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Horror in Nice

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 15/07/2016 - 06:01

The French have a saying, ‘un malheur n’arrive jamais seul.’ That translates into ‘when it rains, it pours.’  This week, the heavens opened and poured on the nation’s national fete, Bastille Day.

The day began with highly embarrassing revelations by a French satirical newspaper that the unpopular president, Francois Hollande, had a staff hairdresser making $11,000 a month at a time of national austerity. This was a genuine ‘let them eat cake’ moment.

That same evening, a frightful attack occurred in Nice. A demented 31-year old man of Tunisian origin, Mohammed Bouhel, who had just lost his job and then his family through divorce,  turned his truck into a mass murder weapon.

Bouhel sent his large truck down Nice’s famed seaside Promenade des Anglais, mowing down people celebrating Bastille Day. As of this writing, 86 victims died and scores are gravely injured, including many children. France They are mostly third class citizens, living in poverty and suffering sharp discrimination.

The jobless rate among young Muslims is around 50%. They live in bleak housing projects like many Americans of African origin, with no future except for drugs and other petty crimes. In short, a potentially explosive underclass that is neither French nor traditionally ‘old country’ Muslim but a rootless urban class of delinquents and petty hoodlums

Second, France has been getting ever more deeply involved militarily and politically in its former colonies. French military forces are fighting in Iraq and Syria, and in Libya, where they helped overthrow and kill Muammar Khadaffi. France has 2,500 troops battling rebels in Mali, and more troops in the Central African Republic, Chad, Djibouti, and Nigeria. French intelligence is active all over these regions and, notably, Lebanon.

In 1992,   France worked with right-wing Algerian generals to overthrow and crush the newly elected democratic Islamist government in Algiers. This act triggered the bloody Algerian civil war that caused hundreds of thousands of deaths in an orgy of killing and torture.

The Algerian rebels, known as the GIA, were eventually crushed with French help, but not before they spread into Europe and influenced the younger generation of violent rebels, the Islamic State.

France’s government is in a mini-war with various militant groups who adopt the language of Islam but have little to do with traditional Islam. All these factors combined in one truck driver last Thursday night in Nice.

The post Horror in Nice appeared first on LewRockwell.

Thank You Brits!

Deep Politics Monitor - Gio, 14/07/2016 - 21:31

La vera ragione per cui abbiamo uno stato sociale

Freedonia - Gio, 14/07/2016 - 10:15




di Bill Bonner


BALTIMORE – Alla fine gli svizzeri hanno votato "no".

La volta scorsa ci siamo chiesti perché qualcosa in cambio di niente non funziona mai.

Non nella politica monetaria. Non nello stato sociale o negli aiuti esteri. Non nel commercio.

Mai.

Ma qualcosa in cambio di niente è ciò che la maggior parte della gente vuole.

Gli svizzeri hanno votato contro la concessione a tutti i cittadini di un "reddito di base universale" da circa $30,000 l'anno, a prescindere dal fatto che abbiano o no un lavoro. Ma l'idea è improbabile che svanisca.

Due terzi degli elettori britannici dice d'essere a favore di questa idea. E la provincia dell'Ontario in Canada proverà a fare qualcosa di simile.

Se avete seguito questo blog, sapete come e perché abbiamo uno stato sociale.

Non perché i leader attuali sono più riflessivi e attenti rispetto a quelli del passato. Invece la rivoluzione francese e quella americana hanno rivoluzionato la semantica, facendo credere alle persone che ci fosse una certa differenza tra "cittadini" e "sudditi".

Quando le persone pensano d'essere a capo di un governo, piuttosto che comprendere d'essere suoi sottoposti, non si chiedono più cosa il governo possa fare per loro, ma cosa possano fare loro per esso!

Le élite, che controllano il governo, hanno una risposta rapida: è possibile pagare tasse più alte!

E potete farvi saltare in aria in una delle nostre guerre estere.

Invece d'essere costretti a servire nell'esercito del re, i cittadini si arruolano di loro sponte. E poiché il loro denaro viene utilizzato solo per progetti di cui loro beneficiano – selezionati dai loro rappresentanti eletti – devono pagare di più.

Almeno questa era la teoria.

Sì, gli elettori sono un fastidio. Eppure lasciare che le masse pensino d'essere al comando, è un assioma che ancora produce benefici; si può depredarle di più in questo modo.

Ma il nuovo cittadino del XIX secolo aveva un fucile e una scheda elettorale.

E se poteva abbattere Giorgio III o Luigi XVI, avrebbe potuto far cadere qualsiasi governo.

Così, circa un secolo dopo che la testa di Luigi rotolò, il primo cancelliere della Germania, Otto von Bismarck, capì come mantenere docili i cittadini: dare loro qualcosa in cambio niente. Una pensione!

Attraverso una serie di atti nel 1880, la Germania di Bismarck mise in atto il primo stato sociale al mondo – tra cui l'assicurazione sanitaria pubblica e un programma pensionistico pubblico.

Se le persone fossero dipese dai federali per la loro pensione, avrebbero seguito quasi tutto quello che avrebbero detto questi ultimi.

Questa è stata l'origine di ciò che conosciamo come stato sociale – il governo raccoglie denaro dai cittadini e poi ne restituisce una parte sostanziale.

Alcuni ottengono posti di lavoro. Alcuni ottengono prestazioni dall'assistenza sanitaria pubblica. Quasi tutti ottenengono la pensione.

Oggi la maggior parte dei governi opera in base al modello di Bismarck – prende i soldi dai cittadini e fornisce loro benefici "pubblici".

Il modello ha funzionato splendidamente per 100 anni.

I politici, continuamente a caccia di voti, cercano di rendere quanto più indolore possibile la pillola. "Liberal" e "conservatori" hanno capito che, per essere eletti, dovevano promettere agli elettori sempre più "benefici".

Il conservatorismo reale (a favore di un governo limitato) è praticamente scomparso. I politici hanno promesso una serie di risarcimenti agli elettori: indennità di disoccupazione, cure mediche, farmaci, abitazioni e altre dispense.

Ma più ottenevano qualcosa in cambio di niente, più ne volevano.

Fortunatamente le popolazioni e le economie erano in rapida crescita.

Il giovane lavorava... e gli venivano promessi benefici – farmaci e pensioni – di cui avrebbe potuto godere quando sarebbe diventato più vecchio.

Fino a quando le popolazioni erano in crescita e le economie s'espandevano, l'unico problema era decidere chi avrebbe dovuto ottenere cosa.

Ecco perché le elezioni erano così importanti. "Sono aste anticipate di beni rubati", come disse il giornalista H.L. Mencken.

Ma sono aste di beni che non sono stati nemmeno creati... figuriamoci rubati.

E ora il dare alle persone anziane qualcosa in cambio di niente sta finendo nei guai: non c'è più così tanto da dare... e ci sono molte più persone con le mani allungate.

I sistemi pensionistici pubblici – come la previdenza sociale negli Stati Uniti – avevano pochi beneficiari prima della seconda guerra mondiale. Ora ce ne sono a iosa.

La matematica non funziona più. Invece di ottenere più di quanto pagato, i cittadini ora si aspettano di ottenere meno.

Forse molto meno.

Non solo ci sono più anziani, ma anche i federali hanno danneggiato l'economia che li sostiene.

Come?

Normative nebbiose e sciocche... privilegi speciali ed elargimenti... licenze... sussidi.

"Bill, vorrei davvero tagliare i vostri alberi", ha detto Tommy strascicando le parole.

Tommy ha lavorato con il suo bulldozer nella nostra azienda agricola in Maryland.

"Ma non è più come una volta. Ora è necessario un permesso per tutto, per non parlare di tagliare gli alberi. Si presenta un forestale [probabilmente un neo-laureato alla University of Vermont]... e ti dice quali alberi si possono tagliare. Non sto scherzando."

Così ora dobbiamo rimanere in contatto con il governo della contea... il governo dello stato... e per quanto ne sappiamo, presto diventerà un caso federale.

Il lavoro rallenterà. Ci saranno altre tasse da pagare.

E perché? Perché qualcun altro dovrebbe dirci quali alberi tagliare? Come tutto ciò potrebbe far diventare migliore il mondo?

Molto probabilmente non lo diventerà. Sarà solamente meno efficiente. La produttività sta ora andando a ritroso... e se questo trend continuerà, lo stato sociale è condannato al fallimento.

"Cavolo... ci sono anche i serpenti tra quegli alberi", ha detto Tommy. "E io odio i serpenti."

"Ho lavorato col mio trattore [un bulldozer] per tutta la vita. Più di 60 anni. E non m'è mai capitata una cosa del genere prima. Stavo facendo il mio lavoro e tutto ad un tratto, mi sono guardato intorno e mi sono ritrovato tra i piedi un grosso serpente nero. Era proprio dietro di me, appeso al finestrino e mi guardava la spalla.

"Non credo tu abbia mai visto correre un ottantenne come corsi io."

"Cos'è successo al serpente?" abbiamo chiesto.

"Oh... l'ho conciato per le feste."

E ora lo stato sociale non ha più senso. Se una persona può ottenere di più dalle assicurazioni private, dall'assistenza sanitaria privata e dall'istruzione privata, perché sostenere i federali?

In altre parole, lo stato sociale ha funzionato finché la gente poteva ottenere qualcosa in cambio di niente. E quest'ultima pratica non sarà più tanto attraente agli occhi degli elettori.

Ma aspettate: perché non rubare a Pietro per pagare Paolo?

Tassare i pochi ricchi... e dare il denaro ai molti poveri. Ricordate, si tratta pur sempre di un sistema di regole della maggioranza! Perché non farlo funzionare così?

Oh, cari lettori, a volte ci fate ridere per davvero. L'avete dimenticato? Gli elettori in realtà non controllano il sistema.

Pietro sì, invece.

Saluti,


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


Russian Harassment and Other Fables

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 14/07/2016 - 06:01

Whenever the subject of American foreign policy catastrophes comes up, the word “Iraq” immediately comes to mind. But George W. Bush’s ill-fated invasion of that hapless land, in reality, did not do irreparable damage to the United States. That is not to trivialize the costs, including trillions of dollars and the deaths of thousands of Americans plus hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, but the reality is that the U.S. homeland was not attacked and the economy has not collapsed, making Iraq a war that should never have been fought but not a defeat in historic terms.

One thinks of Russia less frequently when U.S. policy failures are examined. In 1991, Russia was a superpower. Today it is a convenience, a straw man fortuitously produced whenever someone in power wants to justify weapons expenditures or the initiation of new military interventions in faraway places. Much of the negative interaction between Washington and Moscow is driven by the consensus among policymakers, the Western media, and the inside-the-beltway crowd that Russia is again—or perhaps is still and always will be—the enemy du jour. But frequently forgotten or ignored is the fact that Moscow, even in its much-reduced state, continues to control the only military resource on the planet that can destroy the United States, suggesting caution should be in order when one goes about goading the bear.

Truly, the unwillingness to takes steps after 1991 to assist Russia in its post-communist transformation into a stable, prosperous, and secure state modeled on the West is the most significant foreign-policy failure by both Democratic and Republican administrations over the past 30 years. The spoliation of Russia’s natural resources carried out by Western carpetbaggers working with local grifters-turned-oligarchs under Boris Yeltsin, the expansion of NATO to Russia’s doorstep initiated by Bill Clinton, and the interference in Russia’s internal affairs by the U.S. government (including the Magnitsky Act) have exploited Russian vulnerability and have produced a series of governments in Moscow that have become increasingly paranoid and disinclined to cooperate with what they see as a threatening Washington.

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There have also been unnecessary slights and insults along the way, including sanctions on Russian officials and a refusal to attend the Sochi Olympics, to cite only two examples. The drive by Washington democracy-promoters and global hegemonists working together to push Ukraine into the Western economic and political sphere was a major miscalculation, as they failed to realize—or did not care—that what takes place in Kiev is to Moscow a vital interest. Heedless of that reality, the Obama administration, which recently endorsed the somewhat bizarre entry of Montenegro into the NATO alliance, is already treating Georgia and Ukraine as if they were de facto members. Hillary Clinton, who has likened Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler, has pledged to bring about their full membership in the alliance. It would not in any way make Americans more secure—quite the contrary, as the United States is pledging itself under the NATO Article 5 to defend both countries. Moscow for its part would be forced to react to such expansion.

Nearly everything Russia does is considered wrong or even threatening by the White House, Congress, and the U.S. media. I was reminded of that predilection when I read recent accounts of Russian “harassment” of American diplomats overseas. The story described how, in one instance, a U.S. embassy officer returning to the building late at night was challenged by a Russian guard and a scuffle ensued. In other alleged incidents, the apartments of employees were searched, and it was even claimed that a pet dog had been killed. Certainly, the incidents are deplorable, but they are not exactly unusual in the world where spies and spy catchers interact.

Read the Whole Article

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What’s Your Fitness Age?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 14/07/2016 - 06:01

Many of us don’t feel a day past 21 – yet our bulging waistlines and the wrinkles around our eyes tell a different story.

Now, a test can tell us our ‘fitness age’ – an age based on how fit the body is rather than how many years we have lived.

The calculator, created by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, asks people to enter information such as their gender, height, weight, waist circumference, heart rate and how frequently they exercise.

From this, the university’s Cardiac Exercise Research Group is able to calculate VO2max, a measure of how much oxygen the body is able to take in.

