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Aggiornato: 3 anni 13 settimane fa

The EU Is Doomed

Lun, 30/01/2017 - 07:01

The more I see of the Donald Trump administration, the more I like its style.

Here’s a perfect example – in which Trump’s prospective new Ambassador to the European Union, Ted Malloch, tells it like it is in an interview with Andrew Neil on the BBC’s Daily Politics show.

Neil asked Malloch why on earth he’d want to be Ambassador to the EU.

AN: I mean you’re clearly not a great fan of Brussels or these bureaucrats like Juncker.

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TM: Well, I had in a previous year a diplomatic post where I helped to bring down the Soviet Union, so maybe there’s another union that needs a little taming.

Later, Neil asked Malloch what he thought of the President of the EU Commission.[amazon template=*lrc ad (right)&asin=1510726926

AN: What do you think of Mr Juncker?

TM: Well Mr Juncker was a very adequate mayor of some city in Luxembourg and maybe he should go back and do that again.

Neil laughed like a man who couldn’t believe his luck. Politicians are hardly ever this frank on TV politics shows. Diplomats even less so because supposedly it’s their job to be discreet, smooth things over, not ruffle feathers. As for the EU – no one of influence, with the exception of Nigel Farage, has ever talked about it so disparagingly on television.

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Parents and Taxpayers Looted

Lun, 30/01/2017 - 07:01

This spring, Ohio State University will launch a new course entitled “Crossing Identity Boundaries” which will empower America’s precious snowflakes with all of the tools they need to detect microaggressions and become “self-aware” of their inherent “white privilege.”  Unfortunately, this isn’t a joke.

According to the class homepage, at the end of the course, students should be able to “identify micro-aggressions within their daily lives and within society as a whole” and “identify ways in which they can challenge or address systems of power and privilege.”

Moreover, although it seems a little off topic for this particular course, students will also apparently be taught whether or not it’s appropriate for guys to always pay on a date.  And even though it’s not explicitly addressed on the course syllabus, we presume it’s a given that such a question would only be asked after determining one’s preferred pronoun because otherwise, we’re just not sure how young people would go about confirming they’re actually on a date with a “guy.”  It’s also very unclear whether the mere discussion of stereotypical gender roles, like who should pay for a date, might be a “micro-aggression” in and of itself…dicey territory for sure.

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For those of you who may want to do some personal, private study, here is a list of a couple of books/articles from the course’s required reading list:

  • Waking up White: What it means to accept your legacy, for better and worse
  • White privilege: unpacking the invisible knapsack
  • Here’s the perfect explanation for why White people need to stop saying #AllLivesMatter
  • 3 examples of everyday cissexism
  • The science behind why people fear refugees
  • Creating identity-safe spaces on college campuses for Muslim students
  • Christian privilege: Breaking a sacred taboo

Meanwhile, per College Fix, homework assignments include, among other things, taking two “implicit bias tests” and finding at least 12 example of micro-aggressions on social media.

Taking the course, offered through the Department of Educational Studies, is one way students can fulfill the university’s mandatory diversity requirement, and many sections are offered throughout the school year.

Part of the homework includes taking two “implicit bias tests,” and writing journals on prompts such as “power/privilege in your life” or calling on Christians to write about what it might feel like to be Muslim, or males on what it’s like to be female, and “reflecting on how this new identity would have impacted your day.”

One big part of the class is a microaggressions group presentation and reflective paper.

The assignment, according to a syllabus, calls on students to “find at least 12 examples of microaggressions using at least 3 different types of social media (e.g., Yik Yak, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest). Explain who the target of the microaggression is and why your group believes it is an example of a negative remark. Provide an example of how you might respond to such a comment.”

The assignment’s goal is for students to “evaluate the impact that power and privilege have within social media,” a syllabus states. Students are graded on the “quality of microaggresion chosen (do they clearly articulate why they are microaggressions and which group is targeted” and “quality of response (did they address the microaggression in an appropriate and meaningful way?)”

Amazingly, American parents can get all of this for the bargain basement price of just $44,784 per year.  Just an amazing value.

Reprinted with permission from Zero Hedge.

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Trump Is the Perfect President

Lun, 30/01/2017 - 07:01

A river of angst and anger is roaring, gushing, and flooding the country.

Trump’s psychological state, ability, intelligence, actions and intentions, impact and ramifications — suddenly everyone is wide awake and nervous.

Trump’s consistencies and inconsistencies are equally frightening, his exercise of power as the “most powerful man in the world” seem insane in so many ways.

Like Captain Renault in a Casa Blanca gambling hall, I am shocked – shocked – to find that the exercise of state power is dangerous, evil, unfair, unlimited, and served up without finesse or human decency!

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Democrats and Republicans for decades eagerly created a massive currency printing debt-slave funded government, with a massive and terrible foreign policy.   They promoted an arrogant self-congratulatory exceptionalism, whether based on lies about how much they cared about human rights (they never did) or how much they cared about liberty (they cannot even spell the word).  Every president has served as a co-conspirator against the Republic, either as power addicts or puppets of power addicts who with dedication and commitment chipped and hacked away at the Constitution.

The politically active, ignorant government believers in this country have all worked hard to create the very problems of the state with which Trump is now saddled and accused.

I celebrate the Trump presidency as a wake-up call for the lying hypocrites who have created the government we now have.

Hypocrites like red “independent” states that are net takers on federal tax and redistribution schemes.

Human rights, equality and environmental advocates who have for decades tolerated and promoted a foreign policy that confidently destroys human rights, equality, and the environment.

Large swathes of angry people who know no history, learn through flashed headlines and images, doped up on government approved and subsidized prescription drugs and infotainment have come alive in their frustration. A country that suffers a general malaise of narcissism now points a shaking finger at a president rushing ignorant narcissistic tweets.  J’accuse!

Erstwhile freedom advocates suddenly fearful of an actual secession and planning for a nice civil war to prevent the collapse of the empire they love.

America is now led by the best it can produce, the best it can elect.

And yet, Trump is unique in that he is fulfilling campaign promises, using executive power to shrink and reverse legislation, and for the first time in my lifetime, appointing actual people to the various posts of government, based on their passions and skills, or better yet, their past criticism of this or that agency.

This alone is unusual, experimental, and fresh.  Bureaucracies don’t reform themselves.   Lack of competition for what government does (beyond the fundamentals of federalism) leads to a well-fed lethargy and the clustering of wealthy counties surrounding the district.  Lazy, slow, and not-so-sharp herd animals get eaten by wolves, sometimes ripped apart, and often killed gratuitously in the wolf pack’s excitement.   What surprises me is all the mewing and bleating from the herds’ supporters.

