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What Did Yellen Whisper in Obama’s Ear?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mer, 20/04/2016 - 06:01

This week, President Obama and Vice President Biden held a hastily arranged secret meeting with Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen. According to the one-paragraph statement released by the White House following the meeting, Yellen, Obama, and Biden simply “exchanged notes” about the economy and the progress of financial reform. Because the meeting was held behind closed doors, the American people have no way of knowing what else the three might have discussed.

Yellen’s secret meeting at the White House followed an emergency secret Federal Reserve Board meeting. The Fed then held another secret meeting to discuss bank reform. These secret meetings come on the heels of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s estimate that first quarter GDP growth was .01 percent, dangerously close to the official definition of the recession.

Thus, the real reason for all these secret meetings could be a panic that the Fed’s eight-year explosion of money creation has not just failed to revive the economy, but is about to cause another major market meltdown.

The post What Did Yellen Whisper in Obama’s Ear? appeared first on LewRockwell.

325,000 People Pay Billionaire $1,000 Ea.

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mer, 20/04/2016 - 06:01

People stand in lines for days to get the latest, greatest version of a new iPhone…they camp out even.  Some people get to department stores in the middle of the night on Thanksgiving to grab a bargain on Black Friday and there are always news crews there to cover it.

We saw this phenomenon again recently when people stood in long lines to plop down $1000 for a chance to purchase a Tesla Model 3.  Did I say a chance to buy one?  Yes, essentially that is what all these folks did.  They got caught up in the frenzy, largely avoiding and ignoring, unknown facts.

According to Tesla, 325,000 people gave them possibly the biggest interest-free loan in American history.  They needed it, too.  They have yet to turn a profit, and according to sources, go into the hole, cash flow-wise, every month. 

People put up a deposit on a car that is supposed to be $35,000 with no options.  What do you get for that? Nobody knows.  The range is supposed to be 215-miles, but since the first car is still a long way from being built, do we really know?  The launch is supposed to be in 2017, but given the track record of Tesla launches, 2019 is a much safer bet.

How long does it take to charge the Model 3?  Oh yes, we don’t know.  Will you need to buy an expensive charger to get a quicker charge to get you back on the road sooner?  Probably.  What are the crash test ratings?  Again, all is unknown given VIN #00001 is still a long way away from reality.

One has to wonder why all those people stood in line to give up a $1000 of their hard-earned money when you could do it all online at the Tesla website.  You can go to the website, www.tesla.com to try to find answers, but you’ll only find evasive answers,  not unlike a used car salesman in the ‘60s.

For instance, at their website under Q&A, there is the question “what more can you tell me about the Model 3?” Answer:  “it will be awesome.  We’ll continue to share more about Model 3 with you over the coming months, as we get closer to production. Stay tuned!” 

Other interesting tidbits from the Tesla website:  By making your ($1000) reservation, you have secured the approximate priority within your region for taking delivery of your Model 3”.  HUH?  This is interesting, too: “While this reservation secures the approximate delivery priority within your region, it does not constitute the purchase or order of a vehicle.”  Which begs the question, why did I give you my thousand bucks?  This deal seems to have more hooks than a trotline.

I also love this from their website:  “designed to achieve (then in bold type) 5-Star Safety Rating.”  So was the Pinto, but we know how that turned out.

Look, I like Tesla and have strongly considered buying one myself.  It is also good to know that America has an appetite for a $35,000 electric car that seats five, has 215-miles of range, and has 5-star safety ratings.  The big question is: which car company will eventually build such a car?  Time will tell, and I may eat these words, but I doubt it will be Tesla, and can almost guarantee you it won’t be in 2017, or even 2018, and most likely never.  I just sincerely hope the company does not go bankrupt and stiff the adoring fans who handed over ten one hundred dollar bills on blind faith.

In the meantime, standing ovation to super-marketer Elon Musk for selling the sizzle with no steak, and pulling off a 325-million dollar cash grab.

Reprinted from Car Pro.

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This Will Blow Up in the Fed’s Face

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mer, 20/04/2016 - 06:01

Euro Pacific Capital’s Peter Schiff sat down with Alex Jones last week to discuss the state of the economy, and where he sees everything going from here.

Here are some notable moments from the interview.

Regarding how bad things are, and what’s really going on in the economy, Schiff lays out all of the horrible economic data that has come out recently, as well as making sure to take away the crutch everyone uses to explain any and all data misses, which is weather.

“It’s no way to know exactly the timetable, but obviously this economy is already back in recession, and if it’s not in a recession it’s certainly on the cusp of one”

“We could be in a negative GDP quarter right now, and I think that if the first quarter is bad the second quarter is going to be worse”

The last couple years we had a rebound in the second quarter because we’ve had very cold winters. Well this winter was the warmest in 120 years so there is nothing to rebound from.

On the Fed, and current policies, he very bluntly points out that nothing is working, nor has it worked, but of course the central planners will try it all anyway. He also takes a moment to agree with Donald Trump regarding the fact that the U.S. is flat out, undeniably broke.

“The problem for the fed is how do they launch a new round of stimulus and still pretend the economy is in good shape.”

“Negative interest rates are a disaster. It’s not working in Japan, it’s not working in Europe, it’s not going to work here. Just because it doesn’t work doesn’t mean we’re not going to do it, because everything we do doesn’t work and we do it anyway. It shows desperation, that you’ve had all these central bankers lowering interest rates and expecting it to revive the economy. And then when they get down to zero, rather than admit that it didn’t work, because clearly if you go to zero and you still haven’t achieved your objective, maybe it doesn’t work. Instead of admitting that they were wrong, they’re now going negative.”

“The United States, no matter how high inflation gets, we’ll do our best to pretend it doesn’t exist or rationalize it away because we have a lot more debt. America is broke, if you look at Europe and Japan even though there is some debt there, overall those are still creditor nations. The world still owes Europe money, the world still owes Japan money, but America owes more money than all of the other debtor nations combined. Trump is right about that, we are broke, we’re flat broke, and we’re living off this credit bubble and we can’t prick it. Other central banks may be able to raise their rates, but the Fed can’t.”

On how he sees everything unfolding from this point, Peter again points out that the economy is weak and it’s only a matter of time before this entire centrally planned manipulation is exposed for what it is, and becomes a disaster for the Federal Reserve. He likens how investors are behaving today to the dot-com bubble, and the beginning of the global financial crisis.

“The trigger that’s going to really send us into a higher gear is going to be the admission by the Fed that the economy is weak or the markets figure it out on their own. There’s not a lot of stimulus left, all they’ve got is potentially negative rates and a huge round of quantitative easing, and this thing is going to blow up in the Fed’s face.”

“Investors still just don’t get what’s going on. For the past several years everybody has been positioned as if this recovery were real, that it was sustainable, and that the Fed could normalize interest rates and everything was going to be fine. The first quarter of this year investment returns, it was the worst quarter in eighteen years for actively managed funds.

“The federal reserve has not solved our problems, but exacerbated them.”

“You’ve got big banks like Goldman Sachs shorting gold, telling their clients to short gold. A lot of people unfortunately listen to Goldman Sachs, and they’re doing the wrong thing. A lot of times the markets are just mis-priced, because so many people don’t get it. Just like all the people who were buying the subprime mortgages before the bottom dropped out of the market, or all the people who were buying thos dot-com stocks for several years before they collapsed. The same thing is going to happen now.”

***

Full Interview Here

Reprinted with permission from Zero Hedge.

The post This Will Blow Up in the Fed’s Face appeared first on LewRockwell.

Common Cold and Flu Tablets, Heartburn Drugs, and Sleeping Pills

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mer, 20/04/2016 - 06:01

Common over-the-counter medicines should be avoided by older people as they have been linked to memory loss and problems in thinking, scientists have discovered.

Treatments for colds and flu, hay fever, allergy and heartburn tablets containing anticholinergic drugs had the effect for one month after treatment, a study found.

Effects associated with taking the drugs included having slower brain processing times and smaller brains overall.

Well known treatments including the heartburn medicine Zantac, Night Nurse Liquid containing Promethazine and the sleeping tablet Nytol, containing diphenhydramine, are included among drugs that may result in the effects, the research said.

The post Common Cold and Flu Tablets, Heartburn Drugs, and Sleeping Pills appeared first on LewRockwell.

Rights vs. Wishes

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mer, 20/04/2016 - 06:01

Here is what presidential aspirant Sen. Bernie Sanders said: “I believe that health care is a right of all people.” President Barack Obama declared that health care “should be a right for every American.” The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: “Every person has a right to adequate health care.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his January 1944 message to Congress, called for “the right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.” And it is not just a health care right that people claim. There are rights to decent housing, good food, and a decent job, and for senior citizens, there’s a right to prescription drugs. In a free and moral society, do people have these rights? Let’s look at it.

