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Grecia: è il momento di Bitcoin?

Luogocomune.net - Sab, 04/07/2015 - 11:20
Come leggiamo dalle cronache, nel momento di crisi del contante molte persone in Grecia sono ricorse all'uso di Bitcoin. La nuova moneta elettronica sembra, per certi aspetti, poter rappresentare una soluzione, almeno temporanea, alla chiusura dei conti correnti. Qualcuno aveva anche suggerito che, quando il governo greco ha parlato di una possibile "moneta parallela", Tsipras si riferisse proprio a Bitcoin.

La posizione di Varoufakis però sembra essere quantomeno ambigua al riguardo. Quello che segue è un suo articolo su Bitcoin, pubblicato di recente sul suo blog.

BITCOIN E IL PERICOLOSO SOGNO DI UNA MONETA "APOLITICA"

di Yanis Varoufakis

Che cos'è Bitcoin, e che cosa lo rende un tipo di valuta digitale molto particolare.

Bitcoin è una forma di moneta digitale che può essere usata in Internet per acquistare (un numero limitato di) beni e servizi. Ma la natura digitale di Bitcoin non è ciò che lo rende nuovo e unico. Esiste già infatti una vasta gamma di valuta digitale, compreso i dollari, gli euro, i punti dei frequent flyers, i punti di Amazon, eccetera. Se guardiamo alla semplice moneta (fiat), più del 90% dei dollari, euro, yen eccetera sono di fatto digitali. Quando ad esempio la vostra banca vi fa un prestito, questo appare come valuta digitale nel vostro conto corrente. E quando voi usate una carta di credito o l'Internet per mandare dei soldi a qualcuno da cui avete acquistato beni o servizi, i vostri dollari, euro o yen vanno e vengono come semplici unità di valuta digitale. Soltanto una piccola frazione della normale moneta prende la forma reale di carta o metallo. [...]

The $100 Trillion Bond Bubble Just Burst

Deep Politics Monitor - Sab, 04/07/2015 - 07:34
From ZeroHedge, by Phoenix Capital Research on 07/03/2015   The big story in the world is the bond bubble. For over 30 years, sovereign nations, particularly in the West have been buying votes by offering social payments in the form of welfare, Medicare, social security, and the like. The ridiculousness of this should not be lost on anyone. Politicians, in order to be elected,

The Disastrous Secession From Great Britain

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 04/07/2015 - 06:01

Remnant Review

Lots of people celebrate July 4. I do not.

The Declaration of Independence justified armed secession. It was signed by a handful of lawyers on July 4, 1776. Secession was a way of transferring a great deal of power to colonial legislatures, where most of these lawyers were members. It was a way of replacing governors appointed by the King with governors elected by men of the colonies.

Then the law of unintended consequences once again made itself felt: higher taxes, hyperinflation, price controls, default on state debts, and (in 1788) a new centralized government that dwarfed the power of the British Empire’s distant sovereignty in 1776. Finally, a new firm of democracy arose, a democracy of nine Supreme Court justices. The sovereignty of “we the people” — the most rhetorically powerful and most misleading phrase in American history — morphed into the sovereignty of five justices.

Surprise, surprise — but not to the Anti-Federalists of 1787, and surely not to the loyalists of 1776, who had their property stolen by the new national government after 1783. A hundred thousand of them were in Canada in 1788, living under a far less centralized government.

SECESSION

I am a great believer in secession. I just do not believe in the armed form. Armed secession is sometimes valid as a defensive measure against an illegitimate invasion by the central civil government, but only rarely in history has armed secession not strengthened the political power of the secessionists more than the central government from which the secessionists are seceding.

Secession is first of all a moral rebellion. People perceive that the civil government under which they operate had become inherently immoral. Also, the government shows no sign of reforming itself.

Secession begins when someone offers a moral critique that begins with the individual. Moral reform is above all self-reform. If it is not grounded in a call for self-reform, it is just one more call for a transfer of power to a new group of power-seekers.

Next, this reform impulse spreads to institutions that use private funds and individual talents to begin to reform society. If this program of reform is confined to politics, I recommend the following strategy: keep your hand upon your wallet, and your back against the wall.

Until there is institutional evidence of superior moral performance and superior practical performance in a wide variety of voluntary associations, especially the family, do not commit your money and your emotional commitment to any political reform movement.

Armed rebellion requires arms. Arms require money. Money requires taxation. Taxation has three main forms: direct (income, property, retail sales), indirect (wholesale sales), and monetary inflation.

Armed rebellion requires loans because revenues are never enough to buy the arms.

Armed rebellion requires a top-down chain of command: military ranks funded by centralized taxation.

Armed rebellion throws up — in both senses — new leaders. Their claim to fame during and after the rebellion is their successful management of a new central government.

We can find defenders of armed rebellion who live to regret its outcome. The most famous example in American history is Patrick Henry, a rhetorically skilled lawyer whose political career began with a series of lies and culminated with a profound truth: his famous comment on why he refused to participate in the Constitutional convention. “I smelt a rat in Philadelphia.”

PATRICK HENRY’S RHETORIC

There is no turning-point speech in American history more verifiably false than his “Give me liberty or give me death” speech in 1775. None comes close.

First, there were no notes of it. It was reconstructed by William Wirt and published in 1817 — 43 years after Henry gave his speech, whatever he said. Second, here was its central core (we are told by Wirt):

The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate.

Slavery? Under Great Britain? Parliament had been cutting colonial taxes ever since 1766. It had cut taxes on tea so much that the price of much-favored British tea — by way of India — fell below lower-quality Dutch tea. Against this intolerable act of tax-cutting, the failed former collector Sam Adams in late 1773 organized what we call in retrospect the Boston tea party. It was a revolt against lower tea taxes and lower tea prices. (As Casey Stengel used to say: “You can look it up.”) Paul Revere & Co., in their disguises, tossed privately owned tea off of a privately owned ship.

Sam Adams organized the revolt through his branch of a secret society, the Sons of Liberty. The Sons had been created in 1765 to resist the stamp taxes. They kidnapped tax officials, stripped them naked, poured liquid tar over them, and then covered them in feathers. They threatened any tax official with more of the same. Then Britain abolished the taxes. But the organization persisted, as violent secret societies usually do.

Adams mobilized the remnants of the Sons of Liberty to oppose the reduced tea tax in 1773. The Sons organized the tea party in December. The British closed to port of Boston in response to what was clearly criminal activity by a revolutionary secret society. In response, Adams began mobilizing the inter-colonial committees of correspondence. Henry gave his speech as an extension of Adams’ mobilization.

Slavery? OK, here is a pop quiz. Write down the names of three nations that offered its residents greater liberty than Great Britain did in 1775. I will give you a hint: a mountain nation that never goes to war and which is not known for any inspiring political rhetoric. Name two more.

You can’t.

Neither could Henry.

He (or Wirt) then escalated his rhetoric.

Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

Ah, yes: temporal salvation through politics. To use Homer’s tale of Odysseus pinned to the mast, this is mankind’s great siren song, right up there with that follow-up lyric: “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you.” As with Lincoln’s hallowed (sacred) ground at Gettysburg, Bryan’s cross of gold, and Franklin Roosevelt’s 1933 imagery of the flight of the moneychangers from the temple of civilization, Henry’s rhetoric invoked the Bible: idols that hear not and see not.

Then he upped the rhetorical ante: “Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss.”

Then came the bottom line: a call to political revolution in the name of God. “I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!”

And fight they did. To pay for it, Congress printed money: the continentals. This produced America’s only hyperinflation. To stop price inflation, it imposed price controls. Starvation at Valley Forge was the immediate result. Congress and the colonies borrowed. After the war, neither the central government nor the state governments could repay these loans. All of the governments taxed. And taxed. And taxed. The level of taxation after the war was at least three times what it had been before, and it never went back to those pre-war levels again.

Then the young men of the revolution had to settle for political offices in the states. The war was over. Wartime centralization ended. The national government of the United States of America had little influence after 1783. It had to have unanimous support of the states to pass any law, and it could only rarely get this. There were tight chains on national political power. The result was another secession movement organized by the young men of the revolution: secession from the Articles of Confederation.

In the summer of 1787, a closed conclave was held in Philadelphia. No outsider was allowed to attend. It was held on the second floor, so that no citizen could hear the debates. Then the new Constitution was ratified illegally. There was no unanimity required for ratification, and no legislature could vote — a violation of the Articles.

Henry correctly identified the nature of this conclave. I have written a book on it: Conspiracy in PhiladelphiaIt’s free. Henry did his best to keep the Virginia convention from ratifying the Constitution, but his rhetoric failed this time. Madison outflanked him.

Read the Whole Article

Important Self-Defense Lesson

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 04/07/2015 - 06:01

Covington VA –-(Ammoland.com)- A former Cable News Network (CNN) reporter, Chuck de Caro, and his wife, Lynne Russell, who is a former CNN anchor, were involved in an attempted holdup in New Mexico.

The result, as documented in the coverage below, was a violent shootout.  Lynne was not hurt, Chuck was shot, but is expected to survive, and the bad guy is deceased.

Lynne opened their hotel room door to get something from the car, when a man pushed his way through the door, armed with a handgun.  After taking Chuck’s briefcase, the bad guy turned and started shooting.  Chuck returned fire ( he and Lynne are CHP holders).

A full-fledged shootout ensued, with Chuck getting shot THREE TIMES – twice in the abdomen and once in the leg!

HERE IS AN IMPORTANT REAL-LIFE LESSON:  DO NOT GIVE UP, even if you are shot.

As long as you are conscious, keep returning fire and fighting. If Chuck had given up, the bad guy would probably have murdered him and Lynne. As it was, Chuck, though badly wounded, won – the bad guy stumbled into the parking lot and died.

Notice in the CNN piece below, that they make a point of Chuck having been in the Special Forces and Lynne having been a reserve deputy sheriff.  I think CNN simply can’t accept that a regular citizen with a CHP would actually carry a gun, much less survive and win such a gun battle!

I guess they don’t watch the news at CNN.

Read the Whole Article

What If Gold Is Declared Illegal?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 04/07/2015 - 06:01

Over the weekend, the lines in Greece stretched along the street. Around the corner. Down the block.

Lines to get cash. Lines to buy gas. Lines of people eager to get their hands on something of value. Food. Fuel. Cash.

Pity the poor guy who was last in line…

…the poor taxi driver, for example, standing behind 300 other people, trying to get 200 lousy euros out of an ATM.

Like a tragic nightclub customer… among the last to smell the smoke. By the time he headed for the exit, it was clogged with desperate people, all struggling to get through the same narrow door at the same time.

Remember: When a bear attacks in the woods, you don’t have to be faster than the bear. You just have to be faster than at least one other hiker…

The Beginning of the End

Likewise, you don’t have to be the first one to get your money out of an ATM. You just want to be sure you get your money before the machine runs out of cash.

And when a bear attacks Wall Street, you don’t have to be the first to sell. But you definitely don’t want to be the last.

The Dow lost 350 points yesterday – its biggest point drop in two years.

Today, Greece is expected to default on a $1.7-billion payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). And on the other side of the planet, analysts are looking at “the beginning of the end for Chinese stocks.”

We doubt it is the beginning of the end. More likely, it is just the end of the beginning.

On Friday, the People’s Bank of China cut rates to a record low, after stocks in Shanghai slipped 7% in a single day (the equivalent of about 1,300 points on the Dow).

Analysts expected a big rally in response to the rate cut. Instead, the Shanghai Index plunged again on Monday, dropping 3%.

Greece… China… said one commentator interviewed by Bloomberg:

“You have a potentially very ugly situation this week.”

Our guess: Stocks in the U.S. and China have topped out.

Old-timer Richard Russell, who has been studying markets since 1958, agrees:

I believe the top has appeared, like the proverbial thief in the night. The Dow has fallen below the 18,000-point level, and is now negative for the year.

The Transports, which have led the way recently, are down triple digits for today and are only 89 points above the critical level of 8,000. The Nasdaq has closed under 5,000. At the market’s close, gold was up 5.3 at 1,179.

When Gold Is Declared Illegal…

But wait… What about silver and gold?

As regular readers know, we recommend having some cash on hand in case of a monetary emergency. But a reader asks:

In the same vein as your reader’s question as to what good cash is when it’s declared illegal, what good is gold when gold is declared illegal?

First, precious metals aren’t illegal, so far. Second, making something illegal doesn’t necessarily make it unpopular.