If Donald Trump turns out to be power-hungry, corrupt, and stupid, if he becomes an icon of an arrogant emperor, it would simply be the first time in recent decades that we the people widely recognized those characteristics in a president.  This – what we are watching today – is how an all-consuming, and all involving state behaves, in its natural environment.

The upset and sadness regarding the new administration by a whole sector of Americans (and their mainstream media translators) is the result of their own ignorance of how the government of the size and scope of the US government actually works.  Fascism seems to be the word of the day – but our government is a long established crony capitalist state, one able, willing and eager to take by hook, by crook and by force, whatever it wants from any citizen of non-citizen alike.  This is old news.

Those who love the glory of the state, adore its power and enjoy its parental aura, have built and supported the state we have.  Donald Trump is the perfect man to lead it.

I certainly hope that he might also be the perfect president to destroy it.

Either way, I see nothing worth complaining about.  Our energies should be spent on living freely, prospering and helping others to do so.  We should pay attention to the teeth-gnashing of the ruling, chattering and echo-chamber classes only so far as it informs us on potential vulnerabilities of the state that we may use practically, and as teachable moments.

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Mankind Has Been Enjoying Cocktails

Lun, 30/01/2017 - 07:01

Researchers have found that humans have had a long history of consuming alcohol – with the earliest proof of an alcoholic beverage dating back to Northern China 9,000 years ago.

The ‘cocktail’ was a mixed drink of fermented rice, honey, hawthorn fruit and/or grape.

A feature in the February issue of the National Geographic magazine traces back the history of alcohol consumption, revealing we even have a gene that makes it possible to digest alcohol faster.

mind-altering herbs instead of strawberries

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Throughout history, the consumption of alcohol may have helped people become more creative, advancing the development of language, art and religion.

This is because alcohol lowers inhibitions and makes people feel more spiritual.

Even the Inca consumed alcohol in the form of chicha – a corn based beer mixed with strawberries that’s still consumed today – although the Inca often used mind-altering herbs instead of strawberries.

All alcoholic drinks are made by yeasts – tiny single-celled life forms that consume sugar and break it down into carbon dioxide and ethanol.

Ethanol is the only type of alcoholic compound that is drinkable – other types, like methanol, are found in windshield washing fluids and de-icers for cars.

There are many different types of yeast, and they’ve probably been fermenting fruit for 120 million years – when fruits first arose on Earth.

Many human enjoy drinking alcohol because it makes us feel good – it releases serotonin and dopamine in the brain which reduces anxiety and make us feel happy.

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Things Every Man Should Keep in His Car

Lun, 30/01/2017 - 07:01

When I was growing up, I noticed that my father kept his car well-stocked with supplies. A lot of the equipment was for his job busting poachers as a game warden, but most of the things were for emergency situations that could happen to anyone. And there were plenty of times when my dad was able to put those supplies to work.

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Be it a maintenance issue or a snowstorm, keeping the following items in your vehicle can save you time and discomfort, and perhaps even your very life, should an emergency arise. Obviously, the necessity of some items depends on the environment in which you live/are driving through (you don’t need an ice scraper in Tampa) and the season (though it’s best just to stock this stuff and keep it stocked, rather than removing/adding things as the seasons change).

1. Paper maps. Sometimes — okay, plenty of times — Google Maps or Waze doesn’t want to cooperate. And if you don’t have service, their reliability is of no import anyway. It’s always a good idea to keep paper maps handy of the areas you’ll be driving through.

2. Snacks/MREs. You never know when you’ll be stranded for long periods of times in your car. And depending on where you are, you could be dozens of miles from the closest source of help. Keep some MREs or granola/power bars in the back of your car to munch on while you wait for a tow truck to come, or to sustain you for a long walk to a gas station to call for help.

3. Cell phone charger/extra battery. Cell phones, and their batteries, are notoriously unreliable and quick-draining in emergency scenarios. It’s like they know when you need them most. Build some redundancy into your car’s emergency kit by keeping both a charger, and an extra battery. No excuses; they’re cheap these days.

4. LifeHammerShould an accident trap you in your car, this rescue tool could save your life in a couple ways. It has a seat belt cutter, a steel hammer head that easily breaks side windows, and a glow-in-the-dark pin for easy retrieval in the dark. Every car should have one easily accessible!

5. Flashlight. Good for providing light at nighttime when 1) putting on a spare tire, 2) jump starting another car, or 3) exchanging insurance information with the clueless driver who rear-ended you at a stop light. Get a Maglite and you can also thump would-be carjackers in the head with it.

6. Portable air compressorWhen your tire is leaking but hasn’t totally blown out, instead of putting on a spare, you can use a portable air compressor to get back on the road. The compressor fills your tire up enough to allow you to drive to a repair shop to get it fixed. It plugs right into your cigarette lighter. Bonus use: no more paying 75 cents to fill up your tires at stingy gas stations.

7. Windshield wiper fluid. Few things are as indispensable as wiper fluid. Dirty windshield, no fluid, and wet, dirty roads? Get used to stopping every 10 minutes to clean the windshield. Always have some in the car for when you inevitably run out and need it most.

8. Roadside flares. When pulled over on the side of the road, you’re basically a sitting duck, hoping that other drivers don’t clip you. It’s especially dangerous at night. Ensure that you and those around you are visible when you pull over by using road flares, or at least a reflective triangle. The old school flaming flares seem to be harder to find these days as people switch to the LED variety.

9. Jumper cablesYou walk out to your car after a long day of work, stick the key into the ignition, give it a turn, and…click, click, click. Crap! You then look up and notice you left the dome light on all day. It happens to the best of us. Car batteries die, so be ready with a set of jumper cables. And even if you never suffer a dead battery, it’s always good to have a set of jumper cables so you can help a damsel (or dude) in distress who needs their car jumped.

10. Tow strap. Get your car unstuck from anything with a tow strap. Attach one end of the strap to the front of the car that you want to pull and the other to the hitch on the back of your car. The stranded driver stays in the dead car, puts it in neutral, and gets freed. Easy as that!

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US-UK Trade Talks Begin Immediately

Lun, 30/01/2017 - 07:01

Congratulations to UK prime minister Theresa May for poking a finger into the eyes of EU nannycrats.

EU rules say members cannot negotiate trade deals until exit from the block is finalized, but you can kiss that rule goodbye.

The Wall Street Journal reports British PM Theresa May Says U.K.-U.S. Trade Talks to Begin Immediately.

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High-level talks between the U.S. and the U.K. on strengthening trade ties will begin immediately, Downing Street said Saturday, following British Prime Minister Theresa May’s meeting with President Donald Trump in Washington on Friday.