In the standard historical usage of the term, a “right” is something that exists simultaneously among people. As such, a right imposes no obligation on another. For example, the right to free speech is something we all possess. My right to free speech imposes no obligation upon another except that of noninterference. Similarly, I have a right to travel freely. Again, that right imposes no obligation upon another except that of noninterference. right to travel freely might require that others provide me with resources to purchase airplane tickets and hotel accommodations. If I were to demand that others make sacrifices so that I can exercise my free speech and travel rights, I suspect that most Americans would say, “Williams, yes, you have rights to free speech and traveling freely, but I’m not obligated to pay for them!”

As human beings, we all have certain natural rights. Of the rights we possess, we have a right to delegate them to the government. For example, we all have a natural right to defend ourselves against predators. Because we possess that right, we can delegate it to the government. By contrast, I do not have a right to take one person’s earnings to give to another. Because I have no such right, I cannot delegate it to the government. If I did take your earnings to provide medical services for another, it would rightfully be described and condemned as an act of theft. When government does the same, it’s still theft, albeit legalized theft.

If you’re a Christian or a Jew, you should be against these so-called rights. When God gave Moses the eighth commandment — “Thou shalt not steal” — I am sure that he did not mean “thou shalt not steal unless there is a majority vote in Congress.” The bottom line is medical care, housing, and decent jobs are not rights at all, at least not in a free society; they are wishes. As such, I would agree with most Americans — because I, too, wish that everyone had good medical care, decent housing, and a good job.

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SIG Sauer P226 Air Pistol

Lew Rockwell Institute - Mer, 20/04/2016 - 06:01

Originally published by AmmoLand.com.

SIG Sauer P226 Air Pistol

United States – Over the past few years several airgun companies have marketed air pistols meant to simulate the real thing.

They looked real enough but never really mimicked regular pistols, either in their design, weight, or function. They were just toys for kids to play with. THEN, SIG SAUER entered the picture. Their P226 semi-automatic pistol was already one of the best and most reliable guns on the market, which is undoubtedly why the U.S. Navy SEALS selected it as their standard firearm. It was only logical that SIG SAUER chose the P226 as their template for a new air pistol.

SIG spent considerable time and resources (in house – not licensed) in the development of a P226 Advanced Sports Pellet (ASP) “clone” that would mimic the handling and function of their “regular” P226 firearm. Their purpose was to produce an inexpensive replica that could be used by military and police units for training, avoiding the expense of high-value training weapons as well as costly ammunition.Sights: 3-Dot blades (2-dot on rear and 1-dot on front sight)

  • Picatinny Accessory Rail
  • MSRP:  $110.99
  • The P226 ASP is a well-made all metal gun with polymer grips. In fact, we are amazed that SIG can sell it for so little. It definitely has to be one of the best air pistols buys on the market today, if not the best. If you get one, you won’t regret it.

    The best feature of the SIG Sauer P226 Air Pistol is that you can buy it online and have it shipped to your house on Amazon.

    Reprinted with permission from AmmoLand.com.

    The post SIG Sauer P226 Air Pistol appeared first on LewRockwell.

    Big Brother Is Trolling You

    Lew Rockwell Institute - Mer, 20/04/2016 - 06:01

    The US Central Intelligence Agency has become increasingly focused on monitoring social media, according to a document obtained by The Intercept; the intelligence agency is pouring money in start-ups mining tweets, Instagram photos, and Facebook posts.

    Every time you post a message on Facebook or share a photo on Instagram, remembers this: Big Brother is watching you. No, it’s not a quotation from the famous “1984” by George Orwell. The truth of the matter is that the US Central Intelligence Agency has set its eye on social media platforms.

    In his latest article US, investigative journalist Lee Fang sheds some light of the CIA’s investment programs, referring to a new document obtained by The Intercept.

    It turns out that In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm, is pouring money into companies and start-ups specializing in social media mining and surveillance.

    “Please keep close hold, but my team is planning to launch a tool on Sunday that will publicly track and map the defections in Syria and which parts of the government they are coming from,” Cohen wrote on July 25, 2012.

    “Our logic behind this is that while many people are tracking the atrocities, nobody is visually representing and mapping the defections, which we believe are important in encouraging more to defect and giving confidence to the opposition,” the president of ‘Google Ideas’ emphasized.

    Information technologies play a crucial role in today’s world. However, the question then arises to what extent these technologies, tools and applications can be used. What is at stake are fundamental values — privacy, freedom of speech, nations’ sovereignty, and independence.

    Reprinted from Sputnik News.

    The post Big Brother Is Trolling You appeared first on LewRockwell.

    TUTTI gli uomini sono creati uguali?

    Freedonia - Mar, 19/04/2016 - 10:16




    di Bill Bonner


    WATERFORD – Siamo seduti in un ristorante vicino al porto di Waterford.

    Qui si radunavano migliaia di emigranti disperati per partire alla volta dell'America.

    Ma durante la carestia in Irlanda e in Scozia, il passaggio attraverso l'Atlantico era più un biglietto per una tomba in acqua che per una vita migliore.

    I tassi di mortalità arrivavano fino al 30% – facendo guadagnare ai vascelli il nome di "navi bara".

    Se gli emigrati riuscivano ad arrivare negli Stati Uniti o in Canada, le loro prospettive miglioravano. I loro figli o nipoti sarebbero potuti diventare presidente. O, come il vostro scrittore, almeno avere la possibilità di visitare di nuovo Waterford.

    Ma torniamo negli Stati Uniti, dove le paghe non agricole sono aumentate di 211,000 unità a novembre... aggiungendosi ai 271,000 posti di lavoro creati ad ottobre.

    E la FED di Janet Yellen s'è attenuta al suo piano di voler iniziare a normalizzare i tassi d'interesse.

    Nel frattempo dall'Europa arriva la notizia che Mario "Whatever It Takes" Draghi ha deluso gli investitori. L'ultimo pacchetto di stimolo del presidente della Banca Centrale Europea è stato meno stimolante rispetto a quello che gli investitori speravano.

    È stato come un bambino che si aspetta una nuova bici per Natale. E poi, guardando sotto l'albero la mattina di Natale, tutto quello che trova è un maglione e un libro. Il povero ragazzo rimane avvilito per il resto della giornata.

    Il Dow ha lasciato per strafa 252 punti – o circa 1.5 punti percentuali.

    È questo il problema con le misure di stimolo fasulle. Bisogna continuare a stimolare... o i bambini viziati restano di cattivo umore.

    Ma cambiamo argomento...

    Yuval Harari, professore di storia presso l'Università Ebraica di Gerusalemme, ritiene che l'idea secondo cui tutti gli uomini sono creati uguali sia un "mito".

    È il genere di narrativa condivisa – non basata su alcuna realtà oggettiva – che tiene insieme la società moderna.

    Oggi scaveremo negli archivi per saperne di più su questo argomento...

    "È in gran parte una questione di dimensioni... Infatti tutto potrebbe essere ridotto ad una questione di dimensioni", ha detto un lettore ieri.

    Stavamo parlando del modo in cui funzionano le cose... e del perché c'è una grande differenza tra il modo in cui le persone interagiscono abbastanza bene nei piccoli gruppi e il modo in cui sembrano perdere il controllo in quelli grandi.

    "Sì," ha continuato il nostro amico, "una volta che si va oltre ciò che è comunemente noto come 'dimensione dell'uomo', le cose perdono tutto il loro significato."

    È una domanda che ci ha lasciato perplessi per anni: com'è possibile che un uomo abbastanza intelligente possa benissimo destreggiarsi nel traffico senza uccidersi, ma chiedete allo stesso uomo la sua opinione sul riscaldamento globale, la guerra alla povertà, o l'istruzione pubblica... e quello che otterrete è una quantità immensa di sciocchezze assurde?

    Abbiamo detto molte volte che c'è tanta differenza tra una riunione cittadina nel New England e il governo federale degli Stati Uniti. La dimensione della riunione cittadina nel New England è una cosa che il cervello umano è preparato ad affrontare.

    Nel corso della riunione cittadina, un uomo può sapere chi è un deficiente e chi è un imbroglione.

    Ma quando si tratta di politica nazionale, lo stesso uomo è completamente mal equipaggiato per fare la stessa distinzione – come un meccanico che si presenta con un paio di forbici... o un veterinario con una chiave inglese.

    Egli ignora i fatti... l'innocenza delle procedure... ed è completamente impotente davanti ai controlli. Non riesce a distinguere i conniventi dagli imbranati onesti. Non ha punti di riferimento significativi.

