C’erano i buoni da una parte, e c’erano i cattivi dall’altra.
I cattivi volevano imporre la loro dittatura su tutto il mondo, i buoni si battevano per la libertà e per la democrazia.
Per fortuna, e grazie a Dio, hanno vinto i buoni, perché il bene vince sempre, alla fine, e noi oggi siamo liberi e democratici.
Questo è il mito fondante della nostra civiltà contemporanea, e questo ci viene insegnato sin da bambini sui banchi di scuola.
E i cattivi facevano veramente delle cose orribili, ed avevano una ideologia terribile.
E su questo ci sono pochi dubbi.
Ma a volte qualcosa non torna nemmeno quando si studia la storia dei buoni.
Ci fu Hiroshima, ci fu Nagasaki.
Si calcolano circa 200.000 vittime.
Fu necessario, ci viene detto.
200.000 morti necessarie.
Necessarie per cosa, verrebbe da chiedersi, per evitare cosa?
Cosa peggio di 200.000 persone che muoiono nel giro di tre giorni?
Fu necessario per concludere la guerra, ci viene spiegato.
In fondo, se i buoni hanno fatto una cosa del genere, ci sarà stato un buon motivo.
Così ci fu Hiroshima, e Nagasaki.
E prima ancora ci fu Dresda.
Alle ore 22.08 di martedì grasso (13 febbraio 1945) le sirene di allarme aereo vennero a interrompere i clown che si stavano esibendo nel carosello finale allo spettacolo carnevalesco del Circo Sarassini.
Due soli minuti dopo il cielo incominciava ad affollarsi: i primi quadrimotori Lancaster dell’83° squadriglia inglese lasciavano cadere grappoli di bengala che illuminavano a giorno la città, poi seguirono pochi Mosquitos, agili cacciabombardieri il cui compito era quello di individuare con bombe segnaletiche rosse l’epicentro del bombardamento, lo stadio sportivo.
I Mosquitos fecero egregiamente il loro compito: nel centro esatto dello stadio si levava ora una luminosissima colonna rossa. I bombardieri avevano il loro bersaglio.
Dalle 22.13 alle 22.30 i Lancaster scaricano sulla città le terribili bombe dirompenti da 1.800 e 3.600 libbre. Poi si allontanano in direzione di Strasburgo, volando bassi per sfuggire ai radar tedeschi. I soccorsi iniziano ad affluire dalle città vicine, mentre gli abitanti escono lentamente dai rifugi. Erano quello che attendevano gli alleati: far uscire la gente, far arrivare i soccorsi, e tornare a colpire.
La “Tecnica del massacro”.Ore 1.28 del 14 febbraio. La seconda ondata arriva, indisturbata come la prima. Altri 529 Lancaster portano nelle stive 650.000 bombe: per lo più sono tutti ordigni incendiari. E’ l’inizio dell’inferno. Bombardando a destra e a sinistra delle zone già colpite dal primo attacco gli inglesi riescono a provocare la tempesta di fuoco. Dalle case già sventrate dalle bombe dirompenti viene aspirato ogni oggetto e ogni persona che si trovi nel primo chilometro dall’immane incendio.
Il pilota di un Lancaster rimasto indietro racconterà: “C’era un mare di fuoco che secondo i miei calcoli copriva almeno un centinaio di chilometri quadrati. Il calore era tale che si sentiva fin nella carlinga; eravamo come soggiogati di fronte al terrificante incendio, pensando all’orrore che c’era là sotto… “ Alla fine si calcola che i morti furono 135.000, probabilmente 200.000.
La II Guerra Mondiale stava giungendo a termine, la Germania era prossima a capitolare, e Dresda era una città senza impianti di produzione bellica, senza difesa contraerea, abitata da civili e da profughi che vi avevano trovato rifugio, in quanto era diffusa la convinzione che gli alleati non avrebbero avuto nessun motivo per attaccare una città indifesa che non rappresentava nessuna fonte di pericolo. Dresda, 13 Febbraio 1945
Eppure quell’attacco ci fu, a freddo; un’operazione che aveva il solo scopo di diffondere il massacro e il panico tra la popolazione; una sorta di punizione collettiva, fatta dai buoni contro i cattivi.
E quella guerra i cattivi la persero, alla fine.
Ma furono davvero i buoni, quelli che vinsero?
There are endless places and ways to conceal, hide and stash your guns and other precious items.
Who knows when the time would actually come when some jack-booted thug would beat down your door and search for your constitutionally-mandated firearms – but with Obama’s gun control and many possible scenarios for martial law and a crackdown on patriots, it could really happen.
And it may be time to think about the possibilities if you haven’t already.You Tuber “TheHossUSMC” explains the wisdom behind diversifying the cache locations of your weapons, so that those seizing guns can’t get them all, but may be satisfied with confiscating a few easily found, registered guns.
The rest can be deposited in your other locations, and you can live to fight another day, and engage the tyranny from a better position. Here is some advice on the process of hiding and recovering your remote weapons cache.
The questions surrounding when and how to fight back, and when to hide are complex, and ultimately each individual must use their best judgement and moral positions to make those difficult decisions.
The point is to prepare for even the worst situations and make sure that you never have to face a situation where you are disarmed, or unable to access your God-given self-defenses.
Any other good ideas about how to hide, conceal and distribute your preps? Please share, but don’t give away any personal or specific information.
Reprinted with permission from SHTFplan.com.
What air traveler hasn’t considered the possibility of having to take over the controls of an airliner in an emergency?
Commercial pilot Tim Morgan made the following video and answered the question on Quora in masterful detail. Just knowing that it’s possible helps provide peace of mind, even with your heart racing.
There are two things pushing the manual transmission off the stage – or at least, off to the sidelines:
First, there is government pressure – lots of it – that’s got the car companies sweating nights to figure out ways to make what they make use less gas while still delivering what car buyers (most of them) expect in terms of power/performance.
This is no easy trick.
De-powering the engine (or making smaller engines) is problematic because cars have become heavy, in order to qualify as “safe” per Uncle’s edicts… but making them lighter – so they could get by with less engine – and use less gas – would make them less “safe”…
Round and round we go.You may have noticed if you’ve driven a new or recent model year car with an automatic, that they are in a hurry to shift up to the highest gear they can short of lugging the engine (sometimes, they actually do lug the engine). Sometimes, they will shift up to a higher gear when the car is going downhill – which makes the car feel as though you’re stepping on the gas.
And pretty much forces you to ride the brakes.
Not good for the pads – but better for the MPGs.
This is the computer programming – which is programmed for maximum fuel efficiency.
If the car has a manual, the driver’s tendency is to not move up to the next-highest gear until the car feels ready for it – which may be less than optimum, mileage-wise. As when the car is going downhill and the driver keeps it in fourth rather than fifth to take advantage of the engine-braking effect )instead of riding the brakes) to keep the car from over-speeding.
Roughly a year ago, Nampa, Idaho resident Kenndrick Rose was appointed as a member of the local military enslavement soviet. That is an accurate, rather than official, description of the Canyon County Selective Service Board, which would be activated in the increasingly likely event that the Regime reinstates the odious practice of conscription.
Rose inherited his seat on the long-dormant board from his mother, Conchi Morales, who occupied it for twenty years. He has an academic background in computer science but no exceptional qualifications to rule on the merits of a given application for a draft deferment. Neither does anybody else, of course, since no individual or group of people has the right to compel others to serve in the military.
Although the draft ended in 1973, the apparatus of enslavement was never abolished. Within each of the more than 3,100 counties in the United States lurks a Selective Service Soviet composed of five people who would presume to make decisions regarding life or death, freedom or servitude, for every male 26 or younger residing within that jurisdiction.
Seeking to accelerate our descent into unalloyed tyranny, the Pentagon has endorsed the idea that females should be numbered within the human inventory from which the Regime will draw in its next useless, stupid, pointless war. This naturally appeals to the sort of people who believe that any assault on liberty is justified to the extent that it is indiscriminate.
“It may be unpalatable to many to think of their daughters, wives or partners being mobilized,” writes collectivist technocrat Ruth Ben-Ghiat in a sentence that casually assumes that individual human lives are the property of the state to be used as the ruling class sees fit. “In all areas of society, women have embraced the principle that equal rights brings [sic] with it equal duties. In the workplace and beyond, we share responsibilities with men. Selective Service registration should be no different.”
That argument makes perfect sense, once it is rotated one hundred and eighty degrees: Since men, as human beings, are owners of their lives and should not be forced to submit to draft registration, neither should women. That principle is unintelligible to collectivists, who define society as an appendage of the state. This is true not only of left-collectivists but of conservative militarists, as well.
Four decades ago, one of the most insistent arguments offered by opponents of the Equal Rights Amendment was that it would create the legal basis for making women subject to the draft. That prospect inspired horror and outrage during the age of Reagan. When the subject was addressed to Reagan’s would-be heirs at the most recent presidential pander-pageant (events of that kind are usually called “debates”), only Senator Ted Cruz expressed disapproval. This was because he considers it to be “immoral” to “draft our daughters to forcibly bring them into the military and put them in close combat” – not because he objects to the practice of military enslavement on principle. Having expressed an intention to conduct carpet-bombing – or perhaps even nuking — various Middle Eastern countries, Cruz clearly harbors ambitions the fulfillment of which would require an expansion of the military that current recruitment rates would not yield.Left-collectivists love social engineering; right-collectivists adore the military. Conscripting women would be the natural synthesis of this depraved dialectic.
In July 1863, amid riots that greeted the Lincoln regime’s imposition of conscription, the New York Times – ever and always the voice of the ruling class – published a remarkable editorial that offered a commendably candid expression of the evil premises at the heart of the policy.
“It is a national blessing that the conscription has been imposed,” decreed the paper’s editorial collective. “It is a matter of prime concern that it should now be settled, once and for all, whether this government is or is not strong enough to compel military service in its defense.” (Emphasis added.)
The defining deceit of those who support the murderous fiction called “government” is that this institution exists to protect the rights and property of the people. The truth is precisely the reverse: The perspective of those who act in the name of the state is that the people exist to protect the government.
Prior to 1863, continued the Times editorial, “the popular mind had scarcely be thought itself for a moment that the power of an unlimited conscription was … one of the living powers of the government in time of war. The general notion was that conscription was a feature that belonged exclusively to despotic governments.”
So alien was the idea of a military draft to the Founders and those of their generation (Jefferson referred to it as “the last of all oppressions”) that Congress refused a proposed conscription bill during the War of 1812 – even after British soldiers had burned the White House and the US Treasury had practically run dry. The proposed draft was among the grievances cited by the Hartford Convention of New England states considering secession from the union.
Lincoln’s war to re-conquer the independent Confederate States dispelled the last vestiges of that innately American hostility toward despotic power, as the Times pointed out. The sacred cause of protecting the central government, the paper opined, meant that “not only the property but the personal military service of every able-bodied citizen is at the command of the national authority, constitutionally exercised.”
In this context, the modifier “constitutionally” means, in practice, “exercised by people occupying positions listed in the document, not exercised in a fashion compatible with the provisions contained therein.” The printed words in the U.S. Constitution are meaningless; the actual constitution could be best summarized in the Latin phrase, imperii salus, suprema lex, as elaborated by the Times:
“The government is the people’s government…. When it is once understood that our national authority has the right under the Constitution to every dollar and every right arm in the country for its protection and that the great people recognize and stand by that right, thenceforward, for all time to come, the Republic will command a respect, both at home and abroad, far beyond any ever accorded to it before.” (Emphasis added.)
Once the Regime establishes the principle that it can steal the lives of its subjects, every purported constitutional guarantee of liberty is nullified.
As America succumbed to the mass psychosis that led to U.S. involvement in World War I,Progressive-era legal scholar John Henry Wigmore, who remains one of the most influential American jurists, explained that in wartime, “all principles of normal internal order may be suspended. As property may be taken and corporal service may be conscripted, so liberty of speech may be limited or suppressed, so far as deemed needful for the successful conduct of the war.”
The 1919 Schenk v. United States ruling, which gave birth to the deathless and endlessly harmful cliché that “Shouting `Fire!’ in a crowded theater” is not free speech, dealt with a pamphlet that made a constitutional argument against conscription. Dissemination of that document, according to the Feds, constituted a violation of the Espionage Act – and the High Court ratified the prosecution and conviction of the anti-war agitators who had published and circulated it.
“The document in question, upon its first printed side, recited the first section of the Thirteenth Amendment, said that the idea embodied in it was violated by the Conscription Act and that a conscript is little better than a convict,” wrote Justice Holmes, limning the tract’s seditious details with obvious disgust. “In impassioned language, it intimated that conscription was despotism in its worst form and monstrous wrong against humanity in the interest of Wall Street’s chosen few. It said `Do not submit to intimidation,’ but in form, at least, confined itself to peaceful measures such as a petition for the repeal of the act.”
“ The other and later printed side of the sheet was headed `Assert Your Rights,’” continued Holmes. “It stated reasons for alleging that anyone violated the Constitution when he refused to recognize `your right to assert your opposition to the draft’ and went on [to say that] `If you do not assert and support your rights, you are helping to deny or disparage rights which it is the solemn duty of all citizens and residents of the United States to retain.’”
Petitioning the government in defense of individual rights is advertised as a core function of the First Amendment, a provision Holmes dismissed with a rhetorical wave of the hand:
“When a nation is at war, many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight, and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right. It seems to be admitted that if an actual obstruction of the recruiting service were proved, liability for words that produced that effect might be enforced.”
Writing on behalf of the Court, Holmes went on to insist that no actual “obstruction” of the draft would be necessary since publication or public utterance of criticism for the policy is evidence of a “conspiracy to obstruct” the practice of military servitude.
All of this is justified, from the perspective for which Holmes wrote, by wartime necessity. As it happens, the U.S. government is rarely at peace and has been on a de facto war footing since 1947. Critics of conscription are fed the deceptive assurance that Congress would face insurmountable political resistance. That claim is difficult to sustain in light of the torpid public reaction to the once-unthinkable prospect of conscripting women.
Furthermore, it isn’t necessary for the draft to be formally revived in order for resisters to face prosecution. Fifteen young men who refused to register for military slavery have been convicted of that “offense” in federal court since the Selective Service was reactivated in 1980. Nine of them spent time in prison. All of them were branded as felons for the supposed crime of asserting their self-ownership.
The implacably predatory nature of the Selective Service System played a critical role in the transformation of Claude Dallas from a polite, eccentric cowboy into an outlaw.
