di James Rickards
C'è un vecchio detto: "Chi la fa, l'aspetti." Il significato è ovvio — se ci si ostina a fare qualcosa agli altri, bisogna essere pronti ad aspettarsi lo stesso trattamento per sé stessi.
È quello che sta accadendo oggi in Europa. E proprio ora il segnale più forte non proviene dalla Germania — proviene dall'Italia. Le banche italiane sono in profonda difficoltà finanziaria (come lo erano le banche a Cipro e in Grecia dal 2011 al 2015). Ciò include anche Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMP), la più antica banca del mondo ancora in attività, fondata nel 1472.
I problemi per Monte Paschi sono iniziati nel 2007, quando ha accettato di acquistare un'altra banca italiana, Banca Antonveneta SpA. Sborsò €9 miliardi in un affare interamente in contanti proprio nel bel mezzo della crisi finanziaria globale. L'accordo s'è rivelato un disastro per Monte Paschi. Ha danneggiato la sua capacità di sopportare perdite.
Poi sono entrati in scena gli investment banker e hanno venduto contratti derivati di Monte Paschi, cosa che non ha fatto altro che nascondere le perdite della banca agli occhi dei regolatori. Questi affari hanno solamente indebolito le finanze traballanti della banca.
I derivati di BMP sono saltati in aria perché hanno perso la scommessa sul valore dei titoli di stato italiani. La banca ha fatto registrare sin dal 2009 €15 miliardi di perdite e ha visto scendere del 99% le sue azioni.
BMP è stata l'unica grande banca ad essere bocciata nei recenti stress test della Banca Centrale Europea (BCE). Le è stato quindi richiesto un aumento di capitale. Gli sforzi per aumentare il capitale sono stati guidati da JP Morgan e da un consorzio tra cui Goldman Sachs e alcune banche cinesi. JP Morgan ha avuto la meglio su un piano concorrente presentato dal banchiere italiano, Corrado Passera.
Il piano prevede la vendita di circa €28 miliardi di crediti in sofferenza e la raccolta di €5 miliardi in nuovo capitale. Ma le relazioni suggeriscono che l'aumento di capitale non sta andando secondo i piani.
Monte dei Paschi deve completarlo entro la fine di dicembre. Ciò sembra improbabile visto che gli italiani si accingono a votare per un referendum costituzionale che potrebbe spodestare l'attuale governo in carica.
L'Italia vuole salvare BMP con i soldi dei contribuenti. Questo è il copione standard che i governi hanno utilizzato nel 2008. Ma le regole sono cambiate.
Angela Merkel, Cancelliere della Germania, sta insistendo sulla linea dura negando soluzioni che prevedano salvataggi statali delle banche. In realtà, questa è la posizione ufficiale di tutto il G-20, come descritto nel comunicato finale di Brisbane a novembre del 2014.
Lì s'è deciso che i salvataggi statali sarebbero stati sostituiti dal "bail-in". In un bail-in non viene utilizzato denaro dei contribuenti per ricapitalizzare la banca in difficoltà. Sono invece gli obbligazionisti ed i depositanti che subiscono haircut e vengono involontariamente convertiti in azionisti.
Immaginate di avere €500,000 in deposito presso una banca. Poi venite avvisati che il deposito è diventato di €250,000 (la somma assicurata), mentre i restanti €250,000 sono stati convertiti in azioni di una "bad bank", la quale potrebbe o non potrebbe produrre rendimenti in futuro. Questo è ciò che accade in un bail-in.
Se andate a leggere il loro comunicato finale, potrete vagliare i dettagli. Nella prossima crisi finanziaria, quando queste banche troppo grandi per fallire finiranno sotto stress, non verranno salvate con i soldi dei contribuenti, perché i leader sanno che ormai è diventata una strategia troppo impopolare. Ci sara un bail-in.
In un bail-in, il governo dice: "No, non vi aiuteremo. Non useremo il denaro delle tasse. Non useremo il denaro della banca centrale. Prenderemo i soldi che si trovano nella vostra banca e li convertiremo in azioni della bad bank; mentre se siete degli obbligazionisti, non otterrete 100 centesimi a dollaro. Otterrete invece 80 centesimi a dollaro, ecc. ecc."
Useranno i soldi già nella banca, che si tratti di depositanti, obbligazionisti o azionisti, e useranno quel denaro per riparare il bilancio.
Vedremo istituzioni finanziarie commissariate e le perdite saranno ripartite tra i depositanti, gli azionisti e gli obbligazionisti. Questo significa che gli obbligazionisti subiranno haircut, i depositanti non assicurati si ritroveranno in mano nuove azioni e gli azionisti attuali rimarranno con un pugno di mosche in mano.
C'è solo un problema. La Merkel sta applicando questa regola all'Italia, ma ora la banca più grande in Germania, Deutsche Bank, è quella in guai seri. Al fine di mantenere la sua linea dura, la Merkel dovrà applicare il "metodo bail-in" anche a Deutsche Bank. Ciò significa un bagno di sangue di perdite a cui il mercato non è pronto. È tempo di prepararsi, perché un panico finanziario è in arrivo.
Se la Germania forzerà l'Italia ad un bail-in di BMP, allora l'Italia insisterà sul fatto che la Germania dovrà applicare la stessa cosa a Deutsche Bank quando sarà il momento. Entrambe le banche sono troppo grandi per fallire e stanno annaspando, ma BMP è più vicina al bordo del baratro. Infatti per Deutsche Bank rappresenta il proverbiale "canarino nella miniera".
Alla Germania non piacerà, ma se non attuerà un bail-in per Deutsche Bank, l'Unione Europea si sfalderà a causa dell'acrimonia tra l'Italia e la Germania.
Rispetto a questa disputa, il Brexit è una bazzecola. La Grecia è un bazzecola di una bazzecola. L'Italia è il vero problema. Se la Germania e l'Italia non possono cooperare, allora non c'è più un'Unione Europea.
I mercati non aspetteranno mentre i politici tedeschi e italiani gireranno intorno alla questione bail-in. Trarranno le proprie conclusioni e inizieranno una corsa agli sportelli nei confronti di Deutsche Bank. Ciò farà calare di un altro 90% le sue azioni che finora hanno visto molti altri crash di prezzo.
Il governo tedesco lascerà che le azioni di Deutsche Bank scendano a €2 prima d'intervenire. È così che gli azionisti daranno il loro "contributo" per il bail-in. Deutsche Bank non andrà in bancarotta e il titolo non andrà a zero. Ma la discesa da qui è davvero molto ripida.
Per quanto riguarda BMP, mi aspetto che gli italiani votino "No" al referendum. Prima la Brexit, poi Trump, ora il prossimo smacco anti-establishment potrebbe essere l'Italia. Non porterà necessariamente al crollo dell'euro o alla scomparsa immediata dell'Unione Europea, ma è chiaro che la rivolta contro l'agenda globalista continua.
La domanda è: quanto duramente si opporranno le élite?
[*] traduzione di Francesco Simoncelli: http://francescosimoncelli.blogspot.it/
Concetti Economici: Gli antichi romani, dalla supremazia della legge all’inflazione galoppante e al controllo dei prezzi
Gli antichi Romani, come gli antichi Greci, non hanno lasciato un importante patrimonio di conoscenze in ambito economico. Infatti, i Romani ripresero dagli antichi Greci gran parte dei concetti economici da loro utilizzati.
I Romani si preoccupavano principalmente di questioni “pratiche,” e riguardo a questi argomenti talvolta erano considerati più come “uomini del fare” che come filosofi.
L’ambito nel quale hanno lasciato un importante patrimonio di nozioni che ha influenzato per molto tempo le generazioni successive, soprattutto in Occidente fino ai nostri giorni, è quello del diritto e dei contratti. Il loro principale contributo è stato quello di gettare le basi dell’ordinamento giuridico sul quale si basano una parte delle consuetudini economiche occidentali in materia di proprietà e scambio.
Rispettare le Leggi Locali dei Diversi Popoli
Mentre l’Impero Romano si espandeva, annetteva a se un numero sempre più crescente di culture e popoli molto diversi rispetto alla cultura e alle ideologie prevalenti a Roma. Infatti, al suo massimo splendore, l’Impero Romano comprendeva gran parte dell’Europa Occidentale, Centrale e Meridionale, quasi tutto il Medio Oriente e la parte più a nord dell’Africa Settentrionale, incluso l’Egitto sotto il fiume Nilo. Quindi divenne importante sviluppare concetti e codici giuridici che fossero abbastanza chiari e di portata generale tali da comprendere tutte le diversità dell’Impero ed essere uniformi per tutti i suoi membri.
I giuristi e i filosofi romani iniziarono a distinguere tra le regole e le leggi per i cittadini di Roma e un ordinamento giuridico più generale valido per tutto l’impero.
Il cittadino Romano – il cittadino della città di Roma, la capitale dell’Impero – era sotto la giurisdizione dello jus civile, il “diritto civile.”
Questo era un codice giuridico che rifletteva gli usi e costumi di Roma, riguardante diritti, privilegi e doveri di un cittadino Romano di fronte alla legge e ai suoi concittadini. Infatti, ogni parte dell’Impero aveva il proprio jus civile, o diritto civile, rispettato dalle autorità Romane, al quale tutti gli abitanti di quelle province o regioni dovevano obbedire e che salvaguardava i loro diritti nei contenziosi legali nelle rispettive località.
Un Diritto Universale Come Giustizia per Tutti Gli Uomini
Diversamente dal “diritto civile” vi era invece lo jus gentium, il diritto generale o “universale.” Questo era il codice giuridico che si applicava a tutti i membri dell’impero, senza tener conto delle leggi o delle consuetudini locali. Poiché il “diritto universale” doveva trascendere le tradizioni locali dei diversi popoli dell’impero, esso doveva quindi fondarsi su concetti di giustizia e “diritti” più generali rispetto a qualunque apparato di usi e tradizioni, perfino di quello della stessa Roma.
Dallo sviluppo del codice giuridico del “diritto universale” nasceva il concetto di jus naturale, o “diritto naturale.”
I Romani distinguevano tra la legge dell’uomo e una legge “superiore” di giustizia e diritto, razionalmente giusta e corretta per tutti gli uomini, indipendentemente a quale individuo o comunità si applicasse. Questa legge universale sarebbe stata valida e garantista per tutti gli uomini ragionevoli e benevolenti.
Per 2.000 anni essa ha rappresentato la base sulla quale gli uomini hanno fondato alcuni diritti inalienabili verso i quali nessuno Stato poteva interferire o contravvenire senza violare un codice di comportamento tra gli uomini che nessuna autorità aveva il potere o il diritto di abrogare.
Come in tutti gli stati e gli imperi, la realtà di alcune cose spesso è diversa dall’ideale perfetto. I Romani spesso erano dei duri dominatori imperiali, poco pazienti o tolleranti verso pericolose rivolte o dissensi popolari. E, come gli antichi Greci, erano legati all’istituto della schiavitù; di conseguenza, coloro i quali godevano pienamente dei “diritti” sopra citati, erano poi in concreto solo una minoranza. Ma, ciononostante, furono gettate le basi di importanti principi politici e filosofici che influenzarono il successivo sviluppo dell’Occidente.
Il diritto, la Proprietà e la Prosperità del Commercio
Dal concetto di “diritto universale” dei Romani ne derivò un codice giuridico sui contratti e sulla proprietà estremamente completo che, a differenza dei Greci, stabiliva ampia libertà e autonomia per il libero individuo riguardo a come poteva usare e disporre della sua proprietà e della sua stessa persona.
Pertanto, il diritto Romano considerava come “prezzi corretti” per le transazioni commerciali, quelli che si formavano sul mercato, poiché questi rappresentavano l’accordo tra le parti sui termini dello scambio. Inoltre servì come base di quella che divenne un’ampia rete di produzione, commercio e scambio diffusa in tutto l’Impero Romano, anche tra le sue più remote regioni e province.
Esso favorì la nascita di un sistema di scambi di mercato e di divisione del lavoro che resero l’intero bacino del Mediterraneo, gran parte dell’Europa Orientale e Occidentale, la maggior parte del Medio Oriente e alcune parti dell’Africa settentrionale, una vasta unica area economica. Dati i mezzi di trasporto disponibili via mare e via terra (e dovrebbe essere ricordato che alcune parti del sistema viario che si estende in Europa costruito dagli antichi Romani ancora esistono), il risultato fu una più o meno libera circolazione di beni, materie prime, e persone dall’oceano Atlantico al Golfo Persico, e dal Mar Baltico verso le sorgenti del Nilo.
Di certo, quello dei Romani non era né un sistema di vero libero scambio né un sistema liberista, e il commercio di molte materie prime era sempre oppresso da controlli e regolamenti imperiali.
Come osserva l’economista austriaco Ludwig von Mises nel suo trattato L’Azione Umana:
Non è facile capire se sia corretto oppure no definire capitalismo l’organizzazione economica dell’Impero Romano. Comunque è certo che l‘Impero Romano nel secondo secolo, cioè nell’età degli Antonini, i cosiddetti “buoni” imperatori, aveva raggiunto un elevato livello nel sistema sociale di divisione del lavoro e del commercio interregionale. Diverse aree metropolitane, un considerevole numero di città di media grandezza, e buona parte dei piccoli villaggi, erano le sedi di una civiltà raffinata.
