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Sleep on Your Side, Stomach, or Back?

Lew Rockwell Institute - 2 ore 32 min fa

Getting a good night’s sleep is important if we want to be productive and happy. Our bodies have been telling us this for years and so have countless sleep studies. Now we’re learning that it’s not just the quality of sleep we get that is vital to our well-being, it’s also the sleep positions we choose.

According to the latest research, sleeping on our side – as opposed to our back or stomach – could be a healthier position for our brain. If we sleep on our side it allows our brain to clear out waste while we are resting.

Researchers from Stony Brook University used an MRI to monitor what is called the brain’s glymphathic pathway. This is the system that takes waste out of our brains. The researchers discovered this system works best when people sleep on their sides. Neurologists say brain waste can include proteins that make up the plaque linked to Alzheimer’s disease. This means that sleeping style could be a factor in developing such neurological diseases.The heart has received the most attention when it comes to sleeping. While there is no clear evidence to suggest sleeping on your right side is better if you are generally in good health, it has been shown that people with chronic heart issues do better sleeping on their right side, as opposed to their left. Studies have indicated that lying on the right reduces heart rate and blood pressure, which are beneficial, especially when dealing with heart conditions. Just exactly why this happens is still under investigation; however, some medical researchers suspect when the right side is down, the heart is in a “superior position,” making it much easier to pump blood out.

Sleep specialists estimate that we spend one-third of our lives sleeping, so taking a look at current sleep positions and the possible health implications isn’t a bad idea for all of us. The National Sleep Foundation and many orthopedic surgeons tell us that 80 percent of the population will have back or neck problems at some point in our lives, often due to the way we sleep.

Sources:

http://www.prevention.com/health/sleeping-position-and-health

http://www.today.com/health/how-your-sleep-position-can-impact-your-health-t38576

http://sb.cc.stonybrook.edu/news/general/150804sleeping.php

https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/alzheimers-disease-fact-sheet

https://www.aan.com/uploadedFiles/Website_Library_Assets/Documents/6.Public_Policy/1.Stay_Informed/4.Public_Policy_Resources/compell.pdf

http://www.jneurosci.org/content/35/31/11034http://content.onlinejacc.org/article.aspx?articleid=1130618

Reprinted with permission from Bel Marra Health.

How To Avoid Bubonic Plague

Lew Rockwell Institute - 2 ore 33 min fa

Since April 2015, eleven cases of plague have been recorded in the U.S., and three people have died leaving the CDC no other recourse but to issue a warning to alert doctors of potential cases that may arise.

There is a “Heightened Risk”

“It is unclear why the number of cases in 2015 is higher than usual,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Many of the cases are occurring in rural and semi-rural areas in the western United States. The report lists two cases in Arizona, one in California, four in Colorado, one in Georgia, two in New Mexico and one in Oregon. The cases in California and Georgia have been linked to areas in or near Yosemite National Park in the southern Sierra Nevada. Dr. Natalie Kwit of the CDC emphasizes, “We don’t want people to panic but we do want them to be aware of the heightened risk.”

The CDC has recorded 1006 confirmed or probable human plague cases occurred in the United States between 1900 and 2012. Over 80% of United States plague cases have been the bubonic form. The plague is a rare and dangerous disease caused by the bacterium, Yersinia pestis and passed from humans by infected fleas and rodents typically in the wild. Many may remember how the Black Death killed around 30–60 percent of the population in Europe. These days, the bacteria is typically treated with antibiotics. With many antibiotic resistance strains of bacterias occurring, this begs the question. Will this plague rampantly spread like it once did?

Types of Plague to Look Out For

My Neighbor the Murderer

Lew Rockwell Institute - 2 ore 33 min fa

This past Wednesday, a racist drove down I-66, a mile from our house, fleeing from the town where he had murdered two of his former colleagues in the broadcast business.

The killer’s name was Vester Flanagan. We now know that he was motivated by racial hatred and spite at having lost his job.

In 2012, he supported Obama’s reelection, even wearing an Obama pin while reporting on election day.

When he heard of the double murder, Obama blamed it on guns. He did not say that “Vester Flanagan could have been my son.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Breitbart carried a news story featuring Flanagan’s racist rants, under the headline, “RACE MURDER IN VIRGINIA: BLACK REPORTER SUSPECTED OF EXECUTING WHITE COLLEAGUES – ON LIVE TELEVISION!”

In his brilliant book Envy, Helmut Schoeck explains this deadly sin thus: Is envy the same as jealousy? Not at all. The jealous person looks at the successful person and says, I don’t have that, and I’d like to have it, so I’ll work hard to achieve it.”

For Schoeck, the envious person is far different: he says, “I’d like to have that, but I’m too incompetent-lazy-unattractive-poor to have it – BUT I don’t want HIM to have it, either!”

Envy is the engine of socialism. The leftist critics of Breitbart’s story envy anyone who tells the truth – look at how they treated Dr. Ron Paul, who has been proven so right that he started a liberty movement that that the bipartisan Crony Establishment can only – envy.

So they lie. Flanagan, who admitted hating whites, is absolved of that “hate crime” – and the folks at the website that reported it are branded as racists instead.

Envy enthroned.

Flanagan envied both of his victims because they had the jobs he wanted and the love he wanted – and they were of the race that he hated.

Three strikes, and they’re out.

We’ve seen the same movie repeatedly. The Left envies any and all truthtellers because they are popular, honest, and brave – qualities which the Left profoundly lacks.

Envy and hate. They drove Flanagan to kill. That’s the crime. Telling the truth is simply our duty.

Economics of a Crash

Lew Rockwell Institute - 2 ore 33 min fa

This month has seen something that happens not very often: it appears to be the early stages of a global stock market crash.

For the moment investors are in shock, seeking reassurance and keenly intent on preserving their diminishing assets, instead of reflecting on the broader economic reasons behind it. To mainstream financial commentators, blame for a crash is always placed on remote factors, such as China’s financial crisis, and has little to do with events closer to home. Analysis of this sort is selective and badly misplaced. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the economic background to today’s markets as well as the likely consequences.

The origins of a developing crisis are deeply embedded in the financial system and date back to the invention of central banks, and more particularly to the Bretton Woods Agreement, which was the basis of the post-war monetary system. In the 1940s government economists were embracing the new Keynesian view that Say’s law, the law of the markets, was irrelevant and supply and demand for goods and services could be regarded as It is an important conclusion. In effect, it posits that the only solution open to central banks is the deliberate destruction of their own currencies, not on the drip-feed basis that has existed since the Bretton Woods Agreement, but by a more deliberate acceleration. We cannot judge whether this will work one more time, postponing a final crisis. But we can see the circumstances ahead of us more clearly, and we can more easily imagine central bankers being drawn into repeating the mistaken policies of Rudolf Havenstein, president of Germany’s Reichsbank in 1921-1923. In predicting this final crisis for any country that treads down the path of government corruption of its money, the economist von Mises described its manifestation as a crack-up boom, the boom to end all booms, when ordinary people finally realise the worthlessness of government currency and dump it as rapidly as possible for anything they can get hold of. The last vestiges of the currency’s objective exchange-value evaporate.

The hyperinflation of fiat money and the prospect of a final collapse in its purchasing power is becoming an increasingly probable outcome of the financial events unfolding today. That much can be deduced from sound economic theory, and is confirmed by historical records of similar crises. We can also expect this outcome to be made certain by the misguided faux-science of macroeconomics, which bases itself on the denial of Say’s law and which badly misleads government policy-makers.

Only this time the threatened currency destruction will be global, because where the dollar goes, and the dollar is still the reserve currency, so we all go.

Reprinted with permission from GoldMoney.

This Just In!

