O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever (Psalm 136:1-3)
This phrase appears in many of the psalms, but when you find the same phrase three times in a row, you can safely conclude that the writer was trying to make a point, and he thought the point was important. I know of no passage in the Bible where any other phrase appears three times in succession.
Thanksgiving Day is an old tradition in the United States. It really did have its origins in Plymouth Colony, in the fall of 1621, when the Pilgrims who had survived the first year invited Chief Massasoit to a feast, and he showed up with 90 braves and five deer. The feast lasted three days.
The first official Thanksgiving Day was celebrated on June 29, 1676, in Charlestown, Massachusetts, across the Charles River from Boston. Over a century later, George Washington proclaimed a day of thanksgiving on October 23, 1789, to be celebrated on Thursday, November 27. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln officially restored it as a wartime measure. The holiday then became an American tradition.
Lincoln was a strange contradiction religiously. He was a religious skeptic, yet he invoked the rhetoric of the King James Bible — accurately — on many occasions. His political rhetoric, which had been deeply influenced by his reading of King James, was often masterful. For example, when he spoke of the cemetery of the Gettysburg battlefield as “this hallowed ground,” using the King James word for holy, as in “hallowed be thy name,” he was seeking to infuse the battle of Gettysburg with sacred meaning — a use of religious terminology that was as morally abhorrent as it was rhetorically successful. It is the sacraments that are sacred, not monuments to man’s bloody destructiveness. In that same year, 1863, he used biblical themes in his October 3 Thanksgiving Day proclamation.
It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord.
He went on, in the tradition of a Puritan Jeremiad sermon, to attribute the calamity of the Civil War to the nation’s sins, conveniently ignoring the biggest contributing sin of all in the coming of that war: his own steadfast determination to collect the national tariff in Southern ports.
In his proclamation, he made an important and accurate theological point.
We have been the recipients of the choisest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.
But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. This observation leads to the same question that Moses raised long before Lincoln’s proclamation: Why is it that men become less thankful as their blessings increase?
Less than a decade after Lincoln’s proclamation, three economists came up with the theoretical insight that provides an answer.
Marginal Utility Theory
In the early 1870s, Carl Menger, William Stanley Jevons, and Leon Walras simultaneously and independently discovered the principle of marginal utility. Their discovery transformed economic analysis.
They observed that value, like beauty, is subjectively determined. Value is imputed — a familiar Calvinist theological concept — to scarce resources by the acting individual. Other things remaining equal, including tastes, the individual imputes less value to each additional unit of any good that he receives as income. This is the principle of marginal utility.
This can be put another way. We can say that each additional unit of any resource that a person receives as income satisfies a value that is lower on that individual’s subjective scale of value. He satisfied the next-higher value with the previous unit of income.
This provides a preliminary solution to the original question. I call this solution the declining marginal utility of thankfulness. People look at the value of what they have just received as income, and they are less impressed than they were with the previous unit of income. They focus on the immediate — “What have you done for me lately?” — rather than the aggregate level of their existing capital. They conclude, “What’s past is past; what matters most is whatever comes next.”
Modern economic theory discounts the past to zero. The past is gone; it is not a matter of human action. Whatever you spent to achieve your present condition in life is no longer a matter of human action. The economist calls this lost world “sunk costs.”
There is a major problem in thinking this way. It is the problem of saying “thank you.” The child is taught to say “thank you.” He is not told to do this because, by saying “thank you,” he is more likely to get another gift in the future. He is taught to say “thank you” as a matter of politeness.
I am sure that there is some University of Chicago-trained economist out there who is ready to explain etiquette as a matter of self-interest: “getting more in the future for a minimal expenditure of scarce economic resources.” And, I must admit, people who never say “thank you” do tend to receive fewer gifts. Or, as Moses put it, “And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18). But Moses added an “or else” clause: “And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish” (verse 19). Gary Becker would no doubt put it differently, but the point regarding reduced future income is the same: lower. Maybe way, way lower.
The problem is, we look to the present, not to the past. We look at the marginal unit — the unit of economic decision-making — and not at the aggregate that we have accumulated. We assume that whatever we already possess is well-deserved — merited, we might say — and then we focus our attention on that next, hoped-for “util” of income.
As economic actors, we should recognize that the reason why we are allocating our latest unit of income to a satisfaction that is lower on our value scale is because we already possess so much. We are awash in wealth. We are the beneficiaries of a social order based on private ownership and free exchange, a social order that has made middle-class people rich beyond the wildest dreams of kings a century and a half ago. Or, as P. J. O’Rourke has observed, “When you think of the good old days, think one word: dentistry.”
About half of the Pilgrims who arrived in Plymouth in 1620 were dead a year later. The Indians really did save the colony by showing the first winter’s survivors what to plant and how to plant it in the spring of 1621. The Pilgrims really did rejoice at that festival. They were lucky — graced, they would have said — to be alive.
So are we. Ludwig von Mises wrote somewhere (I wish I could remember where) that Charles Darwin was wrong. The principle of the survival of the fittest does not apply to the free market social order. The free market’s division of labor has enabled millions of people to survive — today, billions — who would otherwise have perished.
So, give thanks to God, even if your only god is the free market. You did not obtain all that you possess all by yourself. The might of your hands did not secure it for you. A little humility is in order on this one day of the year. Yes, even if you earned a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago.
Victor Fuentes probably didn’t specifically have the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment–“No person shall…be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”–in mind, as he swam seven miles from his home in Santiago, Cuba to Guantanamo Bay to gain political asylum in 1991.
He was simply convinced he must risk life and limb to escape Castro’s government oppression for the freedom offered by the United States. But, by now, he’s learned the USofA. is not as free as he believed. For the past few years, Pastor Fuentes and his church, Ministerio Roca Solida Church (Solid Rock Church), has been locked in a battle with the federal government over the church’s 40 acres located in Nevada’s Amargosa Valley, northwest of Las Vegas.
In 2006, the ministry bought the land for a youth retreat and to do traditional baptisms, as the property has included a spring-fed stream, known as the Carson Slough, since at least the 1880s. The land is surrounded by a federally managed wildlife refuge.
The feds have always had their eye on the property and in 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department illegally rerouted the stream to a higher elevation entirely outside of Roca Solida’s property. Three weeks later, “the stream overflowed the federal agency’s poorly engineered new banks during rain showers — sending destructive floods of mud and muddy waters through the camp,” explains the Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI) website, damaging the church’s facilities.
The Fish and Wildlife has been hiding behind an endangered minnow, the speckled dace, as its reason to reroute the stream. However, the dace never had a chance after the government’s diversion. As Thomas Mitchell explains, the rains “presumably washing away the dace as well. Flooding occurred again in 2015 and twice this year, extensively damaging buildings and creating massive gullies.”
The church made a statutorily mandated claim with the Department of the Interior but, of course, received no response. Pastor Fuentes and his wife, not having the resources to fight the federal government, sought the help of the NPRI’s Center for Justice and Constitutional Litigation headed by Joe Becker.
Becker served as Chief Legal Counsel and Policy Director for the Ron Paul 2008 Presidential Campaign Committee. In addition to a Juris Doctorate, Becker earned a master in economics at UNLV while studying under Murray Rothbard and Hans Hoppe. NPRI’s Center for Justice advisory board is chaired by Mises Institute supporter and labor law expert Deanna Forbush. Lawyer Lee Iglody, who also studied under Rothbard and Hoppe, serves on the board as well.
Suing the government is never easy, and as a Cato Legal Brief explains, “Courtesy of Congress, Roca Solida was forced to split its claims between two different courts: district courts have exclusive jurisdiction over tort claims against the government, while the Court of Federal Claims has exclusive jurisdiction over monetary claims in excess of $10,000.”
The suits seek restoration of the Church’s water rights and restitution from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for negligent and lawless actions by the agency that caused damage to the church’s camp, known as Patch of Heaven.
Faith and Becker’s fine work has produced some good news. On November 4th the Nevada Division of Water Resources, arbiter of water rights in Nevada, ordered the Fish and Wildlife to return the stream to its original banks traversing the church retreat property within 90 days, or face $10,000 per day in fines, having to replace up to 200% of the water diverted, and payment of attorney’s fees and investigative costs.
The water agency’s “Warning Notice” says the state engineer has determined Fish and Wildlife has impaired Roca Solida’s rightful use of its water, that Fish and Wildlife’s use of the water is a misdemeanor, and the State Engineer has the right to remove the federal agency’s dam, diversion, or obstruction.
The state’s warning says Fish and Wildlife’s contention that it was reestablishing a historic natural drainage course is flat wrong and the Carson Slough has always traversed the church’s land. Also, the church has evidence to prove it owns the water rights dating back to 1887.
Meanwhile, NPRI’s court case is pending in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. “Getting the water returned would be a major first step in making the Ministry whole, after years of suffering litigation and egregious constitutional violations by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” Becker told Thomas Mitchell. “However, the Ministry still suffered significant harm in the interim from the federal government’s actions — including repeated flooding and five years of flood damage resulting from the illegal water diversion project.”
Becker explains, “A mini-grand-canyon now cuts through what was once lush wetlands, and the significant improvements made to structures and the land for the benefit of young campers are being undone with each recurring flood.” And because of that, Roca Solida is seeking $3 million or complete restoration of the property to its original status.
The federal government owns 84.9% of Nevada’s land, and over 10 million acres in Nye County alone, where the Roca Solida Church property is located. But the greedy federal government can’t leave the tiny 40 acre Patch of Heaven parcel alone. Mr. Becker learned liberty from the masters. Let’s hope he can bring justice to Pastor Fuentes, who risked so much to come to the land of the free.
Did Donald Trump win the election because he is a racist and misogynist and so are the American people?
No. That’s BS from the Oligarchs’ well-paid whores in the media, “liberal progressive” activist groups, think tanks and universities.
Did Trump win because he stole the election?
More BS. The Oligarchs controlled the voting machines. They failed to steal the election because the people outsmarted them and told the pollsters that they were voting for Hillary. This led to the presstitutes’ propaganda that Hillary was the certain winner, and the Oligarchs believed their own propaganda and didn’t believe it necessary to make certain of their victory.
Trump won the presidency because he spoke directly and truthfully to the American people, telling them what they knew to be true and had never before heard from any politician:
“Our movement is about replacing a failed and corrupt political establishment with a new government controlled by you, the American people. The establishment has trillions of dollars at stake in this election. Those who control the levers of power in Washington and the global special interests they partner with, don’t have your good in mind. The political establishment that is trying to stop us is the same group responsible for our disastrous trade deals, massive illegal immigration and economic and foreign policies that have bled our country dry.