    Cosa può fare questo povero diavolo se non ricorrere a miti, bugie e semplificazioni?

    "Se non combattiamo i comunisti in Vietnam", diceva nel 1965, "dovremo combatterli in California!"

    "Se vogliamo una popolazione più istruita, dobbiamo spendere di più per l'istruzione pubblica", diceva nel 1975.

    "Se non ci opponiamo all'Impero del Male, conquisterà il mondo", diceva nel 1985.

    "Se investiamo in un portfolio bilanciato di titoli, nel lungo periodo faremo sempre soldi", diceva nel 1995.

    Cosa può fare?

    Sostituisce la conoscenza e l'esperienza con slogan vuoti. Sostituisce le prove dettagliate con ampie generalizzazioni categoriche. Cifre precise e calcoli complicati lasciano il posto alle statistiche e alle medie.

    Il mondo che vede in TV diventa il suo mondo – un mondo in cui i dettagli sono sbiaditi e sostituiti da caricature e medie nazionali.

    Si dà luogo ad una nuova comprensione delle cose. Le norme non sono impostate secondo l'esperienza individuale, ma secondo la radiodiffusione nazionale in cui le particolarità sono eliminate... i colori sbiaditi e la conoscenza reale si perde nell'etere.

    Invece di parlare il suo dialetto, l'uomo parla la lingua franca del telegiornale della sera. Invece d'indossare gli abiti che gli piacciono, si veste per soddisfare le apparenze. Invece dei suoi pensieri, la sua mente è piena di fanatismo nazionalistico, miti e truffe.

    All'aumentare della dimensione del suo mondo, le sfumature e le particolarità locali perdono il loro fascino.

    L'uomo comincia a vedere sé stesso e il suo mondo in termini nuovi. Non è più importante se la sua casa è confortevole e attraente secondo i suoi standard; ora dev'essere accettabile in termini nazionali.

    Egli si rende conto che molte persone vivono in abitazioni "scadenti". E lo standard non è certo una cosa che l'uomo può impostare da sé. Invece lo standard è impostato da persone senza alcuna conoscenza dettagliata.

    Si tratta di uno standard basato su medie... generalità... e incentivi di cui è completamente all'oscuro.

    Quanti piedi quadrati a persona? Quanto riscaldamento? Quanta aria condizionata? In che modo questi standard s'adattano alla National Builders’ Association e alla Steamfitters Union?

    Poi, per fare in modo che tutte le case soddisfino i loro standard, vengono imposte delle norme – regolamenti edilizi... regole urbanistiche... materiali standard.

    Il proprietario non si chiede più: questa casa è abbastanza sicura per me? Ora la domanda è: questa casa soddisfa gli standard di sicurezza moderni?

    Probabilmente per gli standard odierni anche il Re Sole, Luigi XIV, viveva in alloggi scadenti.

    Anche l'istruzione assume un nuovo aspetto...

    Non è sufficiente imparare le cose; i ficcanaso sono incapaci nell'organizzare l'apprendimento individuale. Ciò che possono organizzare è "l'Istruzione".

    Gli insegnanti non devono preoccuparsi dei singoli studenti, e nemmeno dei curricula locali. Tutti devono imparare la stessa cosa. E devono impararla allo stesso modo.

    Il mondo può essere infinitamente complesso. Ma nel programma istruttivo nazionale, i dettagli devono essere scansati – come il lavoro dettagliato nel restaurare una vecchia casa – in modo che tutto ciò che rimanga sia misurabile, standardizzato, quantificato e assegnato da burocrati che potrebbero non aver mai incontrato un singolo studente in tutta la loro vita.

    E la formula per il miglioramento è sempre la stessa: gli standard dell'istruzione non sono all'altezza? Bisogna spendere più soldi!

    Chi se ne frega se qualcuno sta davvero apprendendo qualcosa! La cosa fondamentale è che tutti gli studenti digeriscano lo stesso sproloquio in modo da lasciare il recinto scolastico con gli stessi pregiudizi e le stesse illusioni. Gli stessi miti. Lo stesso racconto.

    Il taglialegna nel New Hampshire o il coltivatore di cavoli in California scoprono presto che non solo vivono in un tugurio "scadente" e che sono "ignoranti", ma anche che sono "poveri".

    La povertà è sempre una misura relativa... ma rispetto a che cosa?

    Un uomo può essere perfettamente felice con il suo destino. Può non avere acqua corrente, riscaldamento e soldi. Immaginatelo a curare il suo giardino, a dare da mangiare ai suoi polli e ad aggiustare il suo tetto. Nel bosco può anche costruire una distilleria per trasformare i frutti della terra in distillati ancor più prelibati.

    Infatti, in base a tutto ciò che conta per lui, potrebbe benissimo affermare di vivere una vita ricca, confortevole e piacevole. Ma al crescere della scala di confronto, i dettagli che rendono la sua vita così gradevole scompaiono nello sciacquone della statistica.

    Scopre di trovarsi al di sotto della "soglia di povertà". Scopre d'essere "svantaggiato" e "non privilegiato". Può anche consolarsi sapendo che ha "diritto" ad un "alloggio decente."

    Forse si qualificherà per entrare nel programma dei buoni pasto.

    L'idea d'essere "povero" potrebbe non aver mai sfiorato la sua mente prima. Potrebbe vivere in una parte del mondo dove ognuno è povero quanto lui... e tutti sono perfettamente felici nella loro povertà.

    Ma ora questo sortilegio lo perseguita come una maledizione. La povertà sembra qualcosa da cui debba fuggire... qualcosa da cui debba uscire... qualcosa per cui qualcuno debba fare qualcosa!

    La sua nuova coscienza lo ha trasformato in uno scontento. Il pover'uomo – precedentemente felice nei suoi dettagli ingenui – è ora infelice nel suo ruolo da provinciale povero.

    Ecco la cosa peggiore: la TV e l'opinione popolare lo inducono a pensare che è l'opinione che gli altri hanno di lui – non il suo punto di vista – quella che conta davvero.

    Nel giro di pochi mesi, ha dimenticato quanto era contento.

    Lo spettacolo pubblico lo ha trasformato in un idiota.

    Si vede in TV come un povero disgraziato. I giornali nazionali dicono che ha bisogno d'aiuto. Lo prendono in giro per come parla. E ora gli agenti federali sono nei boschi alla ricerca della sua distilleria!

    In tutto il mondo i costumi locali, gli stili, i modi, gli accenti, stanno scomparendo. Con l'aumento della scala, con l'espansione dell'economia di mercato a livello globale, le persone vengono omogeneizzate, livellate.

    Il loro cibo, la loro musica, i loro vestiti – tutti vengono mescolati tra loro, standardizzati... e come mescolare i resti nei barattoli di vernice – si finisce con l'avere il grigio.

    Le variazioni regionali resistono solo nella forma folkloristica.

    Che andiate a New Orleans, Nashville, o Vienna, sentirete la stessa musica, troverete le stesse mode negli stessi negozi e mangerete lo stesso hamburger del McDonald. Un investitore a Mumbai parla la stessa lingua di uno di New York.

    Ma sono le particolarità degli investimenti che fanno la differenza tra il fallimento e il successo. Queste sono cose che i media finanziari mondiali non possono deturpare... il tipo di conoscenza precisa, dettagliata e particolare di cui si ha realmente bisogno per il successo negli investimenti.

    Invece ciò che l'investitore ottiene è una formazione scolastica pubblica: non sa niente... e pensa di sapere tutto.

    E dal momento che tutti gli investitori sanno più o meno la stessa cosa – vale a dire, tutti condividono le stesse illusioni e le confondono con la saggezza – i mercati tendono a riflettere le mode popolari come se fossero gli ultimi blue jeans della stagione.

    Lo stesso fenomeno lo ritroviamo nella politica estera di una nazione.

    Un uomo sa perfettamente che dev'essere in grado di difendersi. Intorno alle colline del New Hampshire può reputare basso il rischio di un attacco, e così andare disarmato. Ma passeggiare tra i vicoli di Manchester potrebbe essere un tantino diverso.

    All'aumentare delle dimensioni, diventa più difficile giudicare il rischio.

    Dategli un po' di telegiornale... e sarà pronto ad andare in guerra contro gente che non ha mai incontrato, in luoghi in cui non è mai stato, per ragioni che non potrà mai capire.

    Anche in questo caso, l'uomo viene confuso dalle dimensioni delle cose. Non può conoscere i fatti, le persone, o addirittura la teoria. Non sa in cosa si sta immischiando, ma è pronto a pagare con la vita.

    Anche nelle questioni personali, come la salute, l'uomo si ritrova vittima delle dimensioni.