Dallas, who was raised in Ohio but considered himself both temporally and geographically displaced, was working in a cattle camp in Nevada’s Paradise Valley when he was ambushed by two FBI undercover agents and the local sheriff in October 1973. A few months earlier, a federal grand jury had secretly indicted Dallas for the supposed crime of refusing induction into the Armed Services three years earlier.
Both the Vietnam War and the draft had ended nearly a year before Dallas was arrested. This mattered not at all to the officials who conducted a nationwide manhunt for the fugitive would-be slave, staged an undercover operation to find him, and then delivered him – shackled in leg-irons – to Mt. Gilead, Ohio, where he was thrown into a drunk tank and became the focus of opportunistic abuse by sheriff’s deputies.
Dallas wasn’t afraid to fight, or unable to do so. His prowess with firearms was well-known to the man-stealers who carefully orchestrated his abduction.
The local magistrate who examined the-the federal indictment (which was issued a month after the draft was discontinued) found that the Mt. Gilead Draft Board – yes, those panels are considered to be judicial bodies — had made some critical procedural errors, and dismissed the case.
As he was stuffed onto a bus to take him back to Nevada, Dallas was informed by one of his abductors that he would never be free.
“I’m gonna get you, Dallas – even if it’s just for tax evasion,” the FBI agent hissed in the cowboy’s ear as his shackles were removed.
Not surprisingly, the experience of being assaulted, abducted, publicly humiliated, caged, and then threatened by the Feds catalyzed a change in Dallas’s disposition.
“They wouldn’t have took me like this if they hadn’t got the drop on me,” Dallas told to friends in the Paradise Valley bunkhouse. According to Jack Olsen in his book Give a Boy a Gun, Dallas “was publicly heard to swear that no one would ever outdraw him again – no one. One of his closest friends asked how he felt about the draft and the Vietnam War. He said that he would fight for his country if he were asked in a nice way, but `nobody’s gonna order me around.’”
Living under the shadow of a government that sought to put him back into a cage, Dallas became a hermit, and then a poacher. This led, a little more than seven years later, to a confrontation with two game wardens — – Bill Pogue, a “badge-heavy” former Winnemucca, Nevada police chief, and Conley Elms – who had located Dallas’s campsite about three miles on the Idaho side of the Nevada border in Owyhee County.
Pogue and Elms were determined to take Dallas in for possession of illegal hides and venison. Dallas was determined never again to feel handcuffs biting into his wrists. All three of them went for their guns. Dallas was the only one left standing.
“Nobody has the right to come into my camp and violate my rights,” Dallas told his friend Jim Stevens, the only eyewitness to the shootout. “In my mind it’s justifiable homicide.” The Owyhee County jury who later convicted Dallas of manslaughter would have accepted his argument if he had tried to render aid to the fallen officers, rather than “mercy-killing” each of them with a .22 round to the back of the skull.
Claude Dallas is hardly a saintly figure, but he only became a killer after being cornered by gun-wielding government employees who most likely would have found some way to validate the FBI agent’s threat: The Federal Government would find some way to “get him” as punishment for avoiding the draft, no matter how trivial the violation may have been.
For killing two armed men who were prepared to kill him, Dallas served twenty-three years in prison. If he had submitted to conscription and wound up killing two dozen Vietnamese, Dallas would have been given a medal. This makes perfect sense to the kind of people who believe that government “authority” can transmute slavery into “service,” and murder into heroism.
Food freedom – now that’s a loaded statement. Is there such a thing? How many of you go to the store every week to get produce and meat? I would venture to guess almost all of us. Over the last several years, a substantial amount of our wealth has gone into purchasing food staples like meat, eggs and dairy. Even though we were “technically” making our way out of the recession of 2008, prices still continued to steadily rise. I was even more frustrated when country of origin labels were removed and serious health-related superbugs were present in packaged meat.
For years, I have placed a lot of focuson finding ways to be more sustainable. I was tired of living a life in a dependency-driven system and wanted to make more sustainable choices. Admittedly, I still go to the grocery store, but I have taken significant strides to break away from it. I no longer purchase meat, eggs and most produce. I either raise my own food sources or find them locally. This has saved us from the ever volatile price increases of grocery stores that many are dealing with.
I also made some drastic changes around the house. While many believe the first steps toward food freedom are the most difficult to take, I found them to be the most rewarding and only encouraged me to be bolder in my pursuits. In a long-term emergency scenario, I knew that I needed the land I have to work for me. Therefore, I started raising my own food sources. The following are four of the easiest steps to take to become more sustainable in raising one’s own food and can be done in the convenience of a backyard.
Things are getting hot again over in Syria, and not just because of the weather. Russia just said that if the United States jumps into the war in Syria, it’ll end up being the Third World War! Now, there’s no reason to believe that Russia can’t make good on that threat. This is a superpower, even though the United States likes to engage in the make-believe that they lost that coveted title when the Soviet Union collapsed. I fear that the threat of another world war might be too good an offer for the United States government to pass up. “What?! We could have another world war?! Why, that would be swell! We haven’t gone out and had a world war in a long time! It’s always been having to settle for wars that end up in cease-fires and we’re hungry for another war an hour later! Gosh, we haven’t had a world war since 1945! Honey, do you know where my good tie is? I want to look nice! I’ll call the UN and make reservations.”
This will be a world war to remember! Just think of the soundtrack! We’ll be plugged in listening to this war and walking right into traffic distracted for years! “Hey kids! Enlist in the United States Army and win a coveted guest appearance on “Dancing With The Shahid” debuting our new designer body armor!” See, we think this is a world war where we just get to fight international iterations of the same thing. You know, like an International House of Pancakes of terrorists. “Try the Syrian, Iraqi, and Afghani terrorists all at once with our all-new “World Grand Slam Of Terrorists Platter”! We don’t stop and think, “Say, this is the Russians who just flipped the Death Card out of the world crisis Tarot deck here. Maybe we better think again about that trip to Syria.” And that’s exactly what happened. Medvedev was sitting there in the tent, hunched over the Tarot spread, saying, “Ah, this card blocks you, this card portends another quagmire war you won’t be able to cease-fire your way out of and…oh! The Death Card! Hmmm…there’s a world war in it.” The United States, unable to understand the nature of such divinations says, “Ok, so, how about we go for two out of three readings, then? Maybe things will change.”
Indeed, the United States is always lured in by promises of a world war. After all, that’s what the Cold War was about. Getting ready for the world war to make the world safe for cockroaches to ascend as the dominant species. But, boy oh boy, we had to be ready to do it, by golly! And the warmongers are still nostalgic for those days. “Gee, it was so nice when everyone was terrified of the Russkies wiping out American cities. We were able to buy a new fighter plane every week back then.” Evidently, the desire for the good old days has turned into provoking the Russians into returning into another Cold war with us, just for Auld Lang Syne. Even better, maybe we could actually get into a genuine world war and settle this once and for all. Or, until we have the Fourth World War, assuming the Third one doesn’t go into overtime and end up with a thermonuclear coin toss to decide on a victor to break the tie. “Warheads I win, fallout shelters you lose!”
People forget that the nuclear weapons the Russians have didn’t expire in 1991. This isn’t bottles of milk or packages of hamburger meat we’re talking about here. People say, “Well, they haven’t got as many as they used to!” Wha-a-a-a-at?! It only takes one to destroy a city with 20 million people in it there, Dr. Teller. People act like this country is invincible when it cannot even defeat the Afghan version of the Beverly Hillbillies. There’s probably two or more Mullah Omar Clampetts still running around over there spiriting turncoat gunmen into U.S. military headquarters over there to off a few American officers. Wow, great allies, what? And so you’ll find such loyal allies over in Syria, will you? Oh, silly me! That’s who became ISIS!
Right, so let’s risk a nuclear war with the Russians who have just come right out and used the phrase—WORLD WAR—to warn us to mind our own business. Gee, how about that? Minding our own business? Because let me ask you this: Has Bashar al-Assad said if you don’t sign up for AssadCare, he’ll ding your tax return? Has Syria raised your taxes or caused you to have to go to the food bank? In fact, is there anything whatsoever you stand to gain from Syria? Therefore, considering the hundreds of billions of dollars we’ve already squandered on this fool’s errand, why now should we risk a thermonuclear war over it? Again, if people cannot see that this is the perfect example to show us why the government is run by the insane, they must be working for the government. Just watch, the temptation of another world war will be just too great for the government to resist. The only way we’ll avoid one is if the government feels we could get into a world war faster somewhere else, or thinks the Russians are just trying to trick us into thinking we could have a world war. “Can we get a money-back guarantee on this world war? We can’t pay for one up front and not have one happen. We don’t feel that’d be fair.”
It’s been awhile since we’ve had a world war. I think if it’s done right, it could be a regular item on the lunch buffets. People have been busy searching for the new “trend” to sweep in for 2016. Well, here it is! The Third World War! Hooray!
This is getting just plain nuts. Here is what Janet Yellen said today about the possibility of negative interest rates:
In light of the experience of European countries and others that have gone to negative rates, we’re taking a look at them again because we would want to be prepared in the event that we needed to add accommodation.“
The operative words here are “European countries” and “add accommodation”. Yet even a brief reflection on those items demonstrates that Janet is a delusional Simpleton. To adapt Jim Kunstler’s felicitous phrase about Senator Rubio’s 4-Peat incantation during the last GOP debate, our financial system is being led by a monetary android with a broken flash drive.
She says the same damn stupid thing over and over, endlessly.
Someone should tell Janet and her posse of Keynesian money printers that there is no such economic ether as “accommodation”. That’s Fed group speak for their utterly erroneous conceit that the US economy is everywhere and always sinking towards collapse unless it is countermanded, stimulated, supported and propped up by central bank policy intervention.
No it isn’t. Janet may prefer a dutch boy hair cut, but she’s not got her finger in the dike, nor is she warding off any other catastrophe. The deluge that is coming is actually the handiwork of the Fed and its bubble-ridden Wall Street casino, not the capitalist hinterlands of main street.
There are only two tangible transmission channels through which the Fed can impact our $18 trillion main street economy, as opposed to merely subsidizing Wall Street speculators to artificially bid up the price of existing financial assets.
It can inject central bank credit conjured from thin air into the bond market in order to raise prices and lower yields. And it can falsify money market interest rates and the yield curve. Both of these effects are aimed at inducing businesses and households to borrow more than they would otherwise, and to then spend more than they produce.
That’s the old Keynesian parlor trick and, yes, it worked 50 years ago when Janet’s Keynesian professors first had their way with America’s virgin balance sheets. But now those household and business balance sheets are all used up because we are at Peak Debt, along with most of the rest of the world.
Indeed, in the case of the US household sector the massive leveraging up of wage and salary income between the late 1960s and 2008 has now begun to slowly reverse. The credit string that the Fed is pushing on is evident in the chart below. But apparently Janet is still in a time warp obeying the injunctions of James Tobin’s ghost wafting up from the earlier side of the red vertical.
Accordingly, the stimulative effect of low and ultra-low interest rates never really leaves the canyons of Wall Street. And when it does, it trickles its way into credit extensions to the weakest borrowers left in the land. That is, students and subprime auto borrowers.
Outside of those dubious precincts—– where the next wave of defaults or government bailouts will surely occur——there has actually been negative growth in household debt since the financial crisis.Notwithstanding 86 months of ZIRP and its current equivalent, total household debt is still $400 billion below it pre-crisis peak, and mortgage and credit card debt are down by more than $1 trillion.
Likewise, the $2 trillion rise in total business debt outstanding has not gone into productive assets such as tangible plant, equipment, and technology. It has been short-circuited into financial engineering by the false financial bubble fostered by Fed policies. That is, massive stock buybacks and M&A deal volumes have simply used the agency of the stock options obsessed C-suite to recycle newly issued business debt right back into the canyons of Wall Street.
So if 86 months of ZIRP has already proved that the old Keynesian parlor trick—–which is the say, the household and business credit channel of monetary policy transmission—-is a dead letter, why in the world would Janet think that a few more basis points through the negative side of 0.0% would make any difference?
And especially after the ECB has tried it, and to no avail! As is evident from the bank loan data for the Eurozone, credit extensions to private business have been sinking since 2012 when Draghi issued his “anything it takes” ukase. The ECB’s move to negative deposit rates last year has not changed that trend in the slightest.
Likewise, household debt in Europe soared during the decade through 2010, but has been oscillating on the flat-line ever since. And the reason is beyond the power of the ECB or any central bank to remedy. Namely, European households are also at Peak Debt, meaning that central bank fiddling with negative deposit rates is pointless and irrational.
It might seem puzzling that Yellen, Bernanke and their camp followers have all offered the European experience as a reason to revisit NIRP when the data is this dispositive the other way. But that’s because these monetary plumbers can’t tell the difference between transient squiggles and true, lasting trends.
Here is a longer term look at bank credit extensions to households and businesses in the euro zone. You don’t need a PhD economist to explain why NIRP is a colossal failure in debt-besotted Europe.
Why do our central bankers think NIRP can possibly stimulate credit growth and old-fashioned Keynesian GDP expansion in a world of Peak Debt?
Well, the truth is, they don’t think it; they assume it. Since they erroneously believe that capitalist main street is utterly dependent upon their constant ministrations, virtually any short-run development—adverse or otherwise—- is taken as evidence that more monetary policy intrusion is needed.
Indeed, this faulty frame of mind has gone so far that they now interpret the negative feedback loop from their own bubble inflation as evidence that monetary conditions are too “tight” and more policy stimulus—-such as NIRP—-is warranted in order to offset headwinds to growth.
Here is a doozy from Janet’s written testimony.
Financial conditions in the United States have recently become less supportive of growth, with declines in broad measures of equity prices, higher borrowing rates for riskier borrowers, and a further appreciation of the dollar. These developments, if they prove persistent, could weigh on the outlook for economic activity…..
It does not take much expertise to read the code. Simple Janet is saying that it doesn’t matter that the Fed has spent years falsely inflating equity markets via massive liquidity injections and props and puts under risk assets. Any correction in stock prices and any regression of ultra-tight credit spreads to normality which could cause economic and job growth to slow must be countered at all hazards.
In short, the only thing they plan to do about a bursting bubble is to reflate it. It puts you in mind of the boy who killed his parents and then threw himself on the mercy of the courts on the grounds that he was an orphan!
