By Dr. Mercola
Whey protein, a byproduct of milk and cheese (often referred to as the gold standard of protein), was promoted for its health benefits as early as 420 B.C. At that time, Hippocrates recommended whey to his patients. These days, whey protein has been linked to health benefits such as:
- Supporting your immune system, as it contains immunoglobulins
- Helping you preserve lean body tissue (particularly during exercise) as it delivers bioavailable amino acids and cysteine
- Maintaining blood pressure levels that are already within the normal range, and promoting healthy vascular function1
Whey Protein Promotes Weight Loss and Muscle Gain
To use myself as an example, I weigh 173 lbs. and have 10 percent body fat, which means my lean body weight is just under 156 lbs. Using the above formula, my protein requirement is about 77 grams a day, although I typically don’t go over 70 grams as for most of us, it is better to actually have less than more protein. I use a nutrition calculator to enter everything I eat and carefully calculate my protein requirement to the gram. I think it’s that important.
If you eat packaged foods, the number of grams of protein per serving is listed on the package. For whole foods, 3 oz. of most meats will provide about 20 to 25 grams of protein. A 4-oz. hamburger, which is processed, has about 20 grams of protein, while typical lunch meats have about 5 grams per slice.
One egg has about 6 grams of protein and a cup of milk (not typically recommended) has about 8 grams. Seeds and nuts contain on average 4 to 8 grams of protein per quarter cup, and most vegetables contain about 1 to 2 grams of protein per ounce.
Interestingly, while fish is typically considered a good source of protein, most fish contain only HALF of the protein found in beef and chicken and can be a good alternative if you tend to eat too much protein. (Just beware of the contamination risks. Wild-caught Alaskan salmon and smaller fish like sardines and anchovies are healthy options less likely to be contaminated with mercury and other environmental toxins.)
Choosing a High-Quality Whey Protein
If you want to supplement your diet with whey protein products, be mindful of your selection. Many of the whey and protein powders on the market are pasteurized and loaded with sugar and chemicals that don’t belong in a healthy diet. To ensure you’re getting a high-quality product, be sure your whey protein supplement has the following features:
- The whey comes from organically raised, grass-fed raw cows’ milk (to ensure the whey is free of GMOs, pesticides and hormones)
- Cold processed, as heat destroys whey’s fragile molecular structure
- Whey protein concentrate, not protein isolates
- Sweetened naturally, not artificially, and low in carbohydrates
- Highly digestible — look for medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs), not long-chain fatty acids
High-quality whey protein is an excellent source of important nutrients, including protein, leucine, CLA, and glutathione — all of which can help boost muscle growth, body repair and weight loss, and much more. To learn more about how whey protein can boost your exercise performance when used as a post-workout recovery meal, please see this previous article, or check out my previous interview with fitness expert Ori Hofmekler.
Sources and References
- 1 Nutrition Journal July 22, 2009; 8:34
- 2 International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders 2004 Oct;28(10):1283-90
- 3 Authority Nutrition May 2016, Protein Shakes
- 4 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2005 Jul;82(1):41-8
- 5 J Nutr Biochem. 2010 Mar; 21(3): 171–179.
- 6 Obesity Research 2001 Feb;9(2):129-34
- 7 Journal of Nutrition 2000 Oct;130(10):2471-7
- 8 Journal of Nutrition 2002 Mar;132(3):450-5.
- 9 Physiological Genomics 2006 Nov 27;27(3):282-94
- 10 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition June 2004: 79(6); 1118-1125
- 11 Authority Nutrition May 2016, CLA
We keep hearing all this crap coming out of the Democrats about helping the middle class, and small businesses. Ok, yeah, I get it. They’re trying to appeal to the “common people”. As I’ve said before, I feel qualified to speak up about this because I exist far below the common people line, so to speak. Not that I need or want anything the Democrats, Republicans, or the entire government from city to federal have or claim they can offer me. I don’t want anything from them except to be left alone and taken off every mailing list and every other list they’ve got. But let me go into more detail about this whole thing since we’re on the subject of the common man.
Listen here, no one is entitled to this so-called “American Dream” or “American way of life”, okay? It’s not my duty to give it to you or you to me. For one thing, I don’t want it in the first place. I know the “American Dream” comes from bombing innocent people overseas because I look deep enough to see that nothing comes in from the United States government without taking it away from someone else. That’s the entire premise behind income taxes, am I correct? And they tell you that all of this deceptive illusion is bought and paid for in the blood of our children sent off to die in these wars and the blood of those we kill without justifiable reason. So, no, I don’t want any of it.
People think small businesses are what made America. Not really. What “made” America was herding Native American tribes into vast open-air concentration camps after wiping out any who resisted. Then bribing two major railroads to import labor from China and Ireland they didn’t mind losing while blasting tunnels and stringing a railroad to connect both ends of the nation to better accommodate government control over the whole. Am I right so far? No? Maybe people ought to see how far back the government was in bed with the banks and various corporations that “disappeared” but then arose, phoenix-like, from the ashes of the previous ones. Or, perhaps a better example would be to say they manifested again like a disease thought to be dormant.
But people think small businesses are all knights in shining armor, too. So much so, hey, we ought to give them government loans and all kinds of perks and benefits. Why? If they have a product people want, they’ll buy it. It is not my duty to work and pay taxes so you can get money from the government to open your business so I can come in and buy stuff, pay sales taxes, and continue this unwholesome cycle of dependency and financial parasitism. And, no, the “Big Business” people shouldn’t be allowed to do it, either. But just because they do it doesn’t mean you should be allowed to do it just because you’re the “little guy”. To be quite clear, I am not at all impressed with what passes for the “little guy” in this country. I see a bunch of whiners that think I ought to pay for them to open a fingernail art shop, or dog-washing salon, or an eyebrow threading boutique. Pay for it yourselves, or you don’t deserve to be in business. Sorry. No, actually, I’m not sorry.
Don’t get me started on the “middle class”. If you want to buy a house, then presuppose you have a job to support that financial decision. Let Papa Jack help you out here. If you work at a “family chain restaurant” slinging that overpriced slop they call “New American Cuisine”, guess what? You can’t afford to buy or own a house. Put that in your fried onion blossom and smoke it. As I have said here before, I don’t think everyone “deserves” to own a house, nor do I think most people are intelligent enough to foresee the problems with buying a $250,000 house on a $11.50 an hour wage. “Raise the minimum wage!” Why? So we can have more whiners that can’t manage that extra money and still getting in over their heads buying houses they couldn’t afford even on twice their salary?
The middle class, yeah, right. This is the segment of society that worked at various Cold War defense industries making nuclear weapons and B-52 bombers and cruise missiles deliver said weapons. Then their kids went out to no-nuke rallies and begged for an end to the Cold War. Finally, the Soviets went Chapter 11 and the Cold War ended. Now here’s those kids that went to the no-nuke rallies, and they got what they wanted, and they’re not happy with it. Now they’re whining and moaning about where the middle class disappeared to. Because they feel they didn’t get their share of the Doomsday Pie. Hey, people, you got to pick one of two things: Peace But No Middle-Class Jobs or, behind Curtain Number Two, Doomsday. You chose peace. Now shut up, grow up, and get over it. No one owes you a standard of living that was based upon the Nuclear War Standard (which truly replaced the Gold Standard.)
Right, let’s all vote Democrat because they love us, little guys, right? I mean, Hillary hasn’t driven a car in over, what, twenty years? She’s had a paid driver. I’ve got two paid drivers. They’re called a pair of boots. They’re paid in food I eat. But, sure, Hillary is one of us. People will suck this all up and think Hillary knows all about how far $2.38 can go to the supermarket. Hillary couldn’t budget her way into driving her own dang car, people! And this they call a choice?! I mean, if you can’t see the Democrats are playing the “little guy” for the suckers they are, then you’re wearing an arc welder’s mask and shooting muffs while watching their TV ads. They call Hillary the “lesser of two evils”. My only question is: Is it “Ms. Lesser Of Two Evils” or “Mrs. Lesser Of Two Evils”?
When you carefully consider the facts of exactly how this “great” nation manifested, you can see that it’s almost like the government began as a small malignancy and then metastasized into a full-blown cancerous tumor in the brain of the entire nation. People run around quoting what celebrities with drug addictions say about complex social problems there aren’t easy solutions for, nor government solutions as if these paragons of immorality actually had something constructive to say. Something to say besides: “Like, I think, like, you know, like, we should give free, like college, to all kids. Because, like, you can see, like, what college, has, you know, done for me. Like, you know, like, what I’m saying?”
It’s not that I’m cynical about our country, but I think it’s gone about as far as it can go without embarrassing ourselves any further by maintaining it. Our only saving grace is Western Europe does things equally as stupid. But since we created some of their governments in our image after World War Two, you can see why. Apples don’t fall far from the tree. And governments never wander far from the dung pile. People say, “If America is so bad, how come so many immigrants want to come here?” Often because of our military has destroyed their countries. Or they believe what American television presents as reality. Believe me, once they get here, they’re not that impressed. Call it buyer’s remorse.
You might say I tend to think American “culture”, so to speak, is based upon the whining wheel getting the grease. Or the government handouts. Pardon me, but have you taken an honest look at these days? We’ve got people that cannot go to the store without their dog as an emotional support animal. I saw this bumper sticker for a dog rescue place that said, “Who Rescued Who?” When we have a nation of people emotionally rescued by the evolutionary cul-de-sac of the wolf, we’ve got serious maturity problems in this country. And these people vote! You wonder how and why these people are getting elected? Go to your nearest strip mall and notice the dog-spa, and the dog biscuit bakery, and the place selling $150 manicures and it has a waiting list. If the manicure place took food stamps, the waiting list would be a year. Oops, too much truth for the American people?
What am I saying? I’m saying, hey, you might as well resign yourself to eight years of Hillary. Not that it matters, because the government probably uses these “presidents” as figureheads like corporations use fake, created people as “reviewers” on internet product review sites and blogs. Hillary is a created personality for the Democrats, just like Obama was. I think they’re already working on making the song “Hail To The Chief” more gender-inclusive. I think they’re going to call it “Hail To The Chief Person” or some dang thing. Ah, well, there is good news. Hillary can do one good thing for us: Hasten the collapse of the entire government.
The key to great barbecue is to keep it simple: meat slow-smoked over wood. America’s barbecue scene is diverse, ranging from roadside shacks to full restaurants serving craft beer and brisket. Many barbecue joints create an admixture of styles from key cities like Memphis, Kansas City, and St. Louis, and states like Texas and the Carolinas. And even though the meat is the star of the show, what would a good barbecue meal be without a few solid sides? Here’s our roundup of the best barbecue joint in every state.
