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Stop Taxing Tips

Donald Trump recently promised that, if he wins the November election, he will support eliminating taxes on tips as part of his proposal to renew and expand the 2017 tax cuts. This tax law change would be a long overdue boost for millions of Americans.

Tips often comprise a substantial portion of the earnings of waiters and waitresses, as well as of other service-sector employees. However, unlike regular wages, a service-sector employee usually has no guarantee of, or legal right to, a tip. Instead, the amount of a tip usually depends on how well an employee satisfies his customers. Since the amount of taxes one pays increases along with the size of tips, taxing tips punishes workers for doing a superior job!

Many service-sector employees are young people trying to make money to pay for their education, or single parents struggling to provide for their children. Making tips tax free gives these hard-working Americans an immediate pay raise. A person may use this pay raise to devote more resources to his children’s or his own education, to save for a home or retirement, or to start a business.

Eliminating taxes on tips will provide some (limited) relief from the Federal Reserve’s inflation tax. This tax results from the decline in the dollar’s purchasing power caused by the Federal Reserve’s monetization of federal debt. The inflation tax is the worst form of tax because it is hidden. Thus, most people will not blame the Fed for higher prices. The inflation tax is also regressive, as price inflation is more of a burden to those at the lower end of the income scale than to billionaires. The Fed-created price inflation has forced many Americans to work two jobs.

This is not to suggest that reducing taxes on tips will fully compensate working people for the income they lose to the inflation tax. The best way Congress can help relieve the people of the inflation tax is to cut federal spending that leads to the Federal Reserve monetizing debt. Congress should also pass a law forbidding the Fed from monetizing debt by purchasing federal debt instruments.

It is also long past time to stop talking about tax cuts “costing” the government money. Talking about tax cuts in terms of how much money they cost the government, as opposed to how much money they leave in the hands of the people, accepts the premise that the government has a greater moral claim to the money than those who actually earned it. In truth, saying cutting taxes cost the government money makes as much sense as saying stopping a mugger from taking everything in your wallet “cost” the mugger money. Instead of worrying about how much tax cuts cost the government, the politicians should worry about how much welfare and warfare spending cost taxpayers.

The idea that tax cuts should only be supported if they promote “efficiency” should also be rejected. All tax cuts promote efficiency because, as economist and Ludwig von Mises Institute President Thomas DiLorenzo put it, “private individuals always spend their own money more efficiently than government bureaucrats do.” Instead of worrying about whether the government can “afford” tax cuts or whether tax cuts promote economic efficiency, those concerned about the government deficit should focus their efforts on reducing government spending. If the government stopped trying to run our lives and run the world, there would be no need to punish hard-working.

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Who Needs the Fed?

This article appears as a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal today, June 24, 2024, and was made possible by one of our generous donors:

Perhaps nothing in financial news receives more attention than an announcement from the Federal Reserve. About eight times per year, the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee meets to formally decide and announce its plans for monetary policy. Every announcement has the potential to cause a rally, or a rout, in financial markets.

It makes sense that a mere announcement from the Fed has the power to move markets in a big way. The Fed wields vast power over interest rates, bank regulation, and the money supply. When it comes to policies that affect the everyday lives of nearly every American—and even countless people outside the United States—it is likely that no government institution is more powerful than America’s central bank, the Federal Reserve.

Yet this institution works largely in secret, has never been audited by Congress, and is virtually never challenged by anyone in Washington or in the legacy media. In this era of eroding public trust in Congress, the presidency, the media, and even the military, it’s quite remarkable that the Federal Reserve faces so little scrutiny.

Much of this is because the Fed’s supporters have for decades so successfully spread myths about how the Fed provides stability and prosperity.

A closer look at the reality of the Fed reveals that the Fed does not benefit ordinary people nor does it make the economy more stable. Instead, the Fed was the primary source of the forty-year highs in inflation consisting of sharp spikes in food, housing, healthcare, and transportation prices. In many cases, rising prices outpaced wage growth, meaning that millions of American households—mostly those with lower incomes and fixed incomes—have experienced negative real income growth in recent years. Meanwhile, Fed policy has also driven inflation in real estate and equity prices, which has padded the portfolios of wealthy households, banks, and governments.

The Fed may claim it is expertly managing the economy, but in 2024, it is still doing what it has been doing since it was established in 1913: creating more economic instability with seemingly endless crises such as we saw in 1953, 1957, 1960, 1969, 1973, 1980, 1981, 1990, 2001, 2008, and 2020. The best we can say about the Fed is that it failed to prevent the Great Depression, the 1970s stagflation, and the Great Recession. But the Fed didn’t merely fail to prevent all this. The Fed created these economic disasters.

The Fed claims—always without evidence—that everything “would have been worse” without the Fed. Yet history has shown that economic growth and a rising standard of living hardly depend on the existence of the Fed. Indeed, in the second half of the nineteenth century—when the nation had no central bank at all—America experienced an incredibly dynamic period of rising standards of living. Notably, this period was also characterized by deflation—something the Fed hates—which helped drive down the prices of goods and services, thus increasing real wages.

The Fed today assures us that economic growth depends on inflation, which ultimately destroys the dollar’s purchasing power. The Fed has gone to great lengths to institutionalize inflation, in fact. Although Congress as recently as the 1980s instructed the Fed to seek a goal of 0 percent inflation, the Fed invented a totally arbitrary 2 percent inflation standard in the 1990s. Now, the Fed tells us that the economy needs 2 percent inflation at a minimum to keep the economy “stable.”

Fed economists employ a variety of poorly devised economic theories to justify the Fed’s inflationary agenda. But politics, not economics, is the real driving force here. The incessant call for more monetary inflation and ultra-low interest rates serves to benefit certain influential and powerful interest groups at the expense of the beleaguered middle and working classes.

As the Fed forces down interest rates to fuel more monetary inflation, governments are able to borrow more money at lower interest rates. Fed policy allows elected officials to expand government budgets and spending while minimizing the cost of maintaining huge federal deficits. Without the Fed, the runaway profligacy of the covid years would have never been possible—nor would we have had the surge in price inflation that followed. The government itself is the primary beneficiary here. The organizations that are on the receiving end of Washington’s financial favors—bailed-out banks and government contractors, for example—share in the windfall brought by spending newly created inflationary money.

The same cannot be said of ordinary people further down the economic food chain, who experience rising prices without the easy largesse of the government class and its allies.

Contrary to the many myths propping it up, the Federal Reserve has never been anything more than a tool of wealth redistribution that fuels economic inequality and government profligacy. The Fed’s mission has never been founded on sound economics. The Fed is beyond reform, and the time has come to finally end the Fed.

To receive a free copy of the booklet mentioned in the ad, go here. The full-page ad as it appears in The Wall Street Journal:

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

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Is DC the Real Barrier to Quebec Independence?

Quebec’s quest for a future as it’s own country is a story well-known to substantial sections of the North American population. The province’s referendums on independence in 1980 and 1995 were extensively covered at the time they happened, and individuals who lived in Quebec during those times have frequently stated how well they remember the debates surrounding those referendums. For the Elites, the victories of the “No” vote in both elections was taken as a reinforcement of the narrative that secession in the modern world, especially within “civilized western countries” (to use an Elitist term), was simply not feasible. For believers in Quebec independence, there is talk about how the Elite-backed “No” campaigns engaged in fear-mongering tactics and manipulation of details to scare voters away from exploring the benefits of ruling themselves, which they believe played a large role in bringing about defeat for the independence cause.

Now, as Canada’s government deteriorates deeper and deeper into despotism, Quebec’s main independence party, the Parti Québécois, is rising in popularity again and looks poised to take power in the next provincial elections. As part of their program, they are proposing a third referendum on independence and have released a detailed plan on how an independent Quebec would function both domestically and within the larger world. While the provincial elections are not expected to happen until 2026, and as such a referendum would be in 2027 at the earliest, these proposals have stirred up a fair amount of buzz and debate within political and commentary circles. Furthermore, an unspoken general feeling one gets out of the conversations which these proposals have sparked is that an independence referendum is far more likely to succeed this time, for Quebecers have far more grievances against Ottawa today then they did during the last two referendums.

In the backdrop of all of this, a piece released by a little-known British magazine called Actual News Magazine recently brought attention to a startling claim about who has really been behind Quebec’s inability to achieve independent statehood.

Few researchers have looked into it since Jean-François Lisée (In the eagle’s eye. Washington versus Quebec, Boréal, 1990)* on the determination of the United States, on a diplomatic, economic and cultural level, to preserve the unity and territorial integrity of Canada. The successive declarations of Clinton or Obama in favor of a “friendly and united” Canada nevertheless regularly remind us of the importance that Uncle Sam gives to the political stability of the continent, especially if he must in the meantime intervene on points otherwise hot elsewhere in the world.

It is therefore clear the role that American power, and in particular the Ottawa-Washington tandem, has historically been able to play so that Quebec nationalism never leads to the creation of a new sovereign state which would immediately have been perceived as a threat to stability in the region.

Source: The national question goes through Washington

*The book title is mistranslated in the article. The true title is “In the Eye of the Eagle.”

DC is well-known for its penchant for interfering in the internal affairs of other nations. It’s support of the protests against a proposed law in the Eurasian state of Georgia is the most recent publicly-known example. It certainly follows logically that, to protect it’s ability to meddle in affairs overseas, a government must ensure it and it’s neighbors remain territorially stable at home. Is there other evidence to back up this claim however? Looking back, the Parti Québécois itself may have provided such evidence.

Within the Independent Quebec blueprint which the Parti Québécois and it’s leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon released last October, they addressed key concerns on how an independent Quebec would handle certain issues such as the financial budget, monetary policy, trade policy and foreign policy. In the section dealing with foreign policy, a reference was made which has led to speculation that it was an attempt to appease powerbrokers on the North American continent so they would not openly oppose Quebec independence.

(Plamondon) said an independent Quebec will want to be a player in NATO, like other smaller countries such as Norway and the Netherlands. In the past, the PQ has favoured a non-aggression peacekeeping-style army with about 8,000 soldiers;

Source: Independent Quebec would have its own currency and army: PQ

With the Elites in DC being the major movers behind NATO, this concession to attach a newly independent Quebec to the alliance could easily be a subtle gesture to DC rather than Ottawa. It could be interpreted as an acknowledgement of the security concerns DC has over an independent Quebec and an attempt to allay those fears in order to gain DC’s permission to proceed. This further statement from Plamondon would seem to reinforce this theory.

(Plamondon) said an independent Quebec will not try to cut itself off from the North American or Canadian economic context. In fact, he said, an independent Quebec will want the same friendly relations with the rest of Canada that it has as a province.

Source: Independent Quebec would have its own currency and army: PQ

If this is true, and it is the Elite classes of DC which have blocked Quebec from realizing it’s full potential as an independent country, then that adds another local political entity which has a vested interest in the dissolution of Imperial DC. It is well-known that the DC Empire has opposed secession for groups they have disfavored on the geopolitical stage (i.e.: the Serbs of Republika Srspka), but their opinions on such movements within regions directly adjoining their territory has remained largely unknown to the general public until now. What this revelation seems to make clear is that DC is only consistent when it comes to denying the peoples of different parts of the world their right to self-determination. Thus it may be a fair assessment to say that Lincoln’s dastardly war has had repercussions much further beyond the borders of the United States of America then anyone initially dared dream.

Sources:

The national question goes through Washington

https://keepgovlocal.locals.com/post/5584923/secession-speakeasy-72-national-divorce-fissures-expand-in-canada

https://www.bookfinder.com/search/?author=&title=&lang=en&isbn=9780006376361&submitBtn=Search&new_used=*&destination=us&currency=USD&mode=basic&st=sr&ac=qr

This originally appeared on The State of Division.

