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What To Do in a Bleeding Emergency

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 17/09/2016 - 06:01

Knowing how to stop heavy bleeding can literally be a matter of life and death.

It can occur within minutes and more than 35 percent of victims die before they even reach the hospital.

So would you know what to do if faced with a victim of a car crash, work accident or even a terror attack?

Here, experts reveal the simple steps anyone can take to improve the chances of someone’s survival until trained professionals arrive.

Dr Matthew Levy, an associate professor of emergency medicine at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, says it’s important to recognise what a severe bleed looks like.

He also believes special bleeding control kits containing gauze and tourniquets – blood-constricting devices – could be placed in public areas in case of emergency.

KNOWING WHAT TO LOOK FOR

It may seem obvious to say, but severe bleeding is noticeable when blood is flowing quickly out of a wound.

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Other signs are a growing pool of blood on the ground or clothing being soaked.

Call for an ambulance immediately and looks for any changes in behaviour which could indicate shock from blood loss.

Dr Levy told LiveScience: ‘To slow the bleeding, a person doesn’t necessarily need any special tools or a bleeding control kit.

‘It’s all about finding the severe bleeding and stopping it.’

INSPECTING THE WOUND

To properly see the wound, the victim’s clothes must be removed or cut to get a better look.

If there is obvious dirt or debris, experts recommended removing it if possible.

But they warn removing large objects or ones embedded in the wound, can actually result in a heavier bleed.

Avoid pressing on an item in a wound as it may end up being pushed further in, St John Ambulance says.

Instead, the NHS advise pressing firmly on either side of the object.

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Missing Romney and McCain?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 17/09/2016 - 06:01

A few days ago David Limbaugh, a widely-syndicated Republican commentator (and Rush’s less fiery younger brother) posted a commentary intended to de-escalate the tensions between Trump’s supporters and the “never-Trumpers.” Limbaugh defines himself as a “reluctant Trumper,” who decided to support the Donald as the lesser of two evils after his preferred candidate Ted Cruz stumbled in the primaries. Limbaugh does not hide his dislike for Trump’s free-wheeling rhetoric and believes that the GOP nominee’s critics on the right may be fully justified in doubting his “genuine commitment to conservative policies.”

Despite these doubts, Limbaugh endorses Trump for reasons that one also hears from Sean Hannity, Pat Buchanan, Jerry Falwell, Jr., Larry Elder, and yours truly. Trump has “many incentives to implement our [conservative] policies,” while Hillary Clinton has absolutely none. He is also, not incidentally, bestowing on the Republican Party a large working class constituency; and even among racial minorities, he is doing at least as well, and in the case of prospective black voters, better than his GOP centrist predecessors, Mitt Romney and John McCain. Moreover, it is hard not to see Trump’s focusing on the problems of illegals and sanctuary cities as anything other than a “conservative” issue. That remains the case even if most of his primary competitors and certainly the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal might wish those issues had never been brought into the primaries.

Although Limbaugh dutifully provides the reasons that someone claiming to be on the right should vote for Trump, he still can’t resist extolling the never-Trumpers. (Although they’re not my buddies, they may be his.)   These supposedly principled conservatives deeply believe that “the best chance of saving the nation, in the long run, is to avoid elevating Trump to president and leader of the party because he could forever destroy conservatism and the Republican brand.” Although Limbaugh concedes that some establishment Republicans may be found among these noble idealists, most of the never-Trumpers “shared our frustration” about where the party was headed in the hands of unprincipled operators.  Limbaugh closes his remarks with this statement: “I respect the never-Trumpers and will not presume to judge them as abandoning the nation’s best interests.”

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It is, of course, possible to be so principled that one refuses to settle for politicians who don’t entirely live up to one’s ideals. About ten years ago I addressed a club named for the great conservative Republican of an earlier era Robert A. Taft. During my interaction with members, I found that some of them would only vote for a leader who patterned himself on the organisation’s namesake. Although I continue to refer to myself as a “Taft Republican,” I thought some of the young people I spoke with held unrealistically high expectations.

But in the case of the never-Trumpers, I would never make this criticism. Here we are dealing mostly with GOP shills who four years ago were drooling on cue over Mitt Romney and who four years earlier were gilding the lily for John McCain. What exactly were the high “conservative” principles that these candidates of the never-Trumpers articulated that Trump has failed to express? Indeed Trump has raised social issues that Romney and McCain, who were hailed as “conservatives” refused to even touch on the campaign trail. Unlike them, he has promised to appoint “conservatives” to federal judgeships and to protect the religious liberty of devout Christians, who have been beaten from pillar to post by Obama and who are not likely to be treated any better under a Clinton presidency.

Although one may be justified in questioning the genuineness of Trump’s commitment to certain conservative principles (and right now I am troubled by his support of a six-week maternity leave proposal that would inflict unfair costs on employers), it is doubtful whether the never-Trumpers are all inspired idealists. Roughly the people Limbaugh is referring to can be divided into two types: establishment Republican propagandists and neoconservative partisans and dependents. The two types often merge (as with Bret Stephens, Rich Lowry, Bill Kristol and Jonah Goldberg); in other cases (e.g., Katie Pavlich, Cal Thomas, Bill Murchison, and Eric Erickson), we’re talking about GOP establishmentarian who became never-Trumpers in line with their professional duties. I won’t even get on to the topic of those academic “conservatives” who flaunt their hatred of Trump at gatherings financed by neoconservative donors. Since at least some of these “conservative” scholars also significantly hold positions financed by neocon patrons, we may conclude that they’re only doing what is expected of them.

Among the never-Trumpers whom Limbaugh does not get around to are such unappetizing defectors to the Left as Max Boot, Robert Kagan and Jamie Kirchik.  These publicists were not content to show their true colours and in the case of Kagan, his well-established ties, through his wife Victoria Nuland, to the Obama-Clinton administration. These defectors have befouled the political landscape with their reckless denunciations of Trump as a “fascist.” I won’t bother to place a former secretary of state Colin Powell in the category of recent defectors. Although a nominal Republican, Powell enthusiastically backed Obama in two presidential races and was denouncing the Milquetoast party of McCain and Romney as racist before he turned his fire on Trump.

I’m also not surprised that Kirchik, a renowned neocon-hitman known for his vicious attack on Ron Paul as a Nazi sympathizer and raving anti-Semite, has now gone back to his smearing talents. Kirchik has criticised Hillary Clinton for limiting her denunciation to only one-half of her opponent’s backers. He insists in an interview with theDaily News that “it’s not 50% of Trump supporters who are bigots.”  The “basket of deplorables” whom Hillary denounced last week “is closer to 100%.”  Kirchik may be the most repulsive of all the grotesques who have moved from the neocon camp into Hillary’s baggage. The honest disagreement seems entirely foreign to his nature. A peripatetic nudnik, he manages to get into the news by denouncing those who think differently from him as an existential danger to his Jewish gay identity. As in his condemnation of tens of millions of Americans, including many readers of this website, Kirchik seems to believe that by depicting anyone he doesn’t like as a “bigot,” he can always earn applause and make a living. He is a gift to the Hillary campaign that our side should be delighted to hand over.

The never-Trumpers undoubtedly believe they’ll survive professionally even if the Donald pulls it out.  And as much as it disgusts me to say so, I think they may be right. No matter what happens in this race, we’ll see the same faces on Fox news and the same hacks writing for the establishment conservative-Republican press. Perhaps helping to contribute to a Trump defeat by blackening the candidate and urging others not to vote for him is a less risky career move than openly defecting to Hillary. Despite my doubts in this matter, I would like to imagine that the outright defectors will suffer particularly if Trump wins. But unfortunately they’ll still find takers for their services, and (alas) Kirchik will still be amply rewarded for smearing whomever he puts into his “basket of deplorables.”

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

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Protection from Looting Government

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 17/09/2016 - 06:01

The autumn of 2016 has for some time looked like a period when dark clouds will move in over the world economy. Therefore, it was not surprising to see the first sign of things to come in the next few months. In one day the Dow erased all the gains since early July with an almost 400 point fall. Since the beginning of the year the Dow is now up a pitiful 4%. Almost 8 years of ZERO interest rates have not managed to revive the US economy, nor the world economy. On a longer timeframe the Dow, together with many other markets, looks extremely vulnerable.

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In this century the Dow is up 57% which on the surface appears to be an excellent return over 16 years. But it must be remembered that we have seen an unprecedented period of money printing and credit creation in the last 16 years. In my article last week, I talked about the massive credit creation in the USA. We have seen the same pattern worldwide. China’s debt for example has gone from $1 trillion to $32 trillion in the last 16 years. And Japanese government debt is exploding and has reached 250% of GDP. Japan is now printing half of the government expenditure every month and buying all the bonds that they are issuing. Japan is clearly bankrupt and a default is inevitable. In Europe, the ECB is printing €80 billion every month. But that will of course not suffice to save a bankrupt European financial system. Whether we talk about Greek, Spanish, French, Italian or German banks, their balance sheets are all lumbered with billions of toxic assets with the only buyer being the ECB. This is why the current ECB printing programme will not end in March 2017 but instead accelerate. But as we all know, printed money can never save the financial system. All it will achieve is to increase the debt burden and create hyperinflation.

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Clueless investment managers are buying worthless bonds

Negative interest rates in many countries are having no beneficial effect on the world economy. For over $13 trillion of sovereign debt, investors now have to pay governments for the privilege of holding their worthless paper. These clueless investors are not only guaranteed to get less back than they invested due to the negative interest but they are also very unlikely to get the principal back since no government will repay their debt with real money.

As I have stated many times, government bonds is an investment that no one should own. But sadly most institutions and pension funds hold tens of trillions as custodians for the poor investors and pensioners who will see their savings totally evaporate. There has never been a time in history when savings and investments just disappear into a black hole never to return again. But the risk that this will happen in the next five years or so is now greater than any time. The consequences will be devastating.

Real returns in stocks are abysmal

Investors around the world are now facing massive risk in all asset markets be it stocks, bonds or property. The Dow’s rise of 57% since 2000 looks very different if it is compared to constant purchasing power rather than inflated dollars. In real terms, measured against gold, the Dow is down 70% in the last 16 years.

Stock markets worldwide have since the beginning of 2016 underperformed gold and silver substantially. The Dow is down 19% against gold in 2016 and 25% against silver. Silver has been one of the best performing asset classes this year.

But this is likely to be just the beginning of gold and silver’s rise against all other asset markets. Over the next five years I would expect most global stock markets to decline at least 90% against the precious metals.

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Introducing: The Proud Boys

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 17/09/2016 - 06:01

On Sunday, September 11, while college students vandalised memorials, the NYC chapter of the Proud Boys held its second meet-up at the Tribeca bar Gaslight. Though the exact details are kept secret, the meetings usually consist of drinking, fighting, and reading aloud from Pat Buchanan’s Death of the West. There were about fifty men at this gathering and no women because women are not allowed. The basic tenet of the group is that they are “Western chauvinists who refuse to apologise for creating the modern world.” Like Archie Bunker, they long for the days when “girls were girls and men were men.” This wasn’t controversial even twenty years ago, but being proud of Western culture today is like being a crippled, black, lesbian communist in 1953. We just had a man apologise to Chelsea Clinton for being a man and another almost lose his job because he won’t watch gay movies.

The group started in the fall after congregating on Compound Media (full disclosure: I work there) and laughing at the politically correct culture they insist we take seriously. What began as a few fans in a bar across the street from the studio singing “Proud of Your Boy” and laughing at the reparations videos of Gazi Kodzo soon became a bona fide men’s club with rituals, traditions, and even its own in-house court called “The Sharia.”

There is the Midwest chapter, the Pacific Northwest/Seattle chapter, the Louisiana chapter, Minnesota Proud Boys, Proud Boys Nashville, Proud Boys Texas, Proud Boys U.K., Proud Boys Canada, Proud Boys Australia, Proud Boys Brazil, Proud Boys NJ, and even a branch in the Middle East. It’s hard to determine just how many there are. The private Facebook page has just over 1,000 members and that’s as good a gauge as any.

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There have been only a few meetings so far, but a massive gathering is planned for the election in November (open to girls as it won’t be an official meet-up). They usually involve a dive bar and then a trip to the tattoo shop where members can get their third degree. The NYC chapter has had two meetings now. The previous one was held at a dive in Brooklyn called Tommy’s Tavern. “It was infiltrated by journalists who assumed the Proud Boys were some kind of white supremacist organisation they could earn brownie points shutting down,” says Queens Proud Boy Kosta Dagoulis. “After seeing Taleeb Starkes and our black pope Dante Nero, I heard some writer from The Village Voice say he was impressed by the diversity and wanted to go in a new direction.” Before the Voice could change its story, however, it was scooped by NY Mag’s Bedford + Bowery, which called the group “white supremacist” and then was quickly forced to take it back. Like Milo Yiannopoulos, the Proud Boys confuse the media because the group is anti-SJW without being alt-right. “Western chauvinist” includes all races, religions, and sexual preferences.

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Something Wicked This Way Comes

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 17/09/2016 - 06:01

Watching the unveiling of the next political era in the United States has been satisfying on many levels. It is especially nice to see large numbers of deplorables standing up for their bad selves, and watching the political class recoil and faint.

When it was a “close” race, which is to say, a hackable one, delivering the expected status quo government, it was interesting to watch and assess.  A close race (post-Republican primaries) through a mainstream media lens is one where Hillary is the predicted winner, but things close up a bit as we approach election day, and she is still the winner.  After all, she has all that government experience.  It’s what plants crave, as the common wisdom of our time holds.

But this week, everything changed.

A dark carnival is upon us, and it isn’t the electioneering play of two soulless political parties and their outrageous candidates.