1. ALABAMA // SAW’S BBQ
Location: Homewood, Alabama
Last year, Men’s Journal highlighted Alabama barbecue, including Saw’s. In fact, Saw’s has garnered a lot of acclaim since opening in 2009. Newcomer Saw’s Soul Kitchen opened in 2012, and American Idol winner Taylor Hicks co-owns a third location, Saw’s Juke Joint. They serve barbecue with Alabama’s signature white sauce—made with mayo—and a baked potato stuffed with pork, which the Alabama Tourism Department proclaimed as one of the top 100 dishes in the state to try before you die.
In order to smoke the highest quality of meats, Georgia Boys purchased a XLR 1600 Southern Pride Smoker—“the finest and most advanced wood-burning barbecue pit available,” reads the website. The restaurant’s divided into two locations: The Shack, in Longmont, focusing on a small barbecue menu, and The Smokehouse, in Frederick, which has a bigger menu, draft beers, and the Barnyard Challenge: six pounds of meat in a cast iron skillet. If you don’t finish it, you’ll be memorialized on their wall of shame.7. CONNECTICUT // PIG RIG BBQ
Location: Wallingford, Connecticut
The Pig Rig uses an Ole’ Hickory Smoker and their motto is “Go Pig Or Go Home.” They coat a secret dry rub on the meats, and offer Carolina pulled pork sandwiches, the Jamaican topped with homemade jerk bbq sauce, and the PigMac topped with smoked macaroni and cheese. If you’re not in the mood for pork, they also have chicken thighs, baby back ribs, and beef brisket platters.8. DELAWARE // BETHANY BLUES BBQ
Locations: Bethany Beach and Lewes, Delaware
Barbecue joints aren’t typically found within a stone’s throw of the ocean, but you can walk there from Bethany’s. The home of what they call Delmarva Penisula barbeque, named for the restaurant’s location, was lovingly formulated after researching famous smokehouses in Austin, Texas, New York, and ones all across Tennessee. Everything is wood smoked between four and 16 hours, but try their signature St. Louis ribs, all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch, and non-barbecue East Coast favorites like crab dip.9. FLORIDA // AL’S FINGER LICKING GOOD BAR-B-QUE
Location: Tampa, Florida
Menu items like Terrance’s chopped beef, Aunt Nita’s black-eyed peas, and of course Al’s ribs give this family-run barbecue joint a personal touch. It all started as a concession stand in 2003, but now Al’s is housed inside a bungalow in Tampa’s historic Ybor City neighborhood. Al’s expertise centers on Tennessee-style dry rub and tomato-based sauce, good enough to be named one of Yelp’s top 10 best restaurants in Tampa Bay. Try Tia’s TGIF Mac and Cheese, named after Al’s daughter and served Fridays only.10. GEORGIA // SOUTHERN SOUL BARBECUE
Location: St. Simons Island, Georgia
Another coastal location that would make more sense for a seafood restaurant, Southern Soul promises the aura of oak-smoked meats near a scenic locale. They smoke their pork, turkey, chicken, and brisket for at least 12 hours, and pit-fire their prime rib. Brunswick stew and Hoppin’ John—traditional southern dishes—are also presented on the menu.
On the eve of World War II, the United States was still mired in the Great Depression and found itself facing war on two fronts with Japan and Germany. However bleak the outlook, it was nothing compared to the outlook today.
Has anyone in Washington, the presstitute Western media, the EU, or NATO ever considered the consequences of constant military and propaganda provocations against Russia? Is there anyone in any responsible position anywhere in the Western world who has enough sense to ask: “What if the Russians believe us? What if we convince Russia that we are going to attack her?”
The same can be asked about China.
The recklessness of the White House Fool and the media whores has gone far beyond mere danger. What do the Russians think when they see that the Democratic Party intends to elect Hillary Clinton president of the US? Hillary is a person so crazed that she declared the president of Russia to be “the new Hitler” and organized through her underling, neocon monster Victoria Nuland, the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Ukraine. Nuland installed Washington’s puppet government in a former Russian province that until about 20 years ago was part of Russia for centuries.
I would bet that this tells even the naive pro-western part of the Russian government and population that the United States intends war with Russia.
Ever since Russia stood up to Obama over Syria, the Russians have been experiencing hostile propaganda and military operations on their borders. These provocations are justified by Washington and its NATO vassals as a response to “Russian aggression.” Russian aggression consists of nothing but obviously false assertions that Russia is about to invade the Baltics, Poland, and Romania and recreate the Soviet Empire, the Eastern European part of which, together with the former Russian provinces of Georgia and Ukraine, now belong to the American Empire.
The Russians know that the propaganda about “Russian aggression” is a lie. What is the purpose of the lie other than to prepare the Western peoples for war with Russia?
There is no other explanation.
Even morons such as Obama, Merkel, Hollande, and Cameron should be capable of understanding that it is extremely dangerous to convince a major military power that you are going to attack. To simultaneously also convince China doubles the danger.
Clearly, the West is incapable of producing leadership capable of preserving life on earth.
What can be done when the entire West demonstrates a death wish for Planet Earth?
Until the criminal regimes of Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama, American presidents from John F. Kennedy forward worked to reduce tensions with the Soviets. Kennedy worked with Khrushchev to reduce tensions caused by US missiles in Turkey and Soviet missiles in Cuba. President Nixon negotiated SALT I (the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty) and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. President Carter negotiated SALT II, which was never ratified by the US Senate but was observed by the executive branch. President Reagan negotiated with Soviet leader Gorbachev the end of the Cold War. President George H.W. Bush in exchange for Gorbachev’s agreement to the reunification of Germany promised that NATO would not move one inch to the East.
All of these achievements were thrown away by the neoconized Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes, each a criminal regime on par with Nazi Germany.
Today life on Planet Earth is far less secure than during the darkest days of the Cold War. Whatever threat global warming poses, it is minuscule compared to the threat of nuclear winter. If the evil that is concentrated in Washington and its vassals perpetrates nuclear war, cockroaches will inherit the earth.
I have been warning about the growing danger of a nuclear war resulting from the arrogance, hubris, ignorance, and evil personified by Washington. Recently, four knowledgable Russian-Americans spelled out the likely consequences of trying to drive Russia to submission with war threats.
See also here.
Don’t expect the brainwashed American population to have the moral conscience and fortitude to prevent nuclear war or even the intelligence to prevent their own vaporization. In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Scott Sagan and Benjamin Valentino report that 59% of the US population support attacking Iran with nuclear weapons in the event that Iran sank one US Navy ship.
Republicans were much more likely than Democrats to approve attacking Iran with nuclear weapons with 81% of Republicans approving nuclear war compared to 47% of Democrats. Yet, the Democrats are behind Hillary who would be the first to use nuclear weapons. After all, a feminized woman has to prove how tough she is, just as Margaret Thatcher was “the Iron Lady.”
Before it too late for Americans and all of the humanity, arrogant Americans need to recall that “those who live by the sword, die by the sword.”
The economic picture is equally dismal and unpromising. The latest payroll jobs report was even more awful than reported. Hardly any new jobs were created, but what largely escaped reporting is the fact that the economy actually lost 59,000 full-time jobs.
Increasingly the US economy consists of part-time jobs that cannot support an independent existence. Thus, more Americans age 19-34 live at home with parents than independently with spouses or partners. Fully half of 25-year old Americans live in their childhood rooms in their parents’ homes.
This is the “New Economy” that the filthy lying neoliberal economists promised would be a reward for the American workforce giving up their manufacturing and professional skill jobs to foreigners. What a monstrous lie the neoliberal economists told so that corporate executives and shareholders could put into their own pockets the living wage of the American workforce. These neoliberal economists, and, alas, libertarian “free market” ones, have not been held accountable for their impoverishment of the American workforce deeply buried in debt with no future prospects.
Those few Americans who have any awareness are beginning to realize that the One Percent and the western governments that serve them are re-establishing feudalism. The brilliant and learned economist, Michael Hudson, has labeled our era the era of neo-feudalism.
He is correct. The majority of young Americans come out of university heavily indebted, primed for debtor prison. When half of 25-year olds cannot marry and form households, how can anyone believe that housing sales and prices are rising except as a result of speculative investors banking on rental income from a population that cannot even pay its student loans.
The United States is the sickest place on earth. There is no public or political discussion of any important issue or of the multiple crises that confront America or the crises that America brings to the world.
The American people are so stupid and unaware that they are capable of electing a criminal and a warmonger like Hillary president of the United States and be proud of it.
These “tough” Americans are so frightened of hoax dangers, such as “Muslim terrorists” and “Russian aggression” that they willingly sacrificed their depleted pocketbooks, the Constitution of the United States—an act of treason on the part of the American people who utterly failed their responsibility to protect the Constitution—and their own liberty to a universal police state that has all power over them.
It is extraordinary that once-proud, once-great European peoples look for leadership from a country of moronic non-entities who have pissed away the liberty, security, and prosperity that their Founding Fathers gave to them.
Fellow Americans, if you care to avoid vaporization and, assuming we do avoid it, live a life other than serfdom, you must wake up and realize that your most deadly enemy is Washington, not the hoax of “Russian aggression,” not the hoax of “Muslim terrorism,” not the hoax of “domestic extremism,” not the hoax of welfare bankrupting America, not the hoax of democracy voting away your wealth, which Wall Street and the corporations have already stolen and stuck in their pockets.
If you cannot wake up and escape The Matrix, your doom will bring the doom of the planet.
Dads aren’t usually very picky about Father’s Day presents — if you get them something, anything — even if it’s a World’s Greatest Dad mug or tie — they’re typically simply tickled pink that someone remembered them at all.
Those low expectations are going work to your advantage this year — because this year, you’re not only going to remember to get your Pops something for Father’s Day, you’re going to come through with something truly fun, useful, and/or unique. For those looking to not only meet but exceed dear old dad’s expectations, we present the following selection of gift ideas:
For the Up-For Anything Dad. Khakis are versatile: they can be worn for nearly every occasion and paired with everything from a t-shirt to a button-down shirt and tie. And khakis are comfortable: way cooler, softer, and more flexible than jeans — especially when they’re ones like these with built-in stretch. Give dad pants he can both move in, and look good in, whether he’s going to the office, or exploring the town
The 64th annual Bilderberg Conference is being held in in Dresden, Germany, from today until Saturday sending ardent Illuminati New World Order conspiracy theorists crazy.
