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Global Warming Is About Destroying Capitalism

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 04/02/2017 - 07:01

A shocking statement was made by a United Nations official Christiana Figueres at a news conference in Brussels. Figueres admitted that the Global Warming conspiracy set by the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, of which she is the executive secretary, has a goal not of environmental activists to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism. She said very casually:

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.”

She even restated that goal ensuring it was not a mistake: “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history.”

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I was invited to a major political dinner in Washington with the former Chairman of Temple University since I advised the University with respect to its portfolio. We were seated at one of those round tables with ten people. Because we were invited from a university, they placed us on the heads of the various environmental groups. They assumed they were in friendly company and began speaking freely. Dick Fox, my friend and Chairman of Temple, began to lead them on to get the truth behind their movement. Low and behold, they too admitted it was not about the environment, but to reduce population growth. Dick then asked them, “Whose grandchild are we trying to prevent from being born? Your’s or mine?”

All of these movements seem to have a hidden agenda that the press helps to misrepresent all the time. One must wonder, at what point will the press realize they are destroying their own future?

Reprinted from Armstrong Economics.

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Yankees Go Home

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 04/02/2017 - 07:01

The major takeaway from the US Presidential election, and from the events which have shaped the first two weeks of Donald Trump’s Presidency – both his actions and the reactions of his opponents – is that America is tired.

It is not difficult to see why since the US has for decades been behaving in a way that was guaranteed eventually to exhaust it.

The US government has been focused to an extraordinary degree on foreign policy since the Second World War.

This is far from normal for any country, and is the factor which more than any other has shaped the present structure of the US economy and of US society, as the US leadership, overwhelmingly focused on its foreign policy, has increasingly neglected the needs of its home base, where problems have slowly accumulated.

In contrast to its policy in the previous century and a half of its existence, the US has built up since the Second World War huge military forces at inordinate cost, many of them based overseas in a huge and intricate series of bases.

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Whereas before the Second World War the US was the most civilian of societies, today millions of Americans have experience with service in the military, and American society and political discourse have to an extraordinary degree become militarized.

Alongside this vast military establishment, the US has built up a huge intelligence gathering apparatus, on a scale unrivaled in history.  Whereas in 1929 US Secretary of State Henry Stimson shut down the State Department’s Cipher Bureau saying “gentlemen do not read each others’ mail”, today the NSA aspires to read everyone’s mail everywhere.

Moreover unlike the intelligence communities of other countries and of previous times, since the Second World War the US intelligence community has been engaged in ‘direct action’ (coup making and other forms of interference) in the internal affairs of countries all over the world on a staggering scale, in a way which would have been unimaginable at any other time in history.

The US’ military and intelligence communities are supported by a vast complex of NGOs, think-tanks, ‘intellectuals’, publicists, and journalists, as well as a colossal scientific and industrial system, and a bloated diplomatic establishment, whose number has increased from less than 2,000 in 1940 to almost 16,000 today.

The financial and economic cost of all this is enormous, with military spending alone accounting for 16% of total US federal budget spending and a staggering 60% of discretionary spending, and with a disproportionate part of the US science and manufacturing base committed to military production, and therefore no long competing in the markets for civilian goods.

Military costs, however, form only a part of the picture.

In order to bind other countries to itself in a complex network of alliances, the US after the Second World War reversed its previous protectionist economic policies, opening up its economy to trade in goods from other countries.

It has also positioned itself at the center of the world financial system, insisting in 1944 that its currency the dollar become the world’s reserve currency in which international trade in goods — especially energy products — takes place.

Since the 1970s the system has evolved further still, with the US seeking to compensate for what has become a structural deficit in traded goods brought about by its ‘open door’ economic policies by insisting that other countries deregulate their financial systems by abolishing capital controls, thereby resulting in huge compensating capital flows to the ‘safe haven’ of the US.

The result has been to ‘financialise’ the economy further, increasing debt creation and import penetration, and encouraging the export of US manufacturing to the US’s trading partners.

Meanwhile, as might have been predicted, the combination of a huge military establishment and a political leadership focused on foreign policy has resulted in an ever-growing number of wars.

The attitude was perfectly captured by a famous quip of former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to Colin Powell, the Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff: “What’s the point of having this superb military that you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?”

The result is that whereas in the inter-war period the US was barely ever at war, since the Second World War, and especially since the 1990s, it has been at war almost continuously, with the time taken up by fighting peaking in the period of the Obama administration, when not a single day passed without the US military being in action somewhere.

Not surprisingly the cost of all this frenetic activity, and of the economic and military policies that go with it, has fallen increasingly heavily on the US population, which is called on to pay the taxes, service the debts, buy the foreign made goods — made increasingly at the expense of its own jobs —  and send its sons to fight the wars, that these policies are creating.

At the same time, the material and psychological benefits of these policies are going disproportionately to an ever shrinking elite group concentrated in the federal capital and in certain coastal cities.

It is, in fact, an iron law of empire — even a quasi-empire such as that of the US — that beyond a certain point the benefits of empire go disproportionately to the elite few at the expense of the many, who must instead bear the empire’s ever growing cost.

The result is increasing social and economic inequality and over time a rise in class tensions.  Eventually, the cost of supporting the empire for the many becomes unbearable, and they rebel, demanding an ‘end to empire’ and a refocus on their needs at home.

It eventually happened in Britain in the 1940s, and the election victory of Donald Trump shows that it is starting to happen in the US now.

The retreat from empire caused great dismay within elite society in Britain, with the aftershocks reverberating still. Overall, however, the transition was well handled within British society, in part because victory in the Second World War lent a comforting afterglow to the process.

The great challenge for the US is to manage its retreat from the empire with equal skill.

At present the omens do not look good, with US elite society in open rebellion against the retrenchment policies of the new President, whose own understanding of these processes is also open to doubt.

In 1902, at a time when Britain’s imperial mission was for the first time being seriously questioned, Joseph Chamberlain, Britain’s colonial secretary, lamented that Britain was a “weary Titan” staggering “under the too vast orb of his fate.”

The US’s future happiness depends on the US elite finally recognizing that a “weary Titan” is what the US has become and that what it needs is to become a more ‘normal’ — as opposed to an ‘exceptional’ — country, thereby finally finding for itself some rest.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

Reprinted from Sputnik News.

The post Yankees Go Home appeared first on LewRockwell.

Farage Eviscerates Eurocrats

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 04/02/2017 - 07:01

The godfather of Britain’s “Brexit” from the European Union who presaged the the coming of the Trumpinator, Nigel Farage, has, on his way out, unleashed a barrage of condemnation on the smug, spineless sycophants who comprise the army of Eurocrats running the EU.

Farage slammed the EU parliament as a spineless rubber-stamp body, and weighed into the European Commission as an unelected Politburo that has nothing to do with democracy.

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No wonder, said Mr. Farage, that these careerist bureaucrats are intimidated and outraged by Donald Trump – a man who in merely 1 week in office, put the entire western establishment to shame with his swift action and actually keeping his word to the people.

Farage speaks at a Trump rally during the campaign

Reprinted from Russia Insider.

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Essential Knowledge

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 04/02/2017 - 07:01

The traditional way in the West of teaching history is to start with the three phases of history. There is the beginning, the middle and the end. This is based on two assumptions that are unique to the West. One is that history is a process where the past casts a shadow over the present to shape the future. History is a long chain of causation. The other assumption is history works toward some end, as if it is by design. The idea of “progress” rests on this assumption. The world is progressing toward some end point.

For the student of history, the habit has been to start at the beginning and read forward, thinking about how each era led to and shaped the next. The tides of history have carried man to the place he is today, not by chance, but through the great chain of causality. Each new civilization was built on those that came before it. In this way, history is a stack of blocks and the story of man is a tower reaching to the heavens. To know what comes next means knowing every block in the stack and why it is there.

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A better and more accurate way to read history is to think of each people as having their own beginning, middle and end. History is not one single ribbon in time, but thousands of bits and strands that often lead nowhere and have no influence on what comes next, other than to perhaps stand out as an example for modern people. The emphasis here as we get into the essential knowledge of human history is to stick with books and podcasts that avoid theories of history. Instead, the focus will be on the story of the people in question.

For Westerners, the story of history usually begins with the Greeks, but you cannot really understand the Greeks without knowing something about the Persians. Greek civilization and what we have come to know as the West was forged in the time between the Battle of Marathon and the heroic last stand by the Spartans at Marathon. That’s not true, but it is the way we like to imagine it. Still, to understand the Greeks, you need to know something of the Persians. While only lasting 200 years, the Persians are integral to the history of the Greeks and the Jews, which is why Cyrus gets mentioned in the Old Testament.

You could read Herodotus and it is a fun read, but you can also listen to the great Dan Carlin podcast on the Persians. Carlin is a great history podcaster and a great storyteller so it is a fun way to learn a bit about the Persians. An excellent book for the general reader is Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West. The Persians did not exist in a vacuum, so learning about the people they conquered is a good idea, especially for Bible studying Christians. Here’s a book worth reading and here is another one that covers the material.

For those who have come to prefer podcasts, there is this ongoing podcast about the Ancient world that covers just about everything. I’ve listened to some of it and it is pretty good. There’s also the Ancient Warfare Podcast. It a product from the Ancient Warfare Magazine and it is a fun way to get your feet wet with regards to the people and civilizations of the ancient world. Unless you intend to search for the Ark of the Covenant, these history podcasts are a good introduction to the essential knowledge of these people.

The big subject, when it comes to this part of the world, is ancient Egypt and we are spoiled for choice when it comes to books. Unless you have a desire to become an Egyptologist, a good survey book like The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt is a solid choice. A highly readable history is The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt, which is why it made it to the best-seller list. Of course, there’s always the podcast route. This one is probably the most popular one at the moment. It’s well done and entertaining.

Finally, the Greeks. The main reason to know about the Persians, Egyptians, Babylonians and so forth is to have a better understanding of the Greeks. No people has cast a longer shadow and it is impossible to be an educated man without knowing about Greek history, culture and society. It is preferable to know Classical Greek. In a better age, Classical Greek was taught in high school, but that is no longer true. If you want to try and learn a bit, there are on-line course like this one and this one to get you started. You will not become fluent, but you can pick up enough to appreciate the grammar.

For the general reader or someone entirely new to the topic, Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times is a great choice. It is one of those books you can read at the beach or at the airport. For something a bit more advanced, a textbook like this one or this one is a good choice. We tend not to think of textbooks as good reading, but modern history texts are aimed at a generation brought up on smartphones so they tend to be a bit more readable. The key is to start with a general, chronological history of the Greeks.

You cannot be an educated man without having read Homer. You can get the Iliad and the Odyssey for close to free as an eBook. The same is true of Aesop’s Fables. Most people remember it from childhood, but in the context of Greek history is recommended reading. Plato’s Republic is also a must read and it can be downloaded free from any number of sources. Of course, you can always find an on-line course on Greek literature if you are the sort who prefers structured learning.