    Il suo stato di salute conta poco; ciò che conta sono le statistiche. È sopraffatto dagli slogan e dai pregiudizi dei media nazionali.

    Pesa troppo? Fa abbastanza esercizio? Mangia abbastanza frutti di mare? Dovrebbe fare un check-up ogni anno; cosa dicono le statistiche? Che cosa gli dicono i giornali?

    Le chiacchiere sulle dimensioni non si fermano neanche davanti alla porta della camera da letto. Può aver goduto di una vita sessuale soddisfacente, ma ora deve vedersela con i confronti... le medie... le aspettative statistiche sulla stampa nazionale.

    Lo sta facendo abbastanza spesso? Lo sta facendo abbastanza bene?

    Prima queste questioni erano personali e private. Aveva l'abitudine d'impostare i propri standard. Ma ora non esiste qualcosa come una questione privata. Non c'è quasi più niente di privato, personale, dettagliato, locale e importante che non ceda alla standardizzazione su larga scala.

    Non sa più ciò che conta davvero e fa riferimento solo allo spettacolo pubblico... da quanto spesso la gente fa l'amore a che tipo di mal governo c'è in Iraq.

    Ora siamo tutti uguali.

    Viviamo nelle stesse case. Mangiamo lo stesso cibo. E soffriamo delle stesse illusioni di tutti gli altri.

    Se siamo infelici, è perché la TV dice che dovremmo esserlo.

    Solo ora siamo tutti uguali...

    Saluti,


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


    GOP Suicide

    Lew Rockwell Institute - Mar, 19/04/2016 - 06:59

    Donald Trump has brought out the largest crowds in the history of primaries. He has won the most victories, the most delegates, the most votes. He is poised to sweep three of the five largest states in the nation — New York, Pennsylvania, and California.

    If he does, and the nomination is taken from him, the Republican Party will be seen by the American people as a glorified Chinese tong.

    Last week, Ted Cruz swept 34 delegates at the Colorado party convention. Attendees were not allowed to vote on whom they wanted as the party’s nominee.

    This weekend, Cruz shut out Trump in Wyoming the same way.

    What does this tell us? Cruz has a better “ground game.” His operatives work the system better. Ted Cruz is the king of small ball.

    They see Trump’s victories as a repudiation of their legacy, and a Trump presidency as the end of their post-Cold War ascendancy.

    And given the disasters they have produced for America, from Afghanistan to Iraq, Libya and Yemen, the nation would be well rid of them.

    Indeed, Trump’s victories and the energies he has unleashed are due, not only to his outsized persona but to his issues.

    People believe Trump will secure the borders, halt the invasion, embrace tariff and trade policies to reduce imports, and restart the production of goods, Made in the USA, by and for Americans.

    In his first inaugural, Woodrow Wilson said, “The success of a party means little except when the Nation is using that party for a large and definite purpose.”

    Bush Republicans saw their “large and definite purpose” as creating a “New World Order” and “ending tyranny in our world.”

    Trump seems to see repairing, rebuilding and restoring America to greatness as the “large and definite purpose” of the party he would lead. And a new emerging Republican majority seems to agree.

    If Trump had been routed, as first expected, then his message could rightly have been regarded as outside the mainstream. But Republican voters rallied to the issues he raised.

    To either ignore the clear instructions of its electorate, or renounce their chosen messenger, would be for the Republican Party to forfeit its future, and cling to a discredited and dead past.

    The post GOP Suicide appeared first on LewRockwell.

    Liberland Is 1-Year Old

    Lew Rockwell Institute - Mar, 19/04/2016 - 06:01

    When he plunged a flag into the banks of the Danube and declared the birth of the Free Republic of Liberland, Vit Jedlicka was dismissed by governments and media organisations as a joke.

    Yet one year and many diplomatic missions later, his vision of a libertarian paradise born on a patch of unwanted land has 400,000 would-be citizens, the backing of a range of political movements around the world and even its own national beer.

    Thanks to the efforts of the Croatian border police, Liberland has still technically not got a single inhabitant, and its 7 sq km of boggy wetlands boast just one dilapidated building, an abandoned hunting lodge.

    But speaking in an exclusive interview with The Independent, “President” Jedlicka reveals that plans are nearly in place for a group of Liberlanders to break through that police blockade in such numbers “there is nothing they can do to stop it”.

    Liberland lies on the Croatia-Serbia border, roughly halfway between Zagreb and Belgrade. A product of a border dispute between the two countries lasting a quarter of a century, it lies on a portion of territory which neither country is willing to claim.

    An architectural competition was run to design the tiny but potentially densely-populated nation

    “They made it no man’s land,” Mr Jedlicka says after giving a speech at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in London, to a receptive audience of bankers, free marketeers and young Conservatives.

    In the year since Liberland was founded – on 13 April, Thomas Jefferson’s birthday – Croatia has set up police patrols and arrested dozens of people for attempting to access the unexpectedly hotly-disputed territory.

    Read the Whole Article

    The post Liberland Is 1-Year Old appeared first on LewRockwell.

    Weird Wonderful Forgotten Words

    Lew Rockwell Institute - Mar, 19/04/2016 - 06:01

    English changes all the time, often in subtle ways—so it’s not surprising that we’ve lost many delightful words and phrases along the way. In his wonderful book Forgotten English, Jeffrey Kacirk takes a closer look at the origins and histories of these language relics. Here are a few of our favorite words from the book; for more, check out Kacirk’s website.

    1. ASTROLOGAMAGE

    The medieval era’s Miss Cleos, these so-called wise men made predictions based on what was happening in the sky.

    2. CRAPULENCE

    6. GROANING-CHEESE

    Back in the day, husbands didn’t just hold their wives’ hands during childbirth—they gave them the medieval version of an epidural: Cheese. Groaning-cheese was said to soothe a lady in labor, and so husbands paired it with groaning-cake and groaning-drink.

    7. GROG-BLOSSOM

    A word from the 18th century for the dilation of blood vessels—caused by long-term overconsumption of the drink—in an alcoholic’s nose.

    8. LETTICE-CAP

    A medical device (which Kacirk says resembles a hair net) that was used in the 16th and 17th centuries. After the patient’s head was shaved, the cap was filled with herbs and placed on his head, supposedly curing him of ailments like headaches and insomnia.

    Read the Whole Article

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    My Stasi File Published

    Lew Rockwell Institute - Mar, 19/04/2016 - 06:01

    I was very unhappy with the unfair and inflammatory article that the Harvard Crimson ran regarding my political associations, and they suggested I submit an op-ed in response. I provided the piece below, which they requested be trimmed for length prior to publication, which I did.

    They then notified me that after further consideration, they had decided that most of my points were irrelevant or unfair and should not be published: I could only make the arguments that they themselves approved. Perhaps they felt that the effectiveness of my response might risk “confusing” some of their readers.

    Several individuals have emphasized to me that outrageous character assassination based on guilt-by-association must be answered quickly, so here’s the rebuttal that the Crimson refused to publish, and you can decide for yourself if their decision was appropriate.

    I appreciate that the Crimson has afforded denied me an opportunity to reply to their highly misleading article of the 14th, featuring the particularly lurid headline “Overseers Candidate Donates to ‘Quasi-White Nationalist’ Group,” and supposedly documenting my links to various rightwing extremists. Coming at the peak of alumni voting, such unfair accusations have the potential to torpedo our Free Harvard/Fair Harvard slate of Overseer candidates.

    Over the last dozen years, I’ve certainly provided donations to a very wide range of political groups and individuals, including leftwingers, rightwingers, and libertarians. Many of these groups are on the political fringe and espouse controversial views on all sorts of different issues. I might agree with them on some things and disagree with them on others, but frequently find their ideas a useful counterpoint to the conventional wisdom presented in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, which I spend hours closely reading every morning.

    Much of the Crimson article focused on my financial support to VDare, a right-wing, and very hard-core anti-immigrant webzine, with the dollars representing less than 1% of my total donations over the last decade. Since immigration issues have always been one of my main interests, I read VDare quite regularly and am on friendly terms with their staff. But as everyone knows from the hundreds of thousands of words I have published on immigration-related topics, I’ve always been one of America’s leading pro-immigrant voices, hence almost invariably on the exact opposite side from VDare. I find it odd that the Crimson article left out that significant detail, which surely would have made their account of my donation seem even more shocking and newsworthy.

    Sometimes headlines may be factually correct but highly misleading. For example, back in 1994, I was a top featured speaker at the gigantic 70,000 person march in Los Angeles against Prop. 187, the largest pro-immigrant political protest in American history but boycotted by virtually every other prominent non-Latino political figure in California. As it happens, many small Communist groups participated in that rally, waving their Communist flags. So the Crimson could have run the lurid headline “Overseer Candidate Marched with the Communists in Los Angeles.” Accurate, but perhaps a bit skewed and misleading.

