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These Won’t Go Bad for Years

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mar, 31/01/2017 - 07:01

By Dr. Mercola

Food waste is a major problem in the U.S., not only on the farm, where produce may be dubbed unfit for sale because it’s too lumpy, too small or otherwise not aesthetically perfect, but also in U.S. homes.

It’s estimated that, overall, about 40 percent of U.S. food is wasted, and according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average U.S. family of four wastes more than 2 million calories, which equates to $1,500 worth of food, every year.1

Reducing food waste by just 15 percent could provide food to feed more than 25 million Americans every year, according to the USDA, and would also benefit the environment, since food waste is the largest component of municipal solid waste (composting food scraps in your backyard is one way to reduce this).

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Unless you carefully plan your meals, it’s easy to overbuy fresh foods and end up having them spoil before use. There are, however, a number of healthy staples you can stock up on in your kitchen without worrying about spoilage, as they keep for a long time — even years.

Non-Perishable Kitchen Staples to Stock Up Your Pantry

Having access to non-perishable food items is undoubtedly convenient. Stock up your pantry once in a while and you’ll be prepared to make a meal even on short notice or in a pinch.

What you want to avoid are foods that last a long time because they contain synthetic preservatives or come in canned form (cans are often lined with toxic bisphenol-A (BPA)). Instead, look for whole foods that are naturally long lasting and good for you. Some of the top options follow:

1.Dried Beans

Beans are a good source of folate, dietary fiber, manganese, protein, magnesium, vitamin B1 (thiamin), phosphorus and antioxidants, and may be beneficial for heart health when eaten in moderation.

A note when cooking dried beans: the cooking liquid will hold much of the nutrients after the beans are done cooking. One trick is to let the beans sit in the liquid for about an hour after cooking to help them reabsorb some of the lost nutrients.

Cooking beans in a pressure cooker may also preserve more nutrients than cooking beans using other methods.

2.Mustard

Mustard lasts for a long time (including up to three years before it’s opened) and high-quality versions are made of only beneficial mustard seeds, turmeric, water and vinegar.

Mustard adds a tasty kick to many types of foods, and as an added bonus may boost your metabolism by up to 25 percent for hours after you eat.2

3.White Vinegar

The Vinegar Institute states that white vinegar has an indefinite shelf life, due to its acidic nature.3 This is why it’s commonly used for pickling, and it’s also commonly added to condiments and other food dishes for flavor.

Vinegar may also significantly benefit your health. As reported in the Journal of Food Science:4

Functional therapeutic properties of vinegar … include antibacterial activity, blood pressure reduction, antioxidant activity, reduction in the effects of diabetes, prevention of cardiovascular disease, and increased vigor after exercise.”

Distilled white vinegar is excellent for cleaning and laundry, but for health purposes you’ll want to avoid the perfectly clear, “sparkling clean” varieties you commonly see on grocery store shelves. Instead, you want organic, unfiltered, unprocessed vinegar, which is murky.

When you try to look through it, you will notice a cobweb-like substance floating in it. This is known as “mother,” and it indicates your vinegar is of the best quality.

The reason manufacturers distill vinegar is to remove this rather murky looking stuff that most people find unappealing and won’t buy. But in this case, it’s the murky looking stuff you want.

As with most foods, the more processed a food is, the less nutritious, and this holds true for most vinegar as well.

4.Salt

While iodized salt has a shelf life of about five years, natural salt will remain fresh indefinitely. While many people are under the impression that salt intake should be restricted, the heart benefits of doing so have been questioned for some time.

In 2011, a systematic review of data involving 6,500 people found evidence was lacking to recommend salt restriction.5 Among people with high blood pressure or normal blood pressure, salt restriction was not significantly associated with overall mortality or cardiovascular mortality.

Among those with congestive heart failure, meanwhile, salt restriction was associated with increased mortality risk.

An update to the review, published in 2014, also found “there is insufficient power to confirm clinically important effects of dietary advice and salt substitution on cardiovascular mortality” among people with high blood pressure or normal blood pressure.6

Some studies have shown a modest benefit to salt restriction among some people with high blood pressure, but keep in mind that there’s a huge difference between natural salt and the processed salt added to processed foods and salt shakers in most homes and restaurants.

The former is essential for good health, whereas the latter is best avoided altogether. Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, stated:7

“A study from 1991 indicates that people need about one and one-half teaspoons of salt per day.

Anything less triggers a cascade of hormones to recuperate sodium from the waste stream, hormones that make people vulnerable to heart disease and kidney problems. This is proven biochemistry.”

5.Olives

Olives also have a long shelf life (about three years) when unopened, making them a perfect snack to keep on hand. Many people have shunned olives because of their high fat content, but this is precisely one reason that makes them so very good for you.

Most of the fat (more than 75 percent) in olives is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat known for lowering your risk of heart disease. Olives also contain antioxidants “in abundance,” according to research published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention.8

This includes phenol (hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol), polyphenols (oleuropein glucoside) and other compounds. The antioxidant properties of olives have been shown to be stronger than those of vitamin E.9

In addition, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in olives, as well as other anti-cancer compounds, make them useful for cancer prevention.

Both green and black olives are good for you, but there is research that suggests the antioxidant oleuropein content decreases as olives ripen. So, in some cases, green olives may have more of this beneficial compound (but it’s not enough of a reason to shun black olives if you enjoy them).10

6.Honey

While I recommend eating honey only in moderation, honey has antiviral and antibacterial properties that make it keep for a very long time. While its color or texture may change (turning grainy or hard), it’s still safe to eat. Hardened honey can be softened by soaking the container in a bowel of warm water.

Keep in mind that honey, if not consumed in moderation, will increase your insulin and leptin levels and can lead to poor health.

I recommend using raw Manuka honey — not the processed, refined varieties found in many grocery stores. Maple syrup is another natural sweetener that will keep a very long time when stored in your refrigerator or freezer (but this, too, should only be eaten in moderation).

7.Vanilla Extract

Real vanilla extract will keep for a very long time (much longer than imitation versions, which have a shelf life of about two years). I like to use organic vanilla extract to flavor one of my favorite snacks, macadamia nut fudge:

Dr. Mercola’s Macadamia Nut Fudge (snack, serves 8)

Ingredients

  • Cocoa butter — 300 grams (10.58 ounces)
  • Coconut oil — 200 grams (7.05 ounces)
  • Raw organic pastured butter — 200 grams
  • Macadamia nuts — 300 grams
  • 8 full droppers of stevia (can use Lo Han as a substitute)
  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Mix butters and oils over low heat for 3-5 minutes
  2. Let the mixture cool, then add stevia and vanilla bean paste
  3. Mix in 8-ounce wide-mouth ball jars
  4. Spread nuts into jars evenly
  5. Refrigerate until desired consistency is reached

8.Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are said to last up to two years with no refrigeration, courtesy of the high levels of antioxidants they contain.11They make a quick and easy-to-use source of protein, healthy fats, dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Their high concentration of the plant-based omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is one of their major claims to fame. Chia seeds contain up to 40 percent oil, with 60 percent comprised of omega-3.12

In addition, chia seeds contain a number of additional phytochemicals, each with its own unique benefits. This includes myricetin, quercetin and kaempferol, known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, and caffeic acid.13 Chia seeds can be added to smoothies or eaten as a pudding, a topping, a spread or even in place of breadcrumbs on meat and fish.

Some Foods Are Good Long Past Their Expiration Date

A report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Harvard found that more than 90 percent of Americans are throwing out food prematurely because of misunderstandings of what food date labels actually mean.14

The researchers concluded that food dates generally lead to good food getting thrown away prematurely. There is no universally accepted system for food dating in the U.S. “Sell by” dates aren’t meant for consumer use at all. They are there as tools to help retailers ensure proper product turnover when stocking shelves, yet many consumers believe it is a measure of food safety.

“Best if Used By (or Before)” dates are set by the manufacturer to suggest when to consume the food by for best flavor or quality. However, it is not a measure of safety either and foods can typically be safely consumed after the “best by” or “best before” date, often with minimal, if any, changes in taste or texture.

A “use by” date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. This date is also determined by the manufacturer and may vary widely even between similar products. So when determining whether a food is still good to eat, you’re basically on your own (but understand that many foods are still safe to eat beyond their expiration dates).

To minimize food waste and get the most from your food dollars, I recommend buying your food locally, preferably from a small organic farming operation you can visit and inspect for yourself. This guarantees that you get the freshest foods right from the start, giving you a few extra days (or in some cases weeks) of leeway before they spoil.

Sources and References

The post These Won’t Go Bad for Years appeared first on LewRockwell.

Soros on the Ropes?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mar, 31/01/2017 - 07:01

Although multi-billionaire hedge fund tycoon and international political pot-stirrer George Soros lost big with the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States and the victory of the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom, he stands to lose further ground, politically and financially, as the winds of political change sweep across the globe.

Soros, who fancies himself as the master of placing short put options on stocks, often cleaning up to the tune of billions of dollars in the process when the stock values collapse, has been dealt a few financial body blows. Recently, the Dutch securities market regulator AFM «accidentally» revealed online all of Soros’s short trades since 2012. Soros’s trades were revealed on AFM’s website and were removed after the regulator realized the «error». However, the Soros data had already been captured by automatic data capturing software programs operated by intelligence agencies and brokerage firms that routinely scour the Internet looking for such «mistakes».

Among the bank shares targeted by Soros was the Ing Groep NV, a major institution and important element of the Dutch economy. After campaigning against Brexit, Soros bet against the stock of Deutsche Bank AG, which he believed would fall in value after Britain voted to leave the EU. Deutsche Bank stock fell 14 percent and Soros cleaned up. But Soros’s celebration was temporary. With Trump’s election, Soros lost a whopping $1 billion in stock speculation. Surrounded by his fellow financial manipulators, Soros explained his recent losses while attending the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

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Soros’s mega-wealthy cronies placed their own bets against smaller Dutch firms. Those firms included Ordina, an information technology firm; Advanced Metallurgical Group; and the real estate group Wereldhave N.V.

Beware the Ides of March

The Soros data release comes at a particularly sensitive time in Dutch politics. The center-right government led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte is on the political ropes as it tries to fend off, in an election scheduled for March 15, a serious challenge by the right-nationalist Party for Freedom (PVV) of anti-migrant and anti-European Union leader Geert Wilders. An ally of Donald Trump, Wilders is likely to make political hay out of the fact that Soros, the champion of European open borders and mass migration, bet against Dutch banks. The Ides of March looks favorably upon a Wilders victory, an event that will drive another nail into the coffin of the European Union and Soros’s mass migration and open borders dream.

The Netherlands has not been particularly friendly to Soros and his goals. In November 2016, Soros’s Open Society Foundations, and two groups funded by Soros – the European Network Against Racism and Gender Concerns International – advertised job openings for Dutch youth «between the ages 17-26» who are Muslim immigrants and the children or grandchildren of Muslim immigrants to campaign against parties like those of Wilders and Rutte.

Prime Minister Rutte recently issued a warning to migrants who refuse to assimilate into Dutch society. Of course, Rutte was not referring to the thousands of migrants from former Dutch colonies in the Dutch East and West Indies who had no problem adopting Dutch culture, religion, and social manners. Rutte, who faces a 9-point lead by Wilders’s PVV, had some pointed words for the Muslim migrants in the Netherlands. In an interview with «Algemeen Dagblad», Rutte, in what could have been a speech by Wilders, said:

«I tell everyone. If you don’t like it here in this country, get out, get out! That’s the choice you have. If you live in a country where the ways of dealing with others annoy you, you have a choice, go away. You do not need to be here.» Rutte had a particular disdain for those who «don’t want to adapt… who attack gay people, shout at women in short skirts, or call ordinary Dutch people racist». Rutte left very little doubt about to whom he was referring, the recently-arrived Muslim migrants, «There have always been people who exhibited deviant behavior. But something has come to pass in the last year where we, as a society, should have an answer. With the arrival of large groups of refugees, the question arises: will the Netherlands still be the Netherlands?»

Coming from a one-time committed Euroatlanticist supporter of NATO, the EU, and the World Bank, Rutte’s words about migrants must have come as a complete shock to Soros and his minions.

The exposure of Soros’s financial manipulation of the Dutch economy is sure to enrage Dutch citizens already weary of migrants and diktats by the European Union. In April 2016, Dutch citizens overwhelmingly rejected the EU-Ukraine treaty that called for closer ties between the EU and the Kiev regime. The outcome enraged Soros, who is one of the Kiev regime’s principal puppet masters.

NGO «Santa Claus» now faces many closed doors

Europe once praised Soros as some sort of benevolent «Santa Claus,» who handed out millions for «good deeds» to one-world government proponents and other starry-eyed utopians. However, the veneer of Soros is wearing thin.

Russia was the first to call out Soros for his interference in Russian politics. The Soros plan to destabilize Russia dubbed the «Russia Project» by Soros’s Open Society Institute and Foundation, foresaw the outbreak of Ukrainian-style «Maidan Square» uprisings in cities across Russia. In November 2015, the Russian Prosecutor-General’s office announced the proscription of activities of the Open Society Institute and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation for endangering Russia’s constitutional order and national security.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban now leads the anti-Soros groundswell in Europe. The optics of Orban becoming the first European Union leader to go after the Hungarian-born Soros and his destabilization operations has not been lost on other EU leaders, including those in Poland and the Czech Republic. Orban has accused Soros of masterminding the migrant invasion of Europe. In retaliation for these and other moves by Soros, Orban has warned that the various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) backed by Soros risk being expelled from Europe altogether.

Orban has been joined in venting his anger about Soros by former Macedonian prime minister Nikola Gruevski, who was forced from office and an early election after Soros-inspired demonstrations in his country took place amid a massive influx of Muslim migrants from Greece.

Referring to Soros’s global political operations, the former Macedonian prime minister said in a recent interview, «He is not doing that just in Macedonia, but in the Balkans, across Eastern Europe, and now, most recently, in the United States. Secondly, from what I’ve read about him, in some countries he does it for material and financial reasons, to earn a lot of money, while in others for ideological reasons».