Mrs. May’s office said a team of U.S. and U.K. officials would start scoping out what can be achieved together before the U.K. exits the European Union. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who Mrs. May met in Ankara on Saturday, made a similar commitment to increase trade links with the U.K.

The British leader has said the U.K. is reshaping its role in the world as it leaves the EU, including by renewing its relationship with both new allies and longstanding ones. But her trip to Washington and Ankara prompted criticism from some opposition lawmakers, who said she was cozying up to leaders whose values didn’t align with those in Britain.

Mrs. May on Saturday declined to comment on Mr. Trump’s executive order on refugees, saying the U.S. policy on immigration is a matter for the U.S. This prompted criticism from opposition lawmakers.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, said Mrs. May should have stood up for Britain by condemning Mr. Trump’s order. “It should sadden our country that she chose not to,” he said.

Tom Brake, a Liberal Democrat lawmaker, said of Mrs. May’s reaching out to Mr. Trump and Mr. Erdogan: “This is a deeply alarming sign of her priorities for diplomacy in post-Brexit Britain,” Mr. Brake said. The pro-EU Liberal Democrats said Mrs. May is seeking trade deals with “unsavory leaders.”

While the U.K. is in preliminary talks on trade in more than a dozen countries, under EU law, the U.K. can’t finalize any trade deals with other countries while still a member of the bloc.

The U.K. has tested the limits of that rule. Over lunch at the White House on Friday, Mrs. May and Mr. Trump agreed to maintain the same trading relationship the U.S. currently has with the U.K. in the immediate aftermath of Brexit to ensure stability for businesses, Downing Street said. Mr. Trump has said he wants to agree as soon as possible to a trade deal with the U.K.

Testing the Limits or Clear Violation?

It’s hard to say why Theresa May cozied up to Erdogan (simple defiance of the EU? NATO?) , but it makes sense to start trade negotiations with the US now.

Working out a deal now to be signed the moment Brexit is official seems more like a violation of rules as opposed to “testing the limits”.

Regardless, what the hell can the EU do about it?

Yesterday, the Financial Times reported Theresa May will not find it easy to broker a US-UK trade deal … “British agriculture and financial services may suffer at hands of Capitol Hill”.

That all depends on what Trump’s primary motive is doesn’t it?

If Trump wants to assist in the collapse of the EU, he might be willing to give the UK a very favorable deal.

Reprinted with permission from Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis.

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Prevent Nuclear War With Russia

Lun, 30/01/2017 - 07:01

People in the media all think that they have the wisdom to advise President Trump. Frankly, they don’t.

Of course, I am an exception. He should listen to me on this point.

I am going to suggest something that I think he really should do. It would be good for the nation and good for the world. It would cost the taxpayers nothing. It would be popular with his voter base. Congress would probably go along. It would also drive the Council on Foreign Relations up the proverbial wall. That alone would be worth it.

President Trump should contact the news media and tell them that he is going to make a major speech on foreign policy. I am sure they will all show up.

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Here is the speech he should deliver.

My Fellow Americans,The most important task of the President of the United States as assigned by the Constitution has always been the same: to serve as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. A President’s mistake here can have greater negative repercussions on America than any other mistake that a President can make.

The greatest danger to the United States and the world today is the possibility that NATO and Russia will get into a nuclear conflict.

I am hereby announcing that, as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, I will not automatically support NATO if a war breaks out between NATO and Russia.

I am hereby ending the NATO treaty while I am in office. I have the power to commit American forces, and I have the power not to commit American forces. I am hereby telling NATO this: I will not automatically commit American forces to back up NATO.

I will make any decision to commit troops to back up NATO on a case-by-case basis, but my commitment is no longer automatic merely because of the NATO treaty.

From 1800 until 1949, the United States of America had no mutual defense treaty with any nation. If any nation got into a war with any other nation, the United States had no treaty obligation to intervene on the side of either nation. I am hereby announcing that this is my personal policy.

I don’t care what the NATO treaty says. I will not automatically commit American troops or weapons to defend NATO.

If Congress wishes to impeach and then convict me, that is Congress’s option. If you, as voters, want Congress to impeach and convict me because of my stand, let Congress know. On the other hand, if you support my decision, let Congress know that you support it. In other words, let Congress know, beginning tomorrow.

I am not saying that I will never take this country into a war. I am saying that I am not going to take this country into war because of some existing treaty or alliance.

Furthermore, I am not going to take this nation into war unless the Congress formally declares war, as required by the United States Constitution.

If any nation or alliance, especially NATO, thinks that it can get into a war and automatically get my support as Commander-in-Chief, that is its mistake. That nation or alliance will have to wait until I am impeached by the House of Representatives, convicted by the Senate, and removed from office before there will be any commitment of American troops or equipment to defend that nation or alliance. If NATO thinks it can fight a war against Russia while waiting for the Congress of the United States to impeach me and convict me, that is NATO’s strategic mistake.

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Elon’s Carbon Con

Lun, 30/01/2017 - 07:01

People sometimes said Ayn Rand’s writing was . . . heavy. Obvious, too. Villains with names too good to be true (or believable). Elsworth Monkton Tooey… rhymes with … things unpleasant.

Well, how about Elon Musk.

Something definitely stinks.

The latest being the Crony Capitalist King’s suck-up to President Trump to impose carbon taxes… which would just happen to hugely benefit . . .  Elon Musk. Who already milks the cow (that’s us) via a handsome-sounding rip-off called “carbon credits” – which are just a tax by another name (like Social Security “contributions”) shifted from one place to another but ultimately landing squarely in our laps.

That con works as follows:

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Musk, who has considerable political pull (partially a function of his having considerable funds, but chiefly because he is a Green Celebrity) gets a state – California, for example – to pass a fatwa requiring any company selling cars within the state to sell “x” number of “zero emissions” cars each year in order to be allowed to sell any cars at all. Most car companies don’t have many “zero emissions” cars to sell.

Elon does. It is all he sells. If you want to use that word. Which is editorial abuse, or should be so regarded. Elon gives away cars – heavily subsidized – to affluent fools and tools, who like to preen “green” while hemorrhaging it. Unless you think that spending $70,000 (the least expensive Tesla available) to “save gas” makes economic sense.

Anyhow. . .

Under these laws – which Elon helped along – “zero emissions” is defined as electric – notwithstanding that electric car generate emissions, too.

Just elsewhere.

Well, Elon has lots of electric cars to “sell.” But not many are buying . . . .

So a car company that doesn’t have enough electric cars but is trying to sell real cars buys carbon credits from Elon to offset the insufficiency of “zero emissions” electric cars they build/sell. After having paid off Elon, they are allowed to sell their non-electric cars.

