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The Manly Fabric?

Ven, 03/02/2017 - 07:01

Men are almost universally drawn to goods made with leather. Wallets, boots, bags, jackets, gloves — all are lent a certain extra attraction when they’re crafted from an animal’s sturdy hide.

The reasons for leather’s appeal aren’t hard to understand. It’s a material our ancestors used for clothes, pouches, and a variety of other useful wares. And leather is so durable that many of those heirloom items are still around today (in fact, a pair of shockingly well-preserved 5,500-year-old leather shoes were discovered a few years back). Adding to this literal toughness is an aura of it, borne from the material’s ancient connection to hunting and killing. Plus, leather just looks dang good.

While it’s tough as nails, we must also remember that leather is in fact skin. It can dry, crack, stain, warp, etc. So today I’ll walk you through the various options for treating and taking care of leather so that whatever form it takes can be passed down your family line.

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Note that much of the below applies mostly to everyday use items that are regularly exposed to the elements — shoes, jackets, bags. Wallets, accessories, etc. can still be cared for with these tips, they generally just don’t need as much attention.

What Do You Want Your Leather to Look Like?

The first task in deciding how to treat and care for your leather is simply asking what you want it to look like, and the role it plays in your life. A pair of rugged work boots don’t need as much attention as a pair of classy dress shoes. A moto jacket will likely be naturally more beaten up than a bomber jacket you wear around town — is the nature of riding a motorcycle down the freeway with leather over your shoulders.

It also comes down to taste. Some men want a clean, polished look for their bag, while others are okay with scratches, blemishes, and natural wear and tear. Dave Munson, the founder of Saddleback Leather Co., prefers to minimally treat his own personal bags and allows them to have the beaten-to-hell look that tells tales of adventures (and sometimes misadventures) without ever uttering a word.

So think about what you want your leather to look like, and next, we’ll go through some various treatment options.

The Differences Between Various Leather Treatments

If you’re like me, you may have thought that giving your shoes a good polish every now and then was all that leather needed to stand the test of time. When perusing the shoe care section of a department store, all the creams, polishes, waxes and conditioners blended together into a single product in my mind. They’re not, in fact, totally interchangeable, though. Let’s take a look at what these different treatments do to leather. Keep in mind there aren’t general pros and cons here; as stated above, it comes down to what you want, and what the function of the leather item is.

Polish. Polish is largely actually for aesthetics. On its own, it’s mostly about the actual shine of the product (usually shoes and bags) rather than protecting it from the elements. Having said that, many polishes have a moisturizing element, so you really have to look at the product description and user reviews to know what you’re getting and what it does.

Since cleaning is part of a good polishing routine, it’s certainly not a bad thing to do. The frequency of polishing simply depends on your own preferences for how you want your leather goods to look, but most casual items won’t need it. If you have a nice briefcase or fancy dress shoes, that’s where polish really comes in.

Conditioner/Cream. Leather conditioner or cream moisturizes the material so that it doesn’t dry out and crack. This won’t make your shoes “shine,” but it will protect them. Note that in most cases conditioners don’t waterproof your leather (though some do include a water-repelling component). Leather conditioners are lotion-like and are to be gently rubbed into the leather. The hide will soak up the conditioner, just like your skin would soak up a moisturizer.

How often you use conditioner, as with the other treatments, really depends on what you want. Dave Munson mentioned above, conditions every 6-12 months, preferring to let his bags completely dry out before re-applying. That keeps the leather looking rugged and tough, and allows it to accrue some scuffs, scratches, etc.

Most folks out there — everyday folks who haven’t founded leather goods companies — like to condition their goods (largely everyday use items like shoes and bags) every 3 months or so, sometimes more if they live in a dry climate.

Read the Whole Article

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The Left Is a Nasty Bunch

Gio, 02/02/2017 - 07:01

One can only imagine the widespread media, political and intellectual condemnation of Republicans and conservatives if, after the inauguration of Barack Obama, they had gone on a violent and vicious tear all over the nation as did Democrats and liberals after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. They committed acts such as assaulting Trump supporters, setting fires and stoning police. Suppose Republicans/conservatives had carried signs that read “F— Obama” or talked about “blowing up the White House.” The news media, instead of calling them protesters, would have labeled them evil racists, obstructionists and everything else except a child of God. The reason for the difference in treatment is simple. Republicans and conservatives are held — and hold themselves — to higher standards of behavior. By contrast, Democrats and liberals are held — and hold themselves — to less civilized standards of behavior. Let’s look at some of the history of conservative and liberal behavior.

One of the nastiest more recent liberal events was the Occupy movement around the nation. During Occupy protests, there were rapes, assaults, robberies, and holdups. These people publicly defecated and urinated on police cars. The mess they left after their demonstrations can be described as no more than a pigsty. Does anybody recall any Democratic official, from the president on down, admonishing them to behave? Contrast their behavior with that of tea party protesters. Tea partyers didn’t set fires, stone police or engage in the other kinds of despicable behavior the liberal Democrats did. On top of that, they left the areas where they protested clean.

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Ask yourself whether you have ever seen Republicans/conservatives rioting, turning over police cars, looting, setting places of business on fire and shouting obscenities while marching. Have you ever seen conservatives marching with chants calling for the murder of police officers? You may have heard liberals yelling, “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now!” In fact, virtually all of the violence against police — whether it’s throwing stones, ambushing or murdering — is committed by liberals or people who’d identify as Democrats. The fact of the matter is that if we were to examine criminality in America — whether talking about murderers, muggers or prisoners — it would be dominated by people who would be described as liberals, Democrats, and Hillary Clinton supporters.

Democrats and liberals accuse Republicans of conducting a war on women. Assault, rape, and murder are the worst things that can be done to a woman. I would bet a lot of money that most of the assaults, rapes, and murders of women are done by people who identify as liberals, and if they voted or had a party affiliation, it would be Democratic.

One of the most glaring examples of how liberals are held to lower standards comes when we look at what they control. The nation’s most dangerous big cities in 2012 were Detroit, Oakland, St. Louis, Memphis, Stockton, Birmingham, Baltimore, Cleveland, Atlanta and Milwaukee (http://tinyurl.com/qeusjj4). The most common characteristic of these cities is that for decades, all of them have been run by Democratic and presumably liberal administrations. Some cities — such as Detroit, Buffalo, Newark, and Philadelphia — haven’t elected a Republican mayor for more than a half-century. It’s not just personal safety. These Democratic-controlled cities have the poorest-quality public education despite the fact that they have large and growing school budgets. Most of these dangerous cities have suffered massive decreases in population. Some observers have suggested that racism has caused a white flight to the suburbs. But these observers ignore the fact that black flight has become increasingly significant. It turns out that black people do not like to be mugged and live in unsafe neighborhoods any more than white people.

Republicans and conservatives, including President Trump, should not gripe or whine about different treatment by the liberal media. Magnanimity commands that we have compassion and try to understand our fallen brethren. We should make every effort to sell them on the moral superiority of personal liberty and its main ingredient — limited government.

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Trump Is Being Sabotaged

Gio, 02/02/2017 - 07:01

President Trump says he wants the US to have better relations with Russia and to halt military operations against Muslim countries. But he is being undermined by the Pentagon.

The commander of US forces in Europe, General Ben Hodges, has lined up tanks on Poland’s border with Russia and fired salvos that the general says are a message to Russia, not a training exercise.

How is Trump going to normalize relations with Russia when the commander of US forces in Europe is threatening Russia with words and deeds?

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The Pentagon has also sent armored vehicles to “moderate rebels” in Syria, according to Pentagon spokesman Col. John Dorrian. Unable to prevent Russia and Syria from winning the war against ISIS, the Pentagon is busy at work derailing the peace negotiations.

The military/security complex is using its puppets-on-a-string in the House and Senate to generate renewed conflict with Iran and to continue threats against China.

Clearly, Trump is not in control of the most important part of his agenda—peace with the thermo-nuclear powers and cessation of interference in the affairs of other countries.

Trump cannot simultaneously make peace with Russia and make war on Iran and China. The Russian government is not stupid. It will not sell out China and Iran for a deal with the West. Iran is a buffer against jihadism spilling into Muslim populations in the Russian Federation. China is Russia’s most important military and economic strategic ally against a renewal of US hostility toward Russia by Trump’s successor, assuming Trump succeeds in reducing US/Russian tensions. The neoconservatives with their agenda of US world hegemony and their alliance with the military-security complex will outlast the Trump administration.

Moreover, China is rising, while the corrupt and dehumanized West is failing. A deal with the West is worth nothing. Countries that make deals with the West are exposed to financial and political exploitation. They become vassals. There are no exceptions.

Russia’s desire to be part of the West is perplexing. Russia should build its security on relations with China and Asia, and let the West, desirous of participating in this success, come to Russia to ask for a deal.

Why be a supplicant when you can be the decider?

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Hillary Angling To Recycle Herself

Gio, 02/02/2017 - 07:01

Hillary Clinton has a lot of plans for 2017, including some reflections on her stunning loss to Donald Trump and a speaking engagement at her alma mater.

The former secretary of state, senator and first lady is working on a collection of personal essays that will touch on the 2016 presidential campaign, Simon & Schuster told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The book, currently untitled, is scheduled for this fall and will be inspired by favorite quotations she has drawn upon.  Clinton also will reissue her best-selling ‘It Takes a Village’ in an illustrated edition for young people.

This spring, Clinton will return to her old stomping grounds at Wellesley College to give the commencement address.

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When Clinton graduated from the university in 1969, most of the Ivy League schools still only admitted men. Wellesley was part of the ‘Seven Sisters’ – the women’s only schools that were associated with the Ivy Leagues, and therefore one of the best in the country.

She will also resume her relationship with the Harry Walker Agency, the speaker’s bureau through which she made the paid talks that were criticized by Sen. Bernie Sanders and others during the election race.

Read the Whole Article

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The President and Immigration

Gio, 02/02/2017 - 07:01

This past weekend, we all saw massive public outrage in major cities throughout the country. It was directed at the Jan. 27 issuance of an executive order, signed by President Donald Trump, addressing immigration. With the executive order, the president ordered the suspension of entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, as well as anyone from Syria for an indefinite period and anyone from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days.