Lew Rockwell Institute - 2 ore 33 min fa

Yeah, I know, you’re as shocked as I was. What?! The government might lie about things? No! Say it isn’t so! Behold! Here is it! Oh, but that’s not the government, that’s the military! Well, uh, militaries never fall far from the tree, so it is said. Now, one question I have is this: On what basis was it decided that there had been ANY success to trumpet in the war against ISIS? Boy oh boy, if these are “successes”, I’d hate to see the failures they’re covering up! If the war against ISIS was a used car, the salesman would have spun the odometer back about 200,000 miles and filled the transmission full of sawdust. Yeah, didn’t think anyone remembered those old tricks, did you? The government does, except they call it “…distorted or altered intelligence assessments to exaggerate progress…” Indeed. Fresh off the lot from Smilin’ Uncle Sam’s Used War Bargain House! I think we’ve been sold a lemon.

So, indeed, the doctored “successes” remain abject failures in and of themselves. This means the reality is that those failures were so grand, so large, that they are the Magnum Opus of failures. If these were symphonies, they’d all be Beethoven and Mozart. No fiddle-piddle little scribblers, they went right to the heavyweight masters! I’d love to see the fiction these intelligence officials write for fun. Oh, wait, we already have. It’s probably called anCannot Be Found al-Invisible saying, “No they didn’t! How can they have won?! We haven’t even lost a single truck since two months ago! We haven’t even reached the mileage on the reminder sticker on our tanks for the next oil change at Jihad Lube! We’ve still got hummus on top of that! Yeah, ‘the Americans won’, huh! Hilarious!” Of course, the government will come out and accuse them of lying—right up until someone leaks it out that we were, in fact, the ones lying. We need to find a market for government lying. It’d be a gold mine. You couldn’t call it The Goose That Laid The Golden Eggs, though. This is the government. You’d need to call it The Goose That Crapped the Golden Crap. As it is, we pay the government to do this. Methinks I have been cheated.

Therefore, here we are, once again, with yet another war they’ve been lying to us all along about. Are you surprised? I bet we both aren’t. And this cast of clowns wants to go to war with Iran?! That’s like saying velvet Elvis paintings and pink plastic lawn flamingos belong in The Louvre! Or that the United States government can be called intelligent. We’re winning the war on ISIS! Wait, no we’re not. Wait, yes we are! Wait, I know! It’s a tie! Hey, that’s the answer! Let’s just call these wars ties! “Well, we came into this war looking for a gold medal, but we came away with a silver medal…” Yeah, a trillion dollars later. Who knew silver had gone up in price that much? But if we say a war is a tie, we don’t need to actually win! All we need to do is spend money and kill people! That’s always a popular endeavor with the U.S. government, but calling it a “tie” should shut up the unwashed masses paying for the war. The Iraq War? Yeah, a tie. The war in Afghanistan? Looks like it’s going to be a tie. The war against ISIS? Well, probably going to be a tie. Say, what’s for supper?

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Lew Rockwell Institute - 2 ore 33 min fa

The Wednesday morning murders of 24-year-old Roanoke TV reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, were a racist atrocity, a hate crime. Were they not white, they would be alive today.

Their killer, Vester L. Flanagan II, said as much in his farewell screed. He ordered his murder weapon, he said, two days after the slaughter of nine congregants at the African-American AME church in Charleston, South Carolina.

“What sent me over the top was the church shooting,” said Flanagan.

To be sure, racism does not fully explain why Flanagan, fired from that same WDBJ7 station, committed this act of pure evil.

Black and homosexual, he said he was the target of anti-gay slurs from black males and racial insults from white colleagues. He had gotten himself fired from other jobs in broadcasting. He carried a grab bag of grudges and resentments.

Yet, in the last analysis, The Washington Post headline got it right: “Gunman’s letter frames attack as racial revenge.”

Other news organizations downplayed the racial aspect. But had those murdered journalists been young and black, and their killer a 40-something “angry white male,” the racial motivation would have been front and center in their stories.First, violent crime, declining since the early 1990s, is rising again. And violent crime in black communities is many times higher than in the white communities of America.

Collisions between black suspects and criminals and white cops are going to increase, and some of these collisions are going to involve shootings. And such shootings trigger fixed, deep-seated beliefs about cops, criminals and injustice, they also cause an instantaneous taking of sides.

Moreover, this is the sort of “news” that instantly goes viral through the Internet, Facebook and 24-hour cable TV.

Liberals and Democrats take sides with the black community out of solidarity and to solidify their political base, while Republicans stand with the cops, law-and-order conservatives, and the Silent Majority in Middle America.

The race issue has even begun to split the Democrats.

When former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, a card-carrying liberal, attended a conference of Netroots Nation and responded to a chant of “Black Lives Matter!” with the more inclusive, “Black Lives Matter! White Lives Matter! All Lives Matter!” he was virtually booed off the stage.

O’Malley proceeded to apologize for including the white folks.

To many Americans, even many who did not vote for him, the election of Barack Obama seemed to hold out the promise that our racial divide could be healed by a black president.

Even Obama’s supporters must concede it did not happen, though we would, again, argue angrily over why.

Who Named the Days of the Week?

Lew Rockwell Institute - 2 ore 33 min fa

We speak the names of the gods on a daily basis and most people do not even realise it.  Every day of the week, religious and non-religious people alike follow the old pagan tradition of giving thanks to the gods of old.

In ancient Mesopotamia, astrologers assigned each day of the week the name of a god. In a culture where days were consumed by religion, it is unsurprising that the days of the week were made in homage to the gods believed to rule the lives of mortals.

Many centuries later, the Romans, upon beginning to use the seven day week, adopted the names of the week to fit their own gods. These were then adopted by Germanic people who also adjusted the names according to their gods. It is predominantly these Germanic and Norse gods that have lived on today in the days of the week, which are outlined below.

Mass Migration

Lew Rockwell Institute - 2 ore 33 min fa

Recently I have commented quite a bit on libertarianism and culture – prompted by the singularly identifiable event of the SCOTUS decision on gay marriage.  This journey has led me to Hoppe and his views on this intersection of libertarianism and culture. Recently, the conversation has turned specifically to Hoppe’s views on immigration.

I was offered the following by Anon August 8, 2015 at 5:30 AM at August 10, 2015 at 7:00 AM:

I’m restating Block. You really should read his stuff to get it from the horse’s mouth. He obliterates Hoppe’s argument. He answers your objections.

So I went looking for Block’s articles on this topic.

I first will thank the anonymous commenter for pointing me this way.  It is one of the benefits of documenting my intellectual journey in a public forum; I often receive such good feedback. option.  I am certain it is a better second-best option, given the certain (yes, I am comfortable using that word) consequences to the depravation of liberty via Block’s option.

It seems to me decidedly unlibertarian to advocate these sorts of “reasonable” rules. A more libertarian stance would be to welcome actual chaos on all property statists steal from victims. The likelihood is that pure bedlam and pandemonium on all such terrain would deter the thieves from their evil deeds.

Out of the chaos brought on by social conflict will emerge libertarian order?  I greatly admire and respect Dr. Block, but I cannot resist.  On what planet?

This “out of chaos libertarian order” view is also the view of left-libertarian anarchists, about whom I have written fairly often recently (and no, I do NOT include Block as a member of this philosophical-basket-case crowd).  The only thing that differentiates this left-libertarian view from the views of Antonio Gramsci is that left-libertarians claim respect for property rights…they don’t really, but they say they do.

But once property rights are disrespected – no matter the theoretical soundness of the professor’s idea – will the masses listen to libertarian reason about where to draw the line?  Once property rights are disrespected, you are left with pure Gramsci.  I am not arguing libertarian theory; I am suggesting that Block’s suggested path from here to there will move society away from, and not toward, a libertarian world.

Interim steps are fine, as long as they move us toward liberty.  I think some guy named Murray wrote something like that once.  So why choose a path certain to steer the car in the wrong direction?