Gli abitanti di questi agglomerati urbani si rifornivano di cibo e materie prime non solo dai vicini distretti rurali, ma anche dalle province lontane. Una parte di questi rifornimenti arrivava nelle città sotto forma di reddito delle proprietà fondiarie dei ricchi proprietari terrieri. Ma una parte considerevole delle materie prime era ottenuta in cambio degli acquisti da parte della popolazione rurale dei prodotti manifatturieri realizzati nelle città.
Vi era un vasto commercio tra le varie regioni del grande Impero. Non solo nelle attività industriali, ma anche nell’agricoltura, c’era una tendenza verso una maggiore specializzazione. Le diverse zone dell’Impero non erano più economicamente autosufficienti. Esse erano interdipendenti.
Filosofi Romani e Anti-Commercialismo
Mentre il diritto Romano gettava le fondamenta per una società fondata sul contratto e sullo scambio, i filosofi Romani percorrevano una strada diversa. I più illustri esponenti furono Cicerone, Seneca e Marco Aurelio. In generale, questi condannavano la ricchezza e il lusso che si erano diffusi a Roma per merito del commercio dell’Impero, ritenendoli la causa del malcostume e dell’indebolimento dello spirito morale degli uomini del tempo.
La loro filosofia era pervasa da quello che alcune volte è stato definito il “quietismo,” cioè la credenza secondo la quale ci si dovrebbe adeguare alle circostanze che si incontrano durante la vita e accettarle come qualcosa di buono e inevitabile. Riportando le parole di Marco Aurelio:
Sii soddisfatto delle tue cose e impara ad amare quello per il quale sei stato educato; e per il resto della tua vita, sii completamente rassegnato, e permetti agli dei di giovare del tuo corpo e della tua anima.
Secondo la loro visione si poteva raggiungere la felicità solamente superando e rimuovendo il desiderio, in particolare i desideri e i bisogni materiali. La felicità dell’uomo, sostenevano, non può giungere dal costante tentativo volto ad incrementare sempre più i propri mezzi e dalla ricerca continua di nuovi obiettivi. No, questa strada avrebbe condotto solo ad una frustrazione permanente.
Diversamente, concepivano un diverso percorso verso la felicità. Questo concetto lo troviamo nel filosofo Romano, Epicuro: “ Se desideri rendere ricca una persona, non darle più denaro, ma placa il suo desiderio.”
In altre parole non tentare di incrementare l’offerta di quegli strumenti al servizio dei diversi scopi dell’uomo; piuttosto tenta di ridurne la domanda. Per ogni uomo, diminuisci i suoi desideri a quelli che sono appropriati per una vita “virtuosa” e “saggia.” L’uomo saggio, si è detto, “si rifà alla natura.”
La Critica di Cicerone verso i Mercati e il Lucro
Alla domanda su cosa intendessero per “rifarsi” alla natura in termini di stili di vita e di lavoro, i filosofi romani rispondevano che si doveva porre la massima importanza sulla “naturalezza” dell’agricoltura, rispetto al malcostume e alla corruzione presente negli altri mestieri e professioni. Ne è un esempio Cicerone quando affermava:
Oggi, riguardo al commercio e agli altri mezzi di sostentamento che possono essere considerati aristocratici o volgari, ci è stato insegnato, in generale quanto segue:
Primo, non sono auspicabili e quindi sono da rigettare quelle attività che suscitano rancore nelle persone, come gli esattori delle tasse e gli usurai [strozzini].
E’ volgare e non aristocratico, da parte dei lavoratori svolgere quelle attività che richiedono solo lavoro manuale, e non l’utilizzo delle loro abilità artistiche; il salario che essi ricevono in questo caso è un pegno per la loro schiavitù.
E’ da considerarsi volgare anche chi compra da mercanti all’ingrosso per rivendere immediatamente al dettaglio; questi non ricaverebbero alcun profitto senza tutte le loro grandi menzogne; e in verità non vi è azione più malvagia delle false dichiarazioni.
Anche tutti gli artigiani svolgono un lavoro volgare; nessuna bottega può considerarsi un posto di lavoro libero. Tra tutte, hanno un minimo di decenza solo quelle attività che provvedono al piacere dei sensi, e cioè pescivendoli, macellai, cuochi, commercianti di pollame, e pescatori. Possiamo aggiungere se ci fa piacere, profumieri, ballerini e tutto il corpo di ballo.
Ma le professioni per le quali è richiesto un elevato grado d’intelligenza o dalle quali ne deriva un beneficio non trascurabile per la società – per esempio la medicina, l’architettura o l’insegnamento – sono adeguate per coloro che ne ambiscono per la posizione sociale raggiungibile.
Il commercio, se svolto in ambito locale, deve considerarsi volgare; ma non è un’attività da denigrare se riguarda l’importazione su larga scala di grosse quantità di merci da tutto il mondo, con la loro successiva distribuzione (locale), purché tutto ciò sia svolto senza raggiri.
Anzi, questa si merita il massimo rispetto, se coloro che vi sono impegnati si accontentano della loro ricchezza, e si fanno strada dal porto verso la tenuta di campagna, come spesso hanno fatto dal mare verso il porto.
Ma di tutte queste occupazioni che garantiscono un guadagno, nulla è preferibile all’agricoltura, nulla garantisce un profitto maggiore, nulla è più piacevole, e nulla ti permette di essere un uomo più libero.
L’errore di Roma con il controllo dei prezzi
Prima di lasciare i Romani, può essere utile dedicare un pò di tempo ad una breve descrizione delle loro esperienze riguardo alle diverse politiche economiche da questi adottate, in particolare il controllo dei prezzi e la svalutazione della moneta.
Nel 449 AC, il governo Romano approvò la legge delle dodici tavole, che regolava una buona parte della vita commerciale, sociale e familiare dell’Impero. Alcune di queste norme erano ragionevoli e coerenti per un’economia basata sui contratti e sul commercio; altre infliggevano orribili sanzioni ad alcuni e attribuivano privilegi e poteri crudeli ad altri. Altri regolamenti fissavano inoltre un tasso d’interesse massimo sui prestiti, approssimativamente pari all’8 percento. Lo Stato Romano aveva anche la consuetudine di condonare periodicamente tutti gli interessi dovuti all’interno della società, cioè annullava legalmente tutti gli interessi che i debitori privati dovevano ai loro creditori.
Il governo Romano fissò anche un controllo sui prezzi del grano. Nel IV secolo AC, lo Stato comprava le granaglie durante i periodi di carestia e le rivendeva a un prezzo fissato molto al di sotto del prezzo di mercato. Nel 58 AC ciò venne addirittura migliorato, nel senso che lo Stato vendeva le granaglie ai cittadini di Roma ad un prezzo pari a zero, in altre parole, gratuitamente.
Il risultato fu inevitabile: i contadini abbandonarono le terre e si riversarono a Roma; questo certamente peggiorò i problemi, poiché in tal modo si produceva e si immetteva sul mercato una quantità di grano inferiore rispetto a prima, dal momento che era diminuita drasticamente la presenza dei contadini nelle terre intorno a Roma. Inoltre, i padroni iniziarono a liberare i loro schiavi accollando l’onere finanziario del loro sostentamento sul governo Romano a costo zero.
Nel 45 AC, Giulio Cesare scoprì che quasi un terzo dei cittadini Romani riceveva gratuitamente il grano dallo Stato.
Per sostenere l’onere finanziario che richiedeva l’offerta gratuita di grano, il governo Romano ricorse alla svalutazione della moneta, cioè l’inflazione. Per lunghi periodi della sua storia, lo stato Romano dovette quindi affrontare continuamente eventi legati alla svalutazione monetaria, al continuo peggioramento del bilancio statale, alla scarsità dell’offerta, e ai prezzi del grano fissati per legge.
Spesa, Inflazione e Controlli Economici Sotto Diocleziano
L’episodio più famoso riguardante il controllo dei prezzi nella storia di Roma, fu quello durante il regno dell’Imperatore Diocleziano (A.D. 244-312). Egli salì al trono nel 284 DC. Quasi immediatamente, Diocleziano iniziò a intraprendere vasti progetti di costosa spesa pubblica.
Ci fu un notevole incremento della spesa militare per l’ampliamento delle forze armate; iniziò un enorme progetto di opere pubbliche con la scelta della città di Nicomedia come nuova capitale per l’Impero Romano in Asia Minore (attualmente la Turchia); ampliò notevolmente la burocrazia statale; e istituì i lavori forzati per il completamento dei suoi progetti di lavori pubblici.
Per finanziare tutte queste attività, Diocleziano alzò drasticamente le tasse per tutte le classi sociali. L’elevato livello di pressione fiscale disincentivò per molto tempo il lavoro, la produzione, i risparmi e gli investimenti. Il risultato fu il declino del commercio e degli scambi.
Quando le tasse non furono più sufficienti a produrre un gettito fiscale sufficiente a finanziare tutte queste attività, Diocleziano iniziò a svalutare la moneta. Si ridusse la quantità di oro e argento utilizzata per coniare le monete; queste però venivano emesse con la rassicurazione da parte del governo che il loro valore metallico fosse lo stesso di prima. Il governo approvò delle leggi che istituirono un corso legale imponendo ai cittadini Romani e ai sudditi di tutto l’Impero, di accettare queste monete svalutate per un più alto valore facciale (nominale).
Anche il risultato di questo fu inevitabile. Poiché queste monete a corso legale avevano in realtà un valore inferiore in termini di oro e argento in esse contenuto, i commercianti iniziarono ad accettarle solo a sconto. In questo modo la loro svalutazione fu immediata. Le persone iniziarono ad accumulare tutte le monete d’oro e d’argento che ancora contenevano una più alta e reale quantità di oro e argento, utilizzando invece per gli scambi commerciali solo le monete “svalutate”.
Questo, di certo, volle dire che con ciascuna di queste monete svalutate, si sarebbe potuto acquistare solo una quantità inferiore di beni sul mercato rispetto a prima; o espresso in altri termini, sarebbero state necessarie più unità di queste monete “svalutate” per ottenere la stessa quantità di merci (di prima). L’inflazione monetaria peggiorava sempre più di pari passo con la continua emissione da parte dell’Imperatore, di questa forma di moneta dal valore sempre più basso.
Diocleziano istituì anche l’imposta in natura, cioè il governo Romano non avrebbe più accettato per il pagamento delle tasse dovute, la stessa moneta svalutata che aveva emesso. Poiché secondo questa normativa, i contribuenti Romani, dovevano pagare le tasse con dei beni reali, ciò bloccò l’intera popolazione; molti si ritrovarono così vincolati alla terra o a una determinata occupazione, al fine di assicurarsi la produzione di quei beni che sarebbero stati necessari per pagare le tasse statali alle scadenze fiscali. In tal modo si affermò una struttura economica sempre più rigida.
L’Editto di Diocleziano Peggiorò le Cose
Ma il peggio doveva ancora arrivare. Nell’anno 301 DC, fu approvato il famoso Editto di Diocleziano. L’Imperatore fissò il prezzo di grano, uova, carne, vestiti, e di tutti gli altri beni venduti sul mercato; fissò anche i salari di coloro che erano impiegati nella produzione di questi beni. Fu stabilita la pena di morte per chiunque fosse stato sorpreso a vendere qualsiasi di questi beni ad un prezzo o salario più alto di quello stabilito per legge.
Poiché appena questi controlli furono annunciati molti contadini e fabbricanti persero ogni incentivo a vendere le loro merci sul mercato giacché queste avevano un valore di mercato fissato ad un livello di molto inferiore a quello che loro consideravano un valore equo, Diocleziano nell’Editto inserì anche, che chiunque fosse stato sorpreso ad “accumulare” i beni fuori dal mercato, sarebbe stato punito severamente; i suoi beni sarebbero stati confiscati e sarebbe stato condannato a morte.
Nella parte greca dell’Impero Romano, gli archeologi hanno trovato le tabelle dei prezzi che indicavano i prezzi imposti dal governo. Su di esse sono elencati più di 1.000 prezzi e salari unitari fissati dalla legge.
Un Romano di questo periodo chiamato Lattanzio scrisse durante questo periodo che Diocleziano “… stabiliva egli stesso i prezzi di tutti i beni commerciabili. Veniva versato molto sangue su dei conteggi irrilevanti e scarsi; e le persone non immettevano più le proprie scorte di beni sul mercato, poiché non riuscivano a ricavarne un prezzo adeguato, con la conseguenza quindi di una forte carestia, al punto che, la legge fu abrogata, ma solo dopo aver causato la morte di molte persone.”
Lezioni e Conseguenze dalla Politica Economica dei Romani
Roland Kent, uno storico dell’economia di questo periodo, ha sintetizzato le conseguenze dell’Editto di Diocleziano nel seguente modo:
… I commercianti non rispettavano i limiti di prezzo imposti dell’Editto, nonostante la pena di morte prevista dalla legge in caso di violazione; gli aspiranti acquirenti, trovando che i prezzi di mercato erano sopra il limite legale, si riunivano in massa e distruggevano i negozi illegali dei commercianti, uccidendo tra l’altro anche questi ultimi, benché il valore dei beni fosse irrisorio; i commercianti accumulavano beni in attesa del giorno in cui sarebbero state rimosse le restrizioni ai prezzi, così che la risultante penuria delle merci messe in vendita avrebbe persino causato un rialzo dei prezzi ancora maggiore, al punto che il commercio andava avanti a prezzi illegali, e, quindi, era praticato clandestinamente.