The crowds of protesters, which included members of Congress, called the president a tyrant. The president argued that he was lawfully protecting the country from those who might facilitate terrorist attacks here. Can he legally do this?

Here is the back story.

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The Constitution expressly gives Congress the power to regulate naturalization, which is the process of becoming an American citizen. It does not expressly give it the power to regulate immigration, which is the process of legally entering the country. From 1776 to 1882, Congress recognized this distinction by staying largely silent on immigration, and thus, anyone could come here from anywhere, with the only real regulation being for public health.

In 1882, Congress gave itself the power to regulate immigration, contending that although the Constitution was silent on the issue, the concept of nationhood gave Congress the ability to regulate the nation’s borders and thereby control who was permitted to enter from foreign countries and under what circumstances.

In response to economic competition from Asian immigrants in California — and in the midst of anti-Asian racial animus — Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which limited the number of immigrants from China for 10 years. In 1892, Congress extended the law for another 10 years, and in 1902, Congress made the law permanent. In 1924, Congress passed the Johnson-Reed Act, which restricted entry into the United States through quotas with respect to national origins. The quotas were capped in 1929, reduced in 1943 and substantially expanded in 1965.

In 1952, Congress passed the Immigration and Nationality Act, which expressly authorized the president to suspend the immigration of any person, class of people or group of people into the United States for public health, public safety or national security reasons.

The courts have upheld this presidential power because under our system, immigration materially affects the nation’s foreign policy and foreign policy is constitutionally the domain of the president — with Congress’ role being limited to the senatorial confirmation of treaties and ambassadors and to authorization of money for the president to spend. Yet the courts have limited the president’s exercise of this power so that he cannot base it on First Amendment-protected liberties, such as the freedoms of speech, religion and association. So he cannot bar an immigrant because of the immigrant’s political views, religion or colleagues.

In 1979, President Jimmy Carter exercised this presidential power to bar anyone from Iran from entering the country until the hostage crisis was resolved. In 2011, President Barack Obama used this presidential power to bar anyone from Iraq from entering the country for six months.

Enter President Trump.

As a candidate, Trump promised that he would secure the nation’s borders from those whom he deems harmful to national security for limited periods of time — at least until he and those under him could determine a more accurate mechanism for separating the true refugees from the ones seeking entry for nefarious purposes. On his eighth day in office, he did just that.

The reaction was swift, loud and seemingly everywhere as foreign-born people, many with green cards and visas, were stopped and detained at the nation’s international airports last Saturday. Over the weekend, federal judges in New York City, Boston, Virginia and Seattle ruled that Trump’s order could not apply to green card holders or those who received valid State Department-issued visas based on the pre-executive order protocol.

To its credit, the government recognized that the language of the executive order needed to be clarified because green card holders, no matter the country of origin, have the same right of exit and entry as citizens. Moreover, the government cannot constitutionally give anyone a benefit — such as a visa — and then nullify the benefit because it changed the issuing standards afterward. So the Trump changes can be prospective only.

Where does this leave us?

Expect numerous challenges in Congress and in the courts to Trump’s order because, the challengers will argue, though its stated purpose was not to bar a religious group, its effect is largely to bar Muslims. For sure, the courts will address this. The purpose/effect distinction — which exists in many areas of the law, such as school desegregation, legislative apportionment and voting rights — has not been accepted by the courts against a president for a temporary immigration ban because the courts have often deferred to presidents on foreign policy.

Is the ban just?

Everyone knows we are a nation of immigrants. Three of my grandparents immigrated here as children. Most people recognize that all people have the natural right to travel, which means they can seek entry here; but the country has accepted the ideas that our borders are not open, that the welfare state here is not without financial limits and that in perilous times such as today, immigration is largely and legally in the hands of the president, whether one has voted for him or not.

Yet like all governmental powers, particularly those that often clash with natural rights when they are exercised, the power to regulate immigration must be exercised narrowly. Many reading this are here because someone left another country for the freedoms that are respected here. Those freedoms are natural to everyone and will always draw people here.

The government can only morally and constitutionally interfere with personal freedom for the most compelling of reasons and utilizing the least restrictive means. Is the government faithful to that well-recognized rule? We shall soon see.

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

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Laughing While Outraged

Gio, 02/02/2017 - 07:01

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Reprinted with permission from Different Bugle.

The post Laughing While Outraged appeared first on LewRockwell.

Will the Euro Collapse This Year?

Gio, 02/02/2017 - 07:01

2017 could be the year that the euro collapses according to Joseph Stiglitz writing in Fortune magazine and these concerns were echoed over the weekend by former Bundesbank vice-president and senior European Central Bank official, Jürgen Stark, when he said that the ‘destruction’ of the Eurozone may be necessary if countries are to thrive again.

Stark and Stiglitz are too of many respected commentators, from both the so-called right and the so-called left, who are warning that the common currency and the Eurozone itself will not survive the financial and political turmoil already besetting the European monetary union and set to deepen in the coming months and years.

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Gold in Euros – 5 Years

According to Stiglitz:

Greece remains in a severe depression. Growth for the Eurozone over the past year has been an anemic 1.6%, and that number is twice the average growth rate from 2005 to 2015. Historians are already speaking of the Eurozone’s lost decade, and it’s possible they’ll soon be writing about its last decade, too.

The euro was introduced in 2002, but the cracks in the single currency arrangement, which began in 1999, became evident with the 2008 global financial crisis.

Indeed, Greece and many periphery nations remain borderline or actually insolvent and this inconvenient truth has been largely ignored in recent months as it would clash with the cosy, and complacent, Eurozone “recovery” narrative.

The recovery is unsustainable as the root cause of the crisis – humongous levels of debt in Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland – was not dealt with rather the debt can was simply kicked down the road.

France, a nation with its own debt and economic issues, warned last week that the “window of opportunity” for a debt deal is closing after Athens and its creditors failed to find a solution to the country’s deadlocked bailout last week. French Finance Minister Michel Sapin warned that the coming volatile elections in Europe in 2017 would soon dominate the agenda and may make it much harder for Greece to reach a new ‘bailout’ deal.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem who heads the Eurozone’s Finance ministers also said: “there is a clear understanding that a quick finalization of the second [bailout] review is in everyone’s interest” as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

However, others such as Stark believe that eurozone “must break up if its members are to thrive again.”

Stark, who served on the ECB’s executive board during the financial crisis, said it was time to “think the unthinkable” and work towards a “reset” of Europe that pulled power away from Brussels as reported by the Telegraph.

He said the creation of a two-speed eurozone, with France and Germany at its core, would help to ensure the smaller bloc’s survival and he said that the current eurozone may need to be destructed in order to create a new “two-speed eurozone, with France and Germany at its core”.

This “would help to ensure the smaller bloc’s survival.”

Stiglitz conclusion, in a little noticed or commented upon article in Fortune magazine, is also not optimistic and underlines the importance of being properly diversified and not having all your eggs in the euro basket – be that euro bank deposits in Eurozone banks or indeed euro-denominated assets.

Stiglitz concludes by warning that:

…  It is at least as likely that the political forces are going in the other direction, and if that is the case, it may be only a matter of time before Europe looks back on the euro as an interesting, well-intentioned experiment that failed—at great cost to the citizens of Europe and their democracies.

The full article can be read on Fortune here

Whether we like it or not, there is an increasing possibility that there may be a return to national currencies in Europe. Periphery nations savers and investors are particularly exposed in this regard.

Gold is an important hedging instrument and financial insurance that will protect people from the potential return to liras, drachmas, escudos, pesetas and punts. Hoping for the best but diversifying and being prepared for less benign financial outcomes remains prudent.

Reprinted with permission from GoldCore.

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The CIA’s Deep State

Gio, 02/02/2017 - 07:01

Donald Trump’s first act as president was a visit to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, where he addressed gathering of CIA employees. His journey directly in “the swamp” took place almost immediately after his inauguration, and was clearly an urgent first priority.

Serenading Langley

The CIA is a headquarters of the Deep State and the Shadow Government. It is the nexus of criminality, and of the Bushes and Clintons, and the world-managing elite. The CIA enjoys a virtually unlimited black budget and virtually unlimited power that is beyond the reach of the law, and beyond the control of the White House.

Yet here was Trump ingratiating and sweet talking the agency that, under the order of John Brennan (on behalf of Hillary Clinton and the Bushes), actively engaged in unprecedented efforts to destroy him.

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Trump swooned, in sickly sweet fawning fashion:

“Nobody feels stronger about the CIA and the intelligence community than Donald Trump. Nobody.I am so behind you. You’re going to get so much backing, you’re going to ask ‘Please Mr. President, don’t give us so much backing’. We’re gonna do great things. We have not used the real abilities we have, we’ve been restrained. We have to get rid of ISIS. Radical Islamic terrorism has to be eradicated off the face of the earth. It is evil. This is a level of evil that we haven’t seen. You’re going to do a phenomenal job, but you’re going to end it. This is going to be one of the most important groups towards making us safe, toward making us winners again, toward ending all of the problems, the havoc and fear that this sick group of people has caused. I am with you a thousand percent! I love you, I respect you, and you will be leading the charge.”

Is Trump naïve, uninformed, or playing some Orwellian game?

How many people attending his speech, the people he expects to “lead the charge” are, in fact, key managers of Islamic terror assets—the very creators and managers of ISIS?

The CIA is, in fact, the very “sick group of people” responsible for orchestrating international terrorism and untold atrocities. How does Trump plan on the CIA “ending” Islamic terrorism when it is the institution he “loves and respects” is the institution that foments and continues to spread this “fear and havoc?

Does Trump know that the CIA is, in addition to being the world’s leading manager of terrorism, also the propaganda ministry of the United States? Does Trump realize that the CIA controls the corporate mainstream media organs that relentlessly and savagely attack him around the clock, and that many of the individuals that he is glad-handing may well be the very same individuals who are orchestrating the vicious propaganda and ongoing coup attempts directed at him and his presidency?