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JFK, LBJ, and Our Great National Shame

Back in 2019 a prominent public figure—whose name is widely known—came to Palo Alto to have a private dinner with me. Apparently he’d become aware of my controversial writings the previous year on the JFK Assassination and in the wake of the Jeffrey Epstein revelations, he’d concluded I was probably correct that Israel and its Mossad had likely been heavily responsible for the death of our 35th president. As we discussed the issue that evening, I endorsed elements of his reasoning and explained that the Mossad had also played the central role in the 9/11 Attacks, something that greatly surprised him since he’d apparently never looked into those matters.

But although I emphasized that there was very strong evidence implicating the Mossad in the 1963 events in Dallas, a possibility still only whispered about in most JFK Assassination circles, I felt that that the strongest evidence of all implicated President Lyndon B. Johnson, Kennedy’s own immediate successor and the most obvious beneficiary of the crime.

The continuing near-total silence surrounding the probable role of Mossad is hardly surprising given the momentous geopolitical consequences if such a belief in Israeli guilt became widespread among Americans. Recent months have demonstrated the staggering political and media power of the Israel Lobby and there would surely be very severe repercussions for anyone who leveled such incendiary charges against the Jewish State.

By contrast, LBJ has long since passed into history, dying more than fifty years ago in 1973, and nearly all of his committed partisans have also long since departed the scene, often decades ago. For most Americans today, Johnson is probably just a name in the history books, a political figure more like a McKinley or a Coolidge rather than someone who arouses any fierce present-day emotions. So the near-total unwillingness to consider the very strong evidence of his guilt in the death of his predecessor must be due to other factors.

Although America has had many conspiratorial controversies over the last one hundred years, I think that the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy has received more attention than any other.

Perhaps a thousand or more books have been published on that topic, the vast majority of them challenging the official narrative, and many of those works have become bestsellers, sometimes even reaching the #1 spot on the national lists. Oliver Stone is regarded as one of our greatest directors and his star-studded 1991 film JFK devoted more than three hours to presenting the story of that alleged conspiracy, winning an Oscar and drawing huge audiences. Across the last three decades, his gripping drama has surely been seen by many tens of millions in this country and around the world. Years earlier when our House Select Committee on Assassinations issued its 1978 final report, that official document proclaimed that Lee Harvey Oswald had not acted alone, thereby declaring that our 35th president had died at the hands of a conspiracy.

Despite all of this, the establishment media blockade against such theories has remained in place for more than six decades. Tucker Carlson was the most popular host in the history of cable during late 2022 when he declared to his millions of viewers that JFK had indeed died in a conspiracy heavily involving elements of the CIA, a presentation that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. immediately praised as the most courageous newscast in sixty years. But despite Carlson’s stellar ratings, he was purged by FoxNews a few months later, with many suspecting that his JFK segment had been an important contributing factor.

There are numerous historical controversies today that are harshly stigmatized as “conspiratorial” by the media, but I can think of no other example that has been so widely promoted across mainstream channels of information while also receiving an official government endorsement. So although adherence to a JFK Assassination plot is regularly pilloried as the stereotypical example of “conspiratorial” thinking, it is unique in having received such major distribution and authoritative endorsements.

Yet oddly enough, until just a dozen years ago, I never suspected that any such serious historical controversy even existed, having spent my entire life completely ignorant of the issue.

I’d obviously known that JFK had been assassinated and also that some people claimed a conspiracy had been responsible. But I’d always regarded those latter individuals as merely cranks and crackpots lacking any evidence for their strange beliefs, fringe activists similar to those obsessed with UFOs or Scientology or ESP, and I’d never paid the least attention to them.

The reason for such decades of my total unawareness was the mainstream media cocoon in which I existed, one that only provided very limited or distorted facts, while always seeming to snicker at such conspiratorial beliefs and their deluded advocates. I’d always known that the media was dishonest about certain matters, but I had never imagined that such dishonesty extended to those fatal 1963 events in Dallas, which I had always assumed were too important to have long remained hidden.

Others have probably been far less naive over the years, though they cautiously remained silent. A couple of months ago I was having a cup of coffee with a mainstream academic friend of mine who was quite aware of the many “conspiratorial” articles I had published in recent years and he casually remarked that he’d always been extremely skeptical of the official JFK Assassination story. One of his secondary school textbooks had included the famous photo of Oswald being shot by Jack Ruby in a Dallas police station, and even as a high school student he’d concluded that the killing of the supposed presidential assassin soon after his capture and under the very noses of the local police seemed obvious evidence of a plot. By contrast, I’d probably just gullibly nodded my head when I came across such facts in my schoolbooks and then merely turned the page to the next subject.

Shrewd observers have emphasized that people are much more likely to fall for big lies than smaller ones, and this was certainly part of the reason that I’d never questioned the official JFK narrative. The early 1960s marked the High Noon of the American Century, as our national power and prosperity seemed to reach a peak, with no major domestic storm clouds on the horizon. JFK had become the youngest President in our history and with his attractive young wife Jackie, they were almost a movie star couple compared to the dowdy Eisenhowers, while greatly benefitting from the powerful new medium of television and the colorful spreads they received in influential photograph-laden weeklies such as Life Magazine. The violent death of an American President seemed almost unimaginable at that time, with the last such case having been when an anarchist had slain William McKinley in 1901, more than sixty years earlier at the very dawn of the twentieth century. When I later came of age, I’d always vaguely regarded the Kennedys as America’s own royal family, so it seemed unthinkable to me that the entire American media could have long concealed the fact that his death had been the result of a conspiracy.

Once I discovered that the universally-portrayed reality of Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi WMDs had merely been a media hoax, I became much more suspicious of other matters, and the growth of the Internet had made me aware of many conspiratorial claims, whose reality I gradually began to suspect. But the possibility of an actual JFK Assassination plot was not one of these, and that became among the last of the major modern conspiracies that I eventually concluded might be true.

Read the Whole Article

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Putin’s ‘War’ To Re-Shape the American Zeitgeist

It is only by understanding and taking the Russian nuclear warnings seriously that we may exclude the risk of nuclear weapons coming into play.

The G7 and the subsequent Swiss ‘Bürgenstock Conference’ can – in retrospect – be understood as preparation for a prolonged Ukraine war. The three centrepiece announcements emerging from the G7 – the 10 year Ukraine security pact; the $50 ‘billion Ukraine loan’; and the seizing of interest on Russian frozen funds – make the point. The war is about to escalate.

These stances were intended as preparation of the western public ahead of events. And in case of any doubts, the blistering belligerency towards Russia emerging from the European election leaders was plain enough: They sought to convey a clear impression of Europe preparing for war.

What then lies ahead? According to White House Spokesman John Kirby: “Washington’s position on Kiev is “absolutely clear”:

“First, they’ve got to win this war”.

“They gotta win the war first. So, number one: We’re doing everything we can to make sure they can do that. Then when the war’s over … Washington will assist in building up Ukraine’s military industrial base”.

If that was not plain, the U.S. intent to prolong and take the war deep into Russia was underlined by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan: “Authorization for Ukrainian use of American weapons for cross-border attacks extends to anywhere [from which] Russian forces are coming across the border”. He affirmed, too, that Ukraine can use F-16s to attack Russia and use U.S. supplied air defence systems “to take down Russian planes – even if in Russian airspace – if they’re about to fire into Ukrainian airspace”.

Ukrainian pilots have the latitude to judge ‘the intent’ of Russian fighter aircraft? Expect the parameters of this ‘authorisation’ to widen quickly – deeper to air bases from which Russian fighter bombers launch.

Understanding that the war is about to transform radically – and extremely dangerously – President Putin (in his speech to the Foreign Ministry Board) detailed just how the world had arrived at this pivotal juncture – one which could extend to nuclear exchanges.

The gravity of the situation itself demanded the making of one ‘last chance’ offer to the West, which Putin emphatically said was “no temporary ceasefire for Kiev to prepare a new offensivenor was it about freezing the conflict”; but rather, his proposals were about the war’s final completion.

“If, as before, Kiev and western capitals refuse it – then at the end, that’s their business”, Putin said.

Just to be clear, Putin almost certainly never expected the proposals to be received in the West other than by the scorn and derision with which they, in fact, were met. Nor would Putin trust – for a moment – the West not to renege on an agreement, were some arrangement to be reached on these lines.

If so, why then did President Putin make such a proposal last weekend, if the West cannot be trusted and its reaction was so predictable?

Well, maybe we need to search for the nesting inner Matryoshka doll, rather than fix on the outer casing: Putin’s ‘final completion’ likely will not credibly be achieved through some itinerant peace broker. In his Foreign Ministry address, Putin dismisses devices such as ‘ceasefires’ or ‘freezes’. He is seeking something permanent: An arrangement that has ‘solid legs’; one that has durability.

Such a solution – as Putin before has hinted – requires a new world security architecture to come into being; and were that to happen, then a complete solution for Ukraine would flow as an implicit part to a new world order. That is to say, with the microcosm of a Ukraine solution flowing implicitly from the macrocosm agreement between the U.S. and the ‘Heartland’ powers – settling the borders to their respective security interests.

This clearly is impossible now, with the U.S. in its psychological mindset stuck in the Cold War era of the 1970s and 1980s. The end to that war – the seeming U.S. victory – set the foundation to the 1992 Wolfowitz Doctrine which underscored American supremacy at all costs in a post-Soviet world, together with “stamping out rivals, wherever they may emerge”.

“In conjunction with this, the Wolfowitz Doctrine stipulated that the U.S. would … [inaugurate] a U.S.-led system of collective security and the creation of a democratic zone of peace”. Russia, on the other hand, was dealt with differently—the country fell off the radar. It became insignificant as a geopolitical competitor in the eyes of the West, as its gestures of peaceful offerings were rebuffed – and guarantees given to it regarding NATO’s expansion forfeited”.

“Moscow could do nothing to prevent such an endeavour. The successor state of the mighty Soviet Union was not its equal, and thus not considered important enough to be involved in global decision-making. Yet, despite its reduced size and sphere of influence, Russia has persisted in being considered a key player in international affairs”.

Russia today is a preeminent global actor in both the economic and political spheres. Yet for the Ruling Strata in the U.S., equal status between Moscow and Washington is out of the question. The Cold War mentality still infuses the Beltway with the unwarranted confidence that the Ukraine conflict might somehow result in Russian collapse and dismemberment.

Putin in his address, by contrast, looked ahead to the collapse of the Euro-Atlantic security system – and of a new architecture emerging. “The world will never be the same again”, Putin said.

Implicitly, he hints that such a radical shift would be the only way credibly to end the Ukraine war. An agreement emerging from the wider framework of consensus on the division of interests between the Rimland and the Heartland (in Mackinder-esque language) would reflect the security interests of each party – and not be achieved at the expense of others’ security.

And to be clear: If this analysis is correct, Russia may not be in such a hurry to conclude matters in Ukraine. The prospect of such a ‘global’ negotiation between Russia-China and the U.S. is still far off.

The point here is that the collective western psyche has not been transformed sufficiently. Treating Moscow with equal esteem remains out of the question for Washington.

The new American narrative is no negotiations with Moscow now, but maybe it will become possible sometime early in the new year – after the U.S. elections.

Well, Putin might surprise again – by not jumping at the prospect, but rebuffing it; assessing that the Americans still are not ready for negotiations for a ‘complete end’ to the war – especially as this latest narrative runs concurrently with talk of a new Ukraine offensive shaping up for 2025. Of course, much is likely to change over the coming year.

The documents outlining a putative new security order however, were already drafted by Russia in 2021 – and duly ignored in the West. Russia perhaps can afford to wait out military events in Ukraine, in Israel, and in the financial sphere.

They are all, in any event, trending Putin’s way. They are all inter-connected and have the potential for wide metamorphosis.

Put plainly: Putin is waiting on the shaping of the American Zeitgeist. He seemed very confident both at St Petersburg and last week at the Foreign Ministry.

The backdrop to the G7’s Ukraine preoccupation seemed to be more U.S. elections-related, than real: This implies that the priority in Italy was election optics, rather than a desire to start a full-blown hot war. But this may be wrong.