Gli effetti economici furono così disastrosi per l’economia di Roma che quattro anni dopo l’entrata in vigore dell’Editto, Diocleziano abdicò per “problemi di salute” – un eufemismo storico per affermare che se un leader politico non lascia il potere, sarà rimosso da altri, e spesso anche tramite assassinio. Anche se l’Editto non fu mai abrogato formalmente, presto divenne lettera morta subito dopo che Diocleziano abdicò.
Michael Ivanovich Rostovtzeff, uno tra i principali storici che si erano occupati dell’antico sistema economico Romano, fornì questa sintesi nella sua, Storia Sociale ed Economica dell’Impero Romano (1926):
Lo stesso espediente [un sistema basato sul controllo dei prezzi e dei salari] è stato tentato spesso prima e dopo di lui [Diocleziano]. Potrebbe essere utile come misura temporanea in periodi di crisi. Ma come misura stabile e continua, crea di certo gravi danni e un terribile bagno di sangue, senza portare alcun giovamento. Diocleziano condivise la dannosa convinzione propria del mondo antico dell’onnipotenza dello Stato, una credenza che molti teorici moderni continuano a condividere.
Infine, di nuovo, Ludwig von Mises, concluse che l’Impero Romano iniziò a indebolirsi e a decadere poiché era privo di idee e ideologie necessarie per sviluppare e salvaguardare una società libera e prospera: una filosofia basata sui diritti individuali e sul libero mercato. Così Mises concluse le sue riflessioni sulle civiltà dell’antichità:
La meravigliosa civiltà dell’antichità perì poiché non adeguò il suo codice etico e il suo sistema giuridico
ai requisiti tipici di un’economia di mercato. L’ordine sociale è destinato a morire se le azioni richieste dal suo normale funzionamento sono respinte dalle norme morali, sono dichiarate illegali dalle leggi dello stato, e sono perseguite come criminali dalla giustizia e dalla polizia. L’Impero romano si sgretolò poiché mancava del [classico] spirito liberale e d’intraprendenza. La politica dell’interventismo e il suo corollario politico, il principio del condottiero politico, decomposero il potente impero così come, infatti, sempre disintegrano e distruggono ogni entità sociale.
I wrote the other day about stepping off the debt escalator. About the freedom that comes with not having to make payments. Car payments in particular. For every dollar you pay, you acquire perhaps (optimistically) 50 cents in fungible value – i.e., what the car will be worth to someone else once you’ve paid it off.
This is not a good deal.
There are better deals available. But you have to be willing to do some unusual things – which is why most people do not usually do them. And so end up getting 50 cents on the dollar for their “investment” . . . if they’re lucky.
So what can you do to get that better deal?
* Buy a car at auction –
These are cars up for bid, often with a reserve – a minimum price – but sometimes not. If not – an absolute sale – you might be able to buy a car for next to nothing, literally. Either way, you should be able to get a car for much less than you’d have paid retail, either at a used car lot or via an individual private seller.
The cars being auctioned typically range from trade-ins and just-off-lease cars (dealers often run these cars through auctions to clear inventory quickly) to “repos” – cars repossessed by a bank after the person stopped making payments – cars seized by the government during drug raids and also ex-government vehicles (usually trucks and SUVs but also sometimes passenger cars, including ex-cop cars).
Some auctions do motorcycles and equipment as well.
The company will typically publicize a list of the vehicles scheduled to go up for bidding a couple of weeks prior to the auction itself. To find these auctions, just Google search for them in your area; they are usually easy to find.
The auction process can be a little intimidating if you’re new to it, in particular, the pig in a poke aspect of it. Meaning, you’ll have to make a relatively split-second decision about the bid – what you’ll pay for the car – and will probably not be the only person bidding.
But the good news is – contrary to what you might think – you don’t have to make a split-second decision about the car. At most auctions, you will have the opportunity to physically inspect the vehicle prior to the auction or on the day of the auction. Most of the time, you’ll be allowed to start the engine and while you probably won’t be allowed to take the car for a test drive, many auctioned cars will be “green-lighted” as to their mechanical condition – that is, the auction company will attest that the car has been inspected and no major mechanical issues were found. Some auction houses will agree to cancel the sale or refund your money if the car turns out to have a major problem discovered immediately after the auction.
Other times, the car will be sold “as is/where is” – meaning, it’s all on you if the car isn’t what you hoped it would be. But the same is true when you buy a used car from a private seller – and often when you buy a used car from a dealer. Just be aware of all this before you dive in.
Some auctions require a dealer license to bid – or to bid on certain cars (in my state, Virginia, the law requires that cars lacking a current/valid state safety inspection be sold only to dealers who are licensed by the state to perform inspections) but you can end run this by finding a friend who has the dealer license.
Also, there is usually a “processing fee” (of course) that you’ll pay the auction company on top of the price you agree to pay for the car itself. And you will usually have to make that payment – in full – within a few days or so of your winning bid. This usually means cash or bank check, FYI.
You should only bid on a vehicle knowing in your head exactly what you’re willing to pay – and what a given car is worth “on the street” (retail) before you start bidding. Research retail values prior to the auction and factor in such things as miles and condition.
Those caveats aside, auctions are a great place to get a car on the cheap. And once you’re hip to the way they work, they’re no more scary – or risky – than buying from a used car lot or private seller.
In some ways, less so.
Being well-nourished during a disaster can mean the difference between powering through the event with strength, stamina, and energy or plodding through the situation barely able to put one foot in front of the other.
Protein in Crucial For the Prepper’s Pantry
Protein is the basic necessary structure for the growth of organic life on a molecular level. Protein can come from vegetable and animal sources. Protein is further broken down into amino acids, the building blocks of protein. There are 8 essential amino acids the body needs that it does not produce on its own and needs to obtain from food sources. They are as follows: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
Your best sources for protein and those essential amino acids are as such: dairy products, eggs, meat, poultry, seafood, oats, nuts, seeds, and soy protein. Here is a term you need to know concerning protein, and that is the thermic effect, which is the total calories burned in the course of a day to digest your food taken in (it usually equates to about 10% of your total caloric intake). The reason it’s important to know is that 1 gram (g) of protein and 1 g of carbohydrates supply the same amount of energy, 4 calories.
The difference is that food is energy in the form of the various chemical bondings that must be broken down, and you need 2 1/2 times the energy to break down the protein as you do the carbohydrates. Protein prevents you from overeating by giving you a feeling of satiety, as well as speeding up the metabolism. That protein from meats gives you muscle. It also aids you in tissue repair. I also stress that while the intake is important, you can’t just be an “eating machine” and not exercise/live too sedentary a lifestyle. Then again, you guys and gals are preppers and survivalists, well aware that your body is the most important personal tool you have.
There are a couple of works I wish to cite for your further study, as they are excellent in the manner they delve into this topic from a fitness standpoint. They are as follows:
- “The Testosterone Advantage Plan,” by Lou Schuler and Jeff Volek, ISBN: 1-57954-507-6. This book is geared toward men, but has a wealth of health and dietary information that women can use, as well as information on exercise that will benefit both genders. In-depth breakdowns of protein analysis and the glycemic index, as well as the different types of exercise and the muscle systems benefited by their application.
- “Sports Supplement Review, 3rd Issue,” by Bill Phillips, ISBN: 096587320-X. This is one of the greatest books you can find. It goes into each different type of amino acid and tells you the chemistry and their effects on and requirements by the human body. It details vitamins, minerals, supplements, and could be a “Bible” for exercise…strength, conditioning, and recovery exercises in your workouts. This book gives you scientific procedures to obtain lean body mass and maximize your protein intake.
Eric Zuesse has brought to our attention that US intelligence officials have placed a story in Buzzfeed, “a Democratic party mouthpiece,” that the Russian government used fake news to get Donald Trump elected president. According to Buzzfeed:
“US intelligence officials believe Russia helped disseminate fake and propagandized news as part of a broader effort to influence and undermine the presidential election, two US intelligence sources told BuzzFeed News.‘They’re doing this continuously, that’s a known fact,’ one US intelligence official said, requesting anonymity to discuss the sensitive national security issue.‘This is beyond propaganda, that’s my understanding,’ the second US intelligence official said. The official said they believed those efforts likely included the dissemination of completely fake news stories. …One intelligence official said, ‘In the context, did Russia attempt to influence the US elections; the aperture is as wide as it can possibly be.’” ‘The real unanswered question is, why did they do it?’ the second US intelligence official said. ‘Is it because they love Donald Trump? Because they hated Hillary Clinton? Or just because they like undermining Western democracies?’”
Who are these US intelligence officials who are portraying the president-elect of the United States to be a “Putin stooge, a tool of Russia”? Once in office, Trump must investigate these hostile elements in US intelligence who are working to discredit the US president and the American people who voted him into office.
As one reader pointed out, those who debunk “conspiracy theories,” that is, explanations that they do not like, now have a conspiracy theory of their own: Vladimir Putin used independent American websites to elect Trump with fake news. Only voters living in a few large coastal cities were immune to the fake news.
In other words, the presstitute media has lost control over Americans’ minds to Putin.
With an opponent, this powerful, neoconservatives better think a dozen times before fomenting any more tension with the Kremlin.
Open the link above to Zeusse’s column and look at the cover of Time magazine. This cover delegitimizes the presidential election. Which US intelligence agency planted this cover on Time? President Trump must have the Secret Service investigate this attack from inside the US government on the US President. Congress, both House, and Senate, should immediately summon Time magazine to hearings under oath. This interference by US intelligence in American political life is illegal. Those responsible must be discovered, indicted, convicted, and sentenced. Otherwise, fake news will displace facts as Americans are wrapped in a Matrix inside a Matrix.
Three hundred and ninety opponents of the US Constitution, who sit in the US House of Representatives, just passed a bill that voids the First Amendment to the US Constitution.
Title V of the bill establishes an interagency executive branch committee “to counter active measures by the Russian Federation to exert covert influence.” Russian manipulation of US media (a routine practice of the US government) to spread disinformation (fake news) is one of the “active measures by Russia” to be countered. In other words, websites that do not participate in the demonization of Russia and President Putin will be subjected to McCarthyite suspicions and accusations. Countering is an open-ended activity that easily extends to enforcement actions against suspected parties.
If this bill becomes law, it can be used to discredit and destroy truthtellers as agents of foreign intelligence. In other words, the message is: if you dispute our lies you are a foreign agent and subject to arrest or elimination.
This is the state of democracy in America today. More than any other country, the United States needs to be liberated. Can Trump do it?
Capitalism, adopted as part of a consistent program to institutionalize private property, is not a “value-free” social arrangement. Adoption of such a program would immediately signify the elimination of public goods, which alone would create a culture radically unlike anything that has ever come before it. What will this new culture be like? Before its adoption, proponents of this new society are obligated to describe what’s in store.
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Culture is irreducibly defined as “shared values.” Using this definition, we can speak with validity about “cowboy culture,” about “the culture of Periclean Athens,” or about any other culture.
The first case is properly nebulous, in that it can signify anything from someone who earns his living as a cowboy, to someone ranching in Argentina, to someone steeped in the novels of Louis L’Amour, to someone who enjoys two-stepping at a honky-tonk, to name a few possibilities. If all of them had some shared set of values, probably it would be the set defined by the idea of the frontier. For each person claiming this culture in some sense, the values represented by the idea of the frontier would represent a wider or a smaller circle of influence upon his other values. The circle would be very wide for a practicing cowboy who is well-read in the idea of the frontier, with a family history of those who “savvy the cow”; the circle would be very small for the urban cowboy who dresses up for the honky-tonk on occasional weekends. These circles would variously overlap among those who shared the values – wide and nearly coterminous circles for some (say, Wyoming ranchers); wide and partially overlapping for others (say, between an American cowboy and the Argentinian gaucho); narrow and nearly coterminous (say, for friends who went honky-tonking on a regular schedule); etc. In this case, the radius varies from the self-conscious carrier of the culture who can define its underlying ideas (wide), to the dilettante who has a recreational interest in the culture and no interest at all in the ideas it may imply (narrow); and inclusion in the culture is in all events provisional and voluntary.
Plutarch relates a tale from the life of Pericles in which an old man in the agora in Athens followed the ruler around, “pelting him all the way with abuse and foul language.” Persisting in this even to the ruler’s doorstep that evening, Pericles calmly ordered a servant to take a lamp and see the old man home so that he didn’t fall and hurt himself. In what sense did the old man and Pericles share an Athenian culture? Despite their difference in wealth and manly qualities, surely they did. Both spoke Greek, both considered non-Greeks to be barbarians – βάρβαροι – both were free and not slaves, both held a fellow Greek to be valuable in himself and worthy of a respect greater than simple equality before the law. All of these qualities define a very wide circle of values with a great amount of shared overlap. In this case Athenian culture was widely shared in spite of the fact that, between these two, only Pericles could define its underlying ideas – as he did in the funeral oration; and inclusion in the culture was total and involuntary, although, because it was rooted in the language and ethnicity of a homogenous people, benignly so.