Was Trump’s fawning speech an admission of surrender, and that he will change nothing except the top leadership (switching out Brennan for Mike Pompeo) because he believes nothing needs to be changed?

What did he mean when he said that the CIA had been “restrained”? In what way is the CIA, which is more powerful and more aggressive today than at any other time in its unsavory history, “restrained”? The magnitude of terrorism, violence, criminality and war has reached unprecedented levels, to the brink of world war. Will the CIA, therefore, be allowed, under Pompeo and Trump, to continue engaging in even more terrorism, false flag operations, regime destabilizations and coups, assassinations, narcotrafficking, financial fraud, corruption, media control and disinformation, and treason—on an even greater “unrestrained” scale? 

Trump openly supports enhanced interrogation and torture, which means he supports methods perfected and utilized by the CIA. To head off political pressure, Trump says he will allow Defense Secretary Mattis, who is against torture, to “overrule” him, and allow Mattis to decide on a case by case basis whether to torture prisoners. Is Trump’s unapologetic enthusiasm for torture an example of what he expects to be among the “unrestrained” abilities and “great things” he wants the CIA to display?

As written by former CIA veteran Victor Marchetti in the classic expose, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, the CIA does not “function primarily as a central clearinghouse and producer of national intelligence for the government”. Its basic mission is “that of clandestine operations, particularly covert action—the secret intervention in the internal affairs of other nations. Nor was the Director of CIA a dominant—or much interested—figure in the direction and management of the intelligence community which he supposedly headed. Rather, his chief concern, like that of most of his predecessors and the agency’s current Director—was in overseeing the CIA’s clandestine activities”.

There is also the management of entrenched CIA businesses, which include looted and laundered trillions in secret bank accounts and shell companies, and the management of a vast network of CIA political assets throughout Washington and in the corporate world. What, if anything, does Trump intend to do, for instance, about the massive CIA enterprise that remains in the control of the Bush/Clinton network, which is bitterly opposed to Trump?

While there may be CIA operatives and employees, including current and former veterans who do not support the criminal operations of the agency, these rank and file operatives have not dictated CIA policy since its creation. These “good guys” are the minority, and their reform and whistleblowing efforts have largely been in vain and met with deadly force.

Is there any sign that that Trump and Pompeo seek to reform the CIA at all, into an institution that answers to its own government? Or do Trump and Pompeo merely seek to somehow co-opt this above-the-law apparatus, retaining its worst elements, towards their own designs (whatever they may be)?

Trump’s “war on terrorism”: waging war with itself?

Trump promises a total war against Islamic terrorism and ISIS.

How does Trump wage a total war against Islamic terrorism when the agency of which he is “the biggest fan”, that he “supports one thousand percent”, is responsible for the creation and ongoing use of Islamic terrorism, as military-intelligence assets for Anglo-American geopolicy? Does Trump realize that the CIA is funding and arming ISIS, Al-Nusra, and Al-Qaeda?

Trump’s “War on Terrorism”: Going After America’s “Intelligence Assets”? 

Does Trump understand that the CIA is responsible for decades of false flag terror operations, including 9/11? (On 9/11, Trump seems to believe a variation of the consensus official narrative blaming outside Islamic terrorists, possibly the Saudis, and George W. Bush for failing to kill Osama bin Laden. Therefore, the CIA is blameless. He holds this view, despite firsthand experience that goes against the official story.)

Does Trump’s total “war on terrorism” include waging war against the vast network of CIA assets that are currently engaged in destabilization operations across the Middle East? What is his plan for the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Al-Nusra—all of which are CIA fronts?

How can the existing networks remain in place without disaster? Will Trump pit officially sanctioned US military forces against the CIA proxies that have been working on orders from the Obama administration?

Will Trump shut down ongoing military and intelligence operations throughout the region? How will he cut off the funding of terrorists (sources which include Washington and the CIA, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel)? What will be done with the hundreds of proprietary cells and CIA-aligned foreign intelligence networks?

Many have compared Trump’s professed anti-establishment goals to President John F. Kennedy’s fatal efforts to take down the Deep State and the CIA. More specifically, if Trump dares dismantle the CIA and the imperial foreign policy that has been in place since the end of the Cold War, he would place himself in the same dangerous position as JFK faced during the Bay of Pigs operation against Cuba. JFK paid with his life for ruining the CIA’s game. Imagine the repercussions for Trump, if he ends the conquest of the Middle East and Central Asia.

The incompetence excuse

It is difficult to predict Trump’s plan based on his rhetoric, which has been consistently inconsistent. According to his website, Trump’s primary issue with the Bush/Cheney/Obama/Clinton/Biden (McCain) Middle East program is that he believes that his predecessors recklessly squandered opportunities and unwittingly or stupidly allowed ISIS to happen. It was correct, in Trump’s view, to go into Afghanistan to avenge 9/11 (which he believes was an act of an outside enemy, not a false flag operation), but wrong to go into Iraq. But, according to Trump, once in Iraq, the US should have taken the oil, prevented the oil from going to ISIS, and done a better job preventing the rise of ISIS.

Similarly, Trump seems to believe that (1) Libya was needlessly destroyed by Clinton and Obama and that Gadhafi could have been removed more surgically, without letting terrorists run wild, and (2) Syria could have been toppled surgically by Obama, who “lacked the courage” to go in. Here also, Trump’s narrative is that mistakes allowed ISIS to spread. Now, however, Syria is too much of a mess and must be cleaned up differently.

The overarching problem, in Trump’s limited view, again is that “mistakes” created power vacuums from which ISIS, unwittingly set loose by Obama/Clinton’s incompetence.

Nowhere in this Trump narrative is there mention of the CIA’s creation and ongoing management of Islamic terrorism—including Al-Qaeda and all fronts of the Islamic State—on behalf of Anglo-American interests around the world. No inkling that Islamic terrorism is, in fact, the key component of American geostrategy.  

If Trump grasps any aspect of these amply documented facts, he has so far shown no signs of it. It is not known if he is naïve, uninformed, selectively biased, or if he has been deluded or manipulated by the many “advisers” that he trusts. Or if he has some plan that has yet to be revealed.

The disinformation ministry to stop itself?

Trump promises to wage war against radical Islam on an ideological and cultural basis. This suggests that Trump and Pompeo wish to counter Muslim extremism with counter-propaganda.

This ignores that fact that the CIA itself is a leading disseminator of radical Islamic thought. The CIA, and its international proxies is behind extremist rhetoric and propaganda, including material broadcasted over the media and the Internet. Trump does not seem to grasp that radical Islam is a symptom and not a cause. And it is merely a tool, and a weapon used to carry out the geopolitical agenda of the (amoral and non-religious) world elite.

The real enemy is not religion, but those who manipulate and distort religion for war purposes. The real enemy, therefore, is again the CIA itself, and its propaganda.

Just as it is foolish to allow the CIA to continue arming, funding and guiding ISIS terrorists in the field while also “fighting” them, it is foolish to have the CIA create anti-extremist propaganda while Langley is still guiding the extremist rhetoric being utilized by the terrorists.

If Trump fails to stop the CIA itself and its entire “war on terrorism”, including its propaganda, he stops nothing.

Trump’s resource warriors

The “war on terrorism” and the conquest of the Grand Chessboard is, in essence, a resource war that has been waged over geography involving oil and gas supplies, and oil and gas distribution routes: pipelines, sea transport, etc. Will Trump continue this, and how?

Trump’s selection of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State is telling as well as ominous. Tillerson’s ExxonMobil has been a major beneficiary of the “war on terrorism”, and a major player in energy deals connected to 9/11 and all subsequent conflict.

Tillerson was executive vice president of ExxonMobil Development Company and oversaw many of the company’s Caspian Sea holdings.

ExxonMobil was one of the members of Dick Cheney’s secret task force, the US National Energy Policy Development Group (NEPDG). As detailed extensively in Mike Ruppert’s Crossing the Rubicon, the NEPDG’s targeting of Middle East and Central Asian energy fields served as a virtual map of the battle for the “war on terrorism” and a central motive behind 9/11.

In addition, according to Ruppert, who detailed the case in “The Elephant in the Living Room” (From the Wilderness 3/30 02), ExxonMobil engaged in bribery. Major bribes totaling $1 billion were paid by ExxonMobil and BP Amoco to Kazakhstan’s then-president Nutsulstan Nazarbayev to secure equity rights in Kazakh oil fields during the 1990s. Dick Cheney, then-CEO of Halliburton was a sitting member of the Kazakh state oil advisory board. The activities of Cheney’s NEPDG as well as the numerous bribery scandals have been aggressively covered up.  

Tillerson must certainly know about all of this. Does Trump? Is this the kind of foreign policy agenda he and his national security team embraces? If so, it is pure globalism of the most rapacious kind.

More questions

Trump wants better relations with Russia. Cooperation between Trump and Putin has temporarily headed off imminent superpower conflict towards World War 3 over Syria. This conflict would have exploded in earnest if Hillary Clinton had won the presidency.

But what do better relations with Russia mean in terms of the geostrategy, and energy? Recall that Russia has been intimately involved with its own vast energy agenda throughout Central Asia and the Middle East. Russia was reluctantly cooperative with the Bush/Cheney administration throughout the Afghanistan and Iraq conquests. Deals were made. Russia could have, but did not, militarily oppose Bush/Cheney.

Is Trump going to revert to something similar, in which he and Tillerson (who has longstanding ties to the heads of state of all nations, including Russia) cut Russia in on deals—-a cooperative superpower “management” of Syria and the rest of the Grand Chessboard?

What are Trump’s plans for Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, etc.?

How will Trump balance the competing interests of Russia and Israel? How will Trump and Pompeo deal with the Mossad?  Israel and Netanyahu have belligerently demanded regime change in both Syria and Iran, and continue to engage in provocative actions to force reactions out of the Syrian and Iranian governments. Trump is staunchly pro-Israel. Given that stance, and his lack of opposition to the Israeli lobby, what are the chances that he will push a policy in Syria that goes directly against the demands of Tel Aviv?