Human nature and history are on my side – liberty has rarely, if ever, sprung forth from such bedlam.  Instead, the people demand a savior to stop the bedlam – using any and all liberty-destructing tools available.

I know I have referred to it before, I will again.  The European Middle Ages offers one of the better examples of something coming close to a libertarian theory of law.  It did not come out of violence – no one took the Colosseum down stone by stone.  It was based on the sacred oath – a man’s word was his bond – with God as party to the deal (and if there was disagreement about the words, the person with the oldest document won).

Rome died its own slow death – it died more from apathy of the people and Rome’s expansion of empire than it did from any invading army.  Roman citizens fled their so-called civilization and voluntarily became slaves to the barbarians.

Look more recently at the former Soviet Union.  It too died from a slow withering-away – not because the people stormed the Kremlin.  Certainly, what replaced it was not libertarian; yet, anyone with knowledge of life behind the Wall (Pink Floyd again) would agree that there is more freedom today than during Stalin’s time.

However, I have a concern I regard as even more important; libertarian theory. Perhaps it is possible for utilitarian or consequentialist libertarians to reconcile their principles with regulated borders, but this is not possible, I contend, for deontological ones such as myself.

But it is possible.  If I have a right to control the borders to my property, I along with my neighbors have the right to delegate this to an agent, acting on our behalf.  This is as perfectly libertarian as it gets.

The only issue is that today’s provider is the monopoly state; I have only one way to put my sound libertarian right into practice.  Only one.  It is also true that those libertarians who wish to allow any and every biped from all corners of planet earth onto their property also have only one way to put their desire into practice.  Only one.

Libertarian theory supports both.  Libertarian theory offers no answer.

Of course, we have no way of knowing how many people would choose this service given that the agent today is the monopoly-state.  We do know that where property owners have freedom to discriminate, they do so.  There is a market for discrimination-supportive services – today.  In any case, if one is arguing solely on the libertarian theory of the matter (and not the practical application), my statement is at least equally as valid as is Block’s.

“Oh, but bionic, by definition as you are leaning on the state, yours is less libertarian.”

Perhaps you are right – but we are left with second-best alternatives in this discussion. So you see, I won’t go away so easily.

Let’s try a little experiment.  We can examine the views of Mr. Federal Reserve Note (FRN) libertarian and Mr. Protect My Border (PMB) libertarian.

PMB: You know, I hate the state.  But in the case of border control they do provide a service that I value.

FRN: You know, I hate the state.  But in the case of medium of exchange they do provide a service that I value.

PMB: I would give anything to have an alternative to state-provided border control.

FRN: I would give anything to have an alternative to a state-provided medium of exchange.

PMB: Wait a minute; I have no alternative, but you do.

FRN: No I don’t.

PMB: Barter.  Metals not stamped by the government mint.  Bumpers for chickens.

FRN: Never mind.

Good old Mr. FRN has more alternatives than Mr. PMB, yet it is Mr. PMB taking all of this abuse.

So, I will tell you what.  The only way I will consider further counter arguments: Please, hand over to me all of your FRNs in your wallet and digits in your bank account.  Of course, you don’t drive on the government roads, so I will take your car also – and I will not have one ounce of libertarian-purity-remorse when I use the government’s DMV to register the car in my name.

Oh yeah, no walking on sidewalks – I will take your shoes, thank you very much.

As they say, put your money where your mouth is.  Until a commenter in support of open borders takes me up on this, you will be referred to as Mr. Big Hat No Cattle (BHNC) – wow, when did I become the Mogambo Guru?

Today the state is the agent regarding this aspect of defense of property.  We all agree: the state is, always and everywhere, the enemy.

Yet, I wonder if a libertarian frequent-flier would be in favor of suddenly dismantling the FAA while he is in flight in a thunderstorm while flying over one of the busier airports of the country – say Atlanta or Dallas (both about equidistant from New Orleans, I will guess; and both home to some of the worst thunderstorms known to man).  You know, unplug the computers, shut off the radios, you get the idea.

In theory it is a good idea.  In practice?  I am not so sure.

Thank goodness, Block rides to the rescue.  Even Block offers that certain functions of the state need not be stripped tomorrow, due to the likelihood for chaos (in this example, roads; in my example, Block making a flight connection through one of two nearby hubs).  From On Immigration: Reply to Hoppe, By Anthony Gregory and Walter Block:

One day’s notice would be simply far too little. But, suppose that the government made this announcement one year ago, and allowed a libertarian tribunal to figure out which private companies (owned by mulcted taxpayers) should take over which roads.

So perhaps libertarians might consider working on dismantling the state before deciding to throw the world into chaos by dismantling the community swimming pool.  Besides, why give William F. Buckley, Jr. more cannon fodder?

Returning to immigration: I think this issue is not resolvable via strictly thin libertarian theory in a world where the state owns property.  At least not resolvable via libertarian purity.

The result will be chaos, not liberty.

I know I jumped into this fight beginning what seems like a year ago – with the SCOTUS decision on gay marriage.  I made the point then that the issues I raised were more cultural than libertarian.

Libertarian purity in practice is not the only acceptable standard for a libertarian given that we live in this world – no one is a virgin, no not one.  It is not even achievable in theory given the many questions upon which libertarian theorists with unimpeachable devotion to the theory disagree.  Hoppe, Kinsella and Block disagree on this topic.  Rothbard the elder apparently even disagreed with Rothbard the younger.  Yet, somehow, libertarians are supposed to have complete conviction on the answer to this question in today’s state-run environment?

Even without this disagreement amongst elephants, libertarian theory is in any case not enough to answer every question in life.  I know for certain that I do not want the chaos of wanton destruction of community swimming pools.  I know where that culture leads.

It might be debatable as to the second best option regarding immigration in a world where the state owns property; I know Block doesn’t find it.  It is not debatable that culture matters generally, and that certain cultural norms are more conducive to maintaining a libertarian social order than others.

I don’t want Block’s wished-for chaos – a one-way train to totalitarian-town.

I continue in my agreement with Hoppe.

Well, what do now?

Reprinted with permission from Bionic Mosquito.

China Is Innocent

Lew Rockwell Institute - 2 ore 33 min fa

In The Matrix in which Americans live, nothing is ever their fault. For example, the current decline in the US stock market is not because years of excessive liquidity supplied by the Federal Reserve have created a bubble so overblown that a mere six stocks, some of which have no earnings commiserate with their price, accounted for more than all of the gain in market capitalization in the S&P 500 prior to the current disruption.

In our Matrix existence, the stock market decline is not due to corporations using their profits, and even taking out loans, to repurchase their shares, thus creating an artificial demand for their equity shares.

The decline is not due to the latest monthly reporting of durable goods orders falling on a year-to-year basis for the sixth consecutive month.

The stock market decline is not due to a week economy in which after a decade of alleged economy recovery, new and existing home sales are still down by 63% and 23% from the peak in July 2005.Furthermore, the change in the range of the floating peg to the US dollar did not devalue China’s currency with regard to its non-US trading partners. What had happened, and what China corrected, is that as a result of the QE money printing policies currently underway by the Japanese and European central banks, the dollar appreciated against other currencies. As China’s yuan is pegged to the dollar, China’s currency appreciated with regard to its Asian and European trading partners. The appreciation of China’s currency (due to its peg to the US dollar) is not a good thing for Chinese exports during a time of struggling economies. China merely altered its peg to the dollar in order to eliminate the appreciation of its currency against its other trading partners.

Why did not the financial press tell us this? Is the Western financial press so incompetent that they do not know this? Yes.

Or is it simply that America itself cannot possibly be responsible for anything that goes wrong. That’s it. Who, us?! We are innocent! It was those damn Chinese!