Measured in milliliters of O2 per kilogram of body weight per minute, the researchers say it is ‘the most precise measure of overall cardiovascular fitness’.

It reveals how well the muscle cells can take in oxygen, and how well the lungs and heart can transport oxygen to tissues.

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Comparing average VO2max scores for each age group, the test can reveal our fitness age – and whether it is lower or higher than the number of candles on our last birthday cake.

A new test can tell us our ‘fitness age’ – an age based on how physically fit our bodies are rather than how many years we have lived. In order to calculate this age, it asks people to enter details such as their gender, education, height, weight and exercise

Take the Test

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Hillary Is a Congenital Liar

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 14/07/2016 - 06:01

When FBI Director James Comey publicly revealed his recommendation to the Department of Justice last week that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton not be prosecuted for espionage, he unleashed a firestorm of criticism from those who believe that Clinton was judged by different standards from those used to judge others when deciding whether to bring a case to a grand jury.

The FBI investigation had a bizarre ending to it. FBI recommendations are never made public as this one was. Attorney General Loretta Lynch had been compromised by her politically disastrous but legally consequential meeting out of the view of the media with Bill Clinton just one week before Comey’s announcement. Whatever they discussed, the overwhelming public impression was such that Lynch removed herself and her senior aides from the case, effectively leaving the FBI to have the final say. This is unheard of in the post-Hoover FBI.

The Comey announcement itself gave two reasons for recommending against indictment. One was that “no reasonable prosecutor” would take the case. That is not a judgment the FBI gets paid to make. The FBI’s job is to gather,The FBI found 110 emails in that category, at least two dozen of which were at the highest level of protection that the government accords its secrets. She also told that same committee that she had surrendered all her work-related emails to the State Department.

Former New York Yankees pitching great Roger Clemens was tried twice (after a trial that ended with a hung jury, he was ultimately acquitted) for misleading Congress when he was forced to speak to a House committee about the contents of his blood and urine as a baseball player. Clinton has misled Congress about her lawful obligations as secretary of state, and she skates free.

Back in the Whitewater days, when the propensity of both Bill and Hillary Clinton to lie routinely and naturally first became apparent to the media and the public, the late, great New York Times columnist William Safire referred to Mrs. Clinton by a moniker that enraged her husband. He became so fearful of the truth and so furious with Safire that he publicly threatened to punch Safire in the nose.

Safire called Hillary Clinton a congenital liar. He was right. That was 20 years ago. Some people never change.

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

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Greater Fools Storm the Casino

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 14/07/2016 - 06:01

While we are waiting it might be wondered, however, whether nearly two decades of central bank financial repression have not merely destroyed honest price discovery on Wall Street. Perhaps it has actually extinguished brain function entirely among the corporal’s guard of carbon units that remain.

Yes, it is not surprising at all that the robo-machines are now gunning for the 2200 point on the S&P 500 charts. That’s what they do.

What defies explanation, however, is that the several dozen humans left on Wall Street who apparently talk to Bob Pisani are actually attempting to rationalize this “breakout” of, well, madness.

According to JPMorgan’s latest thoughts, for example, it’s all explained by Mr. Market hard at work discounting a meme called “17x/$130”.

Market update – more of the same for this market. The 17x/$130 argument continues to resonate (that combination of numbers points to 2200). It’s still very, very early in the CQ2 season but the indications so are more positive than negative (AA, Daimler, PEP, Samsung, SIMO, STX, WDC, etc) and that is helping investors look past the earnings recession and is bolstering confidence in a ~$130 number for next year.

Let’s see. Before we get to whatever massaged and medicated version of “earnings” JPM is talking about with its $130 per share number, it would be useful to start with reality.

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According to Howard Silverblatt, the S&P’s authority on these matters, reported (GAAP) earnings for the March LTM finally came in at $86.44 per share.

So barring some near-term earnings miracle, the market is now valued at a nosebleed 24.9X. The last time it was near that level outside of outright recession was on May 16, 2008.

At that point, March 2008 LTM earnings on a GAAP basis had posted at $60.39 per share. So when the market hit an intraday high of 1430 the implied multiple was nearly 24X.

Needless to say, it was a long way down from there. In fact, ten months later the market was 53% lower, and S&P reported earnings actually bottomed that quarter at $6.86 per share, or 90% lower.

But then, of course, who would credit GAAP?

That is, besides the several thousand white collar “criminals” domiciled in Federal hospitality facilities who undoubtedly rue the day they violated it; or the tens of thousands of bureaucrats at the SEC, DOJ and state attorneys general offices who make a living enforcing it; or the far greater numbers of white-collar defense attorneys who make an even better living parsing its fine points.

Then again, you don ‘t have to make a fetish of GAAP, even if several billion dollars annually of law enforcement and regulatory intrusion insist upon it. In fact, back in May 2008—–at a time that even the White House council of economic advisers said there was no recession in sight and Bernanke was preaching mainly blue skies ahead—-LTM operating earnings had posted at $76.77 per share, according to Howard Silverblatt.

So even using the ex-items style of earnings, the market was trading at a pretty sporty 18.6X.

Alas, a recession had already been underway for six months, but no one had bothered to tell the Eccles Building and their Wall Street acolytes. The latter are otherwise known as “street economists” and “equity strategists” of the JPMorgan ilk quoted above.

Here’s the thing. Even the LTM “operating earnings” number at the time was down by 16% from its cyclical high of $91.47 per share that had posted three-quarters earlier (June 2007 LTM). But like now, the street insisted that the “earnings bottom” was in and that 2008 profits would come in at over $100 per share or 30% higher than the March 2008 LTM actual.

At it happens, Silverblatt’s certified operating earnings number for the March 2016 LTM period was $98.61 per share.

That means that today’s market traded at 21.8X Wall Street’s preferred earnings measure. That’s even above the 18.6X delusion back in May 2008, and also something more.

Like eight years ago, the March operating earnings number is down 14%from its peak of $114.50 posted for September 2014. And also like back in 2008, expected forward earnings of $130 per share are 30% above current levels.

In truth, all of this is worse than deja vu. That’s because the casino’s financial narrative has been so corrupted by recency bias and accounting promiscuity that it has no idea what the profits picture really is or where it is going.

In a moment we will put a bullet through JPM’s $130 per share fantasy. But it is worth reiterating just how far the “earnings” narrative has departed from GAAP, and that near the end of a cycle this GAAP gap becomes especially wide.

As the WSJ recently documented,  Wall Street’s ex-items or pro forma  version of S&P 500 earnings came in at $1.040 trillion in CY 2015 compared to GAAP earnings of $787 billion. It would appear that CEOs and CFO’s who filed their SEC statements on penalty of prison time, averred that their actual profits were exactly $256 billion smaller than what they told their investors.

As it happens, that quarter trillion dollar fib is exactly the size of the ex-items charade back in 2007. It seems as if companies actually need a periodic recession so that they can toss into the kitchen sink the write-offs for all the dumb deals and investment mistakes they made while the bubble was still inflating.

In any event, not only are Wall Street’s hockey sticks extremely crooked from an accounting point of view, but they are also egregiously predictable in the magnitude by which they deflate as one-year forward estimates are eventually overtaken by reality.

To wit, in March 2014, the one-year forward estimate for CY 2015 came in at$135 per share of “operating earnings” for the S&P 500. At length, CY 2015 unfolded—-bringing with it a collapse of oil and materials prices and a sharp slowdown in global growth that came as a big surprise to Wall Street.

Accordingly, Silverblatt now certifies that actual operating earnings for CY 2015 came in at $100.45 per share. Apparently, in a world where “one-timers” don’t count, that gigantic 26% miss doesn’t count, either.

That’s because, in March 2015, the street “bottoms up” consensus for 2016 was pegged at, yes, $135 per share, again.

The problem is that the 2015 hockey stick has already been rolled down to just $114 per share as of June. Yet even if Q2 comes in at the current estimate of $28 per share and there is no further earnings decline in Q3 and Q4, earnings will total just $100 per share for 2016. That would be another 25% miss.

Never fear. The street consensus estimate for 2017 as of this March was $136 per share for the third year in a row.

That JPMorgan has already walked it down to $130 per share, therefore, is not the least bit surprising. Walking it back is what equity analysts do.

Then again, according to Howard Silverblatt, operating earnings for the current LTM period (June 2016) are expected to come in at just $100.55 per share.

Yet why is the implicit 30% climb from here to get to JPM’s magic “17X” on next year’s earnings any more plausible than was the outlook back in July 2014?

Back then, LTM operating earnings posted at $112 per share and the expectation was for a 20% gain on a year forward basis for 2015.

In fact, since July 2014 total business sales in the US economy have declined by 6% and the inventory to sales ratio has soared from an already high 1.3X sales to 1.41X. That’s recession territory.

In the case of wholesale sales, as reported today, Jeff Snider notes in a nearby post that the warning signs of recession are flashing even brighter. At 1.44X, the non-petroleum inventories-to-sales ratio is heading for the highs of the Great Recession.

Likewise, unlike the BLS’s monthly random numbers generator, the treasury tax collections do not lie. And they do not reflect taxes paid by real world employers for phantom workers on account of seasonal maladjustments, birth-death imputations or trend-cycle adjustments to actual payroll records.

As we showed last week, the 90-day moving average of payroll tax collections in June had dropped from last year’s 5-6% Y/Y trend to barely 3%. This means that after allowance for average hourly pay gains of 2.6% since last June,  labor hours worked in the US economy are evidently at stall speed.

That probability is reinforced by two other straws in the wind.

First, total Federal tax collections—-including upper income estimated payments, corporate taxes, and excise taxes—-at $181 billion in June were flat over the prior year. That’s a radical departure from the hefty gains registered since anti-recession tax cuts expired in 2013.

Likewise, the recovery of incomes among the top 10%-20% of households since 2009 has generated solid gains in restaurant and bar sales. During the seven years after the May 2009 bottom, sales growth averaged 5.5% per annum.

But in June, the Knapp-Track data for the core fast casual sector showed that traffic was down 4.8% compared to last year and sales were down 2.3%.

In a similar matter, the Cass freight index is now running sharply lower than at any time since 2013, meaning the pace of business activity in the US economy is cooling rapidly.

At the end of the day, the “17x/$130” meme is not even a case of eye’s wide shut daredevilry.

That is, not in a world with $13 trillion in subzero sovereign debt, liquidity soaked markets riddled with FEDs (financial explosive devices), the Red Ponzi teetering more dangerously every week, the Italian and European banking system slinking toward the brink, crude oil heading back down for the count, Japan contemplating fiscal hari-kari, and countless more.

It’s also an insult to intelligence in a world where bulging inventories remind that the business cycle has not been abolished, where faltering US exports matter on the margin, where 90% of households are tapped out and where corporate America is buying back its stock, not investing in maintenance of the capital stock, let alone improvement and growth.

To say the least, there is no reason whatsoever to believe that the domestic and global economies will come bounding back anytime soon. A 30% gain in corporate profits during the next 18 months is not even a remote possibility.

Actually, the latter proposition is proof positive that the casino has been largely emptied of human intelligence. It apparently remains occupied by a motley assembly of brigands and snake oil vendors who are calling the greater fools to one final slaughter.

Given the evident facts of life, you can’t say the latter don’t deserve exactly the condign punishment the economic gods surely have in store.

Reprinted with permission from David Stockman’s Contra Corner.

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Millennials Who Are Lazy, Self-Indulgent, and Sponge Off Their Parents

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 14/07/2016 - 06:01

The millionaire lifestyle guru Martha Stewart has issued a stinging criticism of the millennial generation and claimed youngsters are too LAZY to get ahead.

Too many members of “Generation Snowflake” are still living with their parents rather than getting out into the world and making something of their lives, the celebrity businesswoman raged.

She is the latest person to rail against a mollycoddled generation who have turned universities into “safe spaces” to avoid testing their ideas in the crucible of debate and called on conference attendees to “make jazz hands” because clapping is too traumatic for their sensitive souls.

“I think every business is trying to target millennials,” she said in an interview with Luxury Listings.

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She’s a Walking Crime Machine

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 14/07/2016 - 06:01

You would think Hillary haters everywhere would be rejoicing the fact that the FBI found her guilty of committing multiple federal crimes. But a funny thing happened on the way to prison: FBI director James Comey inexplicably recommended that Hillary not be indicted and thus be allowed to continue her decades-long crime spree. That’s right — the Face of Evil once again proved that the Clinton Book of Laws for Elites overrides the laws of the United States of America.

Of course, everyone — even those on the radical left — realizes that Hillary is guilty of multiple felonies and that her being allowed to skate was made possible by a collaboration among BHO, Loretta Lynch, Bubba, and James Comey. But you already know all this, so it’s not any great revelation.

The question on the front burner now is where this farcical lack of justice will lead. To lay the foundation for such a discussion, let’s start with a handful of things we know for certain.