President Roosevelt banned gold in 1933. The feds wanted complete control of money. The dollar was backed by gold. So getting control of the dollar meant getting control of gold.

Once the feds had the gold, they could devalue the dollar by resetting the dollar-gold price from $20 to $35. In an instant, people lost more than 40% of their wealth (as measured by gold).

That ban lasted for 42 years. It ended in 1975, largely because of our old friend Jim Blanchard. Jim set up the National Committee to Legalize Gold and worked hard to get the ban lifted.

Today, the feds don’t need to outlaw gold. It is regarded as “just another asset,” like Van Gogh paintings or ’66 Corvettes. Few people own it. Few people care – not even the feds. They are unlikely to pay much attention to it – at least, for now.

That could change when the lines begin to grow longer. Smart people will turn to gold… not just in time, but just in case. It is a form of cash – traditionally, the best form. You can control it. And with it, you can trade for fuel, food, and other forms of wealth.

Lots of things can go wrong in a crisis. Cash helps you get through it.

Generally, the price of gold rises with uncertainty and desperation. (More on the current outlook on gold in today’s Market Insight below…)

Gold is useful. Like Bitcoin and dollars in hand (as opposed to dollars the bank owes you), gold is not under the thumb of the government… or the banks. You don’t have to stand in line to get it. Or to spend it.

Yes, as more and more people turn to gold as a way to avoid standing in lines, the feds could ban it again.

But when we close our eyes and try to peer into a world where gold is illegal, what we see is a world where we want it more than ever.

Reprinted with permission from Bonner & Partners.

My ‘Soldier of Fortune’ Days

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 04/07/2015 - 06:01

Shot in Lebanon just before the 241 Marines were killed by the suicide truck, utterly preventable except for the stupidity of the State Department and the lack of balls of the Marine command. Don’t get me started. All photos mine.

 

Those were wilder times, hardier times, memorable and loose. The veterans of Vietnam were not yet aged and, as happens after wars, did not settle easily into selling air filters at the NAPA outlet. They had lain atop Amtracs in the tropical night, with star shells blazing white in the sky and the smoke trailing almost solid and the distant roar and thump of artillery. They had known the fast flight of helicopters over emerald-green dangerous jungle and the clotting dead and garish disemboweled and the crack of AKs. It was not preparation for the boredom of civilian life.

And so they came, we came, some of us, to work for Soldier of Fortune, dread magazine of purported mercenaries, in Boulder, to the horror of soft, nice liberals whose town it was. SOF was more a pretext and framework for international adventuring than anything else, although it was honest journalism. The staff were ballsy, uproarious, given to guns and motorcycles and skydiving and the holy god Adrenaline. Unconventional. I doubt that they had even heard of convention.

America was not then the pansy world of today. This was before our age of milquetoasts, sick-puppy transgenders who lop their willies off, and squishy delicates in panties who have never jumped from a high-wing Cessna or seen the eagle rays 130 feet down on Caribbean walls or even baited a fish hook. Because the nation’s vets subscribed heavily to SOF, the money was there for trips to the world’s war zones. We didn’t waste it. Staffers and freelances went in and out of Afghanistan, Laos, Israel, Africa.

SOF sold a sordid smell, sold dark dreams of sentries with their throats slit on night-time ops, and many came through the offices who had done these things. Yet the sordidness was mostly marketing. The staff were the most intelligent of all the publications I have worked for. There are men of high intellect who don’t want a life of faculty meetings or corporate law. Jim Graves, managing editor, a Marine of the Walking Dead in Asia. Dana Drenkowski, fighter pilot, later lawyer. Jim Morris, three-tour SF, one of the best writers I have read. (Above and Beyond is my favorite of his books.) Bob Brown himself. Donna Duvall, not military but classy, Southern, and as bright as they come. Jim Coyne, two-tour door gunner and later pro photog. I’m not sure whether Kenn Miller, former LURP who reads classical Chinese like English, was in the group, but fit the profile. His Tiger the Lurp Dog is well worth a read. SOF was a ticket to ride, which is exactly why Bob Brown, retired Army colonel, had founded it. We rode. God, did we ever.

I forget exactly where this was, but probably in El Salvador. I do remember the mosquitos. Enough photos of men crouching with rifles and you could begin to think the human race consists exclusively of idiots.

I became scuba editor. It was an excuse to go diving with spec-ops groups whenever I got the chance. Tourist scuba is nice with all the pretty fish, but deep and dark come to appeal. We were kind of cowboys about it.

And stories, thousands of stories. Our unstated motto probably was “He who dies with the most stories wins.” I remember one night diving with Force Recon off Vieques in Puerto Rico. The elite outfits dive without lights for obvious reasons, as the bad guys would throw grenades at glowing parts of the ocean. Not optimal. You follow the fins, like rubber bat wings, of the guy in front of you by the faint glow of infiltrating moonlight.

Anyway, one night I was aboard an insertion boat, a fair-sized fast craft laughably regarded then as stealthed, and we were pulling an RB-15 inflatable boat full of Recons. Warm wind, muffled engines, slap-slap of water, that sort of thing. The idea was that we would pull them to a hundred yards of shore and then pop a shuttered strobe to tell them to cut loose and paddle the rest of the way in.

From a couple of weeks in the Angolan bush with Jonas Savimbi. I like to call the photo “Carry a Fill Flash, Stupid.” On my return I once spoke to some really nice people about the difficulty of shooting blacks in Africa, thinking they would understand that I meant “photographing blacks.” They didn’t.

 

I had one of those high-powered Vivitar flashes to shoot some other things going on and asked the skipper if I could us it. Sure, he said. I did. The Recons being dragged behind thought it was the strobe and cut loose a mile and a half from shore and had to paddle…. No, they didn’t kill me, but probably considered it.

With the IDF somewhere in occupied Lebanon.

 

Again, it was a man’s world, a thing not in good odor today among the flowers and cup cakes and squealing little sweeties all worried about microaggressions. We would land in San Salvador and go around customs courtesy of the military authorities because some of us were carrying things customs wouldn’t have liked. By day we cruised the countryside with the military and by night ran the bars and whorehouses. For many of us this had been the drill over half of Asia. I know, your mother wouldn’t have liked it.  There are many alive today who knew Linda’s Surprise Bar in Saigon, the Khemara in Phnom Penh, Lucy’s Tiger Den in Bangkok, and the Blue Fox in Tijuana. All very shocking, I don’t doubt.

On assignment with SOF in the Third World you met men who made Batman look like an accountant in tortoise-shell glasses. Some were legitimate: Mark Berent, Papa Wolf, who flew Fast FAC — forward air control — in F-4s over Indian country in Nam. Others were less wholesome. There was Frank, I’ll call him, a wee short guy who would kill you in a heart beat — .45 ACP was his means of choice — and had been involved in a helicopter jail-break from….well, he was Frank. Nobody at SOF committed murder, or did much of anything seriously illegal under US law, though it is possible that certain of the writers may have partaken of ganja, the herb, that evil  marijuhweeny.

Nah.

Partying at Soldier of Fortune. Left to right: Byron the Enforcer, Reg Hoolihan, Mary squeeze of Bob Brown, Bob Hisself, and Mouse. Not all of these were the men of exceptional intelligence I mentioned. Maybe you guessed.

 

Other countries’ laws were another thing. There were border crossings that occurred without notification of the national authorities. (If you are sneaking into Laos to look for POWs, which some SOFers did, you probably don’t call the Communist government in Vientiane to let them know.)

Even in America we saw a side of life that would send Ivy darlings running for Mommy’s apron, and perhaps reorder their social thinking. The cops in Denver thought SOF was a righteous mag, and so I got a ride-along with a couple of cops who regarded me as an ally rather than an enemy. It was on East Colfax, a bad-ass section. As tourism, nothing else, they took me to a squalid apartment full of scag-heads.  The rooms were hot, stiflingly hot, and half a dozen black guys were nodded out, too much so to pay us any attention. The air stank of tuna fish, which apparently all they ate if they remembered to eat at all — and the walls were so covered in scurrying roaches that it was like living wallpaper. The cops didn’t do anything to them. What would have been the point? But it wasn’t the city that people think they live in. It was my introduction to police life.

Recons at Lejeune. Civilians usually haven’t heard of them. They say heartwarming things like, “Crush their skulls and eat their faces.” Not many transgenders.

 

Time went by, the vets got too old for SOF, and the staffers and freelancers moved on. Graves went back to school in computer science and built a career, Donna moved to Paladin Press as an editor, Drenkowski is a prosecuting attorney in California, and I turned into a respectable, if that is quite the word, reporter. While it lasted, it was a hell of a show.

Acid Reflux, Gas, Bloating?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 04/07/2015 - 06:01

INDIGESTION – From gas and bloating to acid reflux – if you have it, you want to get rid of it. But don’t fall for something that just gets rid of the symptoms, look to address the underlying cause.

Most indigestion is the result of INSUFFICIENT ENZYMES and/or INSUFFICIENT STOMACH ACID. The most common remedy is some sort of acid blocker that makes proper digestion impossible. Antacids and acid blockers perpetuate the problems of indigestion. They neutralize or block stomach acid, preventing the stomach from digesting food. A vicious cycle is then set up since more acid is needed to digest the food; so, more acid is then produced in the stomach, then more antacid is needed, then the stomach produces more acid, etc.

GOOD DIGESTION is important. If you are wanting to be healthier, commit to fixing your digestion so that you do not need acid blockers. Many of the symptoms of indigestion will disappear when digestive enzymes are supplemented – especially those with betaine HCL, a mild form of hydrochloric acid (similar to what your stomach naturally produces.)

If ENZYMES keep you from getting indigestion, then your indigestion was an enzyme deficiency. Levels of enzymes available to digest food decline with age. Supplementing with trace minerals can help increase enzyme levels, but supplementing with enzymes is necessary if you are eating cooked and processed food. Raw food contains lots of enzymes. Cooking and processing food destroys enzymes.

Most ACID INDIGESTION is actually caused by not enough stomach acid. Again, this can be a problem of age. Supplementing with enzymes containing betaine HCL will be helpful as will raw apple cider vinegar.

FOOD SENSITIVITIES will also bring on indigestion. The two big offenders are dairy and white flour. Blood types also influence this – types A and AB do not produce as much stomach acid as the other types and will need to supplement with betaine HCL when eating meat. Look at your blood type diet to see if you are eating foods you should avoid.

A DAMAGED STOMACH LINING can also cause indigestion. Inflammation of the stomach lining is generally caused and/or aggravated by poor eating habits such as eating the wrong types of food, eating too fast, drinking too much liquid with meals, eating when upset or anxious, and/or eating too much. Chronic inflammation of the stomach lining can lead to h. Pylori and even ulcers.

You can REPAIR STOMACH LINING by taking supplements like aloe vera, slippery elm, and deglycerrhized licorice. It may also be helpful to take something to eliminate bacteria or parasites that are compromising the stomach lining. There are many good supplements on the market. I recommend one called Gastro Health.

Remember that YOUR HEALTH is directly tied to what you eat and how you digest it. Don’t assume that whatever you put into your mouth is going to be digested and nourish you if your digestive system is not working well. You are what you eat, assimilate and do not eliminate.

Real Freedom Networks

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 04/07/2015 - 06:01

All around us formal, officially approved avenues of freedom seem to be closing down at an unprecedented rate. The Grand Pooh-Bahs of the system want you and I on their grid, numbered and registered like sheep on their animal farm, so we can be herded, fleeced and sheared at will with no way of escape.

Unfortunately for the Pooh-Bahs with their puppet politicians, insiders and officials, they are in the minority. There’s just not much room at the top of a pagan pyramid. Even the brainwashed people below will go along only as long as they are not really annoyed, inconvenienced or made flagrantly and obviously the poorer by doing so.

The bigger and more out of control the system gets however, the more such undesirable effects are manifest and thus in ordinary society, pockets of discontent always arise. The elite vested interests thus have little choice (given their moral condition) but to turn to that age old default mode for much of the world: tyranny – backed by violence and the fear of punishment, publicly underlined in recent times by an overt willingness to torture opponents or lock them up for life.

Informal Freedom

In the past I lived in one such society for a few years; in a part of what was known as the “third world”. True, I missed the very worst peak of tyranny – for example, when a relative’s house was raided for firearms, which he had the wisdom to stash elsewhere. Thank God, the worst peaks of tyranny rarely last long, as people finally have their eyes opened and popular support begins to wane.