Elon gets rich – taxpayers get poor. Cars (nonelectric ones) become more expensive to buy (in order to offset the money sent to Elon).

It’s nice to work – if you can cage it.

But it’s not enough for Elon. He wants Trump to hit everyone with carbon taxes – which would be taxes applied to the use of energy sourced from other than Elon-approved (and heavily invested in) energy sources. That is, anything not electric and “green” (that is, electricity produced by other than coal/oil/nuclear generation). In order to further advantage not only his electric car con but other cons, like Solar City – his boondoggle solar panel company that is a financial sinkhole of Enron-esque proportions.

Musk recently had to get Tesla to buy Solar City for $2.6 billion, to keep it gimping along. Which is to say, he shifted funds from one con to another, but the same people always end up paying for all of it (that’s us… again).

The carbon tax, though, is Musk’s stinky trump card.

Such a tax – if high enough – would “even the playing field,” as the advocates of such things style it. That is, by making inexpensive forms of energy (and transport) artificially expensive, you make economically untenable things like Tesla electric cars and Solar City panels seem like viable alternatives.

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The Largest Church, Smallest Country, and Oldest Spy Service

Sab, 28/01/2017 - 07:01

As someone interested in what really happened behind the scenes in World War 2, I found this book riveting and hard to put down. Using records from Germany’s Institute für Zeitgeschichte and from the Vatican Secret Archives, Church of Spies casts light on WWII covert operations and spycraft that remained in the shadows for 75 years. Perhaps most earth shattering and historically game-changing is the proof that a modern Pope, running a vast intelligence network inside Germany, green-lighted Hitler’s assassination, something neither FDR or Churchill, so far as we know, risked their reputations to do.

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Church of Spies” will inspire many Catholics. It brings to life the heroic priests and ordinary faithful who did not sit on their hands, and who shed their own blood in the Pope’s high-stakes espionage to stop the Third Reich.

This book will also interest students of the Holocaust. It provides a new context for evaluating Pope Pius XII, who opted for quiet clandestine operations instead of loud public speeches. Although not uncritical of Pius – Riebling writes that “he should have spoken out” – the book shows the German resistance itself begged the Pope not to do or say anything publicly that would cause retribution against Catholics in Germany who were concurrently planning assassinations and coups against the Third Reich.

Written with the attention to detail that one finds in Rick Atkinson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning World War II books, Church of Spies reads like a thriller. But the nearly 100 pages of source citations remind us that what happened here is true. And savoring that truth makes reading “Church of Spies” all the more compelling.

Reprinted from Amazon.com.

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Taking on Corrupt Law Enforcement

Sab, 28/01/2017 - 07:01

When The Dukes of Hazzard premiered on January 26, 1979, it was intended to be a temporary patch in CBS’s primetime schedule until The Incredible Hulk returned. Only nine episodes were ordered, and few executives at the network had any expectation that the series—about two amiable brothers at odds with the corrupt law enforcement of Hazzard County—would become both a ratings powerhouse and a merchandising bonanza. Check out some of these lesser-known facts about the Duke boys, their extended family, and the gravity-defying General Lee, which made their small-screen debut 38 years ago today.

1. THE NETWORK CHAIRMAN HATED THE SHOW.

CBS chairman William Paley never quite bought into the idea of spinning his opinion to match the company line. Having built CBS from a radio station to one of the “Big Three” television networks, he had harvested talent as diverse as Norman Lear and Lucille Ball, a marked contrast to the Southern-fried humor of The Dukes of Hazzard. In his 80s when it became a top 10 series and seeing no reason to censor himself, Paley repeatedly and publicly described the show as “lousy.”

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2. THE CAR GOT 35,000 FAN LETTERS A MONTH.

While John Schneider and Tom Wopat were the ostensible stars of the show, both the actors and the show’s producers quickly found out that the main attraction was the 1969 Dodge Charger—dubbed the General Lee—that trafficked brothers Bo and Luke Duke from one caper to another. Of the 60,000 letters the series was receiving every month in 1981, 35,000 wanted more information on or pictures of the car.

3. DENNIS QUAID WANTED TO BE LUKE DUKE—ON ONE CONDITION.

When the show began casting in 1978, producers threw out a wide net searching for the leads. Dennis Quaid was among those interested in the role of Luke Duke—which eventually went to Wopat—but he had a condition: he would only agree to the show if his then-wife, P.J. Soles, was cast at the Dukes’ cousin, Daisy. Soles wasn’t a proper fit for the supporting part, which put Quaid off; Catherine Bach was eventually cast as Daisy.

4. JOHN SCHNEIDER PRETENDED TO BE A REDNECK FOR HIS AUDITION.

New York native Schneider was only 18 years old when he went in to read for the role of Bo Duke. The problem: producers wanted someone 24 to 30 years old. Schneider lied about his age and passed himself off as a Southern archetype, strutting in wearing a cowboy hat, drinking a beer, and spitting tobacco. He also told them he could do stunt driving. It was a good enough performance to land him the show.

5. SCHNEIDER AND WOPAT MET WHILE TAKING A POOP.

After Schneider was cast, the show needed to locate an actor who could complement Bo. Stage actor Wopat was flown in for a screen test; Schneider happened to be in the bathroom when Wopat walked in after him. The two began talking about music—Schneider had seen a guitar under the stall door—and found they had an easy camaraderie. After flushing, the two did a scene. Wopat was hired immediately.

6. DAISY’S DUKES NEEDED A TWEAK.

Bach’s omnipresent jean shorts were such a hit that any kind of cutoffs quickly became known as “Daisy Dukes,” after her character. But they were so skimpy that the network was concerned censors wouldn’t allow them. A negotiation began, and it was eventually decided that Bach would wear some extremely sheer pantyhose to make sure there were no clothing malfunctions.

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Trump and Putin’s 19th Century Foreign Policy

Sab, 28/01/2017 - 07:01

I have serious doubts about the credibility of the dossier alleging Russian influence over the Trump campaign that Buzzfeed irresponsibly dumped (I won’t do them the favor of linking to it), especially the most salacious element that got all the publicity, but there was one part of it that rang very true to me. Near the beginning of the document we find this:

“Source C, a senior Russian financial official said the TRUMP operation should be seen in terms of PUTIN’s desire to return to Nineteenth Century “Great Power” politics anchored upon countries’ interests rather than the ideals-based international order established after World War Two.”

Ummm… well yeah? Been sayin’. As a non-interventionist I would prefer an Eighteenth Century policy based on a “minding our own business” politics, but the above would be a good start. Maintaining that “ideals-based international order” has been a pretty nasty business.