But what are Trump’s views on China’s numerous cooperative deals with Russia throughout the world, including the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, etc.? How will Trump balance warmer relations with Moscow while adopting a more belligerent policy towards Beijing.

A lone voice of reason 

Shortly after his election win, Trump met with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii). Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran, is firmly and boldly against the regime change in Syria. She is a staunch and open critic of the CIA’s direct and indirect arming and funding of all Islamic terrorists and against support of countries that support terrorists. She calls the Syrian conflict an illegal war that must stop.

On January 4, 2017, Gabbard introduced HR 258, the Stop Funding Terrorists Bill, which would “prohibit the use of American government funds to provide assistance to Al-Qaeda, Jabhat, Fatah al-Sham, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and to countries supporting these organizations, and for other purposes”. This bill aims squarely, boldly, at the CIA.

More recently, , Gabbard visited Syria and met with Assad. She has been willing to accept political flak from all sides to change the course of US policy. She has also met with the families of veterans and other American citizens affected by the Syrian conflict.

According to Gabbard, “ my visit to Syria has made it abundantly clear: Our counterproductive regime change war does not serve America’s interest, and it certainly isn’t in the interest of the Syrian people. As I visited with people from across the count and heard heartbreaking stories of how this war has devastated their lives, I was asked, ‘Why is the United States and its allies helping Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups try to take over Syria? Syria did not attack the United States. Al-Qaeda did.’ I had no answer.”

Having met with Gabbard, who may have been considered for a cabinet position at some point, Trump has no excuse: he has been advised by someone with an authoritative point of view that is deeply critical of the CIA and its use of terror proxies.

Does Trump agree or disagree with Gabbard?

To drain or not to drain the CIA swamp

Nothing in his rhetoric suggests that he is against the “war on terrorism”. In fact, he is gung-ho for it, with relish. He simply has his own opinion on how it should be carried out.

It seems highly unlikely that Trump can or will reverse the central geostrategic agenda that has been the cornerstone of imperial policy since the 1970s.

Nor does it seem likely that Trump can or will eradicate the criminal element from the national security apparatus that has stopped all challenges to its primacy since the end of World War II. Langley has not been successfully cleaned up or reformed since its inception. If his fawning words are to be taken at face value, Trump is in love with the CIA and wants the CIA to love him. At the very least, he is going overboard to win them over.

Former CIA operative Robert Steele believes that Trump has already been penetrated by the CIA, and names White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus as a mole. Trump, however, has shown nothing but ardor for Priebus, “his superstar”, since the election. Priebus is not the only figure behind Trump who demands scrutiny. The entire Trump administration is crawling with neocons and “former” neocons. How many of them have ties to Langley? Trump is surrounded by enemies, within his administration as well as outside. He must protect himself from all of these individuals if he is even bothering to identify them.

But because Trump appears unlikely, unwilling, or unable to eradicate the true root of “terrorism”—the CIA itself and all military-intelligence agencies that utilize and control terrorists—the world faces a future of continued zero-sum/endless “anti-terrorism”, as the CIA continues sending terrorists to commit violence and murder, at the same time that the commander-in-chief continues to send the CIA out to go after them, in a surreal and idiotic waste of resources and lives.

Nothing is clear except this:

If Trump does not drain the swamp that is the CIA, he will not end Islamic terrorism, nor dismantle globalism. He will fail to make America great.

If he does not end the “war on terrorism” entirely, humanity itself remains in grave peril.

Reprinted with permission from GlobalResearch.ca.

The post The CIA’s Deep State appeared first on LewRockwell.

Dont’t Say ‘Expectant Mother’

Gio, 02/02/2017 - 07:01

Doctors have been instructed to refer to mothers as “pregnant people” to avoid offending transgenders, according to new guidelines from the British Medical Association.

A newly issued 14-page booklet issued by the British Medical Association (BMA), entitled A Guide to Effective Communication: Inclusive Language in the Workplace, calls on doctors to refrain from using the term “expectant mother,” despite its biological accuracy.

The union’s advice to doctors comes several weeks after reports that Hayden Cross, a 20-year-old British woman transitioning to become a man, put gender reassignment operation on hold to have a baby.

There are no other known cases of a transitioning person becoming pregnant in the United Kingdom, while official figures show approximately 775,000 women give birth in the UK every year.

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Despite the miniscule number of pregnant transgenders, the BMA has insisted doctors stop using the word “mother” when referring to pregnant individuals to “celebrate diversity.”

“A large majority of people that have been pregnant or have given birth identify as women. However, there are some intersex men and trans men who may get pregnant,” the booklet says. “We can include intersex men and trans men who may get pregnant by saying ‘pregnant people’ instead of ‘expectant mothers.’”

The booklet also describes the terms “born male” and “born female” as offensive because they “are reductive and over-simplify a complex subject,” and instructs National Health Service (NHS) doctors to refer to an individual by the gender they were “assigned” at birth.

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Libertarian Populism

Gio, 02/02/2017 - 07:01
The Irrepressible Rothbard Essays of Murray N. Rothbard Edited by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. .


October 1994

American political life has experienced a veritable transformation. As usually happens when we are in the midst of a radical social change, we are barely aware that anything is happening, much less its full scope and dimension. In the words of Bob Dylan taunting the hated bourgeoisie in the 1960s: “You don’t know what’s happening, do you, Mr. Jones?” Except that now the tables have been turned, and “Mr. Jones” is the comfortably ensconced member of the liberal and Beltway elite ruling this country.

The great and inspiring new development is that, for the first time in many a moon, a genuine grassroots right-wing people’s movement is emerging throughout the country. This is a very different story from the Official Conservative and Libertarian movement that we have known all too well for many years: a movement where well-funded periodicals, think tanks, and “public interest” law firms, snugly (and smugly) established mostly inside the Beltway, set down the Line unchallenged for the subservient folks in the hinterlands.

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Funding for these outfits comes mostly from big foundation and corporate donors; the role of the masses “out there” throughout the country is to touch their forelock and kick in with the rest of the dough. Often these Beltway organizations exist only as direct-mail fundraising machines with the usual panel of celebrities on their letterheads; the function of donations is to pay the salaries and to finance the luxurious housing for these institutions.

Those Beltway organizations that are really active conduct indirect lobbying on behalf of gradual, marginal reforms hoping to push Congress or the Executive one centimeter to the right; the more important function, however, is to grant their major donors one of the great prizes of Official Washington: access to leading politicians and bureaucrats.

The published reports of these outfits are mainly designed not to advance The Cause, but to demonstrate to their donors the fact of such access: hence, countless pictures of think-tank executives shaking hands with Senator Dole, Alan Greenspan, or whomever.

The major purpose of the conferences held by these institutions is not to advance the truth or the free market in the public arena, but to demonstrate, once again, to the major donors that they are capable of bringing in Greenspan or Dole to attend their functions.

The stated excuse of these outfits, many of whom still claim abstract devotion to high libertarian or conservative principle, is that the reason for their location inside the Beltway and for devoting their energies to minor and negligible reforms is that this is the only way they can gain respectability in Washington.

But that, of course, is precisely the problem: change the word “respectability” to “access,” and the point becomes all too clear. For a long time, these Washington organizations have not been part of the solution, however gradual or minor; they have been part of the problem: the domination of American life by Washington.

This sort of movement has been necessarily top-down, although many of these outfits like to think of themselves as grassroots: the grassroots Americans, however, live to serve the power elite, and the power elite lives to curry favor and access with Leviathan. That is why Samuel Francis’s metaphor is apt about the Beltway conservative movement meeting inside a phone booth.

But in recent months, something brand new has happened. A grassroots, right-wing populist movement has been springing up all over the country, a movement that has no connection whatever to Official Conservative elites. Having no connection, the Beltway conservatives can have no control over this new right-wing uprising among the people.

Since it is a genuine grassroots movement, it is necessarily fragmented, unsystematic, and a bit chaotic. Also, since the dominant liberal media don’t want to hear about it, and the Official Conservative movement is frightened of it, we hear very little of its activities.

While at this early stage the movement may be confused and inchoate, it has one magnificent quality which gives it great intensity and abiding strength: a deep and bitter hatred of the despotism exerted over us in so many hundreds of ways by the central government: hatred of politicians, of bureaucrats, and of Washington, D.C.

Note that this intense hatred, this reaction, this “backlash” against the drive toward collectivism, is necessarily and totally out of synch with the Beltway strategy of Official Conservative and Big-Government Libertarian organizations. Among the growing ranks of these grassroots rebels, this entire strategy and way of life is anathema. These heartland rebels are close to the spirit, not of blow-dried Beltway think-tankers, but of the patriots of the American Revolution.

They, in contrast even to the Reaganauts, are genuine revolutionaries; they are ready and willing to tell Washington, in no uncertain terms, to buzz off. To these new American rebels, the ability to sip martinis with Bob Dole constitutes a heavy liability, not an asset. To these great people, having “access” to tyrants means that you are aiding and abetting tyrants.

The recent revolutionary activities have been manifold and widespread. Since we lack complete information, none of us knows their full extent. Probably the first task of right-wing populist intellectuals is to find out what is going on, to get an idea of the full extent of this glorious phenomenon.

Some of these activities are as follows: an erupting “county militia” movement, in which, for example, entire counties are sworn-in as part of a militia so that they cleverly come under the rubric of the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms; an associated and extensive civil disobedience by county sheriffs to the hated and despotic Brady bill; a Tenth Amendment movement: for example, both houses of the Colorado legislature have passed a resolution empowering the governor to call out the National Guard to block federal activities that violate the Tenth Amendment. What doesn’t? And there are similar efforts in every other state.

The Committee of the 50 States, a states’ rights group, has been resurrected to push the Ultimatum Resolution, proclaiming the dissolution of the federal government when the national debt reaches 6 trillion. The Committee is headed by the magnificent and venerable J. Bracken Lee, former mayor of Salt Lake City and governor of Utah. Lee, who would now be called a staunch paleo-libertarian, repeatedly through his career called for abolition of the income tax, an end to the Federal Reserve, withdrawal from the United Nations, and the elimination of all foreign aid.