In fact, the absurdity of Simple Janet’s circular reasoning was on display today in real time during her Senate testimony. Even the Fed’s official court jester, Jon Hilsenrath, couldn’t help from reporting the irony:
“We are… looking very carefully at global financial market and economic developments that create risk to the economy,” she said. “We are evaluating them, recognizing that these factors may well influence the balance of risks or the trajectory of the economy, and thereby might affect the appropriate stance of monetary policy.”
Stock prices sank as Ms. Yellen spoke. In what looks like a perverse feedback loop, she worries that market conditions could pinch the economy, and her lack of confidence sends markets lower still.
At the end of the day, don’t take my word for it. Attached below is Simple Janet’s written testimony. It was indeed generated by a monetary android with a broken flash drive.
Almost every line in it consists of notations about incoming data trivia that have been repeated month after month to absolutely no avail; or it references a simple-minded bathtub model of a closed US economy——one that is later contradicted by extended jawing about headwinds from China, global oil, and commodity prices and shrinking US exports.
Obviously, you can’t have it both ways. Either the Fed has total control of “aggregate demand” and can dial-up its monetary management controls until the US economy is full to the brim and all the “slack” is drained out of the labor market or there is massive leakage and interaction with the rest of the world. If it is the later—and of course it is——then Simple Janet is truly lost in the Keynesian Puzzle Palace.
After all, why does she spend several paragraphs boasting about the Fed’s success in stimulating 13 million jobs and getting the U-3 unemployment rate down to 4.9% when by her own observation the US economy is being bludgeoned by an array of forces originating outside the bathtub of domestic GDP?
Why do these labor market metrics even matter when they are subject to being trumped by forces far outside the Fed’s remit? Or has the Eccles Building now appointed itself central banker of the world?
Although recent economic indicators do not suggest a sharp slowdown in Chinese growth, declines in the foreign exchange value of the renminbi have intensified uncertainty about China’s exchange-rate policy and the prospects for its economy. This uncertainty led to increased volatility in global financial markets and, against the background of persistent weakness abroad, exacerbated concerns about the outlook for global growth. These growth concerns, along with strong supply conditions and high inventories, contributed to the recent fall in the prices of oil and other commodities. In turn, low commodity prices could trigger financial stresses in commodity-exporting economies, particularly in vulnerable emerging-market economies, and for commodity-producing firms in many countries. Should any of these downside risks materialize, foreign activity and demand for U.S. exports could weaken and financial market conditions could tighten further.”
The point is, Simple Janet is just emitting jabberwocky. The above paragraph completely negates the notion that there is a purely domestic business cycle that the Fed can manage and manipulate to the perfection of full employment.
In fact, today’s $80 trillion global economy is endowed with a plethora of stormy seas by Simple Janet’s own account. So why would you measure jobs growth from the very bottom month of the recession or even bother to reference the totally flawed U-3 unemployment rate in a world of gigs, temps and hours, not 40 hour work weeks at the Ford factory?
The fact is, 62% of the job gains cited by Yellen are “born again” jobs; only 5 million net jobs have been created since the pre-crisis peak, representing the weakest growth rate in modern history. Likewise, the employment to population ratio is still at modern lows and has recovered only a small fraction of its post-crisis loss; it renders the U-3 rate essentially meaningless.
So here’s the thing. Simple Janet and her posse are completely lost. And now they are thrashing about randomly pretending to be managing the monetary dials in the Eccles Building based on the incoming data.
No they are not. They are sliding by the seat of their pants. They have declared war on savers and are fixing to make their assault even more viscous. And their phony wealth effects doctrine is blowing up in their face, reducing the financial markets to the status of a theme park roller coaster ride.
If Simple Janet occupied any office in the elective branches of government she would have been in the impeachment docket long ago.
Maybe The Donald will take notice of her assault on tens of millions of retirees, savers, main street business people and just plain folks. They are all being sacrificed to Simple Janet’s Keynesian lunacy and the last grasp of the Wall Street gamblers.
So after all that has gone before, it will only take one loud voice to trigger an uprising against the crime of NIRP—–and then the casino will discover what real price discovery is all about.
Janet Yellen’s prepared testimony:
Since my appearance before this Committee last July, the economy has made further progress toward the Federal Reserve’s objective of maximum employment. And while inflation is expected to remain low in the near term, in part because of the further declines in energy prices, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) expects that inflation will rise to its 2 percent objective over the medium term.
In the labor market, the number of nonfarm payroll jobs rose 2.7 million in 2015, and posted a further gain of 150,000 in January of this year. The cumulative increase in employment since its trough in early 2010, is now more than 13 million jobs. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent in January, 0.8 percentage point below its level a year ago and in line with the median of FOMC participants’ most recent estimates of its longer-run normal level. Other measures of labor market conditions have also shown solid improvement, with noticeable declines over the past year in the number of individuals who want and are available to work but have not actively searched recently, and in the number of people who are working part time but would rather work full time. However, these measures remain above the levels seen prior to the recession, suggesting that some slack in labor markets remains. Thus, while labor market conditions have improved substantially, there is still room for further sustainable improvement.
The strong gains in the job market last year were accompanied by a continued moderate expansion in economic activity. U.S. real gross domestic product is estimated to have increased about 1-3/4 percent in 2015. Over the course of the year, subdued foreign growth and the appreciation of the dollar restrained net exports. In the fourth quarter of last year, growth in the gross domestic product is reported to have slowed more sharply, to an annual rate of just 3/4 percent; again, growth was held back by weak net exports as well as by a negative contribution from inventory investment. Although private domestic final demand appears to have slowed somewhat in the fourth quarter, it has continued to advance. Household spending has been supported by steady job gains and solid growth in real disposable income–aided in part by the declines in oil prices. One area of particular strength has been purchases of cars and light trucks; sales of these vehicles in 2015, reached their highest level ever. In the drilling and mining sector, lower oil prices have caused companies to slash jobs and sharply cut capital outlays, but in most other sectors, business investment rose over the second half of last year. And homebuilding activity has continued to move up, on balance, although the level of new construction remains well below the longer-run levels implied by demographic trends.
Financial conditions in the United States have recently become less supportive of growth, with declines in broad measures of equity prices, higher borrowing rates for riskier borrowers, and a further appreciation of the dollar. These developments, if they prove persistent, could weigh on the outlook for economic activity and the labor market, although declines in longer-term interest rates and oil prices provide some offset. Still, ongoing employment gains and faster wage growth should support the growth of real incomes and therefore consumer spending, and global economic growth should pick up over time, supported by highly accommodative monetary policies abroad. Against this backdrop, the Committee expects that with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace in coming years and that labor market indicators will continue to strengthen.
As is always the case, the economic outlook is uncertain. Foreign economic developments, in particular, pose risks to U.S. economic growth. Most notably, although recent economic indicators do not suggest a sharp slowdown in Chinese growth, declines in the foreign exchange value of the renminbi have intensified uncertainty about China’s exchange rate policy and the prospects for its economy. This uncertainty led to increased volatility in global financial markets and, against the background of persistent weakness abroad, exacerbated concerns about the outlook for global growth. These growth concerns, along with strong supply conditions and high inventories, contributed to the recent fall in the prices of oil and other commodities. In turn, low commodity prices could trigger financial stresses in commodity-exporting economies, particularly in vulnerable emerging market economies, and for commodity-producing firms in many countries. Should any of these downside risks materialize, foreign activity and demand for U.S. exports could weaken and financial market conditions could tighten further.
Of course, economic growth could also exceed our projections for a number of reasons, including the possibility that low oil prices will boost U.S. economic growth more than we expect. At present, the Committee is closely monitoring global economic and financial developments, as well as assessing their implications for the labor market and inflation and the balance of risks to the outlook.
As I noted earlier, inflation continues to run below the Committee’s 2 percent objective. Overall consumer prices, as measured by the price index for personal consumption expenditures, increased just 1/2 percent over the 12 months of 2015. To a large extent, the low average pace of inflation last year can be traced to the earlier steep declines in oil prices and in the prices of other imported goods. And, given the recent further declines in the prices of oil and other commodities, as well as the further appreciation of the dollar, the Committee expects inflation to remain low in the near term. However, once oil and import prices stop falling, the downward pressure on domestic inflation from those sources should wane, and as the labor market strengthens further, inflation is expected to rise gradually to 2 percent over the medium term. In light of the current shortfall of inflation from 2 percent, the Committee is carefully monitoring actual and expected progress toward its inflation goal.
Of course, inflation expectations play an important role in the inflation process, and the Committee’s confidence in the inflation outlook depends importantly on the degree to which longer-run inflation expectations remain well anchored. It is worth noting, in this regard, that market-based measures of inflation compensation have moved down to historically low levels; our analysis suggests that changes in risk and liquidity premiums over the past year and a half contributed significantly to these declines. Some survey measures of longer-run inflation expectations are also at the low end of their recent ranges; overall, however, they have been reasonably stable.
Monetary Policy Turning to monetary policy, the FOMC conducts policy to promote maximum employment and price stability, as required by our statutory mandate from the Congress. Last March, the Committee stated that it would be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate when it had seen further improvement in the labor market and was reasonably confident that inflation would move back to its 2 percent objective over the medium term. In December, the Committee judged that these two criteria had been satisfied and decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate 1/4 percentage point, to between 1/4 and 1/2 percent. This increase marked the end of a seven-year period during which the federal funds rate was held near zero. The Committee did not adjust the target range in January.
The decision in December to raise the federal funds rate reflected the Committee’s assessment that, even after a modest reduction in policy accommodation, economic activity would continue to expand at a moderate pace and labor market indicators would continue to strengthen. Although inflation was running below the Committee’s longer-run objective, the FOMC judged that much of the softness in inflation was attributable to transitory factors that are likely to abate over time, and that diminishing slack in labor and product markets would help move inflation toward 2 percent. In addition, the Committee recognized that it takes time for monetary policy actions to affect economic conditions. If the FOMC delayed the start of policy normalization for too long, it might have to tighten policy relatively abruptly in the future to keep the economy from overheating and inflation from significantly overshooting its objective. Such an abrupt tightening could increase the risk of pushing the economy into recession.
It is important to note that even after this increase, the stance of monetary policy remains accommodative. The FOMC anticipates that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant only gradual increases in the federal funds rate. In addition, the Committee expects that the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below the levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run. This expectation is consistent with the view that the neutral nominal federal funds rate–defined as the value of the federal funds rate that would be neither expansionary nor contractionary if the economy was operating near potential–is currently low by historical standards and is likely to rise only gradually over time. The low level of the neutral federal funds rate may be partially attributable to a range of persistent economic headwinds–such as limited access to credit for some borrowers, weak growth abroad, and a significant appreciation of the dollar–that have weighed on aggregate demand.
Of course, monetary policy is by no means on a preset course. The actual path of the federal funds rate will depend on what incoming data tell us about the economic outlook, and we will regularly reassess what level of the federal funds rate is consistent with achieving and maintaining maximum employment and 2 percent inflation. In doing so, we will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and international developments. In particular, stronger growth or a more rapid increase in inflation than the Committee currently anticipates would suggest that the neutral federal funds rate was rising more quickly than expected, making it appropriate to raise the federal funds rate more quickly as well. Conversely, if the economy were to disappoint, a lower path of the federal funds rate would be appropriate. We are committed to our dual objectives, and we will adjust policy as appropriate to foster financial conditions consistent with the attainment of our objectives over time.
Consistent with its previous communications, the Federal Reserve used interest on excess reserves (IOER) and overnight reverse repurchase (RRP) operations to move the federal funds rate into the new target range. The adjustment to the IOER rate has been particularly important in raising the federal funds rate and short-term interest rates more generally in an environment of abundant bank reserves. Meanwhile, overnight RRP operations complement the IOER rate by establishing a soft floor on money market interest rates. The IOER rate and the overnight RRP operations allowed the FOMC to control the federal funds rate effectively without having to first shrink its balance sheet by selling a large part of its holdings of longer-term securities. The Committee judged that removing monetary policy accommodation by the traditional approach of raising short-term interest rates is preferable to selling longer-term assets because such sales could be difficult to calibrate and could generate unexpected financial market reactions.
The Committee is continuing its policy of reinvesting proceeds from maturing Treasury securities and principal payments from agency debt and mortgage-backed securities. As highlighted in the December statement, the FOMC anticipates continuing this policy “until normalization of the level of the federal funds rate is well under way.” Maintaining our sizable holdings of longer-term securities should help maintain accommodative financial conditions and reduce the risk that we might need to return the federal funds rate target to the effective lower bound in response to future adverse shocks.
Thank you. I would be pleased to take your questions.
Reprinted with permission from David Stockman’s Contra Corner.
This is Part 3 of our three-part series on the techniques of trolls. The first two installments were concerned mostly with sabotage and disinformation on the Internet. They were posted anonymously some time ago. The first two appear to have been written by a professional troll for the “benefit” of less experienced trolls on how to prevent the sharing of inconvenient facts on political forums.
As we pointed out in Part 1, we would normally not publish such material because we cannot verify any of it. Yet, we feel we have actually witnessed these maneuvers on Internet forums.
Part 3 goes back in time to those days when activists unwittingly came face-to-face with infiltrators.
We cannot know for sure, but the anonymous author of Part 3 appears to have had first-hand experience with the FBI’s Counterintelligence Program — also known as “COINTELPRO” — that tormented the anti-war movements of the 1960s and 1970s.
We encourage you to add your own observations to this ongoing collection, in the Comments section below.
And, again, an obligatory if obvious disclaimer: Far from endorsing these attempts to hijack free and open discourse, we believe that exposing them can help blunt their power to confuse and control. Forewarned is forearmed.********************************************************************
Note to readers: The following is the text found on the Internet, as discussed above. The source and background are unknown.********************************************************************
The FBI establishes phony activist organizations, then penetrates them with its own agents, police informants and infiltrators. Their purpose is to prevent any real movement for justice or ecopeace from developing.
The way to neutralize potential activists is to get them into a group that does all the wrong things. This way, a lot of time is wasted, the activists become frustrated and discouraged, they accomplish nothing and, most important — their message doesn’t get out.
Legitimate activists do not subject people to hours of persuasive dialog. Their actions, beliefs, and goals speak for themselves. Groups that do recruit are missionaries, the military — and fake political parties or movements set up by agents.
Agents come in small, medium or large. They can be of any ethnic background. They can be male or female.
The actual size of the group or movement being infiltrated is irrelevant. It is the potential that the movement has for becoming large which brings on the spies and saboteurs.