    Similarly, the Crimson alludes to individuals supporting the assassination of police officers. The reference was to a piece I ran a couple of months ago by Bob Trivers, a brilliant evolutionary biologist but also a completely unrepentant radical militant, who had once served as the only white member of the Black Panther Party. It’s absolutely correct that he has advocated the assassination of “racist” white police officers, a view I personally do not share and one which is probably more extreme than anything VDare or any of my rightwing columnists has ever proposed. But the column was drawn from his recent book, which was widely praised by some of the world’s most prominent public intellectuals, including Richard Dawkins and Harvard’s own Steven Pinker. So perhaps the Crimson should run a headline “Richard Dawkins Praises Book Advocating the Assassination of White Police Officers.”

    I reject “guilt by association” and just because I am personally friendly with various people, publish their writings, or even provide them some financial assistance, that does not necessarily mean that I endorse everything they say. For example, I very strongly disagree with Sen. Bernie Sanders on a whole host of important topics, but since on balance I like his positions much better than those of his competitors, he is my favored presidential candidate, and the only one to whom I have donated. Similarly, during the last couple of presidential elections I wrote in Ron Paul’s name at the top of the ticket, not because I agreed with him about everything, but because the other choices seemed so unsatisfactory.

    I have a long record of closely associating with people of sharply different views. I am often identified as the former publisher (2006-2013) of The American Conservative(TAC), an opinion magazine that absorbed over 60% of my donations over the last decade. TAC was co-founded by Pat Buchanan and always had a strongly Buchananite stance on immigration, trade, and social issues, positions I did not share. However, I strongly supported their lonely opposition to the disastrous foreign wars of the Bush Administration, afterward continued by the Obama Administration.

    Anyone who wishes to know my own views may easily examine my writings over the past twenty-five years, given that all 500,000 words are online and fully searchable. Furthermore, my most important articles are collected in a 700pp book together with a very comprehensive index. Just look in the index, read the text, and you’ll discover my opinions.

    Over half, my writing has dealt with matters of race, ethnicity, and social policy, including immigration, affirmative action, and bilingual education. Although often controversial, my articles have won praise from some eminent scholars and journalists, situated all across the ideological spectrum. If Crimson journalists wish to denounce me, they are free to do so, but they should focus on my own views rather than those of other people I happen to know.

    Read the Whole Article

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    What If the Feds Followed Their Constitution?

    Lew Rockwell Institute - Mar, 19/04/2016 - 06:01

    Conservatives hold sacred the Constitution, or at least they maintain they do. Republicans profess to be the “party of the Constitution.” They claim to revere the Constitution, to love the Constitution, to honor the Constitution. They castigate “activist” judges for broadly reading the Constitution. They criticize those who advocate a “living Constitution.” They talk about the necessity of discovering the “original intent” or “original meaning” of the Constitution. Conservatives and Republicans even insist, with a straight face, that they believe in following the Constitution, when, of course, they do nothing of the kind.

    Libertarians know that the Constitution is not a libertarian document. The taxing and taking power the Constitution gives to the federal government is troubling. Libertarians recognize that the Constitution is a flawed document. The ambiguous clauses in the Constitution—the “general welfare” clause, the “commerce” clause, and the “necessary and proper” clause—have been abused almost from the very beginning. Libertarians believe history makes abundantly clear that the fears the Anti-federalists had about the Constitution allowing the national government to become too centralized and too powerful were tremendous understatements. The Constitution has utterly failed to limit the size and scope of the federal government. Libertarians argue that the Constitution was designed to expand government power, not to limit it. The Constitution means only what the Supreme Court interprets it to mean. As Lew Rockwell reminds us in Against the State: “The Constitution creates a government that is the judge of its own powers.”

  • There would be no Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
  • There would be no Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.
  • There would be no Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
  • There would be no Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • There would be no Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae).
  • Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac).
  • There would be no Department of Energy.
  • And these are just fifty things off the top of my head. I could list fifty more. And then fifty more. Then, after doing some research, I could list 500 more.

    What this means is that if the government followed its own Constitution, there would be no subsidies, no redistribution of wealth, no corporate welfare, no income transfers from those who work to those who don’t, no welfare state, and no nanny state. In other words, the United States would be a free society.

    There yet remains two other things to be said.

    One, anyone who calls himself a constitutionalist or a constitutional conservative and supports any of the above fifty things is a liar, a fraud, and an enemy of the Constitution.

    And two, anyone who thinks that we need a constitutional convention to propose new amendments to the Constitution—including a balanced budget amendment—has rocks for brains. The government currently violates its own Constitution in 10,000 ways. Why would anyone possibly think that government would follow any new amendments to the Constitution? Why would anyone possibly think that congressional spending would be reigned in by a balanced budget amendment?

    Although the Constitution has utterly failed to limit the size and scope of the federal government, it would still be a good thing for the cause of liberty and property if the government made some attempt to follow it.

    The post What If the Feds Followed Their Constitution? appeared first on LewRockwell.

    Under Growing Totalitarianism

    Lew Rockwell Institute - Mar, 19/04/2016 - 06:01

    “The way things are supposed to work is that we’re supposed to know virtually everything about what [government officials] do: that’s why they’re called public servants. They’re supposed to know virtually nothing about what we do: that’s why we’re called private individuals. This dynamic – the hallmark of a healthy and free society – has been radically reversed. Now, they know everything about what we do, and are constantly building systems to know more. Meanwhile, we know less and less about what they do, as they build walls of secrecy behind which they function. That’s the imbalance that needs to come to an end. No democracy can be healthy and functional if the most consequential acts of those who wield political power are completely unknown to those to whom they are supposed to be accountable.” ― Glenn Greenwald

    Government eyes are watching you.

    They see your every move: what you read, how much you spend, where you go, with whom you interact, when you wake up in the morning, what you’re watching on television and reading on the internet.

    Every move you make is being monitored, mined for data, crunched, and tabulated in order to form a picture of who you are, what makes you tick, and how best to control you when and if it becomes necessary to bring you in line.

    We now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed and controlled by our technology, which answers not to us but to our government and corporate rulers.

    Consider that on any given day, the average American going about his daily business will be monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways, by both government and corporate eyes and ears. A byproduct of this new age in which we live, whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether the NSA or some other entity, is listening in and tracking your behavior.

    As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, this doesn’t even begin to touch on the corporate trackers that monitor your purchases, web browsing, Facebook posts and other activities taking place in the cyber sphere.

    For example, police have been using Stingray devices mounted on their cruisers to intercept cell phone calls and text messages without court-issued search warrants.

    Doppler radar devices, which can detect human breathing and movement within in a home, are already being employed by the police to deliver arrest warrants and are being challenged in court.

    License plate readers, yet another law enforcement spying device made possible through funding by the Department of Homeland Security, can record up to 1800 license plates per minute. Moreover, these surveillance cameras can also photograph those inside a moving car. Reports indicate that the Drug Enforcement Administration has been using the cameras in conjunction with facial recognition software to build a “vehicle surveillance database” of the nation’s cars, drivers and passengers.

    Sidewalk and “public space” cameras, sold to gullible communities as a sure-fire means of fighting crime, is yet another DHS program that is blanketing small and large towns alike with government-funded and monitored surveillance cameras. It’s all part of a public-private partnership that gives government officials access to all manner of surveillance cameras, on sidewalks, on buildings, on buses, even those installed on private property.

    Couple these surveillance cameras with facial recognition and behavior-sensing technology and you have the makings of “pre-crime” cameras, which scan your mannerisms, compare you to pre-set parameters for “normal” behavior, and alert the police if you trigger any computerized alarms as being “suspicious.”

    State and federal law enforcement agencies are pushing to expand their biometric and DNA databases by requiring that anyone accused of a misdemeanor have their DNA collected and cataloged. However, technology is already available that allows the government to collect biometrics such as fingerprints from a distance, without a person’s cooperation or knowledge. One system can actually scan and identify a fingerprint from nearly 20 feet away.

    Developers are hard at work on a radar gun that can actually show if you or someone in your car is texting. Another technology being developed, dubbed a “textalyzer” device, would allow police to determine whether someone was driving while distracted. Refusing to submit one’s phone to testing could result in a suspended or revoked driver’s license.

    It’s a sure bet that anything the government welcomes (and funds) too enthusiastically is bound to be a Trojan horse full of nasty, invasive surprises. Case in point: police body cameras. Hailed as the easy fix solution to police abuses, these body cameras—made possible by funding from the Department of Justice—will turn police officers into roving surveillance cameras. Of course, if you try to request access to that footage, you’ll find yourself being led a merry and costly chase through miles of red tape, bureaucratic footmen, and unhelpful courts.