Look, for example, at the hordes of refugees from America’s invasions and bombings of seven countries who are currently overrunning Europe. The huge inflows of peoples from America’s massive slaughter of populations in seven countries, enabled by the Europeans themselves, is causing political consternation in Europe and the revival of far-right political parties. Today, for example, neo-nazis shouted down German Chancellor Merkel, who tried to make a speech asking for compassion for refugees.

But, of course, Merkel herself is responsible for the refugee problem that is destabilizing Europe. Without Germany as Washington’s two-bit punk puppet state, a non-entity devoid of sovereignty, a non-country, a mere vassal, an outpost of the Empire, ruled from Washington, America could not be conducting the illegal wars that are producing the hordes of refugees that are over-taxing Europe’s ability to accept refugees and encouraging neo-nazi parties.

The corrupt European and American press present the refugee problem as if it has nothing whatsoever to do with America’s war crimes against seven countries. I mean, really, why should peoples flee countries when America is bringing them “freedom and democracy?”

Nowhere in the Western media other than a few alternative media websites is there an ounce of integrity. The Western media is a Ministry of Truth that operates full-time in support of the artificial existence that Westerners live inside The Matrix where Westerners exist without thought. Considering their inaptitude and inaction, Western peoples might as well not exist.

More is going to collapse on the brainwashed Western fools than mere stock values.

Reprinted with permission from PaulCraigRoberts.org.

Top 10 Most Unexpected Words

Lew Rockwell Institute - 2 ore 33 min fa

The online Oxford dictionary has added 1,000 new words to its database.

The latest additions have been announced, highlighting the things British people have been talking about in the summer of 2015, such as inconsiderate commuters, solidified waste and unacceptable service charges.

Here are ten of the most unexpected words on the list:

1. manspreading (noun): the practice whereby a man, especially one travelling on public transport, adopts a sitting position with his legs wide apart, in such a way as to encroach on an adjacent seat or seat

2. awesomesauce (adjective): extremely good; excellent

3. bants (noun): playfully teasing or mocking remarks exchanged with another person or group; banter

4. fat-shame (verb): cause (someone judged to be fat or overweight) to feel humiliated by making mocking or critical comments about their size

5. Brexit (noun): a term for the potential or hypothetical departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union

Read the Whole Article

On the Road in Mexico

Lew Rockwell Institute - 2 ore 33 min fa

The cathredral in Mazatlan. Not much Baptist influence.

The cities along Baja, all few of them, have a Mediterranean feel, Mexico being a Latin country. Always the malecón, a cement boardwalk along the shore, restaurants where you can eat dead shrimp over a leisurelymichelada, which is an improbable drink made with beer, Clamato, Worcestershire sauce and some other things. In particular I recommend La Paz and Loreto.

The exception to the general pleasantness is Cabo San Lucas, which is the geographic equivalent of prostate cancer, mixing the charms of Atlantic City with Lauderdale during spring break, and a yacht basin full of very pricey boats owned by people who should be made into dog food. It’s the kind of place where you expect to see the Clintons. Go somewhere else. Anywhere else.

See? What I said.

Having reached the US border, we crossed into the continental side and droe murderously long hours home. I guess we were vacationed-out. At one point we encountered one of those bad roads I mentioned, twenty-four miles at fifteen miles on roads where the government had definitely stolen the  the treasury. It goes with the territory.

The dogs were glad to see us and we, them.

(Ok, OK: speed bumps, not  topless beaches)

In Defense of Loopholes

Lew Rockwell Institute - 2 ore 33 min fa

Predictably, in the wake of the recent dual homicides here on the shores of Smith Mountain Lake where I live, the strident screeds for gun control are ringing throughout the mainstream media courtesy of All The Usual Suspects paddling around the political cesspool.

Emotions are funny, volatile things, difficult to control under the best of circumstances.  It’s human nature to lash out illogically, unreasonably at an inanimate object that facilitated the excruciating and painful loss of a loved one, in this case a gun. At least Alison Parker’s father has that excuse to explain his comments about “shaming legislators into doing something about closing loopholes and background checks.”

All the usual anti-gunners are using the tragedy to grab sensational self-slobbering headlines: Obama, Hillary and our esteemed Virginia Governor, former Clinton shill, Terry McAuliffe and the rest of the opportunistic political class of congenital hypocrites.

100 teatri per un solo pagliaccio

Luogocomune.net - Gio, 27/08/2015 - 20:30
Non sazio di recitare la sua cantilena quotidiana in televisione - 80 euro, legge elettorale, toglieremo la tassa sulla casa, andremo tutti in paradiso - ora Renzi ha annunciato che farà il giro di 100 teatri, "per raccontare agli italiani che cosa ha fatto il suo governo in tutti questi mesi".

E' il segnale che ogni cosa sta tornando al suo posto: il teatrante sceglie il palcoscenico, in una squisita ridondanza narrativa, che lo ricolloca esattamente nel suo luogo di appartenenza: il cabaret.

Questa scelta, naturalmente, è anche un segnale che Renzi ha capito benissimo che al 2018 non ci arriverà mai, e si prepara quindi ad una estesa campagna elettorale, in vista delle elezioni anticipate.

A questo punto vorrei chiedere agli utenti del sito di darmi una mano nel compliare una lista di tutte le promesse mancate, di tutte le bugie raccontate, di tutte le scappatoie utilizzate, ...

The Death of Central Banking, Government and The Birth of The Voluntary Era (Part1)

Deep Politics Monitor - Gio, 27/08/2015 - 14:40
By Annrhefn   August 8, 2015  I had spent a few weeks planning and halfway through writing an elaborate post on the evolution of banking to central banking and the inner workings of secret cartels, but I got so bored I couldn’t be bothered finishing it… In these dying days of Socialist central banking, I really don’t think it matters anyway… I find Banking and Interventionist Macro

Non date da mangiare agli zombie...

Freedonia - Gio, 27/08/2015 - 10:10
Se prima poteva essere solo una forte ipotesi, adesso è una certezza assoluta: la Cina darà fuoco alle polveri. La terra dei capitalisti rossi sta per sfornare un nuovo prodotto finanziario alla cui base c'è la cartolarizzazione di titoli facenti riferimento al cosiddetto margin debt. I primi a venire spennati in un panico azionario sono coloro che si sono uniti per ultimi alla festa e di solito fanno uso di margin account per entrare nel casinò azionario. Con la convinzione che il mercato azionario salirà sempre più su, non si preoccupano del guaio in cui si stanno cacciando, sottoscrivendo un finanziamento che equivale a raccogliere monetine davanti ad un rullo compressore che infine schiaccerà coloro che si trovano sulla sua traiettoria. Prima la PBOC ha permesso ai governi locali di emettere bond municipali da scambiare con denaro fresco di stampa in modo da allegerire la loro posizione finanziaria costellata da miriadi di passività off-budget. E ora le banche commerciali potranno finanziarsi vendendo questi tipi di ABS, o ponendoli come garanzia a fronte di nuove iniezioni di liquidità. E indovinate un po'? Sono titoli classificati come AAA!!! Ma il collasso del margin debt significa anche il collasso del settore bancario ombra della Cina. Se poi consideriamo la possibilità di vendere tali titoli in giro per il mondo, la fame di rendimenti odierna dovuta alla ZIRP delle varie banche centrali e l'interconnessione globale del sistema bancario, è giunto il momento che scaldiate i popcorn. Ma questo non è un problema solo cinese, l'altra parte della storia ci conferma per l'ennesima volta (come ho ripetuto spesso) che saranno i default a catena delle aziende sostenute dal credito facile a rappresentare l'origine di una bancarotta disordinata delle maggiori nazioni occidentali. I cambiamenti avvengono sempre al margine, così come le bancarotte. L'inflazione monetaria dà, l'inflazione monetaria toglie. Ma quando qualcosa non può più andare avanti, si ferma. Soprattutto l'attuale sistema finanziario zombificato.
___________________________________________________________________________________


di Bill Bonner


I titoli dei giornali parlano solo di storie comuni – narrazioni semplici che anche gli elettori possono capire.