Good agents will want to meet as often as possible. They will talk a lot and say little. One can expect an onslaught of long, unresolved discussions. It is the agent’s job to keep activists from quitting such a group, thus keeping them under control.
This report lists some of the tactics agents use to slow things down, foul things up, destroy the movement — and keep tabs on activists. If you are an activist, alwaysassume that you are under surveillance.
This report in no way covers all the ways agents use to sabotage the lives of sincere and dedicated activists.
I wrote on this a few months ago — the paradigm switch from mid-sized sedans to crossover SUVs. Now that the smoke has cleared on the sales numbers from 2015, we know that for the first time in history, crossovers actually outsold the mid-sized sedan segment. While many people want to purchase an SUV, they often find the price to be hard to swallow. The gap between crossovers and sedans is widening, too.
Automakers are putting hefty rebates on the sedans to lower the price while crossovers need very little in incentives, so just looking at window sticker prices can be very confusing and misleading. After much studying and many vehicle reviews, I have put together a list of the best crossover SUVs that you can buy for $25,000. Bear in mind, $25,000 is the actual transaction price you can get one for, net of factory rebates. Also, in my calculations, these are not ultra-loaded crossovers, but nicely equipped.
So without further ado, here are my top choices in no order:
Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
Nice SUV that offers two 4-cylinder engines and ample room for five people, plus you get the famous 10 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty.
It has the cute factor for sure, but it rides and drives great, and is fun to drive. If you step up to the 4-wheel drive, it is very capable. GREAT MPG too.
Possibly my most recommended because of interior quietness, and the performance of the 1.6-liter Ecoboost engine. Ford has kept the incentives aggressive as well, so you get a lot of SUV for $25,000.
A favorite for years, RAV4 interior has improved of late, and Toyotas Entune electronic system is easy to use. Resale value on the RAV4 is exceptional.
I’ve been a fan since 2010. It feels larger than many on this list and will do a real 32-MPG highway. Truly, Equinox is one of the best buys on this list.
Honda quality is legendary, but the wow factor has been missing until recently. Great resale and some cutting edge technology makes this a must-see.
This SUV never gets the credit it deserves. It is one of the segment leaders in fuel economy thanks to Skyactiv technology. It comes in a manual trans too.
The all-wheel drive system in this vehicle is tops in the industry. Forester has exceptional safety ratings too. Long-term reliability is excellent.
The second-generation Rogue was drastically improved inside, outside, and the fuel economy is greatly improved, too. The Rogue Select is even less money.
Get a 3rd-row seat and a fun SUV with a base price of under $23,000. Long-term quality is good. Short-term resale is not great, but a super buy upfront if you are not going to trade within the first five years.
Like the Santa Fe, you get an exceptional warranty and great styling. I like the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder really well. Sorento is a little larger than most on this list.
There are eleven good choices for you to look at and consider. Each one has pluses and minuses, and they will all drive differently from each other. Given this is a big decision; I recommend attending an auto show, and for sure driving the ones that you are most interested in.
It is important to watch incentives too, they move up and down all the time and can affect the level of equipment you can get for your $25,000 target price.
Reprinted from Car Pro.
Numbers surround our everyday lives. They reveal the cost of products, the temperature outside and even how fast we should be cruising on the highway. Understanding numbers, then, is highly important because when we don’t, it can lead to unwanted results – like getting a speeding ticket or not wearing a jacket when it turns out to be cold!
When it comes to our heath, there are also numbers we must closely pay attention to, and one in particular we must keep a sharper eye on…
We’re talking about blood pressure numbers; understanding your reading can be the difference between life and death. You see, the numbers that show when we take our blood pressure reveal a lot about our health. Keeping your numbers in a healthy range will help you continue a long, joyful life. If you don’t quite understand the importance of those numbers, let us break down some blood pressure facts to give you a better idea.
What is blood pressure?
High blood pressure symptoms may be unnoticeable for years and that is why keeping regular readings – especially if you have risk factors for hypertension – is that much more important. Symptoms of hypertension include:
- Chest pain
- Swelling in legs, abdomen and ankles
- Bluish color to lips or skin
- Changes in heart rate – speeding up or palpitations
High blood pressure side effects
High blood pressure is linked to serious health consequences. Here are some of the side effects and other illnesses high blood pressure plays a role in:
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Kidney disease
If you already have another underlying medical condition, such as diabetes or high cholesterol, paired with high blood pressure, your risk for these diseases vastly increases.
High blood pressure prevention
To avoid hypertension and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, prevention is your best defense. For primary hypertension, prevention methods include enjoying healthy lifestyle habits such as exercising, eating well, moderating alcohol consumption, reducing and managing stress and not smoking. These are simple ways you can reduce your risk of developing hypertension over time.
In the case of secondary hypertension, prevention is about managing the chronic illness. If the underlying medical issue you have is not managed, it can put you at greater risk for hypertension. Following directions of medications and treatment options provided by your doctor can help you prevent high blood pressure as a result of an underlying health condition.
High blood pressure natural remedies
High blood pressure natural remedies are very similar to the means of preventing blood pressure issues altogether. If you lack physical activity, start now. Depending on age and ability, it may be wise to consult your doctor, but start off with some swimming or light walking – both are great beginnings to get stronger and help your hypertension.
Eating a balanced diet is also essential. Fruits and vegetables should be enjoyed in abundance and the less processed and fast-food, the better you will feel. Greens, lean meats and whole grains are all part of the recipe for a healthy life and may help you lower your high blood pressure naturally.
Low blood pressure (hypotension)
As opposed to high blood pressure, we can develop low blood pressure, which is still harmful to our health. Low blood pressure can be temporary or can be chronic and something you have to manage, it all depends on the cause.
Potential causes of low blood pressure are:
- Heart problems
- Blood loss
- Severe allergic reaction
- Lack of nutrients
Low blood pressure causes can also result from standing up too quickly, can occur after a meal and can be a result of faulty brain signals or damage to the nervous system. As you can see, there are many causes of low blood pressure and doctors recognize that for some, normal levels are just low. That is why doctors don’t usually diagnose someone with hypotension unless symptoms are visible.
Low blood pressure symptoms
Many low blood pressure symptoms are quite similar to high blood pressure ones, but there are a few differences:
- Blurred vision
- Lack of concentration
- Cold, clammy, pale skin
- Shortness of breath
If you continuously have readings of low blood pressure but don’t experience these symptoms, then what may be low for others is quite normal for you. Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to any changes in health.
Low blood pressure prevention and natural remedies
Because most of the time low blood pressure isn’t too serious, continuing to live a healthy lifestyle is your means of prevention and natural remedy. Drinking plenty of water and enjoying whole foods can help balance out your blood pressure. Also, the type of low blood pressure you have can also help you prevent or treat it, for example, if your blood pressure drops when you strand up or get out of bed, being more mindful of this and moving slower can help alleviate this rush and change.
Either too high or too low, blood pressure should always be monitored, especially as you age. The detrimental effects of blood pressure can be life-threatening, so understanding your readings and taking the appropriate steps to healthier living is the secret to healthy blood pressure.
Reprinted with permission from Bel Marra Health.
Remember the vicious cycle that threatened the entire European banking sector in 2012?
It went something like this: over indebted sovereigns depended on domestic banks to buy their debt, but when yields on that debt spiked, the banks took a hit, inhibiting their ability to fund the sovereign, whose yields would then rise some more, further curtailing banks’ ability to help out, and so on and so forth.
Well don’t look now, but central bankers’ headlong plunge into NIRP-dom has created another “doom loop” whereby negative rates weaken banks whose profits are already crimped by the new regulatory regime, sharply lower revenue from trading, and billions in fines. Weak banks then pull back on lending, thus weakening the economy further and compelling policy makers to take rates even lower in a self-perpetuating death spiral. Meanwhile, bank stocks plunge raising questions about the entire sector’s viability and that, in turn, raises the specter of yet another financial market meltdown.
Below, find the diagram that illustrates this dynamic followed by a bit of color from WSJ:
In a way, the move below zero was a gamble. The theory went like this: Banks would take a hit, but negative rates would get the economy moving. A stronger economy would, in turn, help the banks recover.
It appears that wager isn’t working.
The consequences are deeply worrying. Weak banks may now drag the economy down further. And with the economy weak and deflation—a damaging spiral of falling wages and prices—looming, central banks that have gone negative will be loath to turn around and raise rates.
Moreover, central banks have few other levers to escape that doom loop. The ECB has instituted a bond-buying program, but President Mario Draghi last month indicated he was ready to launch additional monetary stimulus in March. Japan’s decision to implement negative rates follows three years of aggressive monetary easing, aimed at ending two decades of low inflation and stagnant growth.
The pushes into negative territory also amount to a sort of competitive currency war that no one seems willing to call off.
Major economies around the world are desperate to spur inflation; one way to do that is to cut interest rates, which typically would make their currencies less attractive. Lower currencies raise the prices of imported goods and boost the fortunes of exporters.
Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark have all used negative rates to help ward off inflows of foreign funds that push up their currencies. Economists said an aim of the Bank of Japan’s move to negative rates last month was to weaken the yen. It hasn’t worked: The yen shot up Thursday and is stronger than it was before the rate cut.
The move below zero compounds the miseries for lenders in those countries. Banks traditionally make a profit by lending at higher interest rates than the rates they pay on deposits, a difference called the net interest margin. Low rates have already squeezed that margin, and banks’ funding costs from other sources, such as bond markets, have surged this year.
German banks earn roughly 75% of their income from the margin between rates on savings accounts and the loans they make, according to statistics from the
Bundesbank, the country’s central bank. Plunging rates dragged German banks’ interest revenue down to €204 billion ($230 billion) in 2014 from €419 billion in 2007, according to the Bundesbank.
Negative rates cost Danish banks more than 1 billion kroner ($151 million) last year, according to a lobbying group for Denmark’s banking sector.
Consider that and then have a look at the following chart, which certainly seems to indicate that we are on step 8 in WSJ’s doom loop…
Step 9 is when things really start to go south for the real economy. So buckle up.
Reprinted with permission from Zero Hedge.
As a criminal defense attorney, I have been representing people charged with gun related criminal offenses for well over twenty years. During that time, I have been lead counsel in several hundred gun related criminal offenses including 1st-degree murder, drive-by shootings, aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, unlawful discharge and many more serious felony level offenses. I have represented people in countless misconduct with weapons and prohibited possessor criminal charges as well. In short, I have represented more people than I could possibly count in serious gun related criminal cases in both state and federal courts. There are few ways a person can get into big trouble more quickly than to misuse a firearm.
The decision to keep and bear arms is a serious one. It is also a decision that necessarily comes with great responsibility. All gun owners are required to know and follow the law. As you have heard many times, ignorance of the law is no excuse. Especially in cases involving firearms, you would be well served to study the law, and to think about its application before carrying, or even owning, a firearm.
As you know, there are exceptions to every rule. Even my rule not to make any statements has exceptions. Here they are:
Exception #1 – If you have been involved in a shooting, someone should call 911. My preference is that you get someone other than yourself to immediately call 911 and convey a few simple things:
- There has been a shooting;
- Please send an ambulance;
- The address is….;
- Goodbye. (Hang up)
If you can’t find someone else to immediately call 911, you should do it yourself before making any other calls; even to your lawyer. Incidentally, remember that any competent lawyer is going to advise you not to make any statements. This advice shouldn’t come as a surprise to you.
After 911 has been called, you should immediately prepare for the arrival of the police. At this point, your immediate plan should be not to get shot by the police. I strongly suggest you secure your weapon before the police arrive and make sure nothing you do could possibly be construed as a threat to the police. Make sure the officers can clearly see your empty hands.
Exception #2 – Routine traffic stops. Although this article is specifically geared to gun-related matters, the advice to remain silent generally applies to all police investigations of any type. However, if you want to try to talk your way out of a speeding ticket, then you can opt to simply ignore my rule to remain silent. Although I recommend you cheerfully accept your ticket and move on with your life a tad bit less wealthy, feel free to respectfully interact with the officer at the side of the road with the purpose of trying to avoid the ticket and obtain a warning instead.
As a tip for this strategy, I have found that most officers really appreciate honesty and remorse after a traffic stop. Although admitting you were speeding will likely foil your chances of beating the ticket in court, it may just earn you a written warning with an old style peace officer. That said, I don’t offer any guarantees on this strategy, and I stand by my general advice to remain silent and move on with your life even during a routine traffic stop.
Exception #3 – After a detailed consultation with an experienced attorney. Even in a gun related case, it may ultimately be in your best interest to make a formal statement. However, this can only be determined after spending some quality time with an experienced criminal defense attorney who fully understands the facts and circumstances of the situation. I have on occasion, even in gun cases, issued formal statements either to the prosecutor or to be released publically that have greatly benefitted my client.
For example, my client Dr. Peter Steinmetz, who specifically authorized me to discuss his case publically, was arrested after peacefully carrying his AR-15 rifle into the unsecured portion of Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. It was his careful rotation of the weapon in order to allow him to sit that ultimately caused his arrest. His case garnered national media attention. As he was facing two counts of felony disorderly conduct with mandatory prison, we strategically called a press conference at which he offered a formal statement about the incident. Countless television, radio, and print media outlets crowded into my law firm to broadcast the statement. We ultimately convinced the prosecutor not to proceed with the case. Additionally, I actually got his AR-15 returned to him. It was a complete and total victory; as well as the right result.
Admittedly, issuing a public statement in a gun related case with pending felony criminal charges is rare indeed. However, skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyers tailor their actions to the unique specifics of the case. All cases are different. Although I offer general advice in this article, there is no substitute for immediately consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney any time the state threatens to put you in a cage.
2. Understanding Self-Defense
Generally speaking, self-defense is all about one word – “reasonableness.” Whenever I give a talk about the legal rights and responsibilities of gun owners, people inevitably want to ask me my opinions about the applicability of self-defense as a legal justification for various hypothetical situations. Often, the questions start with some version of the following, “So, I’m in my house sleeping. It’s the middle of the night, and I’m awakened by a suspicious noise. I wake up and grab my gun as a precaution. I see a stranger in my family room doing something. He turns to face me. Then, etc., etc., etc.” The question always concludes with, “So can I shoot him?”
This is how I hear these questions, “Marc, I would like you to predict for me with certainty what a random group of strangers in my community, who we know very little about, will think is reasonable under all the facts and circumstances I’m about to lay out for you.” In some very clear cases, I’m able to offer a prediction.