“It’s a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities. The only thing that can stop this corrupt machine is you. The only force strong enough to save our country is us. The only people brave enough to vote out this corrupt establishment is you, the American people.”
Trump did not promise voters a bunch of handouts. He didn’t say he would fix this and that. He said that only the American people could fix our broken country and identified himself as an agent of the people.
The people won the election, but the Oligarchy is still there, as powerful as ever. They have already launched their attack using their whores in the media and liberal progressive groups in attempts to delegitimize Trump with protests, petitions, and endlessly false news reports. George Soros, using the money he made by his attack on the British currency, will pay thousands of protesters to attempt to disrupt the inauguration.
What about Trump’s government? As Trump discovered, finding appointees who are not part of the Oligarchy’s economic and foreign policy establishment is very difficult.Washington is not a home for critics and dissidents. Consider Pat Buchanan, for example. As a White House official in two administrations and a two-time presidential candidate, he is experienced, but Washington has marginalized him.
Moreover, even if there were a stable of outsiders, they would be eaten alive by the insiders. Trump will have to take insiders. But he has to pick insiders who are to some extent their own person. General Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor is not a bad pick. Flynn is the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency who advised the Obama regime against employing ISIS against Syria. Flynn has publicly stated on television that the appearance of ISIS in Syria was a “willful decision” of the Obama regime. In other words, ISIS is Washington’s agent, which is why the Obama regime has protected ISIS.
Trump’s chief of staff (Priebus) and chief strategist (Bannon) are reasonable choices.Sessions (Attorney General) and Pompeo (CIA) are disturbing appointments based on their media-created reputations. But in the US where there are no honest media, we don’t know the truth of the reputations. Nevertheless, if Sessions does support torture, he is disqualified as attorney general, because the Constitution prohibits torture. The US cannot afford yet another attorney general who does not support the US Constitution.
If Pompeo actually is so poorly informed that he opposed the Iran settlement, he is not fit to be CIA director. The CIA itself said that Iran had no nuclear weapons program, and with Russia’s help the matter was resolved. Does Trump want a CIA director who neoconservatives could use to restart the conflict?
The views of Sessions and Pompeo could be products of the time and not visceral. Regardless, Trump is a strong and willful person. If Trump wants peace with the Russians and Chinese, appointees who get in the way will be fired. So let’s see what a Trump government does before we damn it.
Presstitute reports of extreme neoconservative John Bolton and former US attorney and NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani being candidates for Secretary of State do not seem credible. If Trump intends to get along with Putin, how can he do that if his Secretary of State wants war with Russia? Trump should find an experienced diplomat who negotiated with the Soviets. Richard Burt, who had a major role in the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, is the sort of person it would make sense to consider. Another sensible candidate would be Jack Matlock, Reagan’s Ambassador to the Soviet Union.
If Trump wants peace with Russia, the Secretary of State is the important appointment.If Trump wants to stop the Oligarchy’s rip-off of the American people, the Secretary of the Treasury is the important appointment.
Under the last three presidents, treasury secretaries have been agents for the banks-too-big-to-fail and for Wall Street. It is now a tradition for the financial gangsters to own the Treasury. It remains to be seen if the tradition is too strong for Trump to break.
The Oligarchy is trying to discredit the Trump Presidency before it exists. This effort is discrediting liberal and progressive groups by identifying them with nonenforcement of the immigration laws and with homosexual and transgender rights, issues not on the agenda of an electorate whose economic fortunes have been declining and who are tired of 15 years of war that serves only the hegemony agenda of the neoconservatives and the profits and power of the military/security complex.
According to The Saker, Putin has begun removing the Atlanticist Integrationists, Russia’s Fifth Column, from influence. Let’s see if Trump can remove our fifth columnists—neoconservatives and neoliberal economists—who have sold out the American people and America’s integrity.
If Trump fails, the only solution is for the American people to become more radical.
A Major Crisis
Last week Jayant Bhandari related the story of the overnight ban of certain banknotes in India under cover of “stamping out corruption” (see Gold Price Skyrockets In India after Currency Ban Part 1 and Part 2 for the details).
Banned 500 rupee banknotes
The problem is inter alia that the sudden ban of these banknotes has hit the Indian economy quite hard, given that 97% of all transactions in the country are cash-based. Not only that, it has certainly created fresh avenues for corruption – which should have been expected (whether it will succeed in its aim of stamping out other types of corruption remains to be seen – we doubt it).
Moreover, the poorest of the poor are suffering the most on account of the ban, not least because the promised replacement of the banned banknotes is apparently hitting major logistical snags and may take much longer than thought.
Readers interested in this story may want to listen to an interview Jayant has recently given to Maurice Jackson of “Proven and Probable”, which we have embedded below. A quick note on errata: at 1:45 and 1:57, Jayant says “2,000 dollars” – he obviously meant to say “2,000 rupees”.
Maurice Jackson interviews Jayant Bhandari
Further updates on the still developing situation can be expected soon.
Consider it a Warning
We would note on this occasion that although what India’s citizens are facing these days may seem a remote danger to most Westerners, it does demonstrate an important point: state-issued paper currency exists only at the sufferance of the State. It can be made worthless by decree.
As we pointed out in “Why Does Fiat Money Seemingly Work?”, the main reason why irredeemable paper money is accepted at all are not only legal tender laws which enforce its use as a means of payment but primarily the fact that the State insists that its fiat currency be used for the payment of taxes. This is what creates a secondary market demand for fiat money, without which it could probably not exist.
Surprisingly, the concept is not really a modern one – it was tested in Great Britain for a considerable stretch of time with the tally sticks system. Although that particular system ultimately failed (just as every currently extant paper currency eventually will), it did show the way to governments. It was indeed possible to do more than merely usurp the production of gold and silver coins.
So obviously, governments do have considerable influence on what is used as the means of final payment in the economy. What governments have been unable to do though is to effectively “demonetize” the money previously chosen by the market – namely gold. Governments may well be able to make the possession of gold illegal, but they cannot possibly destroy the metal’s monetary qualities by decree.
Gold – the market-chosen money. No agreements, convocations or force were needed – people adopted gold voluntarily as a money commodity all over the world, after a long period of trial and error with a variety of monies.
When Nixon was persuaded to abandon the gold exchange standard in favor of a pure fiat dollar, many monetarists (one of whom was advising him on the move) and other mainstream economists were convinced that gold prices would decline from the $35 fixed exchange rate to something like $6 per ounce, reflecting its value as an industrial commodity.
In other words, they reckoned that the act of officially “demonetizing” gold would erase all monetary demand for it. As is often the case with predictions agreed on by a majority of economists, this turned out to be rather wildly mistaken.
Another prediction by mainstream economists gone rather spectacularly wrong. Monetary demand for gold not only failed to disappear, it actually grew rather significantly – click to enlarge.
What has just happened in India clearly demonstrates that the nature of state-issued fiat money must be taken into account when considering what to do about the rapaciousness of increasingly desperate and technically insolvent governments.
If one wants to safeguard one’s cash holdings against the potential failure of the fractionally reserved banking system or against arbitrary wealth confiscation – such as has inter alia been advocated by the IMF (see “Is a Large wealth Grab in its Way” for the sordid details on this) – one has to keep this important detail in mind.
Withdrawing deposit money in the form of cash currency is only an effective strategy as long as governments don’t do what India’s government has just done. And one should definitely never make the mistake of underestimating the lengths to which governments are prepared to go under the cover of “emergency”.
In the course of the 20th century alone, we have seen such a wide range of government depredations with respect to money, that one has to be extraordinarily naïve to believe repeat performances are no longer possible.
What has happened in India should be seen as a clear warning. State-issued cash currency may not be affected by bank insolvencies and “bail-ins”, but it is by no means safe. By contrast, gold simply cannot be devalued by government decree.
Reprinted with permission from Acting Man.
Here’s the trouble.
Most people can’t read… and so, can’t think.
Not quite literally, perhaps. But, meaningfully. They have been taught – very deliberately – to be sloppy and fluid with words. A given word has a vague, constantly shifting meaning – that meaning transmitted and accepted by a kind of semi-conscious collective osmosis. You “get the drift” – and the word is henceforth used accordingly. It is not necessary to formally announce the new meaning. It just sort of happens.
Examples include liberal and fascist.
A liberal was once a person who believed that people ought to be let alone; that government, if it has any role in human affairs, ought to have a very minimal and background role. That it was tyrannical to control other people, to interfere in their lives, to deprive them of their property, to compel them to fund things they abhorred. Thomas Jefferson was a liberal in this sense.
We all know what is meant by “liberal” today.
It is not Thomas Jefferson.
What about “fascist”? It is among the most inaccurately used words in the language.
Trump was derided as a fascist for criticizing open borders – and (key thing) open-ended federal entitlements. In other words, it is racist – the new meaning of “fascist” – to object to or even question “helping” (another much-abused word) random strangers from other countries who are helping themselves (with help from the government) to the contents of our wallets.
But “fascism” – properly defined – is simply the marriage of Big Business and Big Government. Which Trump may represent – but his recent opponent (the not-“racist”) represented far more virulently. What, for example, could be more textbook fascist than the partnering of the privately-owned/for-profit health insurance cartels with the government? The former using the power of the state to compel people to do business with it?
Fascism is Big Business helping itself to the contents of our wallets, with the “help” of Big Government. The car industry and Wall Street bail-outs are further textbook examples of fascism – but that meaning (the proper meaning) isn’t used because it doesn’t serve the purposes of the ruling entente.
The new – political – meaning, on the other hand, does.
Question the economic sanity (let alone the morality) of not merely inviting the huddled masses of the world to come to the New World but of “helping” them with increasingly dwindling resources .. and you are a fascist.
That is, a racist.
You do not like certain people on account of their ethnicity – and actively seek to harm them. Even though you don’t and aren’t. You just want them out of your wallet.
The post Oppose the Huddled Masses Yearning To Lift Your Wallet? appeared first on LewRockwell.
Would Allen Dulles have resorted to assassinating the President of the United States to ensure the achievement of his ‘Indonesian strategy’?
This is the central question addressed by Greg Poulgrain in his extraordinarily important book, The Incubus of Intervention: Conflicting Indonesian Strategies of John F. Kennedy and Allen Dulles.