The Greco-Persian wars and the Peloponnesian War are probably the two most important topics in Greek history. You can and should read Thucydides, but Donald Kagan’s treatment of the Peloponnesian War is fantastic and perfect for the general reader. As far as the Greco-Persian wars, reading Herodotus is a must, but you can also read The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories, by Robert Strassler. It is a big book, but it is a big topic and this treatment reads almost like a novel.

If you want to have a little fun while learning a little bit about Thermopylae, the Gates of Fire is a fun read. It’s not history, but it give you some sense of life in ancient Greece. A more serious telling is Thermopylae: The Battle For The West. If you prefer a podcast, then an excellent podcast on ancient Greece is this one that I have been listening to recently. The good thing about podcasts on ancient history is they tend to be done by people with the passion of a fan, rather than historians just making a buck.

Finally, a book that does not quite fit into the history category, but one I enjoyed reading is 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed. It is not exactly a history book, more of an analysis of what happened at the end of the Bronze Age. Within a period of 40-50 years at the end of the Bronze Age almost every significant city in the eastern Mediterranean world was destroyed. The reason for this remains a bit of mystery, but it makes for a good transition to Joseph Tainter’s The Collapse of Complex Societies, a must read.

Reprinted from The Z-Man Blog.

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Warmongers on Top?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 04/02/2017 - 07:01

When I was suffering through advanced infantry training in the US Army many, many moons ago, I learned the Trump negotiating system.

Our dreaded first sergeant, Delmar Creech, would terrorize us, inflict push-ups or latrine detail, and then restrict us to barracks over weekends for some minor infraction.

We hated him with a passion. But then one Friday he strode into the barracks and, with a big smile, said ‘you boys have been good. I’m granting you PX privileges!’

A cheer erupted. We were being allowed to go to the base store to buy candy, cigarettes, and magazines. Suddenly, everyone said, `Sarge ain’t such a bad guy after all.’

This is the secret to Donald Trump’s negotiating tactics: a storm of invective and abuse, followed by some minor concessions. `Trump ain’t such a bad guy after all.’

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We just witnessed this technique used on our old ally, Australia, where Trump threw a telephone tantrum over the prospect of a modest number of mainly South Asian Muslim refugees held on Australia’s Devil’s Island entering the US.

This nasty little spat came on the heels of last week’s refusal by Trump to accept Mideast refugees from seven nations, supposedly to keep America safe. However, there has not been a single attack against the US from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria or Yemen – even though all have been bombed (26,171 times) or had their governments overthrown by the US and its allies. 

President Trump is doing precisely what he promised voters, something very rare in politics. One of the last presidents to do so was Democrat James K. Polk in the mid-1800’s who stormed into office on the promise of conquering northern Mexico, lowering tariffs, and bluffing the British out of Oregon.

Polk accomplished all of his goals, then refused to run for a second term so he would not be compelled to make political compromises. He died in 1849. His legacy was the new American states of California, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and other western regions.

This writer had hoped that when Trump felt the full weight of office he would make good on his vow to press for a real Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement. Instead,  Trump welcomed Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu, packed his cabinet with rabid Muslim-haters, neo-cons, and far right zanies and has just about proclaimed a new crusade against Islam.

Was all this real or a political ploy? We must remember that nearly half of all Republican voters – Trump’s base – describe themselves as practicing born-again Christians. The Christian fundamentalist right played a key role in George Bush’s two victories.  Some 78% of born-again Christians voted for Bush.

These religious right voters come from the Bible Belt South and Midwest, a vast expanse routinely ignored by East and West coast pundits and political operatives.  The Trump campaign was extremely clever in analyzing this political geography and focusing efforts on the evangelical empty spaces between New York and Los Angeles – the same region that brought Prohibition in 1919 and Trump in 2016.

One of the key tenets of Republican theological voters is the hatred of Islam as the ‘new’ Communism and the fear that Islam’s growth is far outpacing Christianity.

Few of these confused Republican core voters have any sense of geography or history.  After the 9/11 attacks, surveys showed that 78% or more were convinced that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was behind the attacks. This was a glaring example of what expert Kevin Phillips terms `the American Disenlightenment.’

President Trump benefitted from this accrued ignorance in his startling electoral victory. East and West coast media were astounded because they had never attended a Pentecostal Church or listened to the poisonous sermons of ‘Rev’ John Hagee or so-called Christian radio from whose bizarre ravings many Christian fundamentalists receive all their news.

I witnessed the birth of the strange alliance between America’s Christian far right and Israel in the early 1980’s during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Two radio stations from the Bible Belt USA rushed in to begin broadcasting their fundamentalist creed to Lebanon and Syria.

We laughed at these Christian broadcasters but the Israelis were smart enough to understand how their new born-again fundamentalist allies could be used as the first step to winning over the America’s Christian far right. The fundamentalists believe that Biblical Israel must be re-created (never mind Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine) before Christ can return.

Armageddon, the ultimate battle between good and evil, would ensue, bringing the destruction of the Earth. Born-agains will zip up to heaven while the rest of us slowly burn in hellfire.

Three decades later, Christian Conservatives are one of America’s leading political forces. President Trump just called for the ban on churches preaching politics and fundraising be lifted.

Let’s hope Trump uses some of his great energy to arm twist Israelis and Palestinians into a decent peace deal.  This, alas, seem unlikely.

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When Your Child Dies

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 04/02/2017 - 07:01

It has been a decade since I wrote my son’s obituary. I posted it the next day.

Lew Rockwell posted it the day after I posted it.

Writing it eased the pain. Writers often write to ease the pain. When you are depressed, work. Work is a productive pain-killing drug.

Warning: If you ever get tingling sensations in your heels, and they move up your calves, then thighs, always moving higher, year by year, get to the Mayo Clinic. They will become spasms when they reach your lower back. They will keep moving up until they are inside your skull. Read the obituary for more details.

I did not know at the time I wrote the obituary where the police found his body in his one-room apartment. It was not on the floor or in bed or slumped in a chair. This is rare, as you might imagine. His body was slumped face-down on the counter next to the kitchen sink. They surmised that he had walked over to the sink, suffered a seizure, died instantly, and fell face-down. The horizontal weight of his upper body supported his entire body. It never hit the floor.

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THE HOLE IN YOUR LIFE

When a close relative dies, you must adjust. There had been a relationship. Now it is gone.

Death is irreversible. We know this, but it is driven home when someone close to you dies. The finality is inescapable. There are no loopholes.

We do not normally bury our children. They bury us. So, we regard our relationships with them as permanent for us, though not for them. Then this permanence ends. This creates a hole in our lives. When death comes without warning, we are unprepared for this size of this hole.

It seems as though it will not fill up. This is correct. It never does. But time moves on, and life’s events are like weeds in a field. They fill up our memories. Better put, they clutter up our memories. Life is mostly cluttered amidst unmemorable, undated routines. We recall so little of it.

We move on. We may occasionally think back to the time when the deceased played a role in our lives. That inevitably draws our attention to the hole. It is just as big as it was when it first appeared, but it is concealed by clutter.

As we age, the years pass by faster. One year for a 60-year-old is a much smaller percentage of his life than one year for a five-year-old. The percentage gets smaller as we age.

The size of death’s hole is like that 12-month interval. It is just as big as it ever was, and just as final. But its impact in our lives is less. This is a blessing. It makes it easier to deal with the hole. We deal with it by ignoring it. Anyway, I do. My wife says she remembers him every day. She has a photo of him and his brother as adults on the message board above her desk.

It is said that time heals all wounds. They get less painful. Then they stop hurting. But some wounds leave scars. The death of a child is such a wound. It reminds us of the all the good things that did not develop. In the case of my son, this thought does not bother me. He suffered too much from that unnamed disease. Death was deliverance. No experts knew how to deliver him from that affliction. I do not look back and say: “If we had not done such and such, that affliction might not have come.” I don’t know what it was, let alone what caused it. I do not second-guess myself about that which had no causal explanation when he was alive.

Second-guessing the past is not productive. If we did not see something coming when we were right in front of it, then we were guessing. Most of life involves guessing. We are not responsible for that which we could not see, and which was inherently unimaginable.

Life is mostly cluttered routine. It is difficult to see through the cluttered routine.

A DELAYED GOODBYE

My son knew that I had always liked the music of the Carter family. One year, he gave me the autobiography of Johnny Cash for Christmas. For Christmas 2006, he gave me a biography of the Carter family. I noticed the cover and the topic, but the title did not sink in. I had just started my website, Gary North’s Specific Answers, in 2006. I was busy. I did not read the book at the time.

He died a month later, as far as we know.

About a year after his death, I got it out to read it. Only then did I notice its title.

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?”

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Steve Bannon Loves the 4th Turning

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 04/02/2017 - 07:01

Steve Bannon became obsessed with a dark theory of history predicting the rebirth of America’s institutions every 80 years – and became convinced the US was on the brink of a bigger conflict than the Second World War, a report said Thursday.

Donald Trump‘s chief strategist became fascinated in the early 2000s by The Fourth Turning, a 1997 book in which William Strauss and Neil Howe explain their theory of American history, Time wrote in a profile of Bannon.

The former Goldman Sachs investment banker and Breitbart executive chairman appears on the cover of this week’s magazine, on which he is dubbed ‘the great manipulator’.

At one point, the piece delves into Bannon’s captivation for Strauss and Howe’s book – which led to Bannon’s 2010 movie Generation Zero, about the 2008 financial crisis.

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These cycles, according to the authors, have taken the US from the revolution (1765-1783) to the Civil War (1861-1865) to the Second World War (1939-1945).

Some might place the Second World War at the end of a period of crisis beginning with the Great Depression of 1929, over eighty years ago.

Bannon interviewed Howe while working on Generation Zero, and in the movie depicted the 2008 financial crisis as a point of turning.

Historian David Kaiser previously recounted in Time being interviewed by Bannon for the documentary.

‘Bannon had clearly thought a long time both about the domestic potential and the foreign policy implications of Strauss and Howe,’ Kaiser wrote.

‘More than once during our interview, he pointed out that each of the three preceding crises had involved a great war, and those conflicts had increased in scope from the American Revolution through the Civil War to the Second World War.

‘He expected a new and even bigger war as part of the current crisis, and he did not seem at all fazed by the prospect.’

Read the Whole Article

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History Without PC

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 04/02/2017 - 07:01

I have listened to Dr. Wilson enough times, I could hear his voice as I read this work. He is one of my heroes as he teaches on American History, not what is taught in the established educational (?) spouts normally called “Schools, Colleges, Universities …”

is today, you will gain much understanding from this book. And, you will not get these truths from most other sources since it offers a lot of facts, logical thought, and all with refreshing non PC garbage, as only Clyde Wilson can.