  1. Hillary Clinton is a walking crime machine, a career criminal beyond rehabilitation.
  2. She’s also a serial liar, having lied repeatedly about such events as Benghazi, the connection between donations to the Clinton Foundation and gargantuan speaking fees paid to the Hillbillies (not to mention favors granted to foreign governments while she was Secretary of State), and, of course, the use of a private email server to prevent authorities from having access to her emails.
  3. She refuses to release her speeches to Wall Street firms who paid her millions of dollars for presentations ranging from 20 to 45 minutes. The reason for this is almost as obvious as why an elected president would have his college records sealed.
  4. Contrary to James Comey’s absurd conclusion that his FBI team could not find any intent on Hillary’s part, the truth is that everything about Hillary’s illegal email activities was intentional. The fact that the FBI uncovered lie after lie is, of and by itself, conclusive proof of her intent to deceive. (I’ll be generous here and not even go into the fact that the law specifically states that intent is irrelevant in determining whether or not someone is guilty of mishandling classified information.)
  5. Hillary hates Barack Obama, and Obama hates both her and Bubba. You can bet that the world’s most narcissistic community organizer has never forgotten Bill Clinton’s purported comment to Ted Kennedy back in 2010, to wit: ”A few years ago, this guy (Obama) would have been getting us coffee.” I’m told that community organizers have very long memories.
  6. Because Obama has Hillary by the short hairs, she gritted her teeth and made the pragmatic decision to do his bidding in exchange for his doing everything he can to help her get elected — and continue to do his bidding after she’s in office. It may be the first time in history that the Devil made a deal with the Devil.

As to number six above, those who listen to the media hype that Obama is viewed favorably by slightly more than half of the public ignore the results of the last three elections (one presidential and two midterms). Obama received nearly 10 million fewer votes in 2012 than in 2008 — against cowardly Mitt Romney, no less, who was more interested in apologizing for his success (much of which resulted from his expertise in putting companies into bankruptcy and laying off employees) than exposing Obama’s lies and purposeful destruction of the U.S. economy.

Why are the most advertised Gold and Silver coins NOT the best way to invest?

In other words, based on actual votes, Obama’s popularity dropped by nearly 15 percent in just four years. In fact, he received fewer votes in the 2012 presidential election than John McCain received when he ran against him in 2008! That’s a stunning figure.

Obama’s loss in popularity was clearly evident in the fact that not only did Democrats lose the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014, but, more specifically, most of the candidates he actively campaigned for ended up losing. The fact is that only the radical left and brain-dead, low-information voters still support him.

Thus, as I have repeatedly pointed out, Hillary’s tying herself to Obama is a sure loser — provided Trump’s handlers can get him under control. That means getting him to stop making unnecessary, self-destructive statements and teaching him how to make a point in one minute instead of droning on for fifteen. If he were elected, Trump might actually turn out to be a relatively good president (emphasis on might), but he won’t get elected if he continues to put people to sleep with repetition-filled, 66-minute talks.

If Trump keeps screwing up and proves me wrong (i.e., my prediction that Hillary will never be president) by handing the presidency to Hillary, it will be the end of what’s left of the United States. Under a Hillary presidency (a euphemism for an Obama third term), tyranny would reign.

There would be no way to stop, or even slow down, the Marxist agenda of the Democrats — a radical-left Supreme Court, gun confiscation, an expanded version of Obamacare, totally open borders that would include millions of unvetted Middle East refugees, ongoing stoking of the racial divide fires, an end to the coal-mining industry, etc., etc., etc. The list is very, very long.

So, what if Trump does win, which he should do easily? Right now, I see one huge problem with a Trump administration that I don’t believe many of his supporters have even thought about. The establishment — on both the left and the right — so despises him that the House and Senate could make it virtually impossible for him to take the actions necessary to start undoing the damage done by Obama and his Marxist minions.

Can you imagine Trump having to fight not only malevolent, corrupt folks like Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Dick Durbin, but also lowlife Republicans like Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and Lindsey Graham?

Normally, I love gridlock in Washington, because it stops politicians from engaging in more redistribution of wealth, more economy-killing regulations, and more unconstitutional legislation of all kinds. But if the scoundrels riding the Demopublican gravy train are able to prevent Trump from waging a full-scale war against corruption, waste, and special treatment for the political class, his only alternative would be to take a cue from Obama and create his own laws through executive orders.

And the latter, I believe, would likely fail, because the same legislators who have been kissing Obama’s ring for nearly eight years are, by contrast, not the least bit afraid of Trump. On the contrary, I believe a large number of those Obama ring-kissers would do anything to block Trump’s every move and, if possible, totally destroy him. I would not be surprised to see impeachment proceedings come about early in his first term.

That said, we’ll have a better idea of how a Trump presidency is likely to play out by watching the Republican National Convention next week. If he can’t get a substantial percentage of the Republican Party’s anti-Trump crybabies to get on board and Hillary/Obama actually win, my recommendation to all who can afford it is to start studying up on places like the Cayman Islands, St. Thomas, St. Croix, and the British Virgin Islands.

Of course, there’s always a chance that Trump’s post-election popularity would be so high that the gravy-trainers would find themselves fighting for their own political lives and thus decide to make nice to Trump in order to save their own hides.

But enough conjecture. Next stop: Cleveland. If nothing else, it’s going to be great theater.

Reprinted with permission from RobertRinger.com.

The post She’s a Walking Crime Machine appeared first on LewRockwell.

Learn To Give Off Sparks

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 14/07/2016 - 06:01

Editor’s note: The following selection comes from The Technique of Building Personal Leadership (1944) by Donald A. Laird. It has been condensed from the original chapter.

A group of ambitious management executives attended a conference in the Societies’ Engineering Building in New York City. Almost all the men were college graduates. They were well dressed, well fed, polished. Each stated his opinions carefully and fluently. The meeting simply reeked of logic. But it was getting nowhere. It needed some magnetism to pull it together.

When it seemed that the conference might break up with nothing accomplished, a shrimp of a man sprang to his feet. He wore poorly fitting clothes, cut, in the fashion of a bygone day. The other men seemed amused at his appearance — at first. He began to speak, rapidly and in a high-pitched voice. He seemed excited. He had an accent like a Swedish comedian.

Before he had uttered fifty words the dignified men were listening attentively. Their amusement had disappeared. Soon the little old man had the group in the palm of his hand.

Why? Because he was the first to give off sparks!

Neglect to be brief, and one becomes a bore. When Lord Dufferin arrived late at a luncheon, he apologized to the hostess by explaining that he had been detained by the Earl of Kimberley. Then he whispered: “A wonderful man! It is amazing how much he knows. He knows everything — everything! — all the corners of the earth and all the men in it. He knows everything, except — except when to stop!”

In his early days as a toll collector on the canal, John H. Patterson had a small retail coal business as a sideline. He was continually short of money because people were slow to pay for their coal. His business was too small, too insecure, to serve as a basis for bank credit. But he borrowed, solely on his own credit. One morning he went to his banker and said:

“Mr. Phillips, I want to borrow $500 until Friday.”

“Write out a check for $500 to Mr. Patterson,” the banker instructed a clerk. Then he turned to the embryo businessman. “Let me give you a little advice. If you had not asked for it the way you did, if you had asked me how I felt and how business is, you would not have the money. Always be brief. And another thing, be sure to have the money back on Friday.”

Busy businessmen appreciate brevity.

Read the Whole Article

The post Learn To Give Off Sparks appeared first on LewRockwell.

Statins Will Kill You

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 14/07/2016 - 06:01

This article is a talk I gave at the 34th Annual Meeting of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness in Omaha last week. Its director, Jane Orient, M.D., asked me to address the subjects of statins, nutritional supplements, stem cells, and hyperbaric oxygen for combating heart disease. The text includes some of the slides I used for this talk.

Heart Disease

My father was born and raised on a farm in Nebraska and attended medical school at the University of Nebraska, Class of 1938. He died from a stroke, at age 97. Heart disease, however, remains the leading cause of death in this country, which ends a person’s life at a much younger age. Cancer is next, close behind heart disease, which causes 40 percent of all U.S. deaths.

A systematic review published last month in the British Medical Journal confirms the finding that people with a high cholesterol live longer. [1]

How Statin Drugs Kill You One Cell at a Time

The book How Statin Drugs Really Lower Cholesterol and Kill You One Cell at a Time by James Joseph and Hannah Joseph, M.D. reveal in chilling detail how statins harm people. A reviewer of this book writes:

 “Many practicing physicians have a healthy understanding of the current level of corruption and collusion among big pharmaceutical companies, governmental agencies such as the NIH and FDA, and major medical associations such as the American Heart Association, but the reader of this book will come away with the disturbing conclusion that it is even worse than imagined. Statins may be the perfect and most insidious human toxin in that adverse effects are often delayed by years and come about gradually. Further, statins frequently impair mental function to such a degree that by the time patients are in real trouble, they may lack the mental facilities to recognize the cause.”

Adverse Effects of Statins

Statins target skeletal muscle and brain cells. Myopathy, manifested by muscle aches and pains, weakness and instability is the most common adverse effect of statins. The severist manifestation of statin-induced muscle damage is rhabdomyolysis, which carries a 10 percent mortality rate. Fragments of ruptured muscle block renal tubules and cause kidney failure.

A number of statin trials report a statistically significant increased incidence of cancer, cataracts, hepatitis and strokes associated with taking statins.

Approximately 8 percent of people who take statins get diabetes, compared with 2 percent in the placebo group. Investigators will say that there is a 6 percent chance of getting diabetes from taking statins. They will report deleterious effects in terms of real, absolute risk, thus minimizing their magnitude. You will not see statin-trial investigators reporting that there is a 75 percent increased risk of getting diabetes from taking statins, its relative risk (where 8 – 2 = 6 and 6 divided by 8 equals 75 percent).

The FDA issued new safety information on statins in 2014, saying “a small increased risk of raised blood sugar levels and the development of type 2 diabetes have been reported with the use of statins.” The FDA now requires drug companies to add this information in their package insert with the drug. After issuing this conclusion, over the next 6 months, attorneys filed more than 1,000 lawsuits against Pfizer for (4,000) women claiming that Lipitor gave them diabetes.

Adverse cognitive reactions from taking statins include confusion, forgetfulness, disorientation, memory impairment, transient global amnesia, and dementia.

Can Statins Actually Cause Heart Disease?

Unfortunately, as the study cited above shows, statins may well promote both types of heart disease, atherosclerosis and heart failure. Arterial calcification fosters atherosclerosis but a special protein, matrix Gla protein removes calcium in arteries. Vitamin D turns on the gene that makes matrix Gla protein, and vitamin K2 is required to activate it. But statins block the conversion of vitamin K1 to K2. With statins also blocking CoQ10 and heme A synthesis, generation of ATP in heart muscle cells decreases, leading to heart failure. This study, published last year in Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology and citing 56 scientific references, shows the mechanisms by which statins stimulate atherosclerosis and heart failure.

Patients Beware

I worked with cardiologists during my 40-year career as one of their heart surgeons. Given so much damning evidence against statins, how can they keep on prescribing them? Three reasons come to mind. First, cardiologists are busy and don’t have the time or inclination to independently investigate things and read a lot of medical journals (like Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology). They accept what their medical societies and statin-selling drug reps tell them about statins. Second, not wanting to be accused of practicing what health authorities deem “low-quality” medicine, cardiologists dutifully prescribe statins following medical society/government certified cholesterol-lowering guidelines. Third, like many professionals, mainstream cardiologists suffer from a healthy dose of confirmation bias, where they filter out and ignore evidence that doesn’t coincide with their preconceived notions and beliefs, especially with regard to statins.

The Current State of Medical Science

As we see with statins, medical science today is in a sorry state. Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine writes:

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of the New England Journal of Medicine.”

Dr. Richard Horton, current editor-in-chief of the Lancet agrees:

 “The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.”

PCSK9 Inhibitors

To make matters even worse, the FDA has approved a cholesterol-lowering drug that you inject twice a month costing $14,000 a year ($583 a shot). Working by a different mechanism a PCSK9 inhibitor lowers LDL cholesterol even more than the most potent statin. Amgen makes one called Repatha. Trials gaining FDA approval for the safety and efficacy of this injectable drug lasted only 12- to 52-weeks, much too short a time to uncover late-developing cerebral ill-effects like confusion, forgetfulness, disorientation, memory impairment, and dementia—things that PCSK9 inhibitors, since they severely lower cholesterol, might well cause.

Russell Ross and Inflammation

If not cholesterol, what causes atherosclerosis? The late Russell Ross, professor of pathology at the University of Washington, discovered the cause: Atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease. It is initiated by endothelial  dysfunction, with or without actual injury. Macrophages and T lymphocytes mediate it, and smooth muscle cells play an integral role.

Russell demonstrated that atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory and fibroproliferative process that is

fundamentally no different from that seen in cirrhosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic pancreatitis. I worked Dr. Ross and attended cardiology conferences him. The New England Journal of Medicine published his landmark paper on atherosclerosis being an inflammatory disease just a few months before he died, from cancer.

Inflammation and NF-kB

Inflammation plays an important role in other chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Nuclear factor kappa B, NF-kB, is a key protein transcription factor that promotes inflammation. Statins’ small 1 percent benefit come from their anti-inflammatory effects, suppressing NF-kB. Two non-prescription nutraceuticals, curcumin, and resveratrol, have the same NF-kB suppressing anti-inflammatory action, without having any side effects.

Things that Foster Inflammatory CAD

Things that foster inflammatory atherosclerotic heart disease starts with a bad diet: consuming too many omega-6 vegetable oils, eating trans fats, too many carbohydrates, and not enough saturated fats. See my LewRockwell.com article “Enjoy Saturated Fats, They’re Good for You!” for more on this subject. Other things that foster inflammatory coronary artery disease include deficiencies in various vitamins and minerals, having diabetes, abdominal obesity, hypertension, smoking, stress, and a family history of heart disease. Another cause, it turns out, is a bacterial infection. Like in the stomach, it is becoming increasingly evident that the bacteria Helicobacter pylori can also cause coronary artery disease.