But hyperinflation was still in full swing, while the rules and arbitrary powers of officialdom were piled high, chiefly so that the officials could extract a “dash” – otherwise known as a bribe. As for this way of life and doing business, that’s just the way it is in much of the world. I can highly recommend a reading of the recent LewRockwell.com article, “The Art of Bribing Bureaucrats” which describes the situation exactly.

Some officials were actually helpful – after all, they were not responsible for the rules – and would only accept a “dash” after they had assisted you round the obstacle. I paid those gladly. Others, the petty tyrants, would overtly extort money by refusing to do their job at all unless an amount was paid in advance, usually to be followed at the last minute by more.

All this seems pretty bad and, at least to those with their heads out of the sand, looks like the way western civilization is heading. Well, it was bad in some ways – mostly whenever direct contact with officialdom could not be avoided – but it would be a big mistake to end the discussion there.

Yes, on paper, formal freedom was lacking and anything under public control could be relied upon not to work. But in practice it must be said that doing business was actually freer than it was in the then stable, but also highly regulated “first world”. There were more informal risks of course and cheating was common, but after a period of acclimatisation this became manageable. Even so, this cannot be compared to the level of formal fleecing in the first world – today an average overall, of around 50% of western economies, but officially exceeding 57% in places like France. Others credibly estimate closer to 75% for some even in the US.

This way of informal freedom is exactly how much of the world operates – and not just in the third world but also in the “second” world, like the European “PIGS” countries. As long as I can remember for example, the Italian economy has been saved from complete disaster by the so-called “black” – but actually the somewhat free – economy. Wherever this kind of economy prevails, it acts as freedom’s escape valve and all of the official headlines, on-paper rules, facts and figures must be completely ignored. Apart from large favoured companies, which represent the easiest focus for mass tax extraction, access to the real economy is simply not available through these formal avenues.

Networks of Fellowship

To avail oneself of the wild but free informal economy, everything comes down to private networking and most of all, not just what you can do but who you know. There may well be a central hub – such as a particular bar or club – in some sectors of this free economy. But this hub in turn interacts with other networks of fellowship and business, which may centre round anything from a profession or trade, to family ties or old school mates. On the periphery, there will therefore likely be secondary contacts within the key bureaucracies that are otherwise an obstacle to all. In many parts of the world, this is the only way to get anything done – to know somebody who knows somebody who can get something done by going through, under or around the rules.

Obviously the members of core private networks will only be accepted if they are proven to be reliable. And usually, what they do is legal – the main obstacle to be overcome being the arbitrary, interfering and obstructive nature of super-empowered bureaucracy. Typically, these networks are not criminal secret societies at all – but with public criminals at the reins of power, both private criminals and private businessmen do end up coming under the heading of the “informal sector”.

One notable example of such networking is prevalent across the Far East and India in the realm of money transfer. The system is known as “hawala”: Money is paid in at one end (which may be in another region or country) and an unrelated but willing partner (an individual or a business) at the other end delivers the amount in the desired currency or form to its destination, less a reasonable fee. Although of itself morally sound as a neutral conduit, “hawala” can be illegal, depending upon the countries involved, but it is nevertheless a system universally known and utilised by all from the least to the greatest.

There are always many such interconnecting private networks that help maintain productivity in oppressive environments. Where I was located, most serious deals were and still are sealed at a certain club, between good friends over a beer. Any paperwork comes later.

The main point to take away is that today’s state approved headlines, with their psychologically directed and spun events, to justify political and regulatory announcements are not the whole picture by a long way. In the third world, this lesson is learned quickly: As oppression increases, so the legitimacy and esteem of the government decreases in the eyes of the people, with a near total disregard for its media mouthpieces, while life – mostly – just goes on regardless.

The Formation of Ideas

Yes, it seems disappointing when the balance of formal liberty tips: Even the Swiss have to some extent been purchased by an unsustainable welfare state which has eroded dependence upon (and belief in) the natural bonds of family – and the independent family homestead as their social safety net. In the absence of the militarism that has plagued many other western countries; it is this, more than any other factor, which has eroded their instinct for liberty. The same balance however, tipped long ago in the highly militaristic UK, as it has now to varying degrees, within the states of the US.

Hand in hand, the spiritual balance has tipped also:  Statist-in-chief Stalin had enough evil insight to claim that “religion is the opium of the masses” and so proceeded to institute a state approved church, serving to pollute the faith of those in whom state-worshipping atheism could not be fully inculcated. In a similar way, but in slower motion, it is likewise the pollution of Christian teaching that has facilitated the rise of western tyranny over the ashes of the family and church. As the Lord himself said, “You are salt of the earth… but if the salt loses its savour, it is good for nothing but to be thrown out…”

But still there is hope, and it lies outside the permitted realm of thought that the state controlled media constantly preach over the air. To counter this, our fellows must be presented with the ideas of liberty and truth in all realms: From economics and civil order, which encompasses the outward sphere of all our lives; to social provision – where there can be no lasting alternative to the decentralized family framework; to, above all, spiritual truth that liberates rather than enslaves.

Soon, people will be more receptive – once the utter failure of the carefully crafted pack of lies they have been fed day and night from that same media system has been revealed. They will also recall any truth they heard but dismissed in the “good” times, by those faithful enough to present it then, regardless of cost.

Conclusion

Society today reminds me of the way it felt before a rain storm in the tropics – the heat was intense and the humidity oppressive. So when the torrent finally came, it stopped all activity for a while, but it was actually a great relief.

Economically, we may not know when the real trouble will begin – perhaps things will stagger along for some time, though I doubt it. But in the meantime, we need to maximise whatever freedom we can and wherever possible, establish trusted private networks of fellowship and business.

When we cannot meet or do business in person, there are always the wonders of modern technology which can facilitate private meetings online, such as the CryptoCom private communications hub  (OK past the certificate “warning” – temporary password “freedom1“). In this way, we can make the most of every window of opportunity, and help others avoid pitfalls.

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

Greece Has Fallen Victim

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 04/07/2015 - 06:01

“Greece is being ‘hit’, there’s no doubt about it,” exclaims John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, noting that “[Indebted countries] become servants to what I call the corporatocracy … today we have a global empire, and it’s not an American empire. It’s not a national empire… It’s a corporate empire, and the big corporations rule.

Via Truth-Out.org,

John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, discusses how Greece and other eurozone countries have become the new victims of “economic hit men.”

John Perkins is no stranger to making confessions. His well-known book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, revealed how international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, while publicly professing to “save” suffering countries and economies, instead pull a bait-and-switch on their governments: promising startling growth, gleaming new infrastructure projects and a future of economic prosperity – all of which would occur if those countries borrow huge loans from those organizations. Far from achieving runaway economic growth and success, however, these countries instead fall victim to a crippling and unsustainable debt burden.

That’s where the “economic hit men” come in: seemingly ordinary men, with ordinary backgrounds, who travel to these countries and impose the harsh austerity policies prescribed by the IMF and World Bank as “solutions” to the economic hardship they are now experiencing. Men like Perkins were trained to squeeze every last drop of wealth and resources from these sputtering economies, and continue to do so to this day. In this interview, which aired on Dialogos Radio, Perkins talks about how Greece and the eurozone have become the new victims of such “economic hit men.”

Michael Nevradakis: In your book, you write about how you were, for many years, a so-called “economic hit man.” Who are these economic hit men, and what do they do?

John Perkins: Essentially, my job was to identify countries that had resources that our corporations want, and that could be things like oil – or it could be markets – it could be transportation systems. There’re so many different things. Once we identified these countries, we arranged huge loans to them, but the money would never actually go to the countries; instead it would go to our own corporations to build infrastructure projects in those countries, things like power plants and highways that benefitted a few wealthy people as well as our own corporations, but not the majority of people who couldn’t afford to buy into these things, and yet they were left holding a huge debt, very much like what Greece has today, a phenomenal debt.

And once [they were] bound by that debt, we would go back, usually in the form of the IMF – and in the case of Greece today, it’s the IMF and the EU [European Union] – and make tremendous demands on the country: increase taxes, cut back on spending, sell public sector utilities to private companies, things like power companies and water systems, transportation systems, privatize those, and basically become a slave to us, to the corporations, to the IMF, in your case to the EU, and basically, organizations like the World Bank, the IMF, the EU, are tools of the big corporations, what I call the “corporatocracy.”

And before turning specifically to the case of Greece, let’s talk a little bit more about the manner in which these economic hit men and these organizations like the IMF operate. You mentioned, of course, how they go in and they work to get these countries into massive debt, that money goes in and then goes straight back out. You also mentioned in your book these overly optimistic growth forecasts that are sold to the politicians of these countries but which really have no resemblance to reality.

Exactly, we’d show that if these investments were made in things like electric energy systems that the economy would grow at phenomenally high rates. The fact of the matter is, when you invest in these big infrastructure projects, you do see economic growth, however, most of that growth reflects the wealthy getting wealthier and wealthier; it doesn’t reflect the majority of the people, and we’re seeing that in the United States today.

For example, where we can show economic growth, growth in the GDP, but at the same time unemployment may be going up or staying level, and foreclosures on houses may be going up or staying stable. These numbers tend to reflect the very wealthy, since they have a huge percentage of the economy, statistically speaking. Nevertheless, we would show that when you invest in these infrastructure projects, your economy does grow, and yet, we would even show it growing much faster than it ever conceivably would, and that was only used to justify these horrendous, incredibly debilitating loans.

Is there a common theme with respect to the countries typically targeted? Are they, for instance, rich in resources or do they typically possess some other strategic importance to the powers that be?

Yes, all of those. Resources can take many different forms: One is the material resources like minerals or oil; another resource is strategic location; another resource is a big marketplace or cheap labor. So, different countries make different requirements. I think what we’re seeing in Europe today isn’t any different, and that includes Greece.

What happens once these countries that are targeted are indebted? How do these major powers, these economic hit men, these international organizations come back and get their “pound of flesh,” if you will, from the countries that are heavily in debt?

By insisting that the countries adopt policies that will sell their publicly owned utility companies, water and sewage systems, maybe schools, transportation systems, even jails, to the big corporations. Privatize, privatize. Allow us to build military bases on their soil. Many things can be done, but basically, they become servants to what I call the corporatocracy. You have to remember that today we have a global empire, and it’s not an American empire. It’s not a national empire. It doesn’t help the American people very much. It’s a corporate empire, and the big corporations rule. They control the politics of the United States, and to a large degree they control a great deal of the policies of countries like China, around the world.

John, looking specifically now at the case of Greece, of course you mentioned your belief that the country has become the victim of economic hit men and these international organizations . . . what was your reaction when you first heard about the crisis in Greece and the measures that were to be implemented in the country?

I’ve been following Greece for a long time. I was on Greek television. A Greek film company did a documentary called “Apology of an Economic Hit Man,” and I also spent a lot of time in Iceland and in Ireland. I was invited to Iceland to help encourage the people there to vote on a referendum not to repay their debts, and I did that and encouraged them not to, and they did vote no, and as a result, Iceland is doing quite well now economically compared to the rest of Europe. Ireland, on the other hand: I tried to do the same thing there, but the Irish people apparently voted against the referendum, though there’s been many reports that there was a lot of corruption.

In the case of Greece, my reaction was that “Greece is being hit.” There’s no question about it. Sure, Greece made mistakes, your leaders made some mistakes, but the people didn’t really make the mistakes, and now the people are being asked to pay for the mistakes made by their leaders, often in cahoots with the big banks. So, people make tremendous amounts of money off of these so-called “mistakes,” and now, the people who didn’t make the mistakes are being asked to pay the price. That’s consistent around the world: We’ve seen it in Latin America. We’ve seen it in Asia. We’ve seen it in so many places around the world.

This leads directly to the next question I had: From my observation, at least in Greece, the crisis has been accompanied by an increase in self-blame or self-loathing; there’s this sentiment in Greece that many people have that the country failed, that the people failed . . . there’s hardly even protest in Greece anymore, and of course there’s a huge “brain drain” – there’s a lot of people that are leaving the country. Does this all seem familiar to you when comparing to other countries in which you’ve had personal experience?

Sure, that’s part of the game: convince people that they’re wrong, that they’re inferior. The corporatocracy is incredibly good at that, whether it is back during the Vietnam War, convincing the world that the North Vietnamese were evil; today it’s the Muslims. It’s a policy of them versus us: We are good. We are right. We do everything right. You’re wrong. And in this case, all of this energy has been directed at the Greek people to say “you’re lazy; you didn’t do the right thing; you didn’t follow the right policies,” when in actuality, an awful lot of the blame needs to be laid on the financial community that encouraged Greece to go down this route. And I would say that we have something very similar going on in the United States, where people here are being led to believe that because their house is being foreclosed that they were stupid, that they bought the wrong houses; they overspent themselves.

