cifre stroncata da Volcker venne fabbricata dalla banca centrale e non dal cartello dell'OPEC, dagli speculatori sull'argento e sul rame, o dai consumatori avidi, come sosteneva Jimmy Carter.

All'arrivo di Volcker, c'era la possibilità che la politica statale potesse sfuggire dalla schiavitù dell'economia keynesiana. Quest'ultima venne adottata a pieno regime durante l'era Kennedy-Johnson e abbracciata da Nixon quando la sua groupie politica, George Schulz, lo convinse ad adottare il concetto di piena occupazione.

Questo era puro sproloquio keynesiano. Si basava sull'idea di un'economia nazionale chiusa rassomigliante ad una gigantesca vasca da bagno — la quale doveva essere riempita di PIL fino all'orlo affinché si potesse raggiungere un benessere sociale massimo; in questo contesto il lavoro dello stato, attraverso l'azione coordinata delle politiche fiscali e monetarie, era quello di pompare domanda aggregata nella vasca fino a raggiungere il PIL potenziale e la piena occupazione.

Le politiche "guns and butter" di Johnson dopo il 1965 e la baldoria monetaria Nixon-Burns del 1972-1974, condussero alla stagflazione catastrofica degli anni '70. Di conseguenza, la vasca da bagno keynesiana venne accompagnata alla porta quando nel 1981 Ronald Reagan arrivò alla Casa Bianca.

E i deficit giganteschi di Reagan vennero sepolti dal successo della politica monetaria rigida di Volcker e dal rifiuto risoluto dell'amministrazione Reagan di prendere in considerazione tutto ciò che assomigliasse ad uno stimolo fiscale, o monetario, durante i giorni bui del 1982.

I deficit giganteschi di Reagan erano dovuti ad un'esplosione della spesa per la difesa e ad un taglio delle tasse che scappò di mano nell'estate del 1981, non alla convinzione che il capitalismo avesse bisogno della mano dello stato per tornare in carreggiata dopo un'inflazione del credito sponsorizzata dallo stato stesso.

Poi arrivò la campagna elettorale del 1984, seguita dagli Accordi del Plaza del 1985 progettati per cestinare il dollaro e stimolare artificialmente l'attività economica interna.

Ronald Reagan venne ingannato da Jim Baker e dagli anziani repubblicani di Capitol Hill, e spodestò Volcker dal suo ruolo di presidente della FED. Nella Parte 3 mostrerò come l'ambiguo, assetato di potere ed ex-gold bug Greenspan venne chiamato per riportare in auge l'economia keynesiana e la relativa vasca da bagno economica.

Eppure dopo la dichiarazione di Deng, secondo cui essere ricchi è bello, l'idea di una politica della vasca da bagno in un singolo paese era decisamente assurda. Incarna la teoria spuria secondo cui le misure primitive relative all'utilizzo del fattore lavoro e imprenditoriale pubblicate dai mulini sforna-statistiche dello stato, misurano tutto ciò che è significativo dal punto di vista economico.

Infatti il tasso di disoccupazione U-3 e le cifre relative all'utilizzo del fattore industriale, non sono altro che rumore. Il tasso d'utilizzo del settore automobilistico, per esempio, poteva essere rilevante prima del 1980. Oggi misura lo stesso ciclo più e più volte, ma non significa nulla, come verrà dimostrato nella Parte 3.


[*] traduzione di Francesco Simoncelli:

Lovers of the State Really Hate Uber

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 08/10/2015 - 06:01

The regulation by the state of the streets of London goes back to 1635. It began under King Charles I, who was a full-time tyrant, and whose life ended on the scaffold in 1649.

Charles decided that the streets were too crowded in London, and what the city needed was government control over the number of taxis. This tradition extends to today. In major cities, the government regulates the supply of taxis, and the result has been higher prices and rotten service. Regulation has created an oligopoly of taxi companies, which use state power to extract greater wealth from people who want to hire a taxi cab.