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Donald Trump expressed a very similar sentiment to move away from an ideals-based international order, which we are both footing the bill for and suffering under, in his inaugural address:

“From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families…

We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow.”

It is because Putin and Trump share a common vision for what is best for their respective countries that Trump is not knee-jerk hostile to Putin and Russia, not because Putin has the goods on him. Some of us recognized the nature of Trump’s foreign policy preferences long before there were any silly allegations that he is Putin’s puppet. See for example this article by Brookings Institute scholar Thomas Wright tellingly titled “Trump’s 19th Century Foreign Policy” to which the title of this article is a shout out even though Dr. Wright and I are on opposite sides of the fence. Wright writes:

“…Trump believes that America gets a raw deal from the liberal international order it helped to create and has led since World War II. Trump seeks nothing less than ending the U.S.-led liberal order and freeing America from its international commitments.”

Hmmm… it all kind of makes sense now doesn’t it? I make no claim that Trump is a doctrinaire Ron Paul style non-interventionist, but he clearly represents progress (actually regress) from the status quo on the foreign policy front. The reigning global order is not going to be dismantled easily or go down without a fight. Heck, the above-referenced #fakenews dossier was part of a soft coup attempt by the deep state in an effort to derail Trump before he even took office, so the Powers That Be clearly recognize the threat Trump’s alternate vision represents. Trump’s America first mindset is likely the best us non-interventionist can hope for now, and we should welcome it.

As I pointed out in the article linked above, the reason interventionists view Putin and Russia with particular antipathy is because they see Putin’s Russia as the major remaining roadblock to Davos uber alles hegemony, and this is why they view Trump’s apparent friendliness toward Putin with such alarm, not because they actually believe Trump is compromised. It is those whose sympathies lie more with an abstract new international order rather than their own country and fellow countrymen whose loyalties should be questioned, not Donald Trump’s.

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Are We Getting Dumber?

Sab, 28/01/2017 - 07:01

Recent studies are discovering that each generation is becoming increasingly stupid. A study from Iceland has highlighted a downward spiral in human intelligence. The genetics firm in Reykjavik found that groups of genes that predispose people to spend more years in education became a little rarer in the country from 1910 to 1975. The sample size was more than 100,000 Icelanders. They found a slight decline over the 65-year period.

There may be another explanation for this trend. The more affluent a society becomes, several factors unleash. The birthrate declines sharply, for as people become wealthier, women prefer not to have children. The poorest cultures have the greatest number of births because children take care of their parents. In our new age of socialism, the government has replaced the family unit. Ask a girl under thirty in the United States if she wants to have children today and you are likely to get the answer, “No.” According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, in 2014, 47.6% of women between age 15 and 44 had never had children, up from 46.5% in 2012. The more affluent a society becomes, the lower the birthrate.

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The next side effect is intelligence. As a society becomes more affluent, the need to do many tasks vanish. We lose skill sets whereas most people in less affluent countries would starve to death if the food supply suddenly came to a halt. Most people would not know how to fend for themselves, no less hunt. The wealthier a society becomes, the more we are relieved of basic skills. The less we do with our hands, the less coordination we develop, and intelligence diminishes which contributes to the fall of empires, nations, and city-states.

Reprinted from Armstrong Economics.

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Goodbye Monkey, Hello Rooster!

Sab, 28/01/2017 - 07:01

Here’s to a prosperous Year of the Rooster

■ Welcoming the New Year

Stay up as late as possible tonight. New Year’s Eve symbolizes the link between two years, and prolonging the connection is believed to extend life.

■ Don’t eat chicken, don’t wear black

Don’t eat chicken tonight or tomorrow so as not to offend the rooster. Put away your replica All Black jersey and wear something red or colorful. Black and white clothes are associated with mourning.

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■ Don’t wash your hair or sweep the floor

Hair has the same pronunciation as the word for prosperity in Chinese, and washing hair is seen as washing away good fortune. It is believed that if you use a broom on the day, then you’d be sweeping your luck away.

■ Put away sharp objects

Use of knives or scissors is a no-no because it is seen as “cutting away wealth”.

■ Rice jar

Fill your rice jar or bread bin, because an empty food storage receptacle is seen as a bad omen.

■ Debt

Pay all debts before the stroke of midnight tonight, it is believed that if you carry your debt into the Chinese New Year you will face a life of owing money to others.

Chinese New Year – the Year of the Rooster – starts tomorrow, but celebrations begins tonight and will continue right until the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the new year.

Thousands of Chinese in New Zealand will be joining more than a billion around the world tonight in welcoming the new year with reunion dinners, parties, and prayers.

But for one Auckland family, the festival will also a time when the family “dances” together.

Chinese mother Tracy Tam, 39, her husband Andy Chan, 40, and children Melody, 14 and Maco Leung, 11, are members of the Epacs Lion and Dragon Dance troupe.

Performed in a Chinese lion costume and accompanied by beating drums, gongs, and cymbals, the dance is believed to bring luck and good fortune.

“No Chinese New Year celebration is complete without lion dance, and for our family, it has become not just part of our celebrations, but part of our lives,” Tam said.

With a rapidly growing Chinese population, Chinese New Year is growing in popularity here. So too is the demand for lion dance performances.

The Epacs troupe will be involved in over 60 performances – from restaurants, hotels, suburban Chinese New Year events to the Auckland Lantern Festival.

As a “disciple” and right-hand woman to lion dance master and troupe founder Peter Low, Tam’s role is to ensure each performance goes on without a hitch.

“It is getting more and more complicated each year, and on some days we have to juggle with getting several groups out when performances clash,” said Tam, who has been practicing the art for more than 10 years.

With performers as young as 6, the Epacs troupe is believed to have some of the youngest lion and dragon dancers in the world.

“This adds to the complication because it means we need to involve a lot of the parents with the planning too,” Tam said.

She first signed up for lion dancing as a way of getting her children into the art.

“Lion dance teaches discipline, and that is a big reason why I wanted my children involved at first,” Tam said.

“But now I am proud to be a lion dancer, and my family too because it is a great way for us to share our Chinese culture with all of New Zealand.”

Last week, thousands celebrated in Auckland as Prime Minister Bill English officially launched Chinese New Year celebrations at the ASB Showgrounds.

The Year of the Rooster officially starts tomorrow.

Read the Whole Article

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Leftism: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Pol Pot

Sab, 28/01/2017 - 07:01

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn gives us in Leftism a remarkable defense of classical liberal and libertarian thought, based on his enormous learning in the twenty languages he could read. Kuehnelt-Leddihn, an Austrian aristocrat, became in his long career after World War I a historian and world traveler. His lectures often brought him to the United States, and he spoke several times at the Mises Institute. He and Mises were friends, and he praised Hans-Hermann Hoppe as a “brilliant thinker.”