In Poland, where Soros has been very influential, a Member of Parliament for the ruling right-wing Law and Justice Party (PiS), Krystyna Pawłowicz, recently demanded that Soros be stripped of Poland’s highest honor for foreigners, the Commander with Star of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland. Pawłowicz considers Soros’s operations in Poland to be illegal. She also believes that Soros’s organizations are «financing the anti-democratic and anti-Polish element with a view to fighting Polish sovereignty and indigenous Christian culture».

Czech President Milos said, in a 2016 interview, «some of his [Soros’s] activities are at least suspicious and they strikingly remind of interferences in [countries’] internal affairs. The organizing of what is known as color revolutions in individual countries is an interesting hobby, but it brings more harm than benefit to the countries concerned». Zeman claimed Soros was planning a color revolution for the Czech Republic.

Aivars Lembergs, the mayor of Ventspils, Latvia and a leader of the Union of Greens and Peasants, wants Soros and his NGOs banned from Latvia. Lembergs argues that two Soros publications in Latvia – Delna, and Providus – have propagandized in favor of Latvia receiving Muslim migrants. Lembergs sees the migrants and Soros’s support for them as endangering Latvian state security. The mayor believes that «George Soros must be outlawed in Latvia. He must be banned from entering the country».

In neighboring Lithuania, the Labor Party has also questioned Soros’s activities in the country. The party and its parliamentary allies have asked Lithuania’s security services to investigate the «financial schemes and networks» of Soros because of the threat they pose to national security. The Lithuanian parties claim that Soros groups specialize at «not consolidating, but dividing, society».

It is no longer easy being a meddlesome multi-billionaire who overthrows governments with the snap of a finger. Soros has not only alienated the President of Russia and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom but now the President of the United States. Soros is also enemy number one among the leaders of China. With such an array of enemies, it is doubtful Soros will have any more political successes like Ukraine or Georgia. With all of his billions, Mr. Soros now only commands a «paper doll army».

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Healing With Pot

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mar, 31/01/2017 - 07:01

Marijuana has gone mainstream, as evidenced by the spread of the use of marijuana as a medicine, and now outright legalization in some places is turning peoples’ heads and hearts to a vision where marijuana is perceived as good. Now available in print, I am very happy to announce the New York publication of my book Healing with Medical Marijuana, now available on Amazon. In it, one can find total support for the use of marijuana—even for rest and relaxation.

Researchers are still struggling to understand how it impacts the body but anyone can use marijuana and see for themselves how it affects their pain and disease conditions. In a new 400-page analysis of the current state of scientific knowledge on the health risks and benefits of marijuana, medical scientists concluded that marijuana can effectively treat chronic pain. The sweeping report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, covered more than 10,000 scientific studies.

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“I was diagnosed with prostate cancer on October 18, 2014. I was advised by my doctor that my only options were to get a prostatectomy or have radiation seeds implanted in my prostate or receive regular external beam radiation. I declined, I knew there had to be other options. I scoured the Internet and discovered a wealth of information about cannabis oil curing cancer. I was able to obtain some medical marijuana oil (Rick Simpson Oil) and consumed the recommended dosage by mid-January. On January 26th, I had a cancer reassessment which consisted of an MRI with a state of the art Tesla 3 MRI machine. Results – NO SIGN OF CANCER! CANCER FREE! One of the things that helped me while going through all this was reading the testimonials and the success stories of those who have used the oil and were cured also with good food diet. Now that this wonderful oil has cured me, I feel I need to let others know as well.”

Bottom line to marijuana—it mitigates human suffering. It is the best and safest pain medication. It is cheap if you grow it yourself. It is better than any pharmaceutical on the market. It treats cancer. It is a wonder drug and can even be used by healthy people to keep their stress down.

Not all Americans are celebrating marijuana as a God given gift. Some would rather have people poison themselves with pharmaceuticals than take something natural. Conservative Tim Bradley believes that there are legitimate medical reasons to ingest marijuana but thinks that people should not be allowed to “grow their own supply of the drug.” He believes that marijuana should only be used by those whom are issued prescriptions, and prescriptions for marijuana should be restricted “to cases where there is no less mind-altering medical treatment reasonably available to the patient.”

Obviously, Bradley favors medical terrorism as currently practiced by mainstream doctors. Personally, I believe most doctors should be avoided like the plague for that is exactly what they are a plague on earth killing more people than anyone else—at least in America where hundreds of thousands of people die every year at the hands of doctors for one reason or another. I read someone recently going as far as saying that the medical industry is a holocaust industry but you will find no one in the mainstream even whispering that.

It is hard to understand this aversion to the process of altering one’s mind. It is the mainstream mind with all its limitations and blinders that needs to be altered including Bradley`s mind. Bradley concludes that “no society is better off with legalized marijuana,” so he is in favor of locking a lot of people up in cages, which the American government loves to do.

According to FBI crime data, “643,000 people were arrested for marijuana in 2015” and “574,000 of these arrests were for possession rather than distribution and sale.” Arrests last year “for possessing small amounts of marijuana exceeded those for all violent crimes.” Governments are stupid and cruel when it comes to marijuana and they want us to have, in the end, one government to rule over us all. The United Nations, one of the major front organizations for globalization is against the use of marijuana. What we have seen in America is what they would like to see forever for the entire human race.

In the United States, possession of marijuana is punishable by up to one year in jail and a minimum fine of $1,000 for a first conviction. For a second conviction, the penalties increase to a 15-day mandatory minimum sentence with a maximum of two years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. Subsequent convictions carry a 90-day mandatory minimum sentence and a maximum of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

If this is the sane punishment for something God gave us I wonder what the punishment should be for the bankers, government officials and doctors who inject toxic chemicals and heavy metals into children`s blood streams. Some people just hate democracy meaning they hate that people should have a say in their own lives and in their workings and direction of their countries or world.

Everyone who is against marijuana is against freedom. They are against God and they are against the will of the people who clearly want to be able to use marijuana when they want to or need to. Wherever there is freedom marijuana will be legal and unregulated.

Wherever there is marijuana there will be reductions in suffering, pain, and reductions in side effects from pharmaceutical drugs that kill people.

When people choose marijuana over alcohol life is served because alcohol is dangerous not only to oneself but to others who we might plow down while driving under the influence. Alcohol is also one of the causes of cancer whereas marijuana can be used to treat cancer.

Today people are voting to legalize. That is the will of the people. People care whereas governments are into an entirely different trip. We see the war between people and their governments that marijuana has created with many benefiting financially from the war on drugs.

Some speak about morality when they talk about marijuana but what is the morality of making war and destroying societies from within. What is the morality in denying people access to a natural miracle drug that is safe, effective and cheap? Where is the morality of being against Nature, against God, and against natural medicine? Being against marijuana is also to be against science, which is aware of all the medical benefits.

I recently read that “Our intelligence and our insanity are identical twins because it is insane to destroy the planet on which we depend one-on-one for everything that allows us to live, and at the same time dream of human life on another planet.” We are busy destroying our planet. We are completely clueless about how crazy we are. The only thing crazy about marijuana is the war against it.

Where we stand on marijuana tells us much. Are we cruel wanting to control others and want to force them into dangerous medical approaches and drugs? Are we mean wanting to torture and lock people up for smoking marijuana (for whatever reason) or are we loving individuals who believe in freedom? These are questions that people are voting for and the vote is for love and a God given drug and the right to use it without complete assholes breathing down our necks.

According to the complaining DEA, the media has made it difficult for government agents to arrest people for selling and consuming marijuana. Poor them, complaining about losing some of their ability to ruin peoples` lives. The DEA also blames the increasing trend of legalization across the United States.

The DEA decided to keep cannabis a harmful “Schedule 1” drug in August, but the National Institute for Cancer maintains that cannabis holds many benefits for treating nausea, vomiting, pain, anxiety, and loss of appetite. The United States government has held a patent on marijuana for its antioxidant properties since 1979 yet still maintains officially that there are no medical benefits.

A recent video of a former cop with debilitating Parkinson’s disease showed how just a few drops of cannabis oil helped calm his uncontrolled movements and relieve his pain, and available medical research backs up his experience. Epileptic children enjoy relief from severe seizures, and preliminary medical research also supports their experiences. Countless cancer patients testify to the immense benefits cannabis brings them, especially when it comes to mitigating the effects of chemotherapy.

One man who suffered from staggering cluster headaches as a result of the nation’s biggest natural gas leak in history found relief from cannabidiol (CBD) oil after trying numerous other treatments with no success.

With the war against drugs, we see that politicians don’t care about their own people. The war on drugs is a crime against humanity. Besides creating a wide swath of harm among the population drug laws have led to a lack of respect for law and politicians who make and support them no matter how unfair and cruel the laws are.

Conclusion

Marijuana is safe, effective and affordable medicine, which is better than anything you can get at your pharmacy except for sodium bicarbonate, iodine, and magnesium chloride, all of which are natural and used to great effect in emergency rooms and intensive care wards.

There are many options for administration of medical marijuana. You can smoke it by burning, smoke it with a vaporizer, you can eat it raw and not get high, you can use it transdermally, and one can concentrate it in oil form for the treatment of cancer. You can even take it without the THC and that is called CBD, which is legal everywhere.

After Note: Western medicine is in love with the old saying that the dose makes the poison. And while it is true that almost all pharmaceuticals are poison’s marijuana is not unless taken at extremely high and concentrated levels. When one is using marijuana as a medicine it is generally safe to take the dosage up to whatever level is necessary to gain a needed effect. We do not apply the dose makes the poison principle, there is little need. However, when one uses marijuana for anti-stress, creativity and recreation then we could apply this 400-year-old principle. Meaning everyone has a certain dosage where using marijuana is wonderfully in tune with their needs. But if we go beyond that dosage for years on end then we have an addiction and some physical downsides in terms of our energy and sometimes even organ health.

Reprinted with permission from DrSircus.com.

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A Better Solution Than the Wall

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mar, 31/01/2017 - 07:01

Just one week in office, President Trump is already following through on his pledge to address illegal immigration. His January 25th executive order called for the construction of a wall along the entire length of the US-Mexico border. While he is right to focus on the issue, there are several reasons why his proposed solution will unfortunately not lead us anywhere closer to solving the problem.

First, the wall will not work. Texas already started building a border fence about ten years ago. It divided people from their own property across the border, it deprived people of their land through the use of eminent domain, and in the end, the problem of drug and human smuggling was not solved.

Second, the wall will be expensive. The wall is estimated to cost between 12 and 15 billion dollars. You can bet it will be more than that. President Trump has claimed that if the Mexican government doesn’t pay for it, he will impose a 20 percent duty on products imported from Mexico. Who will pay this tax? Ultimately, the American consumer, as the additional costs will be passed on. This will, of course, hurt the poorest Americans the most.

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Third, building a wall ignores the real causes of illegal border crossings into the United States. Though President Trump is right to prioritize the problem of border security, he misses the point on how it can be done effectively and at an actual financial benefit to the country rather than a huge economic drain.

The solution to really addressing the problem of illegal immigration, drug smuggling, and the threat of cross-border terrorism is clear: remove the welfare magnet that attracts so many to cross the border illegally, stop the 25 year US war in the Middle East, and end the drug war that incentivizes smugglers to cross the border.

The various taxpayer-funded programs that benefit illegal immigrants in the United States, such as direct financial transfers, medical benefits, food assistance, and education, cost an estimated $100 billion dollars per year. That is a significant burden on citizens and legal residents. The promise of free money, free food, free education, and free medical care if you cross the border illegally is a powerful incentive for people to do so. It especially makes no sense for the United States government to provide these services to those who are not in the US legally.

Likewise, the 40-year war on drugs has produced no benefit to the American people at a great cost. It is estimated that since President Nixon declared a war on drugs, the US has spent more than a trillion dollars to fight what is a losing battle. That is because just as with the welfare magnet, there is an enormous incentive to smuggle drugs into the United States.

We already know the effect that ending the war on drugs has on illegal smuggling: as more and more US states decriminalize marijuana for medical and recreational uses, marijuana smuggling from Mexico to the US has dropped by 50 percent from 2010.

Finally, the threat of terrorists crossing into the United States from Mexico must be taken seriously, however once again we must soberly consider why they may seek to do us harm. We have been dropping bombs on the Middle East since at least 1990. Last year President Obama dropped more than 26,000 bombs. Thousands of civilians have been killed in US drone attacks. The grand US plan to “remake” the Middle East has produced only misery, bloodshed, and terrorism. Ending this senseless intervention will go a long way toward removing the incentive to attack the United States.

I believe it is important for the United States to have secure borders, but unfortunately, President Trump’s plan to build a wall will end up costing a fortune while ignoring the real problem of why people cross the borders illegally. They will keep coming as long as those incentives remain.

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SkyDiving Without a Parachute

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mar, 31/01/2017 - 07:01

Given how expensive traffic tickets are, it’s amazing so many people won’t buy a good radar detector. Unlike the car you’re driving, it actually is an investment – and not just in terms of the money it will save you.

A good radar detector will also make driving enjoyable again. Instead of hewing to the letter of every ridiculous speed limit – or living in perpetual fear (and inevitable actuality) of being ticketed for exceeding them – you’ll be able to drive again. Which, incidentally, is also a safety advantage. You spend more time watching the road than the speedometer (there is a reason why race cars do not have speedometers).

But let’s run the numbers first.

You’ll pay about $400 or so for a good radar detector. You do not want a bad one – defined as one that either isn’t sensitive enough to pick up police radar until it’s too late or one that picks up too much radar that isn’t police radar – like the radar emanating from automatic doors and other cars equipped with radar-using safety systems such as Blind Spot/Lane Departure Warning systems. Too many boys-who-cried-wolf and you’ll probably be off your guard when the real wolf appears.

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I use the Valentine1 and recommend it – because in addition to being very sensitive and very discriminating (the latest models have new “Junk-K ” filtration software to separate out not-cop radar while still being ultra-sensitive to cop radar) it has front and rear facing antennas (most other detectors only have forward antennas) and it’s the only detector that you can send back to be updated as the latest technology becomes available. Other detectors may be state-of-the-art today, but tomorrow not so much – and your only option then is to drive around with an obsolete detector and be increasingly vulnerable to the cops’ latest technology – or throw the thing away and get a new one.

At full price.

The V1 also has directional indicators – telling you where the radar-running cop is lurking – and can track multiple threats at once, each displayed digitally, with an accompanying audible warning cue. It is the SigSauer of radar detectors.