Nutritional Supplements

From my research on this subject, these are 14 supplements that may help prevent and, if already present combat heart disease—along with taking a multivitamin pill:

I provide short descriptions of each of these nutritional supplements—their respective mechanisms of actions, doses, where I get them, and their costs—in my April 15, 2015, LewRockwell.com article, “Supplements for Coronary Artery Disease.” The cost of taking all of them each day is not much more than what a 20 mg tablet of Crestor costs.

This slide offers a summary view of their various mechanisms of action:

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is evidence that a nutritional supplement program like the one proposed here can halt the progression of coronary atherosclerosis and reduce coronary calcification. In one study, 55 patients with positive coronary calcium scans, documented by ultrafast computed tomography, were put on a nutritional supplement program that included 6 of the ones on my list plus a multivitamin tablet.  One year later investigators repeated the coronary calcium scan. The calcium score in these 55 patients had decreased by an average of 11 percent, decreasing the most in patients with the early coronary disease. In one patient, calcium in the right coronary artery and left anterior descending coronary artery was greatly reduced. [2] (Slide available on request.)

In another randomized trial of people with moderate to severe heart failure, a significantly higher percentage of patients taking 300 mg a day of coenzyme Q10 remained free of major adverse cardiovascular events compared with patients taking a placebo. A secondary outcome that the study tracked was death from any cause, and people taking coenzyme Q10 had an overall statistically higher survival rate than those taking a placebo. [3] (I also can send you a slide showing these graphs.) Unlike heart drugs that physicians prescribe, “over-the-counter’ coenzyme Q10 has no side effects.

A long-term, large-scale randomized trial of people taking these nutritional supplements compared with a group taking a statin and aspirin, along with a control group on a placebo would greatly help to verify their value. The federal government currently funds 51 percent of the 20,000 interventional trials that researchers are conducting. Universities, foundations, and other organizations sponsors 25 percent; and pharmaceutical companies, 24 percent. [4] One can be sure that drug companies, the government, and politically correct universities will never fund a nonpatentable study like this.

Seed Nutrition

A physician in Seattle, Brad Weeks, M.D., a fellow Dartmouth alumnus, told me about seed supplements. These cold-pressed, liquefied seeds taste like pomegranate juice. The 2 oz., a 35-calorie packet of Rain Soul contains black cumin, chardonnay grape, and black raspberry seeds. The 1 oz., 15-calorie Rain Core has the 10 seeds shown in the slide below. They contain phospholipids; vitamins, and minerals; are rich in the essential Omega-6 linoleic and Omega-3 linolenic acids; are high in natural anti-oxidants, and they contain various anti-inflammatory agents. (An extract from black cumin seeds, thymoquinone, has been shown to kill colorectal, prostate, and breast cancer cells.)

Rain Soul

Studies show there are 20-fold more nutrients concentrated in a seed compared to the rest of the plant. One packet of Rain Soul contains the equivalent of 8-10 servings of both fruit and vegetables and 2-3 servings of healthy oils. Given their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant components, drinking liquefied seeds might well turn out to be a good way to help prevent and combat heart disease.

People with all different kinds of chronic pain also report surprising relief drinking these seeds, along with applying them topically to a painful area on the body. My wife Linda and I have been taking two packets each of the Soul and Core seeds every day now for six months.  The pain she has suffered in her hands and knee from osteoarthritis is much reduced. For me, I turn age 76 next month but feel like I’m 56.

Topically applying the Soul oil cleared up a persisting skin disorder my wife had on her forearm.

After several weeks rubbing these liquefied seeds on it, this inflammatory lesion completely resolved and has not come back. Linda and I have become so impressed with these seed oils that we have signed on with Rain International, the company that makes them, as seed nutrition affiliates. I don’t know if they can prevent heart disease, but it surely looks like they are good for one’s health, judging from our own experience and many testimonials on them. For anyone who might be interested in trying them, visit our website wellnesswithseeds.com or talk to Linda or me at the phone number below:

Stem cells

These cells are distinguished by the fact that they can replicate themselves; and they are undifferentiated, thus capable of giving rise to specialized cells. They can morph into many different cell types, including new heart muscle cells, cardiomyocytes.

Heart Response to Injury

The response to the death of muscle in a heart can take two paths: regeneration and restoration of function or fibrosis and contractile dysfunction. In humans following a heart attack, a myocardial infarction that kills heart muscle, the dead muscle is replaced with scar tissue, with resulting contractile dysfunction. But, remarkably, the hearts in neonatal mice less than a week old, newts, and adult zebrafish respond to heart injury and cell death by regenerating new muscle and accompanying blood vessels. A zebrafish can have 20% of its heart wrecked and still completely restore it back to normal.

So why can’t our hearts be made to function like the one zebrafish have and regenerate itself?

Cardiomyocyte Renewal

Until fairly recently, it has been that heart muscle cells are postmitotic, meaning they don’t divide and have to function all through the entire lifespan of an individual without being replaced by any new ones. Atmospheric nuclear weapon tests first provided a means to refute this idea.

Before 1955 when atmospheric nuclear bomb tests began, the isotope carbon-14, with a half-life of 5,730 years, existed in the atmosphere in a low and stable concentration. It combines with oxygen to form carbon dioxide, which plants consume and then humans eat (along with eating animals that also eat plants). It’s like how Woody Allen views to nature, as an enormous restaurant where everybody eats each other. This isotope of carbon gets incorporated into our cells. The concentration of carbon-14 in the atmosphere rose substantially and peaked in 1963 when the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was adopted, and it then dropped back toward its baseline level. In people born before 1955, measurement of carbon-14 concentrations in their cardiomyocyte DNA and proteins specific to those cells, troponins, shows that some of their heart muscle cells were formed after they were born and are relatively new. Cardiomyocyte turnover does occur in humans, replacing the ones people were born with when atmospheric carbon-14 concentrations were low with new muscle cells that have a high level of carbon-14.

So, muscle cells in the human heart, like in zebrafish, do in fact renew and replace themselves, to some degree, with new muscle cells. Investigators who first discovered this using carbon-14 as a marker calculate that humans renew their cardiomyocytes at a rate of ~1 percent per year at age 25, dropping as one gets older. By age 50, they calculate, approximately 45 percent of a person’s heart muscle cells have been replaced with new ones. [5]

Another group more recently employing different techniques have concluded that the annual turnover of human cardiomyocytes is much higher, especially in women, and that myocyte regeneration increases with age. These investigators calculate that all the heart muscle cells present at birth completely turnover by the time one becomes a young adult, have completely turned over once again in a middle-aged person, and have completely turned over yet a third time in the senescent heart. [6]

Types of Stem Cells

There are four basic types of stem cells: Technicians extract embryonic stem cells from an in vitro fertilized, 0.1 to .2 mm human embryo that has reached the 5-day-old, 200 to 300-cell blastocyst stage. These cells have the capacity to differentiate into all the different types of cells that are in the 3 germ layers: endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm. Although the best kind of stem cell, ethical concerns prevent using human embryonic stem cells as a treatment modality in patients.

The heart has its own resident adult cardiac stem cells that congregate in niches in the apex of the left ventricle and right and left atria. They can turn themselves into new cardiomyocytes, vascular smooth muscle, and endothelial cells. Mesenchymal stem cells are multipotent stromal cells that can differentiate into a variety of different cells, and in the laboratory, specialists can expand and reprogram them to become heart muscle cells. They make up one in every thousand cells in the bone marrow. And then there are induced pluripotent stem cells. Skin fibroblasts obtained from a skin biopsy are one kind. Laboratory technicians genetically reprogram and engineer them to behave like an embryonic stem cell with all its potential.

Stem Cell Clinical Trials

The journal Nature, in its weekly May 1, 2014, issue, reported on doubts arising over heart stem-cell therapy. The British Medical Journal had just published a systematic review of 49 supposedly randomized trials studying the effect of bone marrow stem cells on improving heart function in people with heart failure. These trials measured the heart’s ejection fraction, the percent of blood the left ventricle pumps out with each beat, which is normally 66%. Apropos of what Drs. Angell and Horton say about the state of medical science, investigators found that 44 of these 49 trials were rife with discrepancies. They scrutinized the design of each study, its methods, baseline characteristics, tables, figures, and reported results, looking for instances where two or more facts or statements could not both be true since they were logically or mathematically incompatible. Five trials with more than 30 discrepancies reported the best results, showing an average improvement in ejection fraction of 7.7 percent. Just 5 of the 49 trails had no discrepancies. These carefully done, honest trials showed a slight decrease in ejection fraction in the people treated with stem cells. [7]

Trials using mesenchymal or adult cardiac stem cells so far have shown disappointing, negligible effects. SCIPIO (the acronym for “cardiac stem cell infusion in patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy”) was the first randomized trial using adult cardiac stem cells. Investigators enrolled 33 people who had an average ejection fraction of 27%, in the study. Each person first underwent coronary artery bypass surgery, the operation I taught and performed. The surgeon removes part of the right atrial appendage. Technicians extract stem cells residing in the biopsy, grow them in test tubes for 4 months and expand their number to a million cells. In 20 patients these person-specific, autologous cultured cells are injected back into the heart through a catheter placed in the coronary artery supplying damaged muscle, with 13 patients left alone serving as a control. A preliminary report looked promising, but officials at one of the universities participating in the study (Harvard) retracted it when faculty readers found what they termed “scientific irregularities” in the study, which to date remain undefined.

In all trials so far the vast majority of the transmitted stem cells die within a week.

Proposed Mechanisms of Cell Therapy for Heart Regeneration

Three proposed ways for carrying out stem cell therapy for heart failure are: use cardiac stem cells obtained from the septal wall of the person’s heart, mesenchymal stem cells harvested from one’s bone marrow, or to use induced pluripotent stem cells made from another person’s skin-biopsy-obtained fibroblasts. Each kind is

expanded in the laboratory, in vitro, and with pluripotent cells engineered to become new heart muscle cells. They are delivered by a catheter a cardiologist inserts through the skin into an artery in the wrist or groin and then threads it up to the heart, injecting the cells either in the coronary artery supplying damaged muscle, or, placing the catheter inside the left ventricle, directly into the affected muscle, into its inner, endocardial side.

Stem Cell Actions Necessary for Heart Regeneration

For stem cells to successfully replace failing, injured, or dead heart muscle, they have to do a lot of things, in addition to becoming new muscle. They also have to differentiate into vascular smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells, promote neovascularization, remodel the extracellular matrix, inhibit apoptosis (cell death), provide paracrine signaling (localized hormone-like chemical signals) to adjacent cells, and establish appropriate electrical connections to synchronously contract with other heart muscle cells. Plus, they have to be able to repair adverse cardiac remodeling and reduce hypertrophy.

Work on stem cells has a way to go before they will be ready for clinical use, especially ones available “off the shelf” that do not require a biopsy and time to process them before they can be used. Already processed, induced pluripotent stem cells from other people, allogenic ones, which work well and have no immunologic or other side effects would fit the bill.

Heart repair with stem cells holds enormous promise. But it will probably be another ten years before they are ready-to-go on the shelf. Nevertheless, they should be ready in time to treat all the people who develop heart failure from taking statins.

Hyperbaric Oxygen

What about hyperbaric oxygen treatments? A typical HBO2 treatment is to breathe 100 percent oxygen at 1½ to 3 times increased atmospheric pressure for up to 1 to 2 hours

Indications

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is either gas-based or wound-related, for the conditions listed below, but not, as things presently stand, for cardiovascular problems. Doctors that run this multiperson HBO2 unit in Vancouver BC are testing to see if it works for strokes. They are enrolling 140 people who have had a stroke in the past 6 to 36 months and will have them undergo 40 treatments to see if they improve cognitive skills and depression.

Portable HBOT

Now, for $20,000, you can have your own portable hyperbaric oxygen chamber.

NFL Players with Portable Hyperbaric Oxygen Chambers

More than 150 active and retired NFL players, which include Bret Favre, Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, and several Seattle Seahawks players each have their own portable hyperbaric oxygen chamber. New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings says he spends 7 to 20 hours a week in his.

HBOT for Diastolic Heart failure

Studies to date using hyperbaric oxygen therapy for treating unstable angina and heart attacks—acute coronary syndrome—show no significant benefit. There is some evidence, however, that hyperbaric oxygen therapy improves heart function in diabetic patients. There are two kinds of heart failure: systolic, where weakened heart muscle doesn’t squeeze well. Stem cells hold promise for treating this kind of heart failure.

Some 30 percent of people with heart failure have a diastolic kind of failure, where stiff heart muscle can’t relax properly so less blood gets into the ventricle to be pumped out. In the study shown here, 30 diabetics with diastolic heart failure underwent 10 hyperbaric oxygen treatments over a 2-week period. After the treatments tests showed that their heart muscle could relax better, enabling the ventricle to fill up with more blood, thereby improving the ejection fraction and cardiac output.

HBOT’s Effect on Water

It is well understood how hyperbaric oxygen treatment works for gas-based conditions but not for wound-related treatments.

A study done by my colleague and friend Dr. Gerald Pollack, professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington and published in the journal Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine shows what hyperbaric oxygen does to water.