If ever the powers that be wanted to fuel a theory there is a secret sect above the elected rulers of the world’s top nations, then Bilderberg is how to do it.
Inside, no journalists are allowed in and there is no opening or closing press conferences or statements.
On top of this, no minutes are taken and attendees are urged not to discuss what goes on inside with anyone else.
The organisers of the Bilderberg meetings, claim it is just the world’s biggest lobby group and talking shop.
Attendees this year include representatives of Deutsche Bank, the European Central Bank, Lazard, plus oil giants Shell and BP.
Bilderberg’s organisers deny any global conspiracy, say they “never sought any publicity”, and deny they can choose the next US president or select where the next war will take place.
The three-day meeting is chaired by Henri de Castries, a 61-year-old French count who is chairman of global insurance firm AXA.
There will be 126 people taking part and agenda topics include China, Europe, migration, the Middle East, Russia and the “geopolitics of energy and commodity prices”.
British Chancellor George Osborne attended last year but is not on the list this time round.
Michael O’Leary, the colourful boss of Ryanair is taking part this year.
Attendance is by invite only and it has been claimed that those who go will soon be promoted within their chosen field.
Bill Clinton went in 1991 as governor of Arkansas – a year later he was elected as US president.
Former British PM Tony Blair was a shadow minister when he got his invitation in 1993 – four years before his election.
The organisers have previously denied any conspiracy to push people up the politics or career ladder but claim to be great talent spotters.
Dave Bundy was working at his home in Delta, Utah, when a caravan of at least 20 federal vehicles invaded his property last March. The vehicles decanted a platoon of FBI personnel, some of them clad in a battle dress and carrying assault weapons. In what must have been a disappointment to them, Bundy – who wasn’t armed – surrendered without offering the Feds a pretext to dispose of him as they had LaVoy Finicum a few weeks earlier.
Bundy had been indicted on federal conspiracy charges for his role in de-escalating the standoff between his family and the BLM in Bunkerville, Nevada in April 2014. At that time, too, Bundy had not been carrying a gun. He was armed only with his determination to prevent bloodshed as he conducted shuttle diplomacy between the Bundys and their supporters, on the one hand, and the Feds who had stolen the Bundy family’s cattle. His conduct earned the appreciation of then-Clark County Undersheriff Joseph Lombardo, who negotiated with him.
Several days earlier, Bundy had been beaten bloody by the BLM’s khaki-clad chekists while he was standing at the side of a road video-recording their confiscation of his father’s cattle. After suffering that criminal assault he was abducted by the BLM and detained for a night on a spurious charge of obstruction, which was dismissed the following day.
Dave Bundy’s role at Bunkerville was that of a peacemaker. He is now in jail awaiting trial on charges that could result in an 80-year prison term. Where Bundy is a peacemaker, Mike Love, the BLM Special Agent in Charge of the Bunkerville operation, is a bloody-handed psychopath whose appetite for escalation has made him notorious even among his comrades. His operation in Bunkerville was a humiliating failure – which is why the Regime, in utterly predictable fashion, has placed Love in charge of the BLM’s newly minted, nation-wide Security and Intelligence division.
This promotion is an unambiguous display of arrogant hostility toward residents of rural lands in the west – and toward sheriffs and other local officials in Utah and Nevada who have dealt with Love in recent years. Love’s Brownshirts have routinely ignored jurisdictional limits in southern Utah, detaining – which is to say, abducting – local citizens without probable cause, intimidating tourists, and harassing ranchers.
In 2012 the Utah state legislature enacted a measure forbidding BLM cadres from pretending to enforce state and local laws – a tactic often used to justify the agency’s abusive behavior – and imposing criminal penalties for “impersonating an officer” when BLM personnel exceeded their roles as defined in federal statutes. Love retaliated by cancelling BLM contracts with five counties that pay sheriffs for the privilege of patrolling land claimed by the Feds. This was a gratuitous gesture of unfiltered contempt: By the time the contracts were annulled, a federal judge had issued an injunction against the bill, prompting the legislature to repeal it.
Love’s federal supremacy uber alles mindset nearly precipitated a slaughter at Bunkerville, an outcome that would not have surprised former BLM official, Steve Martin. In late 2012, Martin was present at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia, New Mexico when Love giddily outlined the rustling operation planned for Bunkerville. Martin later told the High Country News that Love’s plan was “missing a key ingredient: cooperation with the county sheriff.”
Then-Sheriff Doug Gillespie didn’t intervene in the matter until well into the standoff. Love’s mismanagement of the affair and misreading of the tactical situation – at one point, he placed the armored mouth-breathers under his command in a “kill zone” – would have resulted in avoidable deaths were it not, in large measure, for the diplomatic efforts of Dave Bundy.
So, naturally, Bundy is now behind bars awaiting a trial at which Love will be a star prosecution witness. Love’s promotion will be used to fortify whatever credibility he might possess in the eyes of the jury. The Feds will be very careful to foreclose inquiries into Love’s background and employment history.
Energy & Environment Daily, a publication very sympathetic to the Regime’s regulatory agencies, notes that the BLM refused to “answer basic questions about Love’s professional resume – when he was hired, his age, where he has previously worked and his law enforcement qualifications.” It is known that for four years prior to being hired by the BLM, Love was employed as a federal air marshal. He received his indoctrination at the TSA’s air marshal training center, which proudly displays the motto: “Dominate. Intimidate. Control.”
By combining a clown car with the proverbial short bus, we would create an ideal departmental vehicle for the Air Marshals Service. Love’s blend of arrogance and violence is typical of the personnel who have been hired as BLM enforcement officers since 9/11.
“We brought in people who told their buddies in Border Patrol or wherever else, `Hey, come to the BLM, there’s a lot of kick-ass stuff going on here,’” laments Martin, who joined the agency before it became militarized. At the time, he recalls, “we weren’t marshals, we weren’t the FBI, ATF, or DEA. The public looked at us as rangers.”
After being deposited by Leviathan’s cloaca in Salt Lake City, Love immediately set out to distinguish himself by orchestrating a covert operation called Operation Cerberus Action that supposedly targeted illegal trade in archeological artifacts. He enlisted a suspected petty offender and alcoholic named Ted Gardiner as an informant/provocateur and gave him roughly one-third of a million dollars stolen from taxpayers to buy artifacts from southern Utah residents. This led to a pre-dawn paramilitary raid in Blanding, Utah, involving hundreds of battle armed personnel from the BLM and other agencies.
James Redd, a well-respected 60-year-old physician, was detained by BLM and FBI agents at his home and interrogated for five hours. After being told that he faced felony charges, Dr. Redd committed suicide the following day. Ted Gardiner – most likely out of insurmountable shame from defiling himself by associating with Love and his ilk – did likewise. The only tangible evidence of a “crime” on Redd’s part was his possession of a “bird effigy” – a single bead roughly a centimeter long – that was dishonestly appraised by the Feds as worth $1,000. This over-valuation was necessary in order to charge Redd with a felony. The bauble’s actual value was roughly $75.
“He had nothing to do with artifacts or trading,” points out Jay Redd, the son of the accomplished physician whom Love drove to suicide. “He was walking along and picks up this dinky bead off the ground [in a video-recorded conversation with Love’s informant]. They are laughing about it because it’s so insignificant…. He never tries to sell or trade anything. He wasn’t arrested for trafficking; it was for possessing. Dr. Redd is dead for possessing a tiny little bead. My dad is dead for a false felony charge.”
The “conspiracy” charges that could be used to steal the rest of Dave Bundy’s life are just as spurious as the one that drove Dr. Redd to suicide. Even if he prevails in the show trial planned for early next year, Bundy will suffer several months of pre-trial confinement as punishment for expressing opinions that a federal judge found offensive.
A few weeks ago, U.S. Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach has denied Bundy’s motion requesting pre-trial release. The uncontested facts cited in his motion demonstrate that he has no criminal record, that he neither committed violence nor incited it at Bunkerville, and that on many occasions he has cooperated with the BLM in efforts to battle range fires (including an incident just a few months before the standoff in Nevada).
Judge Ferenbach stipulated to all of these facts – and yet ruled that Bundy must be kept in a cage as a “danger to the community” because of his attitude toward the federal government, as displayed by an instance in which he referred to it as a “foreign entity.”Bundy’s description is an unacceptably mild critique of a depraved regime that imprisons peacemakers and promotes psychopaths.
The best thing I can say about Disney’s Hall of Presidents is that it’s air conditioned.
On a hot day a couple weeks ago when I was in town to speak at the Libertarian convention, we spent a day at Disney. (No kids this time.)
I knew the Hall of Presidents would be horrifying, but the show was starting just as we walked by, and it was a hot day, so I figured what the heck.
I didn’t plan to write about it, so I didn’t take notes. But here’s what I remember.
Then we learned about Theodore Roosevelt: why, he fought against monopolies and helped the middle class.
Actually, the “monopolies” he fought against were lowering prices for consumers, and his assistance to the middle class was basically nonexistent, as far as I can see.
TR took delight in exercising executive power in ways undreamed of by the Framers, but we learn nothing about that, either.
Then we get to Franklin Roosevelt, who during the Great Depression — which had no cause, apparently — used his powers to make everyone better off.
No one in that audience would have had the slightest inkling that unemployment remained in double digits throughout the 1930s.
After the obligatory JFK idolatry, we got the apotheosis of Lyndon Johnson — who evidently had nothing to do with the Vietnam War, which is glided over, but who helped poor people with his Great Society programs.
The pathetic results of those programs were likewise nowhere to be found.
There was more, but you get the idea: cartoonish propaganda we would laugh at if we saw it in any other country.
Hillary Clinton is excoriating Donald Trump over Trump University? The Clinton scandal at Laureate Education, a for- profit education chain of schools and colleges operating worldwide, including the United States is much worse. That New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is pursuing Trump University while ignoring CGI-University, a shady joint venture of Laureate and the Clinton Global Initiative adds insult to injury.
The Laureate Education went private in August 2007, in a multi-billion dollar, risky, hugely leveraged transaction, closed in the last gasp of the bubble. The leveraged buyout was completed around August 2007 for approximately $3 billion in debt plus equity. The driving force behind the deal is of Friend of Bill (FOB) hedge fund king Steven Cohen, a poster child for bad hedge fund behavior. Henry Kravis and his KKR, Goldman Sachs and many others are in.