Published by Shotwell Publishing (… a No Nonsense, Unapologetic, Unreconstructed Publishing Company Specializing in Hard-Hitting Southern Books.) I personally plan to purchase each of their works as they become available.

I hope to see their work offered in audio formats soon, I simply request that the one chosen to narrate, be a Southerner, sound like a Southerner, and have a heart full of the Passion of a Southerner. If a Yankee is chosen to read the book, well, then we would have another ….YANKEE PROBLEM… and that just would not be right now, would it?

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Reprinted from Amazon.com.

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Trump’s Terrifying Problem

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 04/02/2017 - 07:01

Every president inherits something difficult.

Some problems are simply out of the incoming president’s hands.

Obama inherited a financial crisis. Reagan inherited double digit inflation. Kennedy, Nixon, and Ford each inherited the Vietnam War.

For President Trump, it’s debt.

Donald Trump enters the White House with a $19.9 trillion a headache. In percentage terms, that’s 107% of our GDP.

Sure, every president inherits some kind of debt from his predecessor. But none of them had to follow the Borrower-in-Chief, Barack Obama. Obama doubled the federal debt during his tenure in the Oval. He pushed the total debt close to $20 billion – an 88% rise from when he first took the oath of office.

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Here at the Nestmann Intelligence Unit, this figure weighs heavily on our minds. Especially as we watch the Dow fly past the 20,000 mark to its historic high.

The markets are excited by Trump’s promise of tax cuts, slashed regulations, and job growth. But with the debt at a record high, we’re worried that Trump will find himself choked by a lack of funds.

What happens to the market if the president can’t make good on his business policies?

The Market Is Pricing the Second Coming of Ronald Reagan

Reagan’s former budget director, David Stockman, is worried. He says the markets are anticipating a return to Reaganomics. A return to unrestricted competition and low taxes.

But he says, “There’s no reincarnation coming.”

The key difference here is that Reagan had room to move. When he entered the White House, Reagan had to wrestle with only $1 trillion of debt. A mere 30% of the GDP to President Trump’s 107%.

Worse, on March 16, Congress will impose a new debt ceiling. The ceiling is expected to come in at $20.1 trillion. That leaves Donald Trump slammed up against the debt wall. There will be no more room to borrow, putting Trump’s ambitious plans at risk.

Stockman predicts a bloodbath. The debt ceiling will act as a reality check for the markets, he says. That could mean a sharp reversal from these historic highs.

Trump Has Bills to Pay…

The president has ambitious plans for America, but they won’t come cheap.

Chief among them are a trillion-dollar infrastructure program, a border wall with Mexico, and increased defense spending. At the same time, he’ll treat Americans to a sizable tax break. It’s a welcome policy, but it may leave a hole in the country’s piggy bank.

Trump has also pledged to leave Social Security and Medicare untouched, the two biggest drains on the budget outside defense. “I will do everything within my power not to touch Social Security,” he said.

But if Trump is to reconcile his infrastructure spending and tax cuts, he’ll need to find money somewhere.

To make matters worse, the Fed is raising interest rates. As many as three further hikes could be in the pipeline this year. Obama was lucky enough to ride the wave of low rates. Trump will enjoy no such luxury. With higher interest rates comes higher inflation and larger debt repayments.

The Good News…

… is that President Trump has outlined a vision for reduced spending.

He’ll employ a freeze on federal hiring with a view to cutting 20% on staffing costs. A further 10% will disappear on cuts to wasteful departments and programs. Meanwhile, the president’s commitment to job growth should bring tax dollars back into the pot.

Whispers of a $10.5 trillion cut in federal expenditure over the next 10 years are moving through the White House corridors. However, it remains to be seen exactly where this will come from. And whether it will be enough to bring down the deficit.

The big test will be the president’s inaugural budget. It will offer the first clue as to whether he can balance this knife edge.

President Trump Is the King of Debt

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump hailed himself the “King of Debt.” He said, “I’m great with debt… I’ve made a fortune by using debt, and if things don’t work out, I renegotiate the debt.

Well, he’s now got his hands on the biggest debt pile on the planet. And he faces a challenge to keep it in check.

If the US defaults on its repayments, we may witness the greatest recession the world has ever seen.

Of course, a default is unlikely. Instead, we may see the stirring of the printing press starting up again (also known as quantitative easing) as fresh new dollars are used to pay down the credit (reducing your purchasing power with every print run).

Even worse, the Treasury might just “borrow” funds from the Federal Employee Pension Fund to avoid defaulting. If you think that sounds terrifying and unthinkable, consider this: They’ve done it before.

Time to Create a Plan B

Thanks to Obama’s reckless attitude with the nation’s credit, President Trump may be choked by the debt crisis. It could limit his ability to put his ambitious policies to work. And that may cause the markets to sharply reassess their enthusiasm.

Worse, Trump may be forced to take extraordinary measures to keep the debt sustainable. Measures that threaten your nest egg.

While it’s impossible to time the markets or predict the future, it is possible to take control of your wealth. Perhaps it’s time to create a strategy that spreads your risk and reduces your exposure to the US debt problem.

Reprinted with permission from Nestmann.com.

The post Trump’s Terrifying Problem appeared first on LewRockwell.

Another US War of Aggression?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 04/02/2017 - 07:01

When Gen. Michael Flynn marched into the White House Briefing Room to declare that “we are officially putting Iran on notice,” he drew a red line for President Trump. In tweeting the threat, Trump agreed.

His credibility is now on the line.

And what triggered this virtual ultimatum?

Iran-backed Houthi rebels said Flynn, attacked a Saudi warship and Tehran tested a missile, undermining “security, prosperity, and stability throughout the Middle East,” placing “American lives at risk.”

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But how so?

The Saudis have been bombing the Houthi rebels and ravaging their country, Yemen, for two years. Are the Saudis entitled to immunity from retaliation in wars that they start?

Where is the evidence Iran had a role in the Red Sea attack on the Saudi ship? And why would President Trump make this war his war?

As for the Iranian missile test, a 2015 U.N. resolution “called upon” Iran not to test nuclear-capable missiles. It did not forbid Iran from testing conventional missiles, which Tehran insists this was.

Is the United States making new demands on Iran not written into the nuclear treaty or international law — to provoke a confrontation?

Did Flynn coordinate with our allies about this warning of possible military action against Iran? Is NATO obligated to join any action we might take?

Or are we going to carry out any retaliation alone, as our NATO allies observe, while the Israelis, Gulf Arabs, Saudis and the Beltway War Party, which wishes to be rid of Trump, cheer him on?

Bibi Netanyahu hailed Flynn’s statement, calling Iran’s missile test a flagrant violation of the U.N. resolution and declaring, “Iranian aggression must not go unanswered.” By whom, besides us?

The Saudi king spoke with Trump Sunday. Did he persuade the president to get America more engaged against Iran?

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker is among those delighted with the White House warning:

“No longer will Iran be given a pass for its repeated ballistic missile violations, continued support of terrorism, human rights abuses and other hostile activities that threaten international peace and security.”

The problem with making a threat public — Iran is “on notice” — is that it makes it almost impossible for Iran, or Trump, to back away.

Tehran seems almost obliged to defy it, especially the demand that it cease testing conventional missiles for its own defense.

This U.S. threat will surely strengthen those Iranians opposed to the nuclear deal and who wish to see its architects, President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, thrown out in this year’s elections.

If Rex Tillerson is not to become a wartime secretary of state like Colin Powell or Dean Rusk, he is going to have to speak to the Iranians, not with defiant declarations, but in a diplomatic dialogue.

Tillerson, of course, is on record as saying the Chinese should be blocked from visiting the half-dozen fortified islets they have built on rocks and reefs in the South China Sea.

A prediction: The Chinese will not be departing from their islands, and the Iranians will defy the U.S. threat against testing their missiles.

Wednesday’s White House statement makes a collision with Iran almost unavoidable, and a war with Iran quite possible.

Why did Trump and Flynn feel the need to do this now?

There is an awful lot already on the foreign policy plate of the new president after only two weeks, as pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine are firing artillery again, and North Korea’s nuclear missile threat, which, unlike Iran’s, is real, has yet to be addressed.

High among the reasons that many supported Trump was his understanding that George W. Bush blundered horribly in launching an unprovoked and unnecessary war in Iraq.

Along with the 15-year war in Afghanistan and our wars in Libya, Syria, and Yemen, our 21st-century U.S. Mideast wars have cost us trillions of dollars and thousands of dead. And they have produced a harvest of hatred of America that was exploited by al-Qaida and ISIS to recruit jihadists to murder and massacre Westerners.

Osama’s bin Laden’s greatest achievement was not to bring down the twin towers and kill 3,000 Americans but to goad America into plunging headlong into the Middle East, a reckless and ruinous adventure that ended her post-Cold War global primacy.

Unlike the other candidates, Trump seemed to recognize this.

It was thought he would disengage us from these wars, not rattle a saber at an Iran that is three times the size of Iraq and has as its primary weapons supplier and partner Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

When Barack Obama drew his red line against Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons in Syria’s civil war, and Assad appeared to cross it, Obama discovered that his countrymen wanted no part of the war that his military action might bring on.

President Obama backed down — in humiliation.

Neither the Ayatollah Khamenei nor Trump appears to be in a mood to back away, especially now that the president has made the threat public.

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Hitler’s Mobile Phone

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 04/02/2017 - 07:01

An old rotary phone that’s been tucked away in an English house in the country since 1945 is headed to auction in the United States later this month. Its significance? The antique phone, described by the auction house as a “mobile device of destruction,” once belonged to Adolf Hitler.

Physical Gold & Silver in your IRA. Get the Facts.

Recovered from the Fuhrerbunker during the last days of World War II, the phone was “arguably the most destructive ‘weapon’ of all time, which sent millions to their deaths around the world,” Alexander Historical Auctions noted in a description.

The phone was gifted to Hitler during the last two years of the war and while it was originally black Bakelite, it was painted red – said to be Hitler’s favorite color – and engraved on the back with his name, an eagle, and a swastika.

British officer Ralph Rayner took the phone, but essentially kept it a secret at first, as British soldiers caught looting could face court martial. Rayner’s son, Ranulf, then inherited the phone when his father died in 1977.

Read the Whole Article

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That Male-Female Wage Gap

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 04/02/2017 - 07:01

You’ve heard about the “gender wage gap.”

That fable goes like this: since women in the aggregate earn only 79% of what men earn in the aggregate, women “earn 79% of what men earn for doing the same work.”

You get extra points for brain-wave activity if you asked: “Wait, how did ‘for doing the same work’ get added onto that?”

I’ll get to that in a minute.