The smartest men in Washington have already decided on a horse, and it’s Trump.   A rational person might observe that the neoconservative agenda is not well served by Trump’s outspoken condemnation of their foreign policy, their failed wars, their global interventionism, their kingmaking and regime changing, their insistence on liberal statism at home and reactionary empire abroad.  I have seen no militaristic liberal (a kinder and particularly accurate label suggested by a friend) who has ever advocated a real audit of the Pentagon, as Trump has done.  Likewise, none have been found guilty of advocating big walls and immigration restrictions in America, as Trump has done.

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So why was pernicious propagandising PNAC’er Jim Woolsey allowed under the tent of the Trump national security team?

The Trump team is working hard to reach out to establishment Republican politicians and their supporters, and also those militaristic liberals, many of whom trace their political awakenings back to Senator Scoop Jackson, infamous military welfare queen and warmonger.

Scoop’s long dead.  At least when he lived, the country had the excuse of a long Cold War, with death and destruction raining down at any moment, courtesy of a Soviet communist monster fully willing and able to bring it.  Liberal statist agitation for war was quite appealing to people who were picked on as children and fantasised about how things ought to be if you just had the power of a large government to make it so, and some real life toy soldiers.

Today, the world is different, America is different, its population far more deplorable, and 15 years of liberal militarism has consumed trillions of productive wealth, added an equal amount of unpayable public debt, re-ignited the heroin trade, and broken most of the countries on the neocon hit list.  Now the Republican candidate for the first time in a hundred years sounds like he actually likes the idea of an American republic.  A republican candidate who expects other countries to pay their own way, and who refuses to have her serve as the world’s policewoman.  It’s what the majority of Americans want to hear, and they are hearing it from Trump.  He, and they have rejected the neocon agenda and gameplan, and they are also rejecting the bill that is still coming due for the disastrous insanity put into play during the last two administrations.

That is, up until the tragic and terrifying appointment of Woolsey as a security advisor.

Long-time neocon watchers have written extensively on the anti-constitutional nature and murderous results of a neoconservative foreign policy.  This information is not effectively suppressed, and millions have access to it.  Yet one’s jaw drops as one sees that the Politico article on Woolsey’s appointment was authored by their health care guru.

For now, we may surmise several things.

1) The neoconservative money is now on Trump.

2) The band is getting back together, calls are being made, texts sent, and meetings arranged.  Cabinet positions and appointments have been promised and are expected, and rumor has Woolsey as Director of National Intelligence.  Curiously, very few of the 2001 team that created such powerful and blatantly false propaganda for war and destruction seem to have died in the intervening 15 years.

3) Fear-mongering for increased defense budgets, projects, departments, surveillance, and adventures is being revived, updated and adapted for the current era to include global warming, and also reaching back to the old comfort zones of fearing Russia and China.  And by golly, we simply must get that wily wabbit ISIS once and for all (wink, wink).

It is a time for us, and we are millions, to be aware that the subversive and deadly bureaucratic federal government we enjoy in this country is not going away.  This gang of thieves, faced with growing public condemnation, doubles down on gains it can make while paying lip service to the livestock it milks and slaughters.

Speaking of livestock, I have some Icelandic sheep.  Most Icelandic sheep are just that, but there is a subset of the breed called leader sheep.   They “have no economic value” but they do have an ingrained and finely tuned sense of direction.  Leader sheep sense danger to the flock and impending bad weather, and they act on their own assessment of the danger, leading the others.

As the election plays out, regardless of who wins, but particularly if Trump wins, we know precisely what we will be facing on the foreign policy and war department side.  Those tired of endless war and black budgets and debt and fear-mongering might hope that some new president will change all that.  This week’s news is why that can’t and won’t happen.  But we have something this time around that we didn’t have 15 years ago, and that is the recent well-recorded history of vile murderous old men and their bad decisions and unsustainable ideology.  We can do nothing about the fact that they are today older and viler, but we can do a lot about their continued effectiveness as murderers.

When the time is right, Trump needs to have what he needs to say “You’re fired” to Woolsey and his Rolodex.  Then, Trump will need access to our collective network, and maybe some good recommendations for a new Director of National Intelligence!

Like leader sheep, we may have little direct worth, be hard to handle and prickly in personality – but our instincts and calm independence in the face of threatening weather are invaluable to the flock and shepherd alike.

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Whadya Gonna Do About Beantown, Mr. Barnicle?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 17/09/2016 - 06:01

I refer to Mike Barnicle’s now-famous gotcha question of the clueless alleged libertarian candidate Gary Johnson on Morning Joe the other day: “what are you going to do about Aleppo [Syria]” To cut to the chase, I could just as well ask Mr. Barnicle what he’s going to do about Mr Barnicle.  I just finished Albert Jay Nock’s brilliant book, Our Enemy the State.  This is a book you probably never heard of but should have read in high school.  Nock, a radical antistatist, wrote:

“The only thing [a person] can do to improve society is to present society with one improved unit. . . . ages of experience testify that the only way society can be im­proved is by the individualist method which Jesus apparently regarded as the only one whereby the kingdom of Heaven can be established as a going concern; that is, the method of each one doing his very best to improve one.” change in Syria and have helped arm the rebels there.  This policy encouraged the rebels’ efforts to overthrow the Assad regime.  Anyone who has studied the bloody history of Syria knows that the Alawite supporters of Assad will not give up power without a fight.  Hence, the very predictable and bloody civil war.

The obvious import of Barnicle’s question is that the Unites States should now do something to stop the civil war it helped create.  This is classic progressive “thinking”: government action will fix the problems caused by the previous state blunders.

The truth is, progressives like Barnicle and Hillary don’t have a clue what to do about Aleppo. They can’t even fix what’s wrong with America, with Boston, with Buffalo or with Chicago.  Progressives should stop trying to improve the world with their unique formula of invincible ignorance and the brute force of the state.  Instead, consider Nock’s sublime advice and try to present the world with just one improved unit, you!

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

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Crimes, Conspiracies, and Cover-Ups

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 17/09/2016 - 06:01

Henry Ford is widely quoted as saying, “History is bunk.” What he actually said was “”History is more or less bunk.” Donald Jeffries has elaborated on this theme in his new book by showing that behind what is commonly perceived these days as history is the real truth, or “Hidden History.”

As he writes in his Foreword, “There is a willful desire on the part of those in positions of authority to keep the masses down, to involve us in perpetual wars, and to deny the great majority of Americans true liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Until the Internet came along, Americans had to rely on the television networks, daily newspapers, and large circulation magazines for their information. Now that there are finally true alternative sources available on the web, the dishonest nature of the mainstream media is brutally apparent. It’s become almost comical to watch these relics from a bygone era continue to babble on about an absurdly restricted selection of topics, to control the tenor of debate, and transparently attempt to manipulate the public, as they were so successful in the past…In the pages that follow, you’ll

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No Longer a Kid?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 17/09/2016 - 06:01

As we age, the comfort level of our cars becomes increasingly important.  People tend to keep cars longer as they get older, and that means you have to make sure the vehicle you choose is the right one.  I hear it all the time from people who say “this may be the last car I will ever buy”.  If that turns out to be true, you not only want to make sure the vehicle is comfortable, but also that it is equipped the way you want it.

Of course, safety should be a high priority, but the truth is, all cars are safe these days.  There are some excellent option choices these days that can assist you in avoiding a severe wreck and also those annoying fender benders.  One option I love is blind spot monitoring, which many cars have today.  At a glance, you can tell if it is safe to make a lane change, which is important if your eyes are not a good as they once were, or your reflexes are not quite as fast as they used to be. among the size of instrument clusters between cars.  Make sure when you have your tilt wheel set for your comfort, that you have a good view of the dash.

Lastly, don’t get overwhelmed with electronics.  While Bluetooth, navigation, and voice recognition are helpful options, don’t try to learn all the systems at once.  Spend some time with your new vehicle and go back to the dealership in a week or so to take a deep dive into the electronics and infotainment systems if your car is so equipped.

If your next new car is possibly your last one, make sure you choose the right one that you will enjoy and one that will keep you safe.

Reprinted from Car Pro.

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Grading Trump’s Economic Policy

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 17/09/2016 - 06:01

Donald Trump has announced his economic advisory team and unveiled a preliminary broad brush economic program that his prospective administration would implement. He has promised to fill in the details of his America First Economic Plan as the election approaches. So how should we grade his choice of advisers and his economic plan at this point?

Trump’s thirteen-man economic advisory team has more current or former CEOs (4), more billionaires (5), and more guys named Steve (6) than it does former academic economists with a PhD (1). And the lone academic economist, Peter Navarro, while a Harvard PhD is a faculty member at the University of California at Irvine, hardly an elite institution. As the title of one article harrumphed, “Trump’s economic team has a lot of billionaires, very few economic experts.” But this, of course, is all to the good.

Although economist Navarro is very well published, his ten books are written primarily for popular and investor audiences and most of his specialized articles were published in business and policy journals aimed at business professionals and policymakers rather than his fellow academic economists. He has never published an article in a top economics journal, although he has co-authored a book about US economic policy with R. Glenn Hubbard, the prominent Columbia economist and former chief of the Council of Economic Advisers under George W. Bush. Of late, Navarro has been a one-note economist who takes an old-fashioned protectionist stance on international trade, especially with regard to China. He favors a crackdown by the US government on China’s “unfair trade practices” such as export subsidies, currency manipulation, and intellectual property theft. Between 2008 and 2015 Navarro wrote three luridly titled books and produced a low-budget Netflix documentary about the economic and geopolitical risks posed by China.

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Now the absurd and counterproductive China bashing and raw protectionism of Trump, Navarro and some others on the Trump team should be roundly condemned. However, there are two good things about old-fashioned protectionists. First, their naïve fallacies are easy to refute and, second — and maybe more important — they tend to be anti-globalists who reject phony multilateral “free trade” deals. These deals are opaquely crafted by design, run to thousands of pages, and mainly benefit US politicians and bureaucrats and their allied bankers and crony capitalists. And, indeed, Navarro and Trump passionately oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, NAFTA, CAFTA, and the South Korean Free Trade Agreement.

Now, simple unilateral free trade — legally guaranteeing the right of domestic residents to freely trade with a resident of any foreign nation regardless of its trade regime — is always the ideal policy for a nation from the point of view of justice and prosperity. However, the nineteenth-century style bilateral trade “deals” that a Trump administration promises to negotiate with other nations are much more transparent and more likely to produce movement toward genuine free trade than the secretive and labyrinthine deal-making that characterizes modern multilateral trade agreements. One need only think of the great Anglo-French treaty of 1860 negotiated by the classical liberal free-traders Michel Chevalier of France and Richard Cobden of Great Britain.

Trump’s America First Economic Plan also deserves some applause. It is true the plan seems to take only a modest step toward lightening the burden of taxes on the long-suffering American middle class and freeing US business from increasingly onerous taxes and regulations that are choking off capital accumulation and growth in labor productivity, but it is a movement in the right direction. More important is the populist anti-globalism theme that pervades the document, because it clarifies and changes the entire tenor of the debate on US international economic policy. For no less than old-fashioned protectionism, genuine free trade is also a populist, America First, anti-globalist policy.

Both policies are represented by their supporters as the proper means for promoting the welfare and prosperity of American consumers and workers. Unfortunately, since the Bretton Woods conference in 1944, the genuine free trade position has not gotten a fair hearing among the American public. The reason is that the term “free trade” has been co-opted by advocates of an alien, globalist doctrine that has very little to do with promoting the economic welfare of ordinary Americans and everything to do with centralizing control of international trade, investment, and monetary affairs in the hands of US and foreign political elites.

Consider that post-World War II multilateral economic agreements and supranational organizations (GATT, WTO, IMF, World Bank, NAFTA, EU, TPP) are all explicitly aimed at “coordinating” and collectively “managing” economic activities among nation-states. As Murray Rothbard insightfully wrote about NAFTA: “What the Establishment wants is government-directed, government-negotiated trade, which is mercantilism not free trade. What it wants also is institutions of internationalist super-government to take decision-making out of American hands and into the hands of super-governments, which would rule over Americans and not be accountable to the American people. … [NAFTA] is worse than open socialism; for it’s international socialism camouflaged in the fair clothing of freedom and free markets. Populists, even protectionist populists, are right to view it with deep suspicion.”

Trump’s economic team and economic plan also merit praise for whom and what they exclude: orthodox macro-economists and their relentless and profoundly fallacious promotion of the Federal Reserve and its ultra-Keynesian policies aimed at stimulating spending, as the panacea for the serious problems afflicting the US economy. As noted above, the Trump team includes only one academic economist, and a heterodox one at that. Aside from its flawed trade policy, the Trump plan is broadly consistent with sound classical Austrian economics and focuses on cutting taxes, spending, and regulations and balancing the budget. While the plan is unfortunately silent on how a Trump administration would deal with the Fed and what monetary regime it would pursue, it is refreshingly free of any endorsement of the current Fed’s unconventional techniques for endless money creation, which redistributes real wealth and resources from productive Americans to parasitic financial firms and other capitalist cronies.

In sum, pending further details, I assign a tentative grade of C+ to Mr. Trump’s performance in economic policy. But I am a notoriously easy grader who gives students multiple opportunities to earn extra points and increase their grades, so if Mr. Trump adds items to his plan dealing with “auditing the Fed,” or “subjecting the Fed’s budget to Congressional appropriations,” or “considering the gold standard as a monetary alternative,” I will gladly raise his grade to a B.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.

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Bibi Backs Trump

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 17/09/2016 - 06:01

Since Donald Trump said that if Vladimir Putin praises him, he would return the compliment, Republican outrage has not abated.