After the deal closed, the schools had great financial difficulties and these capital suppliers grew concerned. Bill Clinton’s pals were feeling squeezed as a profitable exit seemed less and less likely.
To dress the deal up in 2010, Bill Clinton was brought in to serve as “Chancellor,” a part-time position for which he was collecting $16 million through early 2015. This extraordinary compensation was never properly disclosed until 2015. Many of those on the hook paid Bill and Hillary big fees for speeches as well. Bill Clinton was thus collecting from both Laureate equity and debt suppliers. The Laureate CEO, Doug Becker, is involved as a Clinton backer, Clinton Global Initiative and Clinton Foundation donor and involved in the International Youth Foundation, a recipient of favors and money from the Clinton-led Department of State
My beloved British godfather, Lynn Perkins, always used to warn me of the manifest evils of Europe and beyond, “remember, Eric, the wogs begin in Calais (pronounced ‘Callis’ by the Brits.)” Wog is a nasty British term for oily, untrustworthy foreigners.
I recall the Perkins warning because of the upcoming British referendum to stay in the European Union or pull out. Polls suggest Brits will narrowly decide to stay in the EU; my instincts say the same.
But then again, remember all those ‘wogs.’ Britons are often too well-mannered to bring up this issue, particularly in polls. But deep down, many of Great Britain’s people still think of Europeans (Germans, Swiss and Scandinavians excepted) and all Arabs and Indians as wogs. These are people who eat smelly food with garlic and don’t turn bright red in the sun like the Brits.Russians and Americans would be pleased to see the EU founder, thus removing a strategic and economic competitor.
But a British departure from the union would be very unwise, even tragic. For all its blundering bureaucracy, over-expansion, stultifying regulations, and lack of full financial integration, the European Union was a majestic, historic achievement for war-ravaged Europe. Today, the EU is the world’s leader in human rights, education, more humane treatment of animals, transportation, environmental protection and universal health protection.
This is a huge, unprecedented accomplishment that must be safeguarded. I was again reminded of it while recently watching the commemoration of the frightful battle of Verdun that cost nearly one million French and German casualties.
If the Brits want out, let them go – but keep the Irish and Scots. The Brits never added much to the EU anyway beyond sneers and complaints. But they can’t go without paying a steep exit tax to discourage other potential deserters. An independent not so great Britain would likely become a giant American theme park in the North Atlantic while being mooned by the annoying French.
di Richard Ebeling
La costante crescita della spesa pubblica, della tassazione e della regolamentazione degli affari economici negli Stati Uniti e in molte altre parti del mondo, ha sollevato nuovamente la questione fondamentale del controllo politico e dell'intervento sul mercato. Il 5 giugno scorso è stato il 293° compleanno del famoso economista scozzese Adam Smith, e forse val la pena di ricordare le sue intuizioni sulla superiorità del libero mercato rispetto alla mano pesante dello stato.
Adam Smith è nato il 5 Giugno 1723 nel piccolo villaggio di Kirkcaldy, Scozia. Lo crebbe la madre dopo che il padre morì quando lui aveva solo due mesi di vita. Smith avrebbe potuto avere un futuro diverso quando all'età di quattro anni venne rapito da una banda di zingari. Fortunatamente per il genere umano venne formato un drappello di persone e fu salvato.
Era notoriamente distratto. Una volta cadde in un pozzo al lato della strada, mentre conversava animatamente con un amico. In un'altra occasione si fece una bevanda a base di pane e burro e dichiarò che fosse il tè peggiore che avesse mai preparato.
Smith fu professore di filosofia morale per più di dodici anni presso l'Università di Glasgow (1751-1763). Lasciò l'università per servire come precettore del figlio di un nobile inglese per tre anni, dopo di che venne premiato con una pensione privata che gli diede il tempo di lavorare sul libro di cui è più famoso, "Indagine sulla Natura e sulle Cause della Ricchezza delle Nazioni."
"La Ricchezza delle Nazioni" venne pubblicato nel marzo 1776, pochi mesi prima della firma della Dichiarazione d'Indipendenza Americana nel luglio del 1776. Se i Padri Fondatori americani articolarono nella loro Dichiarazione il caso politico in favore della libertà individuale, Adam Smith presentò la tesi complementare in favore della libertà economica e della libera d'impresa.
Un “sistema di libertà naturale”
Un motivo per scrivere il libro era quello di confutare il sistema allora esistente di controlli e regolamenti statali pervasivi, noti come mercantilismo. Adam Smith dichiarò che se fosse stata abrogata l'interferenza statale nel mercato, sarebbe sorto al suo posto quello che definì un "sistema di libertà naturale".
Ogni individuo, fino a quando non violava le "leggi della giustizia" – il rispetto per il diritto di ogni persona alla vita, alla libertà e alla proprietà acquisita in modo onesto – sarebbe stato "lasciato perfettamente libero di perseguire il proprio interesse e di portare la sua industria e il suo capitale in concorrenza con quelli di qualsiasi altro uomo o gruppo di uomini."
Quali sono, dunque, le funzioni dello stato in questo "sistema di libertà naturale"? Adam Smith gli assegnò un piccolo insieme di competenze legate all'autorità politica.
In primo luogo, la difesa nazionale: la protezione contro gli attacchi aggressivi di altri paesi che minaccerebbero la libertà e la sicurezza dei cittadini;
In secondo luogo, la polizia e i tribunali: garantire ad ogni cittadino la vita, la libertà e la proprietà contro ladri e banditi, e risolvere le controversie che possono insorgere tra gli uomini;
E, in terzo luogo, la fornitura di un piccolo manipolo di "opere pubbliche" come strade, ponti, dragaggio dei porti e simili. Fatta eccezione per un paio di altre attività limitate e ristrette, secondo Adam Smith tutte le altre questioni sarebbero state lasciate alle scelte e alle decisioni degli individui.
Il sistema della libertà naturale concepito da Smith, di conseguenza, era molto vicino all'ideale laissez-faire di libero mercato.
I pericoli dell'ingegneria sociale
Aveva timore di estendere il controllo dello stato al di là di questi doveri ristretti, perché era facile che coloro che chiamava "uomini del sistema" abusassero del potere politico. Questi sono coloro che oggi chiameremmo "ingegneri sociali" o "pianificatori paternalisti", i quali presumono di avere una conoscenza superiore rispetto a quella di tutti gli altri.
L'ingegnere sociale considera i membri della società come delle semplici pedine sulla "grande scacchiera della società", da spostare a suo piacimento senza soffermarsi a pensare che ciascuna di queste "pedine" è viva, pensa, valuta e pianifica individualmente le proprie decisioni.
Come scrisse Adam Smith nel suo libro, "La Teoria dei Sentimenti Morali" (1759):
"L'uomo del sistema, al contrario, ritiene di essere molto saggio nella sua presunzione, ed è spesso così innamorato della presunta bellezza del proprio piano ideale di governo, che non riesce a concepirne la minima deviazione."
"Va avanti affinché possa essere implementato completamente e in tutte le sue parti, senza alcun riguardo né per i grandi interessi o per i forti pregiudizi che potrebbero opporvisi; sembra immaginare di poter essere in grado organizzare i diversi membri di una grande società con la stessa facilità con cui la mano organizza i vari pezzi su una scacchiera."
"Egli non ritiene che i pezzi sulla scacchiera possano avere un altro principio di movimento al di fuori di quello impresso dalla sua mano; ma nella grande scacchiera della società umana, ogni singolo pezzo ha un principio di movimento proprio, del tutto diverso da quello che il legislatore potrebbe scegliere d' imprimere su di esso."
Gli "uomini del sistema" si considerano superiori agli altri, e quest'ultimi devono conformarsi obbligatoriamente al loro progetto politico. Come osservò Smith:
"Insistere sull'applicazione di un'idea particolare nonostante tutte le opposizioni, significa dare sfoggio del più alto grado di arroganza. Significa erigere il proprio giudizio a standard supremo di giusto e sbagliato. Significa immaginarsi l'unico uomo saggio in tutto il Commonwealth, e per questo degno di essere ascoltato in tutto e per tutto."
La divisione del lavoro e l'associazione umana
Ma se gli stati e gli ingegneri sociali non devono pianificare e dirigere il come e il dove delle questioni economiche legate alla vita quotidiana degli attori di mercato, com' è possibile garantire la produzione di prodotti e servizi che la gente desidererà acquistare per soddisfare i propri desideri?
Adam Smith affermava che i rapporti economici della società non hanno bisogno di una guida e della mano dominante dello stato. Essi emergono naturalmente e spontaneamente, senza ordini politici o direttive politiche.
Grazie ai talenti e alle abilità intrinseche e acquisite delle persone, in ogni società è emerso un sistema di divisione del lavoro. La gente inizia a specializzarsi in quella che ritiene che sia la propria specialità produttiva e che ritiene di poterla creare comparativamente meglio rispetto agli altri; offrendo questo tipo di produzione a qualcun altro, si decide di entrare in possesso di altri oggetti che vengono prodotti comparativamente meglio da altri individui. Adam Smith lo spiegò così:
"È il motto di ogni padre prudente di famiglia: non tentare di fare qualcosa che gli costerà di più farla che comprarla. Il sarto non tenta di creare le proprie scarpe, ma le acquista dal calzolaio. Il calzolaio non cerca di crearsi i propri vestiti, ma si avvale dei servizi di un sarto. Il contadino non cerca di fare né l'uno né l'altro, ma si avvale dei servizi di queste due figure."
"Tutti loro trovano che sia meglio impiegare la loro industria laddove hanno un qualche vantaggio rispetto ai vicini, e utilizzare in un secondo momento la loro produzione, o parte della loro produzione, per acquistare quei prodotti che non riuscirebbero a creare da soli."
"Quella che viene definita prudenza nella conduzione degli affari familiari, difficilmente può essere definita follia quando pensiamo ad un grande regno. Se un paese straniero può fornirci una merce a prezzi più convenienti, meglio comprarla da loro con una parte dei prodotti della nostra industria in cui siamo migliori."
Interesse personale razionale e la “mano invisibile”
Questa divisione del lavoro crea una rete ineludibile d' interdipendenza umana in cui ognuno si specializza nella produzione di una piccola manciata di merci, e le utilizza come suo mezzo di pagamento per acquistare la produzione di altri.
Se questa rete di divisione del lavoro esiste e opera in un "sistema di libertà naturale", ogni uomo scoprirà presto che è nel proprio interesse usare le proprie attività in modi che miglioreranno le condizioni degli altri esseri umani, come mezzo più sicuro per raggiungere i propri obiettivi.