For democratic culture, born with the modern state in the values of the French Revolution, their sharing takes place in a sense entirely different from the two cited above. Most definitively, the modern state’s very legitimacy rests upon a set of shared values. This was not a defining characteristic of pre-modern states. For example, Persian satraps, Islamic caliphates, and the Roman provinces allowed the various ethnicities under their rule to more or less govern themselves, so long as respect and taxes were paid to the capital city: Obedience and not deference to a set of values was sufficient for rule. For the modern state, however, obedience is not enough. As La Boétie and others have pointed out, the subjects of these states are now numerous enough and mutually informed enough to sweep the ruling elite into oblivion at any moment, regardless of its manifold armies and police. The anxiety of this elite is exacerbated by the fact that its legitimacy rests on a ceaseless democratic exaltation of the power of this mass. The enforcement of control by this elite rests not with the armed legions of the past, but with new, hitherto unheard-of legions, who are nevertheless just as ruthless and obedient: The intellectuals.
The intellectual’s stock in trade is the grant of legitimacy, for which he receives a piddling income and the trinket of respect from academia. His short-term labor is to cobble together some marketable phrase, some jingle, that will stick in the ear of this exalted, self-confident, yet inarticulate mass, so as to convince them that those in power toil exclusively on their behalf. Thus Republican intellectuals sing of “the party of small government,” while the Democratic intellectuals rhapsodize on “the party that looks out for the little guy.” His long-term labor is to vilify every would-be contender to those in power, and not primarily through the obvious political tool of denying media coverage or other access to the public forum, but through blocking every institution that promotes subsidiarity. Thus the ascent of great personalities and of great families lacking political connections is blocked through promotion of the meretricious, through vilification of those holding power outside the state, through vilification of heritage groups, and through vilification of the family itself, which he views as a mere political construct; his attack on religion is unrelenting; and education, the vehicle meant for the family to assure its values for the future, becomes the monopoly of the state. Through this monopoly, the intellectual mounts his assault on that ultimate threat to state power, the individual himself, especially upon the root of his identity, his gender, during the school years when it is most malleable. For young males, the future leaders of the family, any symbol of aggressiveness is forbidden, and the learning of purposeful aggressiveness that is the essence of masculinity is a political offense.
This problem of legitimacy constitutes one essential characteristic of the nature of culture in the modern state. Its inescapable solution through the use of intellectuals explains why all modern states are revolutionary in nature. The state must create an ever-growing class of victims in Minogue’s “suffering situations” that can importune the state to rescue them from the thralls of oppression, of tradition, of sexism, of racism, of ever-more neurasthenic forms of “microaggression.” To fulfill this noble duty, the state demands ever more power, which the victims gladly concede. The self-educated individual – confident in his gender, his heritage, his religion, and the traditional culture that he seeks to project into the future – stands as a threat to the very existence of the state: He does not need its ministrations.
The other essential characteristic of the nature of culture in the modern state is its “ownership” of public goods, without which it cannot exist. Of course, this must be so, since if the goods were truly private property, the state could not dispose of them. The growth of state power demanded by the fulfillment of its noble duties must mean the expansion of public goods and the reduction of private property.
These two characteristics – its incessant need to legitimize itself to its subjects, and its monopoly of public goods – distinguish the culture of the modern state from the previous illustrations: Although proclaimed as diverse and democratic, its fundamental culture, in fact, must be total, and it must be involuntary.
We are now almost ready to present a description of what capitalist culture must look like in its essentials.
But before we cast our eyes on this never-before-seen vista, we must digress to consider the case made by philosopher Roderick T. Long for public goods not synonymous with the property of the state. Professor Long’s concise and cogent article “A Plea for Public Property,” argues for the existence of public property apart from the state, using several standard libertarian justifications for private property.
Professor Long cites John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government to assert that, like individuals, groups of people can legitimately claim what he calls the “Respect Principle” that they must not be subject to the ends of others without their consent; and that, like individuals, they can acquire property by “mixing their labor” with external objects and by the receipt of gifts. However, it is hard to see how the respect accorded the group can be other than the respect owing to them individually: Their membership in the group confers no additional respect. The two ways by which property may be acquired also fail when applied to group ownership of “public” property. Professor Long provides the illustration of a group clearing a path for public access to a lake for fishing. He says, “The cleared path is the product of labor – not any individual’s labor, but all of them together.” But this claim fails cursory examination. For members of the group will surely be offended by the idler who spent only 15 minutes leaning on his shovel, who now claims joint ownership. And the one who spent three 12-hour days helping to clear the path will be rightly offended if someone else makes any preemptive or superior claims on using that path. In short, the “public property” in this case is crippled by the defect of all public property: Without an exclusive owner, even one bearing the name of “the state” asserting that it works on behalf of all, public property exacerbates social tensions instead of reducing them. As for the public acquisition of property through gift, this fails because, once given, the benefactor loses all claims to direct the use of the property in a “public” way. Once received, the beneficiaries either claim proportional ownership of the gift or the state claims exclusive ownership on behalf of all.
Professor Long further cites in support of non-state public property the principle of autonomy – that every person is entitled to a “place to stand” as a minimal material instrument to realize his other rights. Those bereft of such a place would “exist by the sufferance of the ‘Lords of the Earth’ (in Herbert Spencer’s memorable phrase).” But how would these propertyless ones benefit by standing on the contentious public property? And aren’t the millions of typical homeowners who hold scarcely an eighth of an acre very close to this dire condition themselves? No, in the absence of public property it seems unlikely that men would shed their common humanity and suddenly become wolves intent on grinding the faces of the poor.
Finally, Professor Long claims that non-state public property might exist for non-rivalrous goods. The list of such goods is unsurprisingly short, but he provides two: The Internet and the public fair, which he contends are examples of the principle of “the more the merrier.” But he himself must hedge in the first case, since it is “largely nonrivalrous because the Internet does have a physical basis” that somebody must pay to maintain. And the public fair seems an exceptional case and hardly ground for the general principle. Granted, all is more the merrier for the very short term, but the merry-making will stop when someone is enlisted for cleanup or for payment to keep the party going.
If a logical case can be made for non-state public goods, everything that follows is invalid. Until then we must assume that public goods are the lifeblood of the state, synonymous and inseparable with its functioning, and ever in contention with private property. “Public goods” is synonymous with “the property of the state,” and the very measure of the death of the state will be the degree to which this public property is stripped from it and returned to private owners.
The complete absence of public goods will be the irreducible defining characteristic of the capitalist culture. The implications of this single characteristic open to us a breathtaking vista. The absence of public goods necessarily implies a) no national policy, b) no legislature, c) no politics, and d) no intellectuals. – For starters.
A capitalist society will have no “national policy,” not just because of the obvious reason that there is no nation, but also because the geographical scope and general agreement for this or that common endeavor will shift according to the proposal at hand. There will be no “monopoly on the use of force for a defined geographic area.”
A capitalist “legislature” will needless to say be financed by the voluntary commitment of property instead of “taxation.” Placing these terms in quotes is necessary: Their use in this new context is a radical – and until adopted, idiosyncratic – divergence from current usage. For example, the “legislators” of any supposed capitalist legislature will hardly resemble anything like those of the present day. Under a program of radical capitalism, a voluntary contribution of X dollars cannot be made with the direction of the representative to “spend it as you think best” because that spending must not encroach on any of the private property rights of any member of this new society. Any notion of assigning power of disposal to a so-called representative the of legislature must run afoul of the principle that the property owner never concedes ownership without a personal contractual concession. The representative’s role is purely advisory and any of his decisions are subject to revocation – say “veto” if you need a modern cognate – by the ultimate owner of the property, and just as conclusively, by owners of other property affected by its use, after the representative’s public suggestion of how the property might be used.
What might be workable is that a gathering, possibly electronic or virtual, of property owners assemble with a laundry list of suggested common endeavors, with money tentatively pledged, primarily to indicate the endeavor’s worth to each participant. The common features of these many lists might be tabulated and presented to all those who have voluntarily joined the gathering. According to the advice of experts of each owner’s choosing, these many endeavors then might be assigned a certain percentage chance of success based on the amount of money tentatively pledged. It would then be up to the participating property owners to consider these odds of success and draw up contracts among one another to honor some of their pledges. Only with these personal contracts, and not through any parliamentary “vote” or bloviated appeal to a fictional “will of the American people,” would their property be committed. Such a gathering would have no resemblance to a modern “legislature”; it might be like a giant town hall meeting, or possibly like a meeting of one of Jefferson’s Hundreds.
A capitalist society will have no politics. Politics is the formation of factions (i.e., special interests) for the disposal of public goods. In the absence of public goods, there is no politics. Certainly, there will be lively public discussions of common endeavors, but the discussions will of necessity be based on reasoning to elicit the voluntary participation and contributions of the populace. Any appeal to force, any threat to cut off federal funding, any threat to divert public funds away from recalcitrant groups, will be nonsensical in the absence of the state apparatus of force and confiscation, in the absence of public goods that might be withheld or dispensed.
Most blessedly of all, the capitalist society will have no intellectuals. This ceaselessly yammering throat of politics, this half-educated know-it-all in the disposal of other people’s property, this “second-hand dealer in ideas,” this mewling sycophant to state power, will at last be shut up and his 24-hour-a-day broadcast of buncombe cease.
Make no mistake: There will be experts in the new society, indispensable to informed decision-making. There will be scholars, of authoritative knowledge indispensable to the understanding of the past and of what lies unseen in the future. Neither of these is properly designated by the term “intellectual.” There will be many people in the new society with a broad but not expert knowledge in many things – people whose society is a joy. Likely they will be well-versed in many of the proposed common endeavors before this voluntary capitalist society. But, sharing nothing with the current arrogant hirelings for the legitimacy of the state, they will not be called “intellectuals” unless the term comes to have a meaning opposed to current usage.
Needless to say, this vision of capitalist society rests on a capitalist culture – a set of shared values that are total yet voluntarily held. I say “total” without reservation, for a capitalist culture cannot succeed where any permanent member is not committed to the absolute fundamental values of the rights and sanctity of the individual, and absolutely convinced of the threat of the state to those values. Those values are already widely and voluntarily shared among libertarians and radical capitalists.
What will the capitalist culture be like in general? The community of fellow human beings will lose its current dark band of marauders who seek to pillage others under the fiction of “society.” The revolutionary culture born with the modern state in France in the 1790s, that constant invention of victims in need of state protection, that quintessential culture of the state, will cease to exist. Common law and traditional usage will supplant the poison of revolutionary positive law. The ceaseless, anxious hectoring of the electorate by the state’s legion intellectuals will fall silent, and a public forum of reason will no longer face the trump card of state power in the discussion of common endeavors. The revolutionary fever will be broken, to be replaced by a natural conservatism, for example, in the sense that any half-baked scheme to take over the health care industry will find no footing, in the sense that any “necessary war” or “moral equivalent of war” will find its advocates leading the charge by themselves. Here too, “conservativism” must be marked as something with no resemblance with current usage. With the primary institution of coercion removed, with instead the appeal to reason as the authority to move social cooperation, the new capitalist society can only be more peaceful than that of the leviathan state.
The humane activity formerly designated as “culture” has been emasculated with the advent of the modern state. The general recognition of what is valuable in art has been supplanted by the state’s obedient legion of arbiters with money to shower on art “vital to the emerging and neglected role of …” – you fill in the state’s current victim of the political season. In the new society, art will thrive or die according to its acceptance in a public forum where forced patronage is removed. The ascent of men conspicuous in courage, in practical wisdom in common affairs, and in character has been blocked by political appointees, and their rise from local recognition to a position benefitting the broader society made subservient to the needs of the state. In a capitalist society, the natural sifting process of talent from local to broader communities will flourish without state debilitation. Religion will likely have a greater influence in pointing out and promoting such personalities.
In the absence of the very expensive “safety net” offered by the state – expensive to their freedom, to their dignity, and to their duty to face the reality of life with courage and grit – the members of this new society will become more responsible and self-reliant. Those in unfortunate circumstances “where, but for the grace of God, go I,” will find responsible charity from the local community that can see their true need. Again, religion will likely have a greater role, here in the dispensation of charitable help.
Where then to begin the creation of capitalist culture?
The destruction of the moral pretenses of the state is the irreducible first step toward the realization of a capitalist culture. The comic and the satirist will find that the state is a provider of lifelong material support in a way that it did not intend. The next step, already in progress, is to legitimize the peaceful secessionist movement. Then, for this culture to gain wider acceptance, a seceded territory would first need to serve as a laboratory to the world that it can succeed. There should be no thought of reforming the state, which by its nature must be ever more revolutionary, ever more expansionist, ever more total in its demands.
Three approaches might have been considered in this sketch toward defining a capitalist culture: A consideration of the essentials that must of necessity define a capitalist culture; a consideration of many possibilities without regard for essentials – a kind of brainstorming session, admitting everything from “participatory communes” to confederations thereof; or, finally, a refusal to consider anything, abdicating to faith that somehow voluntary cooperation will solve every problem, falsely assuming that the duty to think is an exercise in central planning. I have chosen primarily the first, illustrated with probabilities. I have shunned the third, for sloth is a mortal sin.