The automobile manufacturer Audi just released an ad for virtue-signaling purposes to let us all know how outraged they are that women suffer from a 21% pay gap.

Right now the ratio of thumbs down to thumbs up for the ad on YouTube is running at 12 to 1, so not everyone in the world is brain dead.

So is there anything to the “pay gap” claim?

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First of all, the needle on your b.s. meter should be all the way in the red even before investigating the statistics. With profit margins in the single digits in many parts of the economy, what firm could afford to give its male employees such an overwhelming advantage? They’d instantly fire all the men, replace them with women, and wipe the floor with their competition.

The very same people who accuse business of thinking about nothing but profit, in other words, now expect us to believe businesses will throw profit out the window because they hate women just that much.

I’m sure in feminist fantasyland there are people who consider this a reasonable way to think about the economy. But you’re telling me not even one business has figured out the overwhelming advantage it could get by firing all its men?

So maybe there’s more to the question after all.

For instance, the 79% statistic doesn’t even correct for hours worked. So it’s a flat-out lie on those grounds alone.

Oh, proponents of the theory pretend to account for hours worked. Why, we’re comparing full-time workers to full-time workers, they protest.

But not all full-time workers are created equal.

As long as you work at least 35 hours a week, you’re considered full time. So we need to disaggregate the numbers a bit.

For instance, women are 2.5 times more likely than men to work just 35-39 hours per week. Men are almost twice as likely to work more than 40 hours a week, and 2.5 times more likely to work over 60 hours per week.

You think that disparity might have a teensy effect on earnings?

So once we correct for hours worked, the gap is down to 10.7%.

Well, what about that 10.7%?

Here we have to ask: are women and men doing the same work? That’s what’s normally assumed by indignant protesters.

But they’re not. In fact, the Obama White House itself had a 12% pay gap between men and women. How did they explain it away? Why, women and men do different things!

How about that!

Since women often intend to leave the labor force for extended periods of time in order to have children, they do not consider certain high-paying fields where their knowledge would be obsolete after so long an absence.

Instead, they prefer lower-paying jobs with schedules that are more convenient for their family lives.

When we compare never-married women and never-married men, we find (unsurprisingly) virtually no gap. What little gap that remains is accounted for by differentials in education, experience, etc.

So the “gender pay gap” is nothing a thinking person should worry about.

The folks at Audi would have known this already if they’d read my free libertarian eBooks.

The post That Male-Female Wage Gap appeared first on LewRockwell.

La FED pensa di poter usare il tasso d'interesse “naturale” per gestire l'economia

Freedonia - Ven, 03/02/2017 - 11:12




di Frank Shostak


È ampiamente accettato che per mezzo di politiche monetarie adeguate, la banca centrale degli Stati Uniti possa traghettare l'economia verso un percorso di crescita, stabilità economica e prosperità. L'ingrediente chiave nel raggiungimento di questo esito è la stabilità dei prezzi.

Alcuni esperti sono del parere che ciò che impedisce il raggiungimento della stabilità dei prezzi sono le fluttuazioni del tasso dei fondi federali intorno al tasso d'interesse neutrale, noto anche come "tasso naturale".

Si sostiene che il tasso neutrale sia coerente con la stabilità dei prezzi e un'economia equilibrata. Ciò che è necessario è che i policymaker presso la FED indirizzino con successo il tasso dei fondi federali verso il tasso d'interesse neutrale.

Una volta che la FED porta il tasso dei fondi federali in linea con il tasso d'interesse neutrale, si può raggiungere la stabilità dei prezzi e la stabilità economica.

Di recente alcuni funzionari della FED hanno affermato che il tasso naturale è attualmente molto basso, e che la sua discesa può riflettere una perdita di potenziale economico. Se questo modo di pensare è giusto, allora ci sono implicazioni serie per la FED: un tasso naturale basso significa che la FED non potrebbe spostare molto in alto il suo tasso dei fondi federali a breve termine, se prima non restringe la sua linea di politica.

Mercoledì 5 ottobre 2016, parlando ad un seminario a New York, il vice presidente della FED, Stanley Fischer, ha detto che era preoccupato circa i cambiamenti nel risparmio globale e che i modelli d'investimento possono aver fatto scendere il tasso naturale. Di conseguenza, ha detto, "potremmo essere bloccati in un nuovo equilibrio di lungo periodo caratterizzato da una crescita lenta."

Questo modo di pensare, che ha le sue origini negli scritti dell'economista britannico Henry Thornton, è stato articolato nel tardo XIX secolo dall'economista svedese Knut Wicksell.[1]

L'attuale quadro di riferimento per le operazioni delle banche centrali di tutto il mondo si basa in gran parte sugli scritti di Wicksell.



Il quadro di riferimento di Knut Wicksell riguardo la stabilità dei prezzi

L'elemento centrale nel quadro di Wicksell è il tasso d'interesse naturale, che egli stesso definì come: "Un certo tasso d'interesse sui prestiti che è neutrale rispetto ai prezzi delle materie prime, e non tende né ad aumentare né a scendere. Questo è necessariamente equivalente al tasso d'interesse che sarebbe determinato dalla domanda e dall'offerta in assenza di denaro e se tutti i prestiti fossero effettuati sotto forma di beni capitali reali. Si tratta più o meno del valore attuale del tasso d'interesse naturale sul capitale."[2]

Il tasso d'interesse naturale è definito come il tasso al quale la domanda di capitale fisico mutuabile coincide con l'offerta di risparmi espressi in grandezze fisiche.[3]

Nel suo quadro di riferimento, Wicksell fa una chiara distinzione tra il tasso d'interesse che viene determinato nei mercati finanziari e il tasso d'interesse fissato nel mondo reale senza soldi.

Mentre il tasso d'interesse nei mercati finanziari è determinato dalla domanda e dall'offerta per il denaro, il tasso d'interesse naturale è impostato da fattori reali. Il denaro non ha nulla a che fare con la determinazione dei tassi d'interesse nel mondo reale delle merci. Secondo Wicksell:

Se il denaro è prestato a questo stesso tasso d'interesse, serve solamente come un mantello per coprire una procedura che, dal punto di vista puramente formale, ne avrebbe potuto benissimo fare a meno. Le condizioni di equilibrio economico sono soddisfatte esattamente nello stesso modo.
Nel quadro wickselliano, il denaro riguarda solo il livello dei prezzi. L'effetto del denaro sul livello dei prezzi non è però diretto, opera attraverso il divario tra il tasso d'interesse del mercato monetario e il tasso naturale.



Se si potesse identificare il tasso naturale, lo si potrebbe utilizzare per manipolare l'economia

Il meccanismo funziona così — se il tasso di mercato scende al di sotto del tasso naturale, l'investimento supererà i risparmi e la domanda aggregata sarà maggiore rispetto all'offerta aggregata. Supponendo che l'eccesso di domanda sia finanziata dall'espansione dei prestiti bancari, questo porta alla creazione di nuova moneta, che a sua volta fa salire il livello generale dei prezzi.

Al contrario, se il tasso di mercato sale al di sopra del tasso naturale, il risparmio supererà gli investimenti, l'offerta aggregata supererà la domanda aggregata, i prestiti bancari e lo stock di denaro si contrarranno ed i prezzi scenderanno.[4] Quindi ogni volta che il tasso di mercato è in linea con il tasso naturale, l'economia sarà in uno stato di equilibrio e non ci sarà pressione né al rialzo né al ribasso sul livello dei prezzi. Deviazioni del tasso d'interesse del mercato monetario rispetto al tasso naturale, metteranno in moto cambiamenti nell'offerta di moneta, cosa che a loro volta disturberanno il livello generale dei prezzi.

Secondo Wicksell:

Se fosse possibile accertare e specificare il valore corrente del tasso naturale, si osserverebbe che qualsiasi deviazione del tasso monetario da questo tasso naturale sarebbe collegata con l'aumento o il calo dei prezzi a seconda che la deviazione sia verso il basso o verso l'alto.
Inoltre Wicksell sosteneva che per stabilire se la politica monetaria fosse ristretta o allentata, non è sufficiente prestare attenzione al livello dei tassi d'interesse del mercato monetario, ma bisogna paragonare i tassi d'interesse del mercato monetario con il tasso naturale.

Se il tasso d'interesse di mercato è superiore al tasso naturale, allora l'orientamento della politica è ristretto. Al contrario, se il tasso di mercato è inferiore al tasso naturale, allora l'orientamento della politica è allentato.

Come si fa ad implementare questo quadro di riferimento? Il problema principale è che il tasso d'interesse naturale non può essere osservato. Come si può dire se il tasso d'interesse di mercato è al di sopra o al di sotto del tasso naturale?

Wicksell suggeriva che i policymaker dovessero prestare molta attenzione alle variazioni del livello dei prezzi. Un aumento del livello dei prezzi richiederebbe un adeguamento al rialzo del tasso monetario, mentre un livello dei prezzi in discesa segnalerebbe che il tasso d'interesse monetario dovrebbe essere abbassato.

Le banche dovrebbero regolare il tasso d'interesse del mercato monetario nella stessa direzione, prendendo come riferimento i movimenti del livello dei prezzi.

Si noti che oggi tutte le banche centrali seguono questa procedura. In risposta agli aumenti negli indici di prezzo oltre una certa cifra, la FED alza il target del tasso dei fondi federali.

Al contrario, quando gli indici di prezzo crescono ad un ritmo considerato troppo basso, la FED abbassa il target.

Nonostante il fatto che il tasso d'interesse naturale non possa essere osservato, gli economisti moderni sono del parere che si possa stimare in vari modi indiretti. Per esempio, si può stabilire facendo la media del valore del tasso dei fondi federali reali (tasso dei fondi federali meno inflazione dei prezzi) per un lungo periodo di tempo.

Altri economisti sostengono che il tasso naturale varia nel tempo e rifiutano l'idea che il tasso naturale possa essere approssimato ad un dato medio. Al fine di catturare i movimenti del tasso d'interesse naturale, gli economisti ora utilizzano metodi matematici sofisticati.[5]



I tassi d'interesse nei mercati finanziari sono diversi dai tassi d'interesse nell'economia reale?

In un mondo senza denaro, come suggerito da Wicksell, sarebbe ancora possibile stabilire il tasso d'interesse? In un mondo senza denaro ci sarebbero tassi di cambio tra i vari beni reali presenti e futuri.

Per esempio, una mela presente verrebbe scambiata per due patate tra un anno. In alternativa, una camicia verrebbe scambiata per tre pomodori tra un anno. Avremmo solo vari rapporti.

Non esisterebbe alcun modo per stabilire da questi rapporti il tasso di rendimento per una mela presente in termini di patate future (non sarebbe possibile calcolare la percentuale tra patate e mele, non sono merci uguali).