Proprio perché il "sistema della libertà naturale" esclude la violenza, il furto o la frode, l'unico modo in cui ogni individuo può acquisire da altri ciò che desidera è usare le proprie conoscenze, abilità e risorse affinché gli permettano di produrre e offrire agli altri ciò che desiderano ed entrare infine in possesso, attraverso lo scambio, di quello che voleva in primo luogo.
Così, anche se non è sua intenzione migliorare le condizioni di vita degli altri, è nell'interesse di ogni individuo dedicare i suoi sforzi per servire i bisogni di questi altri, come un mezzo per raggiungere i propri fini. E, in tal modo, l'effetto cumulativo per la società, sosteneva Adam Smith, era che i prodotti più apprezzati venivano creati e offerti sul mercato.
Questi risultati erano di gran lunga superiori a qualsiasi tentativo da parte del potere politico di orientare la produzione in varie direzioni. L'autorità politica non possiede né la conoscenza, né la sapienza, né la capacità di farlo meglio di ogni singolo individuo, il quale ha più familiarità con le condizioni e le opportunità che lo circondano.
Così, come se mosso da una "mano invisibile", ogni individuo è condotto dal proprio guadagno personale al miglioramento delle condizioni degli altri nella società. O come disse notoriamente Adam Smith:
"Ogni individuo si sforza al massimo per impiegare il capitale a sostegno dell'industria nazionale, e così la dirige verso una produzione di più grande valore; ogni individuo si sforza per rendere il fatturato annuo della società il più alto possibile."
"Generalmente non si propone di promuovere l'interesse pubblico, né sa quanto lo stia promuovendo. Dirigendo l'industria in modo tale, i suoi prodotti acquisiranno un maggiore valore, ma egli penserà principalmente al suo guadagno, ed è qui, come in molti altri casi, che viene guidato da una mano invisibile affinché promuova un fine che non è parte della sua intenzione."
Allo stato manca la conoscenza per pianificare la società
Non solo questo miglioramento non intenzionale della condizione umana porta ogni individuo a seguire il suo interesse nell'arena del mercato, ma Adam Smith lo riteneva di gran lunga superiore a qualsiasi tentativo da parte del potere politico di pianificare e imporre un ordine sulle azioni dei membri della società.
Facendo eco ai suoi avvertimenti precedenti sull'ingegnere sociale, il cosiddetto "uomo di sistema", Smith disse:
"Perseguendo il proprio interesse [l'individuo] spesso promuove quello della società in modo più efficace di quando intenda davvero promuoverlo. Non ho mai visto una cosa simile fatta da coloro che si interessano al commercio per il bene pubblico. . ."
"Qualunque sia l'industria nazionale, qualunque sia il suo capitale, il suo prodotto è probabile che guadagnerà valore sul mercato poiché ogni singolo può, in quanto tale, valutare molto meglio la situazione di qualsiasi uomo di stato o legislatore."
"L'uomo di stato, che vorrebbe manovrare le persone e i loro capitali, non solo si caricherebbe di un'attenzione inutile, ma vorrebbe far credere di essere un'autorità degna di fiducia; probabilmente non esiste niente di più pericoloso di un uomo, di un senato o di un concilio, le cui menti cedono alla follia e alla presunzione di poter esercitare un'autorità simile."
Adam Smith non riteneva che la gente sapesse sempre abbastanza da non commettere errori, o che i loro giudizi speculativi riguardo un futuro incerto sarebbero sempre stati corretti in modo da evitare delusioni o perdite.
Disse che ogni uomo, nel suo angolo di società, ha una migliore comprensione delle circostanze e delle opportunità nel contesto dei propri bisogni, desideri e obiettivi. E che ogni individuo ha lo stimolo per cercare di prendere le proprie decisioni con saggezza, dal momento che solo lui sarebbe il responsabile di un fallimento. Chi sostiene i costi e raccoglie i potenziali benefici, ha l'incentivo a ridurre al minimo i primi e a massimizzare i secondi.
Lo stesso non vale, sosteneva Smith, quando a prendere le decisioni è chi detiene il potere politico. "L'uomo di Stato" in una capitale lontana, non può mai sapere e capire le cose nel modo in cui ogni individuo può valutarle e giudicarle nel proprio ambiente. Nessun legislatore paga per i costi delle decisioni sbagliate che impone agli altri; dopo tutto, continua a vivere di tasse raccolte da coloro ai quali ha imposto il danno.
Libertà di commercio in patria e all'estero
Adam Smith credeva che il commercio internazionale dovesse essere lasciato al libero mercato tanto quanto l'attività economica interna.
Per gli stessi motivi sopracitati, Adam Smith sosteneva che fosse superfluo e controproducente se lo stato avesse tentato di gestire e dirigere l'importazione o l'esportazione di beni e servizi per conservare una bilancia dei pagamenti "favorevole", o per impedire un temuto "deficit" della bilancia dei pagamenti.
Ogni individuo cerca di minimizzare i costi per raggiungere i propri obiettivi, producendo in patria ciò che è meno costoso da fare piuttosto che comprarlo da altri; e compra quelle merci provenienti da altri solo quando questi ultimi le possono fornire ad un costo inferiore (in termini di risorse, lavoro e tempo) di quello che avrebbe sostenuto chi li avesse voluti produrre in patria.
Così, i beni vengono acquistati da produttori esteri solo quando questi ultimi li possono offrire ad un costo inferiore. E, a sua volta, si acquistano quei beni prodotti all'estero fornendo al venditore straniero un qualche bene o servizio ad un costo inferiore rispetto a quello presente nel suo paese.
Quando gli stati, attraverso regole e controlli, forzano la produzione di una merce in patria la quale sarebbe potuta costare di meno se acquistata all'estero, si deviano le risorse scarse e la manodopera in usi dispendiosi ed inefficienti.
Il risultato dev' essere una riduzione della ricchezza di quella nazione – e del benessere materiale dei suoi cittadini – poiché la quantità di risorse e lavoro che devono essere destinate per creare quelle merci desiderate aumentano esponenzialmente, cosa ben diversa se fossero state comprate attraverso un sistema libero di divisione internazionale del lavoro e scambio reciprocamente vantaggioso.
Quindi è meglio lasciare la produzione e il commercio alle azioni della cittadinanza, se si vuole la prosperità per la propria nazione.
Il commercio promuove una società civile
Infine, Adam Smith sosteneva che i benefici del commercio libero e competitivo non si fermavano solo ai miglioramenti sostanziali della condizione umana. Servivano anche come mezzo per civilizzare gli uomini, se con civilizzazione si intende, almeno in parte, il rispetto per gli altri e una fedeltà all'onestà e al mantenimento delle promesse.
Quando gli uomini interagiscono su una base quotidiana e regolare, imparano presto che il loro benessere è il riflesso di quello di coloro con cui commerciano. Perdere la fiducia dei propri partner commerciali, può provocare lesioni sociali ed economiche a sé stessi.
L'interesse proprio che spinge un uomo a dimostrare cortesia e sollecitudine nei confronti dei suoi clienti, sotto la paura di perdere la propria attività a favore di un rivale con maniere più educate rispetto alle sue, tende ad essere interiorizzato come "comportamento corretto" in generale e nella maggior parte dei casi.
E attraverso questo processo sociale, l'altruismo mostrato nello scambio volontario promuove l'istituzionalizzazione di un comportamento interpersonale che di solito viene considerato essenziale per una società ben educata, civile e colta.
Diamo un'occhiata a cosa disse Adam Smith in "Lezioni sulla Giurisprudenza":
"Ogni volta che il commercio viene introdotto in tutti i paesi, la rettitudine e la puntualità lo accompagnano sempre. . ."
"È decisamente riconducibile al proprio interesse, quel principio generale che regola le azioni di ogni uomo e che porta gli uomini ad agire in un certo modo quando vedono un vantaggio, ed è profondamente impiantato in un inglese come in un olandese."
"Un commerciante modera il suo carattere ed è scrupoloso nell'osservare ogni impegno. Quando una persona stipula 20 contratti in un giorno, non riuscirà a guadagnare così tanto se si impone ai suoi vicini, come potrebbe fargli credere l'apparenza dell'imbroglio."
"Quando la gente interagisce, scopriamo che è in qualche modo disposta ad imbrogliare, perché si può guadagnare di più da un trucco intelligente rispetto a quello che si può perdere infangando la propria reputazione. . ."
"Dovunque ci sono scambi frequenti, un uomo non si aspetta di guadagnare tanto se mette da parte correttezza e rettitudine; e un commerciante prudente, che è sensibile all'interesse proprio, preferirebbe scegliere di perdere ciò a cui ha diritto piuttosto che dare adito al sospetto. . ."
"Quando la maggior parte delle persone è commerciante, allora diffonde sempre rettitudine e puntualità e queste sono le virtù principali di una nazione commerciale."
Difficoltà a stabilire un sistema di libertà naturale
Adam Smith era ben consapevole del fatto che deregolamentare e liberalizzare il commercio interno ed estero non era una cosa facile. Nella "Ricchezza delle Nazioni" fece riferimento a due ostacoli.
In primo luogo, ciò che egli chiamava "pregiudizi del pubblico": si riferiva al compito spesso difficile di far comprendere ai cittadini comuni il funzionamento e i benefici di un mercato libero e competitivo.
E, in secondo luogo, quello che definiva il "potere degli interessi", cioè, quei gruppi d'interesse che facevano pressioni sullo stato affinché garantisse loro normative anti-concorrenziali, restrizioni e protezioni contro i rivali esteri, e sussidi fiscali. Il tutto a danno di consumatori, contribuenti e potenziali concorrenti bloccati fuori dal mercato.
Quando Adam Smith morì nel 1790, all'età di 67 anni, sembrava altamente improbabile che la sua idea di libertà individuale e libertà economica potessero mai trionfare. Credeva che fosse utopico aspettarsi il raggiungimento di un sistema di libera impresa e commercio.
Il potere delle idee
Eppure verso la metà del XIX secolo la libertà d'impresa prevalse non solo negli Stati Uniti, ma anche in Gran Bretagna, e ben presto si diffuse a vari gradi in altre parti dell'Europa e poi in altre aree del mondo.
Le minacce alla libertà economica di oggi non sono tanto diverse da quelle viste da Adam Smith circa 250 anni fa. E vi si frappongono gli stessi "pregiudizi del pubblico" e il "potere degli interessi".