However, before I answer the hypothetical question, I like to explain that if the random group of strangers called the “jury” determines what you did was “reasonable” under the circumstances, you get to exit the courtroom and buy your criminal defense lawyer a nice dinner somewhere to celebrate. On the other hand, if the jury determines what you did was “unreasonable” under the circumstances you will likely immediately be carted away to live, possibly for many years, in a cage somewhere. Getting people to initially understand that it all boils down to what random people in the community determine to be “reasonable” or “unreasonable” is the main point I like to communicate.
In the cases where I generally offer a prediction, I always explain that their community has already predetermined some conclusions about “reasonableness” which are helpful to know in advance. For example, in Arizona, we have already determined that the threat against which you seek to use force to defend must be “imminent.” Said another way, Arizona has predetermined that using force against a non-imminent threat is unreasonable. A jury will be instructed about this predetermination of reasonableness. Arizona has also predetermined that using force to defend against mere words alone is unreasonable. Also, using deadly force to protect property is unreasonable. There are many other predetermined rules too. Knowing them in advance is especially helpful given that the judge will instruct the jury about these predetermined decisions about reasonableness.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that people often disagree about what is “reasonable.” Many people believe it is reasonable for the government to entirely ban all gun ownership; even from responsible, peaceful, competent adults. I am of the firm opinion that you should do your best to entirely avoid a situation where your very freedom depends on judgments about “reasonableness” of randomly selected people; especially after hearing skilled attorneys argue both sides to them. Be very conservative when thinking about pulling out your gun.
3. Lawyers Argue About the Facts
Good lawyers always have long detailed initial meetings with their clients to understand the facts of what occurred. However, good lawyers also know from experience that the client’s version of the facts is just that; the client’s version of the facts. In almost all criminal cases, there are other different or even competing versions of the facts. It is always the case that there exists a truth about what actually occurred. However, it is obtaining that truth, and getting other people to accept that truth, that is often the problem. Sometimes people have different perceptions about what occurred. Also, some people lie about what happened.
For example, it is often the case that physical force or deadly physical force is used to defend against the coordinated and threatening efforts of a group of people. In these cases, there are always at least two vastly different versions of events. Usually, there are several different versions of events. I routinely tell my clients not to be surprised when the person identified as the “victim” and all his or her friends have coordinated their versions of events to support an allegation of criminal conduct by my client. My clients are not usually surprised by this rather obvious prediction.
When I start talking to the prosecutor in a criminal case, I always advocate for the best result for my client. This advocating normally focuses on my client’s version of the facts. However, prosecutors routinely disagree with the facts as I present them. They almost always focus on the facts as related by the person identified as the “victim” or people associated with and friendly to the victim. As is always the case, the differing versions of the facts always lead to vastly different potential results for my client.
We lawyers almost never argue about the law. If we have a disagreement about how the law applies, we can generally figure it out with a bit of legal research. Although you may invest lots of time learning about and studying the law, it is the facts we generally argue about; not the law. Indeed, this is the purpose of the jury. It is the jury that is charged with getting to the bottom of the facts of what occurred. They are given the law by the judge.
I often advise clients that their case isn’t about what actually happened. Their case is about what people will say happened as well as the physical evidence and reasonable inferences from that evidence. In many cases, the physical evidence does not resolve small but important or even conclusive details about what actually happened. It isn’t enough to act consistently with the law. To be safe from prosecution, the evidence of what actually happened must also be clear to a police officer or a prosecutor. Remember, there is no doubt that innocent people actually get convicted in our justice system.
In a dispute over the facts, most, if not all, prosecutors will afford the least credibility to the defendant. Remember, it is the defendant in a criminal case who usually has the most to lose and therefore the most invested in a particular version of events. As I stated previously, the person with the shiny badge is usually afforded the most credibility by the prosecutor and the jury. The “victim” of the alleged crime is usually the next most credible to these people.
Whenever you think about pulling out your firearm, you need to consider both whether what you are doing will be considered reasonable by a random group of strangers as well as the real possibility that radically different versions of events may be presented to the police, the prosecutor and ultimately your jury. In keeping with the theme of this article, these reasons cut strongly in favor of being very conservative about pulling out your firearm.
4. Mandatory Minimum Sentences
It used to be the case that sentencing judges had vast discretion in fashioning appropriate sentences based on the particular facts and circumstances of each case. This makes the most sense to me as judges are in a much better position than legislators are to fashion an appropriate sentence in a particular case with unique facts. In our ridiculously over-criminalized society, the trend over the past several decades has been to drastically diminish the judge’s sentencing discretion in favor of more harsh, or even mandatory prison, “one size fits all” style sentences.
Mandatory minimum sentences are generally those sentences where prison is required. In Arizona, all crimes involving the discharge, use or threatening exhibition of a firearm are mandatory prison offenses for those who are found guilty. As such, most gun related crimes carry the guarantee of prison time for those who are convicted; even for the first time offender. There is no possibility of probation for those who are found guilty.
If you are ever prosecuted for a criminal charge resulting from a gun related incident, the odds are you are not going to trial. Regarding criminal cases generally, the vast majority are resolved with a plea bargain agreement rather than a jury trial. Depending on various factors, most estimates are over 95% of all criminal cases are resolved by plea instead of by jury trial. I strongly suspect the rate of plea-bargaining is even higher in cases involving mandatory minimum prison sentences.
In short, because the risk of rolling the dice at trial is so incredibly high, the overwhelming vast majority of people will opt instead for the relative certainty of a plea bargain agreement. This vast majority of people undoubtedly includes people who may have ultimately been acquitted after a jury trial had they risked it. The bottom line here is that the risk of a long mandatory prison sentence upon a conviction often serves to coerce people out of their right to a jury trial. Prosecutors are well aware of this reality.
I never officially offer any client better than 50% odds at trial. The truth is nobody can accurately predict what a jury will decide. Indeed, different juries sometimes reach different conclusions on the same facts. Trial is always a risk. However, imagine I could accurately offer a 90% chance of an acquittal after trial. In a mandatory prison case, that also means a 10% chance of a long mandatory prison sentence. When faced with a plea bargain offer to plead guilty to a lesser offense and receive a 100% guarantee of probation, I know from experience that most people will accept the plea offer; even with the hypothetical 90% chance of an acquittal at trial. Given this set of circumstances, few people will risk a trial in a gun-related case.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy trying cases, and it is generally my personal preference to go to trial. However, given that I don’t have to personally suffer through the prison time if we lose, it isn’t my decision. Some criminal defense attorneys would say that some prosecutors intentionally overcharge cases knowing the risk of trial will simply scare the defendant into accepting a plea offer. I have had many prosecutors cheerfully point out to me that the defendant’s risk of a long prison sentence after a trial far exceeds the substantially lower risk contained in the pending plea offer.
It is no secret that people who maintain their actual innocence sometimes plead guilty. Indeed, our United States Supreme Court specifically approved of the concept that there is no constitutional impediment to people who openly maintain their actual innocence from pleading guilty and accepting a plea offer for the purpose of limiting their risk. It happens in our criminal justice system.
If you think you will simply explain this concept to a jury at trial, you would be wrong. The existence of a mandatory prison sentence upon conviction is a fact that is intentionally withheld from the jury at a trial. As an example, a jury may reasonably conclude that a 19-year-old kid with no prior convictions who sold $10.00 of marijuana (the amount he paid for it) on two occasions to his 19-year-old marijuana-smoking buddy would be looking at probation upon conviction. However, these facts require a mandatory prison sentence in Arizona.
It is my experience that people give more thought to decisions they perceive to be very important than they do to routine less serious decisions. I suspect a jury would be much more concerned, and maybe even pay closer attention to the evidence or more rigidly hold the prosecutor to his or her burden of proof, if they knew the 19-year-old kid was guaranteed to go to prison upon conviction rather than get a slap on the wrist with counseling as they may otherwise reasonably conclude. If you are charged with a gun-related crime and plan to go to trial, you need to know the jury won’t be told about the guaranteed prison sentence you will suffer if they find you guilty.
Jury nullification was supposed to act as a final check on the government’s power. Indeed, I would love to argue, with the right set of facts, that even though the peaceful homeowner was legally not permitted to discharge his or her firearm, the jury ought to acquit in any event as it was a close call and the home invader bad guy shouldn’t be considered a victim. I suspect I could have success with that argument in the right case. However, the state of the law is that I am absolutely prohibited from asserting it.
The case for being very conservative about pulling out your firearm is strong. The best way to avoid having to deal with the risk of a mandatory prison sentence is simply being smart enough to avoid doing the types of things which may give rise to criminal charges. Don’t be an idiot with a gun!
5. What to Think About When You Are Thinking About Pulling it Out
Given that self-defense is all about what’s “reasonable,” and that the facts of most criminal cases are almost always hotly contested, and keeping in mind that you will likely be facing a mandatory prison sentence if convicted, avoiding being charged with a gun crime ought to be of the utmost importance to gun owners. I’m sure you can see now why I advise people to be very conservative about pulling out their firearm. That said, there exists extraordinarily rare times when you must.
Of course, my preference is that you call me in advance of pulling out your firearm. I expect I could be very helpful to you in determining whether pulling it out in your particular situation would likely be a violation of the law. I can offer you my best advice if you schedule some time to come into my law office and lay it all out for me in advance. I expect the appointment will likely need to be at least an hour and possibly longer. Even then, I’m likely to offer you an unsatisfying qualified answer to your question based upon some of the reasons I have already written about in this article.
I would also mention to you that if you have time available to consult with me in advance of a decision to pull out your firearm, you absolutely shouldn’t do it. The nature of an imminent threat is such that you simply don’t have any time available to consult with anyone. It is a “right now” “right here” type of decision. If you are lucky, you may have a few seconds to think about it in advance. Fortunately, I believe you can do it with a simple analysis.
I want you to imagine that if you decide to pull out your firearm, you will certainly be prosecuted for a serious felony gun crime. To truly understand this possibility, you must have already been arrested, charged and prosecuted for such a crime. Given that, if you have already been through such an ordeal, the odds are that you are now a prohibited possessor and can’t possess firearms in any event. For those of you who haven’t been through such an ordeal, I recommend you actually spend some time thinking about and actually visualizing what it would be like to be prosecuted for a serious gun crime.
It usually starts with the arrest. The police will arrive and “escort you to the ground.” I know it sounds good, but trust me on this one, you won’t enjoy being escorted to the ground by the officer. Imagine the officer has already firmly concluded you are guilty of a serious gun crime. You will be treated accordingly as your new bracelets are harshly installed on your wrists. Hopefully, you will remember my advice and resist the strong urge to tell your version of events to the officer.
After a miserable ride to the horribly overcrowded jail, you are booked in as the newest member of the highest incarcerated population on Earth. You should expect the judge, who has already read the officer’s version of the case, the same officer who just cuffed and stuffed you, will set a very high bond to be posted in exchange for your release. As is now common, you may even be subjected to a cash only bond; making it much more difficult to actually post the bond and thereby secure your release. You will soon learn who your real friends are as they hopefully scramble to secure your release as well as a good criminal defense attorney.
Although you are assured you are absolutely presumed innocent, you truly aren’t feeling it as you choke down the disgusting slop served to you for dinner with your new friends at the jail. Even if you can secure your release from jail, you recall points #2, #3, and #4 above as a lawyer explains the serious felony charges now brought against you. Although I will be happy to zealously defend you against the criminal charges, I try not to work for free. In any event, any payment to any private lawyer is more than you wanted to spend.
After possibly a year of misery, constantly wondering whether your life is ruined, you will face the difficult choices described above in the section on mandatory minimum sentences. Expect to be charged with a crime carrying a long mandatory prison sentence; probably 5-15 years assuming nobody died.
Although you will feel strongly you withdrew your firearm consistently with the law, odds are you will eventually accept a plea offer; even if your lawyer enthusiastically wants to try the case before a jury. You won’t likely accept the substantial risks associated with a trial when you are offered the certainty of a much more lenient plea bargain. As a final parting gift resulting from your unplanned interaction with the state, you are now a prohibited possessor; possibly forever.
I realize I have intentionally presented, far from a worst case, but a very bad scenario for you to consider. Be advised, this general example is not far fetched at all. It happens all the time. My example is common. However, I also acknowledge that not all firearm brandishings or discharges are prosecuted. Indeed, not all people who pull out their firearm are even arrested. In my experience, I have witnessed good judgment by both the police and prosecutors. Sometimes, they are able to quickly sort out the good guys from the bad guys.
That said, I want you to envision my exact example when you are thinking about pulling it out. If you are not willing to endure the rigors of being prosecuted as I have described it, my opinion is that the situation you face is not serious enough to warrant pulling out your firearm. Said another way, if what is about to imminently happen if you fail to pull out your firearm is worse than being prosecuted as I have described it, then I advise you to pull it out and act defensively. However, if being prosecuted as I have described it is worse than what happens if you fail to pull it out, I advise you not to pull it out.
I will offer you some examples of the “Marc J. Victor Analysis” applied to some real life situations:
Example #1 – If you fail to pull out your firearm right now, you are likely going to be dead. It seems to me that being dead is worse than being prosecuted. Therefore, I advise pulling out your firearm.
Example #2 – If you fail to pull out your firearm right now, someone you love, or like a lot, will likely be dead. Again, I’d prefer to be prosecuted, so I advise pulling out the firearm.
Example #3 – If you fail to pull out your firearm right now, you will likely be punched in the face. Although this is a tad bit more difficult, I’d prefer to be punched in the face rather than be prosecuted, so I advise not pulling out the firearm.
Example #4 – If you fail to pull out your firearm right now, you are certainly going to be disrespected. It is important to note that this particular example is actually from a potential client who came to my law firm to consult with me about his aggravated assault felony criminal charge. He was facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 5-15 years in prison. When I asked him why he pulled his firearm out, he informed me he was disrespected by another person. I don’t know about you, but I’d strongly prefer to be horribly disrespected on a regular basis than to be prosecuted. As such, I advise not pulling out the firearm in response to or even to prevent being disrespected. Dumb!
I believe you can honestly and effectively perform the “Marc J. Victor Analysis” in a few seconds if you simply invest a little time thinking about being prosecuted as I have described it. I do not apologize for offering very conservative advice about pulling out your firearm.