Solo con l'esistenza del denaro si può stabilire il tasso di rendimento.

Per esempio, la preferenza temporale di un fornaio, basata sul suo particolare set di priorità e necessità, determina quando sarà pronto a prestare dieci dollari – che ha guadagnato con la vendita di dieci pagnotte di pane – a quei mutuatari che promettono di rimborsarlo con undici dollari tra un anno.

Allo stesso modo la preferenza temporale di un calzolaio, che si forma in accordo con il suo particolare set di priorità e necessità, determina quando sarà un potenziale mutuatario. Una volta che l'operazione è compiuta, entrambe le parti ne trarranno beneficio. Il fornaio otterrà undici dollari tra un anno, i quali valuta molto più dei suoi attuali dieci dollari. Per il calzolaio il valore presente dei dieci dollari supera il valore degli undici dollari tra un anno.

Come si può vedere, sia il denaro sia il fattore reale (preferenze temporali) sono coinvolti nello stabilire il tasso d'interesse di mercato, al 10%. Si noti che il fornaio ha dapprima scambiato dieci pagnotte di pane per il denaro, cioè dieci dollari. Poi ha prestato i dieci dollari affinché ne potesse ottenere undici dopo un anno. Il tasso d'interesse che egli acquisisce è del 10%. Dopo un anno il panettiere può decidere quali prodotti acquistare con gli undici dollari.

Per quanto riguarda il calzolaio, egli deve generare abbastanza scarpe al fine di guadagnare almeno undici dollari per rimborsare il prestito del panettiere.

Si osservi che senza l'esistenza del denaro – il mezzo di scambio – il fornaio non sarebbe in grado di stabilire la quantità di beni futuri con cui dovrebbe essere pagato per le sue dieci pagnotte in modo da rispettare il tasso di rendimento del 10%. Si potrebbe sostenere che il calzolaio possa rimborsare il fornaio con 11 pagnotte di pane dopo un anno. Vi è il problema se il pane tra un anno di tempo possa essere considerato identico al pane presente. Senza l'esistenza del denaro, non sarebbe stato semplice stabilire il tasso di rendimento. Inoltre, perché il panettiere dovrebbe accettare d'essere pagato in pane visto che il pane che aveva creato in prima istanza gli serviva per entrare in possesso di altri beni e servizi (come ad esempio le scarpe)?

Quindi se il tasso di rendimento è difficile da stabilire in un'economia reale senza denaro, sarebbe assurdo prestare denaro senza alcun collegamento con il mondo reale – dopo tutto il ruolo del denaro è quello di facilitare lo scambio di beni e servizi reali.



Scoprire il tasso d'interesse naturale è impossibile

Di conseguenza non ci può essere alcuna separazione tra i tassi d'interesse di mercato reali e quelli finanziari. C'è solo un tasso d'interesse, ed è impostato dall'interazione tra preferenze temporali degli individui e l'offerta e la domanda di moneta.

Dal momento che le influenze della domanda e dell'offerta di moneta e le preferenze temporali degli individui per quanto riguarda la formazione del tasso d'interesse s'intrecciano, non ci sono modi o mezzi per isolare suddette influenze.

Quindi la pratica comunemente accettata del calcolo del tasso d'interesse reale, sottraendo le variazioni percentuali dell'indice dei prezzi al consumo dal tasso d'interesse di mercato, è errata.

Quindi se il tasso d'interesse reale non può essere stabilito, ne consegue che nemmeno il tasso d'interesse naturale può essere stabilito.

Possiamo quindi concludere che i tentativi degli economisti e dei banchieri centrali di stabilire il tasso d'interesse naturale, devono essere considerati una missione impossibile.

Inoltre, secondo il quadro di riferimento wickselliano, al fine di mantenere una stabilità economica e dei prezzi, una volta che viene chiuso il divario tra il tasso d'interesse dei mercati finanziari e il tasso naturale la banca centrale deve assicurarsi, per mezzo di una politica monetaria adeguata, che non emerga più. Mantenere una politica adeguata significherebbe che la banca centrale dovrebbe manipolare l'offerta di moneta, cosa che a sua volta genererà solo instabilità economica.

Il nostro esame del modo di pensare dei policymaker della FED, ci rivela che le politiche perseguite dalla banca centrale degli Stati Uniti promuoveranno solo più instabilità. L'essenza del pensiero della FED fuoriesce dagli scritti di Knut Wicksell, il quale suggeriva che la chiave per la stabilità economica fosse un tasso d'interesse dei mercati finanziari quanto più vicino al tasso d'interesse naturale.

La nostra analisi ha mostrato che non è possibile isolare il cosiddetto tasso naturale. Di conseguenza le politiche che mirano ad un tasso d'interesse sconosciuto corrono il rischio di promuovere maggiore instabilità economica.

Inoltre, anche se uno sapesse qual fosse il tasso naturale, raggiungere e mantenere questo obiettivo attraverso le politiche monetarie destabilizzerebbe l'economia. Di conseguenza qualsiasi tentativo di portare il tasso d'interesse di mercato verso il tasso naturale attraverso politiche monetarie, non è vero che non avrebbe alcun effetto sull'economia.


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


_________________________________________________________________________________

Note

[1] "Henry Thornton: seminal monetary theorist and father of modern central bank" di Robert Hetzel in Economic Review, Luglio/Agosto 1987, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

[2] Si veda “Interest and Prices” di Knut Wicksell, 1898.

[3] Karl Pribram, A History of Economic Reasoning, The John Hopkins University Press, 1983, p. 322.

[4] Thomas M. Humphrey  "Interest rates, expectations, and the Wicksellian policy rule," Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Luglio 1975.

[5] Thomas Laubach e John C Williams, “Measuring the Natural Rate of Interest,” Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Novembre 2001.

_________________________________________________________________________________


Mises e Hayek: un unico paradigma dei fenomeni sociali

Von Mises Italia - Ven, 03/02/2017 - 08:02

Certamente, per gli scopi della scienza sociale noi dobbiamo partire dall’azione individuo perché essa è la sola cosa di cui possiamo avere conoscenza diretta.

Qualsiasi forma di società è, infatti, operativa nelle azioni degli individui che mirano a fini cercati.

Tuttavia, se i fenomeni sociali non manifestassero altro ordine all’infuori di quello conferito loro da un’intenzionalità programmata, non ci sarebbe posto per alcuna approfondita ricerca teorica riguardante loro.

E’ solo nella misura in cui un certo tipo di fenomeno sociale emerge come risultato dell’azione dei singoli, ma senza essere stato da alcuni di essi pianificato, che si pone davvero il problema di una spiegazione teorica dei fenomeni sociali.

Di conseguenza, non risulta essere contraddittorio affermare che sono gli esseri umani a far funzionare la società, ma la società è un qualcosa che tende a sfuggire agli esseri umani perché (infinitamente) più complessa di loro.

Si può avere così un approccio metodologico nello studio dei fenomeni sociali che nello stesso tempo non sia olista, ma nemmeno rivolto verso un riduzionismo superficiale.

Si respinge la nozione di rappresentazione collettiva e l’idea ad essa collegata di una totalità sociale anteriore ai suoi elementi costitutivi, poiché la conoscenza che mobilita il sistema è inevitabilmente dispersa sull’insieme dei suoi elementi costitutivi e non potrebbe mai venir descritta come una conoscenza del sistema riguardo a sé stesso.

Si accetta però il fatto che può sussistere un salto di complessità dal locale al globale, in quanto data una rete di elementi le cui interazioni sono definite localmente, ne può derivare un ordine sociale globale che osservando le interazioni locali non si era in grado assolutamente di prevedere.

I fenomeni sociali (il denaro, il diritto, il linguaggio, la morale, il mercato, lo Stato, etc.), di norma, non nascono come l’esito di una volontà comune diretta alla loro costituzione.

Questa volontà comune tende più che altro a manifestarsi soltanto negli stadi progrediti dell’evoluzione della vita collettiva e provoca non già la nascita, bensì solo il perfezionamento dei fenomeni sociali sorti e sviluppatisi almeno nelle prime fasi attraverso un’interazione sociale non programmata.

Quel che, di norma, succede è semplicemente che ciascuno cercando di soddisfare un proprio bisogno senza far uso di coercizione su altri individui, finisce anche per favorire il perseguimento dei fini altrui.

Le azioni allora si intersecano e tendono a co-adattarsi il che nel tempo da origine ad un fenomeno sociale spontaneo, cioè non vincolante; spontaneo perché non rientrava nei singoli piani individuali, spontaneo perché nessuno lo aveva previamente programmato.

Non può sussistere un fenomeno sociale spontaneo senza un sistema di regole astratte.

Non possono sussistere regole astratte senza un fenomeno sociale spontaneo.

Un sistema di regole astratte pertanto non può che emergere spontaneamente.

In realtà, i fenomeni sociali spontanei si mobilitano su due livelli e tra questi livelli sussiste un rapporto di “codeterminazione ricorsiva”.

Da una parte il fenomeno concreto: date certe regole astratte, le azioni individuali si organizzano in modo coerente mediante una certa ripartizione dei diritti e delle obbligazioni ed una certa allocazione delle risorse.

Dall’altra il fenomeno astratto: le regole astratte si adattano continuamente alle circostanze ed ai fatti nuovi che scaturiscono dal fenomeno concreto.

Se il fenomeno astratto rappresenta una cornice che detta il passo al fenomeno concreto, nel lungo periodo però il fenomeno concreto finisce per retroagire sul fenomeno astratto.

Questa è la “teoria dell’evoluzione culturale”.

Tuttavia, non è affatto detto che attraverso il processo dell’evoluzione culturale vengano selezionati sempre quei comportamenti che, all’interno del fenomeno sociale spontaneo, vadano maggiormente nella direzione di soddisfare, in maniera persistente nel tempo, il criterio di maggiore utilità per tutti.

La viralità di un comportamento, infatti, può dipendere anche da altri fattori cruciali, quali il tempo che viene impiegato a trasmetterlo, gli strumenti con cui viene divulgato, le aspettative che mediante esso si riescono a suscitare.

La suddetta selezione rappresenta quindi solo un orientamento e non anche una legge immutabile della storia ed in quanto tale può in taluni momenti arrestarsi o addirittura subire un’inversione.

Al fine di sostenere quei mutamenti sociali che vadano maggiormente nella direzione di soddisfare, in maniera persistente nel tempo, il criterio di maggiore utilità per tutti, fare affidamento esclusivo sulle conseguenze spontanee può non essere sufficiente.

E’ auspicabile e talvolta necessario allora che queste conseguenze spontanee vengano accompagnate da una conoscenza cosciente da parte degli individui sui nessi di causa ed effetto che queste stesse sono in grado di generare nel tempo in modo circolare.