Nonostante il pessimismo di Adam Smith, i suoi argomenti e il loro trionfo per buona parte del XIX e all'inizio del XX secolo dimostrano la forza delle idee.
Se prendiamo a cuore e trasliamo ai giorni nostri la logica delle spiegazioni di Adam Smith sul funzionamento di un sistema di libero mercato, anche noi potremmo trionfare e stabilire un "sistema di libertà naturale" per noi stessi e per il mondo che lasceremo ai nostri figli e nipoti.
[*] traduzione di Francesco Simoncelli: http://francescosimoncelli.blogspot.it/
Il tasso di interesse può essere un prezzo complicato da decifrare, ma dal punto di vista prasseologico ha comunque sempre la sua coerenza
Con questo post voglio tornare sull’argomento della mia precedente pubblicazione, vale a dire Il tasso d’interesse ed il suo senso economico, perché mi rendo conto che il tutto merita ulteriori precisazioni.
Premessa: per comprendere in modo adeguato l’argomento in questione, occorre che il dettaglio non venga mai estrapolato ed isolato dal quadro generale della situazione. Se si estrapola e si isola il singolo dettaglio non tenendo presente l’ambiente circostante in cui si dispiega, i numeri e le parole impiegati possono essere utilizzati per sostenere qualsiasi cosa.
Il tasso di interesse rappresenta quel prezzo di mercato che mette in correlazione i beni presenti con i beni futuri. Nel mondo dei fatti umani esiste quindi un generico mercato del tempo.
L’intera struttura produttiva può essere considerata come un enorme mercato di scambio tra beni presenti contro beni futuri.
La preferenza temporale di ciascun individuo è sempre rivolta in termini economici ad impostare valori positivi. Ciò ci porta di conseguenza ad affermare che siamo economicamente disposti a ridurre il consumo dei nostri beni presenti quando riteniamo che questo ci porterà a conseguire in futuro beni con un valore complessivo maggiore.
Perché il tasso interesse viene economicamente percepito ed impostato in termini reali positivi? Perché ciascuno di noi è in qualche maniera cosciente del fatto che viviamo in un mondo contraddistinto dal postulato della scarsità delle risorse. Una riduzione delle mie possibilità di oggi comporta dunque un sacrificio ed un rischio che in qualche modo mi aspetto che venga gratificato in futuro.
Uno scambio di beni tra persone avviene quando le parti in causa lo ritengono in termini economici reciprocamente vantaggioso, diversamente non avviene. Questa condizione però può subire delle interferenze che fanno sì che lo scambio possa avvenire anche se qualcuna delle parti in causa non lo ritiene economicamente vantaggioso.
Le suddette interferenze sono di due tipi: o di natura sentimentale o di natura politica: entrambe riescono a reprimere il modo con cui percepiamo ed impostiamo economicamente il tasso di interesse, cioè sempre in senso reale positivo. Ma attenzione, reprimere non significa propriamente cambiare.
Le interferenze di natura sentimentale hanno comunque carattere totalmente volontario e pertanto sono rivolte a casi particolarissimi. Le interferenze di natura politica sono invece di carattere coercitivo e possono conseguentemente avere portata generale e sistematica.
Un esempio di interferenza sentimentale è destinare delle somme di denaro per scopi caritatevoli: chi compie un simile atto caritatevole non ha programmato di certo che in futuro vengano restituiti alla propria persona dei beni economici di valore maggiore, anzi in tal senso già perfettamente sa che di ritorno non deve aspettarsi alcunché. Si fa la carità e quindi si reprime il senso reale positivo/economico con cui determiniamo il tasso di interesse, per soddisfare esigenze di carattere religioso e morale in generale. Senz’altro quest’azione mira ad appagare un nostro desiderio o a sanare un nostro stato di disagio. Nonostante ciò, ritengo che dovrebbe essere chiaro a tutti che non possiamo qualificare tale ricerca come un atto finalizzato a soddisfare un interesse economico personale.
Un esempio invece di interferenza politica è inerente il fenomeno del riciclaggio di denaro. Per riciclaggio di denaro si deve intendere quel complesso di operazioni rivolte a dare una sembianza lecita a valori la cui provenienza viene normativamente considerata illecita. Ora, lasciamo stare il fatto se queste somme provengono da una vera e propria attività delittuosa contro la proprietà di una persona altrui oppure se provengono da un semplice aggiramento di alcune regole di condotta statale: si aprirebbero lunghe discussioni al riguardo che non sono l’oggetto del post. Sta di fatto che il riciclatore pur di avere a disposizione dei valori puliti, e cioè pienamente ed apertamente utilizzabili, accetta non solo di privarsi per un certo periodo di questi valori ma anche a rinunciare per sempre a parte di essi una volta che saranno stati puliti. Di fatto, esso, forzato nella sua volontà da determinate norme di condotta, reprime il senso reale positivo/economico con cui si percepisce e si imposta il tasso di interesse, accettando l’idea di un tasso di interesse negativo finanche in termini reali e probabilmente agisce in questo modo perché, osservando le cose in un ottica relativa, ritiene che non pulire questi valori lo costringa ad accettare un interesse negativo ancora maggiore.
Il corso legale per principio sulla moneta può produrre lo stesso genere di interferenze e di risultati descritti per il riciclaggio di denaro. Una moneta non avente corso legale per principio e che viene sistematicamente svalutata dal soggetto emittente avrebbe sicuramente vita breve sul mercato. Tuttavia, si inserisca in questo quadro il corso legale per principio (cioè si renda l’unita monetaria irrifiutabile per l’estinzione di tutte le obbligazioni pecuniarie su un precisato territorio a tempo indeterminato) e come per magia avremo un’unità monetaria che pur svalutandosi sistematicamente continua a circolare in maniera imperante o quantomeno rilevante, a meno che l’emittente non cada nell’errore di svalutare troppo, ossia che cada nell’errore di generare un fenomeno di iperinflazione.
Esempio poi interessante di scambio di beni presenti contro beni futuri sono i contratti di assicurazione. Questi contratti sono finalizzati a trasferire da un soggetto ad un altro un’alea economica.
La nozione generale del contratto di assicurazione è contenuta nell’articolo 1882 del codice civile italiano. Questa afferma:
L’assicurazione è il contratto col quale l’assicuratore, verso pagamento di un premio, si obbliga a rivalere l’assicurato, entro i limiti convenuti, dal danno ad esso prodotto da un sinistro, ovvero a pagare un capitale o una rendita al verificarsi di un evento attinente la vita umana.
Il contratto di assicurazione pertanto può avere una funzione indennitaria, propria della funzione contro i danni, e una funzione di previdenza, propria dell’assicurazione sulla vita o delle cosiddette assicurazioni sociali (assicurazione contro gli infortuni sul lavoro, malattie, invalidità e vecchiaia).
Sopra si è asserito che: “uno scambio di beni tra persone avviene quando le parti in causa lo ritengono in termini economici reciprocamente vantaggioso, diversamente non avviene. Questa condizione però può subire delle interferenze che fanno sì che lo scambio possa avvenire anche se qualcuna delle parti non lo ritiene economicamente vantaggioso”.
Allorché, allora, assicurato ed assicuratore decidono di stipulare in modo totalmente volontario un contratto di assicurazione è indiscutibile che entrambi lo fanno nella speranza di ottenere dei vantaggi. L’assicurato, versando dei premi, si tutela dal verificarsi di un certo evento futuro che presume di non poter assolvere, o di non poter assolvere comunque adeguatamente, senza l’intervento di un’assicurazione. L’assicurazione, basandosi sull’esperienza che non tutti gli eventi di cui ha garantito la copertura si svolgeranno o quantomeno si svolgeranno contemporaneamente, può nel frattempo gestire queste somme di denaro derivanti dai premi come meglio crede – non è un caso che esista anche il cosiddetto contratto di riassicurazione, ove l’assicurato è una vera e propria impresa di assicurazione che si assicura contro il rischio connesso alla necessità di far fronte ad una serie di contratti in caso di insorgenza di molti sinistri.
Ambedue le parti in causa agiscono guidate da un tasso di interesse reale positivo: l’assicurato, anticipa un bene presente contro un bene futuro, riducendo i suoi consumi correnti per garantirsi, tramite un altro soggetto (l’assicuratore), alcune prestazioni future, prestazioni che possono essere anche solo eventuali; l’assicuratore da un lato domanda beni presenti in cambio di beni futuri, chiede premi e promette in cambio (all’assicurato) il versamento di un capitale o di una rendita al verificarsi di determinate circostanze, dall’altro cercherà nel frattempo di far fruttare questi premi allocandoli in differenti strumenti.
Tutto il ragionamento sinora fatto sulle assicurazioni regge completamente finché le contrattazioni si svolgono su base pienamente volontaria. Ma se si introduce l’obbligo di legge (interferenze politiche) a stipulare un contratto di assicurazione è assolutamente possibile che ci si possa allontanare dalla razionalità economica pura sopra delineata, dato che quando lo scambio viene reso coattivo ci si trova nella condizione di dover scambiare seppur si abbia precedentemente ben stimato che ciò rappresenta un gioco chiaramente a perdere. Un esempio? Vorrei sapere quanti imprenditori presenti in Italia oggi, se potessero liberamente scegliere, verserebbero di loro spontanea volontà i propri contributi all’INPS. Molto probabilmente, per non dire certamente, destinerebbero queste somme verso altre forme di risparmio, riformulando magari anche l’entità dei versamenti e le modalità tempistiche.
Esistono diverse transazioni che consentono lo scambio di beni presenti contro beni futuri. Al momento dell’azione ciascun individuo cerca di rimuovere l’insoddisfazione nella maniera che ritiene migliore, dati però i vincoli situazionali. Ciò significa che in termini strettamente economici egli è disposto già in principio ad accettare una perdita futura o per superiori motivazioni di carattere sentimentale oppure perché obbligato da fattori istituzionali.
Ovviamente, anche quando l’individuo agisce all’interno del campo delle valutazioni economiche pure, non è detto che il suo agire abbia sempre successo. In altre parole, l’individuo percepisce ed imposta economicamente il tasso di interesse in termini reali sempre positivi e quindi, sotto questo punto di vista, stabilisce uno scambio tra beni presenti contro beni futuri che gli risulta essere sempre vantaggioso, ma questa azione può concretamente poi anche fallire. Il fallimento dell’azione si compie per deficienze nella strategia conoscitiva dell’individuo agente, deficienze che lo hanno indotto in errore. Quando questo avviene, vuol dire che la percezione soggettiva della situazione non è sufficientemente appropriata alla situazione oggettiva.