In addition, there are various flourishing separatist and secessionist movements: for example, the desire of southwestern Nebraskans and northwestern Kansans to get out from under the despotic controllers and taxers of their “Eastern” big cities, such as Omaha and Wichita. Staten Island wants to secede from horrible New York City, and Vermont wants out of the U.S.

Southern secessionists are on the march again, in such new organizations as the Southern League and Peaceful Secession, and grassroots anti-immigration groups are booming in California, Texas, Florida, and other states. The growing and increasingly radical land-rights movement, fighting the confiscation of private property by federal agencies in cahoots with environmentalists, is active in the East as well as the West.

Finally, permeating all sectors of this variegated right-wing movement, there is a healthy and intense abhorrence of the Federal Reserve. These heartlanders may not know precisely what they want done in the field of money, but, happily, they are very firm on what they don’t like. In wanting to sweep away the Fed they are right on the mark. Can you imagine what these folks would think of a libertarian outfit that glories in its ability to hobnob with Greenspan?

And that, I think, is the major point of this essay. There has been a radical change in the social and political landscape in this country, and any person who desires the victory of liberty and the defeat of the Leviathan must adjust his strategy accordingly. New times require a rethinking of old and possibly obsolete strategies.

I was always opposed to the marginal reform strategy endemic to the Beltway think tanks. I always thought that any marginal and dubious short-run gains would be earned only at the price of a disastrous long-run abandonment of and therefore defeat for the principles of liberty. But in the America existing before 1994, such a Beltway strategy was at least coherent and arguable.

Now, however, the Beltway strategy is absurd in the short as well as the long run. There is a new mood in America, a lasting change of heart among the conservative masses. As the Marxists used to say, “the masses are in motion,” and our first task is to stay with them and try to help their movement be more systematic.

No longer are the conservative masses content to send checks to the biggies in Washington, who, in return for their donations, will tell them what to think. No longer are they bowing to their betters who can assure them access to the Corridors of Power. Bless them, these heartland rebels don’t want access; they want to sweep the whole Moloch away.

Where does this marvelous and burgeoning new spirit come from? There was an obvious foreshadowing in the anti-politics and anti-Washington mood of 1992. An example is the flawed and incoherent Perot movement, the major virtue of which was not the erratic leader but the spirit of the rank-and-file militants, who were looking for some sort of anti-Washington Change. But that doesn’t go very far in explaining the new mass movement, which is far more right-wing, and far more intensely focused, than anything Perotvian two years ago.

No, it seems clear that the trigger for the emergence of this brand-new movement has been the total loathing welling up in America for President and Mrs. Clinton, their persons, their lives, their Cabinet, their entire rotten crew. In all my life, I have never seen such a widespread and intense hatred for any president, or indeed for any politician.

Unlike attacks on poor Joe McCarthy, this is not a hatred whipped up by the elites. Quite the contrary, the liberal elites are desperately trying to cover for Clinton, and are bewildered and appalled by the entire phenomenon. In a recent column, Thomas Sowell noted the perplexity of the media, and replied, in effect, that the reason the Clintons are widely “perceived” as power-hungry sleazes is because they are power-hungry sleazes.

Thus the movement erupted in reaction to all the objectively loathsome attributes of the Clintons and their associates – the stream of lies, evasions, crookery, sex scandals, and frantic attempts to run all of our lives. But quickly the hatred of the personal attributes of Clinton spilled over to his programs, to his ideology. Thus we had the most powerful “nuclear fusion” in all of politics: the intense blending of the personal and ideological. The growing realization of the socialist tyranny involved in all of Clinton’s programs – a realization that finally cut through the rhetorical fog of the “Mr. New Democrat” – joined with and was greatly multiplied by the loathing for Clinton the man.

During the 1992 elections, some of us worried that a Clinton administration, in addition to being bad for America and for liberty, would also cripple the right-wing movement strategically. For the usual pattern has been that Democratic administrations are “good” for Beltway organizations because the conservative heartland gets scared and pours money into their coffers. In that way a Clinton administration would unfortunately strengthen the conservative and libertarian Beltway elites that have long been dominating and ruining the right-wing movement.

To some extent, this has of course happened; but more important is a new phenomenon that none of us predicted: that Clinton and his crew would be so monstrous, so blatant, so objectively hateful, that it would drive into being from below a new and burgeoning real right-wing movement that hates all of Washington, whether the actual rulers or the Official Conservatives and Libertarians who bend the knee in behalf of access and possible piddling reform.

Given this, what is the proper strategy for liberty? The first thing is for any conservative or free-market group or institution to be principled, radical, and fervently anti-Washington, and to avoid like the plague Beltway-itis, either in form or content. That is, to denounce rather than cultivate the Corridors of Power, and to call for principled and radical change rather than marginal reform, change that is clearly anti-Washington and anti-federal power.

Such proposals and programs should be designed, not for the eyes and ears of Beltway power, but to educate, inspire, and guide the extraordinarily sound instincts of the new grassroots movement. We are entering an era in which, happily, the principled position is evidently the proper strategy. More than ever before, principle and strategy are fused, in behalf of the victory of liberty.

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Super Bowl Stupidity

Gio, 02/02/2017 - 07:01

We’re not in the business of predicting Super Bowl winners, but we can guarantee there will be lots of stupid questions asked of the participants.

The annual Super Bowl tradition known as Media Day—rechristened “Super Bowl Opening Night” this year—has come to represent the NFL at its silliest. It’s the place where a Japanese reporter once asked of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana, “Tell me, why do they call you Boomer?” (Well, they don’t actually. That would be Boomer Esiason, the Cincinnati quarterback.)

It’s where someone asked Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Joe Salave’a, “What’s your relationship with the football?” To which Salave’a said, “I’d say it’s strictly platonic.”

Media Day is where a St. Louis player found himself pondering the grammatical conundrum contained within the question, “Is Ram a noun or a verb?”

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Where Rams’ quarterback Kurt Warner was asked, “Do you believe in voodoo and can I have a lock of your hair?”

Where Denver running back Detron Smith was asked, “What size panties do you think you’d wear?”

And it’s where Downtown Julie Brown, formerly of MTV, asked Dallas running back Emmitt Smith, “What are you going to wear in the game Sunday?”

Asked how he got psyched to play in big games, Buffalo’s great running back Thurman Thomas sniffed, “I read the newspapers and look at all the stupid questions you all ask.”

NOT QUITE AS STUPID

An urban legend grew that Washington quarterback Doug Williams, the first black quarterback to play in the Super Bowl, was asked, “How long have you been a black quarterback?”

That’s not exactly what happened. ESPN.com cleared it up. The reporter knew Williams. He also knew Williams was tired of hearing about race. So the question was more along the lines of, “Doug, obviously you’ve been a black quarterback all along. When did it suddenly become important?”

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The Aristocratic Roots of Liberty

Gio, 02/02/2017 - 07:01
Corruption, lust and greed Define the new nobility Changing the course of history -        The Astonishing, Dream Theater* .

From his book, On Power: The Natural History of its Growth, Bertrand de Jouvenel describes the aristocratic roots of liberty; such roots were ultimately subsumed by a new nobility – one designed to steal liberty away.

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The Old Nobility

I see liberty in our future And it’s one worth fighting for .

Liberty is found among the most ancient groupings of the Indo-European peoples known to us.  It is a subjective right which belongs to those, and to those only, who are capable of defending it….

It was those powerful families, jealous of their independence but assiduous in matters of common import, that gave their tone to libertarian institutions.

Those individuals and families, the ones capable of defending their liberty, formed the aristocratic roots of liberty.

The modern, progressive, thinker would believe of such a society nothing but chaos – anarchy in the worst sense of the world; yet this was not so – and certainly not when compared with the chaos offered with the advent of all men are created equal.

When your time has come And you’re looking toward the light All that really matters Is what you leave behind .

De Jouvenel offers his explanation:

Why is it that the autonomy of individuals wills did not produce what seems to us its natural result?  The answer lies in three words: responsibility, ritual, folkways.

When the man in the mirror Takes a long hard look at me Will the person staring back, be the man I want to be? .

The nobility took their position seriously – they carried the weight of it in every action.  Of these three words, de Jouvenel offers “folkways” as the “essential factor in the ordering of society.”  Citing Ihering:

The era of liberty in its fullest bloom saw also the reign of the sternest rigour in regard to form…. Fixed forms are the school of discipline and order and therefore, of liberty…. The people that places a real value on liberty knows instinctively the value of form; it realizes that it is no external yoke, but the palladium of its liberty.

Call me thick…but freedom isn’t free (and more on this shortly).  There is a form, a culture to be upheld.  This is what was expected of these noble individuals and families.  Being a freeman was not for everyone:

The system of liberty rested entirely in those days on the assumption that men would use their liberty in a certain way.

Reliance was placed on the observable fact that men – men, that is to say, of a certain class – in virtue of acquired characteristics which could be maintained in vigour, behaved for all practical purposes in this particular way.  With them, and for them, the system of liberty was entirely workable.

Freemen are, taken as a body, capable both of ruling others and of agreeing among themselves…. Men of their breed…will never submit to slavery whether from within or without.

These words sound so painful to children of the enlightened age.  These words don’t sound very…libertarian.  Don’t worry, the story doesn’t end here….

He offers the example of the English aristocrats, who extended the right to all; all the while maintaining the aristocratic leadership in politics and society.  Liberty was extended throughout a society with centuries-old safeguards.  He contrasts this to France, where a society of “subjects” fell under an absolutist machine taken into the hands of the people, “taken in mass.”

The Turning

In what de Jouvenel describes as “Caesarism,” he notes that authoritarians such as Louis Napoleon, Bismarck, and Disraeli enlarged the franchise at the same time that property was becoming a closer preserve.  What did he mean?

First: it was necessary that those who were the oldest in liberty (the aristocratic nobles) should lose their moral credit and standing; second: a new class of capitalists should arise, without moral authority but with wealth that significantly separates them from the masses; third: to bring about the union of political strength with social weakness in a large dependent class.