Two days before President John Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963, he had accepted an invitation from Indonesian President Sukarno to visit that country the following spring. The aim of the visit was to end the conflict (Konfrontasi) between Indonesia and Malaysia and to continue Kennedy’s efforts to support post-colonial Indonesia with economic and developmental aid, not military. It was part of his larger strategy of ending conflict throughout Southeast Asia and assisting the growth of democracy in newly liberated post-colonial countries worldwide.
He had forecast his position in a dramatic speech in 1957 when, as a Massachusetts Senator, he told the Senate that he supported the Algerian liberation movement and opposed colonial imperialism worldwide. The speech caused an international uproar and Kennedy was harshly attacked by Eisenhower, Nixon, John Foster Dulles, and even liberals such as Adlai Stevenson. But he was praised throughout the third world.
Of course, JFK never went to Indonesia in 1964, and his peaceful strategy to bring Indonesia to America’s side and to ease tensions in the Cold War was never realized, thanks to Allen Dulles. And Kennedy’s proposed withdrawal from Vietnam, which was premised on success in Indonesia, was quickly reversed by Lyndon Johnson after JFK’s murder. Soon both countries would experience mass slaughter engineered by Kennedy’s opponents in the CIA and Pentagon. Millions would die. Subsequently, starting in December 1975, American installed Indonesian dictator, Suharto, would slaughter hundreds of thousands East-Timorese with American weapons after meeting with Henry Kissinger and President Ford and receiving their approval.
What JFK didn’t know was that his plans were threatening a covert long-standing conspiracy engineered by Allen Dulles to effect regime change in Indonesia through bloody means. The primary goal of this plan was to gain unimpeded access to the vast load of natural resources that Dulles had kept secret from Kennedy, who thought Indonesia was lacking in natural resources. But Dulles knew that if Kennedy, who was very popular in Indonesia, visited Sukarno, it would deal a death blow to his plan to oust Sukarno, install a CIA replacement (Suharto), exterminate alleged communists, and secure the archipelago for Rockefeller controlled oil and mining interests, for whom he had fronted since the 1920s.
Dr. Poulgrain, who teaches Indonesian History, Politics and Society at the University of Sunshine Coast in Australia, explores in very great detail historical issues that have critical significance for today. Based on almost three decades of interviews and research around the world, he has produced a very densely argued book that reads like a detective novel with fascinating sub- plots.
The Importance of Indonesia
Most Americans have little awareness of the strategic and economic importance of Indonesia. It is the world’s 4th most populous country, is situated in a vital shipping lane adjacent to the South China Sea, has the world’s largest Muslim population, has vast mineral and oil deposits, and is home to Grasberg, the world’s largest copper and gold mine, owned by Freeport-McMoRan of Phoenix, Arizona. Long a battleground in the Cold War, it remains vitally important in the New Cold War launched by the Obama administration against Russia and China, the same antagonists Allen Dulles strove to defeat through guile and violence. Just recently the Indonesian government, under pressure from the army that has stymied democratic reforms for 18 years, signed a defense agreement with Russia for the sharing of intelligence, the sale of Russian military equipment, including fighter jets, and the manufacturing of weapons in Indonesia. While not front page news in the U.S., these facts make Indonesia of great importance today and add to the gravity of Poulgrain’s history.
The Devil in Paradise
His use of the word “incubus” (an evil spirit that has sexual intercourse with sleeping women) in the title is appropriate since the sinister character that snakes his way through this historical analysis is Allen Dulles, the longest serving Director of the CIA and Kennedy’s arch-enemy. While contextually different from David Talbot’s portrayal of Dulles in The Devil’s Chessboard, Poulgrain’s portrait of Dulles within the frame of Indonesian history is equally condemnatory and nightmarish. Both describe an evil genius ready to do anything to advance his agenda.
Reading Poulgrain’s masterful analysis, one can clearly see how much of modern history is a struggle for control of the underworld where lies the fuel that runs the mega machine – oil, minerals, gold, etc. Manifest ideological conflicts, while garnering headlines, often bury the secret of this subterranean devil’s game.
His story begins with a discovery that is then kept secret for many decades: “In the alpine region of Netherlands New Guinea (so named under Dutch colonial rule – today, West Papua) in 1936, three Dutchmen discovered a mountainous outcrop of ore with high copper content and very high concentrations of gold. When later analyzed in the Netherlands, the gold (in gram/ton) proved to be twice that of Witwatersrand in South Africa, then the world’s richest gold mine, but this information was not made public.”
The geologist among the trio, Jean Jacques Dozy, worked for the Netherlands New Guinea Petroleum Company (NNGPM), ostensibly a Dutch-controlled company based in The Hague, but whose controlling interest actually lay in the hands of the Rockefeller family, as did the mining company, Freeport Indonesia (now Freeport-McMoRan, one of whose Directors from 1988-95 was Henry Kissinger, Dulles’s and the Rockefeller’s close associate) that began mining operations there in 1966. It was Allen Dulles, a Paris-based lawyer in the employ of Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, who in 1935 arranged the controlling interest in NNGPN for the Rockefellers. And it was Dulles, among a select few others, who, because of various intervening events, including WW II, that made its exploitation impossible, kept the secret of the gold mine for almost three decades, even from President Kennedy. JFK “was never informed of the ‘El Dorado’ he had unwittingly taken out of Dutch hands with the result that (once the remaining political hurdles in Indonesia were overcome) Freeport would have unimpeded access to its mining concession.” Those “political hurdles” – i.e. regime change – would take a while to effect.
The Indonesia-Cuba Connection
But first JFK would have to be eliminated, for he had brokered Indonesian sovereignty over West Papua/West Irian for Sukarno from the Dutch who had ties to Freeport Sulphur. Freeport was aghast at the potential loss of “El Dorado,” especially since they had recently had their world’s most advanced nickel refinery expropriated by Fidel Castro, who had named Che Guevara its new manager. Freeport’s losses in Cuba made access to Indonesia even more important. Cuba and Indonesia thus were joined in the deadly game of chess between Dulles and Kennedy, and someone would have to lose.
While much has been written about Cuba, Kennedy, and Dulles, the Indonesian side of the story has been slighted. Poulgrain remedies this with an exhaustive and deeply researched exploration of these matters. He details the deviousness of the covert operation Dulles ran in Indonesia during the 1950s and 1960s. He makes it clear that Kennedy was shocked by Dulles’ actions, yet never fully grasped the treacherous genius of it all. Dulles was always “working two or three stages ahead of the present.” Having armed and promoted a rebellion against Sukarno’s central government in 1958, Dulles made sure it would fail (shades of the Bay of Pigs to come).
Yet the end result of CIA interference in Indonesian internal affairs via the 1958 Rebellion was depicted as a failure at the time, and has consistently been depicted as a failure since that time. This holds true only if the stated goal of the CIA was the same as the actual goal. Even more than five decades later, media analysis of the goal of The Outer Island rebels is still portrayed as a secession, as covert US support for ‘rebels in the Outer Islands that wished to secede from the central government in Jakarta’. The actual goal of Allen Dulles had more to do with achieving a centralized army command in such a way as to appear that the CIA backing for the rebels failed.
The Need for Assassinations
Dulles betrayed the rebels he armed and encouraged, just as he betrayed friend and foe alike during his long career. The rebellion that he instigated and planned to fail was the first stage of a larger intelligence strategy that would come to fruition in 1965-6 with the ouster of Sukarno (after multiple unsuccessful assassination attempts) and the institution of a reign of terror that followed. It was also when – 1966 – Freeport-McMoRan began their massive mining in West Papua at Grasberg at an elevation of 14,000 feet in the Alpine region. Dulles was nothing if not patient; he had been at this game since WW I. Even after Kennedy fired him following the Bay of Pigs, his plans were executed, just as those who got in his way were. Poulgrain makes a powerful case that these included JFK, U.N. Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold (working with Kennedy for a peaceful solution in Indonesia and other places), and Congolese President Patrice Lumumba.
His focus is on why they needed to be assassinated (similar in this regard to James Douglass’s JFK and the Unspeakable), though, with the exception of Kennedy (since the how is well-known and obvious), he also presents compelling evidence as to the how. Hammarskjold, in many ways Kennedy’s spiritual brother, was a particularly powerful obstacle to Dulles’s plans for Indonesia and countries throughout the Third World. Like JFK, he was committed to independence for indigenous and colonial peoples everywhere, and was trying to implement “his Swedish-style ‘third way’ proposing a form of ‘muscular pacifism’.”
Had the UN Secretary General succeeded in bringing even half these countries to independence, he would have transformed the UN into a significant world power and created a body of nations so large as to be a counter-weight to those embroiled in the Cold War.
Poulgrain draws on documents from the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Chairman Archbishop Desmond Tutu to show the connection between South Africa’s “Operation Celest” and Dulles’s involvement in Hammarskjold’s murder in September 1961. While it was reported at the time as an accidental plane crash, he quotes former President Harry Truman saying, “Dag Hammarskjold was on the point of getting something done when they killed him. Notice that I said, ‘When they killed him’.”
Dulles sold his overt Indonesian strategy as being necessary to thwart a communist takeover in Indonesian. Cold War rhetoric, like “the war on terrorism” today, served as his cover. In this he had the Joint Chiefs of Staff on his side; they considered Kennedy soft on communism, in Indonesia and Cuba and everywhere else. Dulles’s covert agenda was to serve the interests of his power elite patrons.
Dulles and George de Mohrenschildt
Poulgrain adds significantly to our understanding of JFK’s assassination and its aftermath by presenting new information about George de Mohrenschildt, Lee Harvey Oswald’s handler in Dallas. Dulles had a long association with the de Mohrenschildt family, going back to 1920-21 when in Constantinople he negotiated with Baron Sergius Alexander von Mohrenschildt on behalf of Rockefeller’s Standard Oil. The Baron’s brother and business partner was George’s father. Dulles’s law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell, “was virtually the front desk for Standard Oil.” These negotiations on behalf of elite capitalist interests, in the shadow of the Russian Revolution, became the template for Dulles’s career: economic exploitation was inseparable from military concerns, the former concealed behind the anti-communist rhetoric of the latter. An anti-red thread ran through Dulles’s career, except when the red was the blood of all those whom he considered expendable. And the numbers are legion.