D’altra parte, se l’essere umano possedesse la capacità di non fallire mai nei suoi obiettivi, potremmo attribuirgli la definizione di homo oeconomicus, ossia di ottimizzatore in qualunque istante e circostanza della funzione di utilità. Tuttavia, giacché non possiede questa capacità, non possiamo definirlo nell’anzidetto modo e di conseguenza dobbiamo accontentarci di descriverlo “semplicemente” come homo agens.
“Never retreat. Never explain. Get it done and let them howl.”
Donald Trump has internalized the maxim Benjamin Jowett gave to his students at Balliol who would soon be running the empire.
And in rejecting demands that he apologize for his remarks about the La Raza judge presiding over the class-action suit against Trump University, the Donald is instinctively correct
Assume, as we must, that Trump believes what he said.
Why, then, should he apologize for speaking the truth, as he sees it?
The nationalist resistance to the invasion across our Southern border and the will to preserve the unique character of America are surging, and they have their counterparts all across Europe. People sense that the fate and future of the West are in the balance.
While Trump defies political correctness here, in Europe one can scarcely keep track of the anti-EU and anti-immigrant nationalist and separatist parties sprouting up from the Atlantic to the Urals.
Call it identity politics, call it tribalism, call it ethnonationalism; it and Islamism are the two most powerful forces on earth.
A decade ago, if one spoke other than derisively of parties like the National Front in France, the blacklisters would come around. Now, the establishments in the West are on the defensive — when they are not openly on the run.
The day of the Bilderberger is over.
Back to Jowett. When the British were serenely confident in the superiority of their tribe, faith, culture, and civilization, they went out and conquered and ruled and remade the world, and for the better.
When they embraced the guilt-besotted liberalism that James Burnham called the “ideology of Western suicide,” it all came down.
The empire collapsed, the establishment burbled its endless apologies for how wicked it had been, and the great colonial powers of Europe threw open their borders to the peoples they had colonized, who are now coming to occupy and remake the mother countries.
But suddenly, to the shock of an establishment reconciled to its fate, populist resistance, call it Trumpism, seems everywhere to be rising.
The one state that has gone complete anti-democratic is Oklahoma. It is wise not to travel in that state at all. Oklahoma should be on a no-fly zone. Now, Oklahoma police can outright seize everything you have from debit cards to bank accounts on a traffic stop without any criminal charges being filed. If some policeman thinks you’re doing something illegal, your life is over. Without money, you cannot hire a lawyer and they can just rob everything you have on a whim.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has introduced a device called Electronic Recovery and Access to Data (ERAM) that allows police officers to seize money in your bank account or on prepaid cards. State police began using 16 of these machines last month, and now the police have become literal highway robbers. This makes the traffic cops in Russia, who you can bribe to go away if they pull you over for a speeding ticket, as a far more civilized arrangement. Here, they can rob you of everything.
My last article about the San Jose Peoples’ Liberation Egg Throwing Squad garnered quite a few emails. And now in the newspaper, it appears that Bernie Sanders is unable to put out the fires on his numbers one, two, three, and four engines and his campaign is going down in flames. People are saying, “Gosh, it looks like we might have to throw our support behind Hillary. No! Really? Do you think? I couldn’t have predicted that without the Magic Eight Ball!
Let me guess…Hillary will probably find a place for Bernie in her campaign. And then that’ll pull in all the young hipsters that were supporting Bernie when they weren’t out throwing eggs at the cops in San Jose. What a waste of good eggs. I could have made a chef’s salad with those. Hillary has to find a way to appeal to the hipsters besides being, uh, what was the attraction again? I don’t get it, honestly. See, hipsters generally run around priding themselves on being so non-conformist but when it comes to voting, they seem to be tied to the Democrats by the laces of their Doc Martens.
These people get snookered every time. You could set your clock by it. A cuckoo clock. Every four years, the clock announces more scruffy young hipsters believe what the Democratic Party tells them to be so, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Excuse me, oh quinoa eating ones, but did Obama really deliver what he told you back in 2008? How, then, will Hillary deliver what Obama did not, Kerry and Gore didn’t have a chance to wiggle out of delivering, and Hillary’s erstwhile husband didn’t even deliver back before you were wearing eco-friendly diapers? I know, I know, “Jack is such a drag, man! He’s always got to be such a downer!” Yeah, well, sorry, but we all can’t make purses from “free-cycled jeans”. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I have one that has been mustered into service as a tobacco wallet. But I’m still not rocking any votes because I learned it’s just the same old tune from 1992. I can’t dance to it.
So, hey, knock yourselves out. I don’t vote because I’m uncool and I’m a drag as far as petition-gatherers are concerned. I’m just some aging dude who has finally lost any interest in participating in anything the government seeks my participation in. It isn’t disillusionment so much as it is disinterest and detachment. Among other things, the entire government bores me. While it is entertaining to criticize them, to actually listen to them with no intention of laughter seems to me a wasted effort. I say, let’s record the speeches of Hillary and start beaming them to all quadrants of outer space. We’ll never need to worry about an invasion from outer space. They’ll quarantine this planet for 25,000 years as a hotbed of possibly contagious stupidity.
You know Bilderberg’s about to begin when you start seeing the guns. The Taschenbergpalais hotel in Dresden is filling up with pistol-packing plainclothes security as the last guests are ushered out. The frowning gunslingers head up and down the corridors with their hotel maps, trying door handles and checking the lay of the land while, down in the hotel lobby, corporate goons gather in muttering huddles.
I don’t know why everyone’s so antsy. According to the local newspaper DNN, at least 400 police officers will be surrounding the venue for the three days of the talks. There’s already a ring of concrete blocks around the entrance. Is that not enough? What are they expecting? The charge of the light brigade? The hotel is being trussed up tighter than Reid Hoffman’s trousers. No one gets in or out without the right lanyard. As Ed Balls remembers only too well, from that awkward business in Copenhagen.
This Mr Karp is Alexander C Karp, a recently elected member of Bilderberg’s steering committee and the CEO of Palantir, which specialises in data mining and analysis. According to the Wall Street Journal, Palantir is one of the world’s most valuable private companies. It was set up the founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel, who was one of the first Silicon Valley billionaires to worm his way into Bilderberg’s inner circle. Thiel likes an early jog, so with any luck, we’ll catch him huffing around Dresden with David Petraeus one morning this week.
Thiel is a venture capitalist and tech investor. He sits on the board of Facebook and is the president of Clarium Capital, a hedge fund with $700m of assets under management, and a managing partner in the $2bn venture capital firm Founders Fund, which is “known for prescient bets on some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley” (WSJ).
Karp and Thiel are busy men. Karp has a $15bn CIA-funded company to run. Thiel has speculations to make and Silicon Valley startups to incubate. So the question has to be asked: what on earth are they doing in Dresden? What’s dragging them across the Atlantic to sit for three days in alphabetical rows in a windowless, subterranean conference room? What’s prompting companies like Barclays and Airbus to fund and help run this conference? They’ve got shareholders to answer to: they can’t just say “it bought us a nice chinwag”.
Offending People Left and Right
Bill Bonner, whose Diaries we republish here, is well-known for being an equal opportunity offender – meaning that political affiliation, gender, age, or any other defining characteristics won’t save worthy targets from getting offended. As far as we are concerned, we generally try not to be unnecessarily rude to people, but occasionally giving offense is not exactly beneath us either.
The motto of the equal opportunity offender…
Some people really deserve it, after all, …which is why we often refer to modern-day central bankers as lunatics, politicians as psychopaths, governments as gangs of highway robbers waving a flag, and so forth. On one occasion we even provided a translation of Mr. Böhmermann’s “abusive criticism” of Mr. Erdogan, which fell afoul of a 19th century lèse majesté law on Germany’s statute books.
That poem really was rude and insulting, no doubt about it. However, locking up journalists and opposition politicians under the pretext that they “threaten national security”, or bombing and suppressing ethnic minorities(for narrow and selfish political goals to boot) seems a lot worse to us.
The person responsible actually deserves to be insulted day and night, and given how thin-skinned Mr. Erdogan is, insulting him is great fun to boot. Admittedly, only as long as one is not within grabbing distance of his enforcers.
Gollum and his twin brother Erdogan – fair game
Similar to Bill, we also believe in equal opportunity offending. Since we are often at odds with the mainstream narrative on a wide variety of subjects, it seems unavoidable. For all their diversity, most of the targets are united by one overarching defining characteristic: they are either exercising power over other people or dispensing advice to those exercising such power. In our opinion, this makes them fair game.
As has been pointed out in these pages, so-called “political correctness” is essentially an attempt to muzzle free speech and introduce thought control (see “Cultural Marxism and the Birth of Modern Thought Crime” by Claudio Grass for an in-depth discussion of the topic). It also has the uncanny power to transform normally intelligent people into gibbering idiots and pansies (“Reality is a Formidable Enemy” provides a few striking examples).
Unfortunately, equal opportunity offenders are an increasingly endangered species. The world’s densest concentration of powerful and unaccountable statist control freaks in Brussels has just decided that “hate speech” is in need of more policing. Given the salami tactics favored by the Eurocracy, this is quite alarming.
“Voluntary” Agreement and Official Goals
The EU Commission and three large US technology companies (Facebook, Google, and Microsoft) have just signed an agreement on policing and eradicating so-called “hate speech” – under, you probably guessed it, the pretext of “fighting terrorism”.
Terrorism has become a catch-all very similar to “climate change”. Just as there is apparently no ill in this world that cannot somehow be traced to the latter (global warming is responsible for such diverse evils as heroin addiction, the rise of ISIS, a lack of red-haired people, bear attacks in Japan, collapsing gingerbread houses in Sweden and even global cooling) – there are seemingly no civil liberties that cannot be done away with at the stroke of a pen in order to “fight terrorism”.
You won’t be surprised to learn that there has been no public consultation, parliamentary debate or vote on this agreement. It has simply sprung into being overnight. After all, who could possibly be against it? No-one is in favor of hate or terrorism, and since the “code of conduct” agreement is “voluntary” and doesn’t constitute legislation, the EU bureaucrats decided no debate was necessary.
To this one must keep in mind that US technology companies are subject to regular shakedowns by the EU’s “competition commission” as if competing European companies actually existed. They don’t exist of course because innovation and capital accumulation have become nigh-impossible tasks in the sclerotic socialistic EU.
