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ANTI-STATE ANTI-WAR PRO-MARKET
Updated: 2 hours 32 min ago

Sit Back and Consider the Big Picture

14 hours 49 min ago

I am often asked the above question several times each day.  It looks like a triple bottom is shaping up in the near future.  Gold is getting close to its cost of production.  The gold/silver ratio is going higher indicating that silver is the better value of the two at present.  But sitting back and taking a look at the big picture consider the following top 10 list:

  1. Growth of the Federal Government.  The followers of Lord Keynes have the controls of power firmly in hand.  A larger central government = larger central power (central planning) = larger drag on the real economy.  Ask any small businessman (if you can still find one) about the costs of taxes, regulations and licenses.
  2. Federal debt.  Extinguishing debt is mathematically impossible with our system of money / debt.  The biblical Jubilee called for all debt to be cancelled every 50 years so that excess debt could be washed out; otherwise one person would end up owning everything with enough time.  Our federal debt is officially listed as $18.2T based on a cash accounting system.  (Based on GAAP the debt is estimated at $100T more or less.)  Our entire yearly federal budget is only $3.8T.  Our yearly national GDP is only $17.5T.
  3. Private / corporate debt.  Since 2007 private, corporate & financial debt is down by about 50% of GDP.  However, the federal government has increased their debt by about 33% of GDP.  While most households and businesses are trying to get their financial houses in order the federal government debt is rocketing higher (classical Keynes reaction).  All this additional public debt is causing a drag on the real economy.  If interest rates rise from the present record low rates we will find ourselves in big trouble.  That is a bet I would not make.
  4. Derivatives.  Speaking of debts that I would not make concerning interest rates the worldwide derivative market is estimated to be around $1,000T.  The top 5 US banks hold around $290T.  Most of these derivatives (or bets) are based on interest rates.  Just for the record, $1,000T is about 14 times the total world GDP.  Hopefully all the counterparties will remain solvent if interest rates rise and it all unravels in an orderly fashion (LMAO).
  5. Casinos and Mega-banks.  The local intra-county banks of my childhood are mostly all gone.  Banking is a special privilege where money is created through the process of loaning it into existence.  Therefore intra-county banking was only allowed because the profits from that magic were supposed to stay in the local economy.  Mega-banks in New York suck the life out of local communities and transfer that wealth out of town at the end of every day.  Casinos pretty much do the same thing in most communities.  The house take on all gambling pretty much leaves town every night minus a little local payroll and local taxes.   Both casinos and mega-banks suck the lifeblood out of communities given enough time.  The too big to fail banks are also now even bigger and have become too big for bailouts.  Watch out for bail-ins in the future (as per IMF recommendations).
  6. Monetary policy.  The current zero interest rate policy or ZIRP has allowed the federal government to expand its debt load, however, the unintended consequence is that savers have been forced into speculation.  Years ago middle class workers saved at the local bank and received interest of 5% or so in passbook savings accounts and a little more with certificates of deposit in time accounts.  The ZIRP has forced these savers into speculating in the stock market in search of yield.  Furthermore the competitive currency devaluations between countries are a race to the bottom.  No country in the history of the earth has ever achieved long-term prosperity by devaluing their currency.  This is simply insane and will result in inflation or worse when velocity finally increases.
  7. Central bank balance sheets.  The federal reserve balance sheet has ballooned to around $4.5T (no telling how much of that is worthless).  The IMF (the central bank’s central bank with Christine Lagarde at the helm) can generate fictional SDR’s at will (currently worth about $1.5/each).  Their balance sheet is only around $0.5T so there is room for expansion here it seems.  Look for more money (not wealth) to be generated at the IMF in the future.
  8. US stock market.  The p/e ratio of the Dow 30 is getting a little high which says a correction is in the air.  This may take longer to come about since with all the trouble in the world the US is still seen as a safe haven and people in troubled parts of the world like to park their wealth here in times of uncertainty.  Just for a better feel for the numbers the market cap or total value of Apple is $0.6T.  The total market cap of the largest 50 US corporations is around $10T.
  9. Foreign intervention.  George Washington warned us against “entangling alliances”.  Eisenhower warned us against the “military industrial complex”.  General Smedley Butler said the US Navy should not be allowed more than 600 miles from the coast of the continental US and that we should have the strongest DEFENSIVE military ever to protect our shores. In an effort to prop up the USD we have ignored them all.  At present it seems that we are trying to reignite the cold war with the Russians.  Pipeline politics has become the mission of the State Department.  The BRICS nations seem to be aligning against us economically as a result of our misguided foreign policy.
  10. But the number one reason to buy PM’s now is simply because you still can get them.  During the 2007 / 2008 crisis the PM market seized up.  Bullion dealers in the US had to suspend trading because orders had backed the system up and we had to wait days for it to clear before we could take further orders.