Like Hans Hoppe, Kuehnelt-Leddihn saw a fundamental opposition between democracy and liberty. The Left seeks to eradicate all distinctions, and to do so it must suppress liberty. Democracy is not liberty’s friend, but rather its enemy, because it opposes efforts by individuals to set themselves above the masses.  The Left does not wish its dogmas to be examined critically, and it is hardly a surprise that many mainstream liberal publishers rejected Leftism. Fortunately, Arlington House was never afraid to swim against the current, and the book gained a wide and appreciative audience on its appearance in 1974. The book’s editor at Arlington House was none other than Lew Rockwell, the founder of the Mises Institute.

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From this perspective, Kuehnelt-Leddihn conducts us through the history of the West. He stresses the rejection of democracy by Plato and Aristotle and finds in the Roman Catholic Church of the Middle Ages and the Baroque a libertarian impulse. With the Hussites and Martin Luther, by contrast, he has little sympathy

For him, the French Revolution with its “frightful atrocities” lies at origin of modern totalitarianism, and he brings against it a devastating indictment. He contrasts this with the American Revolution, which decidedly did not create a democratic regime. For him, America is a republic, not a democracy.

The plans of Woodrow Wilson during and after World War I to spread democracy throughout the world were for Kuehnelt-Leddihn the height of folly. The old monarchical civilization of Europe was destroyed, and he in particular mourns the fate of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Kuehnelt-Leddihn excoriates the Czech nationalist Eduard Beneš for his virulent propaganda and subversive activities against the Habsburgs; the breakup of Austria-Hungary, he holds, led directly to the rise of Hitler.

Fascism and National Socialism are often seen as rightist movements, but Kuehnelt-Leddihn dissents. In their emphasis on mass mobilization and their opposition to individualism, they belong to the Left.

Kuehnelt-Leddihn is a resolute revisionist, and he shows how the inept and deluded policies of Roosevelt and Churchill during World War II promoted the interests of World Communism. He concludes the book with a shrewd analysis of the New Left. Kuehnelt-Leddihn agrees with Kierkegaard that “personality is aristocratic,’ and readers of this long and learned book will find it difficult to disagree.

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Hillary To Launch Her Own TV Talk Show?

Sab, 28/01/2017 - 07:01

Hillary Clinton is reportedly considering launching a television talk show so she can stay in the limelight and run for president again in 2020.

According to Ed Klein — an author who has been openly critical of the Clinton family — the former presidential candidate is figuring out her next move.

“She’s been talking very seriously about the idea of having her own television show,” Klein said a source told him. “As a TV host, she’d discuss the issues of the day from a progressive point of view, have top guests, interview world leaders, and progressive thinkers.”

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“It would have to be a show that she and her people completely controlled,” Klein said the source added. “She’s convinced she’d get fabulous ratings in a political climate where there’s so much anger in Democratic circles over Donald Trump’s election.”

Read the Whole Article

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What Trump’s Wall Says to the World

Sab, 28/01/2017 - 07:01

“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” wrote poet Robert Frost in the opening line of “Mending Walls.”

And on the American left there is something like revulsion at the idea of the “beautiful wall” President Trump intends to build along the 1,900-mile border between the U.S. and Mexico.

The opposition’s arguments are usually rooted in economics or practicality. The wall is unnecessary. It will not stop people from coming illegally. It costs too much.

Yet something deeper is afoot here. The idea of a permanent barrier between our countries goes to the heart of the divide between our two Americas on the most fundamental of questions.

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Who are we? What is a nation? What does America stand for?

Those desperate to see the wall built, illegal immigration halted, and those here illegally deported, see the country they grew up in as dying, disappearing, with something strange and foreign taking its place.

It is not only that illegal migrants take jobs from Americans, that they commit crimes, or that so many require subsidized food, welfare, housing, education and health care. It is that they are changing our country. They are changing who we are.

Two decades ago, the Old Right and the neocons engaged in a ferocious debate over what America was and is.

Were we from the beginning a new, unique, separate and identifiable people like the British, French and Germans?

Or was America a new kind of nation, an ideological nation, an invented nation, united by an acceptance of the ideas and ideals of Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln and Dr. King?

The Old Right contended that America existed even before the Revolution and that this new nation, these new people, wrote its own birth certificate, the Constitution. Before Washington, Madison and Hamilton ever went to Philadelphia, America existed.

What forced the premature birth of the nation — was the Revolution.

We did not become a new nation because we embraced Jefferson’s notion about all men being “created equal.” We became a new people from our familial break with the Mother Country, described in the declaration as a severing of ties with our “brethren” across the sea who no longer deserved our loyalty or love.

The United States came into being in 1789. The Constitution created the government, the state. But the country already existed.

When the Irish came in the mid-19th century to escape the famine and the Germans to escape Bismarck’s Prussia, and the Italians, Jews, Poles, Greeks, Slovaks came to Ellis Island, they were foreigners who became citizens, and then, after a time, Americans.

Not until decades after the Great Migration of 1890-1920, with the common trials of the Depression, World War II, and Cold War, were we truly forged again into one united nation and people.

By 1960, almost all of us shared the same heroes and holidays, spoke the same language and cherished the same culture.

What those with memories of that America see happening today is the disintegration of our nation of yesterday. The savagery of our politics, exemplified in the last election, testifies to how Americans are coming to detest one another as much as the Valley Forge generation came to detest the British from whom they broke free.

In 1960, we were a Western Christian country. Ninety percent of our people traced their roots to Europe. Ninety percent bore some connection to the Christian faith. To the tens of millions for whom Trump appeals, what the wall represents is our last chance to preserve that nation and people.

To many on the cosmopolitan left, ethnic or national identity is not only not worth fighting for, it is not even worth preserving. It is a form of atavistic tribalism or racism.

The Trump wall then touches on the great struggle of our age.

Given that 80 percent of all people of color vote Democratic, neither the Trump movement nor the Republican Party can survive the Third Worldization of the United States now written in the cards.

Moreover, with the disintegration of the nation we are seeing, and with talk of the breakup of states like Texas and secession of states like California, how do we survive as one nation and people?

Old Europe never knew mass immigration until the 20th century.

Now, across Europe, center-left and center-right parties are facing massive defections because they are perceived as incapable of coping with the existential threat of the age — the overrunning of the continent from Africa and the Middle East.

President Trump’s wall is a statement to the world: This is our country. We decide who comes here. And we will defend our borders.

The crisis of our time is not that some Americans are saying this, but that so many are too paralyzed to say it, or do not care, or embrace what is happening to their country.