Studies in his lab document that hyperbaric pressure and oxygen, each alone, builds up the fourth phase of water discovered by Dr. Pollack and termed interfacial exclusion zone (EZ) water. EZ water is a semi-liquid, gel-like, structured form of water, a fourth phase that coats proteins and cells, enabling them to fold and function properly. A molecule of EZ water is H3O2, having two oxygens, unlike bulk water (H2O) with one. Exclusion zone water stores energy, the only phase of water which does this. With its negative charge, EZ water supplies energy to the body that drives chemical reactions, capillary blood flow, and cellular work.

High concentrations of oxygen in the blood expands this phase of water, as does hyperbaric pressure alone. Like with ice, EZ water, with its stacked, honeycomb, hexagonal structure remains in place and is slow to dissipate. Hyperbaric oxygen’s effect on expanding this fourth phase of water may best explain how this short-lived treatment can exert a persistent and lasting beneficial effect on wound healing.

There are 12 Nobel Laureates at the University of Washington, and I predict that the next faculty member at this university to be awarded a Nobel Prize will be Dr. Pollack for his discovery of this fourth phase of water and his showing that this phase stores energy and obtains it from sunlight.

Oxygen Therapy Alone

Oxygen all by itself expands EZ water, with atmospheric pressure left alone, unchanged. A company named LiveO2 makes a generator that concentrates oxygen by filtering out and removing nitrogen from the air. The processed high-oxygen air is transferred and stored in a reservoir, a large bag, from which one breathes while exercising.

Like with stem cells, over the next 10 years, a lot more will be learned about breathing increased concentrations of oxygen, with or without hyperbaric pressure, to improve health and treat various conditions.

Conclusion

In closing, before heading back home to Leavenworth, Washington I urge you to do this: Refuse to take statins. Consider taking nutritional supplements to help protect against acquiring heart disease, or if already present, to combat it. Stem cells, hyperbaric oxygen, and oxygen treatment alone lie in the wings awaiting further research.

And for those of you who like to keep abreast of important new scientific discoveries, read Dr. Pollack’s (very readable) book The Fourth Phase of Water.

(Doctors for Disaster Preparedness, DDP, will be releasing a video of this talk on YouTube with all of its 57 slides—23 of them are shown here. Also, a video of my talk “Enjoy Saturated Fats, They’re Good for You,” given at an earlier DDP meeting, which includes a clip from Woody Allen’s movie Sleeper, is available on YouTube HERE.)

References

1 – Ravnskov U, Diamond DM, Hana R, et al. Lack of an association or an inverse association between low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and mortality in the elderly: a systematic review. British Medical Journal Open 2016;6:e010401 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010401.

2 – Matthias R, Niedzwiecki A. Nutritional Supplement Program Halts Progression of Early Coronary Atherosclerosis Documented by Ultrafast Computed Tomography Journal of Applied Nutrition 1996;48:67-78.

3 – Mortensen SA, Rosenfeldt F, etal. The Effect of Coenzyme Q10 on Morbidity and Mortality in Chronic Heart Failure: Results From Q-SYMBIO:  A Randomized Double-Blind Trial. JACC: Heart Failure 2014;2(6):641-649.

4 – Miller DW. The Government Grant System: Inhibitor of Truth and Innovation? Journal of Information Ethics 2007; Spring Issue: 59-69. Available here in pdf.

5 – Bergmann O, Bhardwaj RD, Bernard S, et al. Evidence for Cardiomyocyte Renewal in Humans. Science 2009;324:98-102.

6 – Kajstura J, Narasimman G, Ogorek B, et al. Myocyte Turnover in the Aging Human Heart. Circulation Research 2010;107:1374-1386.

7 – Nowbar AN, Mielewczik M, Karavassilis M, et al. Discrepancies in autologous bone marrow stem cell trials and enhancement of ejection fraction: weighted regression and meta-analysis. British Medical Journal 2014;348:g2688.

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The Twilight of NATO

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 14/07/2016 - 06:01

During their meeting in Istanbul on the 13 May 2015, the leaders of NATO finish a well-alcoholised meal by mocking the idiots who believe in their rhetoric of peace, singing «We are the world». In this unpleasant video, we can recognize General Philip Breedlove, Jens Stoltenberg, Federica Mogherini and a number of Ministers of Defence.

The summit of the chiefs of staff and government of NATO has just finished its meeting in Warsaw (7 and 8 July 2016). It should have been the triumph of the United States over the rest of the world, but was, in fact, the beginning of its downfall.

Let’s remind ourselves of what NATO means.

What the Atlantic Alliance used to be

When the European elites were panicking at the idea of the possible accession to power by the Communist Parties after the Second World War, in 1949, they sought refuge under the «umbrella» of the United States. Above all, this was a means for them to present a threat to the Soviets in order to dissuade them from supporting the Western Communists.

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The Western states progressively extended their alliance, in particular by adding, in 1955, Western Germany, which had just been authorized to rebuild its army. Worried about the capacities of the Alliance, the USSR responded by creating the Warsaw Pact six years after the creation of NATO.

However, with the Cold War, the two alliances evolved in an imperial fashion – on one hand, NATO, dominated by the United States and, to a lesser extent, by the United Kingdom, and on the other, the Warsaw Pact, dominated by the Soviet Union. As a result, it became impossible to abandon these structures – NATO did not hesitate to use its Gladio network to organize various coups d’état and preventive political assassinations, while the Warsaw Pact openly invaded Hungary and Czechoslovakia, which had shown signs of wanting their independence.

Even before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Soviet Union put an end to this system. Mikhaïl Gorbachev allowed each member of the Warsaw Pact to declare their independence («My Way»), which he ironically named his «Sinatra doctrine». When the USSR collapsed, its allies dispersed, and it took several years of stabilization before the present Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) could be constituted. Having learned from past errors, the CSTO was based on the strict equality of its member states.

It is worth noting, by the way, that both NATO and the Warsaw Pact are organizations which are contrary to the United Nations Charter since their member states lose their independence by agreeing to place their troops under the US or Soviet command.

Unlike Russia, the United States have remained an empire and continue to use NATO to batter their allies into obedience. The initial objective of pressuring the Soviets so that they would refrain from helping the Western Communists to gain power no longer has any meaning. So all that is left now is US guardianship.

In 1998, NATO waged its first war, against a tiny state (presently Serbia) which posed no threat whatsoever. The United States deliberately created the condition for the conflict, forming the Kosovar terrorist mafia which operated from the Turkish base of Incirlik, organizing a terror campaign in Serbia, then accusing the Serbian government of repressing it with disproportionate force. Once the NATO anvil had crushed the Serbian fly, it was noted in the chancelleries that the Alliance was in fact extremely unwieldy and mostly inefficient. This is when profound reforms were initiated.

The Alliance since the 11 September 2001

With the disappearance of the USSR, there remained no state in the world capable of military confrontation with the United States, and thus even less with NATO. At this point, it should have disappeared, but nothing of the sort happened.

First of all, a new enemy sprang into being – terrorism, which struck at various capitals of the Alliance, forcing the member states to support one another.

Of course, there is no common measure between the erstwhile Warsaw Pact and a band of bearded fanatics holed up in a cave in Afghanistan. Nonetheless, all the member states of NATO pretend to believe – since they have no choice – that the only way to protect their populations is by signing the NATO communiqués, and holding firm to their obligatory unilateral discourse.

Despite an abundant historical literature, the Western powers have still not understood that NATO was originally created by their governing classes for use against them and that today, it is being used by the United States against their elites. The case is a little different for the Baltic states and Poland, which entered into the Alliance only recently, and are still at the stage of elitist fear of the Communists.

The almost unlimited geographical zone of the Alliance

If NATO were a defensive alliance, it would limit itself to the defense of its member states, but instead of that, it has expanded its zone of geographical intervention. When we read the final communiqué from the Warsaw meeting, we can not avoid noting that NATO interferes in everything; from Korea – where the United States have still not signed a peace treaty with the Democratic Republic; to Africa – where the Pentagon still hopes to base AfriCom. The only part of the world which continues to escape NATO influence is Latin America, a zone which has long been reserved by Washington («the Monroe doctrine»). Everywhere else, the vassals of the Pentagon are invited to send their troops to defend the interests of their overlord.

The Alliance today is involved in all current wars. It was the Alliance that coordinated the fall of Libya, in 2011, after the commander of AfriCom, General Carter Ham, had protested against the use of Al-Qaïda to overthrow Muammar el-Kadhafi. It was the Alliance, in 2012, that coordinated the war against Syria from the installation of the Allied Land Command at Izmir in Turkey.

Little by little, non-European states have been integrated into NATO, with different levels of participation. The latest members are Bahreïn, Israël, Jordan, Qatar and Kuwait, who each have an office at the Alliance headquarters since the 4 May.

The new headquarters of the Alliance, in Brussels, has just been built for the modest sum of one billion dollars.

What the Alliance is today

Each member state is required to arm itself in preparation for the next round of wars, and to dedicate 2% of its GDP to this preparation, even if, in reality, this is far from being an accurate figure. Since the weapons have to be compatible with NATO standards, members are invited to buy them from Washington.

Of course, there are still some national arms producers, but not for much longer. Over the last twenty years, NATO has systematically pressured for the destruction of the military and aeronautical industries of its member states, except for those of the United States. The Pentagon had announced the creation of a multirole combat aircraft at unbeatable prices, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. All states ordered them and closed down their own industries. Twenty years later, the Pentagon has still not managed to produce a single one of these ingenious plans and is forced instead to present jerry-rigged F-22’s at the various arms fairs. Their clients are constantly solicited to help finance research, while Congress is studying the possibility for a reboot of the production of old planes, because, in all probability, the F-35 will never see the light of day.

So NATO functions like a mafia racket – those who don’t pay will have to get used to terrorist attacks.

Now that the United States have backed their allies into a position of dependency on their military industry, they have ceased to update it. Meanwhile, however, Russia has rebuilt its own arms industry, and China is close behind. The Russian army has already out-produced the Pentagon in terms of conventional equipment. The system it deployed in Western Syria, the Black Sea and in Kaliningrad enabled it to scramble the communications networks of NATO, which had to abandon the surveillance of these regions. In terms of aeronautics, Russia has already produced multirole combat aircraft which, amongst their other functions, are capable of turning Alliance pilots green with envy. As for China, it will probably overtake NATO in terms of conventional weaponry within the next two years.

So the Allies are now witnessing the decline of the Alliance, and consequently their own decay, without reaction – with the exception of the United Kingdom.

The case of Daesh

After the hysteria of the 2000’s about al-Qaïda, a new enemy now threatens us — the Islamic Emirate in Iraq and the Levant — or «Daesh». All member states have been invited to join the «Global Coalition» (sic) and overthrow it. The Warsaw summit congratulated itself for its victories in Iraq and even in Syria, despite the «military intervention of Russia, and its important military presence and support for the régime» which represent a «source of risk and extra challenges for the security of the Allies» (sic) [1].

Since everyone knows that the Islamic Emirate was created in 2006 by the United States, we are now told that the organization has today turned against them, just as we were told the same story about al-Qaïda. And yet, on the 8 July, while the Syrian Arab Army was fighting several terrorist groups, including Daesh, in the East of Homs, the US Air Force flew in to cover the terrorists for four hours. This time was used by Daesh to methodically destroy the pipeline linking Syria, Iraq, and Iran. Or again, during the terrorist attacks of the 4 July in Saudi Arabia (especially the attack across the street from the US Consulate in Jeddah, Daesh used high-tech military explosives which only the Pentagon possesses. So it is not difficult to understand that while the Pentagon is fighting the Islamic Emirate in certain zones, it is simultaneously supplying them with weapons and logistical support in other zones.

The Ukranian example

The other bogeyman is Russia. It’s «aggressive actions (…) including its provocative military activities on the periphery of NATO territory, and its avowed intention to attain its political objectives by threat or by the use of force, constitute a source of regional instability, and represent a fundamental challenge for the Alliance» (sic).

The Alliance blames Russia for having annexed Crimea, which is true, but denies the context of the annexation – the coup d’état organized by the CIA in Kiev, and the installation of a government of which several members are Nazis. In short, the members of NATO are allowed to do what they want, while Russia is charged with violating the agreements it concluded with the Alliance.

The Warsaw summit

The summit did not enable Washington to plug the leaks. The United Kingdom, which has just put an end to its «special relation» by leaving the European Union, has refused to increase its participation in the Alliance to compensate for its canceled partnership in the EU. London is presently hiding behind its coming change of government in order to avoid questions.

At best, they have been able to make two decisions – to install permanent bases along the Russian frontier and to develop the anti-missile shield. Since the first decision is contrary to NATO’s engagements, it will probably proceed by installing troops on an alternate basis so that there will never be a permanent contingent, but soldiers will always be present. The second decision consists of using the Allied territory to deploy US soldiers and a weapons system. In order to avoid annoying the populations they will be occupying, the United States have accepted to place the anti-missile shield not under their own command, but under that of NATO. However, this is a change which only exists on paper, because the Supreme Commander of the Alliance, currently General Curtis Scaparrotti, must be, by obligation a US officer named by the President of the United States alone.

Notes

[1] “NATO-Warsaw Summit Communiqué”, Voltaire Network, 9 July 2016

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5 Hotly Contested Conventions in History

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 14/07/2016 - 06:01

It’s no secret that the 2016 presidential race has been one of the most bizarre, confounding elections of our time—even Stephen Hawking can’t make sense of it.