Anyhow, you pay let’s say $400.

Once.

Now consider how quickly that investment is amortized – and begins to actually make you money. I will use myself as an example.

This morning, on the way home, the V1 alerted me to a pair of county cops running a speed trap on a very straight, very tempting – and very under-posted stretch of the rural highway that bisects my county. This road – US 221 in SW Virginia – usually doesn’t have much traffic and the posted speed limit (55 MPH) is, per usual, set well below the 85th percentile speed (read about that here) which is nearly universal and has the effect of turning almost every driver on any given road into a “speeder” vulnerable to being ticketed.

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Preventing Heart Attacks

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mar, 31/01/2017 - 07:01

Although a thrombus (blood clot) in a coronary artery that supplies the heart with oxygenated blood is the most frequent cause of death among men, “its immediate cause has always been wrapped up in mystery.” — Pathologist Paris Constantinides, Journal American Medical Assn.,1964.

In 1990 an article published in The New York Times stated that cardiologists “had a nagging sense that a big piece of the puzzle of why people have heart attacks was missing…. although doctors conventionally attributed heart attacks to severe narrowing of the heart’s arteries from fatty deposits, they found in studying the coronaries of heart attack victims that the vessels were often relatively clean. And some cardiac patients had none of the known risks, like smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.” 

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The report went on to say: “Blood clots that plug the heart’s tiny arteries have emerged as the prime culprits in perhaps 80 percent of heart attacks, and smaller clots appear to contribute to the more chronic process of hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis. Now cardiologists have collected impressive evidence that the blood of heart attack victims may form clots too readily and stick with unusual tenacity to vessel walls, blocking the arteries of the heart.” 

The New York Times report made reference to pathologist Dr. Paris Constantinides, who over 50 years ago now found that “hardening of the arteries wasn’t the problem… when the clot was removed some of the vessels were still 70-80 percent open” he said.  [New York Times Oct 16, 1990]

Generally speaking, modern-day cardiologists address blocked coronary arteries as stenosis – narrowing of a blood vessel — and treat it with implantable wire props called stents.  Stent-happy cardiologists abound.

Twenty-six years after the New York Times report the reason for the clots in coronary arteries has finally been uncovered.

But there is more to learn before the final piece of the puzzle is revealed.

Sticky Platelet Syndrome

Prior to the report in the New York Times, a phenomenon called sticky platelet syndrome was first described in 1983.  Blood platelets are a component of blood that halt bleeding by clumping together to seal up breaks in blood vessel walls.  Platelets are what seal up a wound in your skin.

However, this syndrome was largely ignored in the medical literature till 1995. [Clinical & Applied Thrombosis/ Hemostasis 1998]  However a present-day report says sticky platelet syndrome is still being ignored. [Seminars Thrombosis Hemostasis 2016]

A report published in 1998 indicated sticky platelet syndrome accounts for 21% of unexplained arterial blockages (acute heart attack and strokes, transient ischemic attacks or TIAs, and retinal and peripheral blood clots) and 13% of unexplained venous blockages (deep vein thrombosis in the legs, retina, and lungs).  The total incidence of clotting-related diseases (thrombosis) in 1996 was reported as follows:

1498 per 100,000 Americans (3,742,000 cases of clotting events — strokes, heart attacks) resulting in 1,990,000 deaths

Compared to:

544 cases of cancer per 100,000 Americans (1,359,150 cases) resulting in 554,740 cancer-related deaths.

All totaled, clotting events are three times more prevalent and four times a deadly than cancer.   

Commonly used blood thinners, Warfarin (Coumadin) or heparin are not effective for sticky platelet syndrome though low-dose aspirin (81 mg) appears to be somewhat effective, though problematic. [Clinical Applied Thrombosis/Hemostasis 1998] 

However, before you reach for an aspirin tablet you should know that a baby aspirin has not been demonstrated to prevent heart attacks among healthy individuals. [FDA Consumer]  And a full-size aspirin tablet can cause bleeding gastric ulcers that kill a few thousand people annually. [FDA Safety of Aspirin]

It was around this time when sticky platelet syndrome began to be recognized that Dr. James H. Privitera wrote his landmark book entitled: Silent Clots: Life’s Biggest Killers (1997).  Used copies are still available at Amazon.com.

Lipoprotein(a) and vitamin C and sticky platelets

Elevated homocysteine and lipoprotein(a) are among the listed causes of clotting events.  Lipoprotein(a) is the protein that seals up breaks in artery walls when vitamin C levels are low and normal repair cannot take place.  Lipoprotein(a) is like a sticky bandage and it attracts blood platelets, the clotting factor in the blood. 

This author has previously written about lipoprotein(a), which was identified as a major factor in the onset of heart attacks by Linus Pauling and Dr. Matthias Rath described in 1990. [Proceedings National Academy Sciences Dec 1990; Knowledge of Health Aug 5, 2013]

Elevated lipoprotein(a) blood levels promote blood clots.  In one study about 20% of patients with clots in the veins in their legs were found to have elevated lipoprotein(a) levels. [Blood2000]

Unstable arterial plaque that can rupture and induce an acute heart attack was first described in the year 2000. [New England Journal Medicine 2000] Low vitamin C blood levels give rise to an unstable arterial plaque that is vulnerable to rupture. [Circulation March 26, 2002] 

Lipoprotein(a) is only found in the blood of animals that do not internally produce their own vitamin C. [Chang Gung Medical Journal 2011]  Statin drugs actually raise lipoprotein(a) levels. [Atherosclerosis Oct 2006]

It is not beneficial to attempt to lower lipoprotein(a) levels but rather to increase vitamin C intake so lipoprotein(a) never sticks to breaks in the wall of coronary arteries.

Elevated lipoprotein(a) does not fully explain sticky platelet syndrome

Lipoprotein(a) still does not explain all of the idiopathic heart attacks (those that arise spontaneously without a known cause).

Because the origin of these heart attacks and strokes went unexplained they were assumed to be hereditary.  But it turns out, sticky platelet syndrome is largely governed by the foods one eats and families learn to like the same foods.  So while this syndrome is passed along family lines, it is familial, not genetic (inherited).

In this modern era of medicine, there are still no guidelines for the treatment of sticky platelet syndrome because of a lack of understanding of its origin. [Seminars in Thrombosis & Hemostasis 2016; [Folia Haematologica 1988]

Given no convincing understanding to the origin of sticky platelet syndrome as no identifiable risk factors are evident, and given that it occurs along family lines, it has remained a mystery, till now

Lo and behold: gut microbes cause sticky platelet syndrome

A recently published report says: “We now show that gut microbes, through the generation of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), an odorless, colorless, nitrogen-based metabolite produced in the human gut (intestines) directly contributes to blood platelet-induced thrombosis (clotting) potential.”  [Cell March 24, 2016]

Another report says: “Blood plasma TMAO levels predict subsequent heart attacks and strokes by 3 years.  TMAO reveals a previously unrecognized mechanistic link between specific dietary nutrients, gut microbes, platelet function and clotting risk.” [Cell March 24, 2016]

A recent study shows patients arriving at an emergency room with chest pain were six times more likely to exhibit elevated TMAO levels and were almost twice as likely to die of a heart attack over a 7-year follow-up period. [European Heart Journal Jan 11, 2017]  Another recent study confirms this doubling of mortal heart attack risk with elevated TMAO levels. [Journal American Heart Association June 2016]

And more convincingly, TMAO has recently been identified as the agent that induces rupture of arterial plaque. [American Journal Cardiology Nov 1, 2016]

TMAO is independent of established risk factors for heart attack and strokes such as insulin resistance, mid-section obesity, and fatty liver. [Scientific Reports May 27, 2016]

TMAO is not just a bystander or a minor player in the etiology of life-threatening blood clots that induce heart attacks and strokes.  Blood platelet involvement and activation is described as an “essential step in the genesis and propagation of atherothrombotic (blood clotting) complications.”  [Cell Metabolism April 12, 2016] 

Nutrients in foods elevate TMAO levels

Nutrients such as choline (a B vitamin rich in eggs) and carnitine (an amino acid provided in beef), lecithin (phosphatidylcholine) and betaine are metabolized in the gut (intestines) and converted to TMA (trimethylamine) and then transported to the liver via the portal vein where it is metabolized into TMAO. [Toxins Nov 8, 2016; PLoS One Jan 27, 2017; Nature April 7, 2011]

Certain foods raise TMAO levels.  Beef as a source of carnitine raises TMAO levels. [Food & Function Sept 14, 2016]

While eggs are a rich source of choline, consumption of 0, 1, 2, 3 eggs a day was not shown to increase TMAO levels in healthy adults. [Lipids Jan 13, 2017]  Yet in another study, 2 eggs/day did increase TMAO levels. [American Journal Clinical Nutrition Sept 2014]

While eggs and beef are a source of choline and carnitine, two dietary precursors for TMAO, fish consumption produces far higher circulating TMAO blood levels (46-62 times greater) than eggs and beef. [Molecular Nutrition Food Research Jan 2017]

While consumption of fish demonstrably raises TMAO levels, in an animal study fish oil (not fish) reduces TMAO induced impaired glucose intolerance and fatty tissue inflammation in high-fat-fed mice. [Food & Function April 2015]  So fish oil supplements are not to be feared.

When healthy foods turn out to induce TMAO and sticky platelets

Dietary fiber derived from carbohydrate-rich foods such as potatoes, grains, beans, cereals, produce “resistant starches” (resist digestion), particularly when these cooked foods are cooled. Misdirected health coaches suggest doubling of so-called resistant starches in the diet in order to control weight. 

“Resistant starch has the potential to become the next hot nutrition trend,” says an author of the American Dietetic Association’s Guide To Better Digestion.” [Prevention

However, diets high in resistant starch increase blood plasma levels of TMAO, the gut toxin that is associated with increased risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular death. [British Journal Nutrition Dec 2016]

Nutritionists circle their wagons in defense of foods that raise TMAO

The community of nutritionists is not ready to accept TMAO as a problematic agent in cardiovascular health and claims kidney disease may be the underlying cause. [Trends Endocrinology Metabolism Feb 2017]  Most certainly, elevated TMAO levels are associated with chronic kidney disease. [Kidney International May 2016] 

The fact that as TMAO levels increase the degree of kidney dysfunction worsens suggests TMAO is a cause not just a marker of kidney failure. [PLoS One Jan 11, 2016]

TMAO slows bile acid regulation and disposal. Bile if made from cholesterol in the liver.  TMAO then travels in the bloodstream where its detrimental actions can contribute to heart failure, atherosclerosis, and kidney disease. [Current Opinion Lipidology April 2016] 

B vitamins have recently been shown to reduce circulating TMAO levels. [Molecular Nutrition Food Research Aug 28, 2016]

The most striking effect of negating the adverse effects of TMAO was recently demonstrated in an animal study. 

TMAO reduces bile production in the liver that then indirectly results in a marked increase in arterial fatty plaque.  An increase in TMAO blood levels paralleled a change in the balance of two families of gut bacteria (Firmicutes/ Bacteroidetes).  This undesirable effect was reversed by supplementation with the red wine molecule resveratrol in genetically prone laboratory animals.  [mBio April 5, 2016] An extensive report is available at ResveratrolNews.com.

Who will monitor TMAO levels?

TMAO blood levels are not currently a part of a standard CBC (complete blood count).  Which medical specialist will be upon to monitor TMAO levels and prescribe corrective therapy?  Cardiologists were trained and are paid to implant stents, insert catheters into the heart and inflate a balloon to break up clots, to perform coronary artery bypass surgery, not to become gut bacteria specialists.  It may be the moment patients take things into their own hands until the practice of modern medicine catches up with its own science. 

Given that resveratrol pills inhibit TMAO, diminish platelet clumping, reduce inflammation [Indian Journal Biochemistry Biophysics Feb 2013; Platelets Aug 2005], and may be the safest and most effective pain reliever ever [ResveratrolNews.com Dec 28, 2015], resveratrol may serve as a safe alternative to aspirin. [Nutraceuticals World April 15, 2010]

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The Justice System

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mar, 31/01/2017 - 07:01

On January 23, 2017, I asked, “Are Americans Racists?” I pointed out examples where racist explanations prevail over empirical fact. I did not write that there is no racism in America. I said that racism is not the be-all and end-all explanation of American history and institutions. The point I made is that racist explanations are often inadequate and both work against racial harmony and blind us to more general and more serious problems.

Perhaps the worst of America’s failed institutions is the criminal justice system. The US has the largest prison population in the world, not only as a percentage of the population but also in absolute numbers. “Freedom and democracy” America has an absolute larger number of incarcerated citizens than “authoritarian” China, a country with four times the US population.

Many factors contribute to this result. One is the privatization of prisons, which has turned them into profit-making enterprises ever needful of more labor to exploit, which adds to the pressure for convictions. Another factor is the disregard of the protective features of law in order to more easily pursue demonized offender groups, such as the Mafia, child abusers, drug dealers and users, and “terrorists.” Lawrence M. Stratton and I describe the transformation of law from a shield of the people into a weapon in the hands of the state in our book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

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This transformation did not occur because of racism. It occurred because chasing after devils and convicting them became more important than justice. Today the criminal justice system is largely indifferent to a defendant’s guilt or innocence. This is a far worst problem than racism. It is the main reason that there are so many false convictions in the US and so many wrongfully convicted Americans in prison. Indeed, even the guilty are wrongfully convicted as it is easier to frame them than to convict them on the evidence.

To be clear: The primary reason for wrongful conviction is that the success indicator for police, prosecutor, and judge is conviction, not justice. Crimes are solved by wrongful convictions. High conviction rates boost the careers of prosecutors, and high profile convictions boost their political careers. The key to rapid and numerous convictions is the plea bargain. And plea bargains suit judges as they keep the court docket clear. Today 97% of felony cases are settled with a plea bargain. This means police evidence and a prosecutor’s case are tested only three times out of 100. When the evidence and case are tested in court, the test confronts a vast array of prosecutorial misconduct, such as suborned perjury and the withholding of exculpatory evidence. In America, everything is loaded against Justice.

In a plea bargain police do not have to present evidence, prosecutors do not have to bring a case, and judges do not have to pay attention to the case and be troubled by a growing backlog as trials consume days and weeks.