    The “internet of things” refers to the growing number of “smart” appliances and electronic devices now connected to the internet and capable of interacting with each other and being controlled remotely. These range from thermostats and coffee makers to cars and TVs. Of course, there’s a price to pay for such easy control and access. That price amounts to relinquishing ultimate control of and access to your home to the government and its corporate partners. For example, while Samsung’s Smart TVs are capable of “listening” to what you say, thereby allowing users to control the TV using voice commands, it also records everything you say and relays it to a third party, e.g., the government.

    Then again, the government doesn’t really need to spy on you using your smart TV when the FBI can remotely activate the microphone on your cell phone and record your conversations. The FBI can also do the same thing to laptop computers without the owner knowing any better.

    Drones, which are taking to the skies en masse, are the converging point for all of the weapons and technology already available to law enforcement agencies. In fact, drones that can listen in on your phone calls, see through the walls of your home, scan your biometrics, photograph you and track your movements, and even corral you with sophisticated weaponry.

    Technology has upped the stakes dramatically.

    All of these technologies add up to a society in which there’s little room for indiscretions, imperfections, or acts of independence—especially not when the government can listen in on your phone calls, monitor your driving habits, track your movements, scrutinize your purchases and peer through the walls of your home.

    In such an environment, you’re either a paragon of virtue, or you’re a criminal.

    This is the creepy, calculating yet diabolical genius of the American police state: the very technology we hailed as revolutionary and liberating has become our prison, jailer, probation officer, Big Brother and Father Knows Best all rolled into one.

    Thus, to be an individual today, to not conform, to have even a shred of privacy, and to live beyond the reach of the government’s roaming eyes and technological spies, one must not only be a rebel but rebel.

    As Philip K. Dick, the visionary who gave us Minority Report and Blade Runner, advised:

    If, as it seems, we are in the process of becoming a totalitarian society in which the state apparatus is all-powerful, the ethics most important for the survival of the true, free, human individual would be: cheat, lie, evade, fake it, be elsewhere, forge documents, build improved electronic gadgets in your garage that’ll outwit the gadgets used by the authorities.

    There is no gray area any longer.

    The post Under Growing Totalitarianism appeared first on LewRockwell.

    Don’t Value Life as the Gov’t Does?

    Lew Rockwell Institute - Mar, 19/04/2016 - 06:01

    I overheard a somewhat interesting if disturbing conversation this weekend. A career U.S. military man was telling these folks at a coffee shop that “we” need to go into the Middle East and “mean business this time”. As in, you know, kill them all and let Allah sort them out. Now, I’ve heard all of this before so I wasn’t especially astonished. This is standard-issue manure that gets doled out via government propaganda outlets we call “talk radio” and “television talk shows”. But what he said next is what I found astonishing: “They don’t value life like we do!” What?! Excuse me, but, what?!

    Right, “they” don’t value life like we do. And we’ll teach them to value life like we do by killing every last one of them! Then they’ll learn about the sanctity of human life, by jingo! I considered this point of view and wondered if this guy was a bomber pilot since that was the branch of the military he hailed from. Not to mention that is the branch of the military in control of the thermonuclear curtain-closers that the United States would use to pull off an award-winning finale to the human race if we needed to fully demonstrate how much we value life.

    “They” don’t value life like we do. Pardon me, but who is “they”, hmmm? Oh, right, the Middle East! I agree. Look what happened when they got a hold of nuclear weapons. They no sooner got a hold of them and they nuked two cities and vaporized a couple hundred thousand human beings. Oh, wait, that was us that did that. Oops! Sorry, my bad. Didn’t “they” kill about three million people in the Vietnam War? Oh, sorry, that was us again. Gosh, I suppose now is not the time to mention that our Civil War dwarfs the current Syrian Civil War in terms of the hundreds of thousands of dead. We’re still not sure how many died. Could be 400,000 or it could be 600,000 or it could be 750,000 depending on the latest figures. That means we just shoveled them into mass graves and we still don’t know where those are. Yeah, they found Saddam’s mass graves, but the ones from our Civil War, meh, who cares? We value life. It must have made good fertilizer for corn.

    We have an epidemic of murder and violence in our society because the government leads people by example. But because we value life, we don’t care to admit it and blame the guns instead. As if the guns just get up all by themselves and open fire. Pardon me, but the guns that wind up in the wrong hands are usually the ones the government issues. I bet we don’t even know how many people our government has killed over bizarre foreign policy objectives, incoherent ideologies, and centuries-old ideas about political institutions. The idea of “democracy” has already killed more people in the Middle East than the “dictators” we were trying to or did replace. Right, they don’t value life like we do. And if we have to murder everybody in the Middle East to prove that, then so be it, sayeth the United States government.

    Because we value life, we lock up many lives in prisons for such horrific crimes as possessing a plant. We have more people in our prisons per capita than all of those Middle Eastern nations do per capita. That shows how much we value life. We value it so much, we’re willing to lock it away behind bars. What’s more, our commitment to providing greater opportunities for private prisons and private military contractors demonstrates our overwhelming resolve to value life. I’m sure the price-point-per-life appears on their spreadsheets when they bill the government for jailing one or removing one from the equation. Can’t all you Middle Eastern people see how much we value life over here?!

    If you people don’t learn to value life, we’ll carpet-bomb your countries and reduce thousand-year-old cities to rubble until you do. We’ll station troops in your cities and barge into your homes to cart your sons off to jail where they will be taught how to value life using electric shock, waterboarding, and vicious dogs. The CIA just announced they won’t waterboard people anymore. Meaning they probably changed the name to “Life Valuation Training” because that’s how the government rolls. When the United States runs concentration camps, they call them “resettlement camps” or “reservations”. Just change the name and it all looks snazzy. That’s why we can call state-sponsored genocide “valuing life” and all that crap.

    Gosh, I sure am glad I live in a country that values life. That must be why the cops have tanks now, too. How can you affirm life without tanks, I ask you? I mean, armored personnel carriers are nice, but nothing says “I love you” like a tank does, right? Just paint a happy face on the turret and it’s all good. Indeed, “they” don’t value life like we do. They don’t love their children, cry when their mothers die, fall in love, enjoy pizza, or smile to one another. Because if we knew that and had to admit that to ourselves, we might see that the government is lying to us about these wars. And that we, not “they”, are the ones who do not value life.

    If we knew that these are human beings who want to live as much as we do, we might be compelled to make a decision: Do we value life—or not? We can’t keep blaming “them” for this violence anymore. Not when we’re part of the world that is responsible for both world wars and will probably be part of the coalition which begins the third one. Not when the United States eggs on the violence over there like it’s a mixed-martial arts cage match. “They” don’t value life like we do? Huh. Do tell.

    The post Don’t Value Life as the Gov’t Does? appeared first on LewRockwell.

    Is Your Immune System Compromised?

    Lew Rockwell Institute - Mar, 19/04/2016 - 06:01

    Our immune system is our body’s number one defense mechanism to ensure we don’t get sick. Unfortunately, as we age, our immune system becomes weaker and there are certain lifestyle habits that can speed up this process even further.

    If you’re concerned about keeping your immune system strong, you may want to cut out these common habits that sabotage your immune system.

    7 habits that weaken your immune system

    Taking antacids

    In order to see the world while staying healthy, try to stick to your normal routine as much as possible and be mindful of any food or water warnings specific to your destination.

    You are lonely

    Being chronically lonely – which many seniors are – increases your risk of disease. A study from UCLA found that 20 percent of Americans report feeling chronically lonely, and researchers suggest this can change a person’s immune system over time.

    Being lonely isn’t just about the physical absence of others. Sometimes, individuals feel lonely in a room full of people. Loneliness can be a symptom of a mental health issue or can result from being physically withdrawn from others. Whichever the cause of your loneliness may be, combating it – either through therapy, joining community events, or simply making a phone call –can help give your immune system a boost.

    So if you find yourself easily catching any bug in the air, your immune system may very well be weakened and any of this seven reason.

    Reprinted with permission from Bel Marra Health.

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    What Exactly Is an AR-15?

    Lew Rockwell Institute - Mar, 19/04/2016 - 06:01

    Originally published by AmmoLand.com.

    USA –)- According to the news media, an AR 15 Rifle is any gun that someone uses in the act of doing something bad.

    What is an AR-15 really? Technically speaking, AR-15 is a brand name, like Kleenex or Xerox. And, just as with Kleenex and Xerox, the brand name has been hijacked by the general public to describe a whole class of things.