Arriving on Capitol Hill to repair ties between Trump and party elites, Gov. Mike Pence was taken straight to the woodshed.

John McCain told Pence that Putin was a “thug and a butcher,” and Trump’s embrace of him intolerable.

Said Lindsey Graham: “Vladimir Putin is a thug, a dictator…who has his opposition killed in the streets,” and Trump’s views bring to mind Munich.

Putin is an “authoritarian thug,” added “Little Marco” Rubio.

What causes the Republican Party to lose it whenever the name of Vladimir Putin is raised?

Scores of the world’s 190-odd nations are today ruled by autocrats. How does it advance our interests or diplomacy by having congressional leaders yapping “thug” at the ruler of a nation with hundreds of nuclear warheads?

Where is the realism, the recognition of the realities of the world in which we live, that guided the policies of presidents from Ike to Reagan?

We have been told by senators like Tom Cotton that there must be “no daylight” between the U.S. and Israel.

Fine. How does Israel regard Putin “the thug” and Putin “the butcher”?

According to foreign policy scholar Stephen Sniegoski, when Putin first visited Israel in 2005, President Moshe Katsav hailed him as a “friend of Israel” and Ariel Sharon said he was “among brothers.”

In the last year alone, Bibi Netanyahu has gone to Moscow three times and Putin has visited Israel. The two get along wonderfully well.

On the U.N. resolution that affirmed the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine, Israel abstained. And Israel refused to join in sanctions against a friendly Russia. Russian-Israeli trade is booming.

Perhaps Bibi, who just got a windfall of $38 billion in U.S. foreign aid over the next 10 years from a Barack Obama whom he does not even like, can show the GOP how to get along better with Vlad.

Lindsey Graham says that the $38 billion for Israel is probably not enough, that Bibi will need more, and that he will be there to provide it.

Remarkable. Bibi, a buddy of Vlad, gets $38 billion from the same Republican senators who, when Donald Trump says he will repay personal compliments from Vladimir Putin, gets the McCain-Graham wet mitten across the face.

The post Bibi Backs Trump appeared first on LewRockwell.

No Trump, non è una “guerra mondiale”

Freedonia - Ven, 16/09/2016 - 10:13




di David Stockman


Nel 1991 la terra si mosse...

La guerra fredda si concluse e svanì la spada di Damocle della minaccia nucleare. Scomparve la minaccia totalitaria dell'Unione Sovietica e il suo vasto establishment militare venne smobilitato.

Per Washington era il momento di fare lo stesso. Cioè, sciogliere la NATO — la cui unica giustificazione era il contenimento di una minaccia sovietica sul fronte dell'Europa centrale — e smobilitare la sua macchina da guerra sparsa in tutto il globo.

Ma ciò da cui il generale Eisenhower aveva messo in guardia esattamente 30 anni prima — il complesso militare-industriale-congressuale — non aveva intenzione di lasciare che trionfasse la pace nel mondo. Invece lanciò due manovre nel 1991 per perpetuare sé stesso e rinnovare la sua ragion d'essere.

Una direttiva segreta di sicurezza nazionale redatta dal Segretario alla Difesa Dick Cheney e dai suoi tirapiedi neo-conservatori, dichiarava che l'Iran era il nuovo nemico globale. Questo atto d'accusa era del tutto ingiustificato anche allora, e nel corso dei 25 anni successivi s'è metastatizzato in un tessuto di bugie circa le armi nucleari e le ambizioni terroristiche iraniane.

Ancora più importante, Washington dichiarava la sua ostilità verso l'unica forza nella regione opposta all'estremismo sunnita — quello cosiddetto sciita. Questo interessava l'Iran fino al sud dell'Iraq, inglobando anche il regime alawita (sciita) di Assad in Siria e le province del Libano controllate da Hezbollah. Era sostanzialmente l'acerrimo nemico dell'estremismo sunnita.

Infatti i neocon che presero il potere a Washington sotto Bush senior, tagliarono le gambe a qualsiasi focolaio religioso guidato dell'espansionismo sunnita.

Allo stesso tempo, Bush venne spinto in un intervento militare tra i due potentati locali in lotta per i diritti di perforazione petrolifera, operazione mascherata sotto una falsa dottrina della messa in sicurezza del petrolio.

Se non fosse stato per quelle due manovre profondamente sbagliate e distruttive, al-Qaeda e lo Stato islamico non sarebbero mai esistiti. E il terrorismo jihadista sarebbe stato solo l'ombra di quello odierno.

Inutile dire che le implicazioni sono molte. Centinaia di milioni di persone innocenti in Medio Oriente, Europa e Stati Uniti sono ora spaventate e in pericolo. Ma è soprattutto a causa delle malefatte gravi dei nostri governanti nel Partito della Guerra con sede a Washington.

Cominciamo con ciò che la storia ha ormai dimostrato per quanto riguarda la scusa fasulla della sicurezza energetica...

La cura per prezzi elevati del petrolio è il mercato globale, non la 5° flotta statunitense di stanza in Bahrain. Il prezzo reale del petrolio è più basso di quanto non fosse nel 1990, quando Bush affermò che la presunta aggressione di Saddam "non poteva essere tollerata". Eppure questo esito non ha nulla a che fare con le migliaia di bombe che abbiamo lasciato cadere sin da allora, o dei milioni di morti e mutilati, o delle migliaia di miliardi di dollari sprecati per le sue molteplici guerre e per la presenza militare in tutto il globo.

Da un lato, la tecnologia e le imprese hanno generato importanti alternative al petrolio del Golfo Persico. Dall'altro lato, è un fatto storico incontestabile che qualsiasi regime che controlla le riserve di petrolio sotto le sabbie del Medio Oriente lo produrrà anche, perché ogni regime in quella regione ha bisogno di maggiore denaro.

Saddam ne produceva tutto quello che poteva produrre e lo esportava per quanto gli veniva permesso dall'Occidente. Così faceva anche Gheddafi in Libia. Così fanno anche i curdi a nord del vecchio Iraq e il governo sciita di Baghdad. Anche lo Stato Islamico sfrutta ogni pozzo di petrolio che non abbiamo ancora bombardato. E una volta che le sanzioni sono state revocate, gli iraniani "che odiano l'America" hanno aumentato la produzione nel corso dell'ultimo anno.

In breve, ogni singola intrusione militare intrapresa da Washington dopo l'invasione del Kuwait nel febbraio 1991, non ha nulla a che fare con l'economia del petrolio. Né ha migliorato la sicurezza del flusso della benzina e le forniture di petrolio per il riscaldamento a Lincoln, NE e Springfield, MA.

Infatti lo sporco segreto di questa questione è che anche se la spregevole Casa di Saud dovesse cadere, i 10 milioni di barili al giorno dell'Arabia Saudita finirebbero lo stesso sul mercato mondiale — a prescindere da qualsiasi perturbazione di breve termine.

Questo perché le province orientali dell'Arabia Saudita, dove si trovano tutti i giacimenti petroliferi, sono principalmente sciiti. I loro cugini iraniani accorrerebbero in loro soccorso, e sarebbero più che felici di condividere i $150 miliardi l'anno di proventi petroliferi ai prezzi di oggi. Il petrolio ha rappresentato il dominio sui mercati.

Ma a Washington interessa perpetuare l'esaltazione della sua indole bellica. È quest'ultima, non la protezione della generosità della natura sotto le sabbie arabe, che ha portato l'Impero Americano nel Golfo Persico e che genera le rappresaglie jihadiste di oggi nella regione e nel resto del mondo.

Sono state le 500,000 truppe americane nella penisola arabica e nei due luoghi santi islamici che nel 1991 hanno cambiato tutto.

Fino ad allora, i mujahidin sunniti in Afghanistan erano terroristi mercenari al soldo di Washington. Washington li aveva reclutati, trasportati, addestrati, armati e pagati per tutti gli anni '80 in modo che portassero avanti la sua lotta anti-sovietica.

L'Unione Sovietica stava già morendo a causa del regime asfissiante del socialismo, della burocrazia statale e del governo totalitario. Ma il direttore della CIA, Bill Casey, era stato ipnotizzato dalla nostalgia dei suoi giorni durante la seconda guerra mondiale, ed i suoi alleati neocon erano ex-trotzkisti e statalisti che non capivano neanche lontanamente che i mercati e la libertà economica sono fenomeni spontanei.

Dopo che aveva creato i mujaheddin, il Partito della Guerra a Washington li trasformò in mostri dopo la prima guerra del Golfo e la successiva campagna contro Saddam Hussein. Ciò naturalmente finì per aprire le porte alla seconda guerra del Golfo.

Così sotto la scusa della "messa in sicurezza del petrolio", Washington avviò la macchina da guerra americana nella politica e nelle fessure religiose del Golfo Persico, e si lanciò per distruggere le uniche istituzioni che avevano tenuto a bada l'estremismo sunnita. Vale a dire, i regimi baathisti di Saddam Hussein in Iraq e il clan di Assad in Siria.

A dire il vero, questi regimi erano un vasto amalgama sgradevole di socialismo, nazionalismo, autoritarismo e corruzione. Ma non tolleravano alcuna minaccia armata contro il loro dominio, e comprendevano che lo stato dovesse essere laico se i vari antichi scismi dell'Islam e di altre minoranze religiose all'interno dei loro confini, tra cui i cristiani, i drusi e gli ebrei, dovessero coesistere pacificamente.

A parte la falsa questione della messa in sicurezza del petrolio, il conflitto tra Iraq e Kuwait, che provocò l'intervento di Bush, non aveva alcuna incidenza sulla sicurezza dei cittadini americani. Come l'ambasciatore americano Glaspie disse giustamente a Saddam Hussein alla vigilia dell'invasione del Kuwait, l'America non aveva nulla da guadagnarci

Il Kuwait non era nemmeno un paese; si trattava di un conto corrente bancario seduto su una fascia di giacimenti petroliferi che circondavano un'antica città commerciale che era stata abbandonata da Ibn Saud nei primi anni del XX secolo. Non importava chi controllasse la punta meridionale del campo di Rumaila — il brutale dittatore di Baghdad o l'opulento emiro del Kuwait. Né il prezzo del petrolio, né la pace d'America, né la sicurezza dell'Europa, né il futuro dell'Asia dipendevano da esso.

Ma Bush senior fu convinto dai protetti di Henry Kissinger al Consiglio Nazionale di Sicurezza e dal suo Segretario di Stato, James Baker, che era in gioco "la sicurezza del petrolio" e che dovevano essere dispiegate 500,000 truppe americane nelle sabbie d'Arabia.

Fu un errore catastrofico. L'arrivo dei soldati crociati sul suolo presumibilmente sacro dell'Arabia offese e riattivò i mujahedeen addestrati dalla CIA in Afghanistan, i quali erano diventati disoccupati dopo il crollo dell'Unione Sovietica.

A tempo debito questo intervento inetto permise ai neocon di perseguire la loro dottrina deplorevole dei cambi di regime fino al suo logico esito: la distruzione dello stato iraqeno e la conseguente nascita dell'ISIS.

Bin Laden avrebbe amputato la testa laicista di Saddam se Washington non l'avesse preceduto, ed è proprio questo il punto: il tentativo di cambio di regime del marzo 2003 fu uno degli atti più folli nella storia americana.

I consiglieri neocon di Bush junior non avevano la minima idea delle animosità settarie e dei rancori storici che Hussein aveva imbottigliato mediante il suo monopolio sul petrolio e la sua mano pesante sotto la bandiera del nazionalismo baathista. Ma la campagna militare americana non fece altro che aprire il vaso di Pandora. Sappiamo tutti ciò che ne seguì dopo e i suoi effetti si faranno sentire nei decenni a venire.

Il cambio di regime e la costruzione di una nuova nazione sono obiettivi che nel XXI secolo non possono essere realizzati con la violenza delle forze armate. E questi obiettivi sono ancora più assurdi nel contesto di un territorio con animosità religiose sin dal XIII secolo.

Se i bombardamenti funzionassero veramente, lo Stato Islamico sarebbe già polvere ormai. In realtà le cose sono molto più complicate di così, e ciò rappresenta una lezione importante.

Le città impoverite e i villaggi lungo i margini del fiume Eufrate e nella provincia di Anbar, non attirano migliaia di aspiranti jihadisti dagli stati falliti del Medio Oriente e musulmani alienati dalle città d'Europa, perché il califfato offre prosperità, salvezza, o un futuro a tutti.

Ciò che li spinge a prendere le armi è l'indignazione per le bombe sganciate sulle comunità sunnite da parte dell'Air Force statunitense e per i missili cruise lanciati dal Mediterraneo che fanno a pezzi case, negozi, uffici e moschee al cui interno c'è un gran numero di civili innocenti oltre ai terroristi dell'ISIS.




La verità è che lo Stato Islamico era destinato ad una breve vita: era contenuto dai curdi a nord e ad est dalla Turchia. Ed era circondato dalla popolazione sciita in Siria e Iraq.

Senza la campagna militare illegittima di Washington per spodestare Assad a Damasco e demonizzare il suo alleato iraniano, non ci sarebbe stato alcun posto per i fanatici assassini che hanno la loro base di fortuna a Raqqa. Sarebbero rimasti a corto di soldi, reclute, slancio militare e sostegno pubblico.

Ma con l'Air Force statunitense che ha ricoperto il ruolo di braccio di reclutamento indiretto e la politica estera francese anti-Assad che ha contribuito a fomentare il caos in Siria, sono state spalancate le porte dell'inferno. Ciò che è stato vomitato fuori non è stata una guerra organizzata alla civiltà occidentale, come i politici occidentali à la Hollande si sforzano di proclamare istericamente in risposta ad ogni nuovo incidente.

È solo la rappresaglia compiuta da piccoli gruppi di giovani mentalmente instabili che possono essere persuasi ad indossare una cintura esplosiva.