In a plea bargain the defendant, innocent or guilty, is told that he can plead to this or that offence, which carries a lighter sentence than the crime that allegedly has actually occurred and on which the defendant is arrested, or the defendant can go to trial where he will face more serious charges that carry much harsher penalties. As it has become routine for police to falsify evidence, for prosecutors to suborn perjury and withhold exculpatory evidence, for jurors naively to trust police and prosecutors, and for judges to look the other way, attorneys advise defendants to accept a plea deal. In other words, no one expects a fair trial or for real evidence to play a role in the outcome.

The short of it is that the pursuit of justice is not a feature of the American criminal justice system. Justice does not matter to the police, to the prosecutor, to the jury, to the judge, and often not to the hardened defense attorney who has witnessed so much injustice that he believes justice is a fairy tale.

The only exception to this is the justice introduced from outside the justice system by innocence projects and pro bono attorneys, such as Bryan Stevenson.

In 2014 Stevenson published Just Mercy, a fascinating collection of case histories of wrongful convictions that he and his colleagues managed to have overturned. A book such as this benefits from a main case, and the one that Stevenson delivers is that of Walter McMillian. It required six years for Stevenson to overturn what must be the most obvious, blatant frame-up of a completely innocent man in US history. There were a large number of witnesses who testified that they were with McMillian at a fish fry during the time that a murder for which McMillian was indicted and convicted took place. The only “evidence” against McMillian was the suborned perjury of a man who retracted his coerced testimony three times, once in the courtroom of Alabama Judge Thomas B. Norton, who simply ignored it.

McMillian is black, and the sheriff, prosecutor, judge, and jury that framed him are white. This fact, together with the fact that the ignored witnesses whose testimony cleared McMillian were black and McMillian’s sexual affair with a white woman in a small Alabama town, seem to convince Stevenson that McMillian was convicted because of racism.

Using Stevenson’s own account, I am going to show that many other factors in addition to racism played roles in McMillian’s wrongful conviction. Stevenson’s emphasis on a racist explanation of Alabama justice deflects attention from the fact that human corruption and evil go far beyond mere racism. McMillian was wrongfully convicted because the justice system has no concern with justice. Letting the system off as merely racist doesn’t nearly go far enough. The problem is much worse.

McMillian was falsely convicted, (1) because sheriff John Tate was under community criticism for the failure to solve the murder case of a young woman and needed someone to arrest for the crime, (2) because Ralph Meyers gave false testimony against McMillian for confused reasons that did not work out for him, (3) because the local newspaper, as newspapers are wont to do, convicted McMillian in the press, which meant that the jury had to convict or be accused of letting off a murderer, and (4) because the judge, Robert E. Lee Key, not only is unworthy of his name but most certainly did not have the fortitude to run a fair trial when the only possible outcome for his career and reputation in the community was conviction. Neither did his successor, Thomas B. Norton, have the fortitude for the same reasons.

I am convinced that all of these representatives of the justice system are racists, but they would have convicted McMillian for the same reasons if he had been white. If the justice system was concerned with justice, he would not have been convicted irrespective or race or gender.

What the emphasis on racism blinds us to is that the justice system is corrupt because justice does not play a role in it. Justice has to be brought into the system from outside by people such as Bryan Stevenson. And for people such as Stevenson to bring justice into the justice system, they must have a high tolerance for death threats and for witnessing justice fail again and again.

I want to emphasize that I am not being critical of Bryan Stevenson. He is very intelligent, overflowing with integrity, determination, ability and empathy for others. He has a moral conscience second to none. He is someone everyone would love to have as a friend and colleague. If Stevenson does not see what his own work reveals, that injustice prevails irrespective of race and gender, it is because he grew to maturity during a time when the victimization of identity politics is the prevailing explanation. Victimization has expanded to its limit: everyone is the victim of white heterosexual males. I wouldn’t be surprised if white heterosexual males have now been shown by identity politics to be the victims of themselves.

Stevenson describes the convictions of white women by white women. In the aftermath of hurricanes and tornadoes that wrecked coastal Alabama, Marsha Colbey gave premature birth to a stillborn son. She came to the attention of police because her busybody neighbor Debbie Cook had noticed the pregnancy but saw no child.

Colbey’s fate was sealed by the media craze set aflame by Andrea Yates and Susan Smith’s murders of their children. Media sensationalized the baseless suspicion surrounding Colbey and turned her into another “dangerous mother.” Forensic pathologist Kathleen Enstice testified without evidence that Colbey’s son had been born alive and had died by drowning. The state’s own expert witness, Dr. Dennis McNally, and the defense’s expert witness Dr. Werner Spitz testified that Colbey’s age alone placed her pregnancy at high risk for fetal death and that there was no scientific evidence that a crime had occurred.

Irresponsible media had communities and juries on the lookout for “dangerous moms” who should be put in prison, and they found one (along with many others) in Colbey. The trial judge permitted Colbey’s fate to be decided by jurors who stated that they could not honor the presumption of innocence in Colbey’s case. Other jurors said that they always believe the police and prosecutor. This failure of justice enabled Stevenson after years of effort to secure Colbey’s release. Clearly, Colbey’s wrongful conviction had nothing to do with racism. Identity politics would want to say she was convicted by misogynists, but Colbey was the victim of other women.

Justice is so absent in the criminal justice system that Victoria Banks in order to avoid capital punishment was coerced into a plea bargain carrying a 20-year sentence for murdering her child after her pregnancy despite the fact that there was no pregnancy and no child. Stevenson was able to win her release by establishing that she had had a tubal ligation five years prior to her alleged pregnancy, which made it biologically impossible for her to conceive and give birth to a child.

A woman whose tubes were tied, for which conclusive medical evidence existed, five years before she was accused of having just had a child that she murdered is forced into a plea bargain carrying 20 years in order to avoid the electric chair. Perhaps only Alabama could produce something this absurd, but this is a faithful picture of American “justice.”

Stevenson’s legal work for wrongfully convicted women brought him into contact with more horror. At Alabama’s Tutwiler prison for women, women prisoners were raped and made pregnant by prison guards. Stevenson reports: “Even when DNA testing confirmed that male officers were the fathers of these children, very little was done about it. Some officers who had received multiple sexual assault complaints were temporarily reassigned to other duties or other prisons, only to wind up back at Tutwiler, where they continued to prey on women.” In other words, rape is not a crime if you are a prison guard at a women’s prison.

This is a faithful picture of justice in America.

The justice system needs victims and is focused on ruining people’s lives whether they deserve it or not. The more American lives ruined, the greater the success of the justice system.

There is a current case in Alabama of a US Marine honorably discharged who suffers from PTSD. To help out a family friend, who needed a car for work but could not obtain a loan, the Marine sold him a car of his own, which the family friend was to pay off monthly. When payments stopped, the former Marine inquired. Payments were promised, and the family friend offered his cell phone to be held until payments caught up, as an indication of his good faith to pay.

It turned out to be the wrong cell phone, not the debtor’s personal phone but a company-issued one. The company regarded it as a theft by the Marine, and the family friend had to report it to the police. The fact that it was all a misunderstanding has not caused the justice system to drop the case. Instead, the prosecutor is demanding a misdemeanor plea. In other words, another person with something on his record who can be a suspect for the next burglary. As everyone in the case is white, injustice is occurring despite the absence of racism.

It is a paradox that child protection laws in the hands of police and prosecutors have become weapons with which to ruin children.

A father whose son is being ruined for life over nothing sent me the story with his permission to publish it as a warning to others about the heartlessness with which the justice system irresponsibly ruins even the immature young. This story again demonstrates that the function of American justice is not justice, but to ruin as many people as possible and as early in life as possible. The gratuitously ruined lives that the justice system achieves is the monument to the success of justice.

I decided not to publish it, not because I disbelieve it, but because the son has not been sentenced, and protestations of innocence in media, as Stevenson says, can prejudice authorities against the defendant, especially in Virginia where this miscarriage of justice took place. I do not want to expose the son to risk in the event that the father is wrong, as I suspect he is, in expecting publicity to elicit compassion and empathy that would moderate an unjust event.

Instead, I will tell the gist of the story, which illustrates the tyranny of good intentions. Child protection laws were passed by legislators ignorant of the unintended consequences. Consequently, the laws have done far more harm than good.

Let’s call the son Zach. Having just turned 18, he was visiting a young woman his age whose younger sister introduced him via social media to a 13-year-old female who shared his interest in dragons and animation. The two never met. As their shared interest developed via the Internet, so did their friendship.

As the natural process that turns a girl into a woman progressed, the cyber relationship developed a romantic aspect. The girl/woman sent Zach five photographs of herself in her underwear.

Later the girl/woman developed emotional problems due to the impending divorce of her parents and was admitted to a mental health facility. At some point, she confided her cyber relationship with Zach to a counselor. The “child protection” laws required the counselor to inform the police, who seized Zach’s computer and found chat logs and the five photos.

The consequence was that Zach was charged with 20 felony indictments carrying 350 years in prison. As they always are, the charges were vastly overstated. For example, the five photos sent to Zach of a torso in underwear (apparently the girl’s face was not shown) got Zach charged with distribution of child pornography.

No charges were filed by the parents of the girl. The charges were entirely the idea of the prosecutor’s office, and the 350 years produced a plea bargain to lesser offenses. American criminal justice had secured another victim.

In the absurdity that is American law, you can be guilty of “indecent liberties with a minor” without ever having seen the girl in person or ever having been close enough to touch. The advent of virtual reality and video screens means that crimes can have happened in virtual reality that did not happen in real reality.

In my days it was almost impossible to be guilty of indecent liberties with a minor, because the age of female sexual consent was 14. But as females sexually matured earlier, the age of sexual consent was irrationally pushed higher. Today the legal age that a male may have sex with a female is 18. In other words, the absurd American legal system pretends that women do not have sex until after they graduate from high school. Who can imagine college dorms full of virginal women?

When America had a livable legal system, the law was based on the common ordinary behavior of people. This is known as the Common Law, the foundation of law in England and the United States.

Today the law is so uncommon as to be absurd. Yet absurdity is enforced with vengeance.

The video age means that crimes can be committed by looking at a video screen, and that is what happened to Zach. Neither his attorney nor the judge told Zach and his parents that his coerced plea meant that there was no appeal and that he was registered for life as a sex offender. Zach had committed a “violent sex offense” online! It was the girl who sent the photos, but the offense was Zach’s for having them on his computer.

We owe these crazed results that destroy our youth to “child advocates” who have pushed through in total ignorance of unintended consequences laws that criminalize the normal sexual exploration and testing that accompanies the teenage years that begin with puberty. Child advocates think that when a kid enters puberty at age 12 or 13 nothing is supposed to happen until the kid is 18. Then at this magic age, everything illegal at 17 becomes legal. People who produce laws like this ruin people. Laws pushed by child advocates have broken up families and taken children from their homes and placed them in foster care where they are often abused. By providing a bounty to Child Protective Services for seizing children, the federal government provides an incentive for CPS to break up families on the slightest pretext.

And they enjoy the ruin that they inflict. When you read Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, what you encounter are Americans who enjoy ruining other people. What Stevenson is revealing is not racism but evil unleashed. When the liberals destroyed religion as a moral restraint, they released evil. Evil is now everywhere in the West and seldom held accountable—Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Prison, the CIA Black Site torture prisons, women’s prisons where inmates, most of whom are wrongfully convicted, are routinely raped by guards, and American courtrooms in which sit judges whose function is to defend justice but who accept coerced pleas from innocents in order to save themselves work.

This is America, a country totally devoid of justice, a hapless country forced to suffer injustice except for those few cases that heroes such as Bryan Stevenson are able to overturn.

If only Americans in their so-called democracy had the power to make Bryan Stevenson Attorney General for life and give him the power to write and enforce the laws would justice return to America.

God help a country as totally devoid of justice as the United States of America.

It is important to understand that very few of these wrongful convictions are mistakes. They are done willfully because the overriding incentive of the American criminal justice system is to produce convictions at all cost.

Police, prosecutorial and judicial misconduct seldom bear any cost. Just so you understand how “law’” completely protects the police, prosecutors, and judges who routinely violate it, as Stevenson reports, “state and federal courts have persistently insulated prosecutors from accountability for egregious misconduct that results in innocent people being sent to death row.” In 2011 a Republican Supreme Court ruled that a prosecutor cannot be held liable for misconduct in a criminal case, even if he intentionally and illegally withheld evidence of innocence.

In plain words, criminal actions against the innocent are now the legalized policy of the American criminal justice system.

Are the American people moved by these extraordinary injustices and their legalization by the Supreme Court of the United States? Are the Alabamans in the same county who egged on the frame-up of Walter McMillian ashamed of their willing complicity in a gratuitous act of injustice? Absolutely not. They reelected sheriff Tate, and he remains in office today.

In 2003 Illinois governor George Ryan, citing the unreliability of evidence on which capital punishment is based commuted the death sentences of all 167 people on death row. His reward was to be convicted on false corruption charges and sentenced to five years in prison. Ryan was convicted by the coerced testimony of Scott Fawell who received in exchange for his testimony reduced prison time for himself and his fiancee.

On the stand, Fawell said that the prosecutor had his “head in a vise” and that he was testifying against Ryan to save his fiancee from a long prison sentence. He said his testimony against Ryan was “the most distasteful thing I’ve ever done.” That jurors believe such compromised witnesses is the reason defendants avoid jury trials.

This is the face of justice in America, a hapless country totally devoid of justice where the law exists solely for the economic benefit of those whose careers rise with conviction rates, whether of the innocent or the guilty.

Law professors, such as Harvard’s Charles Fried, have shown their indifference to wrongful conviction. Fried came up with the argument that “finality” was more important than justice. Fried was annoyed by appeals. He argued that ending a case had its own importance and that at some point appeals based on fresh evidence had to be cut off even if it meant an innocent person was executed or spent life in prison.

Conservative legislators showed their indifference to wrongful conviction in 1994 when they took over Congress and promptly eliminated federal aid for legal representation of the wrongly convicted on death row. The conservatives were more comfortable with the deaths of innocents than with admitting the willful mistakes made by “law and order.”

The indifference of Americans to injustice has spread outside US borders. The Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes are responsible for millions of dead and displaced persons in 10 countries—Serbia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, Ukraine, and Palestine. None of those responsible have expressed any remorse and neither have the American people.