La storia nascosta – la vera storia – è che questi sono tutti scontri, battaglie e scaramucce nella Grande Guerra degli Zombie.

Da un lato: lavoratori onesti, imprese, imprenditori e famiglie.

Dall'altro: ingegneri finanziari, ficcanaso, ladri, fannulloni e criminali.

È davvero così facile da capire? Probabilmente no, ma ci aiuta a mettere le cose in prospettiva.

Prendete in considerazione la proposta di un salario minimo più alto. Il Financial Times (l'equivalente britannico del Wall Street Journal) di solito si sbaglia su tutto, ma oggi fa eccezione: “Politicians cannot ‘magic up’ a national pay boost.”

Dalla notte dei tempi fino al momento in cui state leggendo questo articolo, i politici non hanno mai aggiunto un solo centesimo alla ricchezza del mondo.

Possono spostarla. Possono sopprimerla. Possono rubarla e distruggerla. Ma se ptessero creare ricchezza per decreto, l'avrebbero già fatto molto tempo fa.

Tutto ha un prezzo... e un valore. È possibile cambiare il prezzo approvando una legge, ma non si può cambiare il valore. E quando il prezzo viene disallineato dal valore, si creano distorsioni, carenze, o accaparramenti.

Perché, dunque, un salario minimo rappresenta la "legge della terra" non solo in Gran Bretagna, ma anche negli Stati Uniti e in molte altre nazioni sviluppate?

Perché i media ci raccontano la storia che i politici sono qui per proteggere i lavoratori dai datori di lavoro avidi. Ma, in realtà, ciò aiuta solo i politici a tenere in riga le masse.

La spinta del governo britannico per un salario minimo più alto è solo l'ennesimo fronte nella Grande Guerra degli Zombie.

In Cina gli zombie al potere stanno cercando disperatamente di sostenere un'economia stordita dal debito, manomettendo il mercato azionario con il denaro preso in prestito e con promesse vuote.

Secondo Anne Stevenson-Yang, una dei maggiori esperti della Cina e direttrice di J. Capital Research, il debito pubblico cinese è al 300% del PIL.

Il tasso d'interesse medio sul debito cinese è di circa il 7%. L'economia dovrebbe, quindi, crescere in termini reali tra il 14% e il 21% affinché il debito pubblico possa essere ripagato.

Ufficialmente l'economia cinese sta crescendo a circa il 7% annuo. Secondo le previsioni economiche di Lombard Research, la crescita media del PIL è stata di circa il 4.5% al netto dell'inflazione.

E sempre secondo i calcoli di Lombard, durante i primi tre mesi di quest'anno l'economia cinese ha sperimentato il suo primo trimestre di crescita economica negativa dal 2009.

Ma questo non ha fermato la Cina dall'ingozzarsi di debito. Gli investitori cinesi possono impegnare le loro case come garanzia per prestiti da usare nel mercato azionario.

Perché per Pechino è così importante mantenere alti i prezzi delle azioni?

Poiché i prezzi degli asset sono la garanzia a sostegno dell'intera struttura del capitale. Il credito degli zombie dipende da questo.

Anche in Grecia il governo Tsipras cerca di far scorrere il credito.

La Grecia è già così profondamente in debito che i suoi creditori minacciano di tagliarle qualsiasi ulteriore finanziamento d'emergenza.

Perché Atene è così desiderosa d'accendere più prestiti?

Perché questo è l'unico modo per mantenere gli zombie a libro paga dello stato.

E la metropolitana di Londra?

Ieri stavamo camminando a piedi per la City di Londra (l'equivalente di Wall Street a New York).

I marciapiedi erano affollati. Uno sciopero di 24 ore dei lavoratori sindacalizzati della metropolitana di Londra aveva lasciato centinaia di migliaia di persone a piedi.

I sindacati dei dipendenti pubblici sono diventati nidi di zombie. Dovrebbe essere il mercato a stabilire il valore del loro salario.

Ma zombie non si accontentano dei salari di mercato; vogliono che i politici ne impostino il prezzo. E sono disposti a condurre Londra ad un punto morto per ottenere il salario che vogliono.


[*] traduzione di Francesco Simoncelli: http://francescosimoncelli.blogspot.it/


Neocons, Netanyahu, and Republicans

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 27/08/2015 - 06:01

“We’re going to push and push until some larger force makes us stop.”

David Addington, the legal adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, made that declaration to Jack Goldsmith of the Office of Legal Counsel in the months after September 11, 2001. Goldsmith would later recall that Cheney and Addington were the first people he had ever met of a certain kind: “Cheney is not subtle, and he has never hidden the ball. The amazing thing is that he does what he says. Relentlessness is a quality I saw in him and Addington that I never saw before in my life.”

Goldsmith did not consider himself an adversary of Cheney and Addington. He probably shared many of their political views. What shocked him was their confidence in a set of secret laws and violent policies that could destroy innocent lives and warp the Constitution. The neoconservatives — the opinion-makers and legislative pedagogues who since 2001 have justified the Cheney-Bush policies — fit the same description. They are relentless, they push until they are stopped, and thus far they have never been stopped for long.

The campaign for the Iraq war of 2003, the purest example of their handiwork, began with a strategy memorandum in 1996, so it is fair to say that they have been pitching to break up the Middle East for a full two decades. But Congress will abort the nuclear deal. “The same mindset,” the president remarked, “in many cases offered by the same people who seem to have no compunction with being repeatedly wrong, led to a war that did more to strengthen Iran, more to isolate the United States, than anything we have done in the decades before or since.”

Those people have never recognized that they were wrong. Some put the blame on President Bush or his viceroy in Baghdad, the administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority, L. Paul Bremer, for mismanaging the occupation that followed the invasion; others continue to nurse the fantastic theory that Saddam Hussein really was in possession of nuclear weapons but somehow smuggled them across the border to Syria and fooled both U.S. reconnaissance teams and the U.N. inspectors; still others maintain that Shiite militias and weaponry dispatched to Iraq from Iran were the chief culprits in the disaster of the postwar insurgency.

Bear in mind that these opinion-makers, in 2003, hardly understood the difference between Shiite and Sunni in the country they wanted to invade. To put the blame now on Iran betrays a genius for circular reasoning. Since all Shia militias are allied by religion with Iran, it can be argued that Iraq was not destroyed by a catastrophic war of choice whose effects set the region on fire. No: the United States under Bush and Cheney was an unpresuming superpower doing its proper work, bringing peace and democracy to one of the dark places of the earth by means of a clean, fast, “surgical” war. In 2004 and 2005, just as in 2015, it was Iran that caused the trouble.

Simple Facts That Are Not Known

Because the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has scorned the nuclear deal without any attention to detail, the president felt compelled in his speech to recognize candidly the difference of national interest that exists between Israel and the United States. Though we are allies, he said, we are two different countries, and he left his listeners to draw the necessary inference: it is not possible for two countries (any more than two persons) to be at once different and the same.  Obama went on to connect the nations in question to this premise of international politics:

“I believe [the terms of the agreement] are in America’s interest and Israel’s interest.  And as president of the United States, it would be an abrogation of my constitutional duty to act against my best judgment simply because it causes temporary friction with a dear friend and ally.”

The last affirmation is critical. A president takes an oath to “preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States” — that is, to attend to the interest of his own country and not another.

The danger of playing favorites in the world of nations, with a partiality that knows no limits, was a main topic of George Washington’s great Farewell Address. “Permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded,” said Washington, because

“a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification.”