It is important to note that the law may actually allow you to pull out your firearm for situations far less serious than I recommend. For example, Arizona law allows a person to display a firearm defensively in response to an imminent threat of ordinary physical force. See, A.R.S. § 13-421. I concede this law suggests a different conclusion for my example #3 above. Additionally, there are many other situations in which a person could arguably legally pull out a firearm than the “Marc J. Victor Analysis” would conclude. That notwithstanding, I firmly stand by my advice.
There is always a risk of being prosecuted when you pull out your firearm. Ignoring that risk and assuming a police officer or a prosecutor will conclude your conduct fits nicely into a statute permitting you to use your firearm in the way the witnesses say you did, is foolish. Assuming the giant risk of being prosecuted only makes sense if what is going to happen otherwise is worse than being prosecuted. These circumstances are extremely rare. Just because the law may technically allow you to pull your firearm out doesn’t mean you should. Whatever you are protecting with your firearm ought to be worth being prosecuted for.
To say I am pro-gun is truly not accurate. I am no more pro-gun than I am pro-hammer. They are both tools. I am pro-peaceful, responsible, competent adult with the option to own and carry guns. I am anti-idiot with guns. If you are short on common sense, you probably aren’t someone who ought to have a gun. If you are hot tempered, quick to anger and act impulsively, I suspect you, and everyone else is better off if you don’t own a gun. Owning a firearm is a serious undertaking. It comes with great responsibility. If you aren’t up to it, don’t own a gun as I suspect you are more likely to get in trouble with the gun than you are to actually need it for self-defense. I suggest you perform an honest self-evaluation before owning a firearm.
I have been representing people charged with gun-related felonies for well over twenty years. I have noticed some patterns of conduct that seem to emerge regularly in these types of cases. I wanted to leave you with some random tips for preserving your freedom as a peaceful and responsible gun owner.
Don’t even think about mixing alcohol, marijuana or any other mind-altering drug with guns. If you are carrying your gun, you must be alert and have a clear head at all times. If this advice isn’t obvious to you, I suggest you pass on owning a firearm.
Secure your firearm carefully in your home at all times. Do not take any chances an unsupervised minor could get to your gun. You could be charged with the crime of felony child endangerment if you accidentally leave your gun sitting around while kids are present.
People who pull guns out while they are driving down the road usually get charged with felonies. Prosecutors generally don’t buy that the other vehicle was trying to run you off the road. If you find yourself involved in a road rage incident with another car, don’t pull out your gun. Use your head and find another solution.
I realize there may be actual tactical reasons to the contrary, but I recommend you do not carry your firearm with a round in the chamber. I have represented countless good people on accidental discharge cases. A purely accidental discharge in the city limits is generally a felony offense that carries mandatory prison. You should consider sacrificing whatever tactical advantage exists for not having to chamber a round in exchange for the much lower likelihood of an accidental discharge.
Never use more force than is reasonably necessary to repel the threat. If merely displaying your firearm will suffice then do not point it. Always seek to use the least amount of force necessary. If a prosecutor sees you as a person just itching to use deadly force, doubts may be resolved against you in charging decisions. I urge you to act like a responsible adult at all times while carrying a firearm. If you plan to goof off, don’t bring your gun.
Although the law in Arizona does not require you to retreat, you should retreat if you can do so safely without risk to you or a loved one. Things can be replaced. People can’t. The good guys don’t always win. I strongly advise you to de-escalate a situation and even retreat if necessary to avoid a conflict.
No, you don’t get to shoot someone just because that person is trespassing in your home. Although I admit a shooting may be more likely to be justified because it occurs in your home, your actions must still be reasonable under the circumstances. Although there are indeed times when it is necessary, don’t be in a hurry or too enthusiastic about shooting another human being.
As I said at the beginning, I do not intend this article to act as a substitute for carefully studying the law relating to firearms. However, I do intend this article to serve as a framework for better understanding the application of those laws in our criminal justice system. I hope you will be conservative about pulling out your firearm, and do so only in extreme and very serious circumstances. You would also be well served to actually become and stay familiar and competent with whatever firearm you choose. Having a firearm is close to worthless unless you can competently use it if necessary.
There are countless people who regularly carry firearms safely and responsibly. Most of them will never have any problems at all relating to those firearms. Carrying a firearm ought to be boring. You should be comfortable with the fact that you will never likely have to pull it out. Like flood insurance, we hope to never need it. However, it is important to have in the event you actually need to use it. If you are carrying a firearm because you want some action, or you are constantly looking for reasons to pull it out, I suspect you will need my services someday. As I previously said, there are few ways to ruin the rest of your life more quickly than by misusing a firearm. I have seen it time and time again. I hope you will learn from the mistakes of others currently sitting in prison serving long sentences. Don’t be an idiot with a gun!
Decentramento scolastico e bancarotta del welfare state: come lo stato esalerà il suo ultimo respiro
di Francesco Simoncelli
Immaginate se tutti gli individui ogni volta che dovessero prendere scelte impegnative si ritrovassero alle loro spalle un filantropo che li terrebbe al sicuro da qualsiasi rischio. Le scelte imprenditoriali non avrebbero senso, diventerebbero un coacervo di decisioni prese ad occhi chiusi senza un minimo senso logico. Il rischio non rappresenterebbe più una remunerazione per la propria lungimiranza, ma un capriccio dettato dall'indole volubile degli attori di mercato. Si oserebbe ad occhi chiusi, il calcolo imprenditoriale si svuoterebbe del suo significato e il mercato non veicolerebbe informazioni genuine in accordo con la volontà delle forze di mercato. Per capire meglio, immaginate un trapezista. Il suo lavoro è pingue di pericoli e rischi. Ogni volta che afferra l'asta che lo fa librare in aria, deve operare calcoli complicati per scandire al millesimo di secondo ogni vibrazione dei suoi muscoli. Il singolo errore gli costerebbe caro. Questo significa che ogni giorno rappresenta una sfida in più per sé stesso, poiché dev'essere in grado di lasciare fuori dalla sua vita la minima distrazione. Ci vuole passione. Ci vuole determinazione. Ci vuole organizzazione.
Più di tutto, il successo si raggiunge attraverso la soddisfazione dei desideri dei clienti. In questo caso i clienti vogliono spettacolo. Vogliono essere sbalorditi. Vogliono emozioni ed adrenalina. Il trapezista, per soddisfare queste richieste, deve correre rischi. La maggior parte dei trapezisti effettua i propri numeri con una rete di protezione. Questi sono applauditi, ma hanno un successo relativo. Poi c'è una piccola parte di trapezisti che effettua i propri numeri senza rete di protezione. Questi non solo sono applauditi, ma sono anche pagati profumatamente in base alla loro bravura e al rischio che accettano di correre.
Prima di avventurarci oltre nella nostra discussione e arrivare successivamente al cuore dell'articolo, è necessario sottolineare che le scelte e le decisioni prese dagli individui sono dettate da una componente propositiva che smuove la persona da uno stato di quiete ad uno stato d'azione. Il benessere e la vita sono due dei fattori più importanti nell'esistenza degli esseri umani, di conseguenza questi ultimi sono spronati a massimizzarli per vivere un'esistenza quanto più confortevole possibile. Perché? Perché l'azione degli uomini è un fenomeno apoditticamente affermante la vita. Qualunque sia il modo con cui vogliamo esprimerci o fare qualcosa, la fenomenologia delle azioni è il metodo attraverso il quale rendiamo concreti gli stimoli e i desideri che risiedono inizialmente nel mondo noumenico del nostro intelletto.
Ognuno di noi è padrone dei propri pensieri, di conseguenza è impossibile che un qualsiasi altro uomo possa sapere in anticipo quali saranno le azioni di un altro. Possiamo osservare una determinata persona svolgere un compito, ma solo dopo un certo periodo di tempo possiamo dire con certezza che quella determinata persona stava svolgendo un particolare compito. Ad esempio, se osserviamo un ragazzino giocare a palla e poi notiamo che lo stesso si dirige verso la cucina e prende una bottiglia d'acqua, possiamo concludere istantaneamente che userà tale liquido per dissetarsi? No, perché in realtà potrebbe essere benissimo l'inizio di uno scherzo ai suoi compagni. L'osservatore deve limitarsi a giudicare ex-post le azioni degli altri individui e trarne le dovute conclusioni una volta che si sono svolte completamente. Perché? Perché le azioni che potrebbero risultare "strane" ai nostri occhi, o improbabili, sono sensate e logicamente fondate agli occhi di altri.
Gli economisti della Scuola Austriaca basano le loro analisi proprio sullo studio dell'azione umana. Le loro critiche, o le loro tesi, partono da basi facenti riferimento le azioni dei singoli individui per poi dipanarsi lungo l'intero quadro della società, fino ad arrivare ai più alti gradi dell'economia in cui gli aggregati costituiscono parametri come la disoccupazione, l'inflazione, il PIL, ecc. La scienza economica, secondo quest'ottica, acquisisce una caratteristica sociale più che naturale, abbandonando tutti quei sofismi matematici che renderebbero le analisi dell'economia mainstream una branca del perfettivismo.
Il comparto scientifico Austriaco che studia l'azione umana è chiamato prasseologia, e al suo interno troviamo l'economia stessa con le sue leggi oggettive. Ma sta di fatto che il soggettivismo è l'unica legge che sorregge il comparto prasseologico: l'individuo agente. Nel 1870 Carl Menger, William Stanley Jevons e Leon Warlas teorizzarono il principio dell'utilità marginale. Questa scoperta avrebbe gettato le basi delle future teorie su cui sarebbe nata la Scuola Austriaca d'economia. Ma il fatto che tre autori diversi fossero giunti alle stesse conclusioni fa pensare a quali siano le potenzialità dell'essere umano quando la sua premura è la libertà propria e allo stesso tempo la preservazione di quella altrui. Inutile dire, quindi, che le loro scoperte rivoluzionarono la teoria economica. Come? Fino a quel momento il valore era inteso secondo linee oggettive, ovvero, era considerato un parametro misurabile attraverso elementi presenti sul mercato. Il lavoro, ad esempio, era considerato uno di questi parametri. Menger, Jevons e Warlas gettarono un masso enorme nel fiume dell'economia: il valore era una componente soggettiva insita nell'intelletto umano. Gli attori di mercato, quindi, attraverso le loro scelte imputano valore alle risorse economiche scarse. In base alle loro scale di valori e desideri, essi danno un determinato valore ai loro obiettivi e al margine compiono azioni per raggiungere tali obiettivi.
Più un obiettivo viene soddisfatto, più la quantità marginale di soddisfazione diminuisce. Ovvero, più acquistiamo una determinata quantità di prodotto, più l'utilità marginale che lo stesso ci fornirà sarà minore. Ad esempio, immaginate di andare in un supermercato ed avere €20 in tasca. Avete sete. Decidete di comprare una lattina d'aranciata. Costa €1. In tale situazione decidete che il valore del ventesimo euro nella vostra tasca non vale tanto quanto la soddisfazione della vostra sete. Ciò va avanti sin quanto arrivate a €16. in quel momento decidete che il valore del sedicesimo euro nella vostra tasca vale di più della soddisfazione della vostra sete. Questo significa che man mano che placavate la vostra sete attraverso l'ingestione d'aranciata, diminuiva l'utilità marginale della bevanda.
La rivoluzione marginale ha permesso di risolvere un problema vecchio di decenni, e che aveva messo in difficoltà economisti del calibro di Adam Smith.
CONSUMATORI E PROPRIETARI
La teoria alla base della rivoluzione marginale non solo sottolineava come gli individui fossero il caposaldo della trama economica di una società, ma conferiva loro un potere decisionale alimentante un decentramento dei compiti e degli oneri. Ogni singolo attore di mercato sarebbe diventato tanto importante quanto l'intero aggregato sociale, smontando costrutti filosofici accentratori partoriti da menti come quella di Hobbes. Infatti, come scrisse anche Ludwig von Mises nel Capitolo 8 dell'Azione Umana, il darwinismo sociale è una teoria errata perché la sopravvivenza del più forte non si applica all'ordine sociale del libero mercato. Infatti la divisione del lavoro ha permesso a milioni di persone di sopravvivere (oggi miliardi) che invece sarebbero morte. Più in particolare, il consumatore è diventato il re nell'economia di mercato poiché la corretta soddisfazione delle sue scelte permette agli imprenditori di avere successo e prosperare. Ma questo dà luogo ad un altro problema: chi è il proprietario delle risorse usate dagli imprenditori?
Come abbiamo detto poco sopra, gli individui agiscono e valutano le risorse economiche in base alle loro preferenze soggettive. Questo significa che molto spesso persone diverse entreranno in possesso di elementi diversi con cui mettere in pratica i loro scopi. Ma può capitare che due individui si possano trovare in contrasto tra di loro poiché ansiosi d'entrare in possesso di una determinata risorsa (può trattarsi di un lavoratore, una materia prima, un terreno, ecc.). In casi come questi vige una sola regola: l'offerta più alta vince. E' questa l'essenza delle decisioni che ogni momento gli attori di mercato prendono, poiché sono immersi in una gigantesca asta in cui ci sono offerte e contro-offerte per le risorse economiche scarse. E chi le metterà a miglior uso, riuscirà ad avere successo e prosperare. Chi deciderà quale sarà stato l'uso migliore? Il consumatore.
Sulla scena di mercato, quindi, esistono due figure importanti: i proprietari e i consumatori. Attraverso le loro azioni determinano lo scorrere delle informazioni e delle risorse economiche. Ciò che accomuna queste figure è la proprietà, oltre che dei loro corpi, del frutto del loro lavoro. In una parola, la proprietà privata. E' solo con questa che gli attori di mercato riescono ad infondere maggiore accuratezza al calcolo economico mediante il quale decidono quale risorsa economica sia più consona ai loro progetti. Il diritto a possedere il frutto del proprio lavoro sprona gli attori di mercato a dare il meglio di sé stessi per produrre quantità sufficienti di prodotti per la propria sussistenza e scambiarne il resto per entrare in possesso di elementi aventi caratteristiche utilitaristiche superiori. Maggiore sarà la loro produzione, maggiori possibilità avranno d'effettuare più scambi con diversi membri della società.
Ciò non solo va a vantaggio degli attori interessati, ma va a vantaggio dell'intera società poiché godrà di maggiori beni da cui attingere. Ma proprietà privata non significa solo scambiare merci o quant'altro, significa anche rifiutarsi d'accettare una determinata offerta o rifiutarsi di vendere le proprie risorse economiche. I vari proprietari hanno tutto il diritto di fare offerte per le varie risorse economiche presenti sul mercato, ma hanno altrettanto il diritto di rifiutare quelle che non soddisfano i loro desideri.