    Who in corporate America asks their intern to “make a photocopy of that document using the Canon copier?” Or at home, few parents tell their kids to “grab a Cottonelle nose cloth before you sneeze!” Exactly. When a brand name is successful, we regular folks tend to commoditize it.

    “Hey, will you Xerox the annual report for me?” or “Connor, I’m not telling you again! Don’t blow your nose on your sleeve! Grab a Kleenex!”

    1994

    Mark Westrom purchases Eagle Arms. Colt wins a contract to supply 19,000 M-4 Carbine variants of the M-16 to the US Army and Special Forces Command.

    1995

    Westrom and Eagle Arms purchase rights to the ArmaLite brand. Within a year, ArmaLite is producing the AR-10B rifle, chambered in .308. During this period, Knight’s Manufacturing produced an AR-10 derivative rifle, the SR-25. Colt wins another contract for 16,000 M-4 Carbines.

    Knight Manufacturing SR-25 Rifle

    1998

    Colt’s wins back the procurement contract for military M-16 rifles with an initial order for 32,000 M-16 rifles. An additional order follows to upgrade 88,000 M-16 A1 rifles to the A2 configuration.

    2009 – 2011

    With support from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the term Modern Sporting Rifle gains popularity as a more descriptive name for AR-style rifles.

    AR 15 Rifle Present Day

    At last count, 16,973,489,012 companies are making AR-style rifles. Actually, I lost count at just over 12 million, so this number is really more of an estimate. Whatever the actual figure is, it’s a lot.

    Kidding aside, the AR 15 Rifle has become the most popular general purpose rifle platform since, well, since ever.

    AR 15 Rifle Resources:

    Reprinted with permission from AmmoLand.com.

    The post What Exactly Is an AR-15? appeared first on LewRockwell.

    Destroying Mankind’s Hopes for Peace

    Lew Rockwell Institute - Mar, 19/04/2016 - 06:01

    When Ronald Reagan turned his back on the neoconservatives, fired them, and had some of them prosecuted, his administration was free of their evil influence, and President Reagan negotiated the end of the Cold War with Soviet President Gorbachev. The military/security complex, the CIA, and the neocons were very much against ending the Cold War as their budgets, power, and ideology were threatened by the prospect of peace between the two nuclear superpowers.

    I know about this because I was part of it. I helped Reagan create the economic base for bringing the threat of a new arms race to a failing Soviet economy in order to pressure the Soviets into the agreement to end the Cold War, and I was appointed to a secret presidential committee with subpoena power over the CIA. The secret committee was authorized by President Reagan to evaluate the CIA’s claim that the Soviets would prevail in an arms race. The secret committee concluded that this was the CIA’s way of perpetuating the Cold War and the CIA’s importance.

    The George H. W. Bush administration and its Secretary of State James Baker kept Reagan’s promises to Gorbachev and achieved the reunification of Germany with promises that NATO would not move one inch to the East.

    The corrupt Clintons, for whom the accumulation of riches seems to be their main purpose in life, violated the assurances given by the United States that had ended the Cold War. The two puppet presidents—George W. Bush and Obama—who followed the Clintons lost control of the US government to the neocons, who promptly restarted the Cold War, believing in their hubris and arrogance that History has chosen the US to exercise hegemony over the world.

    Thus was mankind’s chance for peace lost along with America’s leadership of the world. Under neocon influence, the United States government threw away its soft power and its ability to lead the world into a harmonious existence over which American influence would have prevailed.

    Instead, the neocons threatened the world with coercion and violence, attacking eight countries and fomenting “color revolutions” in former Soviet republics.

    The consequence of this crazed insanity was to create an economic and military strategic alliance between Russia and China. Without the neocons’ arrogant policy, this alliance would not exist. It was a decade ago that I began writing about the strategic alliance between Russia and China that is a response to the neocon claim of US world hegemony.

    The strategic alliance between Russia and China is militarily and economically too strong for Washington. China controls the production of the products of many of America’s leading corporations, such as Apple. China has the largest foreign exchange reserves in the world. China can, if the government wishes, cause a massive increase in the American money supply by dumping its trillions of dollars of US financial assets.

    To prevent a collapse of US Treasury prices, the Federal Reserve would have to create trillions of new dollars in order to purchase the dumped financial instruments. The rest of the world would see another expansion of dollars without an expansion of real US output and become skeptical of the US dollar. If the world abandoned the US dollar, the US government could no longer pay its bills.

    Europe is dependent on Russian energy. Russia can cut off this energy. There are no alternatives in the short-run, and perhaps not in the long run. If Russia shuts off the energy, Germany industry shuts down. Europeans freeze to death in the winter. Despite these facts, the neocons have forced Europe to impose economic sanctions on Russia. What if Russia responded in kind?

    NATO, as US military authorities admit, has no chance of invading Russia or withstanding a Russian attack on NATO. NATO is a cover for Washington’s war crimes. It can provide no other service.

    Thanks to the greed of US corporations that boosted their profits by offshoring their production to China, China is modernized many decades before the neocons thought possible. China’s military forces are moderized with Russian weapons technology. New Chinese missiles make the vaunted US Navy and its aircraft carriers obsolete.

    The neocons boast how they have surrounded Russia, but it is America that is surrounded by Russia and China, thanks to the incompetent leadership that the US has had beginning with the Clintons. Judging from Killary’s support in the current presidential primaries, many voters seem determined to perpetuate incompetent leadership.

    Despite being surrounded, the neocons are pressing for war with Russia which means also with China. If Killary Clinton makes it to the White House, we could get the neocon’s war.

    The neocons have flocked to the support of Killary. She is their person. Watch the feminized women of America put Killary in office. Keep in mind that Congress gave its power to start wars to the president.

    The United States does not have a highly intelligent or well-informed population. The US owes its 20th-century dominance to World War I and World War II which destroyed more capable countries and peoples. America became a superpower because of the self-destruction of other countries.

    Despite neocon denials that their hubris has created a powerful alliance against the US, a professor at the US Navy War College stresses the reality of the Russian-Chinese strategic alliance. Last August a joint Russian-Chinese sea and air exercise took place in the Sea of Japan, making it clear to America’s Japanese vassal that it was defenseless if Russia and China so decided.

    The Russian defense minister Sergey Shoigu said that the joint exercise illustrates the partnership between the two powers and its stabilizing effect on that part of the world.

    Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that Russian-Chinese relations are able to resist any international crises.

    The only achievements of the American neoconservatives are to destroy in war crimes millions of peoples in eight countries and to send the remnant populations fleeing into Europe as refugees, thus undermining the American puppet governments there, and to set back the chances of world peace and American leadership by creating a powerful strategic alliance between Russia and China.

    This boils down to extraordinary failure. It is time to hold the neoconservatives accountable, not elect another puppet for them to manipulate.

    The post Destroying Mankind’s Hopes for Peace appeared first on LewRockwell.

    The Econometric Contagion

    Lew Rockwell Institute - Mar, 19/04/2016 - 06:01

    “Econometricians are ever so pious, are they doing real science or confirming their bias?” The quote rings loud and clear from EconStories’ YouTube video. In it, John Maynard Keynes and F.A. Hayek go at each other again in a rap battle to please economics nerds like me. However, the simple lyric strikes at the heart of a matter that distinctly sets the Austrian School of Economics apart from all others, even the more free-market oriented Chicagoans. The methodology is what separates sound economics from numerical fetishism.

    Where most mainstream economists place an extreme focus on logical positivism, regarding economics as an empirical science, the Austrian school places emphasis on human action, using means and ends, and deduction from true axioms. As our computers get more sophisticated, and our ability to track and store data increases, it was only a matter of time before the technocrats began to step into other areas of life. When I decided to take an economics of sports class last semester, I soon realized that the positivists had got their foot in the door. In the age of fantasy games, sports has become overly statistical. Big money is wagered in competitive and sometimes family leagues alike. Every “owner” is looking for a way to find that hidden statistic that can determine the outcome of a player’s performance, actual owners, and GM’s use stats as a reference to dole out large contracts, and analysts on TV marvel at new (and ever more obscure) statistics being broken all the time.

    Since I am an American-football lover, I thought this class would be highly enlightening, and it was. One of the big takeaways was an amazing study the class did in groups on different sporting stadiums, and how it never makes sense to use taxpayer subsidies to help a billionaire owner build a new boondoggle. Because I had read Hazlitt’s “Economics in One Lesson,” I could have told them that, as the unseen factors are the deadweight loss that comes from using a government to redirect or confiscate more private sector funds. Everyone sees Jerry World, nobody sees what could have been built or saved had those funds remained in private hands. The jobs gained are just redistributions from one sector into another, yet Jerry Jones gets the distinct psychological advantage of a monstrous TV hanging from the roof (that would make a spectator wonder why they actually paid to attend).