In other words, the politics of the last hundred years, culminating with Hillary Clinton.  Destroy the old nobility; use the masses to defend the new nobility.

We say, for instance: “Liberty is the most precious of all goods,” without noticing everything that this formula implies in the way of social assumptions.

What does this formula imply?  Specifically: “precious goods” can only be afforded by a few, and only after basic wants are met; precious goods are out of reach of the masses.  Per de Jouvenel, liberty should be considered from this point of view.  For the masses, this means…

Liberty is in fact only a secondary need; the primary need is security.

At any time in history, one will find two camps: those feeling insufficiently protected, labeled “securitarians,” and those feeling insufficiently free, labeled “libertarians.”

…the spirit of liberty will be more prevalent where the spirit of men is prouder…. If, then, character is debased by an effeminate education, or if life takes new forms which generate anxiety without the real risks being increased, the proportion of securitarians will go up.

Social Justice Warriors UNITE!  Find your safe spaces. 

And with this sentence, de Jouvenel has just described the reason for the success of one with the strong-willed, masculine character of Trump.

The New Nobility

Need I remind you? I am the ruler here Don’t overlook that fact Swearing allegiance To anyone but me No, I won’t put up with that .

The king, seeing his competition in the aristocratic nobility, decides to promote the unworthy to positions of power:

…his next step is to court an alliance with the inferior classes; but what is emphasized here is that it is to the more vigorous elements of these classes that he goes for support, to those whose station in life is out of relation to their energies.

In this way, Power encroaches on and reduces the competing authority of the aristocratic nobility.

This seems to be almost the flip sides of Hayek’s views on why the worst get on top.  Where Hayek sees the most unscrupulous attracted to Power, de Jouvenel offers that Power seeks out the most unscrupulous, the ones who will do anything to continue in an existence well above their natural station.

A second method is to break the ties between the aristocratic nobility and their dependents.  While this means some measure of liberty to the dependent, it is a liberty that only a securitatian can enjoy; it is an easy, yet false, liberty as the securitarian is now dependent on Power; it is a liberty that requires no effort to win – and it is valued accordingly.

Third is the invasion of the higher classes by these newly raised nobles – the new nobility who owe their station to Power.  They replace the aristocratic nobility, but with none of the same characteristics, none of the same qualities used to achieve this station.  Instead of the freeman of the old nobility, the new noble knows he is a slave.  He cannot oppose Power – there is none left with power to oppose Power.

If the purpose of a nobility that enjoys a large measure of liberty is to prevent abuses, this new nobility, a securitarian aristocracy, has completely failed the people at large.

Ignorant and stubborn You have no respect Not just for your flesh and blood But all who you protect .

…it is not surprising that [the new nobility] has aroused more anger and hatred.  For men put up with any masters who show themselves brave and self-disciplined.

But this cannot describe the new nobility:

Every method of shaking off risks came alike to the new aristocracy.

This is why we are angry; this is why we hate them.

Conclusion

Like your father once said Life is not what you’re given It is how you decide to live On the path you have chosen .

Sadly, de Jouvenel paints very well the picture of our world.  Today’s aristocrats have not achieved position by honor and leadership; they have achieved position by guile and political favor.  They do not work to protect liberty; instead they work to protect their station.

One can suggest that we need neither the aristocratic noble nor the securitarian noble.  I will disagree.  There will be no vacuum.  There will always be someone in charge around here; there will always be some form law.

The best someone is the one who arises naturally, based on family and kin; the best law is the one to be found in the old and good law.  This was the case through much of the Germanic Middle Ages.  This was a time when more men had more real liberty – liberty earned and kept.

Today we have nobles who bear none of these characteristics.  There is nothing noble about them.

—————————-

*all italicized lyrics from the same album…CD…MP3.., oh, whatever.  And if you appreciate progressive rock, with all of its time signature changes and discordant chord progressions…well, this one is for you.

Reprinted with permission from Bionic Mosquito.

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Declining Sports, Declining Society

Gio, 02/02/2017 - 07:01

In May 2015, U.S. federal prosecutors filed criminal indictments against fourteen FIFA employees and associates in connection with an investigation by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) into wire fraud, racketeering, and money laundering which was all centered around bribery. Then 16 more officials were indicted in December 2015. We also see that Super Bowl viewership peaked in 2015 at 115 million and has begun to decline from a major 26-year high. Last year, Super Bowl viewership fell to 111 million, which is actually the Bearish Reversal. So if 2017 comes in under 111 million, this will confirm sports have begun a bear market. This is yet another parallel with the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.

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Gaius Appuleius Diocles was the highest paid athlete in Roman history. His earnings were legendary and were derived from earnings, not sponsorships. His career as a charioteer lasted 24 years. He is believed to have been born in 104 AD, began racing at the age of 18, and retired at about 42 (around 146 AD). Diocles may have retired during the reign of Antoninus Pius (138 – 161 AD). The Roman Empire peaked with Antoninus’ successor, Marcus Aurelius (161-180 AD), which was 34 years from Diocles retirement. Sports began to decline.

Indeed, Marcus Aurelius was succeeded by his son Commodus (sole rule: 180-192 AD). Commodus made appearances in gladiatorial combats. Commodus would appear naked in these gladiatorial combats, which resulted in a collapse in confidence and a huge public scandal. This resulted in rumors that he was actually the son of a gladiator whom his mother, Faustina, probably took as some lover at the coastal resort of Caieta. Commodus always won since his opponents always submitted to the emperor and were spared. He charged Rome 1 million sesterces for his contests, no doubt trying to top Diocles’ earnings. Sports in Rome began to decline from 180 AD onward, as did the population of Rome itself. People began to migrate out of the city when Commodus began to rule by himself. If we add 34 years to 2015, that brings us to 17.2 years from 2032. Very interesting indeed.

Diocles won 1,462 races out of 4,257 and placed second in 1,438 races. Diocles is one of the best-documented ancient athletes in history. He was the start of the Roman Circus Maximus, and you can still see the track to this day.

The 1910-1915 translation of Latin pānis et circēnsēs is the source of remark by the Roman satirist Juvenal on the Limited desires of the Roman populace:

“Two things only the people anxiously desire — bread and circuses.”

During his 24-year career, Dicoles is said to have earned 35,863,120 sesterces in prize money according to Professor Peter Struck. Records from Pompeii show a slave being sold at auction for 6,252 sestertii in 79 AD. A writing tablet from Londinium (Roman London), dated to c. 75–125 AD, records the sale of a Gallic slave girl called Fortunata for 600 denarii, or 2,400 Sestertii, who must have been quite beautiful. We can take a Private First Class in the US army today and see he earns $24,984.00 annually. However, food and lodging are included. During the 1st century AD, the ordinary legionary soldier was paid 900 sestertii per annum, rising to 1200 under Domitian (81-96 AD). This was the equivalent of 3.3 sestertii per day, of which half of this was deducted for living costs. That means the net salary for a soldier was about 1.65 sestertii per day. Therefore, his net pay for taking home would have been 429 sestertii annually. That means, Dicoles earned for his 24 career what would have taken a more solid 83,597 years. If we then compare that to the net take-home pay of a US soldier, Dicoles earned $2,088,587,855 for his 24-year career or $87,024,493 per year. The top athlete in 2016, Cristiano Ronaldo, won a contract for $88 million. Of course, he would never earn that for 24 years.

Gaius Appuleius Diocles was born in approximately 104 AD in Lamecum, the capital city of Lusitania, the province of Emerita Augusta in modern-day Portugal. His father owned a transport business so the family was upper-middle-class. Diocles began racing at the age of 18 in Ilerda, which is Catalonia today. His skills were great and he was recruited to race in Rome. There he began racing for the White team. Being a skilled charioteer, Diocles was recruited then by the Green team at age 24. However, he then transferred to the Red Team at age 27, which was the second best team, and he quickly advanced their prestige. It was Diocles who perfected chariot racing with the strategy of holding back his horses to conserve their energy and then making the strategic play of coming from behind to cross the finish line at the last moment. When he raced, Diocles was the featured event that drew in the crowds. Pictured here is a token costing 5, which was needed to enter the races, which was equal to a little more than one sestertius since 4 copper asses equaled one sestertius.

So it would appear that the Sports Cycle is indeed a leading indicator of the decline and fall of an empire. The year 2015 saw FIFA peak, the Super Bowl peak, and even Tiger Woods peaked in golf. Yogi Berra died in 2015 followed by Muhammad Ali, and Arnold Palmer died in 2016. The year 2015 was the peak on our Economic Confidence Model for the government. Will it too completely collapse in 34 years? This will be very interesting, to say the least.

Reprinted from Armstrong Economics.

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Ron Paul: 2nd Financial Bubble To Burst Soon

Mer, 01/02/2017 - 07:01

By all appearances notes SHTFPlan.com’s Mac Slavo, President Trump is doing his damnedest to turn around the economy, revitalize jobs and bring back prosperity. But the larger trends are already in place; the cycle is turning, and the bust cannot be put off forever.

Federal Reserve policy has literally set the country up for collapse, and though the central bank has been very creative in making the impossible work, and putting off disaster, nothing can hold back the flood forever.

Unfortunately, it looks like Trump may be blamed for a financial crisis that he didn’t cause. Analysts, including notably Brandon Smith, may be correct in pinpointing the attempt to use the new and highly controversial president as a scapegoat for the dirty work of the bankers.

The conditions are there, and the consequences were built in when the bubble was still being pumped up. Someday it will burst. When, how, and how bad remains to be seen.

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Ron Paul: Economic Collapse Imminent – Trump will Get the Blame Instead of the FED

Authored by Jack Burns via The Free Thought Project blog,

If former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) is correct, an Economic Doomsday is here. The second financial bubble is going to soon burst, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. That’s because, as Paul stated, the Federal Reserve has set up the American economy for financial collapse for printing trillions of dollars back in 2008 and 2009.

“The Federal Reserve’s policies of printing trillions of dollars back in ’08-09 have locked into place a serious financial crisis at some point in our future,” Paul stated. Going so far as to intimate the financial collapse will occur at least some time in the next two years Paul wrote, “It’s unavoidable, and even Donald Trump can’t stop it.”