Inutile dire che i bombardamenti non li fermeranno; ne faranno spuntare di più.

Ironia della sorte, ciò che li può fermare è il governo di Assad e le forze di terra dei suoi alleati di Hezbollah e della Guardia Repubblicana iraniana. È tempo che siano loro a sedare un'antica lite che non avrebbe mai dovuto interessare gli Stati Uniti.

Ma Washington crede talmente tanto ai suoi miti, alle sue bugie e alla sua stupidità egemonica che non riesce a vedere l'ovvio: dopo decenni nella regione ha sbagliato tutto quello che poteva sbagliare. Ha distrutto gli stati baathisti che tenevano il fanatismo religioso sotto controllo; ha alienato le forze sciite che non hanno mai sostenuto o sferrato attacchi terroristici in Occidente.

E si è alleato con poche migliaia di principi tirannici in Arabia Saudita e nel resto dei petro-stati del Golfo. È il regime wahhabita saudita la culla del fanatismo religioso, il quale ha reclutato, addestrato, motivato e mandato più terroristi jihadisti rispetto agli iraniani.

E questo ci porta al cuore del perché non esiste alcuna "guerra mondiale" tra l'Islam e l'Occidente. Le nazioni islamiche sono in guerra con sé stesse e lo sono state per secoli, non con noi.

Per fermare le incursioni episodiche del terrorismo jihadista — organizzato o "ispirato" — in Occidente, Washington non deve bombardare a tappeto tutta la valle dell'Eufrate superiore. Deve lasciare la regione e invitare gli iraniani e i loro alleati sciiti a finire il lavoro.

Il califfato finirebbe nella pattumiera della storia in pochissimo tempo. Quindi scomparirebbero il reclutamento, la formazione e la radicalizzazione degli alienati giovani musulmani d'Europa per portare morte e caos.

Scomparirebbero i combattenti jihadisti e i martiri "eroici" scampati alle bombe dell'Air Force degli Stati Uniti, i quali "ispirano" atti di violenza in patria e diffondono video sui social media facenti appello agli alienati responsabili della maggior parte dei recenti episodi di "terrorismo" negli Stati Uniti.

Ma affinché ci sia una risoluzione pacifica della cosa, le grandi bugie di Washington devono essere smentite, vale a dire, che il regime iraniano abbia cercato d'ottenere armi nucleari e che sia il primo esportatore di terrorismo in Medio Oriente.

Sebbene le sue opinioni religiose siano oscurantiste e medievali, la teocrazia che governa l'Iran non è costituita da guerrafondai dementi. Nel calore della battaglia, erano disposti a sacrificare le proprie forze piuttosto che violare i loro scrupoli religiosi per contrastare le armi chimiche di Saddam durante la guerra tra Iran ed Iraq.

La verità è che l'Iran non è migliore o peggiore di una qualsiasi delle altre grandi potenze nel Medio Oriente. In molti modi, è molto meno di una minaccia alla pace e alla stabilità regionale rispetto ai macellai militari che ora gestiscono l'Egitto con $1.5 miliardi l'anno di aiuti degli Stati Uniti.

E sicuramente non è peggio dei tiranni che sperperano le massicce risorse petrolifere in Arabia Saudita alle spalle dei 27 milioni di cittadini, che molto probabilmente un giorno potrebbero raggiungere il punto di rivolta. E quando parliamo del supporto al terrorismo, i sauditi hanno finanziato più jihadisti e terroristi in tutta la regione rispetto all'Iran.

Sì, gli iraniani sostengono il governo di Assad in Siria, ma questa è un'alleanza di lunga data che risale all'era del padre e affonda le sue radici nella politica storica del mondo islamico.

Il regime di Assad è alawita, un ramo di quello sciita, e nonostante la brutalità del regime, è stato un baluardo di protezione nei confronti di tutte le minoranze religiose della Siria, tra cui i cristiani, contro una pulizia etnica a maggioranza sunnita. Tale pulizia etnica si sarebbe sicuramente palesata se i ribelli sostenuti dall'Arabia, e guidati dall'ISIS, avessero preso il potere.

Alla fine, la grande macchina da guerra di Washington e dei suoi stati clienti non sarebbe dovuta affatto trovarsi in Medio Oriente. La terribile violenza che ha inflitto alla regione ha generato molti più terroristi di tutti i sermoni e della propaganda sui social media messi insieme.

Quindi se Trump vuole davvero fermare la rappresaglia, eliminare i fanatici e i lupi solitari, e ridurre le paure ingiustificate ma palpabili del terrorismo tra gli elettori americani, deve solo fare ciò che Eisenhower fece nel 1952.

Vale a dire, andare a Teheran, stringere un patto e quindi riportare a casa l'insostenibile e distruttiva macchina da guerra di Washington.

Saluti,


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


In un’economia di mercato il denaro è importante, ma non fondamentale

Von Mises Italia - Ven, 16/09/2016 - 08:29

Quando si guarda al cuore dell’economia, molto spesso la maggior parte delle persone pensa istintivamente al denaro. In quanto merce di scambio, e quindi altamente riconosciuto, esso gioca indubbiamente un ruolo importante all’interno della vita quotidiana degli individui. Non c’è da meravigliarsi se sia sulla bocca di tutti e nelle mani di tutti, così come nei pensieri di tutti. Ma è davvero così importante come crede la maggior parte degli individui? È davvero così importante come crede una determinata cerchia di accademici? Quanto dell’attività economica è influenzata realmente dal denaro? Queste sono tutte domande che all’apparenza sembrano scontante e sicuramente lo sono per chi non dispone di una teoria del capitale solida e coerente. In questo modo è facile ridurre tutte le soluzioni ai problemi economici a “semplici” manipolazioni degli aggregati monetari.

Travisando l’argomento chiave, si alimenta una fucina di errori che vanno a distorcere la percezione della realtà e con essa inficiare un andamento genuino dell’attività economica. Indirizzare la propria critica ai vari errori che scaturiscono dall’errore fondamentale è ovviamente una pratica controproducente, ma è pratica comune da parte della maggior parte dei critici. Sebbene abbiano tutte le ragioni di questo mondo a disinnescare bombe ideologiche simili, non si accorgono come tale sia solamente uno spreco di energie e attenzioni. Perché? Perché la maggior parte dei lettori non è in grado di seguire lunghe catene di ragionamento. Figuriamoci se queste si dipanano lungo una serie “infinita” di critiche ad una miriade di argomenti diversi.

Grattare lo strato su cui si sono sedimentati errori ideologici su errori ideologici non è sufficiente. È necessario scavare fino alla radice ignorando i vari strati di errori che nel tempo si sono sedimentati. Oggi inizieremo proprio da lì.

 

ALLE ORIGINI

Perché il denaro è così importante? In realtà non lo è. È utile, certo, ma non è importante nella vita di tutti i giorni, così come non lo è nel tessuto produttivo della società. Il suo ruolo si inserisce nel grande arazzo chiamato tessuto economico e, così come altri motivi sulla sua superficie, è indispensabile per capire il disegno nel suo complesso. Ciò significa che la mancanza di uno solo di questi motivi rappresenta la base per distorcere inevitabilmente il significato e il senso del disegno rappresentato sull’arazzo. Il denaro si inserisce in questo contesto e, sebbene rappresenti il motivo più ampio, la sua importanza è diluita nel complesso degli altri motivi. Perché? Perché è nell’occhio dell’osservatore che si viene a creare la comprensione del disegno rappresentato dall’arazzo. Questo significa che il punto fermo da cui bisogna partire quando si vuole analizzare il tessuto economico, è l’individuo agente.

Attraverso le sue azioni egli mette in atto quelli che sono i suoi desideri e le sue necessità, creando all’interno del tessuto economico una serie di movimenti che hanno una causa ed un effetto. L’importanza delle azioni degli individui agenti è proprio questa: influenzano in modo preponderante causa/effetto in economia. Ciò vale anche per il denaro. Pensate solo per un momento a Bitcoin: che valore avrebbe avuto se non fosse stato ampiamente commerciato dalla maggior parte degli attori di mercato?

Le azioni degli individui agenti sono il cuore dell’economia e attraverso il loro studio possiamo attribuire potenziali valori assegnati ai vari elementi costituenti l’ambiente economico. Infatti, sebbene l’imprevedibilità delle azioni umane non ci permetta d’essere assoluti, possiamo affermare senza paura d’essere smentiti che le azioni umane sono volte a massimizzare due parametri fondamentali della nostra vita: tempo ed efficienza. Attraverso di essi possiamo strutturare meglio la nostra esistenza e migliorarla dal punto di vista della condizione e del benessere. In particolar modo, il fenomeno dell’azione umana è un fenomeno apodittico, poiché con essa gli esseri umani affermano la vita e di conseguenza la volontà di migliorarla.

Facendo ricorso alle azioni umane, quindi, gli individui agenti stilano una scala di priorità nella loro vita e attraverso di essa scelgono quegli elementi più importanti nella loro vita. Una conseguenza di questa scelta è il valore d’uso conferito ad ogni elemento preso in considerazione. Tale processo è noto come “economizzazione” delle risorse economiche, ovvero, la valutazione e la distinzione d’uso dei vari elementi presi in considerazione dall’essere umano; in questo modo egli differenzia tra bene di consumo e bene strumentale i vari elementi presenti nell’ambiente economico, assegnando ad ognuno un costo di opportunità che è pronto a pagare in caso di errore. Nel corso del tempo l’individuo agente è passato attraverso diverse organizzazioni sociali che hanno caratterizzato i suoi rapporti e relazioni con gli altri esseri agenti, passando quindi da stati autarchici a stati cooperativi. È solo attraverso questi ultimi che l’essere umano è riuscito a sviluppare una struttura sociale grazie alla quale ha potuto vincere lo scontro con la sopravvivenza della propria razza, assestando colpi fatali alla povertà e all’inedia. La cooperazione tra gli esseri umani s’è rivelata, quindi, la carta vincente per conquistarsi un posto rivelante nella storia del mondo.

La cooperazione, ovviamente, crea aggregati sociali in cui i vari individui agenti comunicano attraverso il linguaggio commerciale: lo scambio. Migliorare, quindi, la propria condizione individuale ha significato entrare in contatto con altri esseri agenti per soddisfarne necessità e desideri in modo da soddisfare i propri. L’autarchia, infatti, permetteva agli individui d’entrare in possesso di una ristretta gamma di elementi coi quali la vita acquistava un tono grigio e malinconico. Sebbene la sussistenza sia il primo problema che l’essere umano tenda a risolvere, il ventaglio dei suoi desideri è pressoché infinito e comunicare attraverso lo scambio con altri esseri umani gli ha permesso di esplorarlo con maggiore profondità. In poche parole, l’essere umano ha iniziato a scalare la Piramide di Maslow. Ciò ha significato che ogni volta che una porzione di tale Piramide veniva garantita da una solida produzione, si sarebbe passati a quella successiva. Ad esempio, una volta che l’offerta di pane sarebbe stata garantita ogni giorno a quante più persone possibili, gli individui agenti avrebbero potuto anche preoccuparsi della produzione di pizza. Le economie di scala hanno aiutato non poco in questa operazione.

Sta di fatto che ciò che hanno ricercato con costanza e perseveranza gli individui agenti è stata una specializzazione delle loro mansioni. Più sarebbe stata raffinata la loro produzione, più avrebbero avuto la possibilità di attirare le attenzioni di un gruppo più ampio di individui agenti, e più questi ultimi sarebbero stati disposti a scambiare la loro produzione. In altre parole, gli individui agenti avrebbero iniziato a tessere la tela dell’arazzo. Più l’offerta dei loro beni sarebbe circolata, più avrebbero avuto la possibilità di entrare in possesso di una serie di beni tutti diversi tra loro, potendo quindi migliorare in modo esponenziale la loro condizione di vita e benessere. Fin qui, ovviamente, tutto bene poiché parrebbe un posto idilliaco in cui vivere, visto che tutti potrebbero entrare in possesso di ciò che desiderano in un solo e semplice scambio. Ma le cose non sono andate così, perché l’imprevedibilità giocata dalle azioni dell’essere umano è un fenomeno che, nonostante possa essere fonte d’incertezza, incarna lo scudo attraverso il quale potersi difendere da qualsiasi atto manipolatorio esterno a lungo termine.

Questo significa che in una società con forti possibilità di crescita, il bacino di desideri e necessità da soddisfare si sarebbe ramificato in rivoli altamente dispersivi e difficilmente controllabili. A sua volta, questo significa che sarebbero stati necessari una serie estenuante di scambi affinché tutti i desideri all’interno del tessuto economico potessero essere soddisfatti. Come abbiamo detto in precedenza, i due parametri che la maggior parte degli individui tiene a tendere in alta considerazione sono tempo ed efficienza. Di conseguenza girare per la città tutto il giorno per portare a termine una serie estenuante di scambi e poter quindi entrare in possesso dell’elemento finale desiderato, è quanto di meno efficiente possa esistere. Per non parlare dello spreco di tempo. Infatti, la “doppia coincidenza dei valori” sarebbe stato l’ostacolo principale affrontato dagli scambi tra individui agenti, oltre al problema secondario della divisione del capitale da commerciare. Vale a dire, era arduo scambiare una mucca per una sedia.