There are Americans today who submit to a ruling passion that favors uniquely the interests of Israel, and the president had them in mind when he invoked his duties under the Constitution toward the only country whose framework of laws and institutions he had sworn to uphold. Genuine respect for another democracy formed part of his thinking here. Not only was Obama not elected to support Netanyahu’s idea of America’s interest, he was also not elected by Israelis to support his own idea of Israel’s interest.

In a recent commentary in Foreign Affairs, the prominent Israeli journalist and former government adviser Daniel Levy pointed out a fact that is not much remembered today regarding Netanyahu’s continuous effort to sabotage negotiations with Iran. It was the Israeli prime minister who initially demanded that nuclear negotiations be pursued on a separate track from any agreement about the trade or sale of conventional weapons. He chose that path because he was certain it would cause negotiations to collapse. The gambit having failed, he now makes the lifting of sanctions on conventional weaponry a significant objection to the “bad deal” in Vienna.

Obama concluded his argument by saying that “alternatives to military action will have been exhausted if we reject a hard-won diplomatic solution that the world almost unanimously supports. So let’s not mince words.  The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy or some form of war — maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon.” A measured statement and demonstrably true.

But you would never come within hailing distance of this truth if you listened to the numbers of Congressional Republicans who repeat the neoconservative watchwords and their accompanying digests of the recent history of the Middle East. They run through recitations of the dramatis personae of the war on terror with the alacrity of trained seals. Israel lives in a “dangerous neighborhood.” Islamists are “knocking on our door” and “looking for gaps in the border with Mexico.” Iran is “the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in the world.” Barack Obama is “an appeaser” and “it’s five minutes to midnight in Munich.” Elected officials who walk on two legs in the twenty-first century are not embarrassed to say these things without the slightest idea of their provenance.

If there was a fault in the president’s explanation of his policy, it lay in some things he omitted to say. When you are educating a people who have been proselytized, as Americans have been, by a political cult for the better part of two decades, nothing should be taken for granted. Most Americans do not know that the fanatical Islamists, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, the Islamic State (IS) — the active and destructive revolutionary force in the greater Middle East at the moment — are called Sunni Muslims. Nor do they know that the Shia Muslims who govern Iran and who support the government of Syria have never attacked the United States.

To say it as simply as it should be said: the Shiites and Sunnis are different sects, and the Shiites of Iran are fighting against the same enemies the U.S. is fighting in Syria and elsewhere. Again, most Americans who get their information from miscellaneous online scraps have no idea that exclusively Sunni fanatics made up the force of hijackers who struck the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. They would be surprised to learn that none of these people came from Iraq or Iran. They do not know that 15 of the 19 came from Saudi Arabia — a supposed ally of the United States. And they do not know that the Islamist warriors who brought chaos and destruction to Syria and Iraq are bankrolled in part by members of the Saudi and Qatari elite who have nothing to do with Iran. It has never been emphasized — it is scarcely written in a way that might be noticeable even in our newspaper of record — that Iran itself has carried the heaviest burden of the fight against IS.

Throughout his presidency, when speaking of Iran, Obama has mixed every expression of hope for improved relations with a measure of opprobrium. He has treated Iran as an exceptional offender against the laws of nations, a country that requires attention only in the cause of disarmament. He does this to assure the policy elite that he respects and can hum the familiar tunes. But this subservience to cliché is timid, unrealistic, and pragmatically ill advised. Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill did not denounce the Soviet Union when they took that country’s dictator, Joseph Stalin, as a partner in war in 1941, though Stalin’s crimes exceeded anything attributable to the Iranian mullahs. Ritual denunciation of a necessary ally is a transparent absurdity. And in a democracy, it prevents ordinary people from arriving at an understanding of what is happening.

Nuclear Deals and Their Critics, Then and Now

What are the odds that the neoconservatives and the Republicans whose policy they manage will succeed in aborting the P5+1 nuclear deal? One can take some encouragement from the last comparably ambitious effort at rapprochement with an enemy: the conversations between President Ronald Reagan and the Soviet head of state Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Washington, and Moscow in 1986, 1987, and 1988. At the same time, one ought to be forewarned by the way that unexpected change of course was greeted. The neoconservative cult was just forming then.  Some of its early leaders like Richard Perle had positions in the Reagan administration, and they were unanimously hostile to the talks that would yield the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) of 1988. The agreement set out the terms for the destruction of 2,611 missiles, capable of delivering 4,000 warheads — the biggest step in lowering the risk of nuclear war since the Test Ban Treaty championed by President Kennedy and passed in late 1963.

But as James Mann recounted in The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan a narrative of the anticommunist president’s surprising late turn in foreign policy — all of Reagan’s diplomatic efforts were deeply disapproved at the time, not only by the neoconservative hotheads but by those masters of the “diplomatic breakthrough,” former President Richard Nixon and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; by the most widely quoted columnists of the right, George Will and William Safire; and by Timemagazine, which ran a story titled “Has Reagan Gone Soft?” The Reagan-Gorbachev talks were looked upon with suspicion, too, by “realists” and “moderates” of the political and security establishment, including Robert Gates and then-Vice President George H.W. Bush. Why Gates? Because he was deputy director of the CIA and the Agency was thoroughly convinced that Soviet Russia and its leadership could never change. Why Bush? Because he was already running for president.

The political and media establishment of that moment was startled by the change that President Reagan first signaled in 1986, as startled as today’s establishment has been by the signing of the P5+1 agreement. This was the same Ronald Reagan who in 1983 had called the Soviet Union “an evil empire.” At the end of his visit to Moscow in June 1988, Reagan was asked by the ABC News reporter Sam Donaldson, “Do you still think you’re in an evil empire, Mr. President?”

“No,” Reagan replied. “I was talking about another time and another era.” And he stuck to that answer at a press conference the next day, adding: “I think that a great deal of [the change] is due to the General Secretary, who I have found different than previous Soviet leaders… A large part of it is Mr. Gorbachev as a leader.”

By 1987, Reagan’s popularity had hit a low of 47% — largely because of the Iran-Contra scandal — but he still retained his reputation as the most irreproachable defender of the West against world communism. Obama for his part has done everything he could — short of emulating the invade-and-occupy strategy of Bush — to maintain U.S. force projection in the Middle East in a manner to which Washington has become accustomed since 9/11. He doubtless believes in this policy, and he has surrounded himself with adepts of “humanitarian war”; but he clearly also calculated that a generous ration of conformity would protect him when he tried for his own breakthrough in negotiations with Iran.

In the end, Reagan got a 93-5 vote in the Senate for his nuclear treaty with the Soviet Union. Obama is hoping for much less — a vote of less than two thirds of that body opposed to the Iran settlement.  But he is confronted by the full-scale hostility of a Republican party with a new character and with financial backing of a new kind.

The U.S. military and security establishment has sided with the president. And though the fact is little known here, so have the vast majority of Israelis who can speak with any authority on issues of defense and security. Even the president of Israel, Reuben Rivlin, has signaled his belief that Netanyahu’s interventions in American politics are wrong. Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak has advised that, however reluctantly, Israel should accept the nuclear agreement and forge an understanding with the U.S. about what to do in case of its violation. To this remarkable consensus should be added the public letter — signed by 29 American scientists, many of them deeply involved in nuclear issues, including six recipients of the Nobel Prize — which vouches for the stringency of the agreement and praises the “unprecedented” rigor of the 24-day cap on Iranian delays for site inspection: an interval so short (as no one knows better than these scientists) that successful concealment of traces of nuclear activity becomes impossible.

Two other public letters supporting the nuclear deal have been notable.  The first was signed by former U.S. diplomats endorsing the agreement unambiguously, among them Ryan Crocker, the American ambassador to Iraq after 2003; Nicholas Burns, who negotiated with Iran for the younger Bush; and Daniel Kurtzer, a former ambassador to Israel and Egypt who served under both President Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. A further letter carried the personal and institutional authority of dozens of retired admirals and generals. So close an approach to unanimity on the benefits of an agreement among the U.S. military, diplomatic, and scientific communities has seldom been achieved. Even President Reagan could not claim this degree of support by qualified judges when he submitted the INF treaty to the Senate.