    Numerous topics were touched on in the world of sports, yet instead of getting a lesson on how Fantasy Football is not an empirical number-driven game but more a brilliant display of marginal utility at work, the final project was running regressions on past NFL statistics, and trying to find out which stat is the best predictor of future success. Needless to say, Austrian alarm bells were ringing in my head (I could have sworn I heard the echo of Mises rolling over in his grave). I knew it was a fool’s errand, but for the teacher, an accomplished econometrician, it was more a fun exercise to see which stats are the best predictors of the outcome of a game.

    The reason why such a task is a wild goose chase is simple: every statistic ever compiled is not a causal trigger that enabled the team to win. A statistic, such as a rushing yard or pass completion, is simply the outcome, or the side effect, of purposeful human action. There were many statistics we could choose from to find our perfect regression correlation: rushing yards, total yards, points for/against, yards against, completion percentage… The list went on and on. This is not something that’s just delegated to the classroom, either. Professional sports teams are hiring and taking on more analytics gurus and technocrats who sometimes even butt heads with longtime coaches and scouts. It’s a battle of stats vs. the tape.

    When it came time to present to the class, I couldn’t help but smile with delight as every group tried to apply their regression to that week’s edition of Monday-night Football, and every group’s model blew up in their faces. Why? Even in the sporting arena, where the rules of the game are clearly defined and there is a set amount of time, no two plays are exactly the same. Every play has a different means the team uses to accomplish the goal. Sometimes, the goal isn’t even the same on every play. If your team is losing by twenty in the fourth, the means change to conserving time and scoring as quickly as possible. Sometimes, this would mean sacrificing downs or yards to get out of bounds and stop the clock. Where does this action show up in the technocrat’s statistical regression? If an econometrician were in charge of calling the plays on a football team, and their model showed a strong correlation between running the ball for 130 yards in a game and winning, he may stick with a ground game that isn’t working, chewing up the clock even while down thirty points. Why? The model says if they break a certain yardage-barrier, their chances of winning increases (statistically) significantly. To the logical positivist, one can only know what the situation calls for by looking at statistics in the past. These statistics, however, were outcomes of past events that may or may not be comparable to the situation in the game at hand. To the econometrician, all yards are homogeneous, whether it be 2 yards for a first down in the first quarter or 2 yards for a first down in the fourth to run out the clock.

    This is not to say that there is no room for economic thought or praxeology in the world of sports. While the problem with the regression models is that they that fail to predict the outcomes of sporting events, we have to look at the situation like Ludwig von Mises would, and apply theory to the situation at hand. However, in a sports world dominated by numbers, record-breaking seasons, and high-powered offenses that fall flat in the playoffs, there is a way to attempt to calculate which team is more likely to win a sporting event.

    Since football is my area of interest, I would direct the reader to check out ProFootballFocus.com, a website whose stats are of a wholly different variety. Instead of simply recording yards gained, PFF has their researchers watch every player in every play of every game. The methodological individualism displayed warms my heart. The watcher then grades each player’s play with a range between negative and positive 2. How do they determine the grade? The film analyst takes into account the game’s situation and the goal of the play. To the extent the player accomplishes his own micro goal within the scope of the macro play, and in the game’s unique situation at large, he is graded. The technique is especially helpful for grading offensive linemen, who don’t generate many statistics in the first place. For instance, if a Quarterback throws a pass that hits a receiver right in the hands, it shows up as an incompletion in the regular statistical ledger, but it surely isn’t the QB’s fault. It looks even worse for the QB if the ball bounces into a defender’s hands. However, the PFF technique takes into account the quarterback’s accurate throw, that should have been caught, and grades the player positively for the throw (the receiver, on the other hand, would receive a minus mark). Now, you may say that there is no objective scale for weighing which players deserve a larger or smaller degree of negative or positive grade, but that’s the beauty of the method.

    Being entirely subjective, this method allows coaches, scouts, and GM’s, the entrepreneurs of the sports world who seek the goal of wins, to look for which players best accomplish the ends that the coach wants to achieve during the course of a game. PFF double and triple checks their grades with scouts and former coaches, but the subjective nature shows how a coach or a scout can watch the film with a goal in mind, and try to find players who show the ability to do what they want them to do during a game. In PFF’s own words “As a result, we can show things like how two edge defenders may have the same overall grade, but one is a significantly better run defender while the other is significantly more disruptive as a pass-rusher.”

    Austrian thought, means-ends grading, and using the game’s theory can be utilized in a variety of ways. Going into the last Super Bowl, much of the early money was going into the Panther’s coffers. Analysts everywhere were seemingly picking SuperCam’s team. And why shouldn’t they? All the “mainstream” measurable statistics were in the Panthers favor. Sure, it was acknowledged that the Broncos had the best defense in the NFL, but the Panther’s offense was so much more efficient than the Broncos’ than the Denver defense was superior to the Panthers’. The basic numbers all proved it, too. Peyton Manning had not been his usual self during the year, throwing nearly more interceptions than any other quarterback in the league despite missing multiple games. The game was in the bag, in the eyes of most “analysts” who conduct their analysis over the numbers in a chart.

    PFF, however, saw and predicted a different story. They pointed out before the game how eventual Super Bowl MVP Von Miller was a mismatch over Panthers Tackle Mike Remmers. Sure enough football, like economics, is not a game of past aggregate statistics correlating to present success. It is about players using means to accomplish their goals throughout the course of the play. In PFF’s post game grades, Miller scored a +6.7, and Remmers scored -6.8. Cam Newton’s ability to stand in the pocket with time was severely shortened all day long, though he still graded positively (+1.6) doing what he could in the face of monumental pressure. Cam takes the blame for having two fumbles on the stat sheet while Remmers is ignored by the statisticians. One play, the Miller-Remmers matchup proved to be the first touchdown of the game (a fumble recovered by the defense). Another fumble was forced by Miller just as Newton was winding up to chuck it deep. The PFF method takes into account a player’s ability to be disruptive, and to successfully accomplish goals, not just to land on the stat sheet. How many other players were able to bring the NFL MVP down while he was running away from Miller? Miller didn’t show up on the stat sheet in those instances, but to the extent, he accomplished the end at hand was an A+.

    Praxeological thinking and Austrian economics have many ways to branch out into other avenues of research, sports being one of them. Currently, the way fantasy football research is conducted is influenced by logical positivism, when in practice, fantasy owners routinely deal in marginal utility. During the fantasy draft, why do high-end running backs get drafted over high-end quarterbacks first, though the quarterbacks will generate more points on a regular basis? Marginal utility and supply and demand are the answer. The difference between the next marginal running back is significantly more expensive than the next marginal quarterback. It is the diamond-water paradox all over again. Also, looking at a player’s aggregate fantasy numbers over the course of a season is somewhat misleading. Players like Mike Wallace or DeSean Jackson may go off every few weeks with huge totals, but other weeks they flatline, making the aggregate look better than it really is. It is something that Austrian and praxeological insight can help us in explaining gaming action, instead of looking at snapshots of non-repeatable events, with non-repeatable combinations of players and non-repeatable comparative advantages all on the field at the same time.

    Like economics, sports is not an empirical science. It takes basic axioms and uses a means-ends framework in order to interpret how the players should act, and then the coach (in the entrepreneur’s seat) must find and put his resources onto the field believing if they execute correctly, the goal will be achieved. Where in the positivists’ framework is there room for the toss out of bounds, the spike, or even Maurice Jones-Drew kneeling down before the endzone to run the clock out instead of score? There isn’t. To the sport’s analyst, the logical positivist, and the empiricist, the side-effect statistics of purposeful action are what counts, not the action itself. Sports seem tailor-made to adopt praxeological reasoning instead of empiricism to explain the process on the field, and even economics in general. Comparative advantage, marginal utility/cost, time preference, and opportunity cost among others more easily explain the process of competition on the field than do loose correlations of relating stats to wins. In reality, such a method really only conveys the same thing as the relation between Nicolas Cage films and swimming pool drownings. See here.

    The post The Econometric Contagion appeared first on LewRockwell.

    Open Borders and Culture

    Lew Rockwell Institute - Mar, 19/04/2016 - 06:01

    In response to a query, and to simplify this task in the future, I offer the following links to posts I have written on the topic of borders and culture.

    Left-Libertarians

    A deep-dive into the history and roots of left-libertarian thinking, through the writing of a prominent advocate of this view, Kevin Carson.

    Antonio Gramsci Libertarians

    It turns out that the left-libertarian desire to require “libertarian” to mean “libertine,” thus radically transforming culture, has something in common with Gramsci’s communist plan to transform society.  While the left-

    The post Open Borders and Culture appeared first on LewRockwell.

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