“It was through Standard Oil that a link existed between Dulles [who controlled the Warren Commission] and de Mohrenschildt, and this should have been brought to the attention of the Warren Commission but was not made public when Dulles had so prominent a role.” Poulgrain argues convincingly that De Mohrenschildt worked in “oil intelligence” before his CIA involvement, and that oil intelligence was not only Dulles’s work when he first met George’s father, Sergius, in Baku, but that that “oil intelligence” is a redundancy. The CIA, after all, is a creation of Wall Street and their interests have always been joined. The Agency was not formed to provide intelligence to US Presidents; that was a convenient myth used to cover its real purpose which was to serve the interests of investment bankers and the power elite.
While working in 1941 for Humble Oil (Prescott Bush was a major shareholder, Dulles was his lawyer, and Standard Oil had secretly bought Humble Oil sixteen years before), de Mohrenschildt was caught up in a scandal that involved Vichy (pro-Nazi) French intelligence in selling oil to Germany. This was similar to the Dulles’s brothers and Standard Oil’s notorious business dealings with Germany.
It was an intricate web of the high cabal with Allen Dulles at the center.
In the midst of the scandal, de Mohrenschildt, suspected of being a Vichy French intelligence agent, “disappeared” for a while. He later told the Warren Commission that he decided to take up oil drilling, without mentioning the name of Humble Oil that employed him again, this time as a roustabout.
“Just when George needed to ‘disappear’, Humble Oil was providing an oil exploration team to be subcontracted to NNGPM – the company Allen Dulles had set up five years earlier to work in Netherlands New Guinea.” Poulgrain makes a powerful circumstantial evidence case (certain documents are still unavailable) that de Mohrenschildt, in order to avoid appearing in court, went in communicado in Netherlands New Guinea’s in mid-1941 where he made a record oil discovery and received a $10,000 bonus from Humble Oil.
“Avoiding adverse publicity about his role in selling oil to Vichy France was the main priority; for George, a brief drilling adventure in remote Netherlands New Guinea would have been a timely and strategic exit.” And who best to help him in this escape than Allen Dulles – indirectly, of course; for Dulles’s modus operandi was to maintain his “distance” from his contacts, often over many decades.
In other words, Dulles and de Mohrenschildt were intimately involved for a long time prior to JFK’s assassination. Poulgrain rightly claims that “the entire focus of the Kennedy investigation would have shifted had the [Warren] Commission become aware of the 40-year link between Allen Dulles and de Mohrenschildt.” Their relationship involved oil, spying, Indonesia, Nazi Germany, the Rockefellers, Cuba, Haiti, etc. It was an international web of intrigue that involved a cast of characters stranger than fiction, a high cabal of the usual and unusual operatives.
Two unusual ones are worth mentioning: Michael Fomenko and Michael Rockefeller. The eccentric Fomenko – aka “Tarzan” – is the Russian-Australian nephew of de Mohrenschildt’s wife, Jean Fomenko. His arrest and deportation from Netherlands New Guinea in 1959, where he had traveled from Australia in a canoe and his subsequent life, are fascinating and sad. It’s the stuff of a bizarre film. It seems he was one of those victims who had to be silenced because he knew a secret about George’s 1941 oil discovery that was not his to share. “In April 1964, at the same time George de Mohrenschildt was facing the Warren Commission – a time when any publicity regarding Sele 40 [George’s record oil discovery] could have changed history – it was decided that electroconvulsive therapy would be used on Michael Fomenko.” He was then imprisoned at the Ipswich Special Mental Hospital.
Equally interesting is the media myth surrounding the disappearance of Michael Rockefeller, Nelson’s son and heir to the Standard Oil fortune, who was allegedly eaten by cannibals in New Guinea in 1961. His tale became front-page news, “a media event closed off to any other explanation and the political implications of his disappearance became an ongoing tragedy for the Papuan people.” To this very day, the West Papuan people, whose land was described by Standard Oil official Richard Archbold in 1938 as “Shangri-la,” are fighting for their independence.
Poulgrain offers most interesting takes on these two characters and shows how their stories are connected to the larger tale of intrigue.
This is a very important and compelling book. Difficult and dense at times, more expansive at others, it greatly adds to our understanding of why JFK was murdered. With its Indonesian focus, it shows us how Allen Dulles’s sinister purview was widespread and long-standing; how it included so much more than Cuba, Guatemala, Iran, etc.; specifically, how important far-distant Indonesia was in his thinking, and how that thinking clashed with President Kennedy’s on a crucial issue. It forces us to consider how different the world would be if JFK had lived.
The Incubus of Intervention sheds new light on Indonesian history and America’s complicity in its tragedy. It is essential reading today when Barack Obama is executing his pivot to Asia and promoting conflict with China and Russia. Although not explored in Poulgrain’s book, it’s interesting to note that Obama’s Indonesian step-father, Lolo Soetoro, left Obama and his mother in Hawaii in that crucial year of 1966 when mass killings were underway to return to Indonesia to map Western New Guinea (West Papua) for the Indonesian government. After Dulles’s regime change was accomplished and Suharto had replaced Sukarno, he went to work for Unocal, the first oil company to sign a production sharing agreement with Suharto. Strange coincidences, bitter fruit.
Is Poulgrain correct? Did Allen Dulles direct the assassination of President Kennedy to ensure his, rather the Kennedy’s, Indonesian strategy would succeed?
We know the CIA coordinated the assassination of President Kennedy. We know that Allen Dulles was involved. We know that Indonesia was one reason why.
Was it “the reason”?
Read this wonderful book and decide.
Reprinted with permission from GlobalResearch.ca.
di Thorsten Polleit
La Federal Reserve (FED) sta prendendo in considerazione un innalzamento dei tassi. È in procinto d'avviare quella "normalizzazione" dei tassi d'interesse che risparmiatori e investitori stavano aspettando? Probabilmente no. I policymaker si stanno semplicemente rendendo conto che la politica dei tassi a zero — o tassi addirittura negativi, come nella zona Euro o in Svizzera — non funziona come previsto.
La popolazione è contraria. Le banche, per esempio, si trovano in difficoltà perché i loro profitti sono già sotto forte pressione in un contesto di rendimenti pari a zero, per non parlare di tassi d'interesse negativi. I clienti delle banche iniziano a protestare poiché i loro depositi non fruttano più un rendimento positivo. Hanno anche iniziato a riscattare i loro depositi in contanti, causando in tal modo lacune di rifinanziamento per le banche.
Tassi negativi sotto un altro nome
Tuttavia, è abbastanza improbabile che le banche centrali abbandonino l'idea di spingere i tassi d'interesse reali — cioè, al netto dell'inflazione — in territorio negativo. Quello che potrebbero avere in mente è lasciare che i tassi d'interesse nominali salgano "un po'", accompagnati da un'inflazione "leggermente superiore", facendo in modo che i tassi d'interesse reali rimangano, o scendano, in territorio negativo.
In tale ottica, in un documento pubblicato il 15 agosto 2016, la Federal Reserve di San Francisco ha suggerito che la politica monetaria dovrebbe eventualmente consentire un'inflazione superiore al 2%. Il dibattito su una maggiore inflazione — diciamo al 4% piuttosto che al 2% — è in realtà una vecchia nenia; nei circoli accademici va e viene, ad ondate.
L'argomento centrale è che un'inflazione un po' più alta potrebbe "oliare gli ingranaggi" dell'economia, sostenendo in tal modo la produzione e l'occupazione. Un altro argomento recita che un'inflazione più alta permetterebbe alla FED di tirare l'economia fuori dalla recessione, in special modo se e quando il "tasso d'interesse neutrale" è sceso notevolmente.
La verità è che l'inflazione — che si tratti di un 2% o un 4% — non migliora le condizioni generali della società. Anzi, il contrario. Per esempio, l'inflazione corrompe il calcolo economico, spingendo in tal modo gli imprenditori a prendere decisioni sbagliate.
Per di più, l'inflazione funziona solo se e quando si palesa in modo inaspettato, a vantaggio di alcuni e a scapito di altri. "L'inflazione a sorpresa", tuttavia, non sarà altro che un incentivo temporaneo. Prima o poi le persone scopriranno che sono state ingannate e regoleranno il loro comportamento di conseguenza.
Si consideri un caso in cui la banca centrale promette un tasso d'inflazione del 2%. Dopo che le persone stipulano i loro contratti, la banca centrale aumenta l'inflazione al 4%. Le persone impareranno e si aspetteranno un'inflazione futura al 4%, o addirittura al 5%. La banca centrale, se vuole stimolare di nuovo l'economia, deve portare l'inflazione più in alto.
Questo tipo di politica porterebbe in ultima analisi all'iperinflazione — che è stata osservata in molti paesi di tutto il mondo. Tuttavia, se la banca centrale riuscisse
- ad aumentare l'inflazione dal 2% al 4%, e
- controllare contemporaneamente i rendimenti nominali,
Se, per esempio, la FED fissa i tassi d'interesse a, diciamo, il 2% e spinge l'inflazione al 5%, i tassi d'interesse reali scendono a -3%. Coloro in possesso di denaro verrebbero derubati. Lo stesso vale per gli investitori in titoli di debito, emessi da stati, banche e imprese. I debitori, a loro volta, accoglierebbero a braccia aperte una politica di tassi negativi reali in concomitanza con un'inflazione leggermente superiore.
Non ci vuole molto per aspettarsi che mutuatari politicamente potenti e altamente indebitati farebbero del loro meglio per spingere la banca centrale ad innescare l'inflazione e, allo stesso tempo, mettere un tetto ai tassi d'interesse nominali. Faranno in modo di propagare una teoria economica a sostegno dell'inflazione e di tassi d'interesse negativi.
Come far salire l'inflazione
Ma una banca centrale può davvero far salire i numeri dell'inflazione? Sicuramente sì. L'inflazione — nel senso di un aumento dei prezzi — è in definitiva un fenomeno monetario. Tecnicamente parlando, la banca centrale può espandere la quantità di denaro in qualsiasi momento e in qualsiasi quantità desiderata, poiché la banca centrale ha il monopolio sulla produzione di denaro.
Per esempio, la banca centrale può acquistare debito nei mercati emettendo moneta ex-novo. O, in extremis, può ricorrere al cosiddetto "elicottero monetario." La banca centrale distribuisce gratuitamente il denaro a stati, consumatori e imprenditori per spingere in alto l'inflazione.