Lew Rockwell made it. Ron Paul made it. But I didn’t. You can read about it here.
Some unknown lefty outfit compiled a list of 200 websites promoting what it called the Russian party line. Lefty outfits liked outfits that did this back before the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 — 25 years ago. But these days, voicing the Russian party line means opposing the American Empire, the budget of the Pentagon, and the New World Order. This is just not tolerated by lefty outfits.
The outfit’s ranking on Alexa is below 4.5 million. It is invisible. It has no influence. Yet the Washington Post treated it as if it were some major research organization. The Left is desperate.
Lefty outfits are hard-pressed to explain away the fact that American voters handed Hillary Clinton her last political defeat. This was an affront to their best-laid plans. There was no possibility that Trump would win the election. So, they are in search of reasons. Reasons turn out to be 200 websites that do not toe the line established by the establishment media. They must be crushed. They are all part of what Hillary called in 1998 a vast right-wing conspiracy.
I don’t think these outfits understand what happened to them on November 8. It is simply inconceivable to them. There was no way that this could have happened. It was supposed to be Bush versus Clinton. It wasn’t. It was supposed to be the Clinton dynasty defeating the Bush dynasty. It wasn’t. The playbook of CFR Team B to cast out CFR Team A depended on Jeb Bush. But Jeb Bush turned out to be a loser.
Not since 1964 had an outsider threatened the playbook that had been operational ever since 1932. Barry Goldwater never really had a chance after the assassination of Kennedy. But Goldwater attracted millions of voters who had not understood that there really was an alternative worldview to that laid down by the establishment media and they never really went away.
The establishment media now realize that their control has evaporated. They are going to try to get it back. They will be able to do this if the Federal Reserve system allows the next recession to become as deep as it was in 2010, and then not inflate in order to make it go away. This is why I am beginning to think that the Federal Reserve will raise the rate that it pays commercial banks to deposit excess reserves with the Federal Reserve. But there are limits on its ability to do this. It has to pay this interest out of its earnings. Every dollar paid to the commercial banks will not be repaid to the United States Treasury, which will send the deficit even higher.
Robert B. Stinnett, Day of Deceit: The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor (New York, Free Press, 2000)
Stinnett conclusively demonstrates with vast and incontrovertible documentary evidence that in order to precipitate an unwilling American public into supporting intervention in the Second World War, President Roosevelt oversaw the contrivance and deployment of a closely-guarded secret plot to goad the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor. The plan was set in motion in October 1940, and its development closely monitored through decoded intercepts of Japanese diplomatic and military radio communications. Knowledge of the plan was limited to 13 Roosevelt administration members and chief military officers, and 21 members of Naval Intelligence and related operations. Once it produced the intended result and the attack impended, the Pacific fleet’s modern naval vessels were sent to sea from Pearl Harbor, leaving seven antiquated World War One battleships as decoys. Meanwhile, the Japanese fleet was tracked with radio intercepts from its formation off the Kuril Islands on November 16, and its sailing for Hawaii on November 26; its course was cleared of all shipping with a Vacant Sea order on the 22nd; and Pearl Harbor naval patrols were ordered out of the area on the 25th. The intelligence of the impending attack was withheld from the officers (Admiral Kimmel and General Short) charged with defending Pearl Harbor, who were kept uninformed of the plan and intelligence of the impending attack, and scape-goated afterward. A coverup of the entire operation was maintained through eight official and Congressional investigations between 1941 and 1946, and down to Strom Thurmond’s inquiry in 1995. Stinnett’s forty-seven pages of Appendices (p. 261-308) present photographic reproductions of essential documents obtained from Federal archives through the Freedom of Information Act, as well as numerous other documents reproduced in the body of the text, and 65 pages (p. 309-374) of closely detailed and referenced notes, all of which copiously and conclusively document Stinnett’s factual assertions, arguments and conclusions. His voluminous research files and notes are deposited at the Hoover Institute library at Stanford.
It is notable that Lt. Commander McCollum’s “eight-action memo” for inciting war with the Japanese is dated October 7, 1940; that its sixth action was set in motion on October 8, its first, second and seventh on October 16; and that, campaigning for a third term as president in Boston on October 30, FDR said: “I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars;” on November 1 in Brooklyn he said “I am fighting to keep our people out of foreign wars. And I will keep on fighting;” at Rochester on the 2nd he said “Your national government … is equally a government of peace — a government that intends to retain peace for the American people;” the same day in Buffalo he asserted “Your President says this country is not going to war;” and in Cleveland on the 3rd he declared “The first purpose of our foreign policy is to keep our country out of war.” These quotations are from William Henry Chamberlin, “How Franklin Roosevelt Lied America Into War,” in Harry Elmer Barnes, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace (Caldwell, Idaho, Caxton, 1953), Chapter Eight, p. 485-491.
In his Preface Stinnett writes: “My sole purpose is to uncover the true story of events leading up to the devastating attack on the naval base [at Pearl Harbor] and adjoining Army facilities, and to document that it was not a surprise to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and many of his top military and policy advisors…. Roosevelt believed that his countrymen would rally only to oppose an overt act of war on the United States. The decision he made, in concert with his advisors, was to provoke Japan through a series of actions into an overt act: the Pearl Harbor attack. As I have discovered in the course of seventeen years of archival research and personal interviews with US Navy cryptographers, the answer to Roosevelt’s dilemma is found in an extraordinary number of documents whose release I have been able to obtain through Freedom of Information Act requests. These papers outline deliberate steps that were planned and implemented to elicit the overt action that catapulted America into the war, and devastated military forces at Pearl Harbor and other Pacific bases. Eight steps were suggested to provoke a Japanese attack. Shortly after reviewing these, Roosevelt put them into effect. After the eight provocations had been taken, Japan responded. On November 27 and 28, 1941, US military commanders were given this order: ‘The United States desires that Japan commits the first overt act.’ According to Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, the order came directly from President Roosevelt…. Not only did we undertake provocative steps, we intercepted and decoded military cables. We knew the attack was coming…. The commanders in Hawaii, Admiral Husband Kimmel, and Lieutenant General Walter Short, were deprived of intelligence that might have made them more alert to the risks entailed in Roosevelt’s policy, but they obeyed his direct order: ‘The United States desires that Japan commit the first overt act.’ More than 200,000 documents and interviews have led me to these conclusions. I am indebted to the Freedom of Information Act and its author, the late Congressman John Moss (D, CA) for making it possible for me to tell this story.” [xiii-xiv]
“Previous accounts have claimed that the United States had not cracked Japanese military codes prior to the attack. We now know this is wrong. Previous accounts have insisted that the Japanese fleet maintained strict radio silent. This, too, is wrong. The truth is clear: FDR knew.” 
“A memorandum circulated in Washington, originating in the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) and addressed to two of FDR’s most trusted advisors suggests … provoking Japan into an overt act of war against the United States. It was written by Lieutenant Commander Arthur H. McCollum, head of the Far East desk of the ONI.” [6; Stinnett does not address the obvious conclusion that McCollum was instructed to design such a plan; it is highly improbable that this key policy was initiated by a junior officer on his own initiative. McCollum’s memo is photographically reproduced in Appendix A, 261-267]
Lieutenant Commander McCollum’s five-page “eight-action memo, dated October 7, 1940 … puts forward … a plan intended to engineer a situation that would mobilize reluctant America into joining Britain’s struggle against the German armed forces…. Its eight actions call for virtually inciting a Japanese attack on American ground, air, and naval forces in Hawaii, as well as on British and Danish colonial outposts in the Pacific region…. McCollum oversaw the routing of communications intelligence to FDR from early 1940 to December 7, 1941, and provided the President with intelligence reports on Japanese military and diplomatic strategy. Every intercepted and decoded Japanese military and diplomatic report destined for the White House went through the Far East Asia section of ONI, which he oversaw. The section served as a clearinghouse for all categories of intelligence reports…. Each report prepared by McCollum for the President was based on radio intercepts gathered and decoded by a worldwide network of American military cryptographers and radio intercept operators…. Few people in America’s government or military knew as much about Japan’s activities and intentions as McCollum.” 
Appendix E 307-308 lists the 34 “Americans who were cleared for unrestricted access to decoded and translated Japanese diplomatic intercepts.” They comprise FDR, his Secretaries of War, State and the Navy (Stimson, Hull, Knox), three senior military staff members (Gen. Marshall, Adm. Stark, Rear Adm. Ingersoll) and three key naval staff officers, two field commanders (Gen. MacArthur, Adm. Hart), FDR’s naval aide (Capt. Beardall) who acted as his liaison with ONI, and 21 senior officers and cryptographers of ONI and other intelligence operations. Kimmel and Short were pointedly restricted in their access.
McCollum’s memorandum lists eight actions that he predicted would provoke a Japanese attack:
“A. Make an arrangement with Britain for use of British bases in the Pacific, particularly Singapore.
B. Make an arrangement with Holland for the use of base facilities and acquisition of supplies in the Dutch East Indies [now Indonesia].
C. Give all possible aid to the Chinese government of Chiang Kai-shek.
D. Send a division of long-range heavy cruisers to the Orient, Philippines, or Singapore.
E. Send two divisions of submarines to the Orient.
F. Keep the main strength of the US Fleet, now in the Pacific, in the vicinity of the Hawaiian islands.
G. Insist that the Dutch refuse to grant Japanese demands for undue economic concessions, particularly oil.
H. Complete embargo all trade with Japan, in collaboration with a similar embargo imposed by the British Empire.” [8. Stinnett shows the routing of this memo to senior ONI officers and thence to Sect. of the Navy Knox and to FDR 8-9.]
For nearly 70 years, George Seaton’s Miracle on 34th Street has been a go-to holiday classic. Starring Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn, and Natalie Wood, the film follows a wise-beyond-her-years little girl, her nonbeliever mom, and their lawyer neighbor as they defend the existence of Santa Claus in a New York City courtroom. Suffice it to say, it’s the kind of spirited, burst-your-heart movie that makes you want to spread the Christmas cheer. Now, get to know more about the timeless classic with these 10 things you might not have known about Miracle on 34th Street.
1. THE MOVIE WAS ORIGINALLY CALLED THE BIG HEART.
According to Turner Classic Movies, it was director George Seaton who lobbied for the name The Big Heart. “I am crazy about the title The Big Heart. If we can clear it, it is a natural,” wrote Seaton in a memo to producer William Perlberg. “It is the kind of title like Sentimental Journey that made such a hit previously with [John Payne and Maureen O’Hara].” It didn’t stick with American audiences, but it was first released under that title in the U.K.
2. VALENTINE DAVIES WAS INSPIRED TO WRITE THE STORY WHILE STANDING IN A LONG LINE AT A DEPARTMENT STORE.
According to TCM, Davies got the idea for the film during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. The long lines and chaos left him to wonder what Santa would’ve thought about such commercialization. After writing the story, he gave the idea to Seaton to turn into a script. In 1947, when the film was released in theaters, Davies also released his novella version of the story.
3. THE STUDIO DIDN’T GET THE CONSENT OF MACY’S AND GIMBELS UNTIL AFTER FILMING HAD CONCLUDED.
Despite the fact that both Macy’s and Gimbels figure prominently in the story, the studio took a gamble by not getting the companies to sign off before using their names. According to TCM, the studio made the companies aware they were going into production, but refused to share footage until filming was completed. Luckily, both department stores were satisfied with the final product.
4. EDMUND GWENN ACTUALLY PLAYED SANTA IN THE 1946 MACY’S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE.
The parade scene was entirely real, and Maureen O’Hara’s autobiography proves it. “Those sequences, like the one with Edmund riding in the sleigh and waving to the cheering crowd, were real-life moments in the 1946 Macy’s parade,” she wrote. “It was a mad scramble to get all the shots we needed, and we got to do each scene only once. It was bitterly cold that day, and Edmund and I envied Natalie and John Payne, who were watching the parade from a window.”
5. NATALIE WOOD STILL BELIEVED IN SANTA.
Natalie Wood was eight years old while filming Miracle on 34th Street. “I still vaguely believed in Santa Claus,” said Wood, as recorded in her biography written by Suzanne Finstad. “I guess I had an inkling that maybe it wasn’t so, but I really did think that Edmund Gwenn was Santa. I had never seen him without his beard because he used to come in early in the morning and spend several hours putting on this wonderful beard and mustache. And at the end of the shoot, when we had a set party, I saw this strange man, without the beard, and I just couldn’t get it together.”
Don’t Entrust Economics to the Experts … Why has so much of the world succumbed to populist demagoguery and xenophobic nationalism? To a non-trivial extent, economists may be responsible. This idea finds some support in a new book, “The Econocracy,” written by three U.K. economics students — Joe Earle, Cahal Moran and Zach Ward-Perkins. – Bloomberg
Austrian economics has been driving banking elites mad for over a century and now apparently they are trying to replace it with what can be called “Econocratics” – our elaboration of the term.
In fact, a new book “Econocracy” encapsulating the movement seems to regurgitate every criticism of modern economics made by Austrian critics and free-market groups.