The fact of the matter is their bankers told them to do this, and around the world, we’ve come to trust bankers – or we used to. In the United States, we never believed that a banker would tell us to buy a $500,000 house if in fact we could really only afford a $300,000 house. We thought it was in the bank’s interest not to foreclose. But that changed a few years ago, and bankers told people who they knew could only afford a $300,000 house to buy a $500,000 house.

“Tighten your belt, in a few years that house will be worth a million dollars; you’ll make a lot of money” . . . in fact, the value of the house went down; the market dropped out; the banks foreclosed on these houses, repackaged them, and sold them again. Double whammy. The people were told, “you were stupid; you were greedy; why did you buy such an expensive house?” But in actuality, the bankers told them to do this, and we’ve grown up to believe that we can trust our bankers. Something very similar on a larger scale happened in so many countries around the world, including Greece.

In Greece, the traditional major political parties are, of course, overwhelmingly in favor of the harsh austerity measures that have been imposed, but also we see that the major business and media interests are also overwhelmingly in support. Does this surprise you in the slightest?

No, it doesn’t surprise me and yet it’s ridiculous because austerity does not work. We’ve proven that time and time again, and perhaps the greatest proof was the opposite, in the United States during the Great Depression, when President Roosevelt initiated all these policies to put people back to work, to pump money into the economy. That’s what works. We know that austerity does not work in these situations.

We also have to understand that, in the United States for example, over the past 40 years, the middle class has been on the decline on a real dollar basis, while the economy has been increasing. In fact, that’s pretty much happened around the world. Globally, the middle class has been in decline. Big business needs to recognize – it hasn’t yet, but it needs to recognize – that that serves nobody’s long-term interest, that the middle class is the market. And if the middle class continues to be in decline, whether it’s in Greece or the United States or globally, ultimately businesses will pay the price; they won’t have customers. Henry Ford once said: “I want to pay all my workers enough money so they can go out and buy Ford cars.” That’s a very good policy. That’s wise. This austerity program moves in the opposite direction and it’s a foolish policy.

In your book, which was written in 2004, you expressed hope that the euro would serve as a counterweight to American global hegemony, to the hegemony of the US dollar. Did you ever expect that we would see in the European Union what we are seeing today, with austerity that is not just in Greece but also in Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, and also several other countries as well?

What I didn’t realize during any of this period was how much corporatocracy does not want a united Europe. We need to understand this. They may be happy enough with the euro, with one currency – they are happy to a certain degree by having it united enough that markets are open – but they do not want standardized rules and regulations. Let’s face it, big corporations, the corporatocracy, take advantage of the fact that some countries in Europe have much more lenient tax laws, some have much more lenient environmental and social laws, and they can pit them against each other.

What would it be like for big corporations if they didn’t have their tax havens in places like Malta or other places? I think we need to recognize that what the corporatocracy saw at first, the solid euro, a European union seemed like a very good thing, but as it moved forward, they could see that what was going to happen was that social and environmental laws and regulations were going to be standardized. They didn’t want that, so to a certain degree what’s been going on in Europe has been because the corporatocracy wants Europe to fail, at least on a certain level.

You wrote about the examples of Ecuador and other countries, which after the collapse of oil prices in the late ’80s found themselves with huge debts and this, of course, led to massive austerity measures . . . sounds all very similar to what we are now seeing in Greece. How did the people of Ecuador and other countries that found themselves in similar situations eventually resist?

Ecuador elected a pretty remarkable president, Rafael Correa, who has a PhD in economics from a United States university. He understands the system, and he understood that Ecuador took on these debts back when I was an economic hit man and the country was ruled by a military junta that was under the control of the CIA and the US. That junta took on these huge debts, put Ecuador in deep debt; the people didn’t agree to that. When Rafael Correa was democratically elected, he immediately said, “We’re not paying these debts; the people did not take on these debts; maybe the IMF should pay the debts and maybe the junta, which of course was long gone – moved to Miami or someplace – should pay the debts, maybe John Perkins and the other economic hit men should pay the debts, but the people shouldn’t.”

And since then, he’s been renegotiating and bringing the debts way down and saying, “We might be willing to pay some of them.” That was a very smart move; it reflected similar things that had been done at different times in places like Brazil and Argentina, and more recently, following that model, Iceland, with great success. I have to say that Correa has had some real setbacks since then . . . he, like so many presidents, has to be aware that if you stand up too strongly against the system, if the economic hit men are not happy, if they don’t get their way, then the jackals will come in and assassinate you or overthrow you in a coup. There was an attempted coup against him; there was a successful coup in a country not too far away from him, Honduras, because these presidents stood up.

We have to realize that these presidents are in very, very vulnerable positions, and ultimately we the people have to stand up, because leaders can only do a certain amount. Today, in many places, leaders are not just vulnerable; it doesn’t take a bullet to bring down a leader anymore. A scandal – a sex scandal, a drug scandal – can bring down a leader. We saw that happen to Bill Clinton, to Strauss-Kahn of the IMF; we’ve seen it happen a number of times. These leaders are very aware that they are in very vulnerable positions: If they stand up or go against the status quo too strongly, they’re going to be taken out, one way or another. They’re aware of that, and it behooves we the people to really stand up for our own rights.

You mentioned the recent example of Iceland . . . other than the referendum that was held, what other measures did the country adopt to get out of this spiral of austerity and to return to growth and to a much more positive outlook for the country?

It’s been investing money in programs that put people back to work and it’s also been putting on trial some of the bankers that caused the problems, which has been a big uplift in terms of morale for the people. So Iceland has launched some programs that say “No, we’re not going to go into austerity; we’re not going to pay back these loans; we’re going to put the money into putting people back to work,” and ultimately that’s what drives an economy, people working. If you’ve got high unemployment, like you do in Greece today, extremely high unemployment, the country’s always going to be in trouble. You’ve got to bring down that unemployment, you’ve got to hire people. It’s so important to put people back to work. Your unemployment is about 28 percent; it’s staggering, and disposable income has dropped 40 percent and it’s going to continue to drop if you have high unemployment. So, the important thing for an economy is to get the employment up and get disposable income back up, so that people will invest in their country and in goods and services.

In closing, what message would you like to share with the people of Greece, as they continue to experience and to live through the very harsh results of the austerity policies that have been implemented in the country for the past three years?

I want to draw upon Greece’s history. You’re a proud, strong country, a country of warriors. The mythology of the warrior to some degree comes out of Greece, and so does democracy! And to realize that the marketplace is a democracy today, and how we spend our money is casting our ballot. Most political democracies are corrupt, including that of the United States. Democracy is not really working on a governmental basis because the corporations are in charge. But it is working on a market basis. I would encourage the people of Greece to stand up: Don’t pay off those debts; have your own referendums; refuse to pay them off; go to the streets and strike.

And so, I would encourage the Greek people to continue to do this. Don’t accept this criticism that it’s your fault, you’re to blame, you’ve got to suffer austerity, austerity, austerity. That only works for the rich people; it does not work for the average person or the middle class. Build up that middle class; bring employment back; bring disposable income back to the average citizen of Greece. Fight for that; make it happen; stand up for your rights; respect your history as fighters and leaders in democracy, and show the world!

Reprinted from Zero Hedge.

The 7 Doublethink Rules of Patriotism

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 04/07/2015 - 06:01

I continually hear the words freedom and liberty chanted around me and prominently displayed on American homes and vehicles and in social media, so I know this must be something important.  I’ve also noticed that individuals, groups, and political candidates that oppose government intrusion into our lives are treated as social pariahs, so we have to dig a bit deeper to see what this American Freedom actually is.

It is a package deal that has primarily been assembled by neocons.  Mix together the various ingredients for the recipe and then add some red, white, and blue stuff that says “freedom” on it and you should be well on your way to American freedom.  It involves the following:

  1. Brand yourself as a Christian. But beware; the precepts of Christianity may get in the way.  So, the branding should not be accompanied by a practice of the faith.  Confusing?  Well, it’s not actually that hard if you apply yourself to a diligent study under an apt tutor.  To accomplish this, it is beneficial to seek out a subset of “Christianity” that concludes – through theological somersaults – that the actual practice of the tenets of Christianity when dealing with your fellow man is inappropriate manifesting “legalism” or “salvation through works.”  This really is the key which allows you to subdue the objections of your conscience and to strive for a relaxed mindset while carrying a Book around that says to not steal, to love your enemies, and to live peaceably with others.  Actual practice of the teachings of the New Testament must be portrayed as trying to “earn your way into heaven.”

So, to be clear on this point, call yourself a Christian, but to avoid the practice of the faith and to have a relaxed mindset with your hypocrisy, adopt a convoluted intellectual argument  – surrounding New Testament verses negating Old Testament rituals – that concludes that those verses require you to avoid New Testament teachings as well.   I know that last sentence is complicated, but you will need to grasp this complex doctrine in order to put your mind at ease to fully implement your unique American Freedom.  It’s hard to do if you have an un-seared conscience, but work on it.  You can probably get there if you make fervent efforts to beat down the feelings of hypocrisy.  There are plenty of paid ministers of the fallen one to help you arrive at the uniquely American sweet spot on this bundle of spiritual issues.

And, since we are talking about freedom and liberty, call this new libertine aspect of your faith “Christian liberty” or “Christian freedom.”   There are no requirements to subdue bloodlust or covetous tendencies since we, after all, must sin all day every day.  To work in another direction would be evil.  Advocating goodness and the Golden Rule would be gross heresy.  Go down the wide easy path and preach continually – lest you forget – that true faith means that we must all sin continually, and that this realization is what makes us true Christians.  Easy peasy.  Behave horribly and wretchedly because this, in essence, is your new “Christianity.”  See how easy that was?  Good is evil.  Evil is good.  If it gets confusing, drop some more money in the plate and get a refresher.   In short, call yourself a Christian, but don’t act like one and you will have this one covered with plenty of lucre-generating theological literature and preaching to back you up.

  1. Give vocal and ballot box support to the police state and military industrial complex. Now that we have Christianity out of the way and we have numbed our conscience into accepting perpetual evil in the name of our faith, it should be easy to ignore verses saying things like, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”  We can’t do right anyway, so we might as well get all our basal urges to shed blood and enrich ourselves blessed by the state by claiming  that the American state, unlike us, is capable of taking the moral path.  Distorting Romans 13 to make the state into a god is key here.

If “we the people” vote for politicians that want to kill a lot of people and lock everybody else up, then this is a theologically endorsed expression of “Christian” freedom – which is actually a need to perpetually commit evil – if you were paying attention to item 1 in this list.   Get it?

So, to wrap up this point, “we the people” rule the government.  We vote for war-mongering politicians.  Violence and vengeance is not bad because the orders come from the state as per our ballot-expressed desires to kill ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out.   It takes some refreshing to remember how all the doctrinal pieces fit together into a cauldron of death and thievery.  If you accidentally stumble onto the Sermon on the Mount and read the Prince of Peace saying “love your enemies” and you need to get your evil spirit rekindled and re-justified, there are plenty of paid servants of hell who will re-shape your simple-minded reading of a doctrine of love, and get you back on the road to obligatory personal destruction – as a theological precept.    You know, so you can be “saved” from your confused thoughts that Christianity somehow relates to goodness.