Ciò di cui si necessitava era un “intermediario”. Gli attori di mercato pensavano in questi termini? Assolutamente no. Non si sono mai posti il problema. Come ricordato in precedenza, uno dei loro desideri più pressanti era quello di migliorare tempo ed efficienza nella loro vita. Questo vuol dire che hanno iniziato ad utilizzare involontariamente quelle merci che avevano una certa frequenza di scambio all’interno della società come mezzo intermedio con il quale raggiungere lo scopo che si erano prefissati all’inizio dello scambio. Vale a dire, se un attore di mercato aveva inizialmente intenzione di entrare in possesso del pane del panettiere, ma quest’ultimo era allergico al pesce che pescava, allora l’attore di mercato avrebbe potuto scambiare il pesce con il sale (la merce con il più alto valore di scambio all’interno di quella società) e quest’ultimo con il pane. Col passare del tempo, quindi, la merce con un alto valore di scambio all’interno della società avrebbe acquisito anche un alto valore d’uso, elevandola infine a merce di scambio.

Il processo spontaneo con cui è venuto in essere il denaro non è affatto unico all’interno della società. Infatti se prendete ad esempio la lingua, essa non è altro che una serie di convenzioni accettate dagli attori di mercato per facilitare la comunicazione verbale tra di essi. Nessuno ha inventato la lingua, bensì essa è stata il risultato di migliaia di anni d’evoluzione. Noi parliamo la nostra lingua perché con essa siamo in grado di esprimere nel minor tempo possibile e nel modo più chiaro possibile agli altri il nostro pensiero. Allo stesso modo, col denaro riusciamo a soddisfare i nostri desideri nel minor tempo possibile e col minimo sforzo. Non solo, ma diminuendo drasticamente i tempi dei vari scambi all’interno della società il denaro ha permesso agli attori di mercato di dedicare più tempo alla produzione dei loro manufatti e in questo modo ha permesso una maggiore specializzazione. La divisione del lavoro ha affondato le radici nella piramide di Maslow e ha permesso agli attori di mercato di scalarla con una maggiore facilità.

Quindi non è esistito nessun fondatore o mente lungimirante che un giorno ha creato in qualche modo la prima merce definita “denaro”. Sono stati gli attori di mercato che attraverso le loro preferenze soggettive e le loro priorità, hanno conferito utilità ad una determinata merce elevandola a mezzo di scambio. Nel corso del tempo l’oro s’è dimostrato la forma di denaro con più utilità marginale a suo favore, in virtù delle sue caratteristiche fisiche, chimiche e storiche.

 

QUANTA UTILITÀ MARGINALE POSSIEDE L’OFFERTA DI MONETA?

L’utilizzo di un mezzo di scambio e quindi il passaggio ad un’economia a scambio indiretto ha senza dubbio aiutato l’essere umano a progredire significativamente lungo il percorso della storia, permettendo alle varie unità che compongono l’umanità di sviluppare metodi di produzione nuovi e più raffinati con cui elevare la società nel suo complesso. Il XIX secolo ha visto un’impennata improvvisa di questo processo. E non ci siamo ancora fermati, e non c’è ragione alcuna per ritenere che ci possiamo fermare. Ma cosa ha fatto progredire, nello specifico, l’essere umano? Possibile che sia stato il denaro? Infatti la risposta è no, non è stato il denaro. Eppure viene considerato un elemento fondamentale all’interno dell’attuale società. Molte teorie, sia nel ramo economico che in altri rami di studio, hanno preso come punto centrale delle loro analisi o critiche il denaro.

Ma si sbagliavano. Il denaro, la merce più commerciata, non è fondamentale all’interno della rete di azioni individuali che compongono la società. Anche il denaro è sottoposto alla fatidica regola dell’utilità marginale, la quale decresce al decrescere delle priorità degli attori di mercato. Meno soddisfa le loro necessità, meno sarà utilizzato. E qualora abbandonato, verrà sostituito da qualcos’altro di più efficiente e in sintonia con la volontà degli attori di mercato. Ma se il denaro non è importante ai fini di un’analisi economica, cosa lo è? L’imprenditoria. La creatività. La produttività. In poche parole, lo smaltimento di tutti quegli ostacoli che si frappongono sulla strada lungo il miglioramento del benessere e della vita degli attori di mercato.

In questo senso l’uso del denaro è servito a ridurre i tempi degli scambi ed a migliorare l’efficienza con cui venivano portati a termine. In questo modo il mezzo di scambio, o denaro, ha pian piano ricoperto il ruolo di ingranaggio importante all’interno del meccanismo dei mercati; ma questi ultimi sono essenzialmente una serie di ingranaggi che lavorano per permettere agli attori di mercato di soddisfare al meglio i loro desideri.

La maggior parte di questi ultimi, infatti, non dà alcun peso alle varie statistiche riguardanti l’offerta monetaria quando va a fare la spesa. Ma questo non vuol dire che il denaro non influenzi il loro calcolo economico quando devono rapportarsi con l’ambiente economico per stabilire il prezzo di un prodotto. I prezzi, infatti, non sono altro che informazioni all’interno del panorama economico che permettono agli attori di mercato di comunicare tra di loro e, in base alla loro conoscenza, prendere decisioni. E anche il denaro ha un prezzo, perché è una merce come qualsiasi altra. Il tasso d’interesse, infatti, potremmo definirlo il “prezzo” del denaro. Grazie ad esso viene rispecchiata la preferenza temporale degli attori di mercato, e in questo modo avere un’idea più precisa di quando prendere in prestito denaro o risparmiarlo.

Di conseguenza, essendo il denaro un ingranaggio importante all’interno del processo di mercato, il tasso d’interesse, a sua volta, ricopre un ruolo importante nel suddetto processo poiché influenzante il resto dei prezzi presenti nell’ambiente di mercato. Facciamo un esempio. Immaginate di dover coltivare un orto, questo vuol dire piantare le relative piante di verdure che andranno a comporre suddetto orto. Al che bisognerà attendere il tempo necessario per veder crescere e poi maturare le colture piantate. Ciò richiede un investimento precedente che non rappresenta altro che l’aspettativa di un ritorno maggiore in futuro. Da cosa dipende questo “ritorno maggiore in futuro”? Dal tasso d’interesse

Le decisioni prese da milioni di agricoltori vanno ad influenzare i prezzi delle colture che coltivano, e questo a sua volta influenza le decisioni dei consumatori di comprare o astenersi dal comprare. E all’apice di questo albero di decisioni c’è il tasso d’interesse che funge da coordinamento della produzione, di conseguenza ogni manipolazione artificiale di tale tasso influisce pesantemente sulla produzione futura e sul consumo futuro. È per questo motivo che la pianificazione monetaria centrale delle banche centrali è assai pericolosa per l’ambiente economico nel suo complesso, visto che si prefigge di influenzare positivamente il tasso d’interesse di riferimento. Non lo controlla direttamente, ma modificando arbitrariamente l’offerta di moneta esistente tende a distorcerlo e mandare nell’ambiente economico segnali di mercato distorti.

A questo proposito, infatti, c’è un altro mito che aleggia nelle discussioni riguardanti il denaro, il quale lo renderebbero un elemento fondamentale da manipolare affinché si possa dirigere l’intera società verso lidi di presunta prosperità. Questo mito, nello specifico, recita che più il denaro circola, più possibilità ci saranno per progredire economicamente e favorire le attività economiche. Attenzione, perché questo non è solamente un mito che circola tra la popolazione, lo è diventato perché i banchieri centrali hanno investito le loro azioni con una patina di scientificità attraverso l’utilizzo di equazioni matematiche. In pratica, hanno cercato di bypassare le scelte degli attori di mercato sventolando il feticcio dell’econometria, scienza alla base delle loro decisioni.

Nel particolar caso dell’offerta di moneta, essi fanno riferimento all’equazione di scambio nota come equazione di Fisher: M*V = P*T, dove M sta per offerta di denaro, V sta per velocità con cui circola, P sta per media dei prezzi, e T rappresenta il totale delle transazioni. Molti economisti tendono a reputare costanti i parametri V e T, in questo modo concludono che modificando l’offerta di moneta i banchieri centrali possano controllare direttamente l’andamento dei prezzi e la crescita economica di un paese.

 

Il crollo della velocità di circolazione del denaro sin dall’inizio della Grande Recessione è stato usato dai banchieri centrali per inondare i mercati finanziari con denaro fiat ex novo, reputando questa la soluzione ai problemi attanaglianti anche il PIL (T) e la media dei prezzi (P). Per combattere una discesa della media dei prezzi, un PIL stagnante e un crollo della velocità del denaro, sono state implementate misure monetarie straordinarie. Ma come ho detto in precedenza, il denaro è importante in un’economia di mercato, ma non è fondamentale. Perché? Perché ciò che scambiamo nelle nostre transazioni non è il denaro, bensì la nostra produzione precedentemente creata per lo scopo specifico di entrare in possesso di quegli elementi che più desideriamo e che sono nella parte superiore del nostro elenco di priorità.

Lo scopo degli scambi degli attori di mercato, quindi, è quello di entrare in possesso della produzione altrui e per farlo hanno bisogno di un mezzo attraverso il quale facilitare suddetto scambio. Il denaro funge esattamente da “facilitatore” degli scambi tra attori di mercato, permettendo loro di risparmiare tempo e aumentando significativamente l’efficienza con cui portare a termine i loro scambi. È ininfluente il numero di volte in cui circola una banconota presumendo che tal parametro possa fomentare una crescita economica, perché ciò che conta è il possesso di un bene che deve in ultima analisi essere scambiato per un altro.

(Senza contare che l’equazione di Fisher non è altro che un’inutile tautologia, dal momento che potremmo riproporla in suddetti termini V = P*T/M. Ma se questo è vero, allora l’equazione originale potremmo riconsiderarla secondo questi termini: M* (P*T/M) = P*T, ovvero, P*T = P*T. Questo sarebbe come dire che €10 sono uguali a €10.)

 

L’OGGETTO INAMOVIBILE SI SCONTRERÀ CON L’OGGETTO IN MOVIMENTO

Quindi, qualsiasi soluzione si voglia implementare, sia che si tratti di banchieri centrali sia che si tratti di eccentrici monetari, la via del denaro non è altro che uno specchietto per le allodole con cui attirare in trappola gli sprovveduti. Come abbiamo visto, è la produzione il centro focale su cui si basano gli scambi commerciali tra attori di mercato, di conseguenza in assenza di produzione una maggiorazione dell’offerta monetaria è semplicemente un esercizio truffaldino con cui imbastire una falsa ripresa e ridistribuire la ricchezza reale all’interno del tessuto economico.

Ma ciò significa un consumo di risorse economiche senza una creazione precedente. Non solo, ma durante la consumazione si ha l’illusione che l’abbondanza di denaro sia un fenomeno correlato ad una relativa abbondanza di fondi mutuabili, i quali, a seguito di un calo del tasso d’interesse, segnalano la presenza di risparmiatori disposti a prestarli. I progetti industriali più a lungo termine diventano automaticamente percorribili, e intorno ad essi vengono attirati capitali umani e materiali. A cascata questi segnali economici distorcono i vari stadi della produzione, andando a sfornare elementi che hanno poca o nessuna utilità agli occhi degli attori di mercato.

Ciò significa che non appena la creazione di denaro fiat ex novo smette, suddetti progetti industriali si dimostrano per quello che sono: investimenti improduttivi. I tassi d’interesse aumentano, i fondi mutuabili spariscono, la mancanza di profitti manda in bancarotta quelle industrie a più alta intensità di beni capitali, i lavoratori finiscono sulla strada e i fallimenti a catena inducono una pulizia dei mercati. Ma tali eventi, nei precedenti cicli di boom/bust, sono sempre stati preceduti da rialzi dei tassi.

Qual è il problema? Tutte le principali banche centrali del mondo, eccetto la FED, stanno inflazionando la loro massa monetaria e il loro bilancio. A seguito dello scoppio della Grande Recessione, sono state implementate politiche monetarie straordinarie che avrebbero dovuto fungere da scintilla per una ripresa economica. Ovvero, attraverso il salvataggio di attività economiche privilegiate, si sperava di scatenare un effetto ricchezza a cascata all’interno del tessuto economico e rimandare nel tempo il dolore economico della pulizia dei mercati. O almeno così presumevano. Questo perché nel mondo reale esistono i bilanci e quelli di famiglie e piccole/medie imprese avevano raggiunto il limite della loro capacità di carico.

Di conseguenza la maggior parte del denaro fiat ex novo è rimasto confinato nel circuito finanziario, dove ha alimentato una serie di bolle speculative altamente incendiarie. L’inflazione dei prezzi degli asset ne ha abbassato drasticamente i rendimenti e ha costretto le varie figure nei mercati mondiali a sottoscrivere affari sempre più rischiosi, alla ricerca di rendimenti decenti alla fine dell’anno. Ciò ha disseminato i mercati mondiali di ordigni finanziari esplosivi e pachidermi societari che invece sarebbero dovuti fallire. Entità economicamente obsolete sono prosperate a scapito dell’economia più ampia che invece ha continuato ad arrancare per via della sottrazione di risorse economiche scarse da parte di suddette entità grazie alla manna monetaria delle banche centrali.

La pseudo-stabilità di cui siamo testimoni oggigiorno non è il risultato di un boom genuino dell’economia, bensì la fase di semi-boom indotta dalle azioni delle banche centrali e mirata ad evitare il bust con tutte le sue conseguenze. Problema: più le banche centrali interferiscono con i segnali di mercato, più diventano cieche nei confronti degli esiti delle loro azioni. Questo perché non fanno altro che diffondere un mispricing osceno di capitale e debito, il quale fomenta la creazione di ingenti errori economici necessitanti una pulizia. Ad esempio, se osserviamo il cosiddetto “indice della paura”, il VIX, noteremo che esso è rimasto praticamente ai minimi fino a poco prima lo scoppio della precedente bolla immobiliare. Poi, d’improvviso, è schizzato verso l’alto.