A balance of “competing conveniences” has to be weighed, with the public good kept at the forefront of these discussions — instead of a much narrower focus in which companies win in the battle between Uber, Lyft and Big Taxi. Focusing on that question literally misses the all-important big picture.

He lamented the terrible situation of congestion. He lamented the fact that, wherever the free market is allowed to provide transportation services, the roads are clogged. It is all the free market’s fault. It allows anyone to set up shop as a taxi driver, and this leads to long hours of traffic time.

He did not spell out exactly how this can be solved. He had no specific solution. But he knows this: something ought to be done by the government. Something will be done: a fusion of Uber and tax-subsidized rides.

Read the Whole Article

Bombing Syria?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 08/10/2015 - 06:01

The US regime change policy for Syria has been a catastrophe. More than 200,000 killed and an entire country reduced to rubble at least partly because President Obama decided that “Assad has lost his legitimacy.” How is it that the president of a country 6,000 miles away has the authority to decide whether another leader belongs in office or not? What if Rouhani in Iran decided that Obama had lost his legitimacy for killing a number of American citizens by drone without charge or trial? Would we accept that?

At least three years of US efforts to train rebels to overthrow the Syrian government has produced, as General Lloyd Austin, Commander of US Central Command, testified last month, “four or five” trained and vetted “moderates” in Syria. The $500 million appropriated for this purpose has disappeared.

What’s Your Body Trying To Tell You?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 08/10/2015 - 06:01

Have you got cracks at the side of your mouth or thinning hair?

Or itchy feet, an unexplained rash or dark circles under your eyes?

They may seem like benign, innocuous symptoms, but they could in fact be a warning sign of illness or other health issues, says Dr Deyo Famuboni, a GP in London.

‘It’s important to listen to your body,’ she told Healthista.

‘This is ever so true – especially when it’s trying to warn you that something isn’t right.

‘There are so many subtle signs it gives us, that picking up on them – and being attuned to what is normal for you – is vital to feeling well and preventing future problems.’

From yellow spots on the elbows to itchy feet, here she explains how to tell if something is up with your health…

From yellow spots on the elbows that are a sign of high cholesterol, to a rash that could signify coeliac disease, the body has ways of communicating health issues, says Dr Deyo Famuboni, a GP in London

From yellow spots on the elbows that are a sign of high cholesterol, to a rash that could signify coeliac disease, the body has ways of communicating health issues, says Dr Deyo Famuboni, a GP in London

1. Gaining weigh around the waist

Think for Yourself

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 08/10/2015 - 06:01

KINGSTON, NY, 7 October 2015—It is official. Global equity markets had their worst quarterly showing since 2011.

Is history repeating itself?

Go back to 2007, in the months leading up to the Panic of ’08. On 24 July the Dow took a 226-point dive. Blaming the market fall on weak corporate profits, “experts” shrugged off the sudden decline, because “the market needs some profit taking after hitting 14,000.”

With trillions being lost worldwide, The New York Times ran the headline, “Advisers Tell Worried Investors to Take Stock ‘Hiccup’ in Stride.” The tale began with the opening lines: “Take a deep breath. These things happen (NYT, 27 July 2007)”.

Déjà vu all over again

In late August 2015, with benchmark indexes down 10 percent from recent peaks, the headline on the front page of the Times’ Business section blared, “This Week’s Market Sell-Off May Not Be Such a Bad Thing.” The article advised investors experiencing big losses to step back just a bit, what has happened in financial markets this week looks less like a catastrophe in the making and more like a much-needed breather.” And “the best response for most investors … is to take a deep breath.”

On the same day the Times peddled more hot air with another headline article, “Advice After Stock Market Drop: Take Some Deep Breaths, and Don’t Do a Thing.”

Deep Breaths For Sale

Over the past few weeks, as equity markets worldwide were being battered, all economic eyes were focused on last Friday’s US Labor Department September jobs report. The great expectation was for an increase of 201,000 new jobs, but only 142,000 were created.