  1. Try to personally benefit from the police state and military industrial complex you supported politically in Item 2. Encourage your sons to get violence-mongering jobs.  We are the good ones (good in a metaphysical sort of way).  They are evil.  We work.  They are slugs.  We are the guards.  They are the inmates.   We produce by working for the state.  They steal.   We blow people up to administer justice.  They fight back when the freedom forces invade their homes.  Sometimes they harm blessed free Americans in the process.   Give into the rage.  Remember the whole vengeance is mine thing doesn’t apply to American Christians who are free from such legalistic constraints – especially when they work for the state god which can christen every evil thing thereby converting it into an object of unblemished purity.
  1. Obtain your “due” from the welfare state. On this point I am, surprisingly, still talking about neocons.  I used to think that “conservatives” were opposed to the welfare state.  But, after careful review of the hidden lifestyles of the many neocons I know, I have realized that they believe they are entitled to, and are jealously guarding, all of the tax and Federal Reserve funded income streams that they benefit from.   It seemed like “conservatives” used to act like it was shameful to be on welfare or benefit from state-created wealth distribution schemes.  But, nowadays, practically every neocon family has broken through the wall of shame and has one or more members that benefit directly from state “disability” benefits, state mandated divorce wealth re-distribution schemes, workmen’s compensation, unemployment benefits, child and family services subsidies, and various other state welfare programs.  “Conservatives” aggressively – but silently – stake their claim to the proceeds of these socialist state programs.
  1. Oppose free human migration. Actually just oppose immigration to the United States.  Americans – due to their exceptionalism and manifest destiny – should be able to get a visa to travel to any country in the world.  See number 4 for the rationale on this one.   Keep that welfare money for us.  If you are a neocon, don’t ever talk about your welfare entitlements out loud, but remember that these are your benefits.  American benefits.  This is an American printing press.  We must limit its output to American pockets.   Use some other made-up excuse – like terrorism – to justify your opposition to immigration, but keep your eye on the prize:  your welfare entitlements as a neocon.
  1. Oppose international free markets for labor and consumer / producer goods. Once again, keep that printing press money going into American government-connected pockets even if American consumers get less value for their money and even if non-crony American businesses suffer losses from retaliatory trade practices from other countries.
  1. Endorse licensing schemes that enrich state-run universities and create monopolies that cause products and services to be more expensive for the public. We must have tiered systems to keep otherwise competent people  – who haven’t signed up for bank-enriching government student loan programs – out of higher paying jobs.

We also have heard a lot about how Americans fought for “freedom.”  How we fought for religious freedom and economic freedom.  How statism and war keeps us “free.”  How people hate us because we are free.  What is this elusive phenomenon?  A lot of the things on this list don’t seem to be related to freedom.  But, they are associated with the flag waving and the American Freedom label and are part of the package deal.  So, what is the bottom line on American Freedom?

Well, American freedom apparently means endorsing and using state force to obtain any monetary benefits you can grab for yourself at the expense of others, either through inflationary theft or theft by taxation.

It is the acted-upon desire to huddle around a central bank that produces enormous amounts of watered down unearned money and to build walls to keep others – like foreigners and non-monopolists – away from that money spigot.   And throw in for good measure a lot of central bank funded violence to enforce state defined “morality” that unleashed “Christian” statists are not subject to.

When I took a break from this article and drove to the boonies to replace a submersible well pump, I heard “One Tin Soldier” playing on the oldies station.  It is a song about a greedy people butchering another kingdom in a useless war.  It does a good job of describing the beliefs of modern freedom-chanting Americans:

“Go ahead and hate your neighbor, Go ahead and cheat a friend. Do it in the name of Heaven, You can justify it in the end.” .

Yay freedom!

Europe’s Real Existential Crisis

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 04/07/2015 - 06:01

However the Greek crisis ends, whether with Athens leaving the eurozone, or submitting and accepting austerity at the dictates of its creditors, the European Union appears headed for an existential crisis.

Greece borrowed and spent beyond its means, like New York City in the ’70s, and Detroit, Illinois, and Puerto Rico today. But the crisis of Europe is about more than budget deficits and bad debts.

All the momentum toward One Europe — the dream of the generation of Jean Monnet that drove Europeans toward ever-deeper union — seems to have dissipated. The momentum is now toward separation and dissolution.

The Greek crisis exposed one fault line in the union, the desire of the Mediterranean nations to build welfare states that their economies could not sustain without huge borrowing abroad.

Paying these debts is going to force ever-greater austerity on those nations. Eventually, their peoples may choose, as debtors do, to walk away, rather than pay.

But not only economics imperils the EU. There is the call of tribe and nation that has often before torn the Old Continent apart.

The U.K. Independence Party and National Front in France, both of which want out of the EU, have millions of supporters, and emulators across Europe. These parties appeal to national histories, heroes and cultures, while acolytes of the EU and eurozone sound like editorials in the Financial Times. Who would fix bayonets for Brussels and the European Commission?

NATO is a shell of what it once was. It is today, a virtual fraternity of freeloaders. With exceptions, like the Poles, Estonians and Turks, European nations have all slashed their defense budgets to beneath two percent of GDP. Angela Merkel is described as the Iron Chancellor for facing down Greece’s Alexis Tsipras, but she seems more like Willy Brandt when talking to Vladimir Putin.

A century ago, after Lloyd George and Clemenceau did their map work in Paris, one could walk from Baghdad to Cairo, turn south, and walk 5,000 miles to Cape Town, without leaving British territory.

Today, Britain and France, the imperial powers of Sykes-Picot, would prefer to have the Americans police the Middle East. Our allies have terrible memories of European wars that produced no comparable gains, and none of them, understandably, wants to fight again.

They have another concern in common. Their continent is being invaded.

From the failed states of the sub-Sahara to the war-torn nations of the Mahgreb and Middle East, the Third World is coming to occupy the Mother Continent.

On July 2, The New York Times had several stories on the Greek crisis, but several also on Europe’s immigration crisis.

Some 8,000 trucks were stranded at Calais and Dover, the opposite ends of the Channel Tunnel, as migrants piled onto the vehicles crossing into England. The threatened drivers could do nothing to prevent it.

“Migrants are streaming into Europe from North Africa and the turbulent Middle East,” said the Times, “The European Union has been trying to force countries to share the burden. But the bloc has so far failed to agree on how to do so. In Britain, the issue is particularly charged, and euroskeptic politicians are pushing for the country to leave the union, with immigration a chief complaint.”

Another headline on the same page read, “Russia Sees an Especially Potent Threat in Its Converts to Islam.” The story related the fears of a jihadist uprising within her borders as ethnic Russians convert to militant Islam and join the 15-20 million Muslims inside Russia already, and the two million in Moscow alone.

Russia and Europe have more in common than they realize — the same existential threat.

Another story in the Times, “Europe to Fight Islamic Radicals on Social Media,” reported on jihadist recruitment inside Europe.

A leader of Europol, said the Times, “has estimated that up to 5,000 people from Western Europe have traveled to Syria and Iraq, many to join the Islamic State. British officials believe that at least half of the 500 or so Britons who have done so have already returned home and represent potential threats…”

Europe has survived depression and the worst wars in modern history, though her wounds are terrible and lasting. But can Europe, with native-born populations that are aging, shrinking, and dying, survive a never-ending invasion of Third World peoples that Europe has never assimilated before? Especially when millions of these people profess a militant faith that has historically been alien and hostile to Europe?

The birth dearth in Europe has endured for 40 years. There is no end in sight to the Third World invasion, as the lands of the Middle East and sub-Sahara descend ever more deeply into tribal, sectarian and civil war, and send new millions of refugees streaming toward the Mediterranean coast.

Who or what will stop them? As Gen. Petraeus said on that road to Baghdad: “Tell me how this ends.”

Eat These

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 04/07/2015 - 06:01

Maybe you have something as simple as a cold, or perhaps you’re just looking for a little boost in immunity. With the right vitamins and minerals, smart dietary choices can pack a healthy punch. Although diet gets little attention in conventional media when it comes to supporting the immune system, it is one of the most powerful methods for keeping colds and other illnesses at bay. While nutrition isn’t the only means of immune system support, it is one of the oldest and most reliable natural adjuncts.

Eight Foods for Immune System Support

The majority of your immune cells reside in your intestines, so doesn’t it make sense to consume healthy foods for keeping your immune system top notch? Here are 8 foods you can eat right now to boost your immune system.

1. Bell Peppers

I know, right? I bet you thought citrus was going to be my first choice. Well, reach for all the bell peppers you want because they can actually have twice as much vitamin C as citrus fruits. In addition, bell peppers are a great source of beta-carotene, which not only helps maintain healthy skin and eyes but studies suggest they could also provide an immune system boost. [1] [2]

2. Citrus

Don’t be fooled by my first point! Those citrus fruits are certainly packed with vitamin C. Believed to increase the production of white blood cells, C is essential for fighting off infections. Since your body doesn’t produce or store this vitamin, stock up on citrus to help keep your immune system up and running. Supplementation with the vitamin may be helpful, but it’s always best to receive the vitamin from its natural source.

3. Ginger

Ginger is thought to work much like Vitamin C in that it can even stop a cold before it starts. That said, it’s also a great food to reach for after you’re sick. Ginger can have a little heat due to the gingerol, a cousin of sorts to capsaicin—the stuff that makes chili peppers hot. It’s the “kick” of the gingerol that can even act as a strong soothing agent. [3]

4. Turmeric

You can find this spice in many curries; it’s bright yellow in color, and a little bitter in taste, but it can definitely be pretty amazing for your health. While it’s already been used for its soothing capabilities for arthritis (among other things), a recent study suggests high concentrations of curcumin—what gives turmeric its color—could also reduce fever. [4] [5]

5. Spinach

With vitamin C, beta-carotene, and plenty of antioxidants, spinach is a perfect vegetable for your immune system. If you want to get the most out of it though, cook it as little as possible, or even keep it raw. But don’t stop at spinach; a study suggests that other leafy green vegetables are good choices as well. [6]

Read the Whole Article

When We Ignore the Government and the Pontificators

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 04/07/2015 - 06:01

Geraldo and Ann Coulter recently had a debate about immigration that was fun to watch, but Washington Heights came up as an example of “immigrant vitality.” It was wedged in with a bunch of other predominantly Hispanic communities and it sounded good in an argument, but I live in New York and Washington Heights sucks. It is quite possibly the least vital place in America, crammed with unemployed men lining up to get their hair cut, again. Kids play in the street into the wee hours as their single parents watch movies projected onto the side of a building. It’s like a retirement community for twentysomethings and I wouldn’t fault them for it if it weren’t on my dime. It’s actually a great example of the reality disconnect we have in this country. In our minds, Washington Heights is a cute little Hispanic village where fathers bring home some bacalaítos for the family after a hard day’s work. In reality, Dad’s long gone and his son will “eat your food” (cut your face) for disrespecting DDP (Dominicans Don’t Play). It’s like the FDNY. We like the idea of men fighting fires and we hold a candle for 9/11, but there aren’t any fires in New York anymore. The ideal of the firefighter is bankrupting us.

This is what we do in America today, and Charles Murray predicted it in his book Coming Apart. Politics has become a sport that we watch on TV instead of playing outdoors. Hypotheticals take precedence over hate facts. The net result is a mythical fairyland that bears very little resemblance to the America we all see when we walk out our front doors. I’m not talking about anecdotal evidence. I’m talking about reality.

The basic tenets of the liberal narrative include: Women are thriving in the workforce since being freed from the prison sentence that is the housewife’s life. Southerners are stupid, racist rednecks who are proud of slavery. Undocumented workers are hardworking people who love their families and are just coming here for a better life. Islam is a religion of peace; the extremists are only acting like that because we made them that way. Gender is a construct. Gays are madly in love and can’t wait to devote themselves to the bliss of matrimony. Blacks are struggling a little, yes, but that’s because “systemic” racism is “alive and well” today and cops are out to get them. The only problem with America these days is white men.

It’s a weird narrative that seems to come more from bratty spitefulness than from any kind of rational long-term plan. I think all these ideas may have started in the right place, but after achieving their goal of true equality they just kept steamrolling over us into the sunset. If you call bullshit on them, you’re a bigot or a racist or a sexist. All right, fine. If using my eyeballs and ear holes is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Some women thrive at work. I find they’d be much happier at home shaping lives. They sweat the small stuff better than men. However, when we book the conference room and it’s Linda’s turn to contribute an idea, the guys inevitably have to sympathy-nod and say, “Yes, that could work” while pretending to write down her totally unfeasible idea. At home, the kids are with an immigrant nanny who doesn’t really get Western culture and has abandoned her own kids back in the Third World. Women say they’re empowered and wouldn’t want to have kids as they shovel so much affection on their dog, you worry they’re going to get married.

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Last Secret of the Atomic Bomb

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 04/07/2015 - 06:01

In August 2005, the New York Police Department, with the Department of Energy, conducted an anti-terrorism radiation flyover survey. The survey was intended to provide a baseline of radiological activity, in order to catch a suspicious construction of a dirty bomb.

They didn’t find a dirty bomb—but there was plenty of radiological activity. Surveyors found 80 radioactive locations in the city—one of them being Great Kills Park in Staten Island, one of the city’s five boroughs. The Park is a popular place near a suburban enclave inhabited by cops, firefighters and other unsuspecting residents. The Park, more than 500 acres of woods surrounding softball and soccer fields and a marina, was constructed from garbage dumped in the bay between 1944 and 1946. Unregulated and illegal dumping has a long history in New York City.