Impiegando la ragione, intesa come conoscenza cosciente, in maniera critica è possibile pertanto convincere gli individui e conseguentemente convogliare le loro azioni verso quella che è la dimensione più oggettiva della realtà.

In conclusione, si può affermare che:

i fenomeni sociali, di norma, sono il frutto di un’interazione sociale non programmata, poiché la ricerca di un interesse individuale ha finito col produrre anche un meccanismo di interazione collettiva che nessuno aveva previamente programmato;

se poi vogliamo che a prevalere sistematicamente, all’interno dei fenomeni sociali spontanei, siano quei comportamenti che vadano maggiormente nella direzione di soddisfare, in maniera persistente nel tempo, il criterio di maggiore utilità per tutti, dobbiamo saper comunicare e convincere gli altri della “superiore lungimiranza” di certi comportamenti piuttosto che di altri.

The post Mises e Hayek: un unico paradigma dei fenomeni sociali appeared first on Ludwig von Mises Italia.

Fight Dangerous Free Radicals

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 03/02/2017 - 07:01

You don’t have to look at many health food advertisements to see how many marketing messages focus on antioxidants and free radicals. Marketers depict free radicals as the cause of human suffering, while antioxidants are the ultimate defense and secret to immortality. Although the ad wizards exaggerate the truth, free radicals do, in fact, corrupt molecules like DNA, and antioxidants can help reduce the damage they cause. The mitochondria in our cells are responsible for releasing energy from the molecules in our food, but they also unleash electron-stealing free radicals like reactive oxygen and reactive nitrogen species. Fortunately, antioxidants scavenge free radicals and prevent them from causing further damage.

The effects of long-term, free radical damage (or oxidative damage) lead to the mitochondrial theory of aging. The mitochondrial theory of aging, like the free radical theory of aging, says that free radical stress causes “aging.” But, the mitochondrial theory of aging also asserts that free radicals damage mitochondrial DNA frequently and, over time, the damage accumulates. This regular “wear and tear” on the genetic code impedes the function of the mitochondria. When the mitochondria don’t function normally, the cell doesn’t receive the energy it needs and, ultimately, the operation of the cell as a whole is affected. When this happens in millions upon millions of cells, the organism itself ages and biological function begins to diminish.

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The upside is that you can reduce free radical damage. Let’s explore free radicals, how they affect us, and their relationship with antioxidants.

What Are Free Radicals?

Free radicals are atoms, ions, or molecules that contain an unpaired electron. The unpaired electron makes them unstable and highly reactive. In a process called oxidation, free radicals steal electrons from other molecules—fats, proteins, cell membranes, and even DNA—altering the fundamental structure of the affected molecule. One unbalanced molecule may not sound like a major concern, but oxidation sets off a chain reaction by damaging a cell’s DNA, structure, and ability to function. Over time, oxidative damage accumulates and contributes to aging and a variety of degenerative diseases.[1]

Where Do Free Radicals Come From?

There are many types of free radicals, but when we discuss them in a health capacity, we’re referring to those that contain oxygen in the molecule, known collectively as reactive oxygen species (ROS).

Oxygen is an essential element for life, and every cell in your body requires it for cellular metabolism. During cellular metabolism, cells use oxygen to convert food into a form of energy the body can use, called ATP. Free radicals are a natural byproduct of [2]

Cellular metabolism is not the only source of free radicals. Free radicals generate and are generated by inflammation, stress, illness, and aging.[3] Hazardous environmental sources such as pollution, toxic metals, alcohol, cigarette smoke, radiation, industrial chemicals, and medications expose us to free radicals.[1]

Completely avoiding free radicals is neither possible nor desirable. At low concentrations, free radicals are beneficial to the human body. Your immune system uses them to help defend itself against pathogens.[4]

As in all things, however, proper balance is critical and problems begin when free radicals are wildly out of balance. When free radicals overwhelm your body, it leads to oxidative stress.

What Is Oxidative Stress?

Oxidative stress is the oxidative damage that results from an imbalance between free radicals and your body’s store of antioxidants. According to the free radical theory of aging (FRTA), organisms age because of accumulated free radical damage to cells and DNA. The theory states that cumulative damage to cell components and connective tissue leads to wrinkles, decreased physical capability, increased susceptibility to disease, and death.[5]Though the free radical theory of aging remains controversial, oxidative stress contributes to degenerative conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, hypertension, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, and more.[1]

The Power of Antioxidants Against Free Radicals

Free radicals forage through your body looking for electrons to steal (or give away) and they aren’t picky. They need pairs of electrons in order to be stable and they frantically seek molecules to achieve this. Free radicals will take (or leave) an electron, whether it’s available or not, including those in fragile DNA molecules, proteins, and fats. Antioxidants stop free radical damage to molecules[6] by accepting or donating an electron to make it stable. Antioxidants are unique in that they remain stable when they donate an electron. Antioxidants sources are often discussed in terms of their free radical scavenging abilities. The “free radical scavenging activity” of antioxidants varies from one to the next.

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A Program for Right-Wing Populism

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 03/02/2017 - 07:01

This was written in January 1992.

WHAT IS RIGHT-WING POPULISM?

The basic right-wing populist insight is that we live in a statist country and a statist world dominated by a ruling elite, consisting of a coalition of Big Government, Big Business, and various influential special interest groups. More specifically, the old America of individual liberty, private property, and minimal government has been replaced by a coalition of politicians and bureaucrats allied with, and even dominated by, powerful corporate and Old Money financial elites (e.g., the Rockefellers, the Trilateralists); and the New Class of technocrats and intellectuals, including Ivy League academics and media elites, who constitute the opinion-moulding class in society. In short, we are ruled by an updated, twentieth-century coalition of Throne and Altar, except that this Throne is various big business groups, and the Altar is secular, statist intellectuals, although mixed in with the secularists is a judicious infusion of Social Gospel, mainstream Christians. The ruling class in the State has always needed intellectuals to apologize for their rule and to sucker the masses into subservience, i.e., into paying the taxes and going along with State rule. In the old days, in most societies, a form of priestcraft or State Church constituted the opinion-moulders who apologized for that rule. Now, in a more secular age, we have technocrats, “social scientists,” and media intellectuals, who apologize for the State system and staff in the ranks of its bureaucracy.

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Libertarians have often seen the problem plainly, but as strategists for social change they have badly missed the boat. In what we might call “the Hayek model,” they have called for spreading correct ideas, and thereby converting the intellectual elites to liberty, beginning with top philosophers and then slowly trickling on down through the decades to converting journalists and other media opinion-moulders. And of course, ideas are the key, and spreading correct doctrine is a necessary part of any libertarian strategy. It might be said that the process takes too long, but a long-range strategy is important, and contrasts to the tragic futility of official conservatism which is interested only in the lesser-of-two-evils for the current election and therefore loses in the medium, let along the long, run. But the real error is not so much the emphasis on the long run, but on ignoring the fundamental fact that the problem is not just intellectual error. The problem is that the intellectual elites benefit from the current system; in a crucial sense, they are part of the ruling class. The process of Hayekian conversion assumes that everyone, or at least all intellectuals, are interested solely in the truth, and that economic self-interest never gets in the way. Anyone at all acquainted with intellectuals or academics should be disabused of this notion, and fast. Any libertarian strategy must recognize that intellectuals and opinion-moulders are part of the fundamental problem, not just because of error, but because their own self-interest is tied into the ruling system.

Why then did communism implode? Because in the end the system was working so badly that even the nomenklatura got fed up and threw in the towel. The Marxists have correctly pointed out that a social system collapses when the ruling class becomes demoralized and loses its will to power; manifest failure of the communist system brought about that demoralization. But doing nothing, or relying only on educating the elites in correct ideas, will mean that our own statist system will not end until our entire society, like that of the Soviet Union, has been reduced to rubble. Surely, we must not sit still for that. A strategy for liberty must be far more active and aggressive.

Hence the importance, for libertarians or for minimal government conservatives, of having a one-two punch in their armor: not simply of spreading correct ideas, but also of exposing the corrupt ruling elites and how they benefit from the existing system, more specifically how they are ripping us off. Ripping the mask off elites is “negative campaigning” at its finest and most fundamental.

This two-pronged strategy is (a) to build up a cadre of our own libertarians, minimal-government opinion-moulders, based on correct ideas; and (b) to tap the masses directly, to short-circuit the dominant media and intellectual elites, to rouse the masses of people against the elites that are looting them, and confusing them, and oppressing them, both socially and economically. But this strategy must fuse the abstract and the concrete; it must not simply attack elites in the abstract, but must focus specifically on the existing statist system, on those who right now constitute the ruling classes.

Libertarians have long been puzzled about whom, about which groups, to reach out to. The simple answer: everyone, is not enough, because to be relevant politically, we must concentrate strategically on those groups who are most oppressed and who also have the most social leverage.

The reality of the current system is that it constitutes an unholy alliance of “corporate liberal” Big Business and media elites, who, through big government, have privileged and caused to rise up a parasitic Underclass, who, among them all, are looting and oppressing the bulk of the middle and working classes in America. Therefore, the proper strategy of libertarians and paleos is a strategy of “right-wing populism,” that is: to expose and denounce this unholy alliance, and to call for getting this preppie-underclass-liberal media alliance off the backs of the rest of us: the middle and working classes.

A RIGHT-WING POPULIST PROGRAM

A right-wing populist program, then, must concentrate on dismantling the crucial existing areas of State and elite rule, and on liberating the average American from the most flagrant and oppressive features of that rule. In short:

l. Slash Taxes. All taxes, sales, business, property, etc., but especially the most oppressive politically and personally: the income tax. We must work toward repeal of the income tax and abolition of the IRS.

2. Slash Welfare. Get rid of underclass rule by abolishing the welfare system, or, short of abolition, severely cutting and restricting it.

3. Abolish Racial or Group Privileges. Abolish affirmative action, set aside racial quotas, etc., and point out that the root of such quotas is the entire “civil rights” structure, which tramples on the property rights of every American.

4. Take Back the Streets: Crush Criminals. And by this I mean, of course, not “white collar criminals” or “inside traders” but violent street criminals – robbers, muggers, rapists, murderers. Cops must be unleashed, and allowed to administer instant punishment, subject of course to liability when they are in error.

5. Take Back the Streets: Get Rid of the Bums. Again: unleash the cops to clear the streets of bums and vagrants. Where will they go? Who cares? Hopefully, they will disappear, that is, move from the ranks of the petted and cosseted bum class to the ranks of the productive members of society.

6. Abolish the Fed; Attack the Banksters. Money and banking are recondite issues. But the realities can be made vivid: the Fed is an organized cartel of banksters, who are creating inflation, ripping off the public, destroying the savings of the average American. The hundreds of billions of taxpayer handouts to S&L banksters will be chicken-feed compared to the coming collapse of the commercial banks.