Russian speakers during these recent gatherings – notably Sergei Lavrov – hinted broadly that the order already had come down for war with Russia. Europe seems, however improbably, to be gearing up for war – with much chatter about military conscription.

Will it all blow away with the passing of a hot summer of elections? Maybe.

The coming phase seems likely to entail western escalation, with provocations occurring inside Russia. The latter will react strongly to any crossing of (real) red lines by NATO, or any false flag provocation (now widely expected by Russiam military bloggers).

And herein lies the greatest danger: In the context of escalation, American disdain for Russia poses the greatest danger. The West now says it treats notions of putative nuclear exchange as Putin’s ‘bluff’. The Financial Times tells us that Russia’s nuclear warnings are ‘wearing thin’ in the West.

If this is true, western officials utterly misconceive the reality. It is only by understanding and taking the Russian nuclear warnings seriously that we may exclude the risk of nuclear weapons coming into play, as we move up the escalatory ladder with tit-for-tat measures.

Even though they say they believe them to be bluff, U.S. figures nonetheless hype the risk of a nuclear exchange. If they think it to be a bluff, it appears to be based on the presumption that Russia has few other options.

This would be wrong: There are several escalatory steps that Russia can take up the ladder, before reaching the tactical nuclear weapon stage: Trade and financial counter-attack; symmetrical provision of advanced weaponry to western adversaries (corresponding to U.S. supplies to Ukraine); cutting the electricity branch distribution coming from Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania; strikes on border munition crossings; and taking a leaf from the Houthis who have knocked down several sophisticated and costly U.S. drones, disabling America’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) infrastructure.

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

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Here It Comes

“Leftism might actually be noble if their concern for the marginalized wasn’t simply an incidental externality to their seething hatred of the normal and the good.” —David Pivtorak on “X”

Did you entertain feelings of doom during last week’s brain-withering heat-wave? The sheer anxious waiting and wishing for it to end was a nice analog to the stifling psycho-political miasma oppressing this nation — alternately known as the republic (for which we stand) and “our democracy,” as “Joe Biden” likes to style his regime of lawfare, warfare, and garish state-sponsored depravity. Well, rejoice and ring them bells! The political weather is breaking. The week ahead looks like an all-you-can-eat, steam-table banquet of consequence.

The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) teased last week with an opening round of lesser decisions on bump stocks for rifles, abortion pills for women inconvenienced by motherhood, and a few other interesting cases. The court’s term draws to a close with the end of June. Pending are several cases liable to rattle the windows and shake down the walls.

One is the question as to whether the government can use private company proxies to censor constitutionally protected free speech (Murthy v. Missouri). The case has been simmering for years, with lower court actions that took a dim view of the intel blob’s coercive intrusions into social media. Probably the most galling part of the story is that virtually every act of censorship and de-platforming was committed against those telling the truth about some vital public issue, whether it was the danger and ineffectiveness of the Covid vaccines, or the probity of the 2020 elections, or the existence of Hunter Biden’s laptop and its dastardly contents. That is, the government’s actions were entirely in the service of lying to the American people.

This raises a greater question that redounds from the courts onto the November election: just why is the US government so deeply invested in all that lying? The answer is obvious: it has been engaged in nefarious activities that it seeks to hide and deny. And all of that has served to wreck the country. Even worse, the government has gaslit half of the public into cheerleading and rolling over for all that dishonesty, so as to keep them “safe” from hobgoblins such as “misinformation.” Considering “Joe Biden’s” cratering poll numbers, it looks like the public is tired of this incessant lying and is fixing to vote his regime out of office.

We begin to see evidence that even some hardcore regime hacks are breaking out of that consensus trance, for instance, the Cuomo brothers denouncing the lies around lawfare and Covid. Andrew, once the New York state AG himself, told the shocked studio audience on Bill Maher’s HBO gabfest, beloved by Wokesters, that the Alvin Bragg case never should have been brought to trial. His brother Chris has been telling his podcast followers that Covid policy was a fiasco and the vaccines were harmful, and he apologized for his prior shifty reporting on all that when he had a CNN show.

Also upcoming at SCOTUS: Fischer v the United States, as to whether the DOJ tortured a federal statute on shredding financial records to overcharge J-6 rioters. In 2015 the court limited the scope of that law (part of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act), but Attorney General Merrick Garland used it anyway as an all-purpose dragnet to prosecute hundreds of people who merely paraded through the US Capitol — which provided legal footing for the House J-6 committee to color that event dishonestly as “an insurrection.” A decision against the government should lead to the release of many J-6 prisoners and perhaps lawsuits for malicious prosecution under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). It would also toss out the pertinent charges in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s DC case against Donald Trump for supposedly fomenting an “insurrection.”

Another biggie case pending (Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo; Relentless v. Department of Commerce) will determine whether executive agencies of the US Government (e.g., the EPA, CDC, Depts. of Energy, Education, Commerce, etc.) can issue regulations as if they have the force of law — that is, push citizens and businesses around by fiat where the law is ambiguous or nonexistent. A lot has changed since SCOTUS initially sought to define the scope of agency authority in their 1984 decision known as Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council. The federal bureaucracy has become an unaccountable behemoth, issuing sometimes arbitrary and capricious regulations that make it increasingly difficult to accomplish anything in our country. It has also enabled much of the government’s monkey business around Covid. This court appears to lean towards overturning Chevron.

Also pending this week: whether SCOTUS will stay Steve Bannon’s four-month jail sentence scheduled to begin July 1 while he appeals to the SCOTUS. Bannon was convicted for contempt of Congress when he refused to testify to the J-6 committee, basing his refusal on executive privilege. Note that SCOTUS did not keep White House advisor Peter Navarro out of prison for exactly the same charge. The DOJ must reply to SCOTUS’s request for “input” on the matter by Wednesday June 26th at 4:00 p.m. At issue is whether the government is interfering in the election by shutting up Bannon during the climax months of the campaign.

Today, Judge Aileen Cannon will ask Special Counsel Jack Smith’s lawyers to do some ‘splainin’ about how come he got to be Special Counsel without being nominated by a president or confirmed by the Senate, which is the lawful procedure. It’s therefore possible that Judge Cannon can determine that Mr. Smith is not operating lawfully. That’s not the only thing that can deflate the so-called Mar-a-Lago Documents case, but it could lead to a determination that this was a malicious political prosecution, with consequences for AG Merrick Garland.

By the way, you know what this case is really about, don’t you? I’ll tell you: the FBI went into Mar-a-Lago looking for Mr. Trump’s binder containing evidence of FBI and DOJ misconduct in the RussiaGate caper. Whether they found it or not, we don’t know, nor do we know if there are other copies of the materials. But you might surmise that a lot of officials in those agencies are a little nervous about their criminal liability, especially with the presidential election poll numbers looking how they do. In other words, the Mar-a-Lago raid was a cover-up operation.

And Thursday, of course, comes the debate to end all debates. Makes you cringe a little just to imagine it.

Reprinted with permission from Kunstler.com.

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What’s the Government Hiding From the Public

Human society is on track for a collapse in the next two decades if there isn’t a serious shift in global priorities, according to a new reassessment of a 1970s report, Vice reported

It sounds like something out of a Cold War era movie. Boxes of medical supplies stacked high in government warehouses to help citizens in the event of a public health emergency.

However, this huge stockpile is very real. It is called the Strategic National Stockpile, and “Once Federal and local authorities agree that the SNS is needed, medicines will be delivered to any state in the U.S. in time for them to be effective. Each state has plans to receive and distribute SNS medicine and medical supplies to local communities as quickly as possible.”

For security reasons, the location and the number of warehouses that comprise the SNS are classified information – as is much of what is in them. “If everybody knows exactly what we have, then you know exactly what you can do to us that we can’t fix,” Greg Burel, director of the program told National Public Radio in a 2023 interview. “And we just don’t want that to happen.”

The SNS started in 1999 with an approximate $50 million budget. Since then, it has built an inventory in multiple warehouses that is valued at just over $7 billion. “If you envision, say, a Super Walmart and stick two of those side by side and take out all the drop ceiling, that’s about the same kind of space that we would occupy in one of these storage locations,” Burel said.

The SNS extensive inventory includes massive amounts of small pox vaccines, antivirals in case of deadly flu pandemic, medicines to treat radiation burns and sickness, chemical agent antidotes, wound care supplies, antibiotics and IV fluids.

NPR science writer Nell Greenfieldboyce recently visited an SNS. She was told she was the first reporter ever to visit the secret warehouses, and she had to sign a confidentiality agreement not to describe the location or the exterior of the facility.

A locked section of the warehouse stocks painkillers than can be addictive. A giant freezer is filled with medicines that need to be kept frozen. Greenfieldboyce described a humming sound that comes from the rows of ventilators that are charged once a month and sent out for maintenance once a year.

With an annual budget of more than half a billion dollars, the SNS is charged with deciding what to purchase for the stockpile. In order to do so, officials must determine which threats are realistic and which are not.

“That’s where we have a huge, complex bureaucracy trying to sort through that,” Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, told Greenfieldboyce.

The government recently hired a firm called Gryphon Scientific to analyze how well the stockpile could respond to a range of health disaster scenarios.

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Gallup Global Survey Finds 77% Disengaged From Their Work, 58% Struggling, and 41% Stressed

On June 12th, Gallup published its 2024 edition of their “State of the Global Workplace: The Voice of the World’s Employees.”

Headlining “5. What Is the Landscape of the World’s Workplace?” their more than 140-nation-surveys report that, to the question “Did you experience the following feelings A LOT OF THE DAY yesterday? How about stress?”, 41% of respondents said Yes.

Gallup’s figures for “Struggling” and for “Engaged in their work” were each calculated from the respondent’s answers to a group of questions, instead of to one question. “Struggling” was defined by Gallup as respondents who were neither “Thriving” nor “Suffering.”

The 77% who were “Disengaged” consists of 62% who were “Not Engaged” and 15% who were “Actively Disengaged.” The “Actively Disengaged” were “workers who actively oppose their employer’s goals.” The merely “Not Engaged” did not.

An interesting finding about “stress” was that managers report themselves to experience stress much more than their workers report themselves to experience stress. Apparently, managerial jobs are exceptionally stressful. Perhaps that’s because a manager stands between the executives, the company’s officers who represent the owners; versus the workers; so that the manager gets the resentment from the workers if the workers don’t like the policies that the company’s owners require their executives (or “officers”) to require their managers to enforce upon the workers. The resentment goes upward, to the level only immediately above one’s own; and, so, managers experience it the most, and are thus the most stressed. It’s natural because the owners want the most production at the lowest cost to themselves, whereas their employees want the most pay at the lowest cost to themselves. This tension causes that stress.

Much more is shown in Gallup’s full “State of the Global Workplace: 2024 Report”, such as:

In what Gallup calls the “East Asia” region, Mongolia had a very high “Engagement” percentage: 42%. (The global percentage was 23%.) China’s was 19%; South Korea’s 13%, Taiwan’s 12%, Japan’s and Hong Kong’s both were 6%. The percentage “Thriving”  (which globally was 34%) was 41% in Taiwan, 36% in China, 34% in South Korea, 29% both in Japan and in Mongolia, and 17% in Hong Kong. The percentage Stressed was 53% in China, 49% in Hong Kong, 41% in Japan, 40% in South Korea, 34% in Taiwan, and 16% in Mongolia.

In “Post Soviet Eurasia,” Uzbekistan was a stand-out as 41% Engaged and 36% Thriving. Kazakhstan had 25% Engaged and 37% Thriving. Russia had 23% Engaged (the global average) and 32% Thriving. Ukraine had 20% Engaged and 24% Thriving. The percentage Stressed was 23% Ukraine, 21% Russia, 15% Kazakhstan, and 12% both in Uzbekistan and in Kyrgyzstan.