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Fixing Healthcare From A-Z

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mar, 31/01/2017 - 07:01

Healthcare can arguably be considered the greatest divider among Americans, and not just simply Democrats and Republicans, which at the policy level its reach extends beyond immigration, terrorism, trade policy, taxation, as well as the federal deficit. Seldom have we heard from the political class (excluding Rand and Ron Paul as well as John Kasich,) radical free-market solutions that would not only place patients as the middleman and the industry more transparent but also how to fix the severe shortage of skilled healthcare workers.

Eliminate Government Subsidies of ALL Kinds

First, eradicating subsidies would be a great start, and at all levels, not just limited to Obamacare. In fact, there is an elephant in the room, a much larger elephant than Obamacare, which most opponents of Obamacare are either turning a blind eye to or simply are unaware of. The government has been subsidizing individual’s costs of employer-based health care to the tune of almost $250 billion a year. According to law professor Edward Kleinbard, the 2016 federal subsidies amounted to $266 billion for employees at big companies that were paid via payroll tax deductions. This sum is far greater than the annual costs of the subsidized provisions of Obamacare. Therefore, eliminating subsidies in all forms, shapes, and sizes would be an excellent start to make healthcare more market-friendly and affordable to all.

Myths, Misunderstandings and Outright lies about owning Gold. Are you at risk?

To Fix Healthcare, Fix the FDA

Secondly, tamper down the power of FDA’s stronghold on regulating drugs. This is vital. The FDA gained such power due to the 1962 thalidomide crisis, an over-the-counter sedative used for pregnant women to treat morning sickness. The medicine caused birth defects such as shortened and missing limbs in babies, and since then the FDA has gained uninhibited power in keeping competitors out of the market and creating pharmaceutical cartels (due in large part also to patent laws) that inflate medicines to extraordinary levels that the laymen simply cannot afford. Dr. Sam Peltzman, the former professor at the University of Chicago, conducted a study comparing death rates prior and post-1962. The results showed that the most deaths that occurred prior to 1962 was The Elixir Sulfanilamide tragedy, in which 107 people died, what’s considered the worst of those decades. Prior to 1962, the average time for FDA approval was just seven months. However, after the passing of the Kefauver-Harris Amendment, the approval times for drugs spiked in parallel to death rates.

A good example of the FDA’s deathly long approval process was that of the drug pirfenidone. It’s used as a cure for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a disease in which tissue deep in the lungs becomes thick and stiff, or scarred, making breathing difficult. It was already approved and marketed in Europe, Japan, Canada, and China. But here in the U.S., the FDA lagged on it for 4 years, and according to Dr. Henry I. Miller, founding director of the FDA’s Office of Biotechnology, it caused 150,000 American’s to die due to the FDA’s obsession with ‘effectiveness’. As Reason magazines science correspondent Ronald Bailey states, “The FDA’s increased obsession with safety may be killing more people than it saves. …After all, if it takes the FDA ten years to approve a drug that saves 20,000 lives per year that means that 200,000 people died in the meantime.” That’s more Americans than were killed in any American war except the Civil War and World War II.

Legalizing Medical Marijuana: A big break to the consumer, but not Big Pharma

The good news is that the current potential nominee for the head of the FDA, Jim O’Neill , is a pro-marijuana advocate and longtime friend of PayPal founder Peter Thiel, also a strong liberalization advocate-  an excellent choice by President Trump if chosen. Much study has gone into medical marijuana research and some impressive conclusions have been drawn out. A study done by a father and daughter team at the University of Georgia has found that painkiller abuse and overdose are lower in states with lenient medical marijuana laws, however this has always been the assumption, the most impactful part is in the 17 states with a medical-marijuana law in place by 2013, prescriptions for painkillers and other classes of drugs fell sharply compared with states that did not have a medical-marijuana law. Also, In medical-marijuana states, the average doctor prescribed 265 fewer doses of antidepressants each year, 486 fewer doses of seizure medication, 541 fewer anti-nausea doses and 562 fewer doses of anti-anxiety medication. Also found in the study was the cost savings to Medicare from the decreased prescribing in the 17 states where marijuana is legalized- the figure stood at $165 million. And they estimated that annual Medicare prescription savings would be over half a billion dollars if all 50 states were to establish similar programs.

Occupational Licensing: A Way to Destroy the Labor Market 

Third, the U.S. is suffering a severe shortage of nurses, while at the same time attempting to balance the aging Baby Boomer population. One would believe that occupational licensing requirements for nurses would be less burdensome now; however, licensing requirements are still an obstacle we Americans need to deal with.                                           

Occupational licensing also has other severe limitations, about 27,000 of them to be exact; they’re referred to as ‘collateral consequences’. Essentially, they are bi-laws which disallow you to receive a license of any sort if you have a criminal record, of any kind. It could be anything from a petty misdemeanor (most are victimless), to a decade-old felony where you’ve learned and reaped the consequences of your actions. Now although there is no data indicating the number of people who’ve been denied a job based on a criminal record due to O.L.S, , the number is likely very high considering 1 out of 4 jobs in the U.S. require licensing, and 1 in 3 American’s have a criminal record of some sort. These restrictions have significant impact on labor supply, especially among people of color.

A Successful Look at Private Sector Healthcare

In America, the average cost of a heart transplant can cost, depending on the complexity of the surgery, anywhere from $70,000-$800,000. Some other estimates show upwards of $1 million when you take into account other factors. In India, a miracle worker by the name of Dr.Devi Shetty of Bangalore, also known as the Henry Ford of Cardiac Surgery, has created a system through his Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital that has introduced economies of scale in his operations, focusing on volume of heart surgeries. His system works as a factory styled mass production environment that reports a 1.4% mortality rate within 30 days of coronary artery bypass graft surgery, one of the most common procedures, compared with an average of 1.9% in the U.S. in 2008. And of course, India being a developing country, most of his patients have much more severe conditions due to them having little to no access to healthcare of any kind in the rural decrepit villages of India. The total cost of a heart surgery at his hospitals? $2000! No overreaching government agency or authority dishing out mandates a wonderful example of free-market miracle (and cure).

The thousand bed medical center encourages and practices treating patients in volumes as it allows Dr.Shetty and his team of 42 surgeons the ability to experiment various surgical techniques on patients and thus inducing further specialization. These high volumes drive both the higher quality and lower costs.  Studies have long shown that quality rises at hospitals that perform more surgeries for the simple reason that doctors are getting more experience. Dr.Shetty and his team have performed 3,174 cardiac bypass surgeries in 2008, more than double the 1,367 the Cleveland Clinic, a U.S. leader, did in the same year. His surgeons operated on 2,777 pediatric patients, more than double the 1,026 surgeries performed at Children’s Hospital Boston. In terms of market share, Dr.Shetty’s hospitals now perform 12% of India’s cardiac surgeries, and he plans on opening a hospital in the Cayman Islands for Americans to have access to.

The post Fixing Healthcare From A-Z appeared first on LewRockwell.

Isolare la Russia è una perdita di tempo e denaro

Freedonia - Lun, 30/01/2017 - 11:10




di James Rickards


Il presidente Obama ha condotto la politica estera più deleteria rispetto a qualsiasi altro presidente degli Stati Uniti dai tempi di Woodrow Wilson.

Ciò non è dovuto solo ad un ambasciatore morto per le strade di Bengasi, ad una falsa linea rossa in Siria che ha portato a 400,000 morti, 2 milioni di feriti e due milioni di profughi, a perdere l'Egitto nei confronti dei radicali islamici, o ad aver dato potere ad un regime terrorista in Iran.

Solo questi sviluppi sono sufficienti a classificare Obama tra i peggiori presidenti in politica estera. Ma l'errore madornale di Obama è stato solamente uno: la sua incapacità di cogliere le dinamiche della bilancia del potere tra Stati Uniti, Russia e Cina. Ciononostante, l'errore di Obama ha favorito l'apertura di Trump per salvare la politica estera dalla tomba e l'occasione per gli Stati Uniti di ripristinare la loro leadership nel mondo.

Ci sono tre potenze principali nel mondo: Stati Uniti, Russia e Cina. Tutte le altre nazioni sono alleati secondari o terziari. In un sistema a tre potenze, l'oggetto della politica estera di una potenza principale è quello di allinearsi con una delle altre a scapito della terza.

Una grande potenza che non persegue questa politica diventa la vittima di un'alleanza tra le altre due. Una simile alleanza non deve essere permanente; si può cambiare, come è avvenuto con l'apertura di Nixon nei confronti della Cina, la quale mise la Russia sulla difensiva e portò infine alla caduta dell'Unione Sovietica.

Questa dinamica non è difficile da capire. Coloro che giocano a Risiko! sanno che mentre il gioco inizia con sei giocatori, non passa molto prima che rimangano solo in tre. A quel punto è imperativo che due giocatori si alleino e distruggano il terzo, attaccandolo sistematicamente e rinunciando ad attaccarsi a vicenda. La vittima viene rapidamente cancellata dal tabellone.

Naturalmente la geopolitica è più complessa del Risiko!. È raro che i giocatori vengano rimossi dal tavolo; sono solo temporaneamente avvantaggiati o svantaggiati nel perseguire i loro obiettivi nazionali. Ma la dinamica "due contro uno" è fondamentalmente la stessa. Bismarck lo sapeva ieri e Kissinger lo sa oggi. Solo Obama pare proprio non saperlo.

Obama ha aderito ad un'ideologia mondialista che, al di fuori delle aule delle facoltà universitarie e dei saloni di Georgetown, non trova aggancio col mondo reale. Nella visione del mondo di Obama, gli stati nazionali sono un problema, non una soluzione.

Gli obiettivi globali su questioni come il cambiamento climatico, il commercio, il programma fiscale mondiale dell'OCSE e il programma del FMI riguardo una moneta mondiale, richiedono istituzioni globali. Gli stati nazionali sono impedimenti temporanei ad una governance globale, la quale può essere costruita attraverso istituzioni transnazionali non democratiche.

Nel frattempo la Russia e la Cina non hanno mai perso di vista i loro interessi nazionali. Mentre i loro leader partecipano diligentemente ai vari avvenimenti multilaterali, come il G20 ed i vertici regionali, hanno costantemente messo la Russia e la Cina al primo posto. Per la Russia e la Cina il mondo è un posto pericoloso in cui l'interesse nazionale è la sola cosa che conta; non la fantasia globalista di Obama di un ordine mondiale.

Questo realismo che non scende a compromessi da parte di Russia e Cina, combinato con una mancanza di realismo da parte di Obama, ha portato al peggior risultato possibile per gli Stati Uniti: Russia e Cina si sono alleate e stanno costruendo un'alternativa di lunga durata al sistema basato sul dollaro degli Stati Uniti

Queste iniziative Russia/Cina comprendono una cooperazione tra i paesi BRICS, lo Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, l'Asia Infrastructure and Investment Bank, la Nuova Via della Seta, e sforzi comuni per allestire sistemi bellici ed aerospaziali.

Negli ultimi dieci anni la Russia ha aumentato le sue riserve d'oro del 203%, mentre la Cina ha aumentato le sue del 570%. Tali accumuli d'oro hanno lo scopo di gettare le basi per un sistema monetario internazionale non più basato sul dollaro. Nessuna grande potenza ha prevalso a lungo senza una grande valuta. Quando la fiducia nel dollaro sbiadirà, il potere degli Stati Uniti sbiadirà con esso.

Obama ha commesso un errore grossolano, in quanto ha permesso a Russia e Cina di perseguire la dinamica del "due contro uno". Per fortuna non è troppo tardi per invertire questa dinamica. I segni della nuova amministrazione Trump sono incoraggianti. Le prime azioni e gli appuntamenti suggeriscono che egli capisce la posizione precaria degli Stati Uniti, e si sta già muovendo per cambiare lo status quo.

La Russia è un alleato più naturale degli Stati Uniti che della Cina. La Russia è un sistema parlamentare, anche se con sfumature autocratiche; la Cina è una dittatura comunista. La Russia ha la Chiesa ortodossa, mentre la Cina è ufficialmente atea. La Russia sta incoraggiando una crescita della popolazione, mentre la politica del figlio unico e degli aborti selettivi in Cina ha provocato la morte di oltre venti milioni di bambine.

Questi aspetti culturali — le elezioni, il cristianesimo e la formazione della famiglia — forniscono alla Russia una naturale affinità con le nazioni occidentali. La Russia è anche superiore alla Cina dal punto di vista militare, nonostante i recenti progressi cinesi. Tutto ciò rende la Russia l'alleato più desiderabile in qualsiasi scenario "due contro uno".

L'argomento più potente per stringere la mano alla Russia e dare scacco matto alla Cina, è l'energia. Gli Stati Uniti e la Russia sono i due produttori di energia più grandi del mondo. La produzione di energia negli Stati Uniti è destinata ad espandersi, soprattutto con l'appoggio dell'amministrazione Trump.

Anche la produzione russa si espanderà, grazie in parte alle iniziative guidate da Rex Tillerson di Exxon, che presto diventerà Segretario di Stato. La Cina ha poche riserve di petrolio e di gas naturale, e si basa molto su forme sporche di carbone ed energia idroelettrica. Il resto del fabbisogno energetico della Cina è soddisfatto attraverso le importazioni.

Un'alleanza tra Stati Uniti e Russia, sostenuta dall'Arabia Saudita, potrebbe mettere in pericolo l'economia cinese e, per estensione, la posizione del Partito comunista cinese. Questa minaccia è sufficiente a garantire la conformità della Cina con gli obiettivi degli Stati Uniti.

Un'intesa USA/Russia potrebbe anche portare alla riduzione delle sanzioni economiche occidentali sulla Russia. Ciò aprirebbe la porta ad una alleanza tra la Germania e la Russia. Queste due economie hanno quasi una perfetta complementarità, poiché la Germania è ricca dal punto di vista tecnologico e povera dal punto di vista delle risorse naturali, mentre la Russia è esattamente l'opposto.

Isolare la Russia è una perdita di tempo e denaro. La Russia è la dodicesima economia più grande del mondo, ha la più grande estensione di terra di qualsiasi altro paese del mondo, è una potenza nucleare, ha abbondanti risorse naturali, ed è una destinazione fertile per gli investimenti esteri. La cultura russa è altamente resistente alle pressioni esterne, ma aperta alla cooperazione estera.