Normally, big businesses use “anti-trust” laws as a means to bludgeon the competition. In this case, though, the shakedowns are initiated by bureaucrats themselves, in the name of protecting non-existing companies. This makes the whole exercise especially bizarre, but no less costly to its victims.
The upshot is though that US technology companies are eager to please EU bureaucrats, so as to avoid getting shaken down again for big money too soon.
The official goal of these restrictions on “hate speech” is to remove messages and postings by jihadists supporting ISIS. These are held to entice impressionable youngsters living in various “no future” ghettos across Europe – the people so eagerly invited in by the very same politicians imposing these restrictions now – to join the IS in Syria or commit violence in its name.
Granted, confused young Muslims surely need and deserve better role models than propagandists of IS and the violent medieval retro-philosophy they preach. The problem is however that what constitutes “hate speech” is very much in the eye of the beholder.
A Problem of Definitions
For once we are on the same page with the usually firmly etatiste pro-establishment magazine “The Economist”, which has surprised us positively with a critical assessment of the EU’s latest move to restrict free speech. As the Economist notes:
[T]he idea has spread that people and groups have a right not to be offended. This may sound innocuous. Politeness is a virtue, after all. But if I have a right not to be offended, that means someone must police what you say about me, or about the things I hold dear, such as my ethnic group, religion, or even political beliefs. Since offense is subjective, the power to police it is both vast and arbitrary.
If one doesn’t agree with someone’s speech, one should simply counter it with more convincing speech. Suppressing views one disagrees with by law (or by means of a “voluntary” agreement as is the case here) may only end up convincing those holding these views that they have to resort to more forceful means if they want to make themselves heard. In other words, more, rather than less violence may be the result.
The “code of conduct” is supposed to be applied to speech identified as “racist and xenophobic” – as if racism and xenophobia could be eradicated by prohibiting people from voicing it!
Immigration is moreover a hot button political issue in Europe right now, so it is easy to see how the charge of “racism and xenophobia” could be misused to simply suppress political dissent. In fact, the vultures are already beginning to circle.
Here is an article by the left-leaning Guardian on the issue, which contrary to the Economist, seems perfectly unconcerned with the free speech angle. In fact, it seems far more concerned with “areas of online abuse” that “remain uncovered by the limited scope of the agreement”!
If you scroll down to the bottom of the article, you will see the following insert on the left-hand side (which links to another article on the topic):
Does this mean we can no longer call militant feminists names? Can we still call Hillary a blood-thirsty war-mongering lying harpy?
As we noted above, the vultures are already circling. The Guardian erroneously asserts that the agreement is “very narrowly worded”:
“The definition of hate speech covered by the code of conduct is narrow: it is defined in the document as “all conduct publicly inciting to violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, color, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin”.
That ban is counterbalanced by the right to freedom of expression, which, the code highlights, covers “not only… ‘information’ or ‘ideas’ that are favorably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the state or any sector of the population”.
This may indeed seem innocuous at first glance, but it really isn’t. We may agree that the “incitement to violence” part is largely not really contentious. But what exactly constitutes “hate speech”, apart from the general idea that it supposedly “incites hatred”?
Who Decides What Constitutes Hate Speech?
The vagueness of this definition may well invite all sorts of interventions by self-anointed censors. As Paul Coleman writes at Spiked:
[T]he European Court of Human Rights once produced a fact sheet on hate speech in which it conceded that the ‘identification of expressions that could be qualified as “hate speech” is sometimes difficult because this kind of speech does not necessarily manifest itself through the expression of hatred or of emotions. It can also be concealed in statements which at a first glance may seem to be rational or normal.’
In another document, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights took hate speech to include a ‘broader spectrum of verbal acts’, including ‘disrespectful public discourse’. And in an EU-funded manual on online hate speech by IGLYO (the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Youth and Student Organisation), we are reminded that ‘the vast majority of hate speech is being perpetrated by regular people, not by extremists or radicals’.
To paraphrase Humpty Dumpty, hate speech means just what those in power choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
Free speech has been qualified by Vĕra Jourová, the EU commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality (another utterly superfluous job) as “free and ‘democratic’ expression”, according to the Guardian. “Free” alone is apparently not enough:
“This agreement is an important step forward to ensure that the internet remains a place of free and democratic expression, where European values and laws are respected.”
As Mr. Coleman reports, while the commissioner has sprinkled the term “terrorism” liberally across the press release announcing the agreement, her personal views on what should be regarded as “hate speech” (and therefore prohibited and “taken off the web as soon as it is reported”) seem to be a lot less “narrow”:
As Vĕra Jourová, the EU commissioner responsible for the code, said during its unveiling: ‘The recent terror attacks have reminded us of the urgent need to address illegal online hate speech. Social media is unfortunately one of the tools that terrorist groups use to radicalise young people and racists use to spread violence and hatred.’
But given the non-definition of hate speech, it is clear the code will go far beyond countering terrorism. In fact, Jourová has confirmed as much in other venues. In October 2015, she addressed the annual conference of ILGA-Europe and said ‘a narrative undermining LGBTI rights is quietly spreading, often disguised as so-called religious principles. This is unacceptable… It is clear that we must fight all hate speech, online and offline, whatever group of society it targets. We will work with internet providers to ensure hate speech is taken off the web as soon as it is reported.’
So, with very little effort, the EU commissioner is happy to shift from countering terrorism to countering ‘so-called religious principles’ – and she bundles up all this ‘unacceptable’ speech under the banner of hate speech.
Perhaps someone can explain to us how exactly this jibes with “the right to freedom of expression, which, the code highlights, covers “not only… ‘information’ or ‘ideas’ that are favorably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the state or any sector of the population”.
It is also worth considering the legal consequences suffered by European citizens falling afoul of already existing legal restrictions on free speech across European countries. Mr. Coleman provides us with several concrete examples:
In 2008, film star Brigitte Bardot was convicted by French authorities for placing a letter to Nicolas Sarkozy online, in which she complained about the Islamic practice of ritual animal slaughter. It was her fifth conviction for hate speech
In 2011, Scottish football fan Stephen Birrell was sentenced to an extraordinary eight months in prison for insulting Celtic fans, Catholics and the Pope on a Facebook page. During sentencing, the sheriff, Bill Totten, told Birrell that his views would not be tolerated by ‘the right-thinking people of Glasgow and Scotland’.
And between 2014 and 2016, 78-year-old Northern Irish pastor James McConnell endured an 18-month police investigation and criminal prosecution after criticizing Islam in a sermon that was posted online . Apparently he was acquitted because his comments were ‘offensive’ but not ‘grossly offensive’ – a legal standard that nobody can be expected to understand or follow.
With the new code of conduct in place, we can expect more cases like these before the courts, and a lot more censorship. The powerful have spoken and the rest of us will be forced into silence.”
People in Europe may generally have less to fear from running afoul of the State’s censors than people in many other even places in the world, but this strikes us as bad enough.
Note as an aside to this that people questioning the officially sanctioned history of the Third Reich can be thrown into jail for years in Germany and Austria, especially if they are repeat offenders. We are anything but fans of Hitler and fascism. We despise the Nazi ideology and are horrified by the crimes committed in its name. We do however believe that even the most odious views should be open to debate. The truth should not be in need of legal protection.
Americans should be very happy that the constitutional right to freedom of speech has so far been held in far higher regard by the US legislative and judiciary than anyone’s alleged “right” not to be offended. This is one of the things with respect to which the US remains a shining light and an example to the world worth following. Don’t let them ever take that right away.
Speech is either free or it isn’t. One cannot have it both ways, as the EU apparatchiks apparently think. As soon as restrictions on free speech are introduced, abuse is sure to follow.
Reprinted with permission from Acting Man.
TWA 800 was destroyed twenty years ago this July off the coast of Long Island. Mike Wire was one of the 258 FBI witnesses who reported an apparent missile strike. The New York Times, which owned the story, interviewed not a single one of them. In the absence of real information, the CIA and FBI collaborated to discredit the eyewitnesses and advance an exploding fuel tank theory. Wire’s case is just one shocking example out of many. To learn more, see Jack Cashill’s introductory article in this series or his book, TWA 800: The Crash, The Cover-Up, The Conspiracy (Regnery: July 5).
Recently the CIA released documents pertaining to the tragic destruction of TWA 800. During review of those documents, I have learned that the CIA had designated me as Witness #1 to the heartbreaking events of that day. For the FBI, I was only Witness #571. How the CIA came to decide upon me is at the heart of this miscarriage of justice.
On July 17, 1996, I was working to get the new Beach Lane Bridge in Westhampton ready to open. The bridge crosses the narrow inland waterway and connects the mainland with a small strip of beach beyond.
As a millwright tradesman, I had been working all day in the mechanical room of the bridge. A little before 8:30 p.m. that night, I surfaced to get some air. I was talking to one of the many men working with me when I saw what looked like a cheap firework rising from beyond the houses along the beach. This wasn’t out of the ordinary for a summer weekday so close to the 4th of July.
I watched as the sparkling white light zigzagged southeast away from shore at about a 40-degree angle. At its peak, it arched over and disappeared. Then I saw what appeared to be an explosion, it expanded into a large fireball, and then I watched the aircraft in flames descend from the fireball and fall to the sea, breaking up as it fell.
After a few seconds had passed, I heard the first of four explosions. The first was the loudest. I could feel a shock wave against my chest. It shook the bridge enough that the other workers came running up to see what was going on.
At first, I thought it was a mid-air collision. I called my wife Joan at home in Pennsylvania and asked her to watch the news to see if anything was reported. At that point, the other men and I observed a rescue helicopter fly overhead and listened to the aircraft chatter on the PA system from the State Highway communications truck on site. Still unsure of what was unfolding; I went back to work and stayed on the job until after midnight.
The next morning at breakfast I overhead a man, a lawyer as it turned out, telling friends what he saw the night before. It was almost exactly what I saw. The only difference was that I described what I saw as “fireworks.” He was more familiar with the sea and took to describing the light as a “flare.”
Later, when I was back home in Bucks County, my employer called to inform me that the FBI wanted to speak to me. The FBI took my observations seriously enough to send an agent to my house named Andrew Lash. He interviewed me with Joan present on July 29, twelve days after the disaster.
Lash was conscientious and wrote what I said on a yellow legal pad, allowing me to check what he’d written for accuracy. We spoke for about 90 minutes, and that was the last time I talked to the FBI.