The United States percentage Thriving  was 53%, Engaged 33% (a full 10% higher than the global average), and Stressed 50%. In the Western Hemisphere as a whole, the highest percentages Thriving were Costa Rica 62%, Mexico 59%, and Uruguay 54%; Engaged were El Salvador 41%, Panama 35%, and Costa Rica 34%; Stressed were Bolivia 55%, Dominican Republic 51%, and Costa Rica 51%.

Gallup listed both the U.S. and China among the 57 “Low Labour Rights Countries”; and Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan among the 64 “High Labour Rights Countries.” Interestingly, neither Taiwan nor Hong Kong — neither of which is actually a country — was included in either list.

This originally appeared on Eric’s Substack.

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IDF Calls War With Lebanon – Pentagon Sends Ukraine Patriot Systems

President Trump continues to attempt to plug the hole that AIPAC and Israel created in the Zion Dyke.   To no avail.  His latest comment was to tell us we just need to be friends and let go of any misunderstandings…  “Republicans’ Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton just want to wipe Palestinians off the face of the earth.   The progressive Democrats are siding with the AIPAC Republicans and the liberal Democrats are siding with Libertarians.  A Farking MESS!

With two solid AIPAC candidates running for President, the future of America is looking more and more bleak.   Putin stated that a Trump presidency would change – nothing.  AIPAC destroys any candidate that does not support Israel – which is election interference.  But AIPAC has always been – above the law.  They helped drive the January 6th infiltration and arrests of Patriots.  They drive the infiltration of the pro-Palestine protests.  They created a Hunger Game Hollywood.   And they run the CIA.

AIPAC is also quite active in Europe, albeit under its subsidiaries:  The European Jewish Congress.  Friends of Judea and Sumaria.  European Coalition for Israel.  Christian Zionist current.  European Jewish Association.  Transatlantic Institute.  B’nai B’rith Europe.  Europe Israel Public Affairs – which is the equivalent of AIPAC, an umbrella for Zionist control.

Their main platitudes include – hatred of Russia, hatred of China, hatred of Christians and Islam, and War is always preferred.   They are running the western show in Ukraine.   Many of their PR tweeters present claims of self pity – ‘look how little we are in a sea of Muslim countries’.   While wielding death on Muslims.   And death on Ukrainians.  Why do they hate Ukrainians?  Because they literally hate – everyone.  Especially the weak and the poverty stricken.

We are cattle under their eyes which is why we are now enslaved – corralled.

Unfortunately, Trump is onboard the AIPAC train.   The same AIPAC that has been trying to destroy him from the progressive left and rhino right.  The same AIPAC that put MAGA patriots in jail.   Completely confusing the game plan.   Are the slew of democrats converting to MAGA – AIPAC shills set to undermine Trump once again?   The evangelical church is eerily silent.  Rabbis are robustly vocal.

How do we extricate America from this enslavement?

When attempting to enter the website of Europe Israel Public Affairs, I was redirected to Israel National News whose headline is, “IDF Approves  Plans For Invasion of Lebanon”.  Their goal is to turn Lebanon into a greater Gaza ~ According to Defense Minister Gallant.  According to Hezbollah there are warships stationed on Lebanon’s coastline and air force strikes commenced last night.  Ground troops are being assembled.  Just in time for the US to issue a bill requiring registration for the draft ages 18-25.

The U.S. is sending Ukraine 7 US Patriot air defense missile systems that were contracted for purchase by other countries, the White House announced Thursday.  Upping the Ukraine war.

US simultaneously is sending 1000 war drones to Taiwan while Taiwan has followed the Israeli mantra:    A new bill was passed in Taiwan, ‘Contempt of Parliament’.  The bill contains a clause which can impose fines and even a prison term of up to one year for officials who disrespect parliament.   While China has declared that Taiwan separatists will receive the death penalty.  All staged for a very unclean War.

Biden is at Camp David – under the guise of preparing for the Trump/Biden debate next week.  It is looking more likely that war hawks are pushing WWIII and Biden has been taken into ‘the basement’.    With AIPAC Trump sidelined.

Did Russia offload some weapons in Cuba before leaving?   Is North Korea on heavy alert to assist?  How will the Middle East react to Israel bombing Lebanon?   The UN has again issued empty threats while Israel’s new war cabinet is completely rogue.   The ‘deterrent strategy’ is Israel’s response to everything.   Of course, after Lebanon, they will want Iran.  And then the entirety of the Middle East will blow up!

The rift between Netanyahu and the White House is seemingly a stage play.  Netanyahu claims Biden is withholding needed weapons, while The Pentagon claims weapons are sent weekly.  Leaving the US open to assault.  Possibly internally.  Illegal immigrants trained at US military bases.

Although Trump appears to continue to receive Zionist money, he has touted his anti-War stance since 2016.  And perhaps that stance is what is fueling WWIII before he can be elected.   It would definitely appear that war is no longer a possibility, but a rapidly moving forward reality.  The Zionists are out of time.  Upping their gamut, given they have lost control of their power vacuum, not point in waiting would seem to be the agenda.

US Strategic Reserves remain on empty.  The Department of Energy claims a contract for 3 million barrels at $77 average is on the table with delivery – November.   Twice the cost of the inventory under Trump’s direction of $30 per barrel.  The reserves comprise 714 million barrels when full – 3 million = .0042 or .4%.

So we have no fuel reserves, we have no weapons because we keep giving them away.   We have two major wars ongoing and a third prepped for Taiwan while the Zionists lead all decision making in Washington.   Who is going to come to our rescue?  Europe?   Canada?   They are both equally sitting ducks having never built adequate militaries and instead relying on US Taxpayers to foot their bills.

The Zionists running these wars, pushing America into a debt hole purposefully to the tune of $41 trillion according to the Treasury Balance Sheet, is about to become an internal riff they can’t afford to lose – and certainly a civil war is not off the table…

Reprinted with permission from HelenaGlass.net.

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The Ever Widening War

I have learned from Gilbert Doctorow that there is discussion in Russia about inviting North Korean troops to enter the conflict in Ukraine in the event NATO troops are sent. The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership recently signed by Russia and North Korea allows for this.

This would further widen the conflict. Would Chinese troops be next?

I do not believe American and European soldiers would fare well against Russians and North Koreans or Chinese. What would the Americans and Europeans be fighting for except the profits of the military/security complex and Washington’s hegemonic power which is also exercised over them? The US and European governments have destroyed their own ethnic-based countries, and the immigrant-invaders who are replacing white ethnicities have no incentive to fight Russians and North Koreans. The West would have to fight the war with nuclear missiles, which is the same as committing suicide.

Why doesn’t Putin take the initiative and use sufficient force to end the conflict before NATO troops arrive? Perhaps Putin could be brought to see his mistake if Russian media repeatedly asked him to explain why he chose to conduct the conflict in a way that enabled ever wider involvement by the West. Putin could also be asked why he did not build and equip a larger Russian army during the eight years that the West built and equipped the Ukrainian army. Was Putin unable to bring the conflict to a quick conclusion because Russia was unprepared for effective action?

It does seem that Putin failed to recognize the threat. He sat on his hands and allowed Washington to overthrow the Ukrainian government and to install a puppet. He next sat on his hands for eight years pushing the Minsk agreement that the West had no intention of supporting. How was it possible for Putin to fail to perceive the coup in Ukraine as the opening move of a growing threat? Was the Russian government–and Putin himself–and the Russian business and intellectual classes so enamored of being part of the West that they could not acknowledge reality?

Whatever the explanation, the result is the likelihood of a major war. No one in the West is speaking of peace, only of Russian surrender and withdrawal. The entire Western emphasis is on further raising tensions. This is insanity. The only solution is for Putin to deliver an immediate knockout blow and end the conflict before it spins further out of control.

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It’s the End of the World as We Know It

America’s addiction to nuclear weapons does not lend itself to deterrence-based stability. It only leads to war.

“That’s great, it starts with an earthquake…”

There’s nothing like a classic 1980’s rock song to get one’s blood up and running, and REM’s 1987 classic, It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine), fits the bill just right on this hot and muggy summer day.

The only problem is, the song might as well be prophesy, because from where I sit, taking in the news about the rapidly escalating nuclear arms race between the United States and Russia, it very much looks like the end of the world as we know it.

And I don’t feel fine.

The news isn’t good. Last month, on May 6, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that it would, on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin, conduct exercises involving the use of non-strategic nuclear weapons. According to Russian officials, the exercises were a response to “provocative statements and threats from certain Western officials directed at the Russian Federation.”

The Russians were responding to statements made by French President Emmanuel Macron to The Economist on May 2, where he declared that “I’m not ruling anything out [when it comes to deploying French troops to Ukraine], because we are facing someone [Putin] who is not ruling anything out.” Macron added that “if Russia decided to go further [advancing in Ukraine], we will in any case all have to ask ourselves this question (whether to send of troops).”

While Macron described his remarks as a “strategic wake-up call for my counterparts,” it was clear not everyone was buying into what he was selling. “If a NATO member commits ground troops [to Ukraine],” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said after Macron’s words became public, “it will be a direct NATO-Russia confrontation, and then it will be World War III.”

The Russians conducted their exercises in two phases, with the first taking place in late May. There, the tactical missile forces of the Southern Military District practiced “the task of obtaining special training ammunition for the Iskander tactical missile system, equipping them with launch vehicles and secretly moving to the designated position area to prepare for missile launches.”

The Iskander-M is the nuclear-capable version of the Iskander family of missiles and can carry a single nuclear warhead with a variable yield of between 5 and 50 kilotons. (By way of comparison, the American atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima had a yield of 15 kilotons.) The single-stage solid rocket missile flies at high hypersonic speeds, and possesses a maneuvering warhead, making it virtually impossible to shoot down. With a range of 500 kilometers, the Iskander-M, when fired from locations in Crimea, would be able to reach French bases located in Romania, which ostensibly would be used to surge forces into Ukraine.

The second phase of the exercises took place on June 10, when the Russian and Belorussian forces practiced the transfer of Russian nuclear weapons to Belorussian control as part of the new Russian nuclear sharing doctrine put in place by Vladimir Putin and his Belorussian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, earlier this year. The weapons involved included the Iskander-M missile and gravity bombs that would be delivered by modified Belorussian SU-25 aircraft. The weapons would put all of Poland and the Baltic States under the threat of nuclear attack.

Around the same time that Russia was carrying out its tactical nuclear drills, several NATO nations, including Germany, announced that they had given Ukraine the green light to use weapons it had provided to strike targets inside Russia. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, speaking on the sidelines of a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Prague on May 29, said Ukraine had the right to strike legitimate military targets inside Russia. “Ukraine has the right for self-defense,” Stoltenberg declared, adding that “we have the right to help Ukraine uphold the right for self-defense, and that does not make NATO allies a party to the conflict.”

Putin took time from his visit to Uzbekistan to reply, warning that NATO members in Europe were playing with fire by proposing to let Ukraine use Western weapons to strike deep inside Russia. Putin said Ukrainian strikes on Russia with long-range weapons would need Western satellite, intelligence and military assistance, thus making any Western help in this regard a direct participant in the conflict. “Constant escalation can lead to serious consequences,” Putin said. “If these serious consequences occur in Europe, how will the United States behave, bearing in mind our parity in the field of strategic weapons? It’s hard to say,” Putin said, answering his own question. “Do they want a global conflict?”

On June 5, speaking to an audience of senior editors of international news agencies while attending the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, Putin observed that, “For some reason, the West believes that Russia will never use it [nuclear weapons]. We have a nuclear doctrine,” Putin noted. “Look what it says. If someone’s actions threaten our sovereignty and territorial integrity, we consider it possible for us to use all means at our disposal. This should not be taken lightly, superficially.”

But the US and NATO were doing just that. In an interview to the British Telegraph newspaper given at NATO’s headquarters building in Brussels, Belgium, Stoltenberg said that NATO members were consulting about deploying more nuclear weapons, taking them out of storage and placing them on standby in the face of a growing threat from Russia and China. “I won’t go into operational details about how many nuclear warheads should be operational and which should be stored, but we need to consult on these issues,” Stoltenberg said.