Children Are Especially Vulnerable

The radium is the legacy of nuclear weapons production coupled with a cavalier attitude towards the odorless, tasteless and invisible threat posed by radioactivity.

“This is potentially a very dangerous situation,” said former Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) in 2013, whose congressional district includes the park. “The last thing I want is to have anyone or their children get sick or hurt because of this contamination.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), children are more susceptible than adults to radiation because they are still growing. Their cells are rapidly dividing, which provides a greater opportunity for radiation to disrupt the process than in adults. The main concern for children exposed to radium is leukemia, says international consultant Dr. Marvin Resnikoff, a spokesperson for Radioactive Waste Management Associates, which works on cleaning up radioactive waste dumps. Radium is chemically similar to calcium and has an affinity for bone where it irradiates the bone marrow.

Resnikoff told WhoWhatWhy that walking through Great Kills is like being “exposed to an X-ray machine you can’t turn off.” He added that children playing on the site could “get material on their hands and wipe their faces” causing “incidental ingestion” of radium.

Government Likely Still Underestimates the Problem

The government measurements probably underestimate the actual radiation levels in Great Kills, according to Resnikoff.

“One foot of dirt can shield up to 98% of gamma radiation” given off by the radium, he said, adding that there could be significant levels of radium buried under the soil. Dr. Resnikoff said the diffuse nature of the contamination in the park indicates a lot of the contamination may be uranium ore left over from the Manhattan Project days.

A WhoWhatWhy investigation has shown that it is likely that the material stems from the World War II nuclear weapons program and was dumped into a public landfill by radium companies that were little more than public fronts for the United States government during its effort to build the first atomic bomb.

In 1939 the United States, convinced it was in a race with Germany for the bomb, purchased all the uranium it could find. Belgian owners of the ore coveted the phenomenally valuable radium that existed side-by-side with the uranium. When the price of radium collapsed a few years later as better and safer sources of radioactivity were developed, the excess and unneeded radium would end up in the public waste stream.

More radioactive “hotspots” were reported in Great Kills in 2007 as the government dug up contaminated soil and medical devices used in past decades to apply radium to cancerous tumors.

By 2009, half the park was closed indefinitely as more and more contamination was unearthed. In 2014 a community meeting was held in Staten Island with the National Park Service (NPS), which admitted that the radioactive contamination was greater than predicted.

“As we’re getting through this tough job, we’re finding that the contamination is not only in these discrete pockets, but is dispersed in the soil and also at the surface,” Kathleen Cuzzolino, an environmental protection specialist for the Park Service told The New York Times in 2013.

Initial Explanation Doesn’t Hold Up

The NYPD initially said that the radioactivity in Great Kills was caused by “industrial” activities before the park was built. As the extent of the contamination was revealed, that story became less and less believable. The government embarked on a decade-long study of the contamination. What began as a few hotspots around discarded medical waste gradually evolved into a widespread and expensive problem. Eventually, the NPS announced that up to “1,200 discrete areas” of the park were contaminated with high radiation levels and also admitted that dozens of spots, some with radiation levels up to 200 times normal had also been found throughout the park.

After another flyover earlier this year, a new five-year study was announced under CERCLA, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. Known as the Superfund, it is the legal mechanism for cleaning up some of the nation’s most polluted areas. During cleanup, the areas contaminated by radiation remain closed off to the public.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) public health assessment categorized the radioactive contamination at Great Kills as an “indeterminate public health hazard.” That means the agency doesn’t have enough information to make a “professional judgement” on the potential damage to the public at Great Kills.

The report also warns that radiation exposure on children requires special considerations. Yet despite the construction of 18,000 feet of “perimeter fencing” and warning signs against trespassing, huge gaps within walking distance of playgrounds in this residential neighborhood allow easy access to the closed-off areas.

Read the Whole Article

Buon per te, Alexis Tsipras (Parte I)

Freedonia - Ven, 03/07/2015 - 10:04


Ricordo a tutti i lettori che è in vendita il mio libro "L'Economia E' un Gioco da Ragazzi". Manoscritto incentrato sulla diffusione delle idee della Scuola Austriaca attraverso spiegazioni e analisi semplificate e dirette. Una presentazione adatta ad un vasto pubblico, a dimostrazione che per capire l'economia non è necessario un gergo tecnico ma solo logica e buon senso. Il libro è disponibile sia su Lulu.com sia su Scribd.

________________________________________


di David Stockman


Venerdì scorso è stato messo a segno un punto a favore della moneta solida, del libero mercato e del governo limitato da una delle fonti più improbabili.

Vale a dire, il premier statalista e cripto-marxista della Grecia, Alexis Tsipras, ha messo in moto una cascata di eventi che scuoterà le fondamenta dello status quo corrotto. Tra l'altro, proprio al momento giusto.

Dopo 15 anni di stampa di denaro dilagante, falsificazione dei prezzi nei mercati finanziari e usurpazione della democrazia, i suoi antagonisti — la BCE, il superstato dell'UE e il FMI — sono diventati una minaccia per la sopravvivenza di una società liberale di cui questi valori sono parte integrante.

Il settore bancario centrale keynesiano e il sistema di salvataggi di Bruxelles e del Fondo Monetario Internazionale — che è diventato quasi universale — favoriscono una forma di totalitarismo economico soft, distruggendo i mercati finanziari onesti e falsificando il prezzo del debito.

Così facendo, i banchieri centrali keynesiani consentono ai governi di emettere più debito di quello che i loro contribuenti e le economie nazionali possono assumersi. Allo stesso tempo, costringono gli investitori e i risparmiatori ad inseguire disperatamente rendimenti decenti, in un mercato in cui il cosiddetto tasso d'interesse è stato ancorato a livelli irrisori.

Ciò significa, a sua volta, che le banche, i fondi obbligazionari e gli operatori monetari si assumono livelli crescenti di rischio, e che i controlli naturali dei mercati finanziari onesti sono ostacolati e disabilitati.

Gli short seller sono stati fatti a pezzi, perché lo scopo del settore bancario centrale keynesiano è quello di portare il prezzo dei titoli a livelli artificialmente elevati e innaturali. Allo stesso tempo, gli hedge fund sono stati in grado di impegnarsi in carry trade con una leva spropositatamente alta basata su denaro preso in prestito quasi gratis, e di acquistare assicurazioni contro il rischio di ribassi per una sciocchezza.

Alla fine i "mercati" obbligazionari e azionari diventano dei casinò gestiti dalla banca centrale — infestati di titoli mispriced, pericolose operazioni di carry trade, enormi utili inattesi a cascata ed instabilità endemica.

Quando una scossa inaspettata, o un evento "imprevedibile", rischia di frantumare la fiducia e innescare una svendita di questi titoli troppo cari, entrano in azione i salvataggi statali che sostengono indiscriminatamente i giocatori d'azzardo.

Questo è ciò che hanno fatto la FED e il TARP a favore di Morgan Stanley e Goldman Sachs nel settembre 2008. Ed è ciò che la Troika ha fatto sin dal 2010 a nome delle banche francesi, tedesche, olandesi, italiane ed europee, che erano piene zeppe di debito greco e dei PIIGS.

Inutile dire che tali salvataggi creano un enorme azzardo morale ed estirpano la disciplina finanziaria nei mercati finanziari e nelle camere legislative. Dal 2010 i greci hanno fatto poco più che far finta di ristrutturare le loro finanze pubbliche e l'economia privata, mentre gli italiani, i portoghesi, gli spagnoli e gli irlandesi non hanno fatto praticamente nulla.

Il modesto balzo del PIL di questi due ultimi servi del debito senza speranza, rappresenta solo un coacervo di errori d'arrotondamento insostenibili. I numeri sono oliati dal falso boom speculativo nei loro titoli di debito, alimentato temporaneamente dalla stampa di denaro di Mario Draghi.

I nodi stanno venendo al pettine; Angela Merkel e la sua combriccola di politici e burocrati non sono stati in grado di calciare il barattolo ancora una volta, dopo tutto.

Invece il sistema autoritario della Troika ha stimolato la rivolta politica in tutto il continente. Il muso duro di Tsipras è solo foriero di eventi futuri nefasti — la partita che diventa ancor più incandescente.

Ma questo vuol dire che ora nel casinò c'è dubbio, confusione e paura. Gli scommettitori che si sono arricchiti coi carry trade unidirezionali abilitati dalla stampa di denaro delle banche centrali e dai salvataggi fiscali, sono stati improvvisamente colpiti dalla consapevolezza che il gioco potrebbe non essere manipolabile ancora a lungo.

Quindi speriamo che si ritorni finalmente ad un price discovery onesto. Nei prossimi giorni catalogheremo gli sforzi disperati dello status quo per riaffermare la sua autorità e il suo controllo, e per stabilizzare il casinò diventato improvvisamente turbolento.

Nel cavalcare le bolle della banca centrale, i grandi assi del casinò hanno dichiarato presuntuosamente di stare facendo "il lavoro di Dio".

Dal momento che sono costretti a liquidare questi asset gonfiati, è probabile che alla fine sia proprio così.

Lo scorso autunno uno dei membri più detestabili tra gli eurocrati, Jean-Claude Juncker, ha rilasciato la seguente dichiarazione impregnata di vanto ed arroganza:

"A tutti quelli che hanno scommesso contro la Grecia e contro l'Europa: avete perso e la Grecia ha vinto. Avete perso e l'Europa ha vinto."
Questa mattina tale dichiarazione pingue di auto-compiacimento è diventata ridicola. Buon per te, Alexis Tsipras.

Saluti,


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


Il trionfo del socialismo

Von Mises Italia - Ven, 03/07/2015 - 08:00

Pensate che le idee non contino, che ciò che le persone credono riguardo a loro stesse ed al loro mondo non abbia conseguenze reali? Se è così, quanto segue non vi infastidirà minimamente.

Da un sondaggio della BBC (eseguito nel 2009, NdR) è emerso che solo l’11 percento delle persone chiamate ad esprimersi in giro per il mondo – basandosi su un campione di 29000 persone – pensa che il capitalismo di libero mercato sia una buona cosa. I restanti ripongono speranze in maggiori regolamentazioni governative. Solo una piccola percentuale della popolazione mondiale ritiene che il capitalismo funzioni bene e che regolamentazioni più incisive ne ridurrebbe l’efficienza.

Un quarto delle persone interpellate ha affermato che il capitalismo è “intrinsecamente sbagliato”. In Francia, il 43% lo crede; in Messico il 38%. La maggioranza delle persone ritiene che il governo dovrebbe rubare ai ricchi per dare soldi ai paesi poveri. Solo in un paese, la Turchia, la maggioranza auspica un minore coinvolgimento dello Stato negli affari economici.

E il quadro diventa addirittura peggiore. Mentre gran parte degli europei e degli statunitensi pensa che sia stata una buona cosa che l’Unione Sovietica sia scomparsa, le persone in India, Indonesia, Ucraina, Pakistan, Russia ed Egitto perlopiù pensano che sia stata un’occorrenza nefasta. Sì, avete letto bene: milioni liberati dalla schiavitù socialista… occorrenza nefasta.

Questa notizia dovrebbe sollevare l’animo di qualsiasi aspirante despota in giro per il mondo, giungendo come un fulmine a ciel sereno venti anni dopo che il collasso del socialismo in Russia ed in Europa dell’est ha rivelato ciò che questo sistema incarnava: società arretrate con cittadini che vivevano vite brevi e miserabili. Poi c’è il caso della Cina: un paese salvato dalla sanguinosa barbarie sotto il comunismo e trasformato in un paese moderno e prospero dal capitalismo.

Quale lezione possiamo trarne? Lungi dall’aver appreso alcunché, le persone hanno in gran parte perso la memoria e coltivato un amore per l’antica favola secondo la quale tutte le cose possono essere aggiustate attraverso il collettivismo e la pianificazione centrale.

Quanto quei pochi che potrebbero disperarsi di fronte ai risultati di questo sondaggio, va considerato che poteva persino andare molto peggio di così, se non fosse stato per gli sforzi di una manciata di intellettuali che hanno combattuto la teoria socialista per più di un secolo. Si sarebbe potuto registrare il 99% di favorevoli alla tirannia socialista, quindi non vi è alcun motivo per sostenere che gli sforzi di questi intellettuali siano andati sprecati.