Le banche centrali sono altamente politicizzate e si comporteranno in un modo che è politicamente conveniente. Una volta che il peso del debito diviene insostenibile e la crescita diventa deludente, è sempre più difficile evitare una linea di politica che strizza l'occhio all'inflazione. Fu Ludwig von Mises che ne comprese la dimensione politica:
Abbiamo visto che se un governo non è in grado di rinegoziare i prestiti e non osa imporre una tassazione supplementare per paura che gli effetti economici, finanziari e generali, possano manifestarsi troppo chiaramente e troppo presto, perdendo il supporto al suo programma, riterrà sempre necessario intraprendere misure inflazionistiche. Così l'inflazione diventa uno dei più importanti aiuti psicologici ad una politica economica che cerca di camuffare i suoi effetti. In questo senso può essere descritta come uno strumento di politica anti-democratica. Ingannando l'opinione pubblica, si mantiene in vita un sistema che non avrebbe alcuna speranza di ricevere l'approvazione della gente se le condizioni fossero spiegate loro con chiarezza.
In questo contesto sarebbe sorprendente se ad un certo punto gli stati e le loro banche centrali non optassero per un'inflazione più alta nel tentativo di sfuggire a problemi che loro stessi hanno causato attraverso l'emissione di carta moneta scoperta. Ahimè, non sarebbe la prima volta nella storia monetaria che la carta moneta scoperta viene volutamente svalutata.
[*] traduzione di Francesco Simoncelli: http://francescosimoncelli.blogspot.it/
 Si veda J.C. Williams, "Monetary Policy in a Low R-star World," FRBSF Economic Letter, 15 agosto 2016.
 Ludwig von Mises, "Stabilization of the Monetary Unit — From the Viewpoint of Theory," in: The Cause of the Economic Crisis: And Other Essays Before and After the Great Depression (Ludwig von Mises Institute, Auburn, 2006), p. 38.
Per rimettere a norma i nostri plessi scolastici i Comuni (ma anche altri Enti) ricorrono sempre alle Regioni o al Ministero dell’Istruzione per avere finanziamenti che non arrivano quasi mai. Si è detto molto anche del lease back, una formula elegante per pagare delle rate di “affitto” e con un riscatto finale per rientrare, dopo un numero di anni prestabilito, in possesso del bene. Sembra, che questa prassi sia un po’ bistrattata se non boicottata, eppure la legge 228/12 lo permetterebbe. Allora, altre soluzioni non ce ne sono? Stando così le cose parrebbe di no. Ma … come in tutte le cose è possibile realizzare quello che si pianifica. Partiamo da un piccolo concetto e cioè: se le Regioni ed il M.I.U.R. finanziano gli immobili adibiti a scuole significa che fanno sottoscrivere un mutuo e, conseguentemente, dobbiamo restituirlo. Ma è veramente necessario ricorrere alla Ragione o allo Stato? Può esserci qualcosa di alternativo? Ebbene, si. Vi ricordate dei B.O.C. (Buoni ordinari comunali)? Comunque esistono anche i B.O.P. e i B.O.R. Questi titoli sono delle obbligazioni al portatore nate con la legge 23/12/94 n.724 (art. 35) che prevede, anche per gli Enti Locali, la possibilità di emettere titoli di debito e possono così chiedere prestiti ai risparmiatori ed al mercato, vincolando l’impiego delle risorse ottenute al finanziamento di investimenti in progetti esecutivi specifici. Chi, avendone la possibilità, non finanzierebbe l’Ente per mettere in sicurezza i propri figli? Tutti i dettagli, per l’emissione, si possono trovare nelle legge. Con l’emissione dei B.O.C., oltre alle Comunità, si possono coinvolgere le banche (anche quelle locali) e, nel più breve tempo possibile, realizzare quanto deliberato e preventivato. Siamo tutti chiamati ad avere un plesso sicuro, dove i nostri figli devono studiare e non … guardare il soffitto.
The cooling system of the third reactor at the Fukushima nuclear power plant has stopped circulating water following a powerful 7.3 offshore earthquake. TEPCO said it managed to restart the system some 90 minutes after the failure.
The cooling system servicing the Unit 3 spent fuel pool was not able to circulate water to cool the nuclear fuel because of a broken pump, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Agency.
The temperature in the pool went up to 28.7 degrees Celsius. It takes up to seven days for temperatures to rise to 65 degrees Celsius, which is the upper operational limit, Japan’s national nuclear agency said.
According to NHK, cooling equipment for the spent nuclear fuel pool in the reactor No. 3 of Tepco’s Fukushima No. 2 power plant has stopped.
— The Japan Times (@japantimes) November 21, 2016
At such a pace, the cooling system failure posed no “immediate danger,” although the agency admitted “gradual” rise in temperatures.
The exact cause of the cooling system stoppage is currently unknown. However, the system might have been “shaken” during the earthquake, according to nuclear agency officials, as reported by NHK. The station’s storage pool currently contains 2,544 spent fuel rods. No cooling water leaks or any other “abnormalities” have been reported.
— TEPCO (@TEPCO_English) November 21, 2016
The first tsunami wave which hit the nuclear power plants was about one meter high, while the second was “not very high,” according to TEPCO. There has been no “major physical damage” to the nuclear power plants, NHK reported.
The initial 7.4 magnitude quake struck at 5:59am JST at a depth of 25km, according to Japan’s Meteorological Agency. At least seven aftershocks followed the initial jolt. The powerful earthquake prompted officials to issue a tsunami warning and announce the evacuation of the areas close to the shore.
Reprinted from RT News.
If one needed more evidence of the steep decay in academia, Donald Trump’s victory provided it. Let’s begin by examining the responses to his win, not only among our wet-behind-the-ears college students, many of whom act like kindergarteners but also among college professors and administrators.
The University of Michigan’s distressed students were provided with Play-Doh and coloring books, as they sought comfort and distraction. A University of Michigan professor postponed an exam after many students complained about their “serious stress” over the election results. Cornell University held a campuswide “cry-in,” with officials handing out tissues and hot chocolate. One Cornell student said, “I’m looking into flights back to Bangladesh right now so I can remove myself before Trump repatriates me.” The College Fix reported that “a dorm at the University of Pennsylvania … hosted a post-election ‘Breathing Space’ for students stressed out by election results that included cuddling with cats and a puppy, coloring and crafting, and snacks such as tea and chocolate.”
The University of Kansas reminded its stressed-out students that therapy dogs, a regular campus feature, were available. An economics professor at Yale University made his midterm exam “optional” in response to “many heartfelt notes from students who are in shock over the election returns.” At Columbia University and its sister college, Barnard, students petitioned their professors to cancel classes and postpone exams because they were fearful for their lives and they couldn’t take an exam while crying. Barnard’s president did not entirely cave, but she said, “We are, however, leaving decisions regarding individual classes, exams, and assignments to the discretion of our faculty.” She added, “The Barnard faculty is well aware that you may be struggling, and they are here for you.” At Yale, it was reported that the “Trump victory (left) students reeling.” Students exhibited “teary eyes, bowed heads and cries of disbelief” and had the opportunity to participate in a postelection group primal scream “to express their frustration productively.”
Whether you are a liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, you should be disturbed and frightened for the future of our nation based on the response of so many of our young people to an election outcome. We should also be disturbed by college administrators and professors who sanction the coddling of our youth. Here’s my question to you: Does a person even belong in college if he cannot handle or tolerate differing opinions? My answer is no. What lies at the heart of multiculturalism, diversity, and political correctness is an intolerance for different opinions. At Brown University, some students claim that freedom of speech does not confer the right to express opinions they find distasteful. A while back, a Harvard University student organization representing women’s interests advised law students that they should not feel pressured to attend or participate in class sessions that focus on the law of sexual violence if they feel that it might be traumatic. Such students will be useless to rape victims and don’t belong in law school.
In a previous column, I cited an article on News Forum For Lawyers titled “Study Finds College Students Remarkably Incompetent,” which referenced an American Institutes for Research study that revealed that over 75 percent of two-year college students and 50 percent of four-year college students were incapable of completing everyday tasks. About 20 percent of four-year college students demonstrated only basic mathematical ability, while a steeper 30 percent of two-year college students could not progress past elementary arithmetic. NBC News reported that Fortune 500 companies spend about $3 billion annually on training employees in “basic English.” Many of today’s college students are not only academically incompetent but emotionally so, as well, and do not belong in college.
These college snowflakes and their professors see themselves as our betters and morally superior to ordinary people. George Orwell was absolutely right when he said, “There are notions so foolish that only an intellectual will believe them.”
After a week managing the transition, vice president-elect Mike Pence took his family out to the Broadway musical “Hamilton.”
As Pence entered the theater, a wave of boos swept over the audience. And at the play’s end, the Aaron Burr character, speaking for the cast and the producers, read a statement directed at Pence:
“(W)e are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values.”
In March, the casting call that went out for actors for roles in this musical celebration of “American values” read:
“Seeking NON-WHITE men and women.”
The arrogance, the assumed posture of moral superiority, the conceit of our cultural elite, on exhibit on that stage Friday night, is what Americans regurgitated when they voted for Donald Trump.
Yet the conduct of the “Hamilton” cast puts us on notice. The left neither accepts its defeat nor the legitimacy of Trump’s triumph.
His presidency promises to be embattled from Day One.
Already, two anti-Trump demonstrations are being ginned up in D.C., the first on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, by ANSWER, Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. A second, scheduled for Jan. 21, is a pro-Hillary “Million Woman March.”
While the pope this weekend deplored a “virus of polarization,” even inside the church, on issues of nationality, race, and religious beliefs, that, unfortunately, is America’s reality. In a new Gallup poll, 77 percent of Americans perceived their country as “Greatly Divided on the Most Important Values,” with 7 in 8 Democrats concurring.
On the campuses, anti-Trump protests have not ceased and the “crying rooms” remain open. Since Nov. 8, mobs have blocked streets and highways across America in a way that, had the Tea Party people done it, would have brought calls for the 82nd Airborne.
In liberal Portland, rioters trashed downtown and battled cops.
Mayors Rahm Emanuel of Chicago and Bill de Blasio of New York have declared their cities to be “sanctuary cities,” pledging noncooperation with U.S. authorities seeking to deport those who broke into our country and remain here illegally.
Says D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, “I have asserted firmly that we are a sanctuary city.” According to The Washington Post, after the meeting where this declaration had been extracted from Bowser, an activist blurted, “We’re facing a fascist maniac.”
Such declarations of defiance of law have a venerable history in America. In 1956, 19 Democratic Senators from the 11 states of the Old Confederacy, in a “Southern Manifesto,” rejected the Supreme Court’s Brown decision ordering desegregation of the public schools.
Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus, Mississippi Gov. Ross Barnett, and Alabama Gov. George Wallace all resisted court orders to integrate. U.S. marshals and troops, ordered in by Ike and JFK, insured the court orders were carried out.
To see Rahm and de Blasio in effect invoking John C. Calhoun’s doctrine of interposition and nullification is a beautiful thing to behold.
Among the reasons the hysteria over the Trump election has not abated is that the media continue to stoke it, to seek out and quote the reactions they produce, and then to demand the president-elect give assurances to pacify what the Post says are “the millions of … blacks and Latinos, gays and Lesbians, Muslims and Jews — fearful of what might become of their country.”
Sunday, The New York Times ran a long op-ed by Daniel Duane who said of his fellow Californians, “(N)early everyone I know would vote yes tomorrow if we could secede” from the United States.
The major op-ed in Monday’s Post, by editorial editor Fred Hiatt, was titled, “The Fight to Defend Democracy,” implying American democracy is imperiled by a Trump presidency.
The Post’s lead editorial, “An un-American Registry,” compares a suggestion of Trump aides to build a registry of Muslim immigrants to “Nazi Germany’s … singling out Jews” and FDR’s wartime internment of 110,000 Japanese, most of them U.S. citizens.
The Post did not mention that the Japanese internment was a project of the beatified FDR, pushed by that California fascist, Gov. Earl Warren, and upheld in the Supreme Court’s Korematsu decision, written by Roosevelt appointee and loyal Klansman, Justice Hugo Black.
A time for truth. Despite the post-election, bring-us-together talk of unity, this country is hopelessly divided on cultural, moral and political issues, and increasingly along racial and ethnic lines.
Many Trump voters believe Hillary Clinton belongs in a minimum-security facility, while Hillary Clinton told her LGBT supporters half of Trump’s voters were racists, sexists, homophobes, xenophobes, and bigots.
Donald Trump’s presidency will be a besieged presidency, and he would do well to enlist, politically speaking, a war cabinet and White House staff that relishes a fight and does not run.
The battle of 2016 is over.
The long war of the Trump presidency has only just begun.
We began writing on the War on Cash some time ago when it was still just a theoretical ploy that we believed banks and governments were likely to employ as their economic adventurism continued to unravel.
But, in the last year, several countries have, as a part of the War on Cash, begun removing larger banknotes from circulation in order to force people to perform all economic transactions through the banking system, ensuring that the banks would gain total control over the movement of money.
Of course, the banks could not admit their true goal to the public. They instead used the governments to claim that the measure was being undertaken to restrict crime (money laundering, drug deals, black marketing, terrorism, etc.).
Recently, without any fanfare, ATMs in Mexico have ceased issuing the 500-peso note (US$24). The largest note is now the 200-peso note (US$10).
At about the same time, Citibank in Australia declared that it will no longer accept coins or banknotes.
India has joined those countries that have done away with larger notes. They did so quite suddenly, and the effects are already being felt by the Indian people. The elimination of the 500-rupee and 1,000-rupee notes has, of course, not limited the level of spending in India, but it has caused a sudden demand for considerably smaller notes through which to accomplish the same transactions.
A problem with the removal surfaced immediately when people using ATMs were withdrawing far more notes than ever before in order to have enough cash to function normally. The ATMs were quickly being emptied of the smaller denominations. The people of India cried foul, as 86% of all money in circulation had vanished from the system overnight. The limit for withdrawal per day is 2,500 rupees (US$37) – which for some is sufficient to pay for daily expenses, but is most certainly not sufficient to carry on a business or facilitate larger transactions.
Although deliveries of notes to the ATMs has increased, the banks simply cannot make up for the sudden loss of 86% of the nation’s money. Not only can the delivery trucks not meet the demand, the machines cannot store the volume of notes needed.
The result has been a partial breakdown of commerce. With millions of people beginning each day with insufficient funds to function, one byproduct of the money shortage is that over 9.3 million trucks have simply been abandoned by their drivers. (Nearly two-thirds of all freight in India moves by road.)
In January of 2016, we published an article that made reference to the turning point of World War II on the Western Front. Although the German war machine was collapsing, a major last-ditch effort was made at the Battle of the Bulge to reverse the tide of the war. German tanks raced to the battle and might well have made the Germans the victors, but they ran out of gasoline along the way.
The crews, understanding that the game was well and truly over, simply left the tanks and began to walk back to Germany. The great significance of this event is that no matter how much bluster a political or military leadership presents, and no matter how obediently the soldiers respond to such posturing, once it’s clear that the game is up, the pretense amongst the soldiers evaporates.
The same is true in commerce. When those who make the decisions in banking and government try to game the system one time too many, dysfunction sets in and the “soldiers” – the countless minor participants in the system – simply walk away.
The lesson to be learned here is that, in all countries where a War on Cash is being destructively waged, the end will not be a positive one. The people of each country will increasingly become unable to function normally, as in Greece, where there have been riots due to the banking squeeze. Banks and governments have colluded to tie up wealth in order to have their hands on as much of it as possible as they grow nearer to economic collapse. As the situation drags on, their intent is becoming ever more transparent to those who have to suffer the difficulties caused by the squeeze.
But, as difficult as it may be to accept, these are “the good old days.” The direst events to come have not yet begun to surface.
As I’ve mentioned in past articles, the problem reaches its nadir when trucks that move the country’s food come to a halt. As long as sufficient food remains available to us, we treat it as just another commodity. But unlike clothing, hardware, vehicles, etc., when our source of food is cut off, even for a very short period, we become frightfully aware that its level of importance is far beyond that of any other commodity.
It’s been said that the average person abandons his moral inhibitions after three days without food. After this time, an otherwise morally responsible man is literally prepared to kill his neighbor for a loaf of bread.
To date, none of the countries that have declared a War on Cash has yet experienced a food panic. It would not be surprising if India becomes the first, as their trucking problem has them on the edge already.
However, it’s ironic that the War on Cash problem is most pronounced in what was called “the free world” only two generations ago. Many of those countries that we’ve come to regard as being both prosperous and “safe” are becoming less so with great rapidity.
Small wonder, then, that an increasing number of people are exiting these once choice jurisdictions and seeking those that are not similarly in economic decline. Although we cannot predict how far the elimination of cash will spread, the further you are from the epicenter of the problem, the greater your chances of coming out with your skin on.
The trick, of course, is to say “This is where I get off” well before (as we are beginning to see in India) the driver himself has abandoned the bus.
Reprinted with permission from Doug Casey’s International Man.
The proposal that the Electoral College should have voted for Hillary, thereby undermining the Constitutional structure of state v federal rights, was very serious. It demonstrates just how corrupt her followers can be willing to destroy everything to force their way upon the whole. This proposal would have destroyed the entire Constitution, and Hillary would have been marginalized by having both the Senate and House in Republican hands. Such a proposal is morally dishonest. Nevertheless, this type of insurrection could have brought the United States to the boiling point of civil war. The likelihood of such a proposal is not very high. It would effectively be TREASON against the entire country even if it were the other way around.
The Marxist v Liberty division in the United States is scary because such confrontations have ALWAYS led to millions of deaths. I would fight to the death against a Marxist takeover to retain freedom for my family and myself even though my days are less. As Patrick Henry said: “Give me Liberty; or give me Death.” This would be the only thing worth fighting for. When you look into the eyes of such people in power, all you see is a cold lifeless soul filled with hate who despise anyone in the private sector for they see you as the privileged they never were. They are typically the worst of the worst. The people looking to get even with the world for their own lack of talent.
The only fair solution in such a monumental confrontation sought by the youth is to split the United States as Rome split during the 3rd century. The blue states should have Hillary and the red states Trump; let the two philosophies of freedom and servitude separate forever for in the end, it will be a confrontation of bloodshed. I for one certainly do not want to live under a socialist dictatorship in servitude, which is precisely what the protesting youth are seeking and do not comprehend what they are surrendering.
Those seeking a secure future may be pushed to leave America or suppressed into economic servitude in the very manner as Ayn Rand wrote of Russia in “Atlas Shrugged.” I for one would get my family out of here on the very first flight. I would not wait and assume it would all work out. The Jews who assumed it would eventually be OK died in the concentration camps. These people protesting are filled with hatred. NEVER underestimate such a feeling in a mob. They are ignorant of the corruption ushered in by the Clintons who unleashed the banks and handed them student loans to subjugate the youth into economic servitude. They want to rage against Trump and fail to understand who even put them where they are today.
Reprinted from Armstrong Economics.
“We Americans are the ultimate innocents. We are forever desperate to believe that this time the government is telling us the truth.”—Former New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg
Let’s talk about fake news stories, shall we?
There’s the garden variety fake news that is not really “news” so much as it is titillating, tabloid-worthy material peddled by anyone with a Twitter account, a Facebook page and an active imagination. These stories run the gamut from the ridiculous and the obviously click-bait to the satirical and politically manipulative.
Anyone with an ounce of sense and access to the Internet should be able to ferret out the truth and lies in these stories with some basic research. That these stories flourish is largely owing to the general gullibility, laziness and media illiteracy of the general public, which through its learned compliance rarely questions, challenges or confronts.
Then there’s the most devious kind of news stories circulated by one of the biggest propagators of fake news: the U.S. government.
In the midst of the media’s sudden headline-blaring apoplexy over the fake news, you won’t hear much about the government’s role in producing, planting and peddling propaganda-driven fake news—often with the help of the corporate news media—because that’s not how the game works.
Because the powers-that-be don’t want us skeptical of the government’s message or its corporate accomplices in the mainstream media. They don’t want us to be more discerning when it comes to what information we digest online. They just want us to be leery of independent or alternative news sources while trusting them—and their corporate colleagues—to vet the news for us.
Indeed, the New York Times has suggested that Facebook and Google appoint themselves the arbiters of truth on the internet in order to screen out what is blatantly false, spam or click-bait.
Not only would this establish a dangerous precedent for all-out censorship by corporate entities known for colluding with the government but it’s also a slick sleight-of-hand maneuver that diverts attention from what we should really be talking about: the fact that the government has grown dangerously out-of-control, all the while the so-called mainstream news media, which is supposed to act as a bulwark against government propaganda, has instead become the mouthpiece of the world’s largest corporation—the U.S. government.
As veteran journalist Carl Bernstein, who along with Bob Woodward blew the lid off the Watergate scandal, reported in his expansive 1977 Rolling Stone piece, “The CIA and the Media”:
“More than 400 American journalists … in the past twenty‑five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency… There was cooperation, accommodation and overlap. Journalists provided a full range of clandestine services… Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters… In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America’s leading news organizations.”