More, according to the Bloomberg editorial (above):
They argue that popular dissatisfaction with government has a lot to do with its over-reliance on concepts and ways of thinking supplied by economists, who have been much more influential than their expertise justifies.
In the authors’ usage, an econocracy is a society where — though it looks like a democracy — goals get expressed in economic terms and policy making has become a purely technical activity.
Objectives such as faster growth, increased competitiveness and access to more and cheaper consumer goods are taken as inherently desirable, with little consideration of differing values or visions of the future.
Specialists handle the execution, because involving the people can only mess things up. The econocracy inevitably breeds a sense of disenfranchisement.
This is terrific stuff, but when we look through the website here, we can’t find a single mention of Austrian economics nor the role its leading proponents have played in creating the dissatisfaction that this “rethinking” supposedly addresses. (Maybe we’re not looking hard enough?)
If one is going to broadly “rethink” economics, shouldn’t one begin by incorporating trenchant free-market criticisms of modern economics? These criticisms are certainly within the ambit of what the Bloomberg article relates – and also what we could see on the group’s website.
But not a word about Austrian – free-market – economics.
Led by Mises.org in the US, criticisms of modern economics are directly buttressed by the 150-year-old concepts of Austrian economics.
Lew Rockwell and his eponymous website have just been attacked in an article in the Washington Post. Lew Rockwell (by writing non-traditional articles based on economic history) stands accused of doing the bidding of Russia – of the Russian state – in order to undermine the West and specifically the US.
It can certainly thus be speculated that the idea is to denigrate Rockwell and his Mises society while adopting its critiques but not its solutions.
The problem with Austrian free-market economics is that it leaves little room for government itself, nor for the mathematical-based econometrics that most economists are trained in. We previously mentioned this issue here, regarding a new libertarian center.
This [editorial announces] a new libertarian think-tank, the Niskanen Center. The basic thrust … is that to remain relevant in the 21st century, libertarians will need to be more pragmatic and less idealistic. Stop talking about eliminating government and concentrate on making “government spend more wisely.”
… Rather than promote “theories of unfettered markets,” economists and other serious observers of the market should be “guided by pragmatism.” Libertarians “should be diving into the gritty details of the regulatory state, or gathering evidence on how best to curb government’s excesses.”
And now a new group has emerged to reconfigure economics itself. But as with the Niskanen Center critiques, the solutions will doubtless be a good deal less clear than the problems.
The problem with adopting and disseminating Austrian economics is that it shows clearly that government does not work. Its seminal, founding concept of “marginal utility” is widely accepted around the world as the dividing line between classical and neo-classical economics.
In practice Austrian economics is ignored by governments and in the corporate and even academic worlds. But it certainly explained why classical economics didn’t work.
Classical economics was static. It allowed the misguided Malthus to project starvation in England at the end of the 1700s. His charts showed that the population would exceed the food supply.
But nobody starved. Instead, people created gardens and planted more food.
Austrian economics calls this “human action.”
The great Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises built his career by showing that human action was unpredictable and thus economic forecasting was fairly impractical.
Thanks to Malthus’s malfunctions, English economists were well aware of the problems Austrian economics posed. They came up with the idea of mathematically-based econometrics.
The idea was that if enough mathematics were applied to a prognostication it might somehow overcome human action.
Of course this never happened. What did happen though was that econometrics became so complicated that few have had the time or patience to understand what’s really going on.
Econometric economics doesn’t work but most people can’t quite tell you why. And thus they basically “tune it out.” Which is probably the reason why modern economics is held in such low repute.
Econometrics – the mathematical forecasting of human behavior – is a solution in search of a practical problem. Even worse, the economics of legendary economist John Maynard Keynes, which yet undergird economics, don’t work either.
Keynes’ starts his masterwork, General Theory, after an economic crisis has already occurred. He never explains that monopoly central banking is responsible for the crisis to begin with. And thus his main solution – government spending to counteract economic failure – is dysfunctional.
Mises had no such problem. He showed clearly how central banking crushed prosperity and created ruin. His analysis was built on the conclusions of marginal utility that showed clearly how prices must be developed by marketplace competition and nothing else.
Central bankers attempt to “fix” the value and volume of money via interest rate manipulation. As a result, the world is on the cusp of the greatest depression it has ever faced. People know this of course. Millions – billions – are aware that the modern precepts of governance and economics are illegitimate.
In fact, more and more are waking up to the idea that it is on purpose. Elite controllers surely need ruin in order to advance to a new stage of control via increased globalism. Thus the entire theoretical underpinnings of government and finance are likely – purposefully – distorted to ensure that this ruin occurs.
The trouble happens when people start to understand. When they do, you need to acknowledge the problems in order to anticipate solutions. That’s probably just what it is going on now.
New libertarian facilities are suddenly rising up with solutions recognizing that real freedom is “impractical. And now in England, somehow, a young group of economists have decided to “rethink” their profession, though goodness knows enough rethinking has taken place.
All they really need to do is read Von Mises and educate themselves generally about free-market Austrian economics. It’s not that difficult to understand the basic concepts.
Then they could begin to properly proselytize. Instead, they intend to state and restate the problems of modern economics without ever suggesting a solution has already been developed and has several centuries of antecedent analysis.
Conclusion: Of course the above is our speculation about what’s going on – including potential elite involvement. There’s no way we know about the underlying motivations and funding involved in offering libertarian and economic rethinking. But the patterns look clear enough, at least to us.
Reprinted with permission from The Daily Bell.
It is a terrifying abyss, 7km deep.
Now, geologists have for the first time seen and documented the Banda Detachment fault in eastern Indonesia – and worked out how it formed.
It could lead to a breakthrough in tsunami prediction for the area, which is part of the Ring of Fire – an area around the Pacific Ocean basin known for earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Geologists have for the first time seen and documented the Banda Detachment fault in eastern Indonesia – and worked out how it formed.
Lead researcher Dr. Jonathan Pownall from The Australian National University (ANU) said the find will help researchers assess dangers of future tsunamis in the area.
‘The abyss has been known for 90 years but until now no one has been able to explain how it got so deep,’ he said.
This fault, the Banda Detachment, represents a rip in the ocean floor exposed over 60,000 square kilometers.
‘Our research found that a 7 km-deep abyss beneath the Banda Sea off eastern Indonesia was formed by extension along what might be Earth’s largest-identified exposed fault plane.’
By analyzing high-resolution maps of the Banda Sea floor, geologists from ANU and Royal Holloway University of London found the rocks flooring the seas are cut by hundreds of straight parallel scars.
Every kid in America liked Christmas a lot, but the Left, north of Politically Correctville, did NOT.
While the holiday season used to be one of peace, love, and joy, it seems that lately, the politically correct set seems determined to crush every jingling bell under the heel of their jackboots, particularly at colleges and universities across the country. The Left is stealing Christmas just as certainly as any Grinch in Whoville.
First, let me be clear.
I don’t care if someone wishes me a merry Christmas or happy holidays. I am delighted that they’re offering me any type of good wishes, regardless of how generic or specific those wishes might be. I also understand that many of the traditions we celebrate in America aren’t really “Christian” in origin. For example, Christmas trees, Yule logs, and Santa all have origins in paganism.
But, in the United States, we have a traditional way of celebrating. We put up lights. We decorate trees. We have Santa in every mall. We make everything cheerful, festive, and beautiful to brighten up our winters.
But…cue dramatic music…not for much longer if the Left has their way. Because the way we celebrate in America isn’t “inclusive” enough.
Colleges are cracking down on Christmas
Be careful how you decorate, celebrate, and eat at these nine universities across the country. Even Catholic Universities are trying to straddle the razor blade of “inclusivity.”
1. The College at Brockport, State University of New York, has guidelines issued by the office of Interim Assistant Provost for Diversity. (Let me digress for a moment: I finally found a job for people with degrees that I previously believed were completely useless. They can be Provosts for Diversity. Your tax dollars at work.) They offered this list of “inclusive” strategies:
- Before scheduling meetings and special events check the calendar to make sure that dates do not conflict with holidays such as Hanukah and Ramadan. Be flexible and adjust schedules as needed.
- Consider religious dietary restrictions when planning parties. Ask your colleagues if they have special needs.
- Consider a grab bag instead of a “Secret Santa” gift exchange.
- Learn about all the December holidays and the appropriate greetings for each.
- Keep decorations general and non-specific to any religion. Create a winter theme with lights and color rather than religious icons, or include decorations from all the cultural traditions represented in your department. Be sure to ask everyone in the department to contribute to holiday decorating.
- Acknowledge multiple cultures by asking staff to share their holiday traditions at a “pot luck” party.
- The holiday season should be considered an opportunity to demonstrate cultural sensitivity and inclusivity by acknowledging multiple cultural traditions rather than imposing or endorsing a single tradition on everyone.
2. Missouri State University has provided a set of guidelines that excludes more than Christmas. On that banned list there are Jewish symbols, Christian symbols, and Islamic symbols.
3. Harvard University is making things super easy by printing out a Social Justice placemat so that all students can learn how to annoy the snot out of their entire family when they go home for the holidays. (PS: They also have a job for those liberal arts majors at the Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.) Campus Reform reports:
The Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Harvard University distributed what it is calling “Holiday Placemats for Social Justice” on campus to help freshmen students navigate difficult conversations when they return home for Christmas break.
The placemat, a copy of which was obtained by Campus Reform, offers students tips for talking to their family members about controversial topics such as “Black Murders in the Street,” “House Master Title,” and “Islamophobia/Refugees.” The placemat, divided into four possible topics of conversation, provides students with a series of sample questions they may encounter when they return home to their families along with an acceptable response to each question.
Because, you know, nothing says “holiday celebration” like an 18-year-old discussing “black murders in the street” at Christmas dinner with his family.
4, Marquette University, a Catholic university, incidentally, has removed any mention of the word “Christmas”in their tree-lighting ceremony and discontinued the blessing and any mention of the Advent. One Marquette professor objected to this on his blog:
That “diversity” and “inclusion” require censoring and silencing all things Christian is a typical attitude of the politically correct. Of course, this is not “inclusive,” but rather exclusionary.
Genuine inclusion would mean recognizing the diversity of religious beliefs and traditions. The National Menorah, on public property just south of the White House, is an example. If Muslim students at Marquette wanted to stage events to celebrate Ramadan they would certainly be allowed to by Marquette (although Ramadan is usually in the summer with few students around).
But Christianity is different. Secular leftists don’t much like Christianity
5. Oregon State University (who has an Office of Inclusion and Diversity for job hunters with otherwise useless degrees) also offers helpful guidelines in a handy, printable, PDF format.
- Use a collaborative process for staff input into department decorating plans.
- Respect an individual’s decision to not participate.
- Focus decorations on the winter season by using images that are not associated with religious traditions (e.g., snowflakes, snow sculptures, sleds).
- Remember that images that seem neutral to some may be experienced as religious by others with different traditions.
- Ensure that decorations reflect and are respectful of the diversity of our university community.
- Identify a specific period of time for the display of holiday decorations.
- Consider how efforts support and enhance the university’s values and goals with regard to equity, inclusion, and diversity
6. Ohio State University has removed the page with “inclusive” holiday guidelines, stating:
The content of the webpage referenced was an effort to help facilitate celebrating holiday traditions of all faculty, staff and students. It is not a mandate or university policy. To avoid misinterpretation or confusion, the webpage has been removed.
Don’t despair. Campus Reform reported on it before it was taken down:
Students and staff are encouraged to be “thoughtful in [their] decorating choices” at Ohio State. Greenery, white lights, snowflakes and bows are deemed appropriate. The school, however, would prefer they avoid the colors red and green to convey an “inclusive holiday spirit.”
7. Cornell University snuck their guidelines onto the bottom of their “Fire Safety Guidelines for Holiday Decorations.” However, that page has been removed, so students must flail along on their own unless they see the report on Campus Reform:
The guideline first lists decorations that are consistent with the school’s “commitment to diversity.” Among these items are snowflakes and trees decorated with snowflakes.
Decorations that are consistent with the school’s “assembly guidelines,” but should be a “basis of dialogue” include bows, garland and lights, wreaths with bows, a combination of snowflakes with Santa Claus figures and dreidels, and holly.
Decorations that are consistent with the school’s “assembly guidelines,” but should nonetheless be a “basis of dialogue” include bows, garland and lights, wreaths with bows, a combination of snowflakes with Santa Claus figures and dreidels, and holly.
8. The University of Tennessee at Knoxville says that “Secret Santa” exchanges are no longer cool, but generic and unfestive terms like “practical joke exchanges” or “secret gift exchanges” are acceptable. They suggested that employees of the university “ensure your holiday party is not a Christmas party in disguise.”
The list was removed after some of the Tennessee legislators called for the Chancellor of the school to resign.
9. The University of Illinois offered a helpful Holiday Q&A. Here’s one of the scoldings questions and answers:
Q: Aren’t you being too politically correct when you tell us to not have a Christmas party? That’s a time when we get to socialize and feel good.