Proprio come cinquant'anni di sanzioni imposte dagli Stati Uniti non sono riuscite a cambiare il comportamento di Cuba, le sanzioni degli Stati Uniti nei confronti della Russia non ne cambieranno il comportamento. Un accordo è il corso migliore che possono prendere gli eventi, non lo scontro. La nuova amministrazione Trump pare proprio capirlo.

Le voci statunitensi come quelle di John McCain, Mitch McConnell e Lindsey Graham sono pronte a dire: "La Russia non è nostra amica." Perché no? Potrebbe essere perché il presidente Obama è stato pubblicamente umiliato da Vladimir Putin quando ha detto che era "come un bambino annoiato all'ultimo banco della classe"?

Potrebbe essere perché Obama ha proclamato che la Russia governata da Putin è "dalla parte sbagliata della storia"? In realtà il senso della storia di Putin risale a Pietro il Grande. Per Obama pare non esistere niente più indietro del 1991.

La maggior parte delle tensioni tra Stati Uniti e Russia hanno origine dalle invasioni della Crimea e dell'Ucraina orientale nel 2014. Ma l'invasione russa della Crimea non doveva essere accolta come una sorpresa. I servizi segreti statunitensi e britannici e le ONG estere hanno destabilizzato il governo filo-russo a Kiev nel primi mesi del 2014, causando la fuga in Russia del presidente ucraino Yanukovich.

L'Ucraina non è mai stata adatta per entrare nella NATO e nell'UE. Sarebbe stato meglio lasciarla come nazione "quasi neutrale" tra est ed ovest piuttosto che mettere il suo status in gioco. L'Ucraina è sempre stata culturalmente divisa. Ora è anche politicamente divisa.

La mano della Russia sull'Ucraina è stata forzata dagli interventi occidentali miopi di Obama e David Cameron. Obama presto lascerà la scena; Cameron l'ha già lasciata. Putin invece è ancora al comando, non una sorpresa per un uomo le cui attività comprendono le arti marziali e gli scacchi.

Per fortuna non è troppo tardi per ristabilire un equilibrio di potere che favorisca gli Stati Uniti. La Cina è una potenza egemone nascente che dovrebbe essere limitata. La Russia è un alleato naturale che dovrebbe avere potere. Gli Stati Uniti hanno commesso un errore grossolano nella loro politica estera degli ultimi otto anni.

La nuova amministrazione Trump ha l'opportunità di correggere questi errori costruendo ponti con la Russia.

Saluti,


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


Mises e Hayek: un’unica visione dell’azione umana e della conoscenza

Von Mises Italia - Lun, 30/01/2017 - 08:59

L’essere umano non è soltanto homo sapiens, ma anche homo agens.

Tuttavia, gli esseri umani che per difetti di nascita o acquisiti sono inevitabilmente inadatti all’azione nel senso stretto del termine, non possono essere considerati homo agens.

Anche il neonato non è un homo agens, perché non ha ancora percorso l’intera via della concezione al totale sviluppo delle sue qualità umane; solo alla fine della sua evoluzione diviene un uomo agente.

Scopo ultimo di ogni azione dell’uomo agente è sempre la soddisfazione di un suo desiderio e non sussiste misura di maggiore o minore soddisfazione all’infuori dei giudizi individuali di valore, differenti da persona a persona e da tempo a tempo per la stessa persona.

La prasseologia ci dice che qualunque azione dell’uomo agente è mossa dalla volontà di ottenere uno stato di cose più soddisfacente rispetto ad uno che lo è meno.

Tuttavia, la prasseologia non tratta dei moventi o dei fini ultimi ma si occupa dell’azione dell’uomo agente sotto l’ottica dei mezzi applicati all’ottenimento di un fine cercato.

In tal senso, l’azione dell’uomo agente, anche quella partorita da un impulso decisamente emotivo, non può che essere qualificata come sempre razionale, poiché i mezzi che l’uomo agente sceglie per la loro soddisfazione sono sempre determinati da una considerazione di spesa e risultato.

Ciò, ovviamente, non esclude che le azioni dell’uomo agente possano fallire nel raggiungere l’obiettivo prefissato e quando questo accade, è perché la percezione soggettiva della realtà non è sufficientemente in linea con la dimensione oggettiva della stessa.

Il contrario dell’azione dell’uomo agente non è allora l’azione irrazionale, bensì la reazione a stimoli degli organi e degli istinti corporali controllabili dalla volizione.

Asserito quanto, le regole che governano l’azione dell’uomo agente nel mondo fisico e sociale non sono pienamente esplicitabili attraverso una teoria.

Accanto ad una conoscenza cosciente, codificata ed esprimibile con flussi comunicativi strutturati, esiste quindi una cosiddetta conoscenza tacita, situata a livello inconscio, che è legata al contesto di riferimento, che è impossibile da formalizzare chiaramente e distintamente e che può essere acquisita solo mediante un apprendimento attraverso la pratica.

Tuttavia, la conoscenza cosciente è sempre il risultato di un’intuizione o di un atto di creazione, che altro non sono che manifestazioni di una conoscenza tacita.

Ciò significa che la conoscenza umana si sviluppa tramite un percorso che da tacito si estende progressivamente al cosciente.

In ogni caso però non tutta la conoscenza tacita riesce a divenire anche conoscenza cosciente.

In tal senso, non esiste comunque un’azione dell’uomo agente che possa definirsi irrazionale, ma ogni azione si fonda sempre su una dimensione della conoscenza tacita precedentemente interiorizzata nella mente individuale.

L’essere umano non ha iniziato ad azionare il mercato allorché è stato in grado di codificare e trasmettere con flussi comunicativi strutturati i vantaggi di questa attività.

L’essere umano ha invece iniziato ad azionare il mercato perché mosso da una conoscenza che era capace di applicare ma non in grado di spiegare sul come rimuovere quella tendenza al disequilibrio presente nella vita individuale.

Inoltre, imparare a fare mercato non è un qualcosa che possa essere trasmesso da uomo agente ad altro come un elenco di istruzioni, giacché imparare a fare qualcosa non equivale ad imparare qualcosa.

Il mercato è un fenomeno sociale sorto per via spontanea, ossia da un’interazione sociale non programmata e quello che vale per il mercato vale anche per tutti gli altri fenomeni sociali sorti alla stessa maniera.

I fenomeni sociali spontanei pertanto sono sempre il risultato di azioni umane razionali, ma queste azioni non hanno il loro punto di origine in una conoscenza cosciente, bensì in una conoscenza tacita.

The post Mises e Hayek: un’unica visione dell’azione umana e della conoscenza appeared first on Ludwig von Mises Italia.

Humble Pie in Short Supply

Lew Rockwell Institute - Lun, 30/01/2017 - 07:01

On 30 March 1933, the great German recorder of daily life under the Third Reich, Victor Klemperer, noticed a balloon in a toy shop inscribed with a swastika. In my newspaper on 14 January 2017, I noticed a photograph of a girl aged 8 years old (I should estimate) holding up a banner at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., with the words I am kind, smart and important inscribed on it.

Analogies are never exact, of course, and are easily exaggerated or otherwise misused. The differences between a toy shop in Nazi Germany and a women’s march in Washington are so numerous, obvious, and striking that it is hardly necessary for me to enumerate them. Suffice it to say that I am allergic (metaphorically) to the use of children for the dissemination of political messages, even when the message is one with which I agree. I think it is a form of child abuse, an example of children as a means and not as an end. Poor old Kant would turn in his grave.

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The first thing to say about Mr. Trump—against whom the women voluntarily (and children involuntarily) were demonstrating—is that he seems to be doing what is unforgivable in a democratic politician, for it will make life difficult for all the others who come after him: He is keeping, or trying to keep, his election promises. Could anything better prove his complete lack of probity?

Now, of course, this does not in the least prove that what he is doing is right, prudent, wise, or moral: One can, after all, make a bad promise and keep it. The fact that you are keeping a promise does not establish that what you are doing is right. If I promise to punch you on the nose and do punch you on the nose, I cannot use my promise as a moral or legal justification for my action.

But let us return to the abused child in the newspaper photograph. I am sure it was intended to warm the cockles of what pass for the newspaper readers’ hearts. She was a pretty little girl well wrapped up against the cold—a little angel, in fact. And how could such an innocent as she holds aloft anything that was other than sweet and generous and, above all, correct?

Read the Whole Article

The post Humble Pie in Short Supply appeared first on LewRockwell.

California Dreamin’

Lew Rockwell Institute - Lun, 30/01/2017 - 07:01

California is a complete black hole. The people do not even realize that government has been so corrupt, that every person in California owes $93,000 at the end of 2016 to cover state employee pensions. Back in 2015, Calpers, the State Pension system, sold out stocks and bought bonds because they thought the stock market would crash. They have been quietly supporting efforts in Congress to seize 401K pension plans and hand them to the States to manage. Their top two corrupt politicians would have had this through if Hillary won.

It would be a win-win for the rest of the country if California seceded and took its two leading politicians with them. Of course, I doubt these two notorious politicians would vote to leave. It would be like the Clinton Foundation having to close shop because Hillary lost her influence to peddle.

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Nancy Pelosi is the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, representing California’s 12th congressional district. Pelosi made a fortune trading initial public offerings (IPOs) while she had access to insider information from Congress. Yet she would never allow Social Security to invest for the average person. Pelosi has confirmed how Democrats really do dislike Christians. She recently said: “They pray in church on Sunday and then prey on people the rest of the week.”  The Podesta emails that revealed the Democrats disliked Catholics and Evangelical Christians, seem to be on point about their attitude: Hillary’s staff said Catholics are “severely backward” and further demeaned them saying they don’t know “what the hell they’re talking about.” Yet Pelosi is critical of Trump and calls him a racist because of his restriction on people coming from selected countries in the Middle East? You have Madeleine Albright saying she will register as a Muslim to protest Trump. So Catholics and Evangelicals the Democrats hate and now prefer Muslim? When did religion become a race? They are turning national security into a political football. NSA and taking everyone’s emails is necessary for security but checking people at the border is not?

Then there is Dianne Feinstein. Of course, it was Feinstein who supported the NSA and called Snowden a Traitor. Her Op-Ed justified taking everyone’s emails, phone calls etc claiming 911 would not have taken place if the NSA had full power to do whatever it desired – and did. Our models were showing California would move to secede back then and they too see to be on target. Even Zuckerberg of Facebook said he had personally called President Obama to voice his outrage at the NSA spying and Feinstein’s insane support of activity that everyone has come to see as standard. He said on his own Facebook Page:

“When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government.” 

Then Feinstein’s husband won the contract to sell Post Office Department real estate. Of course, they cover that up claiming Blum Capital Partners, L.P (Richard Blum, Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s husband), won the bid against 7 other competitors. They have never released proof of the bidding. Even the appearance of impropriety is a reason to recuse a judge whenever it may be “reasonable be questioned.” It goes even further: Blum and Feinstein both knew that this transaction has the appearance of corruption and a Federal Judge would be compelled to recuse themselves from such a case if “his spouse or minor child residing in his household, has a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding, or any other interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding.”

To all my friends in California – it’s time to leave. Florida has good weather and no state income tax. It is the number one state in economic growth and job creation most of the time with over 3% and Orlando, even back in 2014, was the top city in the USA for job growth coming in at 3.7%. California is on target for going BUST in 2021. It already has the HIGHEST taxes in the USA and Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration miscalculated costs for the state Medi-Cal program, which is their excuse, by $1.9 billion last year. This is just an “oversight” that contributed to Brown’s projection of a deficit in the upcoming budget. However, Medi-Cal covers illegal immigrants. There is NO REQUIREMENTwhatsoever to have a citizenship OR a resident status paying taxes.

Hello! Yes call Trump a racist and secede because you want to cover everyone even if they do not pay taxes on the cash they earn. No wonder they do not want a wall. All of Mexico can go to California for free healthcare unlimited.

Only a handful of states, including California, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, and Vermont, currently tax ALL retirement income and don’t provide any general income exclusion for seniors. So California has compassion for refugees and is liberal toward everyone but hard working Americans who can never live in peace and should be taxed until they drop dead.

Worse still, California taxes people who retire and move to other states. Yes, you are stamped on your ass when born in California – PROPERTY OF THE STATE. You cannot escape. So it may be best to get out before it is TOO LATE! Under federal law, states are now clearly prohibited from taxing certain retirement income unless you’re a resident of, or domiciled in, that state. California was attempting to tax people in other states claiming they earned their pension in California. The federal law applies to all qualified plans (for example, 401(k), profit sharing, and defined benefit plans), IRAs, 403(b) plans, 457(b) plans, and governmental plans. So if you sell your home and get out and domicile in a state that does not tax pensions, you are OK on this level. However, the law provides only limited protection for other (nonqualified) deferred compensation plan benefits. This is called “top-hat” plan benefits that are paid over an employee’s lifetime, or over a period of at least 10 years. Stock options, stock appreciation rights (SARs), and restricted stock are not included meaning California is completely free to tax these benefits even after you relocate.

How much longer can this California Dreaming continue? Our computer says 2021. It’s time to leave before they impose an exit tax.

28 U.S. Code § 455 – Disqualification of justice, judge, or magistrate judge

(a) Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.

(b) He shall also disqualify himself in the following circumstances:

(1) Where he has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding;

(2) Where in private practice he served as lawyer in the matter in controversy, or a lawyer with whom he previously practiced law served during such association as a lawyer concerning the matter, or the judge or such lawyer has been a material witness concerning it;

(3) Where he has served in governmental employment and in such capacity participated as counsel, adviser or material witness concerning the proceeding or expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy;

(4) He knows that he, individually or as a fiduciary, or his spouse or minor child residing in his household, has a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding, or any other interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding;

(5) He or his spouse, or a person within the third degree of relationship to either of them, or the spouse of such a person:

(i) Is a party to the proceeding, or an officer, director, or trustee of a party;

(ii) Is acting as a lawyer in the proceeding;

(iii) Is known by the judge to have an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding;

(iv) Is to the judge’s knowledge likely to be a material witness in the proceeding.