 

La falsificazione della percezione dei partecipanti ai mercati mondiali era stata talmente vasta, che aveva diffuso un senso di ottimismo ingiustificato e convinzione che il boom sarebbe andato avanti per sempre. Per quanto possa essere diffuso questo ottimismo, alla base dei mercati ci sono risorse economiche scarse che se sprecate richiedono un prezzo da pagare. E alla fine, se i pianificatori monetari centrali non vogliono far andare le cose fuori controllo, devono assecondare le forze di mercato. Ma per salvare quelle entità protette dal loro cartello, i pianificatori centrali devono fare qualsiasi cosa in loro potere per non permettere al bust di mandarle fallite. È per questo motivo che è stato lanciato il QE insieme alla ZIRP come misure economiche straordinarie in grado di bilanciare una situazione disperata come quella proposta dalla Grande Recessione.

In realtà, quest’ultima altro non era che il risultato catastrofico delle precedenti intrusioni delle banche centrali nei mercati mondiali. E, come potete vedere dai grafici qui sotto, sono ormai intrappolate nella loro presunzione di conoscenza. I mercati degli asset e le entità obsolete che hanno salvato sono talmente dipendenti dall’allentamento monetario, che anche minuscoli aumenti dei tassi possono destabilizzare la loro capacità di rimanere a galla. Questo è il motivo per cui le banche centrali hanno aumentato la loro Gigantesca Offerta d’Acquisto. Questo è il motivo per cui la FED, ad esempio, ha finora rimandato ulteriori normalizzazioni dei tassi. Ed è sempre per questo motivo per cui sarà praticamente impossibile per le banche centrali diminuire l’ammontare dei loro bilanci.

 

 

 

Main Street, ormai, è fuori dai giochi e non ha alcun interesse per un qualsiasi eventuale aumento del tasso dei fondi federali. L’unico aumento che il debito delle famiglie ha visto sin dalla Grande Recessione è stato causato dai prestiti per studenti (garantiti dallo stato) e dai prestiti per automobili (garantiti da veicoli sopravvalutati). Gli immobili, che in passato erano stati utilizzati come bancomat, non sono più ipotecabili, né i salari possono garantire ulteriori botte di nuovo credito visto che per anni sono stati sottoposti ad una leva finanziaria fasulla. In parole povere, non hanno null’altro da impegnare e quindi sono tornate a spendere “alla vecchia maniera”: attingendo dal proprio reddito. Quindi gli sbalzi nei tassi d’interesse di riferimento non avranno impatto su Main Street, ma ce l’avranno invece su quelle attività che fino ad oggi hanno gozzovigliato col credito facile: grandi imprese, grandi banche commerciali, stato.
Le pagliacciate accademiche della filosofia economica keynesiana hanno i giorni contati, così come l’attuale situazione economica che hanno fomentato con le loro dottrine. Il prossimo 21 settembre vedremo come agirà la FED, ma ad ogni modo ha esaurito le sue munizioni. Se procederà ad un rialzo dei tassi i mercati saranno presi da una necessità impellente di vendere. Mentre invece se proseguirà a voler rimandare ancora una volta il suo fatidico rialzo dei tassi, con la scusa dei “dati in entrata” deludenti, dovrà preoccuparsi di altri paesi del mondo che potrebbero lanciare un contagio finanziario (come Giappone, Europa, Cina). Inoltre, di fronte a queste minacce economiche estere, è a corto di polvere da sparo: non può scivolare nella NIRP senza scatenare una rivolta populista capeggiata da Trump e non può lanciare un nuovo stimolo monetario senza dichiarare il fallimento di quelli precedenti.

Quindi, con o senza rialzi dei tassi, il prossimo 21 settembre sarà un giorno da monitorare con cura poiché la situazione economica in cui siamo immersi non potrà far altro che scatenare un pandemonio nei mercati mondiali. I robo-trader probabilmente capiranno che non basteranno più le parole di zia Janet a rafforzare la fiducia, unica moneta che ormai regna sovrana nei mercati mondiali. Ma così come mostrato nel grafico del VIX, quando entra in vigore questa moneta, l’imprevedibilità dei risultati può causare un bagno di sangue o guadagni esorbitanti per chi è abbastanza lungimirante e attento a ciò che lo circonda.

 

RIPARTIRE DA BASI SOLIDE

In virtù di quanto detto, quindi, non bisognerebbe allarmarsi quando le forze deflazionistiche scatenate dal bust entrano in azione e tentano di ripulire l’ambiente economico dagli errori del passato. Ciò di cui saremo protagonisti non è una fase economica depressiva senza sbocchi concreti. Saremo invece protagonisti di un riallineamento delle informazioni di mercato che in precedenza erano stato offuscate dalle politiche interventiste centrali. Una maggiore chiarezza nella circolazione di suddette informazioni permetterà agli attori di mercato di comunicare con quanta più precisione possibile, la conoscenza in loro possesso. La crescita economica scaturirà dalla libera interazione degli attori di mercato e dalla loro capacità di fare affari ad un certo prezzo.

Come ho indicato in questo articolo, ricorrere alla fallacia della maggiorazione delle unità del mezzo di scambio non produce affatto ricchezza reale per gli attori di mercato. Questo perché non c’è scambio di produzione, bensì consumazione di quella esistente. La cosiddetta guerra alla deflazione e il raggiungimento di un fatidico numero legato all’inflazione dei prezzi, sono trucchi per giustificare l’esistenza di una ristretta cerchia d’individui presumibilmente in grado di guidare verso lidi di prosperità l’intera società. Il ruolo dei consumatori viene usurpato da queste figure tronfie di presunta onniscienza.

Cercano di sostituire il loro giudizio a quello degli attori di mercato, ma nella loro presunzione di conoscenza non si accorgono di come diventano ciechi ad ogni passo che fanno verso tale direzione. Ciò può andare avanti fino a quando il bacino dei risparmi reali è in crescita, ma una volta che inizia a stagnare, o peggio a declinare, i giorni dell’élite finanziaria e monetaria sono contati. Già oggi possiamo osservare come la legge dei rendimenti decrescenti è al lavoro per assicurarci questo esito. Successivamente si dovrà ripartire da basi solide se ci si vuole lasciare alle spalle l’attuale sistema economico e le storture che lo hanno accompagnato fin dal 1914. Ciò vuol dire ritornare proprio a questa data dal punto di vista monetario, ovvero, ripartire da dove ci siamo letteralmente fermati.

In altre parole, permettere alle forze di mercato di avere pieno effetto sull’ambiente economico, senza distorsioni o rallentamenti di sorta posti in essere da entità centrali. Molto probabilmente ciò significherà un ritorno ad una moneta coperta dall’oro; almeno come punto di partenza. Ciò, a sua volta, significherà che le valute mondiali di oggi torneranno ad essere quello che rappresentavano allora: un riferimento al peso in oro delle monete circolanti in paesi diversi. Non è un caso se le principali banche centrali si sono trasformate da venditrici d’oro in acquirenti d’oro. Il vento sta cambiando.

 

CONCLUSIONE

Il ruolo principale del denaro è quello di mezzo di scambio, il quale ci permette di scambiare qualcosa che abbiamo per qualcosa che vogliamo. Affinché ciò possa verificarsi, un individuo deve avere qualcosa di utile che può dare in cambio. Una volta che entra in possesso del denaro, può quindi scambiarlo per i beni che vuole. Qui abbiamo, in sostanza, uno scambio di qualcosa per qualcosa.

Invece quando abbiamo una situazione in cui si crea denaro dal “nulla”, si va ad incentivare uno scambio di nulla per qualcosa. Ciò non fa altro che consumare il bacino dei beni reali ed indebolire quelle attività economiche che producono ricchezza reale. Intervenire sul denaro, quindi, altro non è che un palliativo di breve termine, mentre non fa nulla per risolvere i problemi di lungo termine legati sostanzialmente alla produzione e al disallineamento dei parametri cruciali di mercato.

The post In un’economia di mercato il denaro è importante, ma non fondamentale appeared first on Ludwig von Mises Italia.

Neocons Seek the Death of Putin

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 16/09/2016 - 06:01

Arguably, the nuttiest neoconservative idea – among a long list of nutty ideas – has been to destabilise nuclear-armed Russia by weakening its economy, isolating it from Europe, pushing NATO up to its borders, demonising its leadership, and sponsoring anti-government political activists inside Russia to promote “regime change.”

This breathtakingly dangerous strategy has been formulated and implemented with little serious debate inside the United States as the major mainstream news media and the neocons’ liberal-interventionist sidekicks have fallen in line much as they did during the run-up to the disastrous invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Except with Russia, the risks are even greater – conceivably, a nuclear war that could exterminate life on the planet. Yet, despite those stakes, there has been a cavalier – even goofy – attitude in the U.S. political/media mainstream about undertaking this new “regime change” project aimed at Moscow.

There is also little appreciation of how lucky the world was when the Soviet Union fell apart in 1991 without some Russian extremists seizing control of the nuclear codes and taking humanity to the brink of extinction. Back then, there was a mix of luck and restrained leadership, especially on the Soviet side.

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Plus, there were at least verbal assurances from George H.W. Bush’s administration that the Soviet retreat from East Germany and Eastern Europe would not be exploited by NATO and that a new era of cooperation with the West could follow the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Instead, the United States dispatched financial “experts” – many from Harvard Business School – who arrived in Moscow with neoliberal plans for “shock therapy” to “privatize” Russia’s resources, which turned a handful of corrupt insiders into powerful billionaires, known as “oligarchs,” and the “Harvard Boys” into well-rewarded consultants.

But the result for the average Russian was horrific as the population experienced a drop in life expectancy unprecedented in a country not at war. While a Russian could expect to live to be almost 70 in the mid-1980s, that expectation had dropped to less than 65 by the mid-1990s.

The “Harvard Boys” were living the high-life with beautiful women, caviar and champagne in the lavish enclaves of Moscow – as the U.S.-favored President Boris Yeltsin drank himself into stupors – but there were reports of starvation in villages in the Russian heartland and organised crime murdered people on the street with near impunity.

Meanwhile, Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush cast aside any restraint regarding Russia’s national pride and historic fears by expanding NATO across Eastern Europe, including the incorporation of former Soviet republics.

In the 1990s, the “triumphalist” neocons formulated a doctrine for permanent U.S. global dominance with their thinking reaching its most belligerent form during George W. Bush’s presidency, which asserted the virtually unlimited right for the United States to intervene militarily anywhere in the world regardless of international law and treaties.

How Despair Led to Putin

Without recognising the desperation and despair of the Russian people during the Yeltsin era — and the soaring American arrogance in the 1990s — it is hard to comprehend the political rise and enduring popularity of Vladimir Putin, who became president after Yeltsin abruptly resigned on New Year’s Eve 1999. (In declining health, Yeltsin died on April 23, 2007).

Putin, a former KGB officer with a strong devotion to his native land, began to put Russia’s house back in order. Though he collaborated with some oligarchs, he reined in others by putting them in jail for corruption or forcing them into exile.

Putin cracked down on crime and terrorism, often employing harsh means to restore order, including smashing Islamist rebels seeking to take Chechnya out of the Russian Federation.

Gradually, Russia regained its economic footing and the condition of the average Russian improved. By 2012, Russian life expectancy had rebounded to more than 70 years. Putin also won praise from many Russians for reestablishing the country’s national pride and reasserting its position on the world stage.

Though a resurgent Russia created friction with the neocon designs for permanent U.S. world domination, Putin represented a side of Russian politics that favoured cooperation with the West. He particularly hoped that he could work closely with President Barack Obama, who likewise indicated his desire to team up with Russia to make progress on thorny international issues.

In 2012, Obama was overheard on an open mike telling Putin’s close political ally, then-President Dmitri Medvedev, that “after my election, I have more flexibility,” suggesting greater cooperation with Russia. (Because of the Russian constitution barring someone from serving more than two consecutive terms as president, Medvedev, who had been prime minister, essentially swapped jobs with Putin for four years.)

Obama’s promise was not entirely an empty one. His relationship with the Russian leadership warmed as the two powers confronted common concerns over security issues, such as convincing Syria to surrender its chemical weapons arsenal in 2013 and persuading Iran to accept tight limitations on its nuclear program in 2014.

In an extraordinary op-ed in The New York Times on Sept. 11, 2013, Putin described his relationship with Obama as one of “growing trust” while disagreeing with the notion of “American “exceptionalism.” In the key last section that he supposedly wrote himself, Putin said:

“My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is ‘what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.’

“It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”

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The Lost Colony of Roanoke Island

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 16/09/2016 - 06:01

The early English settlers of Roanoke Island in the New World established homes and lives alongside indigenous populations, but then they vanished completely, leaving behind a coded message for other colonists. If there were survivors of the mysterious events of their disappearance, where did they go? What was the fate of the vanished English colony on Roanoke Island?

In 1584, the English attempted to set up a colony in the New World on Roanoke Island, North Carolina. The following year, the colony was abandoned due to the harsh weather, lack of supplies and poor relations with the indigenous people. Three years later, the second attempt at colonisation was undertaken. As the struggles to survive and thrive continued, one of the settlers, Captain John White, was forced to return to England to obtain supplies.

The village of Section in Roanoke, painted by settler and artist Governor John White c.1585 Public Domain

In 1587, White’s daughter gave birth to Virginia Dare, who was said to be the first English child born in the New World.

Leaving behind friends and family, against his will White sailed to England, only to remain there three years, as the Queen had disallowed all shipping due to Spanish Armada attacks on England.

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When he finally returned to Roanoke Island in 1590, the English colony had vanished, and it is said that White found only the words ‘CRO’ and ‘CROATOAN’ carved on two trees.