Though Hillary Clinton has all but clinched the Democratic nomination, her come-from-behind challenger, Bernie Sanders, has promised to take his bid for the nomination to the floor of the Democratic National Convention floor in Philadelphia July 25 through July 28. Not only could that wreak havoc on Democrats’ hopes to unify the party as the country heads into the general election, it could get really ugly: Given the recent harassment and at times violent vitriol from Sanders supporters at rallies across the country, the gathering this summer in the City of Brotherly Love has the makings of a full-blown throwdown. And Democrats aren’t alone.

While most of the establishment GOP has coalesced around Donald Trump, supporters and protesters at his rallies on the campaign trail have come to blows more than once, stoking fears over whether attendees could grimly collide with planned demonstrations at the Republican National Convention, in Cleveland from July 18 to July 21.

JUNE 1912: TEDDY ROOSEVELT STORMS THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION

In 1909, after two terms in office, Teddy Roosevelt retired the Oval Office to his protege and fellow Republican William Howard Taft, whom he called the most lovable man he knew. During Taft’s term, though, the bromance soured as Taft opposed his predecessor’s view of the judiciary and a scandal between the chief forester and the Secretary of the Interior led Roosevelt to doubt Taft’s commitment to environmental conservation. Evidently unsatisfied having given up his power, Roosevelt challenged Taft for the GOP nomination in 1912. Though Roosevelt won nearly all of the Republican primaries, Taft’s men controlled the Republican National Committee and subsequently awarded enough delegates to his side to give the incumbent the nomination.

Unrelenting, Roosevelt and his supporters stormed the Chicago convention, prepared to take the nomination—which he said the people had decided—by any means necessary: He told his nephew that his supporters would use “roughhouse tactics” and “terrorize” the party’s leaders if they didn’t take his side. But Missouri Governor Herbert Hadley, the Roosevelt supporter tasked with launching the aggressive plan, chickened out at the last minute and failed to give the signal to start. Realizing he couldn’t take the nomination by force or otherwise, Roosevelt walked out and mounted a third-party bid as the Progressive Party’s candidate—splitting the Republican vote in November and handing Democrat Woodrow Wilson the presidency.

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Sexual Assault is a Crime

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 14/07/2016 - 06:01

Sexual assault is a crime… except when it’s done by an armed government worker (that is, a law enforcer).

How else to describe the horror visited on a South Dakota man named Dirk Sparks?

He was suspected of having ingested a “drug” arbitrarily decreed to be illegal by the same government that just as arbitrarily decrees other “drugs” to be legal – and when he declined to assist in his own incrimination by providing evidence that could and would be used against him in a court of law, was forcibly restrained, had his underwear pulled down, his penis exposed and handled – and catheterized – by armed government workers, who then extracted the urine sample they needed as evidence of his guilt.

He was later charged with two counts of “felony drug ingestion,” according to news reports.

What happened to Sparks is not an isolated atrocity performed by sadistic hillbilly cops. Under proliferating “no refusal” laws, if you decline to assist the government in establishing your guilt under DUI/DWI laws, the state has empowered itself to literally force the evidence (if any) out of your very body.

The federal government – through the National Highway Traffic Safety (run, when you hear that word) Administration – has been using “grants” (i.e., your tax dollars) to “encourage” (that’s their word, not mine) these “no refusal” checkpoints at which blood and other such boldly samples may be forcibly extracted from the victim.

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A gauze of “legality” is provided by rubber-stamp search warrants issued on the spot (or via phone) by a compliant official. These are like the always approved federal warrants delivered (in secret) by the FISA courts against alleged “terrorist” suspects. Basically, if the government wants to read your e-mails and obtain other such info, it’s going to get the go-ahead from the FISA kangaroo courts. Just the same, if a Hero at a DUI checkpoint is unhappy about your refusal to do roadside yoga or blow into a Breathalyzer machine, he can call Judge Rubber Stamp and then proceed to drop your drawers or jab a needle in your arm.

As in the movie, Deliverance – if they want your (blood/urine) they’ll take your (blood/urine).

It’s going to get worse, too.

Already has.

David Eckert was stopped for a minor traffic violation – not coming to a complete stop – and armed government workers subjected him to a forced anal cavity search, multiple enemas, and colonoscopies – for which he was later billed.

No arbitrarily illegal “drugs” were found.

A Florida woman, Leila Tarantino, was similarly stopped by another armed government worker over a minor victimless affront to a statute – a “rolling” stop – and subjected to a sexual assault by the armed government worker, who shoved her hand inside Tarantino’s underwear, inserts her fingers into Tarantino’s vagina and forcibly removed the tampon (but no “drugs”) that was inside her.

Again, these are not “isolated” exceptions; they are policy.

Dozens of states have passed laws or have laws already on the books that permit this sort of thing, legally. The courts have affirmed the legality of such things. It is claimed we have given our “implied consent” to such things by dint of having acquired the driver’s license we are effectively forced to have in order to travel.

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Gestapo America

Lew Rockwell Institute - Gio, 14/07/2016 - 06:01

FBI Director James Comey got Hillary off the hook but wants to put you on it. He is pushing hard for warrantless access to all of your Internet activity.

Comey, who would have fit in perfectly with Hitler’s Gestapo, tells Congress that the United States is not safe unless the FBI knows when every American goes online, to whom they are sending emails and from whom they are receiving emails, and knows every website visited by every American.

In other words, Comey wants to render null and void the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution and completely destroy your privacy rights.

The reason Washington wants to know everything about everyone is so that Washington can embarrass, blackmail, and frame on felony charges patriots who stand up in defense of the US Constitution and the rule of law, and dissidents who criticize Washington’s illegal wars, reckless foreign policies, and oppression of American citizens.

The FBI’s senators will continue with amendments to legislation, related or not until they deliver to the FBI the power it wants.

Unfortunately, most Americans today, unlike their forebears, are too ignorant and uneducated to know the value of the privacy rights that our Founding Fathers put in the US Constitution. The imbeciles say nonsense such as: “I haven’t done anything wrong. I have nothing to fear.” God help the imbeciles.

If the American people were sufficiently sophisticated, they perhaps would wonder why such a large chunk of the US Senate had rather represent the FBI than the American people, their constituents who elected them to represent the people in the state, not a police power in Washington.

Why are so many US senators more responsive to the FBI’s desire for Gestapo police power than they are to the civil liberties embodied in the US Constitution?

As the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and the Defending Dissent Foundation show, the Orlando shootings, the Dallas shootings and whatever shootings, real or staged, next occur have nothing to do with the FBI’s demand to completely destroy all privacy rights of the American people.

What’s that I hear? You say you knew nothing about this? Little wonder. Your media consist of people well paid to deceive you and to deliver you into a Police State. To strip you of all constitutional protection and deliver you unprotected to a police state is the function of the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox “News,” CNN, the rest of the presstitute print and TV media and many Internet sites.

Adolf Hitler is alive and well in the United States, and he is fast rising to power.

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L’influsso nefasto dei cicli economici sul diritto fallimentare (parte terza e ultima)

Von Mises Italia - Mer, 13/07/2016 - 15:23

Fin qui, si è ampiamente illustrato il rigore sotteso alle procedure esecutive concorsuali e al diritto fallimentare in genere. Ora, resta da illustrare come, progressivamente, questo rigore nei confronti del debitore si attenui o, addirittura, venga rinnegato e perché innovazioni simili si debbano, in ultima analisi, al ciclo economico.

Ai nostri fini, almeno per un certo aspetto, si può perfino prescindere da una teoria del ciclo: è notorio, infatti, che i cicli economici, comunque li si voglia spiegare, consistono in una fase di boom, dove viene avviata una molteplicità di progetti imprenditoriali; una fase critica, in cui emerge che gli imprenditori hanno commesso errori in massa; e una di bust, in cui le conseguenze di questi errori vengono eliminate, per quanto possibile, attraverso processi di mercato. Processi che – per quanto ci riguarda – includono la liquidazione dei complessi aziendali attraverso procedure esecutive, anche concorsuali, che mirano soprattutto al massimo recupero (al minimo danno) per i creditori.

Ora, è piuttosto evidente che l’accennato rigore delle procedure presuppone che la crisi dell’impresa sia riconducibile, in misura piuttosto netta, alla colpa dell’imprenditore, almeno in termini di imprudenza; ma il ciclo economico contraddice questo presupposto, perché l’errore e la colpa assumono caratteri sovraindividuali e pervasivi. Se interi settori appaiono contagiati da una frenesia di sviluppo, se il credito facile sembra consentire tutto a tutti, se le prospettive di redditività sono alterate in maniera analoga, si può davvero ritenere che il fallimento dell’impresa Alfa sia colpa del titolare Tizio? Non negli stessi termini rigorosi del mondo che esisteva prima del fenomeno ciclico. Un mondo in cui, dinanzi ad un fallimento, la prima domanda era se il patron fosse scappato con la cassa.

Che, rebus sic stantibus, si faccia largo un atteggiamento di maggior comprensione nei confronti del debitore insolvente, è comprensibile e anche inevitabile: il senso di giustizia non sbaglia nel ritenere che il biasimo maggiore debba ricadere su altre spalle. Salvo poi non capire quali: e qui diventa importante la teoria del ciclo.

Ma ancor più importanti, ai nostri fini, sono le sue implicazioni morali.

Il ciclo economico è l’insieme delle conseguenze di una violazione dei diritti di proprietà: questo assume la teoria Mises-Hayek. La creazione di moneta bancaria, deriva dalla creazione di un doppio titolo di proprietà sulle stesse somme di danaro; l’emissione di moneta-segno nasce mediante la soppressione della convertibilità e sopravvive solo grazie alla coercizione, che impedisce agli attori di mercato di scegliere la moneta più adatta alle loro esigenze. Oltre agli effetti Cantillon, viene perturbato anche l’equilibrio dei contratti, perché l’accipiens del mezzo fiduciario tende ad attribuirgli – in modo inconsapevole – le proprietà della moneta naturale, prima fra tutte la stabilità del potere d’acquisto: l’illusione monetaria, fondamento del principio nominalistico, altera la formazione dei prezzi in danno dei venditori.

In sintesi: il ciclo economico è corruzione, corruzione morale. Ovunque giunga il suo contagio, i princìpi morali su cui si fonda l’economia di mercato vengono erosi, ridiscussi, rinnegati. L’esito logico ultimo del ciclo – a meno di un ritorno alla protezione totale dei diritti proprietà – è il socialismo.

Il suo impatto sul diritto fallimentare costituisce un caso particolare di questo fenomeno corruttivo.

Un’etica incentrata sulla proprietà individuale postula la libertà e l’autoresponsabilità. Quest’ultima, a sua volta, è il fondamento ultimo del rigore verso i debitori insolventi. Il ciclo porta a giustificare le politiche interventiste, che minano la libertà. Ma porta anche a contestare l’autoresponsabilità. Proprio nel campo del diritto fallimentare.

Dapprima, si è avuta la scomparsa del carcere per debiti. E questo sviluppo può ancora considerarsi legittimo: l’autoresponsabilità opera anche in assenza di una colpa vera e propria, perché implica che ciascuno si assuma il rischio insito nelle proprie azioni. oprattutto quando si tratta di rischio di impresa. Quindi, ha senso che il fallimento non sia punito (sempre) come una colpa. Così come non è sempre colpevole un inadempimento contrattuale. E il giudice non si occupa della colpa, ma della sorte dei rapporti economici. E della tutela del creditore.

Ma, dopo il 1914, i cicli economici si son fatti sempre più gravi. Sempre più pervasivi. Sempre meno prevedibili o controllabili. Quindi, l’errore e il fallimento sono apparsi sempre meno imputabili. Di qui la richiesta, a gran voce, di tutele anticicliche. E, in campo fallimentare, di protezione del debitore, non più del creditore. Così, nascono procedure preventive della crisi, in sostanza rinegoziati collettivi del debito. E, soprattutto, si tende ad imporre ai creditori il rischio di impresa.

In ogni contratto, esiste di fatto un rischio di inadempimento, sopportato da ciascuna delle parti. Ben altra cosa è il rischio giuridico di perdere il diritto alla prestazione. Nel fallimento “tradizionale”, il creditore sa in partenza che non riuscirà a riscuotere tutto. Ma, in quello moderno, tende a perdere il diritto di esigere il residuo. Lo scopo della procedura è mutato: sulla tutela del creditore ora fa premio quella del debitore, l’esigenza di consentire all’imprenditore “sfortunato” di ripartire da zero.

Perché, nel mondo dove colpisce il ciclo, il fallimento è assimilato a una disgrazia. Tout se tient.

Intendiamoci: questi cambiamenti sono, probabilmente, il male minore da un punto di vista patrimoniale. Dopotutto, la depressione abbatte le percentuali di recupero del credito in modo molto drastico, nei settori in bust. La montagna di crediti inesigibili non avrebbe grandi probabilità di essere smaltita, neppure a medio termine. Anzi, la traslazione parziale del rischio di impresa potrebbe anche limitare la concessione di credito facile.

Ma, se non si risolvono i problemi alla radice, la corruzione progredirà.

Il “nuovo” fallimento potrebbe limitare i danni in un sistema di free banking. Ma questo tende ad evolvere verso la banca centrale e il connubio con il potere coercitivo. E, una volta che le manipolazioni monetarie non sono più opera dei singoli, ma istituzionali, ogni tentativo di riequilibrio del sistema mediante strumenti di diritto privato è destinato a fallire, perché non interviene sugli attori decisivi.