Paul said Trump will be the patsy for the supposed impending financial ruin. Just like everyone blamed Obama for the financial collapse in 2009, this time, “Trump will unfairly get the blame,” the former Texas representative wrote. Paul bases his comments on reports he says he’s read which concludes that within the next 18-24 months, the collapse will happen.

The former congressman further explained he’s still holding out hope for Trump to make changes which can help to protect America’s future, but pointed out some of Trump’s staff has direct connections to Wall Street. He’s also concerned Trump’s war against radical Islam is a war Trump cannot win because it’s a war against an ideology, much like America’s failed attempt at defeating communism.

Paul believes Trump’s moving in the right direction to protect America’s interests by canceling America’s involvement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement with Asia. Paul also hopes Trump will pull American troops out of the at least 7 countries in which it is currently deployed and engaged in military conflict. “I say just come home,” Paul said when addressing having our military presence overseas. “Just get out of there and let the local people sort (the conflict) this out,” Paul said in response to how America should deal with hot spots like the Ukraine and Syria.

Paul believes the former administration’s posturing and threatening of China was misguided and stated we’d be better of trading goods with China, and all of Asia, rather than trading threats. However, as the Free Thought Project pointed out, Trump is already carrying on this dangerous posture — and China is responding.

Paul warns there’s going to be an acceleration of black ops operations by the CIA and Special Forces missions such as the joint special operations command (JSOC) which, as The Free Thought Project has reported, answers directly to the President of the United States.

Paul, who has never supported Trump is concerned about Trump’s ego, wondering if he’s going to act on his impulses to go after the ideology of radical Islam. Paul reminded his viewers that the way to create more jihadists is to keep on provoking the moderate Muslims into becoming radicalized by reacting to U.S. military actions overseas — the exact same thing Trump is doing right now.

Paul praised President Obama’s actions to normalize relations with Cuba and he hopes that with all of the policy decisions the Trump administration is making, that Trump will maintain the policy Obama implemented with Cuba and continue to keep the negotiations open with our closest Southern Caribbean neighbor.

Paul noted that he thinks U.S. policy has created a “failed system” in the country. “All empires end and we’re the empire. It’s going to end and it’s going to be for economic reasons…we’re going to fail because we’re working within a failed system…this is a monetary problem…a spending problem…it’s going to be financial,” Paul emphatically claimed, once again stating the collapse of America is imminent. “We have something arriving worse than 2008, 2009, much worse…It was the fault of the Federal Reserve,” Paul said, adding, the Keynesian economic model contributed greatly to the first bubble burst. Paul said the left will blame Trump for it like the right did to Obama, but he says it’s bigger than the office of the president, and blames the federal reserve and the previous 17 years of governmental spending.

If you think Ron Paul’s comments hold no water, think again. As the Free Thought Project reported last year, even the former chairmen of the Federal Reserve is predicting this crisis.

We are in very early days of a crisis which has got a way to go,” asserted Alan Greenspan to Bloomberg last year. “This is the worst period, I recall since I’ve been in public service. There’s nothing like it, including the crisis — remember October 19th, 1987, when the Dow went down by a record amount 23 percent? That I thought was the bottom of all potential problems. This has a corrosive effect that will not go away. I’d love to find something positive to say…..I don’t know how it’s going to resolve, but there’s going to be a crisis.”

When the man who used to run the very central bank Ron Paul says is responsible for the collapse, also says there’s going to be a collapse – it’s time to pay attention.

*  *  *

Full interview:

Reprinted with permission from Zero Hedge.

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Off and Running

Mer, 01/02/2017 - 07:01
1. Unveiling the Antarctic Mysteries And exposing the cover-up. Article by Joachim Hagopian. . 2. Trump Is the Perfect President For leftists and libertarians, conservatives and everyone, says Karen Kwiatkowski. . 3. Let the Battle Begin Gary North on Trump’s inaugural address. . 4. Your Blood Pressure Numbers Check the chart to see the healthy readings for your age and sex.  . 5. She’s Baack Judge Napolitano on crooked Hillary. . 6. Obama Slaps Hillary At his final press conference. . 7. Break Up the US It’s too big and dangerous, says Lew Rockwell. . 8. Scary Predictions Jim Quinn on the 2017 crisis-era of the 4th Turning. . 9. Doctor in Italy Quells Parkinson’s Disease With overlooked vitamin cure. Article by Bill Sardi. . 10. Top 10 Political Myths Gavin McInnes on what the MSM won’t tell you about Trump. .

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The Left Is Self-Destructing

Mer, 01/02/2017 - 07:01

The mindlessness is unbearable. Amnesty International tells us that we must “fight the Muslim ban” because Trump’s bigotry is wrecking lives. Anthony Dimaggio at CounterPunch says Trump should be impeached because his Islamophobia is a threat to the Constitution. This is not to single out these two as the mindlessness is everywhere among those whose worldview is defined by Identity Politics.

One might think that Amnesty International should be fighting against the Bush/Cheney/Obama regime wars that have produced the refugees by killing and displacing millions of Muslims. For example, the ongoing war that Obama inflicted on Yemen results in the death of one Yemeni child every 10 minutes, according to UNICEF. Where is Amnesty International?

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Clearly America’s wars on Muslims wreck far more lives than Trump’s ban on immigrants. Why the focus on an immigration ban and not on wars that produce refugees? Is it because Obama is responsible for war and Trump for the ban? Is the liberal/progressive/left projecting Obama’s monstrous crimes onto Trump? Is it that we must hate Trump and not Obama?

Immigration is not a right protected by the US Constitution. Where was Dimaggio when in the name of “the war on terror” the Bush/Obama regime destroyed the civil liberties guaranteed by the US Constitution? If Dimaggio is an American citizen, he should try immigrating to the UK, Germany, or France and see how far he gets.

The easiest and surest way for the Trump administration to stop the refugee problem, not only for the US but also for Europe and the West in general, is to stop the wars against Muslim countries that his predecessors started. The enormous sums of money squandered on gratuitous wars could instead be given to the countries that the US and NATO have destroyed. The simplest way to end the refugee problem is to stop producing refugees. This should be the focus of Trump, Amnesty, and Dimaggio.

Is everyone too busy hating to do anything sensible?

It is very disturbing that the liberal/progressive/left prefers to oppose Trump than to oppose war. Indeed, they want a war on Trump. How does this differ from the Bush/Obama war on Muslims?

The liberal/progressive/left is demonstrating a mindless hatred of the American people and the President that the people chose. This mindless hatred can achieve nothing but the discrediting of an alternative voice and the opening of the future to the least attractive elements of the right-wing.

The liberal/progressive/left will end up discrediting all critics, thereby empowering those to whom the liberal/progressive/left are most opposed.

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Why Hillary Lost and Trump Won

Mer, 01/02/2017 - 07:01

This is an important book written by Roger Stone — a seasoned (famous/infamous) political operative and a long-time trusted Trump adviser. If you want to understand how Trump thinks, how he calculates politically, you MUST read ROGER STONE’s book. MAKING OF THE PRESIDENT 2016 is also very entertaining — Roger Stone relates his time with Trump over decades, recalling conversations and previous Trump presidential campaigns — even how one day he saved Donald Trump’s life.

Stone gives you an INSIDER’S VIEW of Trump’s campaign — from Trump’s announcement of his candidacy until election night 2016, when Trump finally achieved the presidency he has sought since the 1990s. The book also presents a brilliant analysis of Hillary Clinton and her campaign, and the “Silent Majority” ignored by Hollywood and the mainstream media elites in LA and NYC that elected Trump. If you want to understand why and how HILLARY LOST, the strategy Stone implemented DAY ONE to get Trump into the White House.

The truth is Roger Stone never quit supporting Trump — even when he officially left the campaign. Handing the position of campaign manager to others, Stone strategically positioned himself as “an outsider,” much as Trump positioned himself as an “outsider.” Stone calculated the move to give him more leverage over the media — while remaining in constant touch with Trump and key officers in Trump’s campaign — including Paul Manafort — Stone’s long-time political consulting partner.

Using the MAKING OF THE PRESIDENT format Theodore H. White made famous, STONE takes the reader through the campaign — from the primaries, through the presidential debates, and the closing rallies — weaving a chronological commentary peppered with insightful insights. I truly enjoyed this book and I recommend it to you enthusiastically. If you want to understand modern presidential politics, I strongly urge you to read Roger Stone’s MAKING OF THE PRESIDENT 2016.

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Reprinted from Amazon.com.

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The Color Revolution in the US

Mer, 01/02/2017 - 07:01

A Russian joke goes like this: “Question: why can there be no color revolution in the United States? Answer: because there are no US Embassies in the United States.

Funny, maybe, but factually wrong: I believe that a color revolution is being attempted in the USA right now.

Politico seems to feel the same way. See their recent cover:

While I did predict that “The USA is about to face the worst crisis in its history” as far back as October of last year, a month before the elections, I have to admit that I am surprised and amazed at the magnitude of the struggle which we see taking place before our eyes. It is now clear that the Neocons did declare war on Trump and some, like Paul Craig Roberts, believe that Trump has now returned them the favor. I sure hope that he is right.

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Let’s look at one telling example:

US intelligence agencies are now investigating their own boss! Yes, according to recent reports, the FBI, CIA, National Security Agency and Treasury Department are now investigating the telephone conversations between General Flynn and the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyk. According to Wikipedia, General Flynn is the former

  • Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency
  • Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance
  • Chair of the Military Intelligence Board
  • Assistant Director of National Intelligence
  • A senior intelligence officer for the Joint Special Operations Command.

He is also Trump’s National Security Advisor. In other words, his security clearance is stratospherically high and he will soon become the boss of all the US intelligence services. And yet, these very same intelligence services are investigating him for his contacts with the Russian Ambassador. That is absolutely amazing. Even in the bad old Soviet Union, the putatively almighty KGB did not have the right to investigate a member of the Communist Party Central Committee without a special authorization of the Politburo (a big mistake, in my opinion, but never mind that). That roughly means that the top 500 members of the Soviet state could not be investigated by the KGB at all. Furthermore, such was the subordination of the KGB to the Party that for common criminal matters the KGB was barred from investigating any member of the entire Soviet Nomenklatura, roughly 3 million people (and even bigger mistake!).