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The Good, the Sad, and the Ugly

Sab, 28/01/2017 - 07:01

LRC readers understand well that Lew Rockwell is an entrepreneurial genius for marketing ideology. His creation of the Mises Institute has been the nurturing soil that has grown the largest crop of libertarians in history.

How? A key strategy was to provide the historic literature of freedom over the internet at the Mises Library. As a follower of the institute for many years I have used the library as a resource, often looking for specific passages, and occasionally reading a longer article. But reading a long article on a computer or printing out a pdf is not practical. Thus, it was the advent of the electronic book that has really opened this library for me. Since I bought my Kindle in early 2016 I have read multiple books by Garrett, Hazlett, Higgs, Hoppe, Raico, Rothbard, and of course, von Mises downloaded for free.

I would like to note that I like physical books better than the Kindle. But it is like comparing a true physical meeting with an old friend to a Skype conversation. Of course, the true meeting is better, but with Skype being free and so convenient so much more are encounters possible that is to great to have as an option. Kindle is extremely practical in many ways, allowing me to obtain these great books for free and to read them in an accessible form.

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In this article I will present vignettes from two short books that I just read, The Memoirs of Ludwig von Mises and Keynes the Man by Murray Rothbard, in the form three persons that we can call The Good, the Sad, and the Ugly.

The Good

My daughter’s middle names is Louise in honor of Ludwig von Mises. So it is clear I think he was good; in fact very, very good.

He was reticent about his own life even in these memoirs that he had the discretion to allow to be published only after his death. But two aspects of his character do emerge, his unflinching honesty and courage. In terms of honesty and truth, he was a champion of open discourse. “In science, there is only one sure method for the ultimate triumph of an idea: one should allow any contrary notion to run its course completely.” He wrote about the Austrian masters Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk and Carl Menger as models.

As pioneers and creative thinkers, they recognized that one cannot arrange for scientific progress, nor breed innovation according to plan. They never attempted to propagandize their theories. Truth would prevail of its own accord when man possessed the faculties necessary to perceive it. Using impertinent means to cause people to pay lip service to a teaching was of no use if they lacked the ability to grasp its substance and significance.

As for courage, there is much to be known about his physical courage during the 1914-1918 war and his intellectual courage throughout his life. The best source for information is the biography by Guido Hulsmann The Last Knight of Liberalism. From this passage, we see that courage was a central aspect of his character for all of his life.

It has been said that the problem lay within the realms of public education and public information. But we are badly deceived if we believe that the right opinions will claim victory through the circulation of books and journals and with more schools and lectures; such means can also attract followers of faulty doctrines. Evil consists precisely in the fact that the masses are not intellectually enabled to choose the means leading to their desired objectives. That ready judgments can be foisted onto the people through the power of suggestion demonstrates that the people are not capable of making independent decisions. Herein lies the great danger. Thus had I arrived at the hopeless pessimism that had long pervaded the best minds of Europe. We know today from the letters of Jacob Burckhardt that this great historian, too, harbored no illusions about the future of European civilization. This pessimism had broken the will of Carl Menger. It had cast a shadow over the life of Max Weber, who had become a good friend of mine while spending a semester at the University of Vienna during the last months of war. How one carries on in the face of unavoidable catastrophe is a matter of temperament. In high school, as was custom, I had chosen a verse by Virgil to be my motto: Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito (“Do not give in to evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it”).

I am about the same age as von Mises was when he wrote these memoirs, his late 50s. It was a terrible time for him. He had just come to the US after fleeing Nazi-dominated Europe. His life’s work seemed to be lost and forgotten. Yet what he accomplished after this low point in his life, Human Action and the rebirth of the Austrian School in America, should be an inspiration to all freedom loving people.

The Sad

As alluded to in a passage quoted above, the great Austrian economist Carl Menger’s will was broken by his extreme pessimism for the future of Austria, Europe, and Western civilization in general. Mises wrote:

According to my grandfather, as told to me around 1910, Carl Menger had made the following remarks: The policies being pursued by the European powers will lead to a terrible war ending with gruesome revolutions, the extinction of European culture and destruction of prosperity for people of all nations. In anticipation of these inevitable events, all that can be recommended are investments in gold hoards and the securities of the two Scandinavian countries. Menger’s savings, in fact, were invested in Swedish securities. One who so clearly foresees disaster and the destruction of everything he deems valuable before his fortieth year cannot avoid pessimism and depression.

I literally thought to myself after reading this passage: Wow what would he be thinking now!

Carl Menger

The Ugly

Okay, John Maynard Keynes is better categorized as The Bad, but I needed to include the quote about Menger. In terms of a technical undressing of this charlatan, nothing is better than Henry Hazlitt’s Failure of the ‘New Economics that is also available in the Mises Institute library. He notes at one point that “We have already seen that Keynes had a false theory of interest. We shall soon see that he had also a false theory of wage-rates, a false theory of money and credit, and a false theory of prices.”  But the Ugly (or Bad) is palpable in Rothbard’s account that is completed by,

Yet Keynes was much more than a Keynesian. Above all, he was the extraordinarily pernicious and malignant figure that we have examined in this chapter: a charming but power-driven statist Machiavelli, who embodied some of the most malevolent trends and institutions of the 20th century.

Here was a man with an incredible Satanic charm that could even turn the virtue of thrift into a vice almost single-handedly.

Compare the von Mises approach to spreading the truth as in a quote above to the selling of Keynes.

But Keynes used tactics in the selling of The General Theory other than reliance on his charisma and on systematic deception. He curried favor with his students by praising them extravagantly, and he set them deliberately against non- Keynesians on the Cambridge faculty by ridiculing his colleagues in front of these students and by encouraging them to harass his faculty colleagues. For example, Keynes incited his students with particular viciousness against Dennis Robertson, his former close friend.

You will think of Keynes after reading Rothbard, What a schmuck! What an egotistical bastard!

I will end this article with another great passage from von Mises’s Memoirs that is pessimistic but realistic, and to me somewhat humorous; enjoy.

Political decisions, however, are not made by economists, but by public opinion, that is, the general public. The majority determines what should happen. This is true of all systems of government. Even absolute kings and dictators must govern in accordance with the demands of public opinion. With the awareness that men like J.M. Keynes, Bertrand Russell, Harold Laski, and Albert Einstein could not comprehend the problems of economics, must not the attempt to guide the masses in the proper direction be considered hopeless?

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The Forefathers of Europe

Sab, 28/01/2017 - 07:01

More than 60 percent of males in modern-day Europe descends from three Bronze Age leaders.

Genetic researchers estimate that three families in particular, which originated around 5,000 years ago, rapidly expanded across the continent.