7. America First. A key point, and not meant to be seventh in priority. The American economy is not only in recession; it is stagnating. The average family is worse off now than it was two decades ago. Come home America. Stop supporting bums abroad. Stop all foreign aid, which is aid to banksters and their bonds and their export industries. Stop gloabaloney, and let’s solve our problems at home.

8. Defend Family Values. Which means, get the State out of the family, and replace State control with parental control. In the long run, this means ending public schools, and replacing them with private schools. But we must realize that voucher and even tax credit schemes are not, despite Milton Friedman, transitional demands on the path to privatized education; instead, they will make matters worse by fastening government control more totally upon the private schools. Within the sound alternative is decentralization, and back to local, community neighborhood control of the schools.

Further: We must reject once and for all the left-libertarian view that all government-operated resources must be cesspools. We must try, short of ultimate privatization, to operate government facilities in a manner most conducive to a business, or to neighborhood control. But that means: that the public schools must allow prayer, and we must abandon the absurd left-atheist interpretation of the First Amendment that “establishment of religion” means not allowing prayer in public schools, or a creche in a schoolyard or a public square at Christmas. We must return to common sense, and original intent, in constitutional interpretation.

So far: every one of these right-wing populist programs is totally consistent with a hard-core libertarian position. But all real-world politics is coalition politics, and there are other areas where libertarians might well compromise with their paleo or traditionalist or other partners in a populist coalition. For example, on family values, take such vexed problems as pornography, prostitution, or abortion. Here, pro-legalization and pro-choice libertarians should be willing to compromise on a decentralist stance; that is, to end the tyranny of the federal courts, and to leave these problems up to states and better yet, localities and neighborhoods, that is, to “community standards.”

The post A Program for Right-Wing Populism appeared first on LewRockwell.

New Fukushima Trouble

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 03/02/2017 - 07:01

Record high radiation levels that’s lethal even after brief exposure have been detected at a damaged reactor at the Fukushima power plant in Japan. Specialists also found a hole, likely caused by melted nuclear fuel.

Radiation levels of up to 530 Sieverts per hour were detected inside an inactive Reactor 2 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex damaged during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami catastrophe, Japanese media reported on Thursday citing the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).

A dose of about 8 Sieverts is considered incurable and fatal.

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A hole of no less than one square meter in size has also been discovered beneath the reactor’s pressure vessel, TEPCO said. According to researchers, the apparent opening in the metal grating of one of three reactors that had melted down in 2011, is believed to be have been caused by melted nuclear fuel that fell through the vessel.

The iron scaffolding has a melting point of 1500 degrees, TEPCO said, explaining that there is a possibility the fuel debris has fallen onto it and burnt the hole. Such fuel debris have been discovered on equipment at the bottom of the pressure vessel just above the hole, it added.

The latest findings were released after a recent camera probe inside the reactor, TEPCO said. Using a remote-controlled camera fitted on a long pipe, scientists managed to get images of hard-to-reach places where residual nuclear material remained. The substance there is so toxic that even specially-made robots designed to probe the underwater depths beneath the power plant have previously crumbled and shut down.

However, TEPCO still plans to launch further more detailed assessments at the damaged nuclear facility with the help of self-propelled robots.

Earlier this week, hopes for a more efficient cleanup at Fukushima were high, as the plant operator announced a portion of nuclear fuel debris responsible for a lot of the lingering contamination from six years ago may have finally been found.

Reprinted from RT News.

The post New Fukushima Trouble appeared first on LewRockwell.

Want a Fabulously Productive Summer Garden?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 03/02/2017 - 07:01

Hold on to your hat! Spring and it’s warmer cousin, summer, are just around the corner. Yes, even if you’re looking out the window at piles of crystalline, white snow — believe! One day soon, the days will lengthen and your summer garden will become just as real as those freezing temperatures!

Seed companies from companies like Seed Savers, Territorial Seed Company, and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds have their catalogs at the ready. Be sure to request them now before supplies run low. Here’s a comprehensive list of seed companies to peruse.

Even before the catalogs arrive, though, there are a number of actions you can take right now to get that summer garden ready before the spring thaw.

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1.  Improve your soil, if it needs it.

Marjory Wildcraft of The Grow Network, says that conditioning your soil is one of the first thing any gardener should do. Keep in mind that soil composition can change over time and should be re-evaluated every so often.

Our garden was growing tomatoes non-stop, even throughout the winter, when suddenly everything pretty much died. We learned, later, that our soil had accumulated too much nitrogen and had to back up several steps to make some adjustments. You might need to:

  • Have your soil tested by your local extension office.
  • Mix compost in with the soil you now have.
  • Add amendments, per instructions from extension office or local growers.

This article outlines, even more, mistakes a backyard gardener can make on her way to developing a healthy, productive garden.

2.  Push your composting into high gear!

Make sure everyone in the family knows what can and cannot be added to compost and place “compost catchers” near the kitchen sink and anywhere else food is prepared. As explained in this article, you really can compost through the winter.

Get the kids busy shredding newspaper and old mail (remove plastic windows in envelopes before shredding). Visit a nearby coffee house and ask for their old coffee grinds. Ask neighbors for grass clippings, piles of old leaves, and vegetable peelings. If it’s too cold outside to venture out to a compost pile, keep a rolling compost bin like this one on the patio, just outside the back door, or in an outbuilding. You can always move it when warmer temperatures arrive.

3.  Research what grows best in your area and microclimate.

If you’re not sure what to plant and when visit a farmer’s market and talk to the pros or search on the internet for local gardening blogs.

Out of curiosity, I did a search for “Phoenix garden blog” and came up with 28,900,000 results. OK, most of those didn’t have the information I was looking for, but the way I figure it is that if someone cares enough to write about their gardening efforts, they probably have some pretty good information and tips to share!

Local nurseries (probably not the big box store nurseries) will likely have good advice about what grows best in your climate. Remember that many of us live in micro-climates, and our backyards may have more than one microclimate, which affects what we can grow and when it should be planted and harvested.

4.  Check your watering system.

Replace any missing or damaged valves or hoses. There’s nothing quite like spending some money on seeds and/or seedlings, amassing a good amount of quality compost, and then coming out one day to discover that your plants are nearly dead from an unexpected heat wave.

This happened to us last June, and it was so disappointing. If your garden depends on a watering system, this is an area that can’t be neglected.

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Feds To Control Naturalization

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 03/02/2017 - 07:01

It is one of the more commonly used cliches of the political establishment.

“We are a nation of immigrants.”

Most Americans just buy that bill of goods and never think about what it actually means. After all, they reason, their people came here from somewhere.

This is true, but this is simply reflexive group think of the worst order.

The vast majority of Americans were born here and come from families that go back for generations. The same was true of the founding generation. Many of the men from that greatest generation of Americans–sorry Tom Brokaw–were fourth or fifth generation Americans whose families had settled in the British North American colonies on their own hook.

No government handouts awaited their arrival.

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More importantly, these people, even those who arrived from the British Isles, were different. Most spoke English, but their idioms, dialect, and usage widely differed. So did most of their customs, from marriage to child-rearing to views of liberty and order.

That is still true today. Go to Massachusetts see what kind of reaction you get if you said this: “I’m fixin’ to go to the store and get a buggy. I’ll need it for my sweet tea and grits.”

You’ll be viewed as an alien. And rightly so. You would be.

We can’t be a “nation” because of a “nation,” by definition, is a people with similar language, customs, traditions, religion, etc. Northern and Southern Americans certainly have some things in common, maybe many, but their differences are often night and day. Everyone knows it, they just don’t understand why that is important.

America, both then and today, is a collection of republics wedded together for the “general welfare” of the Union, not a “nation” of people. That only included commerce and defense. All else was to be left to the States.

Which brings me to immigration, the hottest issue in America now. The pink hatted ladies and their “nasty” march were trumped by Trump.

President Trump promised action and immigration and he delivered. The founding generation would have agreed in principle. Just read the debates at the Philadelphia Convention about “naturalization.”

But this is a complex issue that involves the nature of the Union. While the general government certainly can–and should–look seriously at the issue of how to become an American citizen, the States can–and should–look to ratchet up their own “immigration” laws.

You see, immigration was long considered a State issue. Jefferson said as much in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798. A State like Texas could, at least according to the original Constitution, build its own wall and craft its own strict rules on immigration and state citizenship. That includes voting. The Constitution is clear that States determine who can vote as long as the distinction is not made on the basis of race, sex, age over 18, and the requirement of a poll tax. They can prohibit aliens from voting.

On the other hand, if Californians do not think the same way, they could allow all the immigrants they want into their “sanctuary State.” Or they could just secede. That would be the better and more preferable option. As Michael Goodwin of the New York Post wrote yesterday: “I say we take their wine and let them go. If California secedes and its 55 electoral votes come off the board, Dems will never win another American election. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton could become president of the breakaway state and the rest of us would be free of the Clinton stain.” Sounds good to me. But they can keep their wine. They’ll need it.

And it seemed clear at the Philadelphia Convention that States had vast leeway on the issue.

At the same time, the Congress could make it exceedingly difficult to become an American citizen. We should make it tough. This is the legal and preferable course. Trump’s executive orders could simply be reversed by the next man up. As Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania said in 1787 (anyone that knows me knows that I am no fan of Morris, but on this matter he is correct), “We should not be polite at the expense of prudence.”

In other words, we should not conflate “naturalization” with “immigration.” That was the ingenious creation of nationalist SCOTUS judges in 1876, almost all of whom were appointed by Lincoln or Grant. Diversity.

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Former Iron Curtain Countries Will Remain European

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 03/02/2017 - 07:01

Originally appeared at American Renaissance

Americans have something to learn.

White people in the former Warsaw Pact countries still cherish their racial and cultural identities, and their politicians and citizens are trying to keep immigrants out. Even if we in America and Western Europe become extensions of the Third World, the countries behind the Iron Curtain will still be European.

I would like to discuss the most important of these countries: the Russian Federation. Here, people feel no white guilt. Why should they? While American blacks were demanding civil rights and reminding whites of slavery, Soviet citizens were suffering a kind of modern slavery. White privilege did not save the millions who disappeared in Stalin’s labor camps, nor did it help those who starved during the famines that he and his party bosses created. If American blacks or British Muslims had a taste of what Soviet citizens went through in the 1930s and 1940s, they would be glad they were American citizens and British subjects.

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Prisoners at Belbaltlag gulag camp.

Russians are proud to be Russian. Their people have produced some of the greatest literary and intellectual giants in the history of the West, and Russians take their greatness for granted. They are a tough people who stopped the Grande Armée in the 19th century and the Wehrmacht in the 20th—both considered the most fearsome fighting forces of their time. Russians are proud and tough, and like us also face a major demographic and immigration crisis. Unlike us, they recognize that immigrants are a threat.