Bernstein is referring to Operation Mockingbird, a CIA campaign started in the 1950s to plant intelligence reports among reporters at more than 25 major newspapers and wire agencies, who would then regurgitate them for a public oblivious to the fact that they were being fed government propaganda.
In some instances, as Bernstein shows, members of the media also served as extensions of the surveillance state, with reporters actually carrying out assignments for the CIA.
Executives with CBS, the New York Times and Time magazine also worked closely with the CIA to vet the news. Bernstein writes: “Other organizations which cooperated with the CIA include the American Broadcasting Company, the National Broadcasting Company, the Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps‑Howard, Newsweek magazine, the Mutual Broadcasting System, the Miami Herald and the old Saturday Evening Post and New York Herald‑Tribune.”
For example, in August 1964, the nation’s leading newspapers—including the Washington Post and New York Times—echoed Lyndon Johnson’s claim that North Vietnam had launched a second round of attacks against American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. No such attacks had taken place, and yet the damage was done. As Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon report for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, “By reporting official claims as absolute truths, American journalism opened the floodgates for the bloody Vietnam War.”
Fast forward to the early post-9/11 years when, despite a lack of any credible data supporting the existence of weapons of mass destruction, the mainstream media jumped on the bandwagon to sound the war drums against Iraq. As Los Angeles Times columnist Robin Abcarian put it, “our government … used its immense bully pulpit to steamroll the watchdogs… Many were gulled by access to administration insiders, or susceptible to the drumbeat of the government’s coordinated rhetoric.”
John Walcott, Washington bureau chief for Knight-Ridder, one of the only news agencies to challenge the government’s rationale for invading Iraq, suggests that the reason for the media’s easy acceptance is that “too many journalists, including some very famous ones, have surrendered their independence in order to become part of the ruling class. Journalism is, as the motto goes, speaking truth to power, not wielding it.”
If it was happening then, you can bet it’s still happening today, only it’s been reclassified, renamed and hidden behind layers of government secrecy, obfuscation and spin.
In its article, “How the American government is trying to control what you think,” the Washington Post points out“Government agencies historically have made a habit of crossing the blurry line between informing the public and propagandizing.”
Thus, whether you’re talking about the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the government’s invasion of Iraq based upon absolute fabrications, or the government’s so-called war on terror, privacy, and whistleblowers, it’s being driven by propaganda churned out by one corporate machine (the corporate-controlled government) and fed to the American people by way of yet another corporate machine (the corporate-controlled media).
“For the first time in human history, there is a concerted strategy to manipulate global perception. And the mass media are operating as its compliant assistants, failing both to resist it and to expose it,” writes investigative journalist Nick Davies. “The sheer ease with which this machinery has been able to do its work reflects a creeping structural weakness which now afflicts the production of our news.”
If the mass media—aka the mainstream media or the corporate or establishment media—is merely repeating what is being fed to it, who are the masterminds within the government responsible for this propaganda?
The Pentagon has now designated “information operations” as its fifth “core competency” alongside land, sea, air and special forces. Since October 2006, every brigade, division and corps in the US military has had its own “psyop” element producing output for local media. This military activity is linked to the State Department’s campaign of “public diplomacy” which includes funding radio stations and news websites.
This use of propaganda disguised as journalism is what journalist John Pilger refers to as “invisible government… the true ruling power of our country.”
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we no longer have a Fourth Estate.
Not when the “news” we receive is routinely manufactured, manipulated and made-to-order by government agents. Not when six corporations control 90% of the media in America. And not when, as Davies laments, “news organizations which might otherwise have exposed the truth were themselves part of the abuse, and so they kept silent, indulging in a comic parody of misreporting, hiding the emerging scandal from their readers like a Victorian nanny covering the children’s eyes from an accident in the street.”
So let’s have no more of this handwringing, heart-wrenching, morally offended talk about fake news by media outlets that have become propagandists for the false reality created by the American government.
After all, as Glenn Greenwald points out, “The term propaganda rings melodramatic and exaggerated, but a press that—whether from fear, careerism, or conviction—uncritically recites false government claims and reports them as fact, or treats elected officials with a reverence reserved for royalty, cannot be accurately described as engaged in any other function.”
So where does that leave us?
What should—or can—we do?
I’ll close with John Pilger’s words of warning and advice:
Real information, subversive information, remains the most potent power of all — and I believe that we must not fall into the trap of believing that the media speaks for the public. That wasn’t true in Stalinist Czechoslovakia and it isn’t true of the United States. In all the years I’ve been a journalist, I’ve never known public consciousness to have risen as fast as it’s rising today…yet this growing critical public awareness is all the more remarkable when you consider the sheer scale of indoctrination, the mythology of a superior way of life, and the current manufactured state of fear.
[The public] need[s] truth and journalists ought to be agents of truth, not the courtiers of power. I believe a fifth estate is possible, the product of a people’s movement, that monitors, deconstructs, and counters the corporate media. In every university, in every media college, in every newsroom, teachers of journalism, journalists themselves need to ask themselves about the part they now play in the bloodshed in the name of a bogus objectivity. Such a movement within the media could herald a perestroika of a kind that we have never known. This is all possible. Silences can be broken… In the United States, wonderfully free rebellious spirits populate the web… The best reporting … appears on the web … and citizen reporters.
The challenge for the rest of us is to lift this subjugated knowledge from out of the underground and take it to ordinary people. We need to make haste. Liberal Democracy is moving toward a form of corporate dictatorship. This is a historic shift, and the media must not be allowed to be its façade, but itself made into a popular, burning issue, and subjected to direct action. That great whistleblower Tom Paine warned that if the majority of the people were denied the truth and the ideas of truth, it was time to storm what he called the Bastille of words. That time is now.
It has been proven over and over again that the Clinton Foundation receives large donations from abroad. However, a striking revelation came recently when it turned out that a German state institution was also among its sponsors.
According to Sputnik Germany, the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) appeared on the list of sponsors of the Clinton Foundation on the official website of the latter and is assumed to have donated from one to five million US dollars to the American institution.
© SPUTNIK/ SCREENSHOT-website of the Clinton Foundation
As the screenshot shows, there is a **symbol after the name of the organization which, as explained below, means that the donated amount also includes subsidies from the state.
Some Internet users from Germany have already expressed their criticism in this context.
“Oh no, does it belong to the federation?! Our government has just donated a million or two to the Clinton Foundation?!” a comment said.
The GIZ confirmed on its website that it has donated a total of 2.4 million euro to the Clinton Foundation from 2013 to 2016. The money was supposed to finance a project that was commissioned to the Foundation by Germany’s Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
In the framework of the project, the Clinton Foundation has been responsible for the implementation of a development initiative in Africa and was supposed to use the donations “to equip health centers (f.e. in Malawi) as well as educate health care workers,” an official GIZ statement said. Around 500,000 people in Malawi were supposed to receive access to essential health, HIV / AIDS and nutrition services thanks to the program.
Although the initiative sounds quite well-intended, questions have arisen of whether the funds have really been used in an appropriate way. The Clinton Foundation has repeatedly come under sharp criticism due to its remarkable sponsors and enormous expenditures.
The Clinton Foundation is a charitable foundation established by former US President Bill Clinton after he left the White House in 2001. Among others things, it includes the Clinton Global Initiative, which devoted itself to the fight against AIDS, and the Clinton Public School, which is supposed to motivate more young people to work in public services.
According to various sources, only six percent of the Clinton Foundation’s revenues have been spent on these goals. At the same time, it was reported that it had paid out enormous salaries and claimed dubious business travels. As reported by the website FactCheck.org in June 2015, the organization spent 30 million dollars (20 percent of the total revenues) on salaries alone.
On November 13, the foundation once again came into the media spotlight, when it became known that in the 2011-2013 Switzerland had donated to the institution over half a million US dollars. It is noteworthy that at that time the US exercised pressure on Swiss banks in the context of their efforts to combat tax evasion.
Other donations came from Ukraine that had been one of the main physical sponsors of the Foundation in 1999-2014 with overall donations amounting to 10 million dollar. In early November 2016, the foundation also confirmed reception of one million dollar from the Qatari government. At that time Hillary Clinton was US Secretary of State and should have informed the State Department about the donation, which she, however, didn’t.
Reprinted from Sputnik News.
Originally published by AmmoLand.com.
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Reprinted with permission from AmmoLand.com.
Former Republican Texas Congressman Ron Paul warned that a “false flag” event could get President-elect Donald Trump in a foreign entanglement and said a “shadow government” undermined President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, in an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller Monday.
During Trump’s campaign for the presidency, he railed against the Iraq war. “The War in Iraq we spent $2 trillion, thousands of lives, we don’t even have it. Iran is taking over Iraq with the second largest oil reserves in the world, obviously it was a mistake. George Bush made a mistake,” the president-elect said during a February debate.
Paul has made a career partly out of attacking policies that championed the Iraq war, but the libertarian does not think that Trump’s victory marked a defeat for neoconservatives. “He’s very friendly with a lot of them right now, he’s talking to them,” Paul said. “We don’t have a final answer, we have to wait to see who get’s appointed.”
He added, “He doesn’t talk about blowback and coming out of these countries. He has a better policy with Russia but I think he still is talking with the neoconservatives.”
Paul pointed to reports that Rudy Giuliani might be named secretary of state as an example of this.
The former congressman later said, “I don’t how anybody can say they know what is going to happen,” with regards to the Trump administration’s policies overseas.
“All we need is a false flag and an accident and everybody will be for teaching them a lesson,” Paul added about the potential to intervene in the Middle East.
Sylvester Stallone wasn’t born a leading man. Complications at birth left the son of a hairdresser with nerve damage that slurred his speech and curled his lips into a permanent snarl. His childhood wasn’t easy. His parents fought constantly, and he and his brother slipped in and out of foster care. By high school, they’d moved back in with their mother in Philadelphia, but Stallone’s emotional problems followed him. He struggled academically and was expelled from multiple schools. The arts became his refuge. He spent his free time painting and writing poetry, but his real dream was the silver screen. By the time he was 18, he knew he wanted to act.