Such endorsements ought to represent a substantial cause for hope. But Obama’s supporters would be hard pressed to call the contest a draw on television and radio. The neoconservatives — and the Republicans channeling them — are once again working with boundless energy.  Careers are being built on this fight, as in the case of Senator Tom Cotton, and more than one presidential candidacy has been staked on it.

On the day of Obama’s speech, even a relatively informed talk show host like Charlie Rose allowed his coverage to slant sharply against the agreement. His four guests were the Haaretz reporter Chemi Shalev; the Daily Beastcolumnist Jonathan Alter; the former State Department official and president of the Council on Foreign Relations Richard Haass; and the neoconservative venture capitalist, Mark Dubowitz, who has come to be treated as an expert on the nuclear policies and government of Iran.

Haass, passionately opposed to the agreement, said that the president’s speech had been “way over the top,” and hoped Congress would correct its “clear flaws.” Shalev rated the speech honest and “bracing” but thought it would leave many in the Jewish community “offended.” Dubowitz spoke of Iran as a perfidious nation that ought to be subjected to relentless and ever-increasing penalties. His solution: “empower the next president to go back and renegotiate.” Jonathan Alter alone defended the agreement.

Planning to Attack Iran, 2002-2015

By now, the active participants in mainstream commentary on the War on Terror all have a history, and one can learn a good deal by looking back. Haass, for example, a pillar of the foreign policy establishment, worked in the State Department under Bush and Cheney and made no public objection to the Iraq War. Dubowitz has recently co-authored several articles with Reuel Marc Gerecht, a leading propagandist for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In a characteristic piece in the Wall Street Journal last November, Gerecht and Dubowitz argued that the P5+1 negotiations opened a path to a nuclear bomb for Iran. President Obama, they said, was too weak and trapped by his own errors to explore any alternatives, but there were three “scenarios” that a wiser and stronger president might consider. First, “the White House could give up on diplomacy and preemptively strike Iran’s nuclear sites”; second, “the administration could give up on the current talks and default back to sanctions”; third, “new, even more biting sanctions could be enacted, causing Tehran considerable pain.” The range of advisable policy, for Gerecht and Dubowitz, begins with “crippling sanctions” and ends with a war of aggression.

These scenarios typify the neoconservative “options.” Writing on his own in the Atlantic in June 2013, Dubowitz informed American readers that there was nothing to celebrate in the Iranian presidential election that brought to power the apparently rational and moderate Hassan Rouhani. “A loyalist of Iran’s supreme leader and a master of nuclear deceit,” Rouhani, as interpreted by Dubowitz, is a false friend whose new authority “doesn’t get us any closer to stopping Iran’s nuclear drive.”

Consider Gerecht in his solo flights and you can see what made the president say that these are the people who gave us the Iraq War. They were as sure then about the good that would follow the bombing and invasion of that country as they are now about the benefits of attacking Iran. Indeed, Gerecht has the distinction of having called for an attack on Iran even before the official launch of the Bush strategy on Iraq.

It is said that Dick Cheney’s August 26, 2002, speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars marked the first formal description of the War on Terror offered by a U.S. leader to American citizens. But Gerecht, a former CIA specialist on the Middle East, stole a march on the vice president.  In theWeekly Standard of August 6, 2002, under the title “Regime Change in Iran?,” he declared his belief that President Bush was the possessor of a “revolutionary edge and appeal… in the Middle East.” The younger Bush had

“sliced across national borders and civilizational divides with an unqualified assertion of a moral norm. The president declared, ‘The people of Iran want the same freedoms, human rights, and opportunities as people around the world.’ America will stand ‘alongside people everywhere determined to build a world of freedom, dignity, and tolerance.’”

The analyst Gerecht took up where the evangelist Bush left off: the relevant country to attack in August 2002 — on behalf of its people of course — was Iran. Gerecht had no doubt that

“the Iranian people overwhelmingly view clerical rule as fundamentally illegitimate. The heavily Westernized clerics of Iran’s religious establishment — and these mullahs are on both sides of the so-called ‘moderate-conservative’ split — know perfectly well that the Persian word azadi, ‘freedom,’ is perhaps the most evocative word in the language now… Azadi has also become indissolubly associated with the United States.”

This was the way the neoconservatives were already writing and thinking back in August 2002. It is hard to know which is more astounding, the show of philological virtuosity or the self-assurance regarding the advisability of war against a nation of 70 million.

General prognostications, however, are never enough for the neoconservatives, and Gerecht in 2002 enumerated the specific benefits of disorder in Iraq and Iran:

“An American invasion [of Iraq] could possibly provoke riots in Iran — simultaneous uprisings in major cities that would simply be beyond the scope of regime-loyal specialized riot-control units. The army or the Revolutionary Guard Corps would have to be pulled into service in large numbers, and that’s when things could get interesting.”

That was how he had it scored. Bush, the voice of freedom, would be adored as a benevolent emperor at a distance:

“President Bush, of course, doesn’t need National Iranian Television broadcasts to beam his message into the Islamic Republic. Everything he says moves at light speed through the country. The president just needs to keep talking about freedom being the birthright of Muslim peoples.”

Such was the neoconservative recipe for democracy in the Middle East: beam the words of George W. Bush to people everywhere, invade Iraq, and spark a democratic uprising in Iran (assisted if necessary by U.S. bombs and soldiers).

For a final glimpse of the same “mindset,” look closely at Gerecht’s advice on Syria in June 2014. Writing again in the Weekly Standard, he deprecated the very idea of getting help from Iran in the fight against the Islamic State. “The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Enemy” declares the title of the piece, and the article makes the same point with a minimal reliance on facts. Sunni terrorists are portrayed as impetuous youngsters who naturally go too far, but it is too early to gauge their trajectory: the changes they bring may not ultimately be uncongenial to American interest. The Shiite masterminds of Iran, on the other hand, have long ago attained full maturity and will never change. Gerecht’s hope, last summer, was that substantial Iranian casualties in a war against IS would lead to the spontaneous uprising that failed to materialize in 2003.

“It is possible that the present Sunni-Shiite conflict could, if the Iranian body count rises and too much national treasure is spent, produce shock waves that fundamentally weaken the clerical regime… Things could get violent inside the Islamic Republic.”

The vision underlying this policy amounts to selective or strategic tolerance of al-Qaeda and IS for the sake of destroying Iran.

Will the War on Terror Be Debated?

How can such opinions be contested in American politics? The answer will have to come from what remains of the potential opposition party in the war on terror. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut has been a remarkable exception, but for the most part the Democrats are preoccupied with domestic policy. If almost two-thirds of Congress today is poised to vote against the Iran settlement, this embarrassment is the result of years of systematic neglect. Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren, Dick Durbin, Ron Wyden, Tammy Baldwin, and a few others have the talent to lead an opposition to a pursuit of the war on terror on the neoconservative plan, but to have any effect they would have to speak up regularly on foreign policy.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party and its billionaire bankrollers are playing the long game on Iran. They would like to gain the two-thirds majority to override Obama’s veto of a Congressional vote against the nuclear agreement, but they do not really expect that to happen. The survival of any agreement, however, depends not only on its approval but on its legitimation.  Their hope is to depress public support for the P5+1 deal so much that the next president and members of the next Congress would require extraordinary courage to persist with American participation.

In the Foreign Affairs column mentioned earlier, Daniel Levy concluded that the long game is also Benjamin Netanyahu’s strategy:

”Netanyahu is going for a twofer — if he loses on the veto-proof super majority in Congress, he can still succeed in keeping the Iran deal politically controversial and fragile and prevent any further détente with Iran. The hope, in this case, is that the next U.S. administration can resume the status quo ante in January 2017.”