Di fatto, cosa succede nelle nuove procedure? Che le banche spremono l’attivo fino all’ultima goccia e rinegoziano il credito, mentre i creditori non privilegiati – per esempio i fornitori… – perdono tutto. Il comportamento dello Stato varia da caso a caso; la riforma della legge fallimentare italiana, però, ha consentito la “transazione fiscale”, in sostanza uno sconto sui debiti tributari. Questo sistema è funzionale ai tentativi di perpetuare l’illusione di una “distruzione creatrice”, di una possibilità di ricominciare ex novo, quando in realtà la politica monetaria sta consumando il capitale accumulato dalle generazioni precedenti. I debitori possono fallire ed essere liberati senza aver pagato; i creditori possono perdere ogni diritto senza aver incassato niente, oppure aderire al meccanismo “extend & pretend“; e il carrozzone va avanti da sé.

Qual è l’esito ultimo di un simile andazzo?

La morte della “parola data”, come valore morale e come principio giuridico.

Soprattutto negli Stati Uniti, ormai si teorizza l’efficient breach of contract, secondo cui l’inadempimento contrattuale non è un illecito, ma una scelta razionale fondata su puri calcoli di convenienza. La prassi, come sempre, è più avanzata della teoria: un simile atteggiamento è molto diffuso, soprattutto dove si possa far ricorso a meccanismi come le società “apri e chiudi” o, più in generale, all’abuso della personalità giuridica.

Non occorre aggiungere che, in questo contesto, i contratti di durata e l’ottica di lungo termine fanno una brutta fine. A meno che non si tratti di prestiti bancari, ovviamente.

La corruzione raggiunge lo stadio ultimo: la responsabilità si ribalta nel suo opposto. Parafrasando Bastiat, si può dire: “Lo Stato è la grande finzione per mezzo della quale tutti esigono di essere salvati o tenuti indenni. A spese di tutti gli altri.”.

Questo è il fil rouge che unisce temi in apparenza molto diversi come i salvataggi bancari, le politiche interventiste e il sacrificio dei creditori nelle procedure fallimentari.

Filo rosso anche in senso politico. Perché, senza autoresponsabilità, non si può giustificare moralmente, nè difendere politicamente, la libertà.

Insomma: o fallimento o socialismo.

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L'ipocrisia fiscale di Washington ha superato ogni limite

Freedonia - Mer, 13/07/2016 - 10:06




di David Stockman


È davvero entusiasmante quando Donald Trump oltraggia gli ipocriti della Beltway. Ma la sua proposta di condonare parte del debito pubblico è stata impagabile...

Non appena Trump ha detto ad alta voce quella che è già la politica ufficiale del governo degli Stati Uniti, un coro di sabotatori fiscali della Beltway ha cominciato ad urlare circa la santità delle promesse di credito dello Zio Sam.

Vediamo. Da 89 mesi a questa parte, la Federal Reserve ha scaraventato i tassi d'interesse allo zero bound, perché l'economia degli Stati Uniti deve avere un 2% d'inflazione al fine di crescere e prosperare.

Oltre ad una manciata di zoticoni nel Congresso, non c'è quasi un lavoratore a Washington, da entrambe le parti della barricata, che abbia messo in discussione questa proposizione. Nessuno mette in dubbio l'adeguatezza o l'efficacia, per non parlare della sanità, del target d'inflazione al 2% dell'accoppiata Bernanke/Yellen.

Ma ammettiamo pure che la FED arrivi al suo fatidico obiettivo d'inflazione. Ciò significa che in 30 anni gli investitori intascherebbero 54.5 centesimi in denaro aggiustato all'inflazione per ogni dollaro di capitale investito nei trentennali del Tesoro USA.

Se questa non è bancarotta, è sicuramente uno "sconto" più profondo di quello che Trump aveva in mente mentre blaterava sulla CNBC.

Infatti non è altro che una grande politica monetaria verso l'inadempienza!

Ma poiché Trump ha avuto il coraggio d'affrontare l'argomento — per caso o per volontà — gli spendaccioni della Città Imperiale stanno sbraitando per soffocarci in una marea di parole riguardo una falsa rettitudine fiscale.

E gli scribacchini dei media mainstream ci aggiungono anche la loro ipocrisia fiscale. Secondo loro tutto ciò che è stato fatto nella Città Imperiale in questi ultimi decenni, era giusto. Certo, a loro modo di vedere non può esistere una crisi fiscale che possa giustificare le idee radicali come quelle offerte da Trump.

Ma in ultima analisi la folla della Beltway e le loro cheerleader nei media mainstream che spacciano la follia del debito senza fine, stanno praticamente garantendo che alla fine ci sarà un default. È solo che la strategia di Trump è più onesta.

Qui sotto vi mostro il perché l'ipocrisia fiscale di Washington è "andata troppo oltre."

L'establishment di Washington e i media mainstream vorrebbero farci credere che nel 2008-2009 Obama, la FED e il Congresso abbiano salvato il paese dalla Grande Depressione 2.0.

Vogliono che voi pensiate che sin da allora abbiamo marciato risolutamente verso la ripresa economica e la stabilizzazione fiscale.

No, non è così. Non c'è stata alcuna ripresa economica significativa e la condizione fiscale della nazione è spaventosa.

Per quanto riguarda la prima, ci sono meno posti di lavoro "da capofamiglia" a tempo pieno rispetto a prima della crisi. Allo stesso modo, il reddito reale del nucleo familiare medio è di gran lunga inferiore rispetto a quando l'amministrazione Clinton ha lasciato la Casa Bianca nel gennaio 2001.




Ma tra tutte le chiacchiere della Beltway, nessuna è più fastidiosa di quella degli architetti economici della Casa Bianca che sulle pagine di Politico rimproverano Trump sulla responsabilità fiscale.

Queste persone non sanno cosa sia la vergogna. E tra loro ci sono un paio di burocrati di Washington più colpevoli di Gene Sperling, che era a capo del consiglio di politica economica di Obama.

Tra il dicembre 2008 e oggi, il debito pubblico è esploso da $10,700 miliardi a $19,400 miliardi. Ciò significa che durante la presidenza di Obama, e con la consulenza di Sperling, il debito pubblico di nuova emissione è stato pari all'80% del debito totale creato durante i precedenti 220 anni della repubblica e dei 43 presidenti!




Proprio così. La Casa Bianca di Obama s'è crogiolata nella dissolutezza fiscale come mai prima. Eppure questo tipo ha l'audacia di proferire un discorso ipocrita sulla santità del credito di Washington:

[...] [Trump non ha] senso dell'importanza economica e storica dell'America, sostenendo un impegno sconsiderato nei confronti del nostro debito nazionale [...]. Le obbligazioni del Tesoro USA sono gli asset finanziari meno rischiosi sul pianeta e rappresentano il punto di riferimento rispetto al quale viene impostato il prezzo di tutti gli altri asset finanziari [...]. Anche la minima consapevolezza che Trump potrebbe giocare con il fuoco economico, facendo intuire che i Treasuries non sono più senza rischi, scuoterebbe le fondamenta dei mercati finanziari globali, il che significa che il tasso d'interesse di ogni altro asset finanziario — mutui, prestiti auto, credito a grandi e piccole imprese — potrebbe salire un sacco.
Sperling e la sua gente hanno mai considerato quanto alti potrebbero essere i tassi d'interesse senza la massiccia frode nel mercato obbligazionario alimentata dalla FED e dal resto delle banche centrali di tutto il mondo?

Anche i tipi presumibilmente più ignoranti tra di noi nel campo economico, a quanto pare compreso Donald Trump, sanno che né Washington, né il Fondo Monetario Internazionale, né il G-20 hanno abrogato la legge della domanda e dell'offerta. Né la CIA ha ancora classificato come segreto di stato l'ammontare del debito sovrano e degli altri asset finanziari che negli ultimi due decenni le banche centrali del mondo hanno aspirato in nome dello "stimolo" monetario.

Il fatto è che circa $19,000 miliardi — tra cui più della metà dei titoli del Tesoro americano quotati — sono stati sequestrati nei caveau delle banche centrali a partire dalla metà degli anni '90. Tutto questo debito sarebbe altrimenti gravato sulla limitata offerta mondiale di risparmio reale, facendo salire i tassi d'interesse. Invece è stato fatto sparire dalla circolazione dalle autorità monetarie premendo semplicemente il tasto "comprare" sulle loro stampanti monetarie digitali.

E l'approvazione di Bush/Obama di questa forma di default è arrivata con la nomina di keynesiani dichiarati alla presidenza della FED. Ogni volta che il piccolo numero di membri del Congresso fiscalmente responsabili ha cercato di fermare l'ascesa della spesa pubblica rifiutandosi d'aumentare il tetto del debito federale, i loro avversari della Beltway li hanno stremati. Hanno sbandierato la "piena fiducia e credito", sapendo che la FED e il suo stuolo di front-runner a Wall Street avrebbero acquistato il flusso di nuova carta proveniente dal Tesoro USA.

In tale ottica, Sperling raccomanda a Trump di studiare in modo da non fare più figuracce. Egli parla a vanvera di come "generazioni di americani hanno beneficiato da quell'impegno storico iniziato da Alexander Hamilton al fine di garantire solidità alla piena fiducia e credito nei confronti degli Stati Uniti."

Poi ha continuato il suo sproloquio suggerendo che Trump manca completamente di saggezza e coraggio, a differenza di Obama. L'ex-stratega fiscale di Obama ha detto quanto segue:

Immaginate se fossimo nel bel mezzo di un'altra situazione di stallo del debito come nel 2011 e un Presidente Trump dicesse al mondo — o ripetesse al mondo — che le turbolenze di bilancio potrebbero creare dubbi sul debito degli Stati Uniti. Sarebbe disposto a ricomprare il debito a sconto e istruirebbe il suo Segretario del Tesoro a prendere in considerazione tale opzione?
E se poi andasse avanti per giorni a confondere i mercati circa le sue vere intenzioni? Qualcuno crede davvero che senza Trump non ci sarebbe un panico globale con danni economici sconosciuti per l'economia globale e per la reputazione economica di lungo termine degli Stati Uniti?

Bene, ecco cos'è realmente accaduto. Circa l'80% della spesa federale è costituita da trasferimenti, servizio del debito e altri impegni imprescindibili per legge. Il tetto del debito è l'unico modo col quale può essere arrestata l'espansione inarrestabile di questa trappola fiscale mortale.

Così quando coloro che si battono in petto per la "fiducia e credito" su entrambe le estremità di Pennsylvania Avenue hanno annullato la rivolta nell'agosto 2011, hanno assicurato che la marcia di Washington verso il default sarebbe continuata senza sosta.

In realtà, il totale delle prestazioni dello stato sociale è cresciuto da $1,000 miliardi l'anno alla fine del secolo scorso ai $2,700 miliardi di oggi. Nei prossimi 15 anni lo tsunami dei trasferimenti sociali diventerà una trappola fiscale mortale.

Così mentre i tipi come Sperling difendevano la santità della "piena fiducia e credito" e quella dei debiti impagabili, le generazioni nate e non ancora nate sono state derubate. Ma la trappola mortale è stata lasciata dov'è dalle presunte sentinelle fiscali di Washington.

Sin dalla fine del secolo scorso, i trasferimenti dello stato sociale sono cresciuti a circa il 2X del tasso dei salari. Per quanto tempo ancora questi geni pensano che questa tendenza possa andare avanti?

Ma non preoccupatevi, troveremo il modo di uscirne. I segnapunti fiscali ufficiali di Washington nel Congressional Budget Office (CBO), hanno ritenuto dall'alto della loro saggezza keynesiana che il ciclo economico è stato ufficialmente sconfitto e che l'anno prossimo l'economia degli Stati Uniti entrerà nel nirvana della piena occupazione.

Non solo quello. Rimarrà così nei secoli dei secoli. Fino al 2026 avremo 207 mesi consecutivi senza una fase di recessione, secondo il CBO.

Sì, questo è ciò che giura e spergiura la brigata dei sostenitori della "piena fiducia e credito". Ma anche in questo caso, il deficit di bilancio raggiungerà i $1,300 miliardi e il 5% del PIL entro il 2026.

Riuscite ad immaginare cosa accadrà nel mondo reale quando lo Schema Rosso di Ponzi si sgretolerà definitivamente e l'economia globale cadrà in una recessione deflazionistica prolungata?

Inutile dire che Sperling ha lasciato la Casa Bianca ed è ora al soldo di Hillary, la quale promette di abbassare a 50 anni l'età per accedere al Medicare e di distribuire una buona quantità di altre cose gratis seguendo il copione di Bernie.

La minaccia fiscale è in agguato con o senza Donald Trump. In realtà, sono i burocrati come Sperling e i politici come Hillary che hanno spianato la strada alla sua pericolosità.

E proprio nel momento giusto.

Saluti,


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


Scandalous Secrets of Freemasonry

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mer, 13/07/2016 - 06:01

The Freemasons are one of the most secretive and controversial religious groups in the world. Masons have existed for centuries – and if we are to believe their claims, they’ve existed covertly for even longer. 