On the terribly disappointing news, equity markets spiked with the hope that the Federal Reserve, which had announced in mid-September it would maintain its Zero Interest Rate Policy (in place since 2008), would continue its cheap money policy into 2016. 

Following the disappointing jobs report, the New York Times, under the headline, “What the Terrible September Jobs Report Means for the Economy,” wrote, “As always, it is a useful exercise on jobs report Fridays to take a deep breath and remember that this is but one set of indicators, with a large margin of statistical error, that will be revised repeatedly.”

Indeed, the numbers were revised. The word on the Street was that August’s’ disappointing job numbers, which had come in at 173,000, were expected to be adjusted upward. Instead, they were revised down to 136,000, a loss of 37,000 jobs. And July’s numbers were revised downward by 22,000 jobs.

Trend Tracking Tip: In May 2007, Fed Chair Ben Bernanke said he didn’t believe mortgage defaults would seriously harm the economy. In his new book he admits the Fed underestimated the dangers leading up to the Panic of ’08. But his and the Fed’s attitude was, and still is, that they know what’s best for us and how dare anyone question their expertise.

The moral of this Trend Alert: “Take a deep breath” … think for yourself!

Terrifying Consciousness

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 08/10/2015 - 06:01

Sleep paralysis can be a terrifying state of consciousness; not only can you not move your body, but it is often accompanied with scary hallucinations. Sleep paralysis is when the body is unable to move smoothly through the different sleep cycles and the inability to move while fully conscious. It commonly occurs during the transition between wakefulness and sleep. Sleep paralysis may result from other sleep disorders but rarely is it caused by an underlying psychiatric condition.

When does sleep paralysis occur? The REM connection

Sleep paralysis can occur in the transition from wakefulness to sleep or from sleep into wakefulness – these are known as hypnagogic or predormital sleep paralysis and hypnopompic sleep paralysis. Hypnagogic is the process

  • Eat healthy
  • Relax and decrease stress
  • See a doctor – your sleep paralysis may be a symptom of narcolepsy
  • Further preemptive treatments

    • Talk about the condition with your friends
    • Keep a log
    • Identify triggers
    • Avoid triggers

    Lastly, try not to believe in the supernatural. A Canadian study, which observed those with sleep paralysis, found that those who had strong beliefs in the supernatural were more likely to be scared and frightened.


    Reprinted with permission from Bel Marra Health.

    No More ‘Free Trade’ Treaties

    Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 08/10/2015 - 06:01

    It is erroneous to believe that free traders have been historically in favor of free trade agreements between governments. Paradoxically, the opposite is true. Curiously, many laissez-faire advocates fall into the government-made trap by supporting “free-trade” treaties. However, as Vilfredo Pareto stated in the article “Traités de commerce of the Nouveau Dictionnaire d’Economie Politique” (1901):

    If we accept free trade, treatises of commerce have no reason to exist as a goal. There is no need to have them since what they are meant to fix does not exist anymore, each nation letting come and go freely any commodity at its borders. This was the doctrine of J.B. Say and of all the French economic school until Michel Chevalier. It is the exact model Léon Say recently adopted. It was also the doctrine of the English economic school until Cobden. Cobden, by taking the responsibility of the 1860 treaty between France and England, moved closer to the revival of the odious policy of the treaties of reciprocity, and came close to forgetting the doctrine of political economy for which he had been, in the first part of his life, the intransigent advocate.1

    In 1859, the French liberal economist Michel Chevalier went to see Richard Cobden to propose a free trade treaty between France and England. For sure, this treaty, enacted in 1860, was a temporary success for free traders. What is less known however, is that at first, Cobden, in accordance with the free trade doctrine, refused to negotiate or sign any “free trade” treaty. His argument was that free trade should be unilateral, that it consists not in treaties but in complete freedom in international trade, regardless of where products come from.