(c) A judge should inform himself about his personal and fiduciary financial interests, and make a reasonable effort to inform himself about the personal financial interests of his spouse and minor children residing in his household.

(d) For the purposes of this section the following words or phrases shall have the meaning indicated:

(1) “proceeding” includes pretrial, trial, appellate review, or other stages of litigation;

(2) the degree of relationship is calculated according to the civil law system;

(3) “fiduciary” includes such relationships as executor, administrator, trustee, and guardian;

(4) “financial interest” means ownership of a legal or equitable interest, however small, or a relationship as director, adviser, or other active participant in the affairs of a party, except that:

(i) Ownership in a mutual or common investment fund that holds securities is not a “financial interest” in such securities unless the judge participates in the management of the fund;

(ii) An office in an educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organization is not a “financial interest” in securities held by the organization;

(iii) The proprietary interest of a policyholder in a mutual insurance company, of a depositor in a mutual savings association, or a similar proprietary interest, is a “financial interest” in the organization only if the outcome of the proceeding could substantially affect the value of the interest;

(iv) Ownership of government securities is a “financial interest” in the issuer only if the outcome of the proceeding could substantially affect the value of the securities.

(e) No justice, judge, or magistrate judge shall accept from the parties to the proceeding a waiver of any ground for disqualification enumerated in subsection

(b). Where the ground for disqualification arises only under subsection

(a), waiver may be accepted provided it is preceded by a full disclosure on the record of the basis for disqualification.

(f) Notwithstanding the preceding provisions of this section, if any justice, judge, magistrate judge, or bankruptcy judge to whom a matter has been assigned would be disqualified, after substantial judicial time has been devoted to the matter, because of the appearance or discovery, after the matter was assigned to him or her, that he or she individually or as a fiduciary, or his or her spouse or minor child residing in his or her household, has a financial interest in a party (other than an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome), disqualification is not required if the justice, judge, magistrate judge, bankruptcy judge, spouse or minor child, as the case may be, divests himself or herself of the interest that provides the grounds for the disqualification.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 646, 62 Stat. 908; Pub. L. 93–512, § 1, Dec. 5, 1974, 88 Stat. 1609; Pub. L. 95–598, title II, § 214(a), (b), Nov. 6, 1978, 92 Stat. 2661; Pub. L. 100–702, title X, § 1007, Nov. 19, 1988, 102 Stat. 4667; Pub. L. 101–650, title III, § 321, Dec. 1, 1990, 104 Stat. 5117.)

Reprinted from Armstrong Economics.

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Pay Attention

Lew Rockwell Institute - Lun, 30/01/2017 - 07:01

By Dr. Mercola

How healthy is your diet? Have you ever wondered if recording what you eat on a day-to-day basis might be helpful in determining how your eating habits might be affecting your health, and maybe even your long-term well-being?

Well, now there’s a test for that, or there will be within two years, according to a study published in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.1 It’s a urine test developed in collaboration by Aberystwyth University in Wales, Newcastle University in the U.K. and Imperial College London.

Scientists say the test could be used to “unlock the biological markers” to help improve your nutritional profile, using proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to analyze urine samples and detect the structure of the chemicals produced in your body as it processes food. Medscape says:

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“The analysis can reveal whether we have eaten red meat or fish and indicate whether we are eating fruit and vegetables.

The test is sensitive enough to indicate some specific foods such as oranges, grapes and leafy green vegetables. It can also tell how much fat, sugar, fiber and protein a person has eaten.”2

Interestingly, test results may be able to help people who are at risk of such diseases as type 2 diabetes, as well as those who struggle with obesity. The test is quick and convenient, lasting about five minutes.

One of the most important things this test does is circumvent the biggest hurdle in many nutrition and diet studies — that being the inability to correctly measure what people really eat — because about 60 percent of them misreport.3

How Healthy Is Your Diet?

In trials, the scientists were able to tell which diets were healthy and which weren’t after 19 volunteers spent days eating a carefully controlled set of meals, a BBC article related. Four different diets, each with “varying degrees of healthiness,” were administered to the subjects, whose urine was sampled morning, noon and night.

Meals in the “very unhealthy” category included things like sugary cereal for breakfast and fried sausages and waffles for lunch. People in the healthy group munched on things like boiled eggs, steamed salmon and grilled chicken with vegetables for dinner. According to Live Science:

“Each person in the study followed each of these four diets: They stayed at a lab, on four separate occasions, for three days at a time, and during each stay, the researchers collected the peoples’ urine samples in the morning, afternoon and evening.”4

Researchers involved in the study believe analyzing urine samples would be a more accurate way to determine if someone is following a healthy diet — better than a food diary ever could.

One reason is because food diaries are often either incomplete or grossly under-reported, said scientist and professor at Imperial, Gary Frost, Ph.D., who added:

“The bigger you are the more likely you are to under-report what you eat. People find it difficult to open up to what types of foods they eat at home, which is a major problem.

If someone is very big and their profile says they’re eating lots of energy-dense foods like meat, then you can try to change that profile and then test them again later. It remains to be seen, but people might respond better to that and there is a desperate need for tools to help people change their diet.”5

Analyzing the compounds in urine samples produced when the body breaks down food is done to help researchers “determine if a person has recently eaten a certain type of food, such as red meat, chicken, fish or fruits or vegetables.”

Tests Can Help Individuals or Large Groups of People ‘in the Real World’

Scientists’ next steps will likely be targeted toward “refining the technology” by testing it on groups and communities, but in the real world rather than in a clinical lab. Additionally, they hope the test can be used to help people on weight loss programs, and even rehabilitate patients trying to get healthy after suffering a heart attack.

Frost says testing large numbers of people would create a profile of what someone — or an entire country — is eating. In the U.K., the hope is that the information they glean will help health authorities develop better public-health campaigns. Dr. Isabel Garcia-Perez, another researcher from Imperial, explained:

“This will eventually provide a tool for personalized dietary monitoring to help maintain a healthy lifestyle. We’re not at the stage yet where the test can tell us a person ate 15 chips yesterday and two sausages, but it’s on the way.6

Professor John Mathers, Ph.D., one of the study scientists from Newcastle University, said their research marked the first opportunity to gain an objective assessment of people’s overall health “without all the hassles, biases and errors of recording what they’ve eaten.” Dr. Des Walsh, from the UK Medical Research Council, explained:

“Though this research is still in its early stages, it’s grappling with essential methods in food and diet studies where advances are really needed.

Measuring what we eat and drink more accurately will widen the benefits of nutrition research, developing better evidence-based interventions to improve an individual’s health and reduce obesity.”7

What Your Urine Color May Indicate

Scientists had already determined that urine, being a byproduct of blood filtration from your kidneys, was yellow due to a pigment called urochrome from the breakdown of hemoglobin, a protein in your red blood cells.

Pale yellow urine usually indicates your body is properly hydrated; if it’s clear, you may actually be drinking too much water.8 Bodybuilding.com notes:

“Although dehydration is a far greater concern than overhydration, some people actually drink far more water than they need to. Normal, healthy pee actually has a yellow color from a pigment called urochrome.

It’s true that the darker that yellow becomes, the less hydrated your body is. However, drinking so much water that your pee is clear can actually cause an imbalance in your electrolyte levels.”9

When your urine is dark yellow and even orange tinged, it could be because you haven’t been drinking enough water. Then again, it could be because you’ve recently eaten carrots. If it’s fluorescent yellow, it may indicate you’ve been taking B vitamins.

If your urine color is pink or red, it could indicate blood (in which case you need to see your doctor), perhaps from strenuous exercise.

It could also be from a urinary tract infection, or UTI (which begs more oversight and perhaps a trip to your doctor), enlarged kidney stones or certain medications. Eating blackberries, beets or rhubarb can also turn urine pink.

Blue or green urine occurs due to a rare condition involving high calcium levels — or it could be the asparagus you just ate, which also gives urine a distinct odor, described as reminiscent of boiled eggs or cabbage, in some people. Medications you take may also turn your urine brown, dark yellow or dark pink.

The Sweet Smell of Urine and Other Interesting Aromas

Not just colors, but certain other urinary conditions may arise, such as perceptible sediment, which probably denotes a future flare of kidney stones.

Cloudy urine may be caused by a UTI, kidney or metabolic problem, or lymph fluid in the urine, aka chyluria. Other possibilities are phosphaturia (phosphate crystals) and a pituitary problem known as antidiuretic hormone (ADH).

Sweet-smelling urine may indicate uncontrolled diabetes. Some people have diabetes and don’t even realize it, but the smell of their urine may be an indicator if they knew what to “smell” for.

A fruity aroma is another way to describe it, as well as a “yeasty” odor. If you detect this smell in your urine, it would be wise to consult your doctor.

There’s actually a disorder known as “maple sugar urine disease,” or MSUD, a genetic metabolic disorder, evidenced by an inability to metabolize certain proteins and, of course, that unique fragrance. Redurine.com explains:

The inability to metabolize proteins can cause loss of appetite, which results in general weakness and other nutrient insufficiencies.

… Patients sometimes experience seizures and general fever-like symptoms like vomiting and nausea. Severe MSUD can damage the brain through severe physical stress from infections, fever or very poor diet.10

Because MSUD is passed down from parents who have it, their children should also be tested for the condition. Doctors typically use a plasma amino acid test or urine amino acid test for this purpose. Afterward, more testing is usually done after signs of ketosis and excess acid in blood (acidosis) is indicated.

It’s interesting that cancer has been detected by dogs who “smell out” the disease, sometimes from peoples’ urine, with 97 percent accuracy.11

How to Optimize Your Health by Paying Attention to Your Urine

You’ve heard since grade school to drink six to eight glasses of water a day. While this may not be a one-size-fits-all rule, it’s important to drink enough to lubricate your joints and help flush toxins from your system.

When you learn that 5 percent of your urine is made up of urea, uric acid, minerals, salts, enzymes and various substances that would cause problems if they stayed too long in your body, and that the other 95 percent is water, it makes sense as to why drinking adequate amounts of water is crucial to your health.

At the same time, as you drink more water, you’ll most likely feel the need to urinate more often. Don’t ignore it because you “don’t have time,” or some other excuse. You can bring on some very unpleasant symptoms, such as painful urination and even a UTI, if you make a habit of it. When you have to go, go. Also, when your child says he or she has to go, either let them or take them. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

As you get older, you may not experience thirst in a way that will urge you to drink as much pure, fresh water as your body needs. But whether you’re young or older, paying attention to the amounts of water you drink throughout the day — as well as to the color and odor of your urine — may be a simple way to optimize your health.

Sources and References

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The EU Is Doomed

Lew Rockwell Institute - Lun, 30/01/2017 - 07:01

The more I see of the Donald Trump administration, the more I like its style.

Here’s a perfect example – in which Trump’s prospective new Ambassador to the European Union, Ted Malloch, tells it like it is in an interview with Andrew Neil on the BBC’s Daily Politics show.

Neil asked Malloch why on earth he’d want to be Ambassador to the EU.

AN: I mean you’re clearly not a great fan of Brussels or these bureaucrats like Juncker.

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TM: Well, I had in a previous year a diplomatic post where I helped to bring down the Soviet Union, so maybe there’s another union that needs a little taming.

Later, Neil asked Malloch what he thought of the President of the EU Commission.[amazon template=*lrc ad (right)&asin=1510726926

AN: What do you think of Mr Juncker?

TM: Well Mr Juncker was a very adequate mayor of some city in Luxembourg and maybe he should go back and do that again.

Neil laughed like a man who couldn’t believe his luck. Politicians are hardly ever this frank on TV politics shows. Diplomats even less so because supposedly it’s their job to be discreet, smooth things over, not ruffle feathers. As for the EU – no one of influence, with the exception of Nigel Farage, has ever talked about it so disparagingly on television.

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Parents and Taxpayers Looted

Lew Rockwell Institute - Lun, 30/01/2017 - 07:01

This spring, Ohio State University will launch a new course entitled “Crossing Identity Boundaries” which will empower America’s precious snowflakes with all of the tools they need to detect microaggressions and become “self-aware” of their inherent “white privilege.”  Unfortunately, this isn’t a joke.

According to the class homepage, at the end of the course, students should be able to “identify micro-aggressions within their daily lives and within society as a whole” and “identify ways in which they can challenge or address systems of power and privilege.”

Moreover, although it seems a little off topic for this particular course, students will also apparently be taught whether or not it’s appropriate for guys to always pay on a date.  And even though it’s not explicitly addressed on the course syllabus, we presume it’s a given that such a question would only be asked after determining one’s preferred pronoun because otherwise, we’re just not sure how young people would go about confirming they’re actually on a date with a “guy.”  It’s also very unclear whether the mere discussion of stereotypical gender roles, like who should pay for a date, might be a “micro-aggression” in and of itself…dicey territory for sure.

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For those of you who may want to do some personal, private study, here is a list of a couple of books/articles from the course’s required reading list:

  • Waking up White: What it means to accept your legacy, for better and worse
  • White privilege: unpacking the invisible knapsack
  • Here’s the perfect explanation for why White people need to stop saying #AllLivesMatter
  • 3 examples of everyday cissexism
  • The science behind why people fear refugees
  • Creating identity-safe spaces on college campuses for Muslim students
  • Christian privilege: Breaking a sacred taboo

Meanwhile, per College Fix, homework assignments include, among other things, taking two “implicit bias tests” and finding at least 12 example of micro-aggressions on social media.

Taking the course, offered through the Department of Educational Studies, is one way students can fulfill the university’s mandatory diversity requirement, and many sections are offered throughout the school year.

Part of the homework includes taking two “implicit bias tests,” and writing journals on prompts such as “power/privilege in your life” or calling on Christians to write about what it might feel like to be Muslim, or males on what it’s like to be female, and “reflecting on how this new identity would have impacted your day.”

One big part of the class is a microaggressions group presentation and reflective paper.

The assignment, according to a syllabus, calls on students to “find at least 12 examples of microaggressions using at least 3 different types of social media (e.g., Yik Yak, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest). Explain who the target of the microaggression is and why your group believes it is an example of a negative remark. Provide an example of how you might respond to such a comment.”

The assignment’s goal is for students to “evaluate the impact that power and privilege have within social media,” a syllabus states. Students are graded on the “quality of microaggresion chosen (do they clearly articulate why they are microaggressions and which group is targeted” and “quality of response (did they address the microaggression in an appropriate and meaningful way?)”