Immigrants to the Russian Federation come mostly from the former Soviet republics, which have sent an estimated 13 million people to Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. During the Soviet era, the government sent many Russians to live in

Immigrants to the Russian Federation come mostly from the former Soviet republics, which have sent an estimated 13 million people to Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. During the Soviet era, the government sent many Russians to live in outlying republics as a means of cultural and political control. In the early years after the collapse, immigration consisted largely of these ethnic Russians streaming back to the motherland. In 1991-92, for example, 81 percent of immigrants were Russian, but beginning in 1994, their numbers began to decline. By 2007, ethnic Russians represented only 32 percent of immigrants, and perhaps 10 to 13 percent of the rest were from Ukraine. The remainder were almost certainly from former republics such as Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Some of these people look almost white, but they are not Slavs, and many are culturally Asiatic. Now the greatest number of immigrants to Russia come from these Central Asian countries.

As in Yugoslavia after the end of authoritarian rule, long-festering ethnic conflict flared up after the Soviet collapse. In 1944, Stalin had removed Meskhetian Turks from his native republic of Georgia, deporting them to Uzbekistan. In 1989, Uzbek nationalists rioted against this group they saw as interlopers, and many Meskhetian Turks fled for their lives, in many cases to Russia.

Another fighting that broke out in the 1990s after the Soviet collapse sent yet more refugees to Russia. During the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, both Armenians and Azeris fled in large numbers to Russia. When Chechnya rebelled against Russian rule, both Slavic and non-Slavic people from Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Dagestan fled to Russia.

The demographic effects of migration are sometimes hard to quantify because of the effects of internal migration. Non-Slavic Russian citizens, such as Chechens, Ingush, Azeris, etc. are moving into Western Russia and are bringing cultural problems. Because these people hold Russian passports, their movements are not counted as immigration. Only 82.4 percent of Russian citizens are actually Slavs, and many non-Slavs seem intent on moving into the ancestral Slavic homelands.

There are now millions of temporary workers and illegal immigrants in Russia, though no one knows the exact number. Figures provided by the Russian Federal Migration Service and Human Rights Watch range from three to 10 million.

The Western media portray Russia in a very negative light, but life in Russia is much better than in Central Asia or in the Caucasus Mountains. In Moscow and other major Russian cities, migrants enjoy a higher standard of living than would be possible in their home countries. Typically, Central Asians work in the short-term labor market as construction workers, restaurant workers, and in small workshops in private homes. As the Russian migrant rights activist Lidiya Grafova put it (yes, even Russia has such people), it is good for business to hire cheap, powerless Tajiks.

The Russian view of immigrants

Russians do not like immigrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia, nor do they care much for their own Muslim citizens. Articles posted on Human Rights Watch and the liberal, Moscow-based SOVA Center for Information and Analysis suggest that Russians frequently attack immigrants. However, it is clear from the conversation with Russians and from local news stories that immigrants victimize Russians just as Mexicans and blacks victimize whites in America. According to Moscow’s commissioner of police, Vladimir Kolokoltsev, migrants are responsible for 70 percent of the crime in that city, and the crime rate keeps growing. He noted that Central Asians are especially prone to rape, and that rape had increased 79 percent from 2013 to 2014. Attacks and robberies by Central Asians are a staple of conversation in big cities.

Immigrants to the Russian Federation come mostly from the former Soviet republics, which have sent an estimated 13 million people to Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. During the Soviet era, the government sent many Russians to live in outlying republics as a means of cultural and political control. In the early years after the collapse, immigration consisted largely of these ethnic Russians streaming back to the motherland. In 1991-92, for example, 81 percent of immigrants were Russian, but beginning in 1994, their numbers began to decline. By 2007, ethnic Russians represented only 32 percent of immigrants, and perhaps 10 to 13 percent of the rest were from Ukraine. The remainder were almost certainly from former republics such as Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Some of these people look almost white, but they are not Slavs, and many are culturally Asiatic. Now the greatest number of immigrants to Russia come from these Central Asian countries.

As in Yugoslavia after the end of authoritarian rule, long-festering ethnic conflict flared up after the Soviet collapse. In 1944, Stalin had removed Meskhetian Turks from his native republic of Georgia, deporting them to Uzbekistan. In 1989, Uzbek nationalists rioted against this group they saw as interlopers, and many Meskhetian Turks fled for their lives, in many cases to Russia.

Another fighting that broke out in the 1990s after the Soviet collapse sent yet more refugees to Russia. During the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, both Armenians and Azeris fled in large numbers to Russia. When Chechnya rebelled against Russian rule, both Slavic and non-Slavic people from Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Dagestan fled to Russia.

The demographic effects of migration are sometimes hard to quantify because of the effects of internal migration. Non-Slavic Russian citizens, such as Chechens, Ingush, Azeris, etc. are moving into Western Russia and are bringing cultural problems. Because these people hold Russian passports, their movements are not counted as immigration. Only 82.4 percent of Russian citizens are actually Slavs, and many non-Slavs seem intent on moving into the ancestral Slavic homelands.

There are now millions of temporary workers and illegal immigrants in Russia, though no one knows the exact number. Figures provided by the Russian Federal Migration Service and Human Rights Watch range from three to 10 million.

The Western media portray Russia in a very negative light, but life in Russia is much better than in Central Asia or in the Caucasus Mountains. In Moscow and other major Russian cities, migrants enjoy a higher standard of living than would be possible in their home countries. Typically, Central Asians work in the short-term labor market as construction workers, restaurant workers, and in small workshops in private homes. As the Russian migrant rights activist Lidiya Grafova put it (yes, even Russia has such people), it is good for business to hire cheap, powerless Tajiks.

The Russian view of immigrants

Russians do not like immigrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia, nor do they care much for their own Muslim citizens. Articles posted on Human Rights Watch and the liberal, Moscow-based SOVA Center for Information and Analysis suggest that Russians frequently attack immigrants. However, it is clear from the conversation with Russians and from local news stories that immigrants victimize Russians just as Mexicans and blacks victimize whites in America. According to Moscow’s commissioner of police, Vladimir Kolokoltsev, migrants are responsible for 70 percent of the crime in that city, and the crime rate keeps growing. He noted that Central Asians are especially prone to rape, and that rape had increased 79 percent from 2013 to 2014. Attacks and robberies by Central Asians are a staple of conversation in big cities.

Russians especially dislike Chechens. During the Chechen wars of the 1990s and 2000s, the Western media portrayed Chechens as the good guys fighting for independence. Chechens, with help from Islamic insurgents from the Middle East, terrorized the local civilians, used women and children as human shields, kidnapped and tortured civilians, and killed Russian prisoners-of-war.

Chechnya has also gone through a kind of ethnic cleansing. In 1989, the census counted 269,130 Russians and 11,884 Ukrainians in Chechnya, together making up 25.9 percent of the population. As of 2010, virtually all of those people were gone—either dead or driven away by Chechen death squads and Arab helpers—and Russians and Ukrainians now make up barely 3 percent of the population.

In addition to Central Asian and Caucasian immigration, there are rumors that Siberia is turning Chinese. Much of this information is unreliable or speculative, but if even a fraction of what is said about Chinese moving into Siberia is true, the Russian Federation faces serious, long-term problems in the East. Estimates of the number of Chinese living in Siberia vary, ranging from Russian figures of 35,000 up to Taiwanese claims of one million. In any case, China is a lot closer to Siberia than European Russia is, meaning that China can more easily project force into a region that is rich in coal, iron, manganese, lumber, and petroleum. If China has, say, a few hundred thousand citizens in Siberia, that constitutes a fifth column in a region with few Russians. If China’s governing elite needs an outside enemy to distract the people’s attention from problems at home, a defenseless and rich Siberia would be a good place to start a conflict.

Russia and China now act as though they are great allies, but they are united only by the fact that they hate the United States. An alliance based on mutual hatred of a third party is a weak one that can easily fall apart. The fact that China is still smarting from a long period of foreign colonialism, in which Russia exploited the Chinese just as much as the British or the Japanese, makes the Chinese a very dangerous partner for the Russians.

How Russians deal with immigrants

Because of the migrant waves of the last decade, the Chechen wars, and rumors of the Chinese influx into Siberia, Russians insist that the government take action. In 2011, Vladimir Putin banned foreign laborers from working as traders in kiosks and markets, and those who break this law can be deported. Since 2013, 513,000 foreigners have been deported by Russian courts, and 1.7 million have been banned from re-entering the country. A deportation hearing takes between three and five minutes, with the judge ruling against the defendant 70 percent of the time. After the judge issues his ruling the violator has no right of appeal and is quickly expelled.

Russia uses deportation and immigration as a political weapon. In September 2006, Georgia arrested four Russian officers for espionage. The Kremlin took great offense and claimed the officers were not spies. Russia recalled its ambassador and then cut all rail, road, and sea links to Georgia and stopped issuing visas to Georgian citizens. This was followed by several high-profile raids on Georgian businesses and places where Georgians congregate. In two months 2,380 Georgians were deported and another 2,000 returned on their own. The Russians officers arrested by Georgia were home in just a few days. There are lessons here for the United States.

Russians are still not satisfied with government action against immigrants. This is not surprising, given the corruption and inefficiency of Russian government institutions. Russians are therefore starting to take matters into their own hands.

On two different occasions in 2010, groups of Chechen men attacked and killed Russian citizens. In both cases, the killers were initially let off, amid suspicions that Chechens had bribed the police (a year later, one of the killers was eventually convicted). Russians were furious over the killings, and on December 11th there were protests across the country. The largest was in Moscow, where as many as 50,000 people may have taken part. The protest soon turned into a riot and Russians began attacking immigrants, killing 24 and injuring many more.

In 2013, there were further riots in Biryulyovo, just south of Moscow, after an Azeri man stabbed a Russian to death. Rioters shouted “White Power” and “Russia for Russians.” Some ransacked a wholesale vegetable market looking for immigrants to attack.

When the police do not do a good enough job of enforcing immigration law, Russians enforce it themselves. In April 2016, activists from the National Conservative Movement organized a project called “We Are Moscow,” in which they checked the documents of immigrant food sellers and turned violators over to the police. Similar raids on illegal food sellers have been carried out in St. Petersburg. In August, activists joined police in a sweep of homes of illegal immigrants in St. Petersburg, dragging them out into the streets and arresting them.

Russians have long memories of invaders. They suffered under the Mongolian Golden Horde and later at the hands of the Poles after the death of Ivan IV. They remember the French and the German invasions, and in today’s Central Asian immigrants they see the modern equivalent of the Golden Horde. Russians still have pride in their nation and people and have a government that is at least moderately responsive to their desires. Even if the United States loses its European character, Russians are determined to remain masters in their own home.

Reprinted from Russia Insider.

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