C'è da sottolineare che proprietari e consumatori sono facce della stessa medaglia. Un proprietario, ad esempio, è colui che può vendere il proprio lavoro ad altri e poi trasformarsi in consumatore quando si presenta la possibilità d'acquistare gli elementi che egli stesso ha contribuito a creare. Se esiste una linea netta tra consumatori ed imprenditori, non esiste allo stesso modo per consumatori e proprietari. Potremmo tranquillamente affermare che in realtà sono ruoli interscambiabili e rappresentano predisposizioni individuali che cambiano in base alle necessità degli attori di mercato. La cosa importante da ricordare è ciò che sta dietro ai loro ruoli e che conferisce loro l'importanza di cui godono: il denaro e la proprietà privata. I consumatori affermano la loro sovranità mediante la spesa monetaria a favore della creazione di quello o quell'altro imprenditore; i proprietari affermano la loro sovranità mediante la proprietà privata, e ciò significa il diritto d'accettare o rifiutare le offerte che vengono presentate loro.
Impedire ai consumatori di spendere denaro in base alle loro volontà, impedisce a sua volta l'emersione e la premiazione di quegli imprenditori di talento che potrebbero offrire alla società un ambiente sociale migliore e di maggiore efficienza. A catena, queste distorsioni si trasformano in segnali economici distorti che creano confusione e precludono una crescita economica genuina. Una correzione diviene ineluttabile. Più viene rimandata, più allungherà la sua durata e il dolore economico annesso. Allo stesso modo, impedire ai proprietari di disporre della propria proprietà nei modi che più sono consoni alle loro esigenze, significa incentivare un'allocazione errata delle risorse economiche scarse. Ciò non solo genera errori economici, ma disincentiva i proprietari a creare nuove risorse economiche e ad allocare quelle esistenti in modo corretto. Anche in questo caso, è necessaria una correzione. Questo significa o il crollo dell'impedimento o l'aggiramento dello stesso.
In un modo o nell'altro le forze di mercato trovano il modo per tornare ad un percorso sostenibile e in linea con i desideri e le necessità degli attori di mercato. Accade sempre.
APPRENDISTATO E SCUOLA
Se dovessimo iniziare a dare un senso all'esempio con cui ho aperto questo articolo, possiamo dire che fino a questo momento non abbiamo fatto altro che delineare la figura del trapezista. Adesso procederemo ad analizzare l'ambiente che lo circonda e come esso va ad influire sulle sue scelte. Infatti la sua professione la sceglie in base alle proprie capacità e alle proprie potenzialità, non di certo perché ha letto su un libro che lanciarsi nel vuoto rappresenta un esercizio ad alte dosi adrenaliniche. La ponderazione di una scelta simile non avviene in modo teorico, ma in modo pratico. Il trapezista deve sentire suo tale lavoro. Perché? Perché non tutti sono in grado di svolgere un simile compito. Cosa più importante, è uno di quei lavori che i "lavoratori zombie" non potrebbero svolgere. Questo tipo di persone manca di creatività e attenzione nei confronti delle proprie opere, quindi sarebbe una pessima scelta quella del trapezista.
Al giorno d'oggi la scuola tende a sfornare "lavoratori zombie", ovvero, individui quanto più spersonalizzati possibile in grado sostanzialmente d'obbedire. La burocrazia statale ne è piena. Non solo, ma il compito principale dell'istruzione scolastica odierna non è la diffusione del sapere, bensì l'indottrinamento delle giovani leve. La potenza di questa istituzione è quella di creare cittadini ubbidienti e asserviti al culto dello stato. Questo processo formativo tende ad amalgamare il pensiero all'interno della società e a renderlo quanto più unico possibile. Viene scoraggiato il decentramento. Viene scoraggiata l'auto-realizzazione. Viene scoraggiato il pensiero critico. Il giovane alunno non cresce sviluppando un pensiero incentrato sul proprio individualismo, bensì diviene lo specchio delle idee degli insegnanti e, cosa più deprimente, diviene ostaggio del giudizio dei propri compagni.
Non c'è sinergia collaborativa. C'è apatia. C'è voglia d'evadere. Il tutto mentre gli insegnanti ingenui passano la maggior parte del tempo rimproverando il lavoro dei loro predecessori, incapaci d'accorgersi come sia in realtà l'ambiente scolastico a dilaniare qualunque curiosità rimasta nei ragazzini. In questo tritacarne la maggior parte degli alunni arriva alla maturità senza sapere nulla di sé, delle proprie capacità e di ciò che vuole dalla propria vita. La loro capacità organizzativa, ad esempio, viene soffocata da un programma rigido imposto dall'alto. Di conseguenza ignorano cosa sia l'auto-disciplina. Ogni momento è buono per distrarsi e fare baldoria. È questo uno dei motivi per cui l'università diventa una sorta di "selezionatore naturale" tra gli studenti desiderosi di proseguire gli studi e quelli che invece avrebbero dovuto mollare gli studi molto prima.
Se questi ultimi avessero iniziato a lavorare molto prima, si sarebbero risparmiati anni di noia ed avrebbero iniziato a raggranellare la loro pila di risparmi. Nel mondo attuale, invece, gli individui apprendono molto tardi l'esistenza di un compromesso tra tempo e denaro. Perché? Perché lo scopo principale del sistema scolastico statale è quello d'instillare il culto dello stato. Fortunatamente ci sono altre scuole il cui scopo è ben altro.
Lo stato, infatti, ha progressivamente propagandato la sua religione e questo processo non è risultato privo di vittime. Una su tutte è stato l'apprendistato. In passato esso rappresentava il modo attraverso il quale le persone iniziavano ad entrare nel mondo del lavoro e, soprattutto, rappresentava il loro orientamento riguardo le capacità che potevano utilizzare per lavorare. Avrebbero testato le loro capacità "sul campo", prendendo decisioni in base a ciò che sarebbero riusciti a portare a termine con le loro forze. L'istruzione scolastica era affiancata con questa scuola di vita, la quale non solo avrebbe preparato le giovani leve al mondo del lavoro, ma avrebbe permesso loro di ponderare le proprie capacità con la domanda di lavoro del mercato. Oggi non esiste nulla di tutto ciò. La maggior parte degli studenti s'affaccia per la prima volta al mondo del lavoro all'università, e ormai non tutte le università offrono la possibilità d'effettuare tirocini. Sebbene questi ultimi siano soltanto l'ombra di quello che rappresentava in passato l'apprendistato, trattengono ancora una certa funzionalità. Purtroppo per gli studenti, la maggior parte delle facoltà li ha cancellati. Non sorprende, quindi, se coloro che escono dalle università non riescano a trovare lavoro e, ad esempio, in Italia la disoccupazione è attualmente meno presente nella fascia d'età over 50.
Inutile dire che gli studenti arrivano alla fine del loro percorso formativo senza avere la minima idea di come funziona il mercato del lavoro. Peggio, non hanno la minima idea delle loro potenzialità e il dove avrebbero potuto svilupparle meglio. Negli USA la situazione si fa più tetra perché oltre a quanto detto, gli studenti una volta terminati gli studi si ritrovano sul groppone un debito mastodontico a causa dei prestiti accesi per portare a compimento il loro iter scolastico. La bolla dei prestiti per studenti, infatti, sta sfornando uomini e donne che nel mercato del lavoro saranno costretti ad accontentarsi di lavori di ripiego, mentre la loro vita sarà costellata di difficoltà a causa degli oneri finanziari. Questo impedisce loro di farsi una famiglia, comprarsi una casa, ecc. L'espansione monetaria delle banche centrali ha anche sfilacciato il tessuto sociale oltre che quello economico.
Ma come ho ripetuto spesso, il libero mercato non sta fermo a guardare. È sempre due mosse più in avanti rispetto alla pianificazione centrale, espellendo quelle "artificialità" introdotte da coloro che presumibilmente "sanno di più". Nel caso della scuola, l'homeschooling è una realtà che si sta consolidando sempre di più. Prendete, ad esempio, la Khan Academy la quale ha affermato d'avere oltre 26 milioni di studenti iscritti ai suoi corsi in più di 190 paesi. Questo significa che un altro mostro sacro dell'apparato statale, l'istruzione scolastica, è diventato obsoleto. Pensate alle poste. Solo venti anni fa nessuno poteva immaginare che un piccolo aggeggio come il telefono cellulare avrebbe potuto infliggere uno dei colpi mortali al sistema postale statale. L'altro è stato inflitto dalle tabaccherie e dai bar, i quali offrono il servizio di pagamento delle bollette. Ormai le poste sono una reliquia del passato, sopravvivono solo grazie ai trasferimenti statali. L'istruzione online, invece, sta "mandando in soffitta" l'istruzione standard e la rivoluzione di Salman Khan è solo l'inizio.
George Orwell diceva che le persone tendono a ignorare tutti quei cambiamenti che avvengono sotto il loro naso. Il grande cambiamento all'interno della scuola è qualcosa di cui non si stanno accorgendo. Lo stesso vale per i burocrati. Lo stato sta lentamente perdendo influenza e potere a vantaggio di un decentramento delle varie istituzioni che costituiscono l'attuale società. Non riesce a tenere il passo. Questo perché non può tagliare i costi: politicamente suicida. Ma l'obsolescenza costa e mantenerla viva richiederà quantità di risorse e fondi sempre più alti. E questo nel lungo periodo è insostenibile: finanziariamente suicida.
Herbert Stein diceva: "Quando qualcosa non può andare più avanti, si ferma". I grandi carrozzoni statali che hanno fornito nel corso del tempo una quantità abnorme di voti, stanno raggiungendo a passi spediti la terra dei rendimenti decrescenti. Questo significa che ogni soldo utilizzato per mantenerli in vita non solo verrà sprecato, ma toglierà sempre più aria a quelle idee concorrenti che avrebbero potuto migliorare la società nel suo insieme. Alla fine, i soldi degli altri finiranno. Accade sempre. Perché? Perché l'economia mista si trasformerà infine in un'economia di comando. Possiamo già vedere questa trasformazione. NSA, TSA, burocrazia, tasse, spese statali, sono solo alcuni esempi di come l'influenza statale si sia impossessata di sacche sempre più ampie dell'economia nazionale.
Ludwig von Mises ce lo spiegò chiaramente nel suo saggio del 1920, Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth. Friedrich Hayek ampliò questo concetto nella sua opera, The Use of Knowledge in Society. Lo stato non è un'impresa privata come qualsiasi altra. Non è in grado di operare un calcolo economico in accordo con le forze di mercato. Questo fatto lo costringe ad impossessarsi delle risorse economiche di cui necessita attraverso la forza. Ovvero, bypassa le sanzioni negative del mercato mediante le quali è possibile constatare se un'impresa sia fruttuosa o meno. Sta di fatto che sebbene bypassate, tali sanzioni non vengono eliminate. Continuano ad operare in background. Perché? Perché sono i singoli individui che, attraverso le loro singole azioni, formano le cosiddette forze di mercato. Di conseguenza quanto più lo stato parassiterà la società, tanto più essi saranno scoraggiati a produrre.
Senza più nuova produzione il bacino di risorse dal quale attingere si restringe e con esso la capacità dello stato di mantenere in piedi tutti quei progetti clientelisti ad esso favorevoli. Questo significa, soprattutto, minori prestazioni sociali mediante le quali acquistare voti. Il welfare state, infatti, è un gigantesco schema di Ponzi mantenuto in piedi solo per assicurare allo stato una base di voti costante. C'è uno scambio: voti in cambio della sicurezza di una rete di protezione. La domanda fondamentale: chi paga?
Coloro nei media mainstream, i politici, gli economisti keynesiani, non si pongono mai questa domanda. Pensano che ci sarà sempre tempo per aggiustare le cose. Pensano che i pianificatori centrali avranno nel cilindro un nuovo coniglio da far uscire fuori. Problema: la fonte della loro forza è agli sgoccioli, ovvero, il sistema previdenziale/pensionistico è in bancarotta. Senza un enorme aumento delle tasse o un enorme aumento dei deficit, i raid nei fondi pensione saranno all'ordine del giorno. Anche così, però, la pianificazione centrale è condannata: massiccia inflazione dei prezzi e massiccia misallocation del capitale. Qualunque strada decida di prendere, la pianificazione centrale è spacciata.
Non è solo una questione economica. E' anche una questione etica. Le leggi morali rappresentano le fondamenta delle relazioni causa/effetto nelle azioni umane. Quando vengono violati costantemente questi principi morali di base, le sanzioni negative sono inevitabili. Nel nostro caso, abbiamo permesso che la "carità" dello stato si sostituisse a quelle delle famiglie e delle organizzazioni spontanee. Abbiamo permesso che una burocrazia fredda ed impersonale si sostituisse alla solidarietà genuina nei confronti del prossimo nostro. Abbiamo permesso che le persone considerassero il sistema previdenziale/pensionistico come una vera agenzia assicurativa piuttosto che un sistema di ridistribuzione forzosa della ricchezza. In sintesi, abbiamo permesso la violazione di uno dei principi morali fondamentali: "Non rubare."
Ora i nodi stanno venendo al pettine, e il conto finale sarà salato. Purtroppo i "peccati" e "l'incuranza" dei padri ricadrà sui figli. Affinché questa catena venga spezzata, ho provveduto a tradurre l'ultimo libro di Gary North che focalizza proprio la sua attenzione su etica ed economia. Potete acquistarlo a questo indirizzo: http://bit.ly/1JUqFIt
Per decenni lo stato ha seminato vento, adesso sta arrivando il momento in cui raccoglierà tempesta. I braccianti saranno coloro che crederanno ancora nella salvezza attraverso lo stato. Rimarranno con un pugno di mosche in mano.
Pensate a due trapezisti. Il primo, attraverso il duro lavoro e la passione, offre spettacoli sempre più emozionati al pubblico poiché compie le sue gesta senza avere una rete di protezione sotto i suoi piedi. Si affida esclusivamente alle sue forze e alla costanza del suo lavoro. Il secondo, invece, offre spettacoli fotocopia senza preoccuparsi di migliorare le sue doti. Perché dovrebbe visto che sotto i suoi piedi c'è una rete di protezione che lo protegge? C'è un problema però: l'impresa per cui lavora non può più permettersi colui che effettua la manutenzione della rete.
Quale spettacolo vorreste guardare?