Anche le idee posseggono una vita propria; possono giacere, in attesa, per decenni o secoli, e poi un giorno l’intero corso della storia cambia direzione in un attimo. Specialmente in questi giorni, nessuno sforzo va sprecato. Pubblicazioni, saggi, o qualsiasi forma di educazione, è resa immortale, pronta per essere afferrata da un mondo disperato.

Per quanto riguarda il sondaggio di opinione, non abbiamo alcuna idea di quanto radicate siano queste posizioni o addirittura cosa esse significhino. Per esempio, cos’è il capitalismo? Le persone sanno di cosa si tratta? Michael Moore non lo sa, altrimenti non avrebbe etichettato il salvataggio delle elitarie istituzioni finanziarie connesse alla Fed come una forma di capitalismo; molte altre persone riducono il termine capitalismo a “il sistema economico vigente negli Stati Uniti”. Non può essere più complicato di così: tale intendimento persiste nonostante la realtà dei fatti mostri che gli Stati Uniti abbiano un complesso apparato di pianificazione, ben rodato nonché direttamente responsabile di tutti i nostri attuali problemi economici.

Ora, facciamo qualche altra considerazione: tra i tanti che disprezzano l’”imperialismo” statunitense, molti credono di disprezzare anche il capitalismo. Se l’economia degli USA trascina il mondo giù in una recessione, questo è un primo esempio del fallimento del capitalismo. Proseguendo nell’insensatezza, se non ti piaceva George W. Bush, i suoi modi, e i suoi compari, e per te Obama rappresenta il sospirato sollievo, allora disprezzi il capitalismo e abbracci il socialismo.

Un altro punto di vista porta a fraintendere la stessa idea di capitalismo: non si tratta di creare delle strutture economiche che beneficiano del capitale alle spese dei lavoratori o della cultura o della religione, bensì di un sistema che protegge i diritti di tutti e serve il bene comune. Capitalismo è solo il nome che accidentalmente è stato identificato con questo sistema; se volete chiamare “libertà” una banana, va bene: ciò che conta non sono le parole ma le idee.

Sono consapevole, così come lo sarete anche voi, della assoluta insensatezza delle definizioni di capitalismo sopra riportate. Tuttavia, la maggior parte delle persone non passa il proprio tempo a fare considerazioni di natura analitica sulle ideologie, preferendo identificandosi in meri slogan

D’altronde, come Rothbard rilevò energicamente, il capitalismo di libero mercato non rappresenta nient’altro che un obiettivo simbolico per il partito repubblicano e per i conservatori. La libertà economica è l’utopia promessa con la quale continuano a tenerci uniti, mentre considerano prioritari altri temi come far saltare in aria cittadini stranieri, incarcerare i dissidenti politici, schiacciare la frangia sinistra nei campus, e mandare a casa i democratici.

Una volta che tutto questo sarà realizzato, dicono, allora arriveranno ad istituire un sistema economico basato sul libero mercato. Ovviamente, quel giorno non arriverà mai. Il capitalismo serve i repubblicani nello stesso modo in cui il comunismo servì Stalin: una distrazione simbolica per far sì che continuiate a sperare, a votare, e a sputare soldi.

Il vero capitalismo – un risultato della società volontaria e la somma complessiva di tutti gli scambi e gli atti collaborativi delle persone sparse per il mondo – finisce con pochi veri intellettuali in sua difesa; stanno crescendo, ma il lavoro di educazione che dobbiamo compiere è spaventoso, posto che stiamo affrontando le più potenti forze del mondo.

Non c’è niente di nuovo in tutto questo: nella storia del mondo, la libertà è l’eccezione, non la regola. Ogni generazione deve combattere nuovamente per ottenerla; i suoi nemici sono ovunque, ma il principale nemico è l’ignoranza. Per questo motivo, l’arma più importante che abbiamo a disposizione è l’educazione.

L’educazione consiste nello spiegare che il socialismo è un’idea che non può funzionare. Non c’è niente di meglio che il libro del 1922 di Ludwig von Mises intitolato Socialism, un’esposizione completa della fallacia dell’idea socialista. Un altro lavoro essenziale è il Libro nero del comunismo: in quest’opera si può sentire un campanello d’allarme volto ad avvisare che il sogno del socialismo sia nella realtà un incubo sanguinario.

Poi c’è il problema dell’argomentazione positiva in favore del capitalismo. Non si può trovare di meglio del lavoro di Mises Human Action, che probabilmente rimarrà insuperabile in quanto a trattato sull’economia libera. Vero, non è per chiunque; e va bene così; ma fortunatamente sono disponibili diversi manuali introduttivi a tale opera.

La moda del socialismo e l’opposizione al capitalismo dovrebbero allarmare tutti gli amanti della libertà in giro per il mondo. Abbiamo i nostri lavori ritagliati addosso, ma con dei numeri così impietosi non è difficile fare la differenza. Ogni punto che puoi portare a segno per il libero mercato aiuta a proteggere la libertà dai suoi nemici.

Articolo di su Mises.org

Traduzione di Adriano Gualandi

Adattamento a cura di Antonio Francesco Gravina

The post Il trionfo del socialismo appeared first on Ludwig von Mises Italia.

Antidepressants Don’t Work as Advertised

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 03/07/2015 - 06:01

By Dr. Mercola

Depression and other mental health problems are at epidemic levels judging by the number of antidepressants prescribed each year.

According to CDC data,1 one in 20 Americans over the age of 12 report some form of depression, and 11 percent of the US population over the age of 12 is on antidepressant medication.2

This despite overwhelming evidence showing that antidepressants do not work as advertised.

At best, antidepressants are comparable to placebos. At worst they can cause devastating side effects, including deterioration into more serious mental illness, and suicidal or homicidal tendencies.

Virtually all of the school and mass shooters, for example, have been on antidepressants. Antidepressants are also prescribed to pregnant women, which can have serious repercussions for the child.

Research3 shows boys with autism are three times more likely to have been exposed to antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in utero than non-autistic boys. Those whose mothers used SSRIs during the first trimester were found to be at greatest risk.

Recent research into the mechanisms driving anxiety and social phobias now turn conventional drug treatment with SSRIs on its ear.

Turns out these mental health problems are not due to low serotonin levels as previously thought. They’re linked to high levels! If these findings are taken as seriously as they should be, the mental health field is in for a major overhaul.

The Low Serotonin Theory Was Never Proven True, Yet Spawned a Booming Market of SSRIs

Prozac was released in 1987 in the US, giving rise to an entire new antidepressant therapy class known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Some of the most popular ones include:

  • Paxil (fluoxetine)
  • Celexa (citalopram)
  • Zoloft (sertraline)
  • Paxil (paroxetine)
  • Lexapro (escitalopram)

SSRIs work by preventing the reuptake (movement back into the nerve endings) of the neurotransmitter serotonin. This makes more serotonin available for use in your brain, which is thought to improve your mood.

Most people have heard of the “chemical imbalance” theory, which states that depression and anxiety disorders are due to low serotonin levels. Most believe this theory to be true. But the theory was just that—a theory. It soundsscientific, but there was actually no hard evidence behind it.

As explained by investigative health journalist Robert Whitaker, in 1983 the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) investigated whether or not depressed individuals had low serotonin. At that time, they concluded there was no evidence that there is anything wrong in the serotonergic system of depressed patients.

Research 4, 5 published in 2009 added further evidence to the pile indicating the low serotonin idea was incorrect, as they found strong indications that depression actually begins further up in the chain of events in the brain. Essentially, the medications have been focusing on the effect, not the cause.

Drug companies kept running with the low serotonin theory though, as it justifies the aggressive use of antidepressants to correct this alleged “imbalance.” Now, Swedish research really throws the justification for using SSRIs to treat anxiety disorders into question.

Anxiety Linked to High Serotonin Levels, Making SSRIs a Questionable Remedy

More than 25 million Americans report suffering from social anxiety disorder, which makes them feel embarrassed or severely uncomfortable in public situations.

As with depression, low serotonin has been the prevailing theory for explaining social anxiety, and hence SSRIs are typically prescribed for this disorder. (Other commonly prescribed anti-anxiety drugs includebenzodiazepines, such as Ativan, Xanax, and Valium.

These are also associated with serious risks, including memory loss, hip fractures, and addiction. Among women who take SSRI’s to counter symptoms of menopause, the drugs can significantly elevate their risk of bone fractures, and this risk lingers for several years.

One recent study6 found that, compared to women treated with H2 antagonists or proton pump inhibitors (indigestion drugs), SSRI’s raised bone fracture rates by 76 percent in one year. After two years of treatment, the fracture rate was 73 percent higher.People who take these drugs are also nearly four times more likely to die prematurely than people who don’t, and also have a 35 percent greater risk of cancer.)

As reported by Medical Daily:7

[Dr. Tomas] Furmark and Dr. Mats Fredrikson, another professor of psychology at Uppsala University, questioned the underlying hypothesis of treating patients with SSRIs: What molecular role, exactly, does serotonin play in social phobia?8,9,10,11

To discover the truth, they used brain scanning technology, PET scans, to measure serotonin in the brains of volunteers with social phobia…

Communication within the brain works like this: Nerve cells release serotonin into the space between nerve cells. Then, serotonin attaches itself to receptor cells. Following this, serotonin is released from the receptor and returns to the original cell.

The researchers discovered patients with social phobia were producing too much serotonin in the amygdala. This brain region, tucked deep inside our skulls, is the seat of our most primitive emotions, including fear. The more serotonin produced in this area, then, the more anxious people feel in social situations.”

Previous studies have revealed that increased nerve activity in the amygdala is part of the underlying mechanism that produces anxiety. Basically, those with social phobia have an over-active fear center. These new findings provide additional information, suggesting increased serotonin production in the brain may be part of this mechanism.

Either way, when it comes to treating this anxiety disorder, increasing serotonin in your brain with an SSRI will not soothe your anxiety. It will increase it, making SSRIs a questionable treatment option.

Fermented Foods May Help Social Anxiety Disorder, Study Finds

The impact of your gut microbiome on your brain function has been confirmed by a number of studies, and research is moving rather swiftly in this area. One of the reasons for why the bacterial makeup of your gut would have an influence on your mental and emotional health relates to the fact that your gut actually works much like a second brain. Your central nervous system (composed of your brain and spinal cord) and your enteric nervous system (the intrinsic nervous system of your gastrointestinal tract) are created from identical tissue during fetal development. One part turns into your central nervous system while the other develops into your enteric nervous system. These two systems are connected via the vagus nerve, the tenth cranial nerve that runs from your brain stem down to your abdomen.

It is now well established that the vagus nerve is the primary route your gut bacteria use to transmit information to your brain. Even more interesting, serotonin is produced in your gut as well as your brain, by specific bacteria. In fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin is found in your intestines, not your brain.

It’s not so surprising then that researchers keep finding positive correlations between gut health and improved mental health. Most recently, researchers found that fermented foods and drinks helped curb social anxiety disorder in young adults. The study,12,13 published in Psychiatry Research, involved 710 psychology students at the College of William and Mary.

The participants filled out questionnaires rating their level of worry and anxiety, and documented their fermented food consumption over the past 30 days. Other factors such as healthy diet and exercise were also addressed. Among those who rated themselves as having a high degree of neurotic feelings, eating more fermented foods was linked to fewer symptoms of social anxiety. Meaning, the relationship between fermented foods and decreased social anxiety was strongest among those who tended to be more neurotic.

Key Factors to Overcoming Anxiety and/or Depression Without Drugs

It’s important to realize that your diet and general lifestyle are foundational factors that must be optimized if you want to resolve mental health problems such as depression or anxiety, because your body and mind are so closely interrelated. Compelling research demonstrates just how interconnected your mental health is with your gastrointestinal health for example. While many think of their brain as the organ in charge of their mental health, your gut may actually play a far more significant role. The drug treatments available today for depression are no better than they were 50 years ago.

Clearly, we need a new approach, and your diet is an obvious place to start. Research tells us that the composition of your gut flora not only affects your physical health, but also has a significant impact on your brain function and mental state, and your gut microbiome can be quickly impacted by dietary changes—for better or worse. Research has also revealed there are a number of other safe effective ways to address depression and anxiety that do not involve hazardous drugs. So, if you suffer from an anxiety- or depression-related disorder, please consider addressing the following diet and lifestyle factors before you resort to drugs:

Tapping Your Anxiety Away

Energy psychology techniques, such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), can also be very effective for reducing anxiety by correcting the bioelectrical short-circuiting that causes your body’s reactions—without adverse effects. You can think of EFT as a tool for “reprogramming” your circuitry, and it works on both realand imagined stressors.