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What Does the Pope Really Mean?

“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”
—Walt Whitman

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his famous essay “Self-Reliance” that a “foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

I suspect that the Holy Father would not like the full implications of the remark, but I wonder that he doesn’t realize that some people might see in his many different interventions in the broad stream of social commentary similar disregard for said hobgoblin.

In his 60 Minutes interview with Norah O’Donnell, he seemed to rule out the morality of surrogate motherhood. When O’Donnell said that sometimes this was the only hope a couple might have, the pope said,

I would say that in each case the situation should be clearly considered medically and then morally. I believe in these cases there is a general rule, but you have to go into each case in particular to assess the situation, as long as the moral principle is not skirted. 

If the moral principle is that surrogacy is not moral, then why this insistence on “the situation”? The ghost of Joseph Fletcher seemed to flash by briefly. Didn’t it sound as though he was giving Ms. O’Donnell reason to believe there might be exceptions? He then concluded congratulating the interviewer for her compassion for people contemplating surrogacy. That was, he seemed to be saying, a credit to her sympathy to others’ suffering. It is very charming to compliment opponents to teach about the altruism behind their equivocation, but isn’t it a little confusing.

The pastoral strategy behind personal warmth is very obvious. However, it can lead to a kind of collective cognitive dissonance on the part of those who listen to the message. Isn’t it disingenuous to understand Fiducia Supplicans as no more than a separate blessing of individuals? A priest friend of mine whom I asked about it said he blesses everyone at the end of Mass, “come one and come all,” and that should be enough.

Another instance is when the pope used a derogatory word about homosexuals in a meeting with Italian bishops. He was seen to be draconian about “faggots” and “faggotry” in seminaries and in priestly ministry. His press office then said that he intended no offense to anyone in the expressions in the remarks he was “reported” to have said. This implied almost that he had not said those expressions.

Then he replies to a man rejected from the seminary because of his sexual orientation in very warm words and encourages him to “follow his vocation.” No one asks, did you say what was reported, did your language reflect your version of Italian or what vocation is the young man to continue pursuing? Only President Biden would be given such a pass by mainstream media for similar inconsistency in America.

Soon after that tornado in the news cycle, the pope spoke to some priests and again used the “faggotry” word. His remarks almost sounded like he is trying to appeal to macho sentiment, because he then admitted (not for the first time) that said evil was present in the bureaucracy of the Vatican. Throwing some of his staff under the wheels of his popemobile is nothing new, and some conservative voices in the U.S. rejoiced in the language of the successor of St. Peter. But, as usual, it was too soon.

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Guida in stato di ebbrezza e scienza fasulla

Freedonia - Lun, 24/06/2024 - 10:04

Da quattro anni a questa parte lo scientismo è diventata la regola aurea dell'azione governativa, nonché della propaganda sui media generalisti. Confondendo opportunamente metodo scientifico e industria scientifica, il primo un'onesta indagine delle tesi tramite prove mentre la seconda un mantice sempre gonfio per fabbricare prove e mandare avanti a tutti i costi una tesi, è possibile sventolare il feticcio della prova scientifica per disinnescare il dissenso e allineare le masse. Ha funzionato alla grande con i test PCR, nonostante fosse stato provato che non servissero a niente per identificare infetti e non. Lo stesso discorso si applica al discorso guida in stato di ebbrezza, come vedremo oggi, perché più un qualcosa fa comodo alla narrativa dominante, più verrà utilizzato per raggiungere determinati risultati e obiettivi. E in Italia siamo all'avanguardia per quanto riguarda quest'ultimo aspetto, visto che di recente è uscita una sentenza che farà giurisprudenza da adesso in poi. È subdola se ci riflettete bene: non parla di infrazioni chiare al codice della strada, ma di giudizio degli agenti. Di conseguenza un automobilista può guidare in modo impeccabile, ma risultare lo stesso in stato alterazione secondo il parametro arbitrario di un tutore della legge. Chi sta pensando all'apertura di un vaso di Pandora degli abusi, non ha bisogno di ulteriori commenti per capire la china scivolosa verso cui si è diretti.

____________________________________________________________________________________


di Jeffrey Tucker

Quasi tutti quelli che conosco hanno una storia da raccontare su sé stessi, un amico, o l'amico di un amico riguardo l'abusività della polizia nell'applicare le leggi sulla guida in stato di ebbrezza. Ho conosciuto persone che erano abbastanza sicure di non aver superato il limite legale, ma all'improvviso si sono ritrovate ammanettate nel retro dell'auto della polizia.

Conosco un ragazzo che è stato arrestato mentre usciva dal suo vialetto, essendo tornato a casa perfettamente al sicuro. Ho visto vite rovinate e distrutte da un sistema che presume che tutti siano colpevoli e poi lo dimostra con macchine scientifiche che affermano di essere precise fino a tre cifre decimali. Il livello di paranoia su questo argomento della vita è palpabile.

Quindi è davvero strabiliante – o forse una volta sentito questo ti sembrerà incredibilmente ovvio – che il New York Times abbia pubblicato un'enorme indagine che dimostra che la scienza dietro l'etilometro è fasulla. Decine di migliaia di arresti erano sbagliati. L'azienda che produce le macchine per le stazioni di polizia non condividerà la sua tecnologia, né sottoporrà la sua tecnologia a una seria revisione scientifica. Le vite vengono rovinate anche se si accumulano prove che un gran numero di arresti per “guida in stato di ebbrezza” sono del tutto fasulli.

Un milione di americani ogni anno vengono arrestati per guida in stato di ebbrezza e la maggior parte dei fermi iniziano allo stesso modo: luci blu lampeggianti nello specchietto retrovisore, poi una serie di test che potrebbero includere stare su un piede o recitare l’alfabeto.

Ciò che conta di più, però, accade dopo. Sul ciglio della strada o alla stazione di polizia, gli automobilisti entrano in un laboratorio scientifico in miniatura che stima la concentrazione di alcol nel sangue. Se il livello è 0,08 o superiore, sono quasi certi di essere condannati per un crimine.

Ma questi test – un fondamento del sistema di giustizia penale – sono spesso inaffidabili, ha scoperto un’indagine del New York Times. I dispositivi, presenti praticamente in ogni stazione di polizia d'America, generano risultati distorti con una frequenza allarmante, anche se sono commercializzati con precisione fino alla terza cifra decimale.

I giudici del Massachusetts e del New Jersey hanno rifiutato più di 30.000 test dell’alito solo negli ultimi 12 mesi, in gran parte a causa di errori umani e di una scarsa supervisione governativa. In tutto il Paese migliaia di altri test sono stati invalidati negli ultimi anni. Le macchine sono strumenti scientifici sensibili e in molti casi non sono state calibrate adeguatamente, producendo risultati che a volte erano superiori del 40%.

Il pezzo aggiunge altre storie dell’orrore sull’uso della scienza fasulla al servizio del meccanismo di costrizione e coercizione che ha incastrato milioni di americani e irrita tutti i non astemi sulla strada oggi.

Si scopre che queste macchine costose, sia quelle portate dai poliziotti che quelle più grandi nelle questure, sono fornite solo da poche aziende al mondo e non sono disposte ad aprirsi a una seria revisione tra pari. Sono mal mantenute e tuttavia i loro numeri vengono sventolati quotidianamente in tribunale. La polizia ha tutto l'incentivo a permettere loro di sbagliare fintanto che i risultati finiscono con una condanna.

Le poche volte in cui gli stati hanno imposto test sugli alcol test hanno prodotto risultati scioccanti. Qualcosa chiamato Intoxilyzer 8000 è stato testato nel Vermont nel 2005 e ha prodotto risultati imprecisi in “quasi tutti i test”. A quanto pare l’unico modo scientifico per determinare il contenuto di alcol nel sangue è mediante esami del sangue. Ci sono troppe variabili per rendere affidabile il solo respiro, eppure i test sulla respirazione sono l'intera base per l'applicazione della normativa sulla guida in stato di ebbrezza.

I soli problemi di arrotondamento e i numeri gonfiati sollevano dubbi su 45.000 condanne in Massachusetts e New Jersey. Il problema è che una volta che la scienza fasulla entra a far parte degli atti del tribunale, l'imputato non ha altra scelta se non quella di dichiararsi colpevole e affrontare una pena detentiva, multe e una fedina penale rovinata, anche se la persona sa per certo che non era ubriaca. Quando c'è uno stato armato di scienza fasulla contro un singolo automobilista che ha bevuto un paio di birre, tutti sanno chi vince.

Questo è un classico caso dei pericoli dello scientismo al servizio della giustizia statale. Indossare il camice da laboratorio, vendere allo stato una macchina stravagante, molestare le persone con intimidazioni senza fine e il risultato è una vasta gamma di ingiustizie basate sulla cattiva scienza. I cittadini stessi non hanno alcuna possibilità di ricorso. Ciò avviene da decenni negli Stati Uniti, eppure lo scopriamo solo ora.

C'è sempre stato un potenziale di ingiustizia al centro della norma contro la guida in stato di ebbrezza, poiché la sua applicazione non si sarebbe sempre basata sulla prova di guida spericolata ma piuttosto sul contenuto del sangue. Era questo che veniva criminalizzato. Infatti ci sono molte ragioni per cui si potrebbe guidare in modo pericoloso: mandare SMS, esaurimento fisico, privazione del sonno, brutta giornata al lavoro, litigio con un coniuge, e così via. Né è vero che tutte queste comportino necessariamente un pericolo per gli altri. L’unico approccio veramente sensato, quindi, è che la polizia faccia rispettare le regole del traffico, emettendo multe e arrestando in base a ciò che fa effettivamente l’automobilista.

Il regime contro la guida in stato di ebbrezza non si basa su questo punto, mentre invece viene criminalizzato qualcosa che richiede un sofisticato test scientifico per essere scoperto. Anche se guidassi perfettamente, rispettando tutte le regole e non mettendo assolutamente in pericolo nessuno, verrei sottoposto a brutalità da parte della polizia solo dopo aver scoperto una sostanza chimica nel mio sangue, che, a quanto pare, non può essere determinata in modo affidabile sulla base di qualsiasi tecnologia esistente.

Pensateci. Il mondo intero è inorridito dall'affermazione di Elizabeth Holmes e Theranos secondo cui le malattie potrebbe essere scoperte tramite una piccola puntura sul dito. Il fatto che questa azienda abbia raccolto miliardi in base a pretese non verificate è stato oggetto di vasta indignazione e indagini penali. Eppure abbiamo quella che sembra essere la stessa identica situazione con l'individuazione della guida in stato di ebbrezza ed è andata avanti per decenni senza che l'incredulità mettesse alcun freno alla macchina degli arresti e delle incarcerazioni.

Perché? Theranos è stata sottoposta a un test di mercato. Etilometro, Alcotest e così via esistono all'interno dell'apparato statale e sono quindi protetti da un serio esame. Ci sono voluti il ​​New York Times e i suoi intrepidi reporter per far saltare la copertura, ciononostante ci vorranno anni prima che qualcuno possa mettere un freno alla macchina di distruzione personale attualmente in funzione.

La combinazione tra potere statale e pseudoscienza è pericolosa. Criminalizzare qualcosa che dipende dall’accuratezza scientifica di qualche test segreto piuttosto che da un comportamento osservabile è di per sé pieno di pericoli. Non ci si può fidare che lo stato controlli l’applicazione della scienza; sarà sempre incentivato a esagerare per guadagnare più soldi e più condanne.

È il momento di ripensare seriamente all’intero meccanismo di controllo della guida in stato di ebbrezza.