    Chevalier eventually succeeded in obtaining Cobden’s support. But Cobden was puzzled by the complete secrecy surrounding the negotiations and, in a letter to Lord Palmerston, he attributed this secrecy to the “lack of courage” of the French government.2 Similarly, today, the lack of transparency concerning free-trade negotiations is problematic and it is often hard to know what the content of a treaty will be.

    Today, while some of these treaties are currently being negotiated, there are already examples of similar agreements enforced. One could refer to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) or more regional agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or the European Economic Area (EEA).

    But why would protectionist governments who spend their time hampering markets by giving monopolies and other kinds of privileges at national level, open markets at the international level? The very fact that governments are negotiating in the name of free trade should be suspicious for any libertarian or true advocate of free trade.

    Intergovernmental Agreements Enhance Government Power

    Murray Rothbard opposed NAFTA and showed that what the Orwellians were calling a “free trade” agreement was in reality a means to cartelize and increase government control over the economy. Several clues lead us to the conclusion that protectionist policies often hide behind free trade agreements, for as Rothbard said, “genuine free trade doesn’t require a treaty.”

    The first clue is the intergovernmental and top down approach. Intergovernmentalism is nothing more than a process governments use to mutualize their respective sovereignties in order to complete tasks they are not able to accomplish alone. Nation-states are entities which rarely give up power. When they finalize agreements, it is to strengthen their power, not to weaken it. On the contrary, free trade requires a decline of governments’ regulatory power.

    Also, free trade does not require interstate cooperation. On the contrary, free trade can be and has to be done unilaterally. As freedom of speech does not need international cooperation, freedom to trade with foreigners does not need governments and treaties. Similarly, our government should not rob their population with corporatist and protectionist policies just because others do. Anyone who believes in free trade does not fear unilateralism. The simple fact that bureaucrats and politicians do not conceive of the international economy outside of a legal frame settled by intergovernmental agreements is sufficient to show the mistrust they express toward individual freedom. This reinforces the conviction that these agreements are driven by mercantilist preoccupations rather than genuine free trade goals.

    Extending Regulatory Control Beyond Your Own Borders

    The second clue concerns the intense conflicts between governments on these agreements characterized by a high degree of technicality. History shows that multilateralism leads toward deadlock. The failure of the Doha Round is the cause of the proliferation of bilateral and regional initiatives. The contentious relations between governments come from the will of some states to dictate their norms to other countries’ producers through an international harmonization process. But this is the exact opposite of free trade. As economic theory shows us, exchange and the division of labor is not based on equality and harmonization but rather on differences and inequality. Furthermore, the technicality and secrecy surrounding free-trade agreements favor mercantilism and protectionism to the extent that technical regulations are used to favor producers who are politically well connected.

    The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a good illustration of this balance of power. It was at first an agreement between four countries (Brunei, New-Zealand, Singapore, and Chile.) which tried to resist some neighbors’ commercial influence, especially China. Then the United States came and convinced more countries (Australia, Malaysia, Peru, Vietnam, Canada, Mexico, and Japan) to join the negotiations. Let’s also notice that most of the countries invited are already bound by regional or bilateral agreements with the United States. China remains excluded from the process. This governmental drive toward regulatory hegemony is obviously the complete opposite of free trade. Indeed, free trade supposes letting consumers peacefully choose what products they want to promote rather than determining what is available through bureaucratic coercion.

    Consolidation of Monopolies

    The third clue concerns the vigor with which governments have tried over several decades to impose at the international level a more constraining legal framework for so-called “intellectual property.” The first initiatives appear in 1883 and 1886 with the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property and the Bern Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. Amended several times during the twentieth century, the initiatives embrace, respectively, 176 and 168 states. These conventions are placed under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an international bureaucracy which joined the United Nations system in 1974. A turning point came in 1994 with the signature of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) administrated by the World Trade Organization (WTO). It is now incorporated as an essential part of the administration of international commerce and benefits from the WTO’s sanction mechanisms.