But in the case of Flynn, several US security agencies can decide to investigate a man who by all standards ought to be considered at least in the top 5 US officials and who clearly has the trust of the new President. And that does not elicit any outrage, apparently.

By the same logic, the three letter agencies might as well investigate Trump for his telephone conversations with Vladimir Putin.

Which, come to think of it, they might well do it soon…

This is all absolutely crazy because this is evidence that the US intelligence community has gone rogue and is now taking its orders from the Neocons and their deep state and not from the President and that these agencies are now acting against the interests of the new President.

In the meantime, the Soros crowd has already chosen a color: pink. We now are witnessing the “pussyhat revolution” as explained on this website. And if you think that this is just a small fringe of lunatic feminists, you would be quite wrong. For the truly lunatic feminists the “subtle” hint about their “pussyhat revolution” is too subtle, so they prefer making their statement less ambiguous as the image on the right shows.

This would all be rather funny, in a nauseating way I suppose, if it wasn’t for the fact that the media, Congress and Hollywood are fully behind this “100 days of Resistance to Trump” which began by a, quote, “queer dance party” at Mike Pence’s house.

This would be rather hilarious, if it was not for all gravitas with which the corporate media is treating these otherwise rather pathetic “protests”.

Read the Whole Article

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Gold!

Mer, 01/02/2017 - 07:01

Entrepreneurship is a hot new study area in academia, with devotees of the Austrian school Peter Klein and his student  Per Byland extending the work of Ludwig von Mises, Israel Kirzner, and Murray Rothbard.

I’ve told Professor Klein that I have my doubts about the teaching of entrepreneurship. I’ve known, done business with, been partners with, and now work for an entrepreneur. None of them on a day-to-day basis seem necessarily alert or searching for discrepancies. They just wake up every day wanting to “hit a lick.”

Academics have time for theoretical cogitation, for instance, arguing that entrepreneurship is Kirzner’salertness as the fundamental quality of the entrepreneur. Alertness is the entrepreneur’s ability to perceive new economic opportunities that no prior economic actor has yet recognized,” or Rothbard’s “The capitalist-entrepreneur buys factors or factor services in the present; his product must be sold in the future. He is always on the alert, then, for discrepancies, for areas where he can earn more than the going rate of interest.”

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Entrepreneurs, in the words of Kenny Wells, wake up every day believing it will be their day. In the new movie “Gold,” Wells (Matthew McConaughey) says “It was April, ’88. I’d lost my house. I lost everything. I was on the balls of my ass, scrambling. Most people would have been dead, but not me. I had a dream. Gold. Just haven’t found it yet.”

The make-up artist for “Gold” did the impossible, making McConaughey look much less than god-like. He’s a pot-bellied chain smoking drunk, with a receding hairline and snaggle tooth.  The exuberant Wells grows up in the mining business in Reno, Nevada and explains mining in the simplest way in an early scene to girlfriend Kay (Bryce Dallas Howard) by fishing around in her purse (his arm is the drill) and pulling out nickels and dimes.

Later, as his company struggles to survive, Wells rifles through Kay’s drawers and hocks enough jewelry to buy a plane ticket to see geologist Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramirez) who is also down on his luck but claims to know where the largest gold deposit in the world is. Acosta drags the Wells into the jungle and sells him on the “ring of fire” story.

Those of us who invest in penny mining shares smile and nod as the two look out into the jungle and imagine hitting the motherlode. We’ve heard these stories dozens of times. Then, all of our losers come to mind when we see Kenny’s drunk salesmen, in a Reno bar, working over investors on the phone to buy shares in what amounts to be nothing but blue sky.

“Gold” is loosely based on Bre-X Minerals, a Calgary company that fabricated the largest mining fraud in Canadian history from the jungle of Borneo. The hoax cost 40,000 investors three billion dollars, but as the Calgary Herald reports, “a decade after the gold dust turned to ashes, locals still believe buried treasure lies beneath the jungle — and they are eager to prove it.”   Golden dreams die hard.

Building a gold mine costs hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s the best example of what Austrian economists call a higher order capital good.  Kenny is ignored by brokerage houses, nearly dies of malaria, but is enough of a believer to hand Acosta two credit cards with a couple thousand dollars in available credit to keep the operation going.

Watching a native pan for gold in the river gives Acosta the idea to “salt” the drill core samples. Suddenly, a mine, and the money to finance it appear and Wall Street Jackals have their hands out to fund the “drunken raccoon that somehow got hold of the Hope diamond.”

What happens (hopefully) to small prospectors who find gold and their shareholders is a large mining company buys them out. Such a wealthy suitor comes along offering to make Wells and Acosta rich, approaching a naked Wells outside a steaming hot tub. Unable to untangle himself from his hubris, Kenny declines the offer and suddenly the riches turn to FBI interviews with friends and neighbors wanting to know where their money went.

Critics are not wild for this movie and neither are audiences. Rotten Tomatoes scores the film 38% with an audience score of 50%.  However, few critics are entrepreneurs or have been millionaires one day and have it vanish the next. The film is especially poignant to those with this kind of experience.

The real Michael Acosta was (or is) Michael de Guzman. He was a geologist with four wives and nine children scattered across southeast Asia. He’d have had a fifth if a certain stripper in Toronto had said yes. Ironically, de Guzman did a rendition of Paul Anka’s “My Way” at a karaoke bar the night before climbing aboard a helicopter to fly to the Busang site to explain to representatives of joint venture partner Freeport McMoran why there was no gold in their drill bits.  Before he got there, he lept (or was pushed) into the jungle below. His body wasn’t located for days and when found was decomposed beyond recognition.

Michael de Guzman hasn’t been seen since. But a few people believe he is alive and living off the proceeds of Bre-X shares he sold. “I don’t think there is anyone in this town who believes he’s dead,” says John McBeth, a reporter in Jakarta.

It’s quite possible that the truth is stranger than the fiction.

In the end, it is as Mises described in Human Action,  “In order to succeed in business a man does not need a degree from a school of business administration. These schools train the subalterns for routine jobs. They certainly do not train entrepreneurs. An entrepreneur cannot be trained. A man becomes an entrepreneur by seizing an opportunity and filling the gap. No special education is required for such a display of keen judgment, foresight, and energy.”

Accepting an award for prospecting, at the time, a high-flying Kenny Wells, said, with a faraway look in his eye, a prospector is someone who holds “the belief it’s out there.” Most days it’s not, he says.  But they never give up trying. Thankfully, prospectors and entrepreneurs never do.

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Greens Messing With Your Car

Mer, 01/02/2017 - 07:01

We had a caller to the radio show last weekend wanting to know if he could purchase a car these days without start/stop technology.  He was concerned about the long-term affect on a car’s engine.  As I explained, the technology is still so new, it is hard to say whether it will cause problems or not, but I have had the same concerns.

How They Work

If you are not familiar with this system, simply put, when you come to a stop, like a red light, the engine shuts down, but essential other components continue to run, like the air conditioning system, power steering, brakes, sound system, etc.  When you take your foot off the brake to press the gas pedal the engine restarts and you go on your merry way.  In a vehicle with a manual transmission, the system operates from the clutch pedal instead of the brake.

Fuel Economy

Why are the most advertised Gold and Silver coins NOT the best way to invest?

Automakers and the engineering community say start/stop technology improves fuel economy by 5 to 10 percent, although I am not confident in their findings.  There would have to be some amount of gas savings while your vehicle is not idling, and there would be fewer emissions coming out of your tailpipe.

System Mechanics

To put your mind at ease about the mechanics of the start/stop system, vehicles that have the system have heavy-duty starters, and they have larger batteries, which are essential since all the accessories are running strictly on the battery when the engine stops.

History

Although start/stop systems are fairly new to cars in the United States, it was Volkswagen who debuted it in Europe in 1983.  About 10 years ago, Mazda announced a similar system that did not engage and disengage the starter, but it never really came to fruition and proved to be unreliable.

Real-World Driving

So what are the real-world driving characteristics of this technology?  I can tell you that for me, it drives me crazy, especially in heavy traffic.  I drive over 100 new cars per year, and for the past year or so, most of the vehicles I drive and review do have the start/stop system.  Some automakers, like Ford, have committed to putting it in every vehicle they produce.    

One observation I have noticed is that the smaller the engine, the more seamless the feel of the engine turning on and off.  With larger engines, you tend to feel the system more.  I’ve been in cars that the engine noise going on and off is quite loud, and you actually strongly feel a vibration every time the engine cranks again.  I always note in my car reviews when the system really bugs me.

Another downside I have experienced in some vehicles is when the outside temperature is high, the air conditioning system does not work nearly as well with the engine stops.  A long traffic light can make the interior temperature uncomfortable.  With some vehicles, when the outside temperature is hot, there is no difference in the air conditioner’s output, so if you are in a hot weather area, this is something you would want to pay attention to when test-driving.

Disengaging Stop-Start

Here is the good news:  almost every vehicle I drive that has start/stop also has a switch to turn the system off.  If you are like me and don’t like this technology, you can turn it off.  The bad news is that in almost all cases, you have to disengage the system every time you start your vehicle.

In my personal case, my Range Rover has the start/stop system and over time, I have gotten used to hitting the start button to crank the engine, then I immediately hit the button to turn off the start/stop system.

Right now, with low gas prices, this technology will save most people, on average, less than $50 per year, so you have to make up your mind on whether you choose to use start/stop or not.  If it turns out that this technology causes starter failures at a greater rate, there will be no savings.

Final Thoughts

As I told the caller on the air, I wouldn’t let start/stop be a deal breaker if the car you want has it, but be aware of it when car shopping and test-driving your next new vehicle.  If the car you are considering has the system, and you don’t like it, make sure it can easily be turned off.

Reprinted from Car Pro.

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