[*] traduzione di Francesco Simoncelli: https://www.francescosimoncelli.com/


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Great Books You Need To Read

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 22/06/2024 - 05:01

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  1. On the Psychology of Military Incompetence 
  2. The Double Dangerous Book for Boys 
  3. The Other Side of the Wall: A Palestinian Christian Narrative of Lament and Hope 
  4. Firepower: How Weapons Shaped Warfare 
  5. Good Energy: The Surprising Connection Between Metabolism and Limitless Health 
  6. LBJ: From Mastermind to “The Colossus”: From Mastermind to? The Colossus?
  7. Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel 
  8. The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity
  9. The Worm in the Apple: How the Teacher Unions Are Destroying American Education 
  10. Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr.?: The Case Against Lyndon B. Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover
  11. Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity
  12. Death by Modern Medicine: Seeking Safe Solutions
  13. Eurasia v. NATOstan (Chronicles of Liquid War) 
  14. Scale: The Universal Laws of Life, Growth, and Death in Organisms, Cities, and Companies
  15. The Total State: How Liberal Democracies Become Tyrannies
  16. Scared Sick: The Role of Childhood Trauma in Adult Disease
  17. Phenomena 
  18. Israelis’ Five Trillion Dollar Secret
  19. Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving Into Liquid War
  20. Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters 

The post Great Books You Need To Read appeared first on LewRockwell.

The Ukrainian Border War Folly

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 22/06/2024 - 05:01

Someone should tell the European ruling elites to take a long jump off a short pier. Their endless whining about the Ruuskies and Putin is just plain pathetic because—

  • It’s not justified—Russia bears no hallmarks of an expansionist imperial power.
  • The Russia-Ukraine conflict is none of western Europe’s business—since its essentially a territorial and civil war within the borders of historic Russia.
  • If EU officialdom is really concerned about the purported Russian threat why do they spend just a pittance of their GDP on defense?

Yet, here we have Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, former German defense minister and full-throated war-hawk, talking absolute nonsense:

“Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to see empires and autocracies back in Europe, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the European Economic Congress in Katowice.

Speaking alongside Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, von der Leyen insisted that she stands for a European Union that is ready to do whatever it takes to protect Europe, and especially Ukraine.

Putin’s war is about redrawing the map of Europe, but it is also a war on our Union and on the entire global rules-based system,” she said.”

Well, that’s rubbish if there ever was such. The only time the borders of Ukraine have been redrawn at the barrel of a gun is when Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev did it between 1922 and 1954. That’s right, this bureaucratic half-wit wants to embroil the world in WWIII in order to enforce borders drawn by a trio if history’s most blood-thirsty tyrants.

As explained below, there never was a country even remotely resembling modern Ukraine until the Soviet communists decreed its existence. Before that, the pieces and parts of the country’s history go back to the 1650s when one of the more powerful and brutal rulers of the Cossack Hetmanate that occupied a small part of today’s central Ukraine abandoned his tribe’s historic fealty to the Polish kings and switched his loyalty to the Russians. After that, the “borderlands”( i.e.”Ukraine” in Russian) were all about vassalage in the Russian Empire and the Soviet one which followed.

During that 375 year span the borders shifted all over the lot and back, as the Mongol, Turkish and Polish-Lithuanian empires receded and the Russian and communist ones expanded. So what’s so sacrosanct about the very last version of the map—one that hosted both the murderous regime of Stalin and Hitler’s Wehrmacht, too?

Indeed, Europe is rife with borders redrawn again and again. While von der Leyen was in Poland preaching for border wars in Ukraine, in fact, it might well be asked, which sacrosanct Polish borders did she have in mind?

For 700 years “Poland” has cavorted around the rivers, plains and forests of central Europe like a traveling minstrel show. This includes its disappearance entirely at the hands of the Prussians, Russians, Hapsburgs and other long-gone lesser powers during the later years of the 18th century and the entirety of the 19th century. Only in 1919 was it resurrected—in part upon German lands at Versailles because Woodrow Wilson realized that there were votes to be had among the fair part of the Polish nation which had migrated to Chicago and the industrial Midwest.

Then Hitler and Stalin redrew Poland’s borders again under the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of 1938, cancelling Wilson handwork and returning the German Danzig Corridor to its previous owner. And then, seven years later, a different set of victors re-carved it again at Yalta, setting borders for “Poland” that satisfied Stalin’s aim to recover eastern lands the Soviets lost in the post-1918 civil war.

That is to say, the picture below reminds not only how the latest borders of “Poland” were drawn, but how over the last several centuries of history most of Europe’s present borders came to be. They were not drawn by God’s deputies on earth or even the statesman of the day—but by the victors of the most recent wars.

The Border Men of 1945

Moreover, even a glance at today’s map reminds that the border-drawing work of victorious generals and politicians, and occasionally statesman, has always been subject to revision without necessarily making a war about it. In recent times that’s been true even for the handiwork of the better kind of draftsmen who drew maps at Versailles as opposed to the bloody chambers of the Soviet Empire.

Thus, the statesman at Versailles decreed the existence of Czechoslovakia in 1919 as a potpourri of nations including a lot of Slovaks, Czechs, Hungarians, Romani people, Silesians, Ruthenians, Ukrainians, Poles, Jews and most especially millions of Germans. So it was subsequently dismembered by Hitler to bring the Sudetenland Germans home; then re-assembled by the Yalta winners; and finally divided between Slovakia and the Czech Republic on peaceable terms in 1993.

Or take the case of the meandering borders of the six autonomous republics of the vanished state of Yugoslavia and particularly its anchor in Serbia. Wikipedia explains the border-making process there as well as can be done:

“(Serbia) achieved de facto independence in 1867 and gained full recognition by the Great Powers in the Berlin Congress of 1878. As a victor in the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913, Serbia regained Vardar Macedonia, Kosovo and Metohija and Raška (Old Serbia). In late 1918, with the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian empire, Serbia was expanded to include regions of the former Serbian Vojvodina. Serbia was united with other Austro-Hungarian provinces into a pan-Slavic State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs; the Kingdom of Serbia joined the union on 1 December 1918 and the country was named the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

Serbia achieved its current borders at the end of World War II, when it became a federal unit within the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia (proclaimed in November 1945). After the dissolution of Yugoslavia in a series of wars in the 1990s, Serbia once again became an independent state on 5 June 2006, following the breakup of a short-lived union with Montenegro.”

Albeit mention should also be made of the former Serbian province of Kosovo. Washington and its NATO retainers decreed its independence after 75 days of persuasion with the Serbs. The messages were apparently written on the bombs dropped from a range of NATO aircraft that included about everything which could fly:

“A large element of the operation was the air forces of NATO, relying heavily on the US Air Force and Navy using the F-16, F-15, F-117, F-14, F/A-18, EA-6B, B-52, KC-135, KC-10, AWACS, and JSTARS from bases throughout Europe and from aircraft carriers in the region.

The French Navy and Air Force operated the Super Etendard and the Mirage 2000. The Italian Air Force operated with 34 Tornado, 12 F-104, 12 AMX, 2 B-707, the Italian Navy operated with Harrier II. The UK’s Royal Air Force operated the Harrier GR7 and Tornado ground attack jets as well as an array of support aircraft. Belgian, Danish, Dutch, Norwegian, Portuguese and Turkish Air Forces operated F-16s. The Spanish Air Force deployed EF-18s and KC-130s. The Canadian Air Force deployed a total of 18 CF-18s, enabling them to be responsible for 10% of all bombs dropped in the operation.

The fighters were armed with both guided and unguided “dumb” munitions, including the Paveway series of laser-guided bombs.The bombing campaign marked the first time the German Air Force actively attacking targets since World War II.[142]

The US B-2 Spirit stealth bomber saw its first successful combat role in Operation Allied Force, striking from its home base in the contiguous United States.”

At length, the Serbian borders were redrawn!

In the process, its president was captured as a war criminal. When he died prior to his trial in a NATO prison from “natural causes” he undoubtedly did not view this particular border drawing incident as an exercise in the rule of law.

In any event, notwithstanding the historic fluidity of borders, there is no case whatsoever that Russia’s invasion was unprovoked and unrelated to NATO’s own provocations in the region. The details are arrayed below, but the larger issue needs be addressed first. Namely, is there any reason to believe that Russia is an expansionist power looking to gobble up neighbors which were not integral parts of its own historic evolution, as is the case with Ukraine?

The answer is no, and its based on what should be called the double-digit rule. The true expansionary hegemons of modern history have spent huge parts of their GDP on defense because that’s what it takes to support the military infrastructure and logistics required for invasion and occupation of foreign lands.

For instance, here are the figures for military spending by Nazi Germany from 1935–1944 expressed as a percent of GDP. This is what an aggressive hegemon looks like in the ramp-up to war and the actual conduct of military campaigns of invasion and occupation.

Not surprisingly, the same kind of claim on resources occurred when the United States took it upon itself to counter the aggression of Germany and Japan on a global basis. By 1944 defense spending was equal to 40% of America’s GDP, and would have totaled more than $2 trillion in present day dollars of purchasing power.

Military Spending As A Percent Of GDP In Nazi Germany

  • 1935: 8%.
  • 1936: 13%.
  • 1937: 13%.
  • 1938: 17%.
  • 1939: 23%.
  • 1940: 38%.
  • 1941: 47%.
  • 1942: 55%.
  • 1943: 61%.
  • 1944: 75%

By contrast, during the final year before the Ukraine proxy war broke out in 2022, the Russian military budget was $65 billion, which amounted to just 3.5% of its GDP. Moreover, the prior years showed no build-up of the kind that has always accompanied historic aggressors. For the period 1992 to 2022, for instance, the average military spending by Russia was 3.8% of GDP– with a minimum of 2.7% in 1998 and a maximum of 5.4% in 2016.

Read the Whole Article

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What Price Charity?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 22/06/2024 - 05:01

Ludwig von Mises tries in Human Action to reconcile two arguments about charity that pull in opposite directions. The first of these is that some people cannot survive without receiving help: unless they are guaranteed such help by law, they are dependent on charitable donations from the better-off.

Within the frame of capitalism the notion of poverty refers only to those people who are unable to take care of themselves. Even if we disregard the case of children, we must realize that there will always be such unemployables. Capitalism, in improving the masses’ standard of living, hygienic conditions, and methods of prophylactics and therapeutics, does not remove bodily incapacity. It is true that today many people who in the past would have been doomed to life-long disability are restored to full vigor. But on the other hand many whom innate defects, sickness, or accidents would have extinguished sooner in earlier days survive as permanently incapacitated people. Moreover, the prolongation of the average length of life tends toward an increase in the number of the aged who are no longer able to earn a living.

The problem of the incapacitated is a specific problem of human civilization and of society. Disabled animals must perish quickly. They either die of starvation or fall prey to the foes of their species. Savage man had no pity on those who were substandard. With regard to them many tribes practiced those barbaric methods of ruthless extirpation to which the Nazis resorted in our time. The very existence of a comparatively great number of invalids is, however paradoxical, a characteristic mark of civilization and material well-being.

Provision for those invalids who lack means of sustenance and are not taken care of by their next of kin has long been considered a work of charity. The funds needed have sometimes been provided by governments, more often by voluntary contributions. The Catholic orders and congregations and some Protestant institutions have accomplished marvels in collecting such contributions and in using them properly. Today there are also many nondenominational establishments vying with them in noble rivalry.

Should we abandon charity in favor of governmental provision to the unfortunates? This would be a mistake, Mises suggests:

The metaphysical arguments advanced in favor of such a right to sustenance are based on the doctrine of natural right. Before God of nature all men are equal and endowed with an inalienable right to live. However, the reference to inborn equality is certainly out of place in dealing with the effects of inborn inequality. It is a sad fact that physical disability prevents many people from playing an active role in social cooperation. It is the operation of the laws of nature that makes these people outcasts. They are stepchildren of God or nature. We may fully endorse the religious and ethical precepts that declare it to be man’s duty to assist his unlucky brethren whom nature has doomed. But the recognition of this duty does not answer the question concerning what methods should be resorted to for its performance. It does not enjoin the choice of methods which would endanger society and curtail the productivity of human effort. Neither the able-bodied nor the incapacitated would derive any benefit from a drop in the quantity of goods available.