“CRO” written on a tree, part of the Lost Colony performance at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. Wikimedia Commons

When White saw these words, he inferred that the settlers had sought the help of the Croatan Indians on the nearby Hatteras Island. It had previously been decided by the settlers that should they move due to disaster or attack, a Maltese Cross image would be left behind. No such symbol was found by White.

The Croatans had been friendly towards the settlers, as the English were able to establish good relations with them when they founded their colony in 1587. Thus, it was reasonable to speculate that the colonists had gone to Hatteras Island during White’s absence. Dogged by terrible weather and a dangerously reluctant sailing crew, White was unable to investigate the matter further. He went back to England instead, leaving behind the mysterious disappearance of the colony, his daughter and granddaughter, and never returned to the New World. Consequently, no one is certain of the fate that befell the English settlers of Roanoke Island.

One of the theories regarding the disappearance of the English settlers of Roanoke Island is that they managed to integrate themselves with the Croatan people. For instance, it has been claimed that subsequent English historians mentioned a tribe of North Carolina Indians who spoke English fluently, practised Christianity, and called themselves Croatan Indians. Additionally, there were between 20 and 30 English surnames from the Roanoke settlers were found in the Croatan tribe, suggesting that integration between the two peoples had happened.

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Practical Winter Driving Tips

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 16/09/2016 - 06:01

It’s that time of year – almost.

You will likely be reading – and hearing – about how to make the best of it when the flakes begin to fall.

I won’t recycle the boilerplate recommendations about all-wheel-drive (not really that much of an advantage) or suggest you buy a set of snow tires (I’m assuming you’ve thought of that).

I’m figuring you might like some useful tips. Things you may not have read – or heard about – before.

Here goes:

* Make sure your AC is in good working order –

It might not sound silly – it’s cold outside; why worry about AC? – but it’s not. The air conditioner is an important element of the heater/defroster system because it dehumidifies the interior of your car. Without that vital function, the moisture-heavy winter air will fog up your windshield and leave you guessing where the road is.

Cars without working AC can be as un-fun in winter as they are when it’s 98 degrees outside. And much more dangerous. This is why it’s a good idea to make sure the AC is working in Fall.

Before the bad weather starts rolling in.

Related: Check/change your car’s cabin filter (many late-modern cars have these). Lots of dust in the air in Fall … like pollen come Spring.

*Polish and then wax your windshield – 

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A smooth surface will help dissipate water better and the wax coating will bead water and make it easier to slough off. Your windshield wiper blades will last longer, too.

You’ll want to start with a cleaner/polish (some waxes are “all in one”) which has a light abrasive to gently clean the surface. The wax is the protective coat that will slough off the water.

Do the side/door glass and rear glass, too.

Especially the side and rear glass. Because they haven’t got wipers (usually) to clear them. If you wax them, the airflow over the car should keep them clean – and you’ll be able to see.

There are also products (RainX is one) that are “hydrophobic” – they repel water, forcing it to bead and roll off the surface of the exterior glass. In light rain, you may not even need to use your windshield wipers – or you can use them less. Which ought to make them last longer.

Related: If you haven’t already, change out the windshield washer fluid for a winter formulated fluid. It’s usually orange-colored rather than the usual blue-ish stuff. If your fluid reservoir is still full of the old stuff, you can easily suck it out using a turkey baster or a large medical syringe.

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Be Worried

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 16/09/2016 - 06:01

Investor Jim Rogers has some sobering words on the future of the global economy. Even though the leading oil producers are working on price stabilisation, he warns another significant economic crash could be on the cards within a couple of years.

Oil prices spiked on Monday after Russia and Saudi Arabia agreed to work toward market stabilisation. The two countries are setting up a working group to help support prices, after the collapse in 2014.

RT: What can the two countries do to stabilise prices?

Jim Rogers: The Saudis have made it clear they don’t want to cut production and they are right, in my view. I am not Saudi Arabian so I can’t tell them what to do. The Russians want to cut production, that’s not what I would do. I would let the market play itself out. It is taking a while but the high-cost producers are closing down and going out of business. You are forcing the high-cost exploration to stop. There is no exploration. Exploration budgets are cut by ninety percent. This eventually means no oil supply, and the price goes through the roof again. Why would you sell your oil down at these prices if you could wait and sell it later?

RT: A lot of people are talking about a massive economic crash that is on the horizon. Is there any truth to that?

JR: You should be very worried. There is going to be a serious economic crisis in the next year or two. We all are going to pay a horrible price for the artificial money coming out of America and other central banks. We’re all going to have a huge problem. Be worried, be worried.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Reprinted from RT News.

The post Be Worried appeared first on LewRockwell.

Crisis on the Korean Peninsula

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 16/09/2016 - 06:01

Kim’s Latest Big Bang

North Korea’s fifth nuclear test produced an explosion fury and hysteria around the world, an empty threats against the Hermit Kingdom, and a giant sell-off in stock markets by foolish investors.

No wonder gleeful North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was having such a big laugh.  It’s not often that a small nation of only 24.8 million can defy the mighty United States, Japan, South Korea and even its sole ally, China. But Kim did and survived the experience.

North Korea fired off its fifth underground nuclear device estimated at 15-20 kilotons. The detonation was estimated at around the same size as the US nuclear devices that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Japan could produce a nuclear weapon in three months if it so decided. But it won’t, and so remains vulnerable to North Korea and to nuclear-armed China with which Japan is in a serious confrontation in the South China Sea and off the Ryuku Islands.

The US and South Korea have staged their annual Fall military exercises that mimic an invasion of North Korea. Each year, North Korea blows its top when this provocation occurs. There’s no military need – it’s merely primitive chest-thumping by Washington and Seoul and tantrum time for the North.  Call it North Asian Primeval Scream Therapy.

Interestingly, this time, South Korea’s conservative government led by PM Park Geun-hye joined the all-Korean threat-a-thon by vowing to turn Pyongyang ‘to ashes’ if it was seen preparing a nuclear attack on the South.  In fact, South Korea lacks this military capability in spite of recent additions of new artillery missiles. Seoul’s threats were more designed to placate angry right-wing South Korean Christian voters than to intimidate the North.

But it’s also worth recalling that in the late 1970’s, the US forced the current prime minister’s father, President Park Chung-he, to halt his secret nuclear weapons program. Today, South Korea still has good reasons to develop a few nukes, though much of North Korea is too close for retaliatory strikes.  Both sides in Korea would be better off with small, tactical nuclear weapons.

It’s always fun watching the hot-tempered Koreans hurl threats at one another and the US.  Yet one of these days, threats could turn to real shooting on the Peninsula. Think of the Japanese nuclear meltdown at Fukushima…and then multiply by 150.

The post Crisis on the Korean Peninsula appeared first on LewRockwell.

Are You Optimistic, Trusting, or Something Else?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 16/09/2016 - 06:01

Whether it is a job, clothes or a holiday, if you have ever felt annoyed that someone else has the things you want, you’re probably not alone.

In fact, most of the population will feel like this a lot of the time, according to a new study.

This is because envy is the most common of four basic personality traits that shape human behaviour, scientists have revealed.

A new study found 90 percent of the population can be divided into four personality types: optimistic, pessimistic, trusting and envious.

Of these, ‘envious’ was the most widespread, describing 30  percent of individuals compared with 20 percent for each of the other groups.

Researchers at the University of Zaragoza and the Carlos III University of Madrid made the discovery after analysing the responses of 541 volunteers to hundreds of social dilemma scenarios.

Participants were put into pairs and given options that either led to collaboration or conflict with others.

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In one game called the Stag Hunt, players would be rewarded with raffle tickets for a chance to win a €40 (£33) prize.

In the game, two people are offered the choice to hunt for a stag or a rabbit.

Stags are worth more, but they must both choose to hunt a stag to succeed.

If they choose to hunt rabbits, they can do so on their own and they are guaranteed a ticket for the draw.

In other words, envious types would hunt for the rabbit – as they cannot bear another person doing better than them, even if it means they receive less.

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YouTube Censors Critics of Government

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 16/09/2016 - 06:01

Earlier this month, YouTube, the behemoth video-sharing website was accused of censoring users.

Claiming some of their videos had been barred from making money through the company’s ad services, YouTube hosts like Philip DeFranco spoke out against the policy, claiming over “a dozen of his videos had been flagged as inappropriate for advertising, including one dinged for ‘graphic content or excessive strong language.’

In a video entitled “YouTube Is Shutting Down My Channel and I’m Not Sure What To Do,” DeFranco called YouTube’s policy “censorship with a different name,” since users touching on what the company considers to be controversial subjects end up losing money. “If you do this on the regular, and you have no advertising,” DeFranco added, “it’s not sustainable.”

While YouTube has already confirmed its policy regarding what it considers unfit for monetization hasn’t changed, the issue might lie elsewhere now that the company seems more efficient in enforcing its own rules. As a matter of fact, the content policy changed in 2012, when YouTube first introduced its “ad-friendly” guidelines.

But while an algorithm is allegedly used to spot and “de-monetize” videos that break the company’s rules, many continue to accuse the company, currently owned by Google, of having “vague” descriptions of what its leadership considers ad-friendly.

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YouTube rolled out its monetization tool in 2006 when ads consisted of videos that would pop up at the bottom of the user’s screen. If the user did not click on it, it would roll for about ten seconds before going away. But as ad executives pressured YouTube to “to do a better job at promoting its creators,” the relationship with its advertisers changed. As better and even more intrusive ads were added to YouTube videos, the company allegedly became more concerned with the content.

Those who are affected often complain about copyright claims, but some complain about another type of targeting — one that involves power players.

YouTube Content Creators Speak Out

Derrick J. Freeman, the host of FR33MANTV, told Anti-Media that he monetizes all of his videos, “and every day some video — even much older ones — gets slapped with some kind of warning or another because of music playing in the background somewhere. Usually a public place.”

While Freeman’s work is often political in nature, he hasn’t seen any of his videos being flagged for breaking YouTube’s rules concerning subjects related to war or political conflicts.

Mat Bars, another YouTube user, also complained about copyright claims.

Asked about the alleged censorship problem, Bars told Anti-Media that “what it really most likely comes down to is advertisers not wanting their ads to be associated with certain things.” To the YouTube host, the company is “mostly blameless in this. The site isn’t even profitable, so letting advertisers push them around like this suits their best interests.” Instead of complaining about censorship, Bars added that what affects him personally is “the copyright system.”

But to more radical political figures who gather a considerable number of followers on YouTube, things are slightly differently.

To Luke Rudkowski, the man behind the popular channel We Are Change, YouTube’s policy of nixing monetization on some of his most popular videos has been a problem for a long time.

For years,” he told The Anti-Media, “I have monetized and still get f*cked from it.” Especially, he continued, “[when I launch a video about] Hillary, or war and foreign policy.” When his videos touch on drugs or guns, however, he says ads remain in place.

When the videos only have ‘Hillary Clinton’ they do fine,” he added, “however, when we add ‘FBI’, that’s when YouTube” springs into action.

Anti-Media journalist and senior editor Carey Wedler got her start on Youtube and has had a similar experience with her channel.

She explained the first time she realised the site had singled out her videos was “a couple of weeks” after she “posted a video about how America’s culture of militarism is an underlying contributor to domestic mass shootings.”

She continued:

The video was released shortly after the Orlando shooting, which occurred in June. By July 6, I had received an email saying the video was not ‘advertiser friendly.’ Two days later, I received another email about a video I released at the beginning of June — before I released the mass shooting video. This video, which pointed out inconsistencies in Bernie Sanders’s record and questioned his ‘revolutionary’ status, was also stripped of monetization.”

While the mass shooting video’s monetization has been restored without her appealing the company’s decision, her Sanders video remains ineligible. The Sanders video focused largely on his record of supporting the war and the military-industrial complex.

Her other videos affected by YouTube’s policy include “What Every American Needs to Know About Radical Islam,” a video “that challenged rampant Islamophobia and jingoism right after the Paris terror attacks last November,” and “Why I’m “Ready for Hillary! ” which the creator claims to be an “extremely sarcastic indictment of Hillary Clinton published before she announced her candidacy early last year.”

Other videos by Wedler that suffered the same fate include “How America ‘wins’ the wars in Syria & Iraq” and “How I became a “self-hating Jew.” All of the de-monetized videos contain anti-war sentiments.

According to the prolific writer and blogger, YouTube only bothered to email her notifications regarding the changes in monetization for the Sanders and the mass shooting videos:

I noticed the [other] videos had all been stripped of monetization when I logged into Youtube to check out the two that had been officially flagged. However, when I checked my settings following receipt of the two emails regarding mass shootings and Bernie, my overall monetization setting had been switched off — meaning none of my videos was monetized.”

She claims to have “never selected that option” prior to learning about the issues with the videos mentioned previously, yet when she turned the monetization option back on, “the monetization reactivated — but only for videos that hadn’t been specifically flagged.”

“I also noticed that my videos before the self-hating Jew video hadn’t been rejected for monetization at all,”  she said.

In cases involving YouTube’s decision to flag her videos that included notifications, Wedler added, YouTube failed to give her “a specific reason as to why the videos were stripped of monetization. I’ve seen some screenshots of those emails from other Youtubers … and some contain reasons. Mine didn’t, though it’s pretty clear to me that in my case, it’s because they are considered ‘controversial.’ Some discuss war and some contain images of war, and they are always questioning military violence.”

While Wedler agrees that this type of policy is “not direct censorship … it does amount to an implicit attempt to discourage me and others from saying controversial things.”

She added that while YouTube is a “privately owned company that can decide which content is appropriate for its advertisers, … if they are deciding [which of] my videos shouldn’t be allowed to generate revenue, they are effectively removing much of my incentive to continue producing content on the platform.”

Despite the company’s policy, Wedler vows to continue making these videos simply because the message is what matters.