Stallone studied drama at the American College of Switzerland and then at the University of Miami, but then abandoned school to pursue a career in New York City. By his mid-twenties, he was getting by on odd jobs like cleaning lion cages and ushering at movie theaters. The bit parts he did manage to land were few and far between. Once, when funds were short, he took a role in an adult film to keep from living in a bus station. When Stallone landed bigger parts, it was because his drooping, stone-chiseled face made him the perfect heavy (Subway Thug No. 1. wasn’t an uncommon credit). By 1975, the 29-year-old actor was desperate for something bigger, so his agent sent him to the L.A. offices of Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff, two producers who had a standing deal with United Artists.
The meeting didn’t go as planned. When Winkler and Chartoff met Stallone, they didn’t see a movie star. Dejected, Stallone had his hand on the doorknob when he turned and made one last pitch. “You know,” he said, “I also write.”
The script Stallone turned in was an underdog tale, the story of Rocky, a streetwise palooka who gets an unlikely opportunity to fight the heavyweight champion of the world. But the story of how the film itself got made is even more improbable.
Earlier that same year, a boxer named Chuck Wepner had silenced the world. Pitted 40:1 against the heavily favored Muhammad Ali, Wepner landed a blow that knocked Ali down. Though Ali ultimately knocked out Wepner in the 15th round, Stallone was riveted by those moments in which it seemed like Wepner stood a chance. When he sat down to write a screenplay, it took him just three days to dash it off.
Stallone centered his story around Rocky Balboa, a club boxer plucked from obscurity and eager to go the distance. But Rocky would have the odds stacked against him. Even his trainer, a salty old cynic named Mickey, would write him off—until a once-in-a-lifetime chance to fight against brash champion (and Ali stand-in) Apollo Creed arises.
To ground his story, Stallone drummed up a love interest for Rocky: Adrian, a shy pet store employee. The unlikely romance allowed the film to become as much a character study as a genre slugfest. But when Stallone’s wife, Sasha, read an early draft, she pushed him to sand down his hero’s rough edges even more. In the rewrites, Rocky, who had started out as a violent thug, emerged as a gentle and deceptively wise soul who, in the actor’s words, “was good-natured, even though nature had never been good to him.”
Impressed by the story’s heart, Winkler and Chartoff agreed to produce the film with United Artists, which gave them creative freedom for any picture budgeted under $1.5 million. But the studio balked. A boxing picture and all its trappings—extras, location, and arena shooting—just couldn’t be made for so little money. And with a nobody in the lead role, the flick seemed doomed to box office failure. Chartoff and Winkler countered by offering to make the movie for less than a million, promising to cover any overages out of pocket, and the producers sent the studio a print of Stallone’s recent independent film, The Lords of Flatbush, to seal the deal. With no one in the screening room to recognize him, the executives assumed handsome costar Perry King was the young nobody who had written the script.
Fine, they said. Go make your boxing movie.
When I was in Dublin, I had a lot of fun watching the BBC and SkyNews, mostly because they were still in shock over Brexit. It was as if they learned that the Loch Ness Monster was real. They just could not come to terms with the new reality. Every segment circled back to the vote and how it was the worst thing to happen since Dunkirk. They talked about Brexit in the same way people talk about life-altering tragedies. At one point, someone even said, “I’ll never forget where I was the day I heard the news of Brexit.”
The interesting thing was that they were so sure that Brexit would be a disaster that they were starting to pretend that the disaster was happening, even though nothing had changed since the vote. At the time, the markets were up and the economic indicators were all pointing in the right direction. There was also the fact that the vote changed nothing. It will take years to implement Brexit, assuming it ever happens, which is unlikely. Still, the people on the Beeb were sure doom was at hand.
That’s the power of belief and a reminder that all the flapdoodle we associate with the Left is not based on facts and reason. It is something closer to a UFO cult, where the members, from time to time, become convinced of some great event that is about to occur. When that event does not happen, they go through a period of confusion and sadness, like how normal people mourn an untimely death. The difference is the Progs rally together to recast the event into a new great cause with its own doomsday cult attributes.
You can see that in this hysterical tirade by Mathew Julio Yglesias. He both Voxsplains the current crisis and provides a standard around which his fellow moonbats can rally.
The country has entered a dangerous period. The president-elect is the least qualified man to ever hold high office. He also operated the least transparent campaign of the modern era. He gave succor and voice to bigoted elements on a scale not seen in two generations. He openly praised dictators — not as allies but as dictators — and threatened to use the powers of his office to discipline the media.
You could be forgiven for thinking he was writing about Barak Obama, but that would require a level of self-awareness unacceptable in a religious cult.
He also has a long history of corrupt behavior, and his business holdings pose staggering conflicts of interest that are exacerbated by his lack of financial disclosure. But while most journalists and members of the opposition party think they understand the threat of Trump-era corruption, they are in fact drastically underestimating it. When we talk about corruption in the modern United States, we have in mind what Andrei Shleifer and Robert Vishny define as “the sale by government officials of government property for personal gain.”
This is a guy who supported Hillary Clinton. It once again points out a feature of the Left and something you always see with the hive-minded. They cast onto their enemies all of the things they fear about themselves. Membership in a mass movement is about self-abnegation. The adherent wants to obliterate his sense of self and replace it with the identity of the cause. The result is all the things they despise about themselves become the first things they assume about their enemies. Their bogeyman is always a reflection of themselves.
What we are seeing with the Trumpening is the same thing the Brits saw with Brexit. These people were absolutely convinced that they were riding the warm thermals of history, like gentle little butterflies drifting from one flower to the next, until they reached the valley of the chosen. It’s not that they cannot accept losing. They did not think losing was a possibility. These events are disconfirmation of their most important beliefs. It turns out that history has no right side, after all, and that’s the cornerstone of the Progressive faith.
The tantrums and warnings of doom are just a way for the faithful to rally together to support one another as they figure out how to reconfigure the prophecies to fit the new reality. It is no different from what has been observed with UFO and doomsday cults. The believers become convinced X is about to happen and X will confirm all of their beliefs. When X does not happen, they are faced with the prospect of their beliefs being proved false. That was election night for the American Left.
What we are seeing now is the leaders of the cult trying to rally their members to provide mutual support. Focusing their attention on the alleged evils of the other side takes the focus away from the dis-confirmation. If they can muster their numbers, they can will their way through the crisis and reorganize their beliefs to incorporate the dis-confirmation into the narrative. In time Brexit and Trump will become part of the struggle myth that motivates the faithful to keep fighting. After all, they are on the right side of history.
Reprinted from The Z Blog.
ewly elected presidents are frequently afforded what is described as a “honeymoon period” in which the criticism of their campaign positions diminishes sharply as the public and media stand by to see what actually will develop as an administration takes shape. The honeymoon can sometimes extend well into the post-inauguration time frame, as it did with President Barack Obama, and it provides a breathing space during which the new arrivals in the White House can set an agenda and learn how the government actually works.
Unfortunately, President-elect Donald Trump will apparently not enjoy such a courtesy, at least as far as the media is concerned. The mainstream media was unrelentingly hostile to Trump both during the Republican primaries and the presidential campaign itself. The assertions emanating from media apologists contending that Trump actually benefitted from the massive press coverage that he did receive ignores the fact that the reporting was almost always negative. If Trump benefited at all it was only because of the public, seeing the outpouring of sheer hatred from a media that it already distrusted, came to believe that someone so vilified by a source so questionable must actually represent something worth supporting.
The rage of the media towards Trump continues unabated. The Washington Post, a scurrilous rag emanating out of the District of Columbia that claims to be a national “newspaper of record,” has a neocon editorial page that has never seen a war that it dislikes coupled with domestic and local reporting that is multicultural, inclusive and diverse to a fault. It’s globalist agenda driven hacks seamlessly churn out news stories that are more editorials for a certain worldview than they are reporting of actual events. It is “invade the world invite the world” at its finest and reminds one of Hillary Clinton at her most effusive.
The Post’s November 16th print edition was remarkable even by the paper’s lax journalistic standards, suggesting that it would be well served by renaming itself The Anti-Trump. Here are the stories featured in the paper on that day either about Trump himself, his transition team or about policies that Trump is believed to be promoting:
- Lead headline, “Key figures purged from Trump team.”
- Lead Editorial” “Mr. Putin’s green light for atrocities: Mr. Obama will not act in Syria to stop Russia or the Assad regime, and Mr. Trump seems indifferent at best”
- Second Editorial” “Show us your papers, Mr. Trump”
- Article “How Bannon coaxed Trump in alt-right shift”
- Article “A rallying cry for Democrats: Resist”
- Article “Police chief: Los Angeles won’t aid Trump deportation efforts”
- Article “Think tank highlights Russian threat”
- Article “Anti-Defamation League decries Bannon’s ascent”
- Article “Parents of transgender children speak out in an effort to empower others”
- Article “Elite schools urged to aid undocumented students”
- Article “In rejecting the blind trust tradition, Trump follows another model: Ukraine”
- Article “In Middle east, a new uncertainty after Obama”
- Article “Europeans urge Trump to be cautious on Putin”
- Article “Obama warns of ‘crude sort of nationalism’”
- Article “Why Mexico has a lot to lose in a Trump trade war”
- Article “Trump’s election does not bode well for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau”
- Article “The faulty logic behind Trump’s plan to freeze federal hiring”
- Article “Ginsburg utters: ‘President Trump’: Justice who had voiced distaste for Republican bites her tongue”
- Article “Election outcome protested in District”
- Opinion “For my dad and uncle, Trump is no step forward: the election of Obama gave them hope. Now they have Trump”
- Article “’Sanctuaries’ stand firm amid threat”
- Article “Council floats plan to cut back on Trump’s parade”
- Op-ed “America’s Bannon litmus test”
- Op-ed “Trump must disavow the alt-right”
- Op-ed “With Russia, deterrence before détente”
- Op-ed “The Fed clash to come?”
- Letter to the editor: In an attack on those who voted for Trump, “When you knowingly put a racist person with seemingly fascist tendencies in the White House, it can give the impression that you sympathize.”
- Letter to the editor: “…with the selection of Mr. Ebell [a critic of climate change as EPA transition team head] that promise [to drain the Washington swamp] appears to have been a lie. Rather than draining the swamp, the president-elect is already swimming in it.”
- Metro section review of the Capitol dome restoration: “Revived symbol for worried nation”
- Style section “Questions of faith: She had always believed hers was a country that, ultimately, chose good. What now?”
- Style section “Never say #Never? These conservatives said they couldn’t tolerate Trump. Then he won”
- Style section “Sykes says she got the last laugh on hecklers [a comedian who was booed in Boston when she made a series of jokes about Trump]”