    In 2012 we endured a fresh attempt by our governments to reduce our freedom to create and share intellectual works with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). And, if we look at the negotiations mandates of these trade agreements, we can see they all include a chapter on the reinforcement of “intellectual property” rights. Intellectual property has become a key concept of the international economy. But this must not hide its illegitimacy.

    As Vilfredo Pareto remarked, “From the point of view of the protectionist, treaties of commerce are … what is most important for a country’s economic future.” Each time a new “free trade” treaty is enacted, what is seen is the attenuation of tariff barriers, but what is not seen is the sneaky proliferation and harmonization of non-tariff barriers impeding free enterprise and creating monopolies at an international scale at the expense of the consumer. It’s time for genuine free trade.

    • 1.The original French version follows:Si l’on admet le libre-échange, les traités de commerce n’ont aucune raison d’exister comme but. Il n’y en a pas besoin, puisque la matière qu’ils devraient régler n’existe plus, chaque peuple laissant librement, à ses frontières, entrer et sortir toute marchandise. C’est la doctrine de J.B. Say et de toute l’école économique Française jusqu’à Michel Chevalier; c’est celle qu’a reprise récemment M. Léon Say. C’était également la doctrine de l’école économique anglaise jusqu’à Cobden. Cobden, en prenant la responsabilité du traité de 1860 entre la France et l’Angleterre, s’est rapproché de faire revivre la détestable politique des traités de réciprocité et d’oublier les doctrines de l’économie politiques dont il avait été dans la première partie de sa vie le défenseur intransigeant. In Léon Say, ed., “Nouveau Dictionnaire d’économie politique” (Guillaumin: Paris, 1900): 1047.
    • 2.Gustave de Molinari, “Michel Chevalier, ‘Sa Vie et Ces Travaux,’” Journal des Economistes 4, no. 25 (1880): 30–39.

    Note: The views expressed on are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.

    The Natural Right to Self-Defense

    Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 08/10/2015 - 06:01

    While the FBI continued to analyze the emails Hillary Clinton thought she deleted and her advisers pressed her to hire a Republican criminal defense attorney in Washington, a madman used a lawfully purchased handgun to kill a professor and eight students at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon. Looking to change the subject away from her emails, Clinton was quick to pounce.

    She who has ripped into Republicans for seeking political gain from the four American deaths in Benghazi, Libya, now seeks her own political gain from the dozens of murdered children and young adults in Newtown, Connecticut, and Roseburg. On the heels of the latter and referring to both tragedies, she launched an emotional attack early this week on the two most recent Supreme Court decisions upholding the personal right to keep and bear arms. She offered to “fix” them should she be elected president.The Constitution does not permit public no-gun zones any more than it does public no-free-speech zones. If the right to keep and bear arms is truly fundamental, the government cannot interfere with it based on geography. If the Army veteran/college student who stopped seven bullets with his body last week and saved the lives of his classmates (and survived!) had been permitted to carry a gun into the school building, the madman who murdered nine innocents would have been stopped long before police arrived — long before he completed his killings.

    The right to keep and bear arms has more than just the Second Amendment to protect it. By characterizing the right as fundamental and pre-political, the high court accepted the truism that this right is merely a modern extension of the ancient right to self-defense. And the right to defend oneself does not come from the government; it comes from our humanity. It is a natural right.

    Who among us, when confronted with the terror of nearly certain annihilation, would concern himself with the niceties of the law? Life itself is at stake. The right to self-defense is a manifestation of the natural instinct for survival, borne in the hearts of all rational people.

    But Hillary Clinton rejects that instinct because she prefers we become dependent upon the government — as long as she is running it.

    The police cannot stop mass killings, because they cannot be everywhere all the time. And madmen willing to kill do not fear being lawbreakers. Guns in the hands of the people give not only tyrants second thoughts but also madmen.

    Even madmen fear an early death.

    Reprinted with the author’s permission.

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