A: We have never said don’t have a Christmas party at your house. We are speaking about the work environment where you have many people who do not celebrate Christmas but celebrate other holidays. You can have a holiday party or end of year party. You can even ask people to talk about any holidays they celebrate this time of year. Before there was any consciousness around appreciating differences we would hear from other employees who said they did not feel comfortable participating or attending an office party that was just for Christmas. Celebrations in the workplace are for everyone. Is it more important to have a “Christmas” party at work which will make some people feel excluded and valued less or to be able to have full participation and good will that will last the year?
Can’t we just celebrate without the Inclusivity Police peeing all over our Christmas trees?
It may seem like this post is religious in nature, and that’s not the case at all. It’s about the fact that we must bow to the whims of the politically correct or be accused of racism or xenophobia.
I strenuously object to this cultural overhaul that supports the “inclusivity” of everyone else’s traditions but crushes our own. Why must Americans eradicate all vestiges of our own traditions to make other people comfortable?
Reprinted with permission from DaisyLuther.com.
By Dr. Mercola
Statistics don’t lie, but statisticians certainly can. In his book, “Master Manipulator: The Explosive True Story of Fraud, Embezzlement, and Government Betrayal at the CDC,” investigative journalist James Grundvig exposes what really goes on at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In it, he reveals how the agency has engaged in massive fraud, misinformation and manipulation of vaccine information. What made Grundvig write such a book?
“A couple of reasons,” he says. “One is I have an autistic son who’s 16 years old now. He’s one of the 5,000 cases kicked out of vaccine court [for] thimerosal poisoning.
Number two, I’m first generation Norwegian-American. Poul Thorsen, the main manipulator — but not the only one — is of Danish descent. I was introduced to an alliance [that asked me] to track down Thorsen over in Denmark, a culture and country I know very well.”
Click HERE to watch the full interview!
Danish Scientist Charged in Vaccine Research Scam
Thorsen is a major player and an essential character in this real-life drama. In 2011, he was charged with 13 counts of wire fraud and nine counts of money laundering. A federal grand jury alleged Thorsen stole over $1 million from autism research funding between February 2004 and June 2008.
He stole the money while serving as the principal investigator for a program studying the relationship between autism and exposure to vaccines. At the time, The Copenhagen Post reported that:1
“… [Thorsen] submitted over a dozen false invoices from the CDC for research expenses to Aarhus University … instructing them to transfer the funds to a CDC account, which was in fact his personal account …
Thorsen’s research on autism is widely known in academic circles, where he was until this week a highly respected figure. A paper of his on the subject, which is known as ‘The Danish Study,’ is quoted extensively to refute the autism vaccine connection.”
As of 2014, Thorsen was permanently expelled from Denmark’s university hospital system. Thorsen has been a fugitive for the past five years. Yet his whereabouts are no secret. As noted by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. in a 2015 Forbes article:2
“The fact that he is roaming free and is easy to find, despite the U.S. Federal indictment … suggests a lack of enthusiasm by HHS and CDC to press for his capture and extradition.
The agency undoubtedly fears that a public trial would expose the pervasive corruption throughout CDC’s vaccine division and the fragility of the science supporting CDC’s claims about thimerosal safety.”
The Master Manipulator
Thorsen’s spectacular demise was likely the result of an inside tip to Aarhus University. But was he really the sole person responsible for the creation of these manipulated studies? According to Grundvig’s investigation, the CDC appears to have had a clear hand in the deception.
In 1999, Thorsen — who had earned his Ph.D. in Denmark the year before — was invited to the CDC in Atlanta as a foreign visiting scientist. He arrived at a time when there was a lot of discussion between vaccine makers and the CDC to remove thimerosal from vaccines.
Thorsen ended up being hired full-time to conduct five studies on Danish people, as the Danes had a preexisting database covering the entire population.
In the U.S., no federal health authority was collecting this kind of comprehensive vaccination and health data. “That was the beginning of five corrupt Danish studies that were done: four on thimerosal; one on MMR,” Grundvig says.
The Danish Study
Thorsen’s “Danish Study,”3 which was never retracted, reported a 20-fold increase in autism in Denmark AFTER mercury-based preservatives like thimerosal were banned from vaccines. This study has since been used to support the idea that thimerosal has no bearing on autism rates.
However, it was actually an example of lying by omission, because at the same time the apparent autism increase took place, a new Danish law required autism cases to be reported on the national level. There was also a new clinic dedicated to autism treatment.
These two factors were likely the driving forces behind the sudden spike in reported autism cases, but the researchers didn’t even disclose them, let alone take them into account. Despite the obvious ramifications of these omitted details, the CDC has relied on the Danish Study to “prove” their case that MMR vaccine and mercury are safe.
Moreover, the fact that Thorsen’s scientific integrity was in serious question was completely lost on the CDC, which issued the following statement following his arrest warrant:4
“Dr. Thorsen was one of many co-authors on these research projects. All of these were subject to extensive peer review and we have no reason to suspect that there are any issues related to the integrity of the science.”
CDC Dumped Agent Orange Studies to Avoid Backlash From Injured Veterans
In researching Thorsen’s involvement with the CDC, Grundvig came across other instances of malfeasance. In 1984, Coleen Boyle was a principal investigator for the CDC, charged with investigating the effects of Agent Orange. Today, Boyle is the director of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD), an arm of the CDC.
In the 1980s, the CDC was given extensive information from the army on Operation Ranch Hand about the flight patterns of Agent Orange. The information was archived in Pennsylvania, but the CDC refused to go to the archives and look at it. Doing so meant they’d have to face the truth about the contamination of U.S. troops — about half a million American veterans who suffer from cancers and other diseases caused by Agent Orange.
The CDC basically gave up on the Agent Orange studies saying they “couldn’t figure it out,” when in fact they could have, had they simply gone to Pennsylvania. In so doing, they forfeited $21 million in research money, which in and of itself raises questions about motives. Apparently they deemed the loss of $21 million to be preferable to what they might find by doing the research.
“The 101st Congress came out [with a report in 1990 and called it [the] “Agent Orange cover up” to basically skewer the CDC. Unfortunately, nothing happened. They didn’t fire the people in charge. They didn’t clean house in the CDC. Once those people at the top were able to get away with this, they felt emboldened. They also had a template for future issues like Ebola and Zika,” Grundvig says.
With Boyle, the CDC demonstrated they are really masterful at covering up issues that are directly related to the public health, or issues that could have a negative impact on people’s perception of a certain exposure.
The Link Between Thimerosal and Autism
To this day, most doctors will tell you the science is settled and there’s no link between vaccines and autism. In reality, the science is FAR from settled. In 2000, two secret meetings took place. The first one, in May, took place in Puerto Rico. This meeting covered aluminum adjuvants in vaccines. The second meeting took place in Simpsonwood5 three weeks later.
“In those meetings, they talked about how they all realized — the scientists within those meetings, from the CDC, from college institutions, from Big Pharma vaccine makers — all agreed that thimerosal is a problem, and aluminum is a problem. But they can’t change overnight and lose that kind of money …
These two meetings produced results from foreign scientists, like Dr. Thomas Verstraeten out of Belgium. The CDC realized they had a major problem on their hands with the general public. They found thimerosal … is dangerous to the brain, especially of babies, infants and children.”
The CDC desperately needed to prove there’s no link between vaccines and autism, and Thorsen ended up being the guy hired to produce that evidence. Had the CDC not covered up the truth, we’d probably have an entirely different discussion on vaccines today.
As noted by Grundvig, some of Thorsen’s studies kept getting extended because the CDC simply wasn’t comfortable with the results; even with manipulation, they kept showing an association between the number of vaccines and the rise of autism.
“What’s amazing is Thorsen coming from Denmark. Thimerosal was banned in Denmark in 1991 — fully enacted in 1992. Vaccines today in Denmark have no thimerosal whatsoever. So, you have Thorsen agreeing to do whatever the CDC wanted to, which was manipulate the data, to lose data, to produce results that would favor [thimerosal],” Grundvig says.
Thorsen Colleague Caught Colluding With CDC to Cherry Pick Data
Thorsen worked at Aarhus University outside of Copenhagen, Denmark. At the university, he had a small research group he called the North Atlantic Neurological Epidemiology Alliance (NANEA). Part of that research group was a Ph.D. candidate named Kreesten Meldgaard Madsen.
Madsen was the principal investigator on at least two out of the five studies Thorsen did on behalf of the CDC. She came under fire when leaked emails6 showed she was coordinating with CDC officials “intent on fraudulently cherry picking facts to prove vaccine safety,” according to a report by The Huffington Post.7
“They were under duress because the CDC was directly involved, with Diana Schendel going to Denmark several times to produce better results. These studies were done over and over again. In fact, there’s one email from Coleen Boyle that basically went out to the Danes saying, ‘What happens if we got rid of the 2001 data set completely? What happens to the line then? Does it flatten?’ At the end of the day, that’s exactly what they did,” Grundvig says.
CDC Whistleblower Confirms Vaccine-Autism Cover-Up
In his book, Grundvig explains how, were the studies done properly using valid scientific criteria, they would have revealed some incredible insights. For starters, they would have shown that autism is in fact correlated with thimerosal exposure.Brian Hooker is one of the researchers who has gone back to re-evaluate Thorsen’s studies. In 2017, Danish scientists will again redo the studies, to hopefully settle the matter.
Thorsen was hardly the only manipulator of data at the CDC, however. Dr. William Thompson, a research scientist at the CDC’s National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases (NCIR), is another. He co-authored four studies refuting a link between the MMR vaccine and autism, as well as thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism.
According to Thompson, one of the studies found that African-American boys who received the MMR vaccine before the age of 36 months had an increased risk for autism.8 He also maintains that other CDC studies have found a relationship between thimerosal and tics, which are associated with autism.9
Clearly, there’s no way for the truth to get out unless we have skilled investigative journalists like Grundvig bringing us the full story. After that, it’s a matter of sharing the information, because you can be sure this information will not appear in The New York Times or on your local news station. It’s suppressed by design.
Thimerosal Is Still a Major Vaccine Ingredient
In the early 2000s there was a major push to remove thimerosal from vaccines, but it never took the form of law. Instead, vaccine makers were encouraged to reduce or eliminate thimerosal in their vaccines on a voluntary basis. Some did so, but according to Grundvig, even vaccines that claim to be thimerosal-free are not entirely devoid of it.
“If you read the labels, it says “thimerosal-depleted” … They remove [thimerosal] in the process. It’s filtered out, but it’s not filtered out 100 percent. There’s still thimerosal in all of the thimerosal-containing vaccines as there were before, just a lot less. However, in the flu vaccine, it’s full bore thimerosal.
It’s the cheapest and fastest way to make it. I don’t think that vaccine makers are interested in changing the 20th century recipe to making vaccines. It’s cheap and fast. That’s all they care about. They do not care about safety. They don’t care about children’s health. With poor children’s health, they are able to take care of children, on the other end … with drugs and treatments and so forth. They continuously make money off every American citizen out there,” Grundvig says.
Annual Flu Shots Are a Health Disaster in the Making
The flu vaccine is perhaps the most egregious example of this criminal activity. When I graduated from medical school, it was only recommended for health care workers, those over 55, and those with chronic diseases such as pulmonary diseases or cystic fibrosis. The target population was a relatively small percentage.
Now, it’s recommended for every single individual in the United States, each and every year starting at the age of 6 months until death. It’s truly beyond irrational. Not only is it ineffective, but it’s perniciously toxic, thanks to the thimerosal. (For clarification, flu vaccines do not contain aluminum — a highly toxic adjuvant.)
“Even when they don’t get it right — like last year, when they realized they didn’t predict the strain properly [so] the flu vaccine was completely useless — they say, ‘We admit it’s useless. We were wrong, but take it anyway,'” Grundvig says.
And why wouldn’t they? Drug companies, health officials and administering doctors are all completely insulated from lawsuits, so people suffering side effects have no impact on the bottom line. They have absolutely no incentive to urge you to weigh the risks and benefits. As long as you take the shot, they profit. And, if you’re harmed, they continue to profit in other ways, since your treatment will undoubtedly involve medical care and drugs.
OTC Tapeworm Drug Kills Zika
At the end of the day, I believe it comes down to us — we all need to take the incentive to spread this information to our friends and family; make them aware of the corruption, fraud and manipulation occurring that is preventing them from understanding the truth about any given matter. Grundvig offers another example:
“The Florida State University [FSU] discovered that an off-the-shelf remedy [Nicolsamide, an FDA approved drug used to treat tapeworm] likely either suppresses or eliminates Zika. But did the press cover this? … You’d have to go to Florida State University10 and some other lesser blogs to actually find this story.
The reason for that is they do not want that to interfere with the CDC going to Congress and begging for $1.1 billion for a vaccine that no one’s going to need. Ninety percent of that money will be for a vaccine for Zika …”
If you have an interest in vaccine safety and/or autism, you won’t want to miss out on Grundvig’s book, “Master Manipulator: The Explosive True Story of Fraud, Embezzlement, and Government Betrayal at the CDC.” It clearly reveals why we cannot blindly trust our federal health agencies.
We must educate ourselves and understand the political and financial dynamics that underlie the recommendations coming from these agencies. Failing to do so can quite literally be dangerous to your health. In this case, Grundvig has done a remarkable job of explaining the situation at the CDC that has allowed the claim that thimerosal-containing vaccines have no role in autism.