Google and Its Addiction to Buying Influence

As Wedler stated, YouTube is a private company and it has the right to set its own policies. But it’s undeniable that the site’s owner, Google, has, on a number of occasions, shown its favouritism through lobbying, prompting many to highlight the company’s appearance of favourable bias toward Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Google went from spending $80,000 on lobbying in 2003 to over $16 million in 2014. After 2014, Google, Inc. becameAlphabet, and in 2015, Alphabet invested over $16 million in lobbying. To date, the company has spent over $8 million on Washington politicians.

Alphabet’s top recipient this election cycle is, unsurprisingly, Hillary Clinton.

But despite its knack for influence buying, Google has, over the years, created relationships with think tanks that would have criticised the tech giant’s crony capitalist ways under different circumstances.

According to the Washington Post, Google has embarked on a quest to woo free market organisations by populating “elite think-tanks such as the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the New America Foundation” with its fellows, including “young lawyers, writers and thinkers paid by the company.”

From the Post:

To critics, Google’s investments have effectively shifted the national discussion away from Internet policy questions that could affect the company’s business practices. Groups that might ordinarily challenge the policies and practices of a major corporation are holding their fire, those critics say.”

Claiming to be defenders of privacy, Google successfully waged an aggressive lobbying campaign within Washington to defeat a congressional effort that could have put Google in the middle of a very nasty antitrust fight.

After supporting the European Union’s antitrust prosecution of Microsoft, Google found itself the target of the same type of scrutiny, being accused of unfairly discriminating against users.

With the excuse of going after companies like Google for antitrust law violations, Congress came up with the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a bill disguised as an anti-online piracy fix that would have allowed the federal government to targetillegal copies of films and other forms of media hosted on foreign servers.” The bill would have hurt Google the most because the search engine would have several results deleted from its database, requiringISPs to remove URLs from the Web, which is also known as censorship last time I checked,” Google chairman Eric Schmidt said.

Just one month before SOPA was unveiled by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Schmidt appeared before Congress during a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) hearing where a Republican senator “accused the company of skewing search results to benefit its own products and hurt competitors.” As this hearing took place and Google was grilled by lawmakers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Motion Picture Association of America lobbies pushed Congress to pass harsh anti-privacy legislation, accusing companies like Google of giving users access to pirated music and movies.

Afraid of the backlash caused by the hearing, Google feared the Hollywood lobby would end up hurting many of its partners, as well as smaller organisations directly tied to Google. But the search engine giant had a way out — its aggressive lobbying and partnership building skills.

As SOPA appeared poised for passage, Google and several other tech firms stood in opposition and the bill finally failed.

While SOPA was, indeed, a farce — and privacy advocates in Washington were happy the bill didn’t see the light of day — it’s important to note how hard Google worked to keep it from becoming a reality, putting the Silicon Valley giant closer to powerful institutions that, in theory, are against crony capitalism.

But after SOPA, the FTC went back to the drawing board, threatening to investigate Google’s alleged antitrust violations further. At the time, the “company’s rivals, including Microsoft and Yelp, were aggressively pressing arguments that Google was exploiting its dominance in the search business.

Reaching out to another partner, George Mason University’s Law & Economics Center, Google and the university put togetherthe first of three academic conferences at the GMU law school’s Arlington County campus,” which, according to theWashington Post, helped to shape the FTC’s approach to the Google probe from then on.

At the third academic conference held at GMU, Google remained present as a silent partner. As “[a] strong contingent of FTC economists and lawyers were on hand for the May 16, 2012, session,” the Washington Post reported, research financially backed by Google was presented by GMU lawyers and economists. And “[i]n January 2013, after an investigation that spanned more than a year and a half, the FTC settled the case with Google, which agreed to give its rivals more access to patents and make it easier for advertisers to use other ad platforms.”

From the publication:

But when it came to the charges that Google biased its search results to promote its own products, the five FTC commissioners all voted to close the investigation, saying there was no evidence the company’s practices were harming consumers.

As Google became more involved with politics, other lobbying opportunities would arise.

More recently, Google got involved in yet another powerful lobbying effort, which started when the company hired the former administrator of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to serve as the company’s Director of Safety for Self-Driving Cars, proving the revolving door that presidential candidate Barack Obama promised to nix is still alive and well. The effort paid off, and personal injury attorneys are now concerned that Google may try to push still more regulations, forcing regulators to stick the human driver with the blame for crashes and getting Google’s autonomous driving system off the hook.

Whether YouTube’s ad policy has anything to do with its parent company’s politics is impossible to determine. But as we analyse Google’s influence in Washington, it’s important to note that, whether you agree with the tech giant on none, some, or all issues, governments create the incentives for companies like Google to continue rent-seeking.

As the economist David R. Henderson puts it, individuals “are said to seek rents when they try to obtain benefits for themselves through the political arena. … licensed electricians and doctors [for instance] often lobby to keep regulations in place that restrict competition from unlicensed electricians or doctors.” Companies like Google are champions of this practice, which has helped to protect the brand’s popularity by keeping competitors at bay.

So it’s not a surprise to see many claiming their content is being censored by Google’s YouTube. After all, with the amount of power the company holds in Washington, it’s as if Google — or Alphabet — is an actual wing of the government.

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What’s Wrong with Hillary?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 16/09/2016 - 06:01

What in the world is wrong with Hillary Clinton? Besides her criminal activities and her warmongering, socialist, gun-grabbing politics, I mean. She collapses; has fainting spells; refuses to do press conferences; bobbles her head back and forth like a plastic, well, bobblehead; goes into weird, wide-eyed, out-of-control facial contortions; has constant coughing fits, and is escorted by physicians everywhere she goes. What gives?

After her blackout last Sunday, her campaign office said Hillary is suffering from pneumonia. The problem is that pneumonia does not come close to explaining all of the disturbing symptoms that the American people have been watching Hillary exhibit. And this is not to mention the fact that it is hard to imagine anyone in politics more unlikely, to tell the truth than Hillary Clinton–except for maybe Bill Clinton, G.W. Bush, Barack Obama, John McCain, Al Gore, Lindsey Graham, Dick Cheney, Nancy Pelosi, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Newt Gingrich, Ted Cruz–oh well, skip that point.

According to confirmed reports, here is what we know about Hillary’s health so far (this column being written before Hillary’s campaign released more of her health information on Wednesday, September 14):

*Hillary Clinton suffered her first blood clot in 1998 while she was First Lady and experienced the second incident in 2009.

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*In 2012, she was given blood thinners for a venous thrombosis of her right transverse sinus, which drains blood from the brain. This occurred some two weeks after falling and suffering a concussion. (By her own admission, Hillary could not remember security briefings, etc., regarding her email leaks. She attributed this memory loss to her concussion.) Her venous thrombosis was found on a CT brain scan. Typical symptoms of a venous thrombosis of the transverse sinus include headaches, strokes, and seizures. (Several reports have noted Hilary has suffered from blinding headaches for years, which tends to explain her often wearing dark glasses.)

*She has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism.

*She broke her elbow from a fall.

*She collapsed when she left a 9/11 ceremony this past Sunday. Her office said she has pneumonia.

A diagnosis of venous thrombosis of her right transverse sinus might help explain the blackouts, severe head-bobbling, wild-eyed facial contortions, coughing spells, etc. On the other hand, if she has completely recovered from the 2012 diagnosis (about 57% of such patients do), her current symptoms stem from something else altogether.

I’ve heard some physicians speculate that Hillary might also be suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. Medications prescribed for Parkinson’s Disease could also cause some of the symptoms we are seeing with Hillary.

The BIG question is: Are Hillary’s health problems serious enough to disqualify her from being President of the United States?

And I suppose the next biggest question is: If her health problems ARE serious enough to disqualify her from holding the office of President, would anyone bother to tell the American people?

For all intents and purposes, the mainstream media has been running Hillary’s presidential campaign from Day One. They have been talking to her, apologising for her, promoting her, downplaying her physical liabilities–even covering up those liabilities. Mainstream journalists, news anchors, reporters, etc., are more than Clinton lackeys; they function as her campaign team. So, unless Hillary’s health deteriorates to the point that it absolutely cannot be disguised any longer, the media will NEVER reveal just how sick Hillary might be.

Obviously, the DNC and Democratic leadership in Washington, D.C., will never tell the American people the truth about Clinton’s health–unless, again, it becomes impossible to hide it any longer. So, unless her condition worsens to the point that she loses motor skills, verbal skills, or cannot stand upright, Hillary Clinton will be portrayed as being in “perfect health.”

But obviously, something seems VERY WRONG with Hillary Clinton. And the American people are starting to notice.

Hillary’s poll numbers have plummeted from having a double-digit lead to now actually trailing Donald Trump. And the Clinton campaign knows that whichever candidate has the most momentum going into the election will win. And right now, Trump has ALL of the momentum.

It is no hyperbole to say that the DNC is worried. And for good reason. They have a candidate that is soiled from so many scandals it would be impossible to even name them all. She is disliked–even by people who plan to vote for her. Special interest groups favourable to the Democrat Party, such as radical feminists, are also down on Hillary, rightly blaming her for facilitating her husband Bill’s flagrant and perpetual abuse of women. She is speaking to crowds so small they could fit into a phone booth–remember those?

The only people who are publicly promoting Hillary right now are Party partisans, the sycophantic mainstream media, and the deviant-oriented Hollywood and entertainment crowds. Add a coughing, head-bobbling, stumbling, fainting, wild-eyed, face-contorting cartoon character to the mix, and Democrats have a VERY GOOD REASON to be worried.

I guess the next big question, then, is: What are they going to do about it? The options seem pretty simple:

1) They continue to do what they’ve been doing and keep Hillary out of the public eye as much as possible and let the media keep campaigning for her.

The problem with that strategy is the American people now notice Hillary’s health issues. The more the campaign tries to keep Hillary isolated and insulated, the more the American people will suspect that Hillary’s health is too problematic for her to be elected, and her poll numbers will plummet even further. But if Hillary’s health is as bad as some are suggesting, it will be impossible for her to function normally in the super-stress environment of a presidential campaign.

Then there are the presidential debates looming on the horizon. The campaign will not be able to shield Hillary from those appearances. And she will have no one standing next to her if she starts to fall down–and no doctor right beside her with a syringe in his hand containing whatever drug he’s using to quickly poke into her body in order to keep her lucid.

If Hillary’s health is truly not a serious issue, she should be able to continue her campaign normally. She will speak at all the rallies, hold press conferences, deal with the flashing lights from photographers, remain steady in the face of protesters and agitators, work with little sleep, take tough questions, etc.

But if Hillary’s health truly IS a serious issue, then the campaign will be forced to continue the current plan: keep Hillary out of the public eye as much as possible (except in VERY controlled environments) or risk letting Hillary try to fake her way through her illness (whatever it really is) and hope she doesn’t come apart.

Or, the other option would be:

2) They pull the plug and replace Hillary Clinton as the Democrat Party’s candidate for President.

If they choose this option, they must do so rather quickly. A couple more weeks or so, and it will be too late. And if they do choose this option, the question becomes: Who would they pick to replace Hillary?

Conventional wisdom would say that the mantle automatically falls to Tim Kaine. After all, he is the Party’s current nominee for Vice President. But that’s taking quite a risk.

Kaine is a liberal’s liberal. He is probably further to the left than Hillary (if that’s possible). Furthermore, he is a committed globalist, a total lackey for people like George Soros. A sizeable percentage of the Bernie Sanders supporters are already determined to not vote for Hillary due to her overt cronyism with the globalist and corporate elite. And these people would recognize Kaine to be even deeper in the globalists’ pockets than Clinton. Kaine would be a fresh face to the general population, but his political appeal is only to the extreme left. Hillary’s choice of Kaine was similar to John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin. Both Clinton and McCain chose a VP to try to bolster their respective bases. But to try to sell Kaine to the general public is quite a gamble.

Then there is Joe Biden.

Many months ago, I predicted that the Democrats would dump Hillary for Biden. But, of course, my predictions don’t always materialise. However, this one might.

Don’t let Joe Biden fool you. He comes across as a kind of country bumpkin, but that is just a front. He is one of the smartest politicians in Washington. He has the charm and charisma of a Bill Clinton, the wit and humour of a Ronald Reagan, and the intelligence of a John Kennedy–ok, that might be going too far. But if you think Joe Biden would not square off formidably against Donald Trump, you are very mistaken. And from a strict entertainment point of view, a Trump/Biden debate would be a hoot.

In my opinion, if the Democrats were smart, they would dump Hillary soon and pick Biden. As the sitting Vice President, he should easily be able to solidify the Party–including the Sanders people–and his disarming, whimsical manner would be a quick sell to a mostly distracted and shallow American public.

But make no mistake about it: should the Democrat candidate–be it Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine, or Joe Biden–be elected President, it will be little more than Barack Obama’s third term. Then again, Barack Obama’s terms were little more than G.W. Bush’s, and Bush’s terms were little more than Bill Clinton’s, and Clinton’s terms were little more than G.H.W. Bush’s–especially in matters pertaining to foreign policy. Each of these presidents was a toady for the globalist elite. Nothing more!

Right now, however, something seems mighty wrong with Hillary’s health. But the Trump campaign should be hoping that the Democrats stick with her, because I think whatever is wrong with Hillary will continue to negatively impact her campaign, and all that does is help Donald Trump win the election.

What a Donald Trump victory would bring to the table is the subject for another column. In the meantime, what in the world is wrong with Hillary? Even if nobody honestly tells us, the remaining weeks of this presidential campaign will tell us all we need to know.

Reprinted with permission from Chuck Baldwin.

The post What’s Wrong with Hillary? appeared first on LewRockwell.

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