And the study suggests that the spread of modern populations across Europe occurred much later than had originally been thought.

Professor Mark Jobling, a geneticist at the University of Leicester who led the research, said it was likely the forefathers of the three main paternal lineages detected were powerful Early Bronze Age tribe leaders.

He said: ‘The population expansion falls within the Bronze Age, which involved changes in burial practices, the spread of horse-riding and developments in weaponry.

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‘Dominant males linked with these cultures could be responsible for the Y chromosome patterns we see today.’

The researchers, whose work is published in the journal Nature Communications, analyzed the DNA sequences from the Y chromosomes of 334 men from 17 populations across Europe and the Middle East.

These included men from England, Bavaria, Orkney, Turkey, Greece, Norway, and Hungary.

They searched for mutations on the Y chromosome that are only carried by men and so can be used to trace paternal lines through families.

By comparing the DNA from each of the populations they were able to trace key mutations in the genomes and work out when they may have occurred.

The pie charts show the frequencies of Y-chromosome groups across regions. One mutation was found to be prevalent in Norwegian and Orkadian populations. Another mutation spread throughSpain, Italy, France, England and Ireland, and a third is prominent in the Netherlands, France, Hungary, Serbia and Bavaria

They found one mutation appears to have originated around 4,750 to 7,340 years ago and is prevalent in Norwegian and Orkadian populations.

Another mutation seems to have occurred between 3,700 and 6,500 years ago and has spread throughout Spain, Italy, France, England, and Ireland.

A third mutation seems to have occurred in a man who lived between 3,470 and 5,070 years ago and is prominent in the Sami in Lapland, Norwegian, Danish, Frisia populations in the Netherlands, but can also be found in France, Hungary, Serbia, and Bavaria.

Together, the scientists estimate from their findings, that these three paternal lines account for 63 per cent of the European men currently living.

In 2013 there were approximately 742.5 million people living in Europe, and if this had an equal gender split, would leave 371.25 million males.

Two-thirds of this work out at around 233 million people being descendants of this trio – however, this is an estimate due to the fact it is not known how many of these people originated in Europe.

While it is unclear exactly who the men were that first fathered these paternal lines, it is likely that they were influential or powerful individuals.

Read the Whole Article

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Blab at Your Own Expense

Sab, 28/01/2017 - 07:01

Earlier this week it was reported that the Trump administration is preparing executive orders to reduce America’s funding commitments to the United Nations. Observers speaking to the RIA Novosti news agency suggest that the move is entirely in line with Trump’s campaign commitments to find bilateral solutions to problems in international affairs.

The first of the two draft executive orders, obtained by the New York Times, calls for the termination of billions of dollars in US funding to UN agencies which do not meet certain criteria or are contrary to US policy.

The White House’s proposal includes cutting off aid to UN agencies that provide full membership for Palestine (a provision that is already US law), an end to any US support for programs which may help Iran or North Korea circumvent sanctions, and the cutting off of aid to organizations thought to be controlled or influenced by state sponsors of terrorism or countries that systematically violate human rights. The criteria also call for US funding to be cut off for any UN programs which fund abortion.

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The draft executive order proposes the creation of a committee to make recommendations for funding cuts for UN peacekeeping operations, the International Criminal Court (which US does not provide funding for as things are), and development assistance to countries that “oppose important United States policies.”

The second draft executive order is more straightforward, and simply requires a review of all existing and pending multilateral treaties to which the US is or will be party, and asks for recommendations on which treaties can and should be abrogated. Specifically, the document calls for a review of those treaties which are not “directly related to national security, extradition or international trade.”

The first of the two documents calls for “at least a 40 percent overall decrease” in the funding that remains after those agencies and programs that don’t meet the White House’s criteria are weeded out. According to the Times, “if President Trump signs the order and its provisions are carried out, the cuts could severely curtail the work of United Nations agencies…”

According to the UN, the US provides about 22% of the intergovernmental organization’s total budget, including about a quarter of the funding for UN peacekeeping operations.

On Thursday, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said that the intergovernmental organization was ready to start discussions regarding possible cuts in US assistance with incoming US envoy Nikki Haley.

Asked to comment on the draft executive orders, Higher School of Economics professor Timofei Bordachev said that they were entirely in line with Trump’s line of thinking. “Donald Trump continues to show persistence and consistency. He’s once again confirming that he does not plan to give up on what he promised voters during the election campaign. The criteria through which he proposes maintaining or reducing US funding for international organizations is consistent with [US] conservative principles.”

Furthermore, unlike the New York Times, Bordachev doesn’t believe that the executive orders, if they are implemented, would seriously undermine the work of the UN or other international organizations.

Political analyst Yevgeny Minchenko agreed with his colleague, saying that what Trump is doing seems logical based on his campaign promises. For example, “if voters supported Trump’s stance on abortion, and he makes this position part of the criteria for funding certain international organizations, then he is acting in accordance with the will of the American public.”

“The US today is the main donor to international organizations, and the President is reminding everyone that ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune’. This is of course also a kind of attempt to put pressure on the UN, and an attempt to figure out the extent to which funding matches America’s national interests,” Minchenko added.

According to the expert, the Trump administration will probably make an attempt to push the Security Council to modify the resolution prohibiting new Israeli settlements on Palestinian land that was adopted in late last month, and which the Obama administration did not veto. In this situation, additional leverage with the UN won’t hurt Trump, Minchenko stressed.

For his part, Dmitri Abzalov, president of the Moscow-based Center for Strategic Communications, think tank, suggested that the logic behind the draft executive orders is more significant. These documents, Abzalov said, were part of an attempt by Trump to seriously reshape the entire system of international security and relations between nations within the framework of international organizations.

According to the expert, Trump, as an experienced businessman, is trying to make funding for international agencies and organizations conditional on their ability to solve the specific problems which they are established to deal with. “For the first time, international organizations face specific criteria regarding the nature of their activities, depending on which their largest donor, the US, will either continue to fund or reduce their funding. This is the approach proposed by Donald Trump,” Abzalov said.

Furthermore, the analyst suggested that Trump is not only trying to end the practice of making ‘blind’ commitments to international projects, but also the myth of the overarching importance and effectiveness of international agreements, instead offering bilateral agreements that are more transparent and stringent in their standards.

“This is in many ways a revolutionary policy, but one that is fraught with serious dangers for the United States,” Abzalov emphasized. “US financing can be ‘intercepted’ by other countries, like China for example. And then we will be speaking not so much about the weakening of the United Nations, so much as the weakening of the position of the United States in international organizations,” the analyst concluded.

Reprinted from Sputnik News.

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