What we are seeing, then, is not simply a concentrated effort that will end with the vote by the Senate in September on the P5+1 nuclear deal. It is the earliest phase of a lobbying campaign intended to usher in a Republican president of appropriate views in January 2017.

One may recognize that the money is there for such a long-term drive and yet still wonder at the virulence of the campaign to destroy Iran. What exactly allows the war party to keep on as they do? Within Israel, the cause is a political theology that obliges its believers to fight preemptive wars without any end in sight in order to guard against enemies who have opposed the existence of the Jewish state ever since its creation. This is a defensive fear that responds to an irrefutable historical reality. The neoconservatives and the better informed among their Republican followers are harder to grasp — harder anyway until you realize that, for them, we are Rome and the Republican Party is the cradle of future American emperors, praetors, and proconsuls.

“Ideology,” as the political essayist and Czech dissident Vaclav Havel once wrote, is “the bridge of excuses” a government offers to the people it rules. Between 2001 and 2009, the U.S. government was run by neoconservatives; they had a fair shot and the public judgment went against them; but in a climate of resurgent confusion about the Middle East, they have come a long way toward rebuilding their bridge. They are zealots but also prudent careerists, and the combination of money and revived propaganda may succeed in blurring many unhappy memories. Nor can they be accused of insincerity. When a theorist at a neoconservative think tank, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies or the American Enterprise Institute, affirms that democracy is what the Iranian people will have as soon as the U.S. cripples the resources of that country, he surely believes what he is saying. The projection seems as true to them now as it was in 2002, 2007, and 2010, as true as it will be in 2017 when a new president, preferably another young man of “spirit” like George W. Bush, succeeds the weak and deplorable Barack Obama. For such people, the battle is never over, and there is always another war ahead. They will push until they are stopped.

Reprinted with permission from TomDispatch.com.

Mass Migration as the New Color Revolution

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 27/08/2015 - 06:01

Europeans ought to be demanding Uncle Sam’s head on a silver platter, and those of their own leaders on pikes.

Thanks to 25 years of lunatic U.S. foreign policy initiatives and relentless military aggressions, the steady drip of illegal immigration into Europe from Africa and the Middle East has become a crisis of refugees. Not only has the U.S. killed and maimed at least a million people and displaced millions more, it has destroyed the property – water, sanitation and transport systems – that support the networks of trade and commerce essential to the survival of developed human communities. The U.S. has  salted great swaths of the Middle East with the desiccated and irradiated debris of war. Disease and contagions lurk in shadows while the agents of violence march in the noonday sun.

Think about it. How many millions might truly have no place to go?

It’s hard to credit the idea that Hillary Clinton, then the U.S. Secretary of State, didn’t understand the consequences of the “responsibility to protect” attack on Libya she and her foreign policy gal pals cooked up around the boiling cauldron that is U.S. foreign policy. Muammar Gaddafi himself loudly warned both Italy and France, who so unwisely joined in the U.S.-instigated Libyan melee, of the flood of refugees that would come from toppling his gatekeeper government.

But why would a flood of refugees into Europe interest U.S. policymakers?

Possibly because the U.S.’s many attempts to bait Russia into attacking Ukrainian armed forces and thereby scare up increased Nato funding from the alliance’s membership have proved a risible failure. Flooding Europe with “swarms” of refugees just might convince Europeans that there is a useful purpose an expanding Nato presence could fulfill immediately.

Those same U.S. policymakers are actively working to inundate the U.S. with millions of  migrants from Mexico and Central America, another imperial playground, on the flimsy  basis of a Barack Obama Executive Order. Eager for a youthful, docile, dependent and cheap population of worker bees, the U.S. federal government is now engaged in draining the last wealth of the American middle class for use in settling and supporting many millions of immigrants, whose children will become the future taxpayers and voters the grotesquely obese federal government requires for its own future survival.

At last then, the long-sought weapons of mass destruction have been located. We can see them clearly now: They are Africa’s and the Middle East’s desperate and dispossessed migrants, and Central America’s young and unwitting illegals, of “the free world’s” creation, and they are on the move.

Preppers Will Be the Last Ones Standing

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 27/08/2015 - 06:01

As we rely more and more on technology, Mirror Online meets a survival expert that tells it like it is.

These days the world is a scary place to live in.

If there’s not an asteroid on its way to obliterate us or terrorists plotting our imminent downfall, there’s the dangers of giant online data hacks or complete economic collapse.

But when the end does arrive, there are a few people who aren’t just able to cope with the apocalypse – they’ve been actively preparing for it.

These people call themselves ‘preppers’ or ‘survivalists’ and they belong to a vast underground community. When the ATMs stop running or the internet goes down, they’ll be the ones that make it out alive.

“Its a huge community, especially in the States. But in the UK it’s becoming more and more recognised,” explained Steve Hart, the man behind the UK’s top prepping website: ukpreppersguide.co.uk.

“Prepping itself is just another form of insurance. People have life, car or pet insurance for the “what ifs” – this is just looking at a “what if” from a slightly different perspective.

“What if a serious earthquake hits? Or a tsunami or a volcano or even a bio-terrorism attack,” said Steve, whose website racks up around 100,000 hits a month.

Admittedly, those situations are a little unlikely – but 59-year-old Steve sets us straight pretty quickly.

“What if the government starts acting up? That’s the number one fear among most preppers: economic collapse.

“The next thing you know the whole world is plummeting down to a position you can’t get out of.”

And technology?

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Yikes! 9 Health Problems

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 27/08/2015 - 06:01

From blood in the urine to ‘man boobs’, there are a host of signs that things aren’t quite right in the male body.

And sometimes seemingly everyday symptoms can be a sign of a more serious disease.

For example, heavy drinking may be a sign of depression, while problems performing in the bedroom is an early indicator of heart disease.

Here, experts reveal to MailOnline the nine health symptoms men should never ignore…

1) ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION

Could be: Heart diseaseAs a last resort, there is a simple plastic surgery operation that can be done to remove the breast tissue, but after it is explained the condition will go away on its own, most people do not opt for it.

In grown men, ‘moobs’ are a sign the testicles are not working properly.

Professor Grossman explained: ‘The pituitary gland stimulates the testicles to produce, but it can’t produce any more so it ends up making more oestrogen.’

It can also be a sign of liver disease, he added, as when the organ becomes damaged, the balance of hormones in the body changes and can cause gynaecomastia.

Men worried they are developing breasts should go to a doctor, who can feel them and see if they ar simply fatty tissue, or breast tissue.

‘The most useful test is to measure the hormone levels in the blood to see if they are imbalanced,’ Professor Grossman concluded.

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What If the ‘Crash’ Is Rigged?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 27/08/2015 - 06:01

Take your pick–here’s three good reasons to engineer a “crash” that benefits the few at the expense of the many.

There is an almost touching faith that markets are rigged when they loft higher, but unrigged when they crash. Who’s to say this crash isn’t rigged? A few things about this “crash” (11% decline from all time highs now qualifies as a “crash”) don’t pass the sniff test.

Exhibit 1: VIX volatility Index soars to “the world is ending” levels when the S&P 500 drops a relatively modest 11%. The VIX above 50 is historically associated with declines of 20% or more–double the current drop.

When the VIX spiked above 50 in 2008, the market ended up down 57%. Now that’s a crash.

Exhibit 2: The VIX soared and the market cratered at the end of options expiration week (OEX), maximizing pain for the majority of punters. Generally speaking, OEX weeks are up. The exceptions are out of the blue lightning bolts such as the collapse of a major investment bank.

Was a modest devaluation in China’s yuan really that unexpected, given the yuan’s peg to the U.S. dollar which has risen 20% in the past year? Sorry, that doesn’t pass the sniff test.

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