Mises’s criticisms of the right to welfare are based on his own utilitarian approach to morality and differ from Murray Rothbard’s natural law theory, which also denies a right to welfare because such a “right” would aggress against the property rights of others. In practice, though, their recommendations are the same.

If we do not make support for the poor a right, this leads us to the second of the two arguments about charity that pull us in opposite directions. From the points of view of the donor and the recipient, charity is degrading:

The second defect charged to the charity system is that it is charity and compassion only. The indigent has no legal claim to the kindness shown to him. He depends on the mercy of benevolent people, on the feelings of tenderness which his distress arouses. What he receives is a voluntary gift for which he must be grateful. To be an almsman is shameful and humiliating. It is an unbearable condition for a self-respecting man.

These complaints are justified. Such shortcomings do indeed inhere in all kinds of charity. It is a system that corrupts both givers and receivers. It makes the former self-righteous and the latter submissive and cringing.

If we take account of the defects of charity, we can see the desirability of emphasizing the so-called impersonality of the free market. To the extent possible, those who receive aid should get it in the form of products and services that the donor finds useful.

The point that Mises makes here helps us to understand better a famous remark by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations:

In almost every other race of animals each individual, when it is grown up to maturity, is entirely independent, and in its natural state has occasion for the assistance of no other living creature. But man has almost constant occasion for the help of his brethren, and it is in vain for him to expect it from their benevolence only. He will be more likely to prevail if he can interest their self-love in his favour, and show them that it is for their own advantage to do for him what he requires of them. Whoever offers to another a bargain of any kind, proposes to do this. Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want, is the meaning of every such offer; and it is in this manner that we obtain from one another the far greater part of those good offices which we stand in need of. It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.

Critics of the free market often cite this passage. Isn’t Adam Smith, the main theorist of capitalism, admitting that the market rests on greed? People in a capitalist system look at their fellow human beings in a narrowly selfish way.

If we rely on Mises’s insight about voluntary exchanges in which all parties expect to benefit, we can see that Smith is not criticizing the market but praising it. As the leftist philosopher Martha Nussbaum notes:

The famous passage . . . is usually read out of context. . . . He is not claiming that all human behavior is motivated by self-interest, something [The Theory of Moral Sentiments] spends seven hundred pages denying and something [The Wealth of Nations] has just denied. Smith is saying, instead, that there is something particularly dignified and human about these forms of exchange and deal-making, something that makes them expressive of our humanity. “Nobody but a beggar,” he continues, “chuses [sic] to depend upon the benevolence of his fellow-citizens.”

Only the free market enables us to escape the paradoxes of charity.

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

The post What Price Charity? appeared first on LewRockwell.

Russia’s Putin ‘Probing’ NATO Suck-Ups and Sissies

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 22/06/2024 - 05:01

Reports from The Telegraph and authors James Rothwell and Roland Oliphant tell the harrowing tale of Russian Vladimir Putin personally probing NATO’s defenses. According to “security chiefs” somewhere in London, Sweden, or the Baltic States, “Vladimir Putin is testing NATO borders for weak spots.” Heaven forbids (the liberal order) Russian leaders from gathering intelligence on aggressive states. The following is the story’s comic book (or RAND report) version.

Allegations and Dramatic Imagery

The Telegraph report is supported by former Ukrainian MP Aliona Hlivco, who is looking into her crystal ball. The Managing Director of the Henry Jackson Society, Aliona Hlivco, has reportedly seen Putin stabbing a fixed bayonet from a Kalashnikov across foggy borders into Baltic territory. President Putin’s vicious thrusts into NATO territory are further evidenced by girlish screams from the other end of Putin’s weapon. Meanwhile, the latest assessments suggest the NATO borders up North are safe. This is proven by the constant and relentless whining of former MPs and Washington think tank geniuses.

As ridiculous as this all sounds, what else could the “logical” answer to the Baltic hysteria? Some analysts even think the EU, London, and Washington leaders are so worried that they’ve taken up defensive positions along these borders. Observers said the Russian president’s latest “test pokings” have sent hundreds of Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian politicians to infirmaries with stab wounds to their posteriors.

For those among you wondering how geopolitical analysis has been transformed into sarcasm and cynicism, I assure you we have only seen the beginning. And this writer did not start it, and neither did Vladimir Putin. The Telegraph, BBC, the WAPO, the mighty New York Times, every major Western media outlet, think tank, political fundraiser, and corporate strategy meeting hinges on Vladimir Putin and the Russians as barbarians hell-bent on world conquest. All NEO readers have known this for years now. Only the lunacy continues to escalate.

Escalating Tensions and Western Actions

The West-East relationship is spiralling ever downward. Key European nations are rattling sabres, suggesting troops be sent to Ukraine. The go-ahead for Ukraine to fire U.S., British, French, and German weapons into Russia is imminent. From a logical perspective, as an American, I marvel at how patient Putin and the Russians have been. I try to imagine foreign-made and supplied missiles being fired at El Paso, Texas, from Mexico. War would have already been declared, I guess. And now German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron noted that French weapons sent to Ukraine, including long-range missiles, are now permitted to target bases inside Russia.

Russian Response and The Path to War

Tass quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying that NATO countries, especially the US and several European countries, had “entered a new round of escalating tension, and they are doing this deliberately.” Peskov also said the NATO allies are doing everything possible to keep Ukraine in this unwinnable conflict. In addition, the rotten leadership of Denmark has authorised the use of donated F-16s to attack targets inside Russia. Of particular import here is the potential nuclear capability of the F-16. (F16s can carry the B-61 tactical nuclear bomb)

And Putin is accused of probing NATO! The ideal Russian leader would concern himself (or herself) with downing caviar and Beluga vodka in Sochi and forgetting about defending their nation. The “ideal” Russian leader in the minds of the Western elites would be someone like Sleepy Joe Biden, a dangling puppet who shakes hands with invisible people and falls off his bicycle.

Concerning Putin and his AK-47 with a stabbing weapon attached, this RAND report seems to say Russians poking around in the Baltics may be one “path” to war. Read it if you find the time. RAND seems to classify Vladimir Putin’s recent “probings” as non-kenatic (indirect military action). Anyway, the geniuses in Washington seem to be provoking an escalation of the Ukraine conflict. We must all wait to see if the “poked” NATO front line gets smarter or dumber. Biden and Washington experts will admonish them to take the dumb route, no doubt.

Stay tuned in case Putin probes NATO neighbors with more significant instruments.

The views of the authors do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the editorial board.

The post Russia’s Putin ‘Probing’ NATO Suck-Ups and Sissies appeared first on LewRockwell.

The Good Guys Can’t Win

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 22/06/2024 - 05:01

Speaking with a friend who is Jewish—arguing, rather—I reminded him that protesting against the death of innocents is hardly anti-Semitic. He agreed. And yet the death of 37,000 Palestinian noncombatants that have produced nonstop protests in Europe and in the United States are described as anti-Semitic by mostly conservative commentators.

The argument with my friend flared up again until I came up with the following: Had Hamas managed to take hostages in Israel proper, say in Tel Aviv, would the IDF have taken the same steps it did in Gaza to protect its own civilians living or working in the vicinity? My friend called it an unfair argument, but what is undeniable is that Israel cares only about its own citizens and does not value the lives of Palestinians. This is sad but very true. The West has not overreacted throughout the years of anti-European outrages by Muslim terrorists, managing to punish only those who were responsible. And punish them lightly as the case may be. Not down south.

“The Israeli army striking crowded streets and slaughtering scores of Palestinians is nothing new, just some more bloodlust we in the West demand when small-timers refuse to play ball.”

The numbers alone are shocking. Four Israelis rescued, one dead Israeli officer, and 277 Palestinian dead. 1,200 Israelis massacred in October, followed by 37,000 Palestinian dead. Added to those tragic numbers are the conditions 2 million Gaza residents have to live with: no power, no water, no shelter, no medical help, no food, no nothing. I suppose such dehumanizing conditions might breed anti-Semitism, but then, as my friend said, I’m prejudiced.

Actually, we in the West are used to double standards. The Japanese killed 2,403 American servicemen and 400 civilians at Pearl, and we nuked a couple hundred thousand noncombatants four years later, after having firebombed and killed close to 100,000 Tokyo women, old men, and children. Dresden, Hamburg, and Berlin saw the death of hundreds of thousands of noncombatants, but they were all dirty Nazi swine, they tell me. In Vietnam we bombed and bombed and poisoned a few million until we lost, but they were just gooks. Ditto in Iraq, or Eiraq, as that famous war hero George W. pronounced it. The Israeli army striking crowded streets and slaughtering scores of Palestinians is nothing new, just some more bloodlust we in the West demand when small-timers refuse to play ball.

I’ll get back to the bad guys who massacred innocent Israelis last October, but first I have to declare that it’s not exactly hot diggity dog living in Gaza nowadays. The Israeli military push in Gaza has scattered around one million people to other parts of that unhappy strip of land, where conditions are so bad that many pray and wish for death while searching for food like hungry dogs. The lucky ones near the beach can wash in saltwater. But finding space to put up a tent for the family is almost impossible, and then there’s the small matter of being strafed by Israeli jets, or mortared, or machine-gunned. As one man put it, “Only Allah can help us.” But Allah seems to have gone absent without leave, at least in Gaza.

And speaking of Islam’s god, his only trouble is he taught hate rather than love, the latter being what our God did. “Kill the infidel,” is Islam’s message, and yet Miss Europe continues to open herself wide to Muslims, and as of late so does Uncle Sam. And why do Muslims hate the West but risk their lives in order to live there? I’ve asked many Muslims that, even some of whom are close friends, and the answer is always Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. “Much too easy,” I tell them, “why don’t you do something about them?”

Read the Whole Article

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How To Survive a Summer Power Outage

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 22/06/2024 - 05:01

Sometimes people think that a summer power outage is easier to deal with than a winter one. After all, in the summer, you don’t have to worry about freezing to death, which is a very real threat during a long-lasting winter outage.

However, a summer power outage carries its own set of problems. Foremost are heat-related illnesses and the higher potential of spoilage for your food. Even if you aren’t convinced that hardcore preparedness is for you, it would still be difficult to argue against the possibility of a disaster that takes out the power for a couple of weeks. Basic emergency preparedness is important for everyone, not just us “crazy preppers.”

Just ask the people who lived through the Derecho of 2012 how unpleasant it was

Severe, fast-moving thunderstorms (called derechos) swept through Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and Washington DC. Millions lost power, an estimated 4 million for an entire week. As if a week-long power outage wasn’t miserable enough, that part of the country was in the midst of a record-setting heatwave during the time period.

Also keep in mind that summer stresses our fragile power grid to the max, as everyone increases their usage of electricity to try and keep cool with air conditioners and fans. This ups the chances of an outage even when there’s not a cloud in the sky.

Back in 2003, a software bug caused an extremely widespread power outage in the middle of August. It was a very hot day, and increased energy demand overloaded the system. Because of the issue with the software, engineers were not alerted of this, and what should have been a small local outage turned into an event that took out power for over 10 million Canadians and 45 million Americans. I remember this one clearly because the little sub shop beside my workplace gave away all the perishable food that they had out at the time before it spoiled and I took home fresh sandwiches for my girls’ dinner that night. We sweated uncomfortably through the next two days until the power was restored.

Beware of dehydration and heat-related illnesses

On of the most serious concerns that sets apart a summer power outage from that of other times of the year is the heat. When you don’t have so much as a fan to move the air around, heat-related illnesses and serious levels of dehydration are strong possibilities. From my book, The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide, here’s an excerpt from the chapter on dehydration:

Dehydration is the state that occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. Your electrolytes are out of balance., which can lead to increasingly serious problems.

Symptoms of electrolyte imbalances include dizziness, fatigue, nausea (with or without vomiting), constipation, dry mouth, dry skin, muscle weakness, stiff or aching joints, confusion, delirium, rapid heart rate, twitching, blood pressure changes, seizures, and convulsions.