Whatever their history, speculation has always been an enjoyable pastime – and this is especially true in the case of the Masons’ more scandalous secrets. Having passed down traditions and secrets from one generation of initiates to the next, they make it difficult to know what’s outdated and what’s still practiced. Consider these ten masonic activities as provisional facts – we don’t know for sure, but it’s always an interesting exercise to imagine what might be going on behind our backs.


10 They will not testify truthfully against each other

Freemasons are commanded not to testify truthfully when another Mason is on trial. They admit that it may be perjury, but to them, it is a far greater sin to not protect one of their own.

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Culling the Herd

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mer, 13/07/2016 - 06:01

Prompted by a discussion at this post

Stayton July 5, 2016 at 7:56 AM

I would even venture to argue that large-scale war is part of their scheme as a means of periodic depopulation (as was the case in World Wars I and II). They need enough productive people to fund their wealth, but they also know that too many people become difficult to control.

Black Flag July 5, 2016 at 2:10 PM

I’d say if depopulation is the goal, familial destruction has been far more effective. Encourage abortions, provide free abortion on demand, make “not being a mother” a trend and an aspiration, feminize the men, make the women masculine, turn the youth into a pack of shrieking simpletons that don’t have the mental faculties to relate to another human being outside of social media, thus destroying the dynamic of the building blocks that make relationships that foster healthy balanced children, or any children at all.

bionic mosquito July 5, 2016 at 7:45 PM

If they want to reduce the population meaningfully, it will have to be via a means that a) will leave them alive, and b) leave the planet inhabitable. They may have a way to do this, I don’t know.

I think I have been barking up the wrong tree on this whole depopulation-by-the-elite thing.  Not about my view that they won’t risk it through major war, but that it isn’t…well, let me explain.

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Black Flag offers one part of the answer (and he further develops his thoughts here).  The family is being neutered; men are being neutered.  Feminism, transgenderism, lesbian and gay, safe spaces – these have all grown a pair.  Further, white men are the one group against whom discrimination is not only acceptable but legal and required.  And this is the twist I would add to Black Flag’s comment – the “white men” part (and I will come to why I find this important shortly).

I find the second part here, via Pat Buchanan.  To make a long story short, the population in the west is shrinking – or, more precisely, the population of white inhabitants in the west is shrinking; in percentage terms for sure, and in absolute numbers in some cases. Low birth rates combined with non-European (and subsidized by the government) immigration.

The third part I find in Murray Rothbard and Ralph Raico.  It has to do with classical liberalism as the one political philosophy geared toward freedom and peace and geared away from centralized control and governance.  In other words, the one political philosophy that runs contrary to elite designs.

Politically speaking, all that the elite wish to crush can be found in this philosophy; all that we wish to protect from the elite can be found in this philosophy.  No other social / political philosophy is a threat; every other social / political philosophy can be made to serve their ends.

This third part has an important (and politically incorrect but factually accurate) addendum: it is a political philosophy born and developed (almost exclusively) by white Anglo-Saxon (at least nominally) Christian males.  It is a philosophy that has taken root (again, almost exclusively) in countries that were developed by white Anglo-Saxon (again, at least nominally) Christian males.

I must clarify: in no way do I suggest that all white males are Rothbardian.  However, I do suggest that throughout the west almost all are believers that “we are free,” and have at least some idea that this is the way it should be.  They may not realize it, but it is classical liberalism that is driving many toward Brexit and Trump and the like.  If classical liberalism has entered the DNA anywhere to any extent, it is in the west.

So where am I headed?

The elite neither want to nor need to reduce the population.  They only need to reduce the population that has bred and developed (and still somewhere inside holds onto) this idea of classical liberalism.  The elite doesn’t care about the neutering the male patriarch or destroying the family or furthering Cultural Marxism or subsidizing third-world immigration in Africa or the Middle East or China.  They only care about this in the west.  Why? To ask the question is to answer it, I am afraid.

Throughout the west, everything is done to eliminate the white male figure and his traditional role in society.  “But wait,” you shout, “The elite are all white males also!”

This is true.  But like the kings and nobles of Europe – a handful of “royal” families is enough to continue breeding and ensure that their stock continues.  A few thousand families are more than sufficient, I suspect.  They attend the same schools and send their children to the same schools; they run in the same circles.

There is no broad depopulation scheme – why kill the sheep?  There is only this: the destruction of the caretakers of classical liberal thought.

Reprinted with permission from Bionic Mosquito.

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A Sinkhole of Economic and Moral Perversion

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mer, 13/07/2016 - 06:01

An Interview With Hans-Herman Hoppe in the Polish weekly Najwyższy Czas!

What is your assessment of contemporary Western Europe, and in particular the EU?

All major political parties in Western Europe, regardless of their different names and party programs, are nowadays committed to the same fundamental idea of democratic socialism. They use democratic elections to legitimize the taxing of productive people for the benefit of unproductive people. They tax people, who have earned their income and accumulated their wealth by producing goods or services purchased voluntarily by consumers (and of course especially the ‘rich’ among those), and they then re-distribute the confiscated loot to themselves, i.e., the democratic State that they control or hope to control, and their various political friends, supporters, and potential voters.

They do not call this policy by its right name: punishing the productive and rewarding the unproductive, of course. That doesn’t sound particularly attractive. Instead, they tap into the always popular sentiment of envy and claim to tax the few ‘rich’ to support the many ‘poor.’ In truth, however, with their policy they make more and more productive people poor and a steadily increasing number of unproductive people rich.

But what about the EU?

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Looking at the EU, the picture becomes even worse. The EU is the first step on the way toward the creation of a European Super-State, and ultimately of a one-world government, dominated by the USA and its central bank, the FED. From its very beginnings, and despite all high-sounding political proclamations to the contrary, the EU was never about free trade and free competition. For that, you don’t need tens of thousands of pages of rules and regulations! Rather, the central purpose of the EU, supported all-along by the USA, was always the weakening in particular of Germany as Europe’s economic powerhouse. To facilitate this, Germany was sent on a seemingly never-ending ‘guilt trip’ and thus pressured to transfer increasingly larger parts of its already limited (vis-à-vis the USA) sovereignty to the EU in Brussels. Especially noteworthy in this regard: Germany’s giving up its monetary sovereignty and abandoning its traditionally ‘strong’ currency, the DM, in favor of a ‘weak’ Euro, issued by a European Central Bank (ECB) composed overwhelmingly of politically connected central bankers from traditionally ‘weak’ currency countries.

The EU, then, is characterized by three main features: First: The harmonization of the tax- and regulation structure across all member states, so as to reduce economic competition and especially tax-competition between different countries and make all countries equally uncompetitive.

Second: On top of the economic and moral perversity within each country of punishing the productive and subsidizing the unproductive, another layer of international income- and wealth-redistribution is added: of punishing economically better performing countries like Germany and the countries of northern Europe and rewarding economically worse performing countries (mostly of southern Europe) and thus successively rendering the economic performance of all countries equally worse.

And third, of increasing importance especially during the last decade: In order to overcome the rising resistance, in many countries, against the steadily increasing transfer of national sovereignty to Brussels, the EU is on a crusade to erode, and ultimately destroy, all national identities and all social and cultural cohesion. The idea of a nation and of different national and regional identities is ridiculed, and multi-culturalism is hailed instead as an unquestionable “good.” As well, in promoting the award of legal privileges and of “special protection” to everyone, except white, heterosexual men, and especially married family men (who are portrayed as historic ‘oppressors’ owing compensation to everyone else as their historic ‘victims’) – euphemistically called “anti-discrimination” or “affirmative action” policy – the natural social order is systematically undermined. Normality is punished, and abnormity and deviance is rewarded.

Can one say, then, that the politicians running the EU are even worse than the politicians running national affairs?

No, and yes. One the one hand, all democratic politicians, with almost no exception, are morally uninhibited demagogues. One of my German books is titled “The Competition of Crooks,” which captures what democracy and democratic party politics are really all about. There is in this regard little if any difference between the political elites of Berlin, Paris, Rome, etc., and those running the show in Brussels. In fact, the EU elites are typically political have-beens, with the same mentality as their domestic counterparts, on the lookout for the super-lavish salaries, benefits, and pensions doled out by the EU.     

On the other hand, the EU elites are worse than their political cronies at home, of course, in that their decisions and rulings always affect a far larger number of people.

What do you predict, then, will be the future of the EU?

The EU and the ECB are a moral and economic monstrosity, in violation of natural law and the laws of economics. You cannot continuously punish productivity and success and reward idleness and failure without bringing about the disaster. The EU will slide from one economic crisis to the next and ultimately break apart. The Brexit, that we have just experienced, is only the first step in this inevitable process of devolution and political decentralization.

Is there anything that an ordinary citizen can do in this situation?

For one, instead of swallowing the high-sounding blabber of politicians about “freedom,” “prosperity,” “social justice,” etc., people must learn to recognize the EU for what it really is: a gang of power-lusty crooks empowering and enriching themselves at other, productive people’s expense. And secondly, people must develop a clear vision of the alternative to the present morass: not a European Super-State or even a federation of nation States, but the vision of a Europe made up of thousands of Liechtensteins and Swiss cantons, united through free trade, and in competition with one another in the attempt of offering the most attractive conditions for productive people to stay or move. 

Can you give a comparative assessment of the USA and the situation in Europe?

The difference between the situation in the US and Western Europe is much smaller than is generally surmised on either side of the Atlantic. For one, the developments in Europe since the end of World War II have been closely watched, steered and manipulated, whether through threats or bribes, by the political elites in Washington DC. In fact, Europe has essentially become a dependency, a satellite or vassal of the US. This is indicated on the one hand by the fact that US troops are stationed all across Europe, by now all the way right up to the Russian border. And on the other hand, this is indicated by the steady pilgrimage, performed more regularly and dutifully than any Muslim’s pilgrimage to Mecca, of the European political elites and their intellectual bodyguards to Washington DC, in order to receive their masters’ blessings. Especially the German political elite, whose guilt complex has meanwhile assumed the status of some sort of mental illness, stands out in this regard by its cowardice, submissiveness, and servility.

As for US domestic affairs, both Europeans and Americans have it typically wrong. Europeans still frequently view the US as the “land of the free,” of rugged individualism, and of unhampered capitalism. Whereas Americans, insofar they know or claim to know anything about the world outside the US at all, frequently view Europe as a place of unhinged socialism and collectivism, entirely alien to their own “American way.” In fact, there exists no principal difference between the so-called “democratic capitalism” of the US and Europe’s “democratic socialism.”

To be sure, America has always had more and more vocal proponents of free-market capitalism, it still manages to attract many of the world’s best and brightest, and indeed, the US tax-take as a percentage of GDP lags behind that of most European countries – but not by very much, and it is actually higher than in non-EU-member Switzerland, for instance. And as for US government debt as a percentage of GDP, this is actually higher than in most European countries and places the US in the same league as an economic basket case such as Greece, for instance. True enough also: In the US you may still pretty much say whatever you want without having to fear criminal persecution, whereas taking the same liberty in most of the Europe may well land you in jail. However, the disease of “political correctness,” of “non-discrimination” and “affirmative action” that is currently sweeping the Western world like an epidemic actually originated in the US, with the so-called “civil rights” legislation of the 1960s, and it is the US, where it has been carried to the greatest excesses and the height of absurdity. And so, while saying the politically “wrong” thing may not land you in jail in the US, you will have your career destroyed there just as certainly, if not more so, than in any European country.

And as for US foreign policy: All the while the political elites of the US started to ‘invite’ the (third) world to come to the US, long before the same disastrous ‘multicultural’ policies were also adopted in Europe, the very same elites have pursued an aggressive policy of ‘invade the world’ and attacked, just in the most recent decades, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen, causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and spawning a wave of Islamist terrorism, mostly funded by Saudi Arabia, with whose political elites one entertains a most cordial relationship.

Finally, how do you evaluate the economic success of formerly communist countries such as China, that combine one-party-dictatorships with partly free markets?

The economic success of a country depends on three interrelated factors: the security of private property and property rights, the freedom of contract and trade, and the freedom of association and dis-association – and, of course, the diligence, intelligence and ingenuity of its people. Each and every State, insofar as it relies on taxation for its own funding, acts in violation of these requirements. But these violations can be less extensive and far-reaching, or more so, explaining the relative success of some countries and the failure of others. The internal organization of the State, whether it is a one-party-dictatorship or a multi-party-democracy, is essentially irrelevant in this. Indeed, as the present example of Venezuela vividly demonstrates, democracy and democratic elections can well lead to the almost complete abolition of private property rights and the freedom of contract and trade, and result in spectacular economic collapse.

As well, the comparison of the economic performance of India vs. China is instructive in this regard. While modern India, for almost seven decades now, has been ruled by democratic governments, modern China has been ruled throughout by a communist-party-dictatorship, roughly half of the time, during the Mao-era, by an orthodox all-out-communist party leadership, and the second half by a regime of ‘liberal’ reform-communists. The result? Both countries are still desperately poor as measured by Western standards, indicating that both governments showed little if any respect for private property rights. But: While the economic situation was about equally desperate in both countries until the early 1980’s, since then, with the onset of the ‘reform communism’ in China, the Chinese GDP per capita has well surpassed and risen significantly above that of India, indicating a comparatively greater scope of economic freedom in China and/or an on average brighter and more diligent Chinese population.    

In conclusion, then: Don’t put your trust in democracy, but neither should you trust in a dictatorship. Rather, put your hope into radical political decentralization, not just in India and China, but everywhere.

Reprinted with Professor Hoppe’s permission.

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