La risposta degli attori di mercato è chiara già da oggi. Tra 10 anni sarà palese anche per chi si rifiuta d'accettarla. La fucina dell'indottrinamento statale sta perdendo la sua presa sulla società: la scuola finanziata con le tasse. La fucina delle illusioni statali sta perdendo la sua presa sulla società: il sistema previdenziale/pensionistico. Questi sono gli ultimi due baluardi che permettono ancora allo stato di sopravvivere. Ma sono a corto di fondi e sono in bancarotta, sia economica che intellettuale. Per chi crede che ciò sia impossibile, scoprirà come in realtà sia inevitabile.
Senza dubbio il più grande esempio di comunità libera che può essere creata utilizzando la crittografia è Bitcoin, la moneta digitale inventata da Satoshi Nakamoto, la cui vera identità rimane sconosciuta. Bitcoin utilizza tutti i principi che ho descritto nei capitoli precedenti. Si basa su software libero e utilizza la crittografia a chiave pubblica per stabilire identità e garantire la validità dei messaggi inoltrati.
Bitcoin è un tipo di denaro digitale peer-to-peer, indipendente da banche e governo. Per una spiegazione dettagliata di come funziona Bitcoin, il paper originale di Satoshi è molto facile da comprendere. Ogni persona ha uno o più wallet contenenti la chiave pubblica. Il software di Bitcoin può costruire messaggi firmati dalla chiave privata di un wallet, il quale dice che una certa quantità di bitcoin viene trasferita ad un altro wallet.
La storia di tutte le transazioni di bitcoin è memorizzata in una banca dati accessibile al pubblico chiamata blockchain. Essa è duplicata su molti computer. La quantità di bitcoin che contiene un wallet è conosciuta leggendo la blockchain. E’ così che Bitcoin utilizza il sistema di reputazione che ho descritto in precedenza. La storia precedente del wallet determina di cosa è capace. Se vengono spesi tutti i bitcoin al suo interno, non se ne possono spendere di più.
Pertanto, la crittografia assicura che i bitcoin si comportino come merci fisiche scarse, anche se sono semplicemente cifre in un computer. Nessun nuovo bitcoin può essere creato, perché non potrebbero essere ricondotti ad una storia valida nella blockchain. Le transazioni non possono essere contraffatte perché richiedono una firma digitale da parte del portafoglio che li spende.
La blockchain viene generata da un processo progettato per garantire che vi sia sempre un consenso nella storia delle transazioni. La preoccupazione è che è possibile realizzare due o più operazioni che sono singolarmente valide, ma che sono incompatibili tra di loro. Per esempio, supponiamo che qualcuno abbia almeno un bitcoin, ma meno di due, e performi due operazioni in cui spende contemporaneamente un bitcoin in entrambe. Tutti devono accordarsi su quale operazione vada accettata e quale rifiutata.
Questo viene fatto rendendo più difficile la generazione dei blocchi, richiedendo la loro conformazione a certe regole arbitrarie. In cambio di spese di transazione e bitcoin senza proprietari, le persone cercano con i loro computer di generare nuovi blocchi. Una volta che viene creato, ha la priorità ed è difficile produrre un blocco concorrente. Il creatore del blocco decide quali operazioni ci debbano finire dentro. Al crescere della blockchain, diventa esponenzialmente più difficile produrre una catena concorrente che si dirami in un dato momento nel passato.
Bitcoin non è anonimo come si potrebbe desiderare. Anche se non si può dimostrare chi possieda un dato wallet, è possibile scansionare la blockchain per cercare indizi su come collegare un wallet ad una persona. Questo è lo svantaggio più significativo di Bitcoin. Tuttavia, un eventuale aggioranamento chiamato Zerocoin consentirebbe un notevole miglioramento dell’anonimato.
C’è disputa tra gli economisti Austriaci se Bitcoin sia realmente adatto, o anche possibile, come denaro. Tuttavia, i critici di Bitcoin sono semplicemente ignoranti. Il loro amore per l’oro supera la loro oggettività. Non tenterò un’analisi economica di Bitcoin, ma gli scrittori Austriaci come Peter Šurda e Konrad Graf hanno dimostrato con grande chiarezza che Bitcoin è perfettamente buono come moneta, e non verrebbe violata alcuna legge economica se dovesse diventare denaro.
Bitcoin è un enorme miglioramento rispetto a PayPal, alle carte di credito, alle banche, ed è persino superiore all’oro in molti modi. Può essere teletrasportato immediatamente in qualsiasi parte del mondo senza fare affidamento su qualsiasi istituzione diversa da un network di computer. Un wallet, adeguatamente protetto, non può essere rubato. Le banche sono obsolete. E’ più difficile creare nuovi Bitcoin che creare oro. Sarebbe possibile creare una macchina che sforni oro con reazioni nucleari. Sarebbe molto più difficile convincere la comunità Bitcoin ad accettare un cambiamento del loro software che permetterebbe l’inflazionamento della valuta. Bitcoin è potenzialmente, e credo molto probabilmente, una delle più grandi invenzioni della storia. Combatte esattamente dalla parte dei libertari.
Se Bitcoin diventerà denaro, il controllo del governo sulla moneta finirà. Non ci saranno più banche con cui gli stati potranno entrare in collusione. L’età oscura dell’inflazione sarà finita. Anche se Bitcoin ha solo quattro anni, ha già scosso i mercati mondiali. Quasi tutto ciò che viene venduto online può essere acquistato con i bitcoin. Gli argentini e gli iraniani li usano per sfuggire ai controlli sui capitali. I regolatori degli Stati Uniti sono apertamente derisi in televisione quando dicono di volerli regolamentare. La sua crescita è già sorprendente, e nel tempo diventerà solo più utile. E’ come il Blob. Nessuno può fermarlo.
Il mercato nero sta fiorendo ad un livello che sarebbe sembrato impossibile pochi anni fa. Facendo affidamento su Bitcoin e Tor, il sito Silk Road ospita un mercato di contrabbando. Non deve nascondere la sua esistenza. Questo sito rimane aperto sfidando la guerra alla droga. Lo stato non può scoprire dove è ospitato. Il suo conto in banca non può essere congelato.
Questo è il mondo in cui viviamo, e Bitcoin lo sta cambiando. Sfida lo status quo di tutto il mondo. Questo è ciò che è possibile con la crittografia. Eppure Bitcoin è solo un’applicazione di quello che ho descritto nel Capitolo 1. Bitcoin non è solo un forum online con emoticon segrete o qualcosa del genere. Si tratta di una comunità costituita da vita reale e di una merce reale, nonostante sia costruito su un protocollo di crittografia ed alcuni software che implementa. E’ possibile fare molto di più. Ogni comunità che si fonda sulla crittografia potrebbe essere potente come Bitcoin. Tutto quello che serve è una nuova applicazione.
La rete Bitcoin ci fornisce un esempio di legislazione libertaria. Il protocollo Bitcoin è una legge a cui bisogna conformarsi se si vuole interagire con la rete Bitcoin. In caso contrario, la rete non lo accetterà. Il suo autore non è un rappresentante eletto, ma un genio anonimo che ha semplicemente lasciato che la sua proposta venisse accettata.
In quanto a strategia libertaria, dovremmo convincere le persone ad utilizzare la crittografia. Potremmo farlo creando nuovi prodotti crittografici e facendo in modo che la gente li ami. Più le persone si abituano all’idea di una comunità crittografica, più la richiederanno. Più la otterranno, meno potenti saranno gli oppressori. Abbiamo bisogno di un mercato azionario della crittografia. Abbiamo bisogno di un sistema di crittografia per la risoluzione dei contratti. Abbiamo bisogno di un sistema di rating della crittografia. Abbiamo bisogno di un network della crittografia. Tutti questi sogni sono possibili, e tanti altri vanno oltre la mia immaginazione. Nessuno richiede la vittoria di elezioni, ma ognuno potrebbe cambiare il mondo.
If you believed America’s longest war, in Afghanistan, was coming to an end, be advised: It is not.
Departing U.S. commander Gen. John Campbell says there will need to be U.S. boots on the ground “for years to come.” Making good on President Obama’s commitment to remove all U.S. forces by next January, said Campbell, “would put the whole mission at risk.”
“Afghanistan has not achieved an enduring level of security and stability that justifies a reduction of our support. … 2016 could be no better and possibly worse than 2015.”
Translation: A U.S. withdrawal would risk a Taliban takeover with Kabul becoming the new Saigon and our Afghan friends massacred.
Fifteen years in, and we are stuck.
But while Beijing is involved in disputes with Hanoi over the Paracels, with the Philippines over the Spratlys, with Japan over the Senkakus — almost all of these being uninhabited rocks and reefs — how does China threaten the United States?
America is creeping ever closer to war with the other two great nuclear powers because we have made their quarrels our quarrels, though at issue are tracts and bits of land of no vital interest to us.
North Korea, which just tested another atomic device and long-range missile, is indeed a threat to us.
But why are U.S. forces still up the DMZ, 62 years after the Korean War? Is South Korea, with an economy 40 times that of the North and twice the population, incapable of defending itself?
Apparently slipping in the rankings as a threat to the United States is that runaway favorite of recent years, Iran.
Last fall, though, Sen. Ted Cruz reassured us that “the single biggest national security threat facing America right now is the threat of a nuclear Iran.”
“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded,” wrote James Madison, “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”
Perhaps Madison was wrong.
Otherwise, with no end to war on America’s horizon, the prospect of this free republic enduring is, well, doubtful.
Sexual problems, snoring, and bleeding gums are typically thought to be minor health problems.
And so, most people who experience the issues tend to just ignore them.
However, these seemingly insignificant problems are actually some common symptoms of heart disease – the number one killer in the world.
When the heart and arteries begin to fail, symptoms manifest in otherwise unrelated parts in the body, revealed Dr John Erwin, a cardiologist from Texas A&M Health Science Center.
Dr Erwin revealed six of the most common – and most surprising – symptoms of heart disease that people need to be aware of.
Keeping an eye out for these problems can lead to earlier detection of the disease – and help save lives, he said.
SYMPTOM 2: SNORING OR SLEEP APNEA
Few things are more frustrating in life than trying to sleep next to a snoring person.
However, despite the annoyance of snoring, Dr Erwin revealed it can actually be a sign of heart disease.
Snoring is a common sign of sleep apnea – as is morning sleepiness after a full night’s sleep.
Dr Erwin said: ‘Sleep apnea – periods of time during sleep where you stop breathing – is associated with many physiological changes that increase the risk of both heart attack and stroke.’
Snoring can also be a sign of atrial fibrillation – which is an irregular, often rapid heart rate that causes poor blood flow.
Therefore, detection and treatment of sleep apnea can lower a person’s risk of heart problems.
So, next time you hear the person next to you snoring, perhaps suggest they see a doctor – instead of just complaining about the noise.
Jim Grant appeared on CNBC’s Closing Bell and unhesitatingly said he thinks the US economy has already gone into recession:
I think we are in one…I think there’s a defensible case to be made that a recession began late last year.”
In early January, Grant joined Peter in predicting the Fed would have to backtrack on its December rate hike.
It seems to me that the Fed is more likely to go to zero than to go to one-half of one percent from here. I think the Fed felt that through a combination of institutional self-regard and as it read the data, it felt it had to move. It had been saying for so long it would, [therefore] it had to, [and] it did. That doesn’t mean it was right to do so in the Fed’s own scheme of things. I think the Fed will regret the move it did in December.”
In yesterday’s CNBC interview, Grant took things a step further, saying central banks may well go beyond negative rates and quantitative easing into even crazier monetary policy like “direct monetary funding.”
Radical monetary policy begets more radical monetary policy. I think that’s what the markets are afraid of.”
Reprinted from SchiffGold.com.
The existence of the internet may not be news in most places, nor that it does things astonishing to those alive before the net and boring to those who came after. But I wonder whether the net might have underlying consequences perhaps not well understood.
In particular, I wonder how to measure the influence of the internet in Battambang, Bali, Bukittinggi, or Tierra del Fuego. Or in small towns in Mexico, such as Jocotepec, down the road from me.
Fifty years ago, such places existed in near-perfect isolation from the world at large. Nobody, bright or otherwise, had much chance of learning much of anything. There was AM radio with a limited selection of music and governmentally controlled news. There might be a small library. If you lived near a big city, Guadalajara, in Mexico or Bogota in Colombia, there were good bookstores but books cost money. It was de facto intellectual imprisonment in an empty world.
The ker-whoom, the internet. A kid in Aranyaprathet, Salta in Argentina near the Bolivian border, or a girl in Joco had virtually the same intellectual and cultural resources as people in Leipzig or Boston. This is nuts.The aggregate effect was a manufactured unanimity or the appearance of one. In the post-war prosperity, Americans bought washing machines and tract houses and were content. Television was wholesome, sterile, and not very informative. Superman jumped out of window to promote truth, justice, and the American way, then thought to be related.
Came the internet. Fairly suddenly, every point of view became available to everybody: The KKK, the Black Panthers, communists, fascists, feminists, loon left and loon right, the-earth-is-flatters. The social media and comment sections allowed lateral communication with a vengeance.
A consequence was that the major media became known for what they were, propaganda organs of those who ran the country. Stories that the fossil media would have liked to ignore flew instantly to hundreds of thousands of inboxes, appeared on countless blogs and websites—often with cell-cam video.
What effect, if any, has the net had on sexual mores? When children of nine years can watch pore-level porn of any imaginable type, what happens?
A related question is whether any code of sexual morality can be enforced by a society with internet pornography. Almost all civilized societies in almost all times have imposed restrictions of some sort. Often these have been of religious provenance, and religion is fast being squeezed out of Western societies.
Another question is whether the internet causes, or merely reports, the current fragmentation of the public into warring groups. Today the country seethes with hatreds that were unknown in 1955—perhaps existent, but unknown. Without the Salons and Breitbarts, would their respective readerships even know of each other’s existence? Would misandrist feminism have the enormous traction it enjoys if CalBerkeley could not communicate easily with Boston U? Would all the deeply angry people of today have same political clout if the net had not allowed them to learn from each other and coalesce?
In a country with a fairly homogeneous society, the net may be less politically potent. If there are only one race and one religion, you don’t have racial and religious antipathies. But America is heterogeneous. When the internet forces very different regions—Massachusetts, Alabama, and West Virginia—into digital propinquity, does this arouse hostilities? When widely distributed members of fringe groups the governments don’t like can congregate on websites and in the social media, does this encourage fragmentation?
I dunno. You tell me.