This is not to say that there are no other factors involved in autism. Evidence suggests Roundup and other glyphosate-containing pesticides may play a role. Ditto for other toxic exposures and electromagnetic field (EMF) exposures. Having an unbalanced gut microbiome also appears to influence the outcome. There are many variables that, when combined, can result in autism. Still, that does not mean we should give vaccines a free pass.
Projections suggest that within the next 25 years, half of all children will be autistic. There is no way a culture can survive with half of the population being in the autistic spectrum. We’re looking at the collapse of society if the rise in autism isn’t stopped or reversed, and that means addressing ALL known factors.
Sources and References
- 1 The Copenhagen Post April 15, 2011
- 2 Forbes August 22, 2015
- 3 Pediatrics 2003 Sep;112(3 Pt 1):604-6
- 4, 7 Huffington Post May 11, 2010
- 5 vaccine-injury.info, CDC Knowledge of the Vaccine-Autism Link
- 6 Putchildrenfirst.org, It’s Rotten in Denmark
- 8 Pediatrics. 2004 Feb;113(2):259-66
- 9 The Hill October 17, 2016
- 10 News.fsu.edu August 29, 2016
The war on “fake news” embarked upon by Facebook, Google, and Twitter may be earning the media goliaths brownie points with establishment politicos, but users — and even employees — aren’t feeling as enthusiastic.
In the midst of backlash over the stunning victory of President-elect Donald Trump, which some people attribute to the preponderance of apocryphal headlines disseminated by Internet search engines and social media platforms, the companies are tweaking their algorithms in order to target specifically blacklisted sites, many of which happen to be alternative media sites that question the political and media establishment. Many of the sites are also financially dependent on ad revenue earned by organic and referral traffic directed by Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
Now, it appears Facebook’s new algorithmic censorship practices are causing some of its employees to quit. According to the New York Times, three current and former anonymous employees claim the company has had a new tool developed specifically to restrict certain kinds of posts from appearing in users’ news feeds in certain geographic areas. This form of censorship has been deployed under the auspices of facilitating Facebook’s entry into the Chinese market. Previously, the company did this in Pakistan, Russia, and Turkey, where the respective governments requested the ability for third parties to review and block posted content. Facebook granted the requests and removed approximately 55,000 total pieces of content.
Now Facebook wants access to 1.4 billion people in the world’s second-largest economy, China, and they are willing to adhere to draconian censorship practices in order to do so. It could be a complete coincidence that this new push happens to coincide with Facebook’s crackdown on alternative media, which has caused several employees to tender their resignations.
A Facebook spokeswoman responded to the report in a statement:
“We have long said that we are interested in China, and are spending time understanding and learning more about the country. However, we have not made any decision on our approach to China. Our focus right now is on helping Chinese businesses and developers expand to new markets outside of China by using our ad platform.”
The question now is whether there is a connection between two different but simultaneous pushes for censorship by the largest social media platform in the world.
Usually, when a Porsche gets permanently parked it’s because it’s a treasured museum piece – retired from heroic deeds on street or track (sometimes both). But the 1,500 Porsches that have been sitting for the past year-plus have been idled by Uncle.
1,500 brand-new but no longer “new” 2016 model year Cayennes will eventually be sold (perhaps next year sometime) at a discount – as used cars – when Uncle finally gives Porsche dealers permission to sell them.
With Porsche dealers (and salesmen) eating the loss.
These are Cayennes powered by 3.0-liter diesel engines, marked – like Hester Prynne – but with a scarlet “D” instead of an “A” for having cheated Uncle’s emissions tests. They join the entire fleet of diesel-powered 2016 model year VWs (Jettas, Golfs, Beetles and the Cayenne’s VW stablemate, the Touareg) that have been indefinitely idled by Uncle.
In addition to the 1,500 brand-new Cayennes that never got on the road, there are another 10,000 or so 2016 (and older) Cayennes that are on the road – and soon to be taken off. In order to be “fixed” in exactly the same manner as one “fixes” a male puppy.
The puppy will never be quite the same after he is “fixed” – and neither will the “fixed” diesels, whether Porsches or VWs (there are about half-a-million of those).
Keep in mind that no one has been harmed by any of this. Regulatory standards have been affronted, that’s all. Porsche – like parent company VW – did the equivalent of making an “illegal” U-turn at a deserted intersection in the middle of the night. Against the law, surely.
But a technical foul and no more.
A reasonable cop wouldn’t even bother – or (at most) give the “offender” a warning. But the EPA – the federal agency (where, under the Constitution, do agencies get their lawful power to legislate?) which sees no humor in anything – and forget to behave reasonably – does not do warnings. That no one was harmed by this “cheating” business cuts no ice. There must be punishment! Off with their heads!
Meanwhile, how about the harm caused by EPA?
I’ve already written about the billions in fines that will come out of our pockets, ultimately. We being the people who own VW stock or work for VW or a supplier of VW or who will pay higher local taxes because tax revenue that would have been raised from VW has been disappeared via the economic damage imposed on VW, which is to say on us. The new car and engine designs that will never see the light of day because R&D money that would have gone toward that end now goes toward Uncle’s end.
Few people realize the coming bargains in all asset markets within the next five years or so. Stocks, bonds, and property will be fractions of current prices. I discussed in last week’s article how I expect stocks and property to decline maybe as much as 90%. Most people will consider this as sensational speculation and impossible but similar falls have happened in history before. And at no previous time in history has there been a credit bubble of a magnitude that the world is facing today. Previously individual countries have experienced depressions, often preceded by hyperinflation. But never before has every single industrialized country had a century of the exponential growth of credit, asset prices and inflation which is likely to lead to a global collapse.
False growth based on fake money
It is, of course, impossible to time the end of a 100-year supercycle bubble. It has already gone on for much longer than many of us thought was possible. But governments, central banks as well as commercial banks have succeeded in pumping endless amounts of money into the system to keep the Ponzi scheme going. Most people do not understand what is happening to their money. They believe that their dollar, pound or euro is worth the same as it was 10 years ago, or 25 years ago. Since the creation of the Fed in the US in 1913, all major currencies have declined in value by 97-99%. This means that savings have been destroyed by the same amount. Savings are essential for an economy to grow soundly. Savings are the basis of investments for growth in all areas of the economy, whether it is manufacturing, housing or infrastructure. To achieve real growth, there must be savings. The growth that the world has experienced in the last few decades, especially since 1971 when the gold backing of the dollar was abolished, has been based on a massive debt expansion. Credit creation leads to currency debasement and in real terms virtually no growth is achieved. This is why real median wages for ordinary workers are not growing in many countries, like the USA or the UK.
The world will soon experience how false and dangerous global growth has been since it is standing on a foundation of paper money. As this foundation collapses in coming years, the world will realize that all the assets that have been inflated to bubble levels will lose most of their value.
After Trump the flood
Trump will continue the tradition of his predecessors and expand US debt by at least 9% annually (which is the average since 1981) but probably a lot more since he has promised major infrastructure spending. On top of that, he will most probably encounter a major economic downturn combined with problems in the financial system. This is very likely going to lead to money printing of astronomical proportions and hyperinflation.
The painting below was originally featuring Obama and Bernanke who together managed to double US debt. But Trump and Yellen are likely to achieve even more, leading to a deluge or flood of printed money. Après Nous le Deluge (After us the flood) is what Louis the XV’s mistress, Madame de Pompadour, said to the French king after losing a battle against the Prussians in 1757. The subsequent decline of the French economy led to the French Revolution. The coming decline of the US economy could sadly lead to a similar outcome.
The effect of an implosion of the debt and additional massive money printing will give once in a lifetime opportunities to the very few who are now taking the right measures to preserve wealth.
Before I give an explanation, let’s be sure we all know what an explanation is. An explanation is not a justification. The collapse of education in the US is so severe that many Americans, especially younger ones, cannot tell the difference between an explanation and a defense, justification, or apology for what they regard as a guilty person or party. If an explanation is not damning or sufficiently damning of what they want damned, the explanation is interpreted as an excuse for the object of their scorn. In America, reason and objective analysis have taken a backseat to emotion.
We do not know what the appointments mean except, as Trump discovered once he confronted the task of forming a government, that there is no one but insiders to appoint. For the most part, that is correct. Outsiders are a poor match for insiders who tend to eat them alive. Ronald Reagan’s California crew were a poor match for George H.W. Bush’s insiders. The Reagan part of the government had a hell of a time delivering results that Reagan wanted.
Another limit on a president’s ability to form a government is Senate confirmation of presidential appointees. Whereas Congress is in Republican hands, Congress remains in the hands of special interests who will protect their agendas from hostile potential appointees. Therefore, although Trump does not face partisan opposition from Congress, he faces the power of special interests that fund congressional political campaigns.
When the White House announced my appointment as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Republican Senator Bob Dole put a hold on my appointment. Why? Dole had presidential ambitions, and he saw the rising star of Republican Representative Jack Kemp as a potential obstacle. As I had written the Kemp-Roth bill that had become Reagan’s economic policy, Dole regarded me in the Treasury as a one-up for Kemp. So, you see, all sorts of motives can plague a president’s ability to form a government.
With Trump under heavy attack prior to his inauguration, he cannot afford drawn-out confirmation fights and defeats.
Does Trump’s choice of Steve Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary mean that Goldman Sachs will again be in charge of US economic policy? Possibly, but we do not know. We will have to wait and see. Mnuchin left Goldman Sachs 14 years ago. He has been making movies in Hollywood and started his own investment firm. Many people have worked for Goldman Sachs and the New York Banks who have become devastating critics of the banks. Read Nomi Prins’ books and visit Pam Martens website, Wall Street on Parade ( http://wallstreetonparade.com ). My sometimes coauthor Dave Kranzler is a former Wall Streeter.
Commentators are jumping to conclusions based on appointees past associations. Mnuchin was an early Trump supporter and chairman of Trump’s finance campaign. He has Wall Street and investment experience. He should be an easy confirmation. For a president-elect under attack, this is important.
Will Mnuchin support Trump’s goal of bringing middle-class jobs back to America? Is Trump himself sincere? We do not know.
What we do know is that Trump attacked the fake “free trade” agreements that have stripped America of middle-class jobs just as did Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot. We know that the Clintons made their fortune as agents of the One Percent, the only ones who have profited from the offshoring of American jobs. Trump’s fortune is not based on jobs offshoring.
Not every billionaire is an oligarch. Trump’s relation to the financial sector is one as a debtor. No doubt Trump and the banks have had unsatisfactory relationships. And Trump says he is a person who enjoys revenge.
What about the hot-headed generals announced as National Security Advisor and Secretary of Defense? Both seem to be death on Iran, which is stupid and unfortunate. However, keep in mind that Gen. Flynn is the one who blew the whistle on the Obama regime for rejecting the advice of the DIA and sending ISIS to overthrow Assad. Flynn said that ISIS was a “willful decision” of the Obama administration, not some unexpected event.
And keep in mind that Gen. Mattis is the one who told Trump that torture does not work, which caused Trump to back off his endorsement of torture.
So both of these generals, as bad as they may be, are an improvement on what came before. Both have shown independence from the neoconservative line that supports ISIS and torture.
Keep in mind also that there are two kinds of insiders. Some represent the agendas of special interests; others go with the flow because they enjoy participating in the affairs of the nation. Those who don’t go with the flow are eliminated from participating.
Goldman Sachs is a good place to get rich. That Mnuchin left 14 years ago could mean that he was not a good match for Goldman Sachs, that they did not like him or he did not like them. That Flynn and Mattis have taken independent positions on ISIS and torture suggests that they are mavericks. All three of these appointees seem to be strong and confident individuals who know the terrain, which is the kind of people a president needs if he is to accomplish anything.
The problem with beating up on an administration before it exists and has a record is that the result can be that the administration becomes deaf to all criticism. It is much better to give the new president a chance and to hold his feet to the fire on the main issues.
Trump alone among all the presidential candidates said that he saw no point in fomenting conflict with Russia. Trump alone questioned NATO’s continued existence 25 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Trump alone said that he would work to bring middle-class jobs back to America.
And Trump said that he would enforce immigration laws. Is this racism or is this a defense of citizenship? How is the US a country if there is no difference between illegal aliens and citizens?
Commentators of all stripes are making a mistake to damn in advance the only government that campaigned on peace with Russia, restoring middle-class jobs, and respect for the country’s borders. We should seize on these promises and hold the Trump administration to them. We should also work to make Trump aware of the serious adverse consequences of environmental degradation.
Who is blowing these opportunities? Trump? Mnuchin? Flynn? Mattis?
The more Trump is criticized, the easier it is for the neoconservatives to offer their support and enter the administration. To date, he has not appointed one, but you can bet your life that Israel is lobbying hard for the neocons. The neocons still reign in the media, the think tanks, university departments of foreign affairs, and the foreign policy community. They are an ever-present danger.
Trump’s personality means that he is likely to see more reward in being the president who reverses American decline than in using the presidency to augment his personal fortune. Therefore, there is some hope for change occurring from the top rather than originating in the streets of bloody revolution. By the time Americans reach the revolutionary stage of awareness the police state is likely to be too strong for them.
So let’s give the Trump administration a chance. We can turn on him after he sells us out.