EFT is a form of psychological acupressure, based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture for more than 5,000 years to treat physical and emotional ailments, but without the invasiveness of needles. Following a 2012 review in the American Psychological Association’s journal Review of General Psychology, EFT is moving closer to meeting the criteria for an “evidence-based treatment.”

Recent research has shown that EFT significantly increases positive emotions, such as hope and enjoyment, and decreases negative emotional states, including anxiety. EFT is particularly powerful for treating stress and anxiety because it specifically targets your amygdala and hippocampus, which are the parts of your brain that help you decide whether or not something is a threat.18,19 If you recall NIMH’s explanation about how your amygdala and hippocampus are involved in anxiety disorders, you can see why tapping is such a powerful tool. EFT has also been shown to lower cortisol levels.20

Although you can learn the basics of EFT on your own, if you or your child has a serious anxiety disorder, I highly recommend that you consult a qualified EFT practitioner. For serious or complex issue you need a qualified health care professional that is trained in EFT21 to help guide you through the process, as it typically takes years of training to develop the skill to tap on and relieve deep-seated, significant issues.

There are situations where SSRIs may be warranted, but on the whole, these mind- and body-numbing drugs are grossly overused. I’d be willing to bet a majority of people taking them are not appropriate candidates, and would fare much better were they to address the basic, core issues relating to their general lifestyle and health. This includes proper diet, sleep, exercise, and employing effective tools for stress relief.

Exposure to the outdoors, such as walking barefoot through a grassy field and getting appropriate amounts of sun exposure, also should not be underestimated. If you’re suffering from emotional or physical pain, I encourage you to peruse my inventory of tens of thousands of articles, which address these issues and offer a multitude of safe and effective alternatives.

Sources and References

I Could Enjoy July 4th

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 03/07/2015 - 06:01

I’m about to witness my 61st “Independence Day” in the US Collective. And all I see forthcoming is still another celebration of failure, still another empty gesture from clueless citizen/slaves who have no independence.

The supposed “independence” noted and celebrated is recorded in the document known as The Declaration of Independence.  Those enslaved by a king at that time, declared themselves subjects instead to some, as yet, undefined government master (later to be defined as a “republic”). The document rails about such worthy goals as equality among men, inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and government operating only at the consent of the governed.

But when present day loyalists view their present day reality through their star spangled eyes, do they see the ultimate achievement of these documented goals?

Once the hot dogs and beer are digested and the fireworks smoke clears, what do they have? Freedom? Independence? Liberty? Quite the contrary.

What they in reality have is a multi-century, linear regression from a declaration of the sanctity of the natural rights of man and the glory of individualism to an annual affirmation of conformity, unquestioned loyalty, collective obedience, and the glorification of human sacrifice when committed in the name of the king.

And not the old king, but the new one.

What in reality they have is the unfortunate opportunity to witness a spectacular, historical failure. The institution created and charged with protecting those declared, natural rights has instead morphed into the greatest threat toward their weakening and eventual abolition. Words on parchment outlining law, custom and structure regarding such an institution have been proven impotent to restrain the growth of a predator so large and menacing, that it not only threatens complete evisceration of individual wealth and liberties within its declared territory, but also the lives, wealth, property, and security of people throughout the world.

Seeing that that such a large, powerful and centralized political structure is not only inadequate, but inherently dangerous toward the stated goal of preserving liberty, aware individuals can only view celebrating such a structure as utterly senseless.

Perhaps a new way to celebrate Independence Day is to shift the focus of collective independence to individual independence. The idea that claiming a collective independence will protect our inalienable liberties seems to have failed. How about a more individually oriented, decentralized approach- all based on the sanctity of individual sovereignty and the truth that no man is born another man’s subject or slave?

Claim true independence by withdrawing your consent and allegiance to a criminal regime posing as a benevolent master. Separate yourself mentally and emotionally from the death cult that values human sacrifice for the collective over the life giving accomplishments of free living individuals.

And why stop there? Why not expand the scope from a localized effort to reassert our rights as freeborn sovereigns to a worldwide campaign of individual empowerment and liberation?

Instead of foolishly celebrating a past independence from one king, just to become enslaved by another, let’s actively declare and celebrate an independence to all present day state masters.

Armed Highwaymen With Badges

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 03/07/2015 - 06:01

In the United States, law enforcement agencies have the power to seize the assets of those suspected of criminal activity. On its face, this seems somewhat reasonable. However, the threshold for suspicion of criminal involvement is perilously low and allows law enforcement agencies to abuse the power afforded through civil forfeiture. Many innocent citizens have had their property seized as a result, and the following instances of civil forfeiture abuse are particularly egregious.

10 DEA Agents Seize $16,000 From Amtrak Traveler

After saving up enough money to pursue a career in the music industry, Joseph Rivers, 22, bought a one-way train ticket to Los Angeles. For DEA agents, that act alone—along with the fact that he was traveling with such a large amount of cash—was enough to suspect that Rivers was involved in drug trafficking or some other “narcotic activity.”

Other passengers traveling on the Amtrak train noted that Rivers, a young African-American man, was the only passenger to be singled out by the DEA. His attorney, Michael Pancer, suggested Rivers’s race may have played a role, as he was the only black passenger on his section of the train.

During the search and subsequent seizure of his cash, Rivers has said that he was completely cooperative and even allowed the DEA agents to contact his mother to corroborate his story. Rivers pleaded with agents that he would be penniless upon his arrival in California with no means of survival and no way of returning home. According to Rivers, “[The DEA agents] informed me that it was my responsibility to figure out how I was going to do that.”

Rivers was not charged with any crime, and there is no indication that he ever will be, but the DEA was still able to legally seize all of the $16,000 he carried. The DEA’s explanation for the seizure was particularly troubling: “We don’t have to prove that the person is guilty. It’s that the money is presumed to be guilty.”

9 Philadelphia Couple’s Home Seized After Son Arrested For Marijuana

In 2012, Leon and Mary Adams had their property seized because their son, Leon Jr., had allegedly been selling marijuana from their front porch without their knowledge. Though Leon Jr. was indeed charged with a crime, he was alleged to have sold very small quantities—a “few $20 marijuana deals”—and the couple had nothing to do with the criminal activity. Leon Jr. had not yet been convicted of the criminal activity when the police asserted that they would be seizing the property that had been the home of Leon and Mary Adams since 1966.

According to the Philadelphia Police Department, Leon Jr. had sold $20 worth of marijuana to a police informant on multiple occasions. After the first sale, the informant went to the porch of the Adams home on two more occasions to again buy $20 worth of marijuana. With evidence in the form of marked bills and the ostensible testimony of the informant, Philadelphia Police used a SWAT team in riot gear to break down the door of the home and arrest Leon Jr. A month later, Leon and Mary Adams were informed that in addition to their son being in jail while awaiting trial, their home would also be seized under civil forfeiture laws.

The profits from the sale of the seized home would be split between the police and the district attorney’s office after it was sold at auction. The only reason police didn’t evict Leon and Mary Adams before they could challenge the civil forfeiture claim was that the elder Leon Adams was enduring a host of health problems and was undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer.

The forfeiture case is still pending. During an early court appearance, the assistant district attorney assigned to the Adams case brought the wrong folder to court, causing a further delay in the process.

8 Driver Loses $3,500 For ‘Looking Like A Drug Dealer’

In a case highlighted in an NAACP letter to Congress, an African-American man was pulled over traveling from Virginia to Delaware, allegedly for having a taillight out. The taillight had actually been functioning properly, but this ploy allowed the officer to size up the driver for a potential search and seizure through the use of civil asset forfeiture. The driver, according to the officer, “looked like a drug dealer,” which was apparently reason enough for the officer to enlist a drug-sniffing dog to search the man’s car.

After the search did not turn up any drugs or any other evidence of illegal activity, the officer asked if the driver was carrying any guns, drugs, or money. Though the driver had no firearms and no drugs, he did state that he had $3,500 in cash. The officer promptly seized the driver’s cash. Despite not finding any evidence that could support an arrest, they said that the money could only be the profits of drug dealing and was thus subject to legal seizure under civil forfeiture laws. The driver was never charged with any crime.

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I’m Grateful to the EU

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 03/07/2015 - 06:01

PARIS – As the squalid drama of Greece’s bankruptcy unfolds, many alarmists claim the European Union is about to disintegrate. British and Americans are cheering the ills of the EU.  On top of all this, it’s a blazing 39.8 C here in the City of Light.

In spite of all the bad news from Greece,  we must not lose sight of the miracle on the Rhine.

Having covered 14 conflicts and observed the world’s problems and woes for decades,  I never forget that the greatest miracle I have ever seen was the profound reconciliation between historic foes France and Germany.  That was a real miracle. I say, “death to all borders.”  

Millions of soldiers died along the Rhine River that divides parts of France and Germany in the wars of 1870, 1914, and 1940.

In August of 1914, huge mobs here in Paris cried  “on to Berlin” and “re-conquer Alsace-Lorraine.”  France’s then prime minister,  Raymond Poincaré, drove France into war against Germany to recover his beloved  native Alsace-Lorraine,  which France had lost to Germany in the foolish 1870 war.  France had annexed German-speaking Alsace-Lorraine (or Elsass-Lothringen in German)  over the two previous centuries.

The vanishing of the France-German border was entirely due to the creation of the European Union, a process that began in 1951 by the forming of the European Steel and Coal Community that linked France, Belgium, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Today, the European Union has grown to 507 million citizens in 28 nations, the world’s most important economic zone.   In spite of much legitimate criticism over its bureaucratic overload and constant bickering, the European Union leads the world in civilized government and concern for human and animal rights, and environmental protection.

The EU’s biggest mistake to date has been its too rapid expansion to encompass nations that were not ready for membership or association.  Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania were prime examples.  Greece used Goldman Sachs to cook its books to meet EU minimum membership requirements.  So, apparently, did Italy.

If Greece decamps the EU, or is kicked out, the union will not collapse. Greece is only 2% of the EU’s gross domestic product.  Because Greece makes little and exports even less, its people have been living on borrowed money and not paying taxes.  The bankers and high officials who leant so many billions to Greece should be fired.

The financial Grim Reaper has now arrived.

This weekend, Greeks will apparently vote on whether to remain in the EU under draconian conditions of austerity and restraint – realistic economics – or quit the EU and return to the old days of the ever-wobbly drachma, a notorious Mediterranean  funny money worthy of Zorba the Greek.

One hopes the Greeks, an intelligent, patriotic people, will decide to further tighten their belts and remain in the EU.  Slovakia, a nation of 5.4 million, did just this, and is now thriving.  Unfortunately, Greece’s current far-left government appears to be ready to commit Hellenic hara-kiri rather than end or curtail cherished socialist programs and start seriously collecting taxes.

So what if Greece stumbled out of the EU?  Initial panic from always volatile financial markets and a Greek chorus of doomsayers.  But Europe would quickly return to normal once the shock had abated.   A European-wide bank crisis is unlikely since most of Greece’s zillions in debts are now owed to amply-funded EU institutions rather than individual banks.  The US and Canada have hardly any exposure to the Greek financial tragedy.  Argentina reneged on its huge debts and lived to tell the tale.

A Greek exit would  cause turmoil in Albania, which had some 200,000 guest workers in Greece (many now returning home), and in Bulgaria and Romania, where Greek financial institutions have been active.  Cyprus, hanging on by its fingernails, would also be in for a serious crisis.  But this is all peripheral stuff.

Bedrock Europe – Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands – would ride out the storm.  In fact, some observers, this writer included, believe the EU would be better off without the bleeding wound of Greece. So do many northern European voters and taxpayers. Neither Spain nor Italy are likely to pull out of the EU because the Greeks took flight.

Britain, which has always been a US Trojan Horse in the EU, would be delighted to see the EU lessened by a Greek departure.  Many Brits would also like to depart so they could be misruled by their own politicians with no interference from  Brussels.

As for the Greeks, self-proclaimed inventors of democracy, they have been woefully ill-served by their lousy, crooked politicians of right and left.  Greece needs a financial and social revolution to clean out its Augean stables of corruption, peculation and malfeasance.  They must be made to pay taxes – at bayonet point if necessary.

A worsening economic situation may tempt the Greek armed forces to seize power once again.  Or the Chinese may buy Greece, lock, stock and bouzouki music.

If the Greeks were really wise, they would oust all the incompetent café socialists now misruling Athens and bring in a technocratic government of hired Swiss officials to pull them out of bankruptcy.

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