Amazingly, American parents can get all of this for the bargain basement price of just $44,784 per year.  Just an amazing value.

Reprinted with permission from Zero Hedge.

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Trump Is the Perfect President

Lew Rockwell Institute - Lun, 30/01/2017 - 07:01

A river of angst and anger is roaring, gushing, and flooding the country.

Trump’s psychological state, ability, intelligence, actions and intentions, impact and ramifications — suddenly everyone is wide awake and nervous.

Trump’s consistencies and inconsistencies are equally frightening, his exercise of power as the “most powerful man in the world” seem insane in so many ways.

Like Captain Renault in a Casa Blanca gambling hall, I am shocked – shocked – to find that the exercise of state power is dangerous, evil, unfair, unlimited, and served up without finesse or human decency!

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Democrats and Republicans for decades eagerly created a massive currency printing debt-slave funded government, with a massive and terrible foreign policy.   They promoted an arrogant self-congratulatory exceptionalism, whether based on lies about how much they cared about human rights (they never did) or how much they cared about liberty (they cannot even spell the word).  Every president has served as a co-conspirator against the Republic, either as power addicts or puppets of power addicts who with dedication and commitment chipped and hacked away at the Constitution.

The politically active, ignorant government believers in this country have all worked hard to create the very problems of the state with which Trump is now saddled and accused.

I celebrate the Trump presidency as a wake-up call for the lying hypocrites who have created the government we now have.

Hypocrites like red “independent” states that are net takers on federal tax and redistribution schemes.

Human rights, equality and environmental advocates who have for decades tolerated and promoted a foreign policy that confidently destroys human rights, equality, and the environment.

Large swathes of angry people who know no history, learn through flashed headlines and images, doped up on government approved and subsidized prescription drugs and infotainment have come alive in their frustration. A country that suffers a general malaise of narcissism now points a shaking finger at a president rushing ignorant narcissistic tweets.  J’accuse!

Erstwhile freedom advocates suddenly fearful of an actual secession and planning for a nice civil war to prevent the collapse of the empire they love.

America is now led by the best it can produce, the best it can elect.

And yet, Trump is unique in that he is fulfilling campaign promises, using executive power to shrink and reverse legislation, and for the first time in my lifetime, appointing actual people to the various posts of government, based on their passions and skills, or better yet, their past criticism of this or that agency.

This alone is unusual, experimental, and fresh.  Bureaucracies don’t reform themselves.   Lack of competition for what government does (beyond the fundamentals of federalism) leads to a well-fed lethargy and the clustering of wealthy counties surrounding the district.  Lazy, slow, and not-so-sharp herd animals get eaten by wolves, sometimes ripped apart, and often killed gratuitously in the wolf pack’s excitement.   What surprises me is all the mewing and bleating from the herds’ supporters.

If Donald Trump turns out to be power-hungry, corrupt, and stupid, if he becomes an icon of an arrogant emperor, it would simply be the first time in recent decades that we the people widely recognized those characteristics in a president.  This – what we are watching today – is how an all-consuming, and all involving state behaves, in its natural environment.

The upset and sadness regarding the new administration by a whole sector of Americans (and their mainstream media translators) is the result of their own ignorance of how the government of the size and scope of the US government actually works.  Fascism seems to be the word of the day – but our government is a long established crony capitalist state, one able, willing and eager to take by hook, by crook and by force, whatever it wants from any citizen of non-citizen alike.  This is old news.

Those who love the glory of the state, adore its power and enjoy its parental aura, have built and supported the state we have.  Donald Trump is the perfect man to lead it.

I certainly hope that he might also be the perfect president to destroy it.

Either way, I see nothing worth complaining about.  Our energies should be spent on living freely, prospering and helping others to do so.  We should pay attention to the teeth-gnashing of the ruling, chattering and echo-chamber classes only so far as it informs us on potential vulnerabilities of the state that we may use practically, and as teachable moments.

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Mankind Has Been Enjoying Cocktails

Lew Rockwell Institute - Lun, 30/01/2017 - 07:01

Researchers have found that humans have had a long history of consuming alcohol – with the earliest proof of an alcoholic beverage dating back to Northern China 9,000 years ago.

The ‘cocktail’ was a mixed drink of fermented rice, honey, hawthorn fruit and/or grape.

A feature in the February issue of the National Geographic magazine traces back the history of alcohol consumption, revealing we even have a gene that makes it possible to digest alcohol faster.

mind-altering herbs instead of strawberries

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Throughout history, the consumption of alcohol may have helped people become more creative, advancing the development of language, art and religion.

This is because alcohol lowers inhibitions and makes people feel more spiritual.

Even the Inca consumed alcohol in the form of chicha – a corn based beer mixed with strawberries that’s still consumed today – although the Inca often used mind-altering herbs instead of strawberries.

All alcoholic drinks are made by yeasts – tiny single-celled life forms that consume sugar and break it down into carbon dioxide and ethanol.

Ethanol is the only type of alcoholic compound that is drinkable – other types, like methanol, are found in windshield washing fluids and de-icers for cars.

There are many different types of yeast, and they’ve probably been fermenting fruit for 120 million years – when fruits first arose on Earth.

Many human enjoy drinking alcohol because it makes us feel good – it releases serotonin and dopamine in the brain which reduces anxiety and make us feel happy.

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Things Every Man Should Keep in His Car

Lew Rockwell Institute - Lun, 30/01/2017 - 07:01

When I was growing up, I noticed that my father kept his car well-stocked with supplies. A lot of the equipment was for his job busting poachers as a game warden, but most of the things were for emergency situations that could happen to anyone. And there were plenty of times when my dad was able to put those supplies to work.

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Be it a maintenance issue or a snowstorm, keeping the following items in your vehicle can save you time and discomfort, and perhaps even your very life, should an emergency arise. Obviously, the necessity of some items depends on the environment in which you live/are driving through (you don’t need an ice scraper in Tampa) and the season (though it’s best just to stock this stuff and keep it stocked, rather than removing/adding things as the seasons change).

1. Paper maps. Sometimes — okay, plenty of times — Google Maps or Waze doesn’t want to cooperate. And if you don’t have service, their reliability is of no import anyway. It’s always a good idea to keep paper maps handy of the areas you’ll be driving through.

2. Snacks/MREs. You never know when you’ll be stranded for long periods of times in your car. And depending on where you are, you could be dozens of miles from the closest source of help. Keep some MREs or granola/power bars in the back of your car to munch on while you wait for a tow truck to come, or to sustain you for a long walk to a gas station to call for help.

3. Cell phone charger/extra battery. Cell phones, and their batteries, are notoriously unreliable and quick-draining in emergency scenarios. It’s like they know when you need them most. Build some redundancy into your car’s emergency kit by keeping both a charger, and an extra battery. No excuses; they’re cheap these days.

4. LifeHammerShould an accident trap you in your car, this rescue tool could save your life in a couple ways. It has a seat belt cutter, a steel hammer head that easily breaks side windows, and a glow-in-the-dark pin for easy retrieval in the dark. Every car should have one easily accessible!

5. Flashlight. Good for providing light at nighttime when 1) putting on a spare tire, 2) jump starting another car, or 3) exchanging insurance information with the clueless driver who rear-ended you at a stop light. Get a Maglite and you can also thump would-be carjackers in the head with it.

6. Portable air compressorWhen your tire is leaking but hasn’t totally blown out, instead of putting on a spare, you can use a portable air compressor to get back on the road. The compressor fills your tire up enough to allow you to drive to a repair shop to get it fixed. It plugs right into your cigarette lighter. Bonus use: no more paying 75 cents to fill up your tires at stingy gas stations.

7. Windshield wiper fluid. Few things are as indispensable as wiper fluid. Dirty windshield, no fluid, and wet, dirty roads? Get used to stopping every 10 minutes to clean the windshield. Always have some in the car for when you inevitably run out and need it most.

8. Roadside flares. When pulled over on the side of the road, you’re basically a sitting duck, hoping that other drivers don’t clip you. It’s especially dangerous at night. Ensure that you and those around you are visible when you pull over by using road flares, or at least a reflective triangle. The old school flaming flares seem to be harder to find these days as people switch to the LED variety.

9. Jumper cablesYou walk out to your car after a long day of work, stick the key into the ignition, give it a turn, and…click, click, click. Crap! You then look up and notice you left the dome light on all day. It happens to the best of us. Car batteries die, so be ready with a set of jumper cables. And even if you never suffer a dead battery, it’s always good to have a set of jumper cables so you can help a damsel (or dude) in distress who needs their car jumped.

10. Tow strap. Get your car unstuck from anything with a tow strap. Attach one end of the strap to the front of the car that you want to pull and the other to the hitch on the back of your car. The stranded driver stays in the dead car, puts it in neutral, and gets freed. Easy as that!

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US-UK Trade Talks Begin Immediately

Lew Rockwell Institute - Lun, 30/01/2017 - 07:01

Congratulations to UK prime minister Theresa May for poking a finger into the eyes of EU nannycrats.

EU rules say members cannot negotiate trade deals until exit from the block is finalized, but you can kiss that rule goodbye.

The Wall Street Journal reports British PM Theresa May Says U.K.-U.S. Trade Talks to Begin Immediately.

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High-level talks between the U.S. and the U.K. on strengthening trade ties will begin immediately, Downing Street said Saturday, following British Prime Minister Theresa May’s meeting with President Donald Trump in Washington on Friday.

Mrs. May’s office said a team of U.S. and U.K. officials would start scoping out what can be achieved together before the U.K. exits the European Union. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who Mrs. May met in Ankara on Saturday, made a similar commitment to increase trade links with the U.K.

The British leader has said the U.K. is reshaping its role in the world as it leaves the EU, including by renewing its relationship with both new allies and longstanding ones. But her trip to Washington and Ankara prompted criticism from some opposition lawmakers, who said she was cozying up to leaders whose values didn’t align with those in Britain.

Mrs. May on Saturday declined to comment on Mr. Trump’s executive order on refugees, saying the U.S. policy on immigration is a matter for the U.S. This prompted criticism from opposition lawmakers.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, said Mrs. May should have stood up for Britain by condemning Mr. Trump’s order. “It should sadden our country that she chose not to,” he said.

Tom Brake, a Liberal Democrat lawmaker, said of Mrs. May’s reaching out to Mr. Trump and Mr. Erdogan: “This is a deeply alarming sign of her priorities for diplomacy in post-Brexit Britain,” Mr. Brake said. The pro-EU Liberal Democrats said Mrs. May is seeking trade deals with “unsavory leaders.”

While the U.K. is in preliminary talks on trade in more than a dozen countries, under EU law, the U.K. can’t finalize any trade deals with other countries while still a member of the bloc.

The U.K. has tested the limits of that rule. Over lunch at the White House on Friday, Mrs. May and Mr. Trump agreed to maintain the same trading relationship the U.S. currently has with the U.K. in the immediate aftermath of Brexit to ensure stability for businesses, Downing Street said. Mr. Trump has said he wants to agree as soon as possible to a trade deal with the U.K.

Testing the Limits or Clear Violation?

It’s hard to say why Theresa May cozied up to Erdogan (simple defiance of the EU? NATO?) , but it makes sense to start trade negotiations with the US now.

Working out a deal now to be signed the moment Brexit is official seems more like a violation of rules as opposed to “testing the limits”.

Regardless, what the hell can the EU do about it?

Yesterday, the Financial Times reported Theresa May will not find it easy to broker a US-UK trade deal … “British agriculture and financial services may suffer at hands of Capitol Hill”.

That all depends on what Trump’s primary motive is doesn’t it?

If Trump wants to assist in the collapse of the EU, he might be willing to give the UK a very favorable deal.

Reprinted with permission from Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis.

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Prevent Nuclear War With Russia

Lew Rockwell Institute - Lun, 30/01/2017 - 07:01

People in the media all think that they have the wisdom to advise President Trump. Frankly, they don’t.

Of course, I am an exception. He should listen to me on this point.

I am going to suggest something that I think he really should do. It would be good for the nation and good for the world. It would cost the taxpayers nothing. It would be popular with his voter base. Congress would probably go along. It would also drive the Council on Foreign Relations up the proverbial wall. That alone would be worth it.

President Trump should contact the news media and tell them that he is going to make a major speech on foreign policy. I am sure they will all show up.

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Here is the speech he should deliver.

My Fellow Americans,The most important task of the President of the United States as assigned by the Constitution has always been the same: to serve as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. A President’s mistake here can have greater negative repercussions on America than any other mistake that a President can make.

The greatest danger to the United States and the world today is the possibility that NATO and Russia will get into a nuclear conflict.

I am hereby announcing that, as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, I will not automatically support NATO if a war breaks out between NATO and Russia.

I am hereby ending the NATO treaty while I am in office. I have the power to commit American forces, and I have the power not to commit American forces. I am hereby telling NATO this: I will not automatically commit American forces to back up NATO.

I will make any decision to commit troops to back up NATO on a case-by-case basis, but my commitment is no longer automatic merely because of the NATO treaty.

From 1800 until 1949, the United States of America had no mutual defense treaty with any nation. If any nation got into a war with any other nation, the United States had no treaty obligation to intervene on the side of either nation. I am hereby announcing that this is my personal policy.

I don’t care what the NATO treaty says. I will not automatically commit American troops or weapons to defend NATO.

If Congress wishes to impeach and then convict me, that is Congress’s option. If you, as voters, want Congress to impeach and convict me because of my stand, let Congress know. On the other hand, if you support my decision, let Congress know that you support it. In other words, let Congress know, beginning tomorrow.

I am not saying that I will never take this country into a war. I am saying that I am not going to take this country into war because of some existing treaty or alliance.

Furthermore, I am not going to take this nation into war unless the Congress formally declares war, as required by the United States Constitution.

If any nation or alliance, especially NATO, thinks that it can get into a war and automatically get my support as Commander-in-Chief, that is its mistake. That nation or alliance will have to wait until I am impeached by the House of Representatives, convicted by the Senate, and removed from office before there will be any commitment of American troops or equipment to defend that nation or alliance. If NATO thinks it can fight a war against Russia while waiting for the Congress of the United States to impeach me and convict me, that is NATO’s strategic mistake.

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