Dehydration can lead to very serious side effects, including death.

Following are the most common dehydration-related ailments.

Heat cramps: Heat cramps are painful, brief muscle cramps. Muscles may spasm or jerk involuntarily. Heat cramps can occur during exercise or work in a hot environment or begin a few hours following such activities.

Heat exhaustion: Often accompanied by dehydration, heat exhaustion is a heat-related illness that can occur after you’ve been exposed to high temperatures.

There are two types of heat exhaustion:

    • Water depletion. Signs include excessive thirst, weakness, headache, and loss of consciousness.
    • Salt depletion. Signs include nausea and vomiting, muscle cramps, and dizziness.

Heat stroke: Heat stroke is the most serious form of heat injury and is considered a medical emergency. Heat stroke results from prolonged exposure to high temperatures—usually in combination with dehydration—which leads to failure of the body’s temperature control system. The medical definition of heat stroke is a core body temperature greater than 105°F, with complications involving the central nervous system that occur after exposure to high temperatures. Other common symptoms include nausea, seizures, confusion, disorientation, and, sometimes, loss of consciousness or coma.

Dehydration can lead to other potentially lethal complications.

The Mayo Clinic offers the following examples:

    • Seizures: Electrolytes—such as potassium and sodium—help carry electrical signals from cell to cell. If your electrolytes are out of balance, the normal electrical messages can become mixed up, which can lead to involuntary muscle contractions, and, sometimes, loss of consciousness.
    • Low blood volume (hypovolemic shock): This is one of the most serious, and sometimes life-threatening, complications of dehydration. It occurs when low blood volume causes a drop in blood pressure and a drop in the amount of oxygen in your body.
    • Swelling of the brain (cerebral edema): Sometimes, when you’re taking in fluids again after being dehydrated, the body tries to pull too much water back into your cells. This can cause some cells to swell and rupture. The consequences are especially grave when brain cells are affected.
    • Kidney failure: This potentially life-threatening problem occurs when your kidneys are no longer able to remove excess fluids and waste from your blood.
    • Coma and death: When not treated promptly and appropriately, severe dehydration can be fatal.

How to Treat Dehydration

People who are suffering from dehydration must replace fluids and electrolytes. The most common way to do this is through oral rehydration therapy (ORT). In extreme cases, fluids must be given intravenously. In a disaster situation, hospitals may not be readily available, so every effort should be made to prevent the situation from reaching that level of severity.

Humans cannot survive without electrolytes, which are minerals in your blood and other bodily fluids that carry an electric charge. They are important because they are what your cells (especially those in your nerves, heart, and muscles) use to maintain voltages across cell membranes and to carry electrical impulses (nerve impulses and muscle contractions) across themselves and to other cells. Electrolytes, especially sodium, also help your body maintain its water balance.

Water itself does not contain electrolytes, but dehydration can cause serious electrolyte imbalances.

In most situations, avoid giving the dehydrated person salt tablets. Fresh, cool water is the best cure. In extreme temperatures or after very strenuous activities, electrolyte replacement drinks can be given. Sports drinks such as Gatorade can help replenish lost electrolytes. For children, rehydration beverages like Pedialyte can be helpful. (Source)

Here’s some more thorough information on heat-related illnesses, how to prevent them, and how to treat them.

The World Health Organization offers this oral rehydration solution recipe:

  • 3/8 tsp salt (sodium chloride)
  • ¼ tsp Morton Salt Substitute® (potassium chloride)
  • ½ tsp baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
  • 2 tbsp + 2 tsp sugar

Add tap water to make 1 liter. You can optionally add a sugar-free drink flavoring powder of choice to taste.

Store lots of water

One of the best ways to avoid the heat-related problems above is to store lots of water.

You can’t always rely on the faucet in the kitchen. In the event of a disaster, the water may not run from the taps, and if it does, it might not be safe to drink, depending on the situation.  If there is a boil order in place, remember that if the power is out, boiling your water may not be as easy as turning on your stove. If you are on a well and don’t have a back-up in place, you won’t have running water.

Each family should store a two week supply of water. The rule of thumb for drinking water is 1 gallon per day, per person.  Don’t forget to stock water for your pets, also.

You can create your water supply very inexpensively.  Many people use clean 2 liter soda pop bottles to store tap water.  Others purchase the large 5-gallon jugs of filtered water from the grocery store and use them with a top-loading water dispenser.  Consider a gravity fed water filtration device and water purification tablets as well.

Because water is kind of my thing lately, you can find lots more information on this topic HERE.

How to keep cooler during the blackout

This is easier said than done when it’s 105 and you can’t even run a fan. Here are some ways to keep a little bit cooler when the grid is down:

  • Get battery-operated fans. (And lots of batteries.) A battery-operated fan can help cool you down, particularly if you get yourself wet first. They’re reasonably inexpensive and work well, although I recommend spending a bit more than for the cheap ones at the dollar store. This one is big enough to reach more than one part of your body at a time and can help you get to sleep. 6 D batteries will run it for about 40 hours. These tabletop fans are rechargeable (so you will either need an off-rid way to recharge them or you’ll need backups), these handheld fans have a misting option (also rechargeable) and these handheld fans are powered for up to 8 hours by 2 AA batteries these handheld fans are powered for up to 8 hours by 2 AA batteries.
  • Stock up on cooling towels. I picked up some these cooling towels for use when I was working outside in the garden. I was stunned at how well they work. All you do is get them wet, wring them out, and give them a snap, then they cool you down, no power or refrigeration required. You can use them over and over again. They also come in these bands that can be worn around your head or neck.
  • Channel your inner Southern belle.  Slowly fan yourself with a handheld fan. Mint juleps are optional.
  • Keep hydrated.  Your body needs the extra water to help produce sweat, which cools you off.
  • Change your schedule.  There’s a reason that people who live near the equator close down their businesses and enjoy a midday siesta.  Take a tepid shower and then, without drying off, lay down and try to take a nap. At the very least, do a quiet activity.
  • Play in the water.  Either place a kiddie pool in a shaded part of the yard or use the bathtub indoors. Find a nearby creek or pond for wading or swimming. (Note: Playing in the water isn’t just for kids!)
  • Soak your feet.  A foot bath full of tepid water can help cool you down.
  • Avoid heavy meals.  Your body has to work hard to digest heavy, rich meals, and this raises your temperature.  Be gentle on your system with light, cool meals like salads and fruit.
  • Make sure your window screens are in good condition.  You’re going to need to have your windows open, but fighting off insects when you’re trying to sleep is a miserable and frustrating endeavor.

Scott Kelley from Graywolf Survival has super-easy instructions for making your own air conditioner that will help cool down one room as long as the power is still on. His design doesn’t require ice, it’s VERY budget-friendly, and he offers suggestions for alternative power, as well. It’s a must-read!

Read the Whole Article

The post How To Survive a Summer Power Outage appeared first on LewRockwell.

A Door Closes, a Window Opens

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 22/06/2024 - 05:01

“Almost every headline and what passes as ‘news’ in the United States, is a cry for help.” — Karen Kwiatkowski

Now that the gunplay and colorful flash-mobbery of Juneteenth has concluded, it’s on to next week’s big debate between the two major party candidates — if debate is even the right description for what is more like a joint press conference conducted by one candidate’s PR firm. What does the reality-starved public think it will see? Probably anything but a fair fight.

It’s hard to imagine what possessed “Joe Biden” to decide this was a good idea for him (unless he wasn’t the decider). Since we’re in an era of archetypal psychodrama, the event looks more like a ritual sacrifice. His recent public performances have been, shall we say, less than reassuring in both utterance and physical poise. He comes off as Captain Queeg meets Mr. Magoo. So, you have to wonder if some ancient tropism-of-the-mind steers him to certain destruction, egged on by those of his own faction who will benefit from his exit.

The sordid spectacle of the Alvin Bragg prosecution has backfired spectacularly as even the president’s own cheerleaders begin to perceive the frightful dishonesty of a politicized DOJ that could just as easily be turned on them. Rachel Maddow and Joy Behar rehearsed their persecution fantasies for all to see on air this week — and, of course, and as usual, it was a sheer psychological projection of what their own party has been up to for eight long years.

One supposes that “Joe Biden” will follow exactly that script next Thursday, as he accuses Mr. Trump of being “a dictator,” Adolf Hitler 2.0, seeking to use the levers of power to terrorize the defenders of democracy. It’s hard to see how he might get away with that. All Mr. Trump has to do is aver to the long list of malicious prosecutions, including the ones aimed at himself, launched lately against “JB’s” opponents. And he might throw in the regime’s lust to suppress free speech and truth itself — as in the Hunter Biden laptop monkey-business and hiding the facts around the Covid-19 fiasco.

Speaking of which, this would be the best opportunity for Mr. Trump to come clean, if he can, about his role in the mRNA vaccine roll-out that has now morphed into what looks like the biggest disaster in modern medicine. It appears obvious that, as president, Mr. Trump was buffaloed by “the experts” in a culture that worships expertise. How exactly would he have opposed the White House Coronavirus Task Force headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci? And backed by the combined forces of the CDC, the FDA, the NIAID, the NIH, and every medical board from sea to shining sea? Should he have just said, Nah, we’re not gonna do that? I don’t think so. But there won’t be a better moment, or a bigger audience, to explain how all that actually worked, and went wrong.

Since Mr. Trump’s temperament has drawn the most intense objurgation from his detractors, the easiest thing he can do in this debate is just mind his manners, and not allow himself to be baited or taunted. The roster of “Joe Biden’s” failures is so deep that all Mr. Trump has to do is remind the audience what they well-know adds up to an apparently deliberate effort to wreck the nation: the open border and the growing record of atrocious crimes committed by illegal aliens plus the immense anxiety about the intentions of jihadists and other nefarious foreigners ushered in by Homeland Security; the idiocy of our role in the Ukraine War and how easily the conflict could be concluded by willing negotiation; the cratering on-the-ground economy of goods and services (minus government hand-outs, bail-outs, subsidies, and statistical shell games); the out-of-control Deep State intel blob that is eating away at our basic liberties; the insane race-and-gender hustles aimed at sowing hatred and disordering normal modes of human relations; and much more that has been done to insult and humiliate the people of this land.

In short, the record of “Joe Biden” and the claque behind him is unequaled for demolition of our national principles, institutions, traditions, and aspirations, and if it’s not already plain to see all around you, Mr. Trump is in a position to calmly make the case next Thursday night without resorting to any histrionics. There will also be opportunities for him to use the old Muhammad Ali “Rope-a-Dope” play on “Joe Biden.” Let the old grifter start yapping “convicted felon” and Mr. Trump can offer a review of the many cash gifts from foreign entities received into Hunter Biden’s dozen or so shell corporations, with a recitation of bank records, deal memos, and testimony-under-oath already in evidence, with hearings still ongoing.

There’s also the fair chance that, despite the Adderall lighting up what’s left in his brain-pan, “Joe Biden” will quickly melt down altogether into a pathetic, gibbering zombie, spouting inanities about his Uncle Brosey amongst the cannibals, his victory over the arch-villain Corn Pop, his conquest of Mt. Everest side by side with Xi Jinping, his growing-up Latinx and Jewish in Scranton, PA, his rescuing Martin Luther King from a mob of Ku Kluxers and . . . well . . . the nabobs of the Democratic Party will finally have what they’re longing for: the excuse to dump this perfect ass of a fake president and throw the window wide open for Hillary Clinton to fly in on her leathery wings (Caw! Caw!) and lead the dwindling number of her deranged admirers to another humiliating election loss.

What does this party have to run on besides the utterly empty, mendacious battle cry about saving our democracy? It offers nothing but ruin. The debate might even spell the death of the party itself. Oh, but also don’t rule out “Joe Biden” canceling at the last moment. Reasons.

Reprinted with permission from Kunstler.com.

The post A Door Closes, a Window Opens appeared first on LewRockwell.

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