 

Home, Toxic Home

14 hours 49 min ago

Did you know that the air inside your home is often more toxic than the air outside? In fact according to the Environmental Protection Agency our indoor air environment is two to six times more polluted than the outdoor air environment.

Considering that nowadays we spend on average 90% of our time indoors, it is extremely important to keep this air clean. You can invest in an air purifier, and other products that are supposed to clean the air inside of our homes -or you can let the air flow through your house as often as possible. If you can, go as natural and simple as possible when choosing cleaning products. Here are 6 of the most important toxic products to eliminate from your home:

1. Anything That Is Made With PVC Or Vinyl

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) is the plastic type substance that is often found in shower curtains, food packaging, lunch boxes, backpacks, children’s toys, vinyl flooring and many other building materials. This substance is toxic and is a known and labelled carcinogen by the World Health Organization. This is probably why it is banned in at least 14 countries and across the entire European Union. (America, when will you catch on?)

How can we avoid PVC? If you are unsure about whether or not something is made from or contains PVC in its packaging, check where the recycling label is. If it is made with PVC it will say #3 or “PVC” right beside the label. For other products such as furniture, or toys you may have to call the manufacturer. There are also a lot of companies who are aware of the dangers associated with the use of PVC and will proudly label there products as “PVC FREE.” There are also some companies who are completely PVC free and won’t use it in any of their products, such as IKEA.

2. Ammonia

The majority of window and glass cleaners contain a highly poisonous chemical that you’ve probably heard of -ammonia. Almost all Windex products contain ammonia. This chemical can irritate the skin, eyes and respiratory system, it is also corrosive. Store-bought and salon quality hair dyes are also a large source of ammonia.

To avoid products containing ammonia you can do the obvious and buy ammonia-free products. Or you can easily make your own cleaners, a simple solution of white vinegar and water works extremely well on windows and almost all other surfaces. It is also a natural disinfectant. There are also a lot of herbal based hair dyes that are chemical free and work really well.

3. Air Fresheners

Most air “fresheners” that are on the market today contain an array of toxic chemicals. Most notably though, they contain phthalates. Phthalates are directly related to cancer and hormone disruption. Not only that, but the plug-in type coat your nasal passages with an oil film called methoxychlor, which will kill the nerves in your nose over time, and interfere with your ability to smell.

To alleviate this problem it’s a great idea to open up the windows when you are cleaning and let fresh air flow through your house as often as possible. Consider using essential oil diffusers and making homemade spray fresheners with essential oils and water. You can also boil orange and lemon peels in water on the stove or cloves and other herbs and spices as well.

4. Antibacterial Soaps & Sprays

Whether it’s the commonly used hand sanitizer or the majority of disinfectant sprays that are available to us today,  these antibacterial products may be doing more harm than good. Most of these products contain a compound called Triclosan, which has been sold as the answer to stopping the spread of germs, it has actually been responsible for spreading antibiotic resistance, and “super bugs.” Aside from that there are many adverse health effects including disruption to the thyroid gland.

There are many natural plant based alternatives that can be used to disinfect and even kill germs and stop the spread of bacteria. White vinegar and tea tree oil are great. Simply fill up a spray bottle with 2 cups warm water, 20 drops of tea tree oil, and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and voila! A natural disinfecting cleaner for your kitchen or bathroom. Young Living also makes a natural antibacterial hand sanitizer and soap using the “Thieves” blend of essential oils. It works very well!

5. Bisphenol -A (Or BPA)

Although the use of this chemical that is commonly used in plastic products has been extremely limited over the past few years, it is still legal and highly toxic. It can be found in pretty much anything plastic including baby bottle inserts, baby toys to food containers, food packaging and even water supply pipes. It is easier for this chemical to leach out of the plastic when it is heated, so it is best avoid heating it, but ideally it should not be used at all.

Try to avoid as much plastic as you can. You can opt for glass or food grade stainless steel containers for food storage. If you must use plastics for some things, opt for labels with “BPA FREE” and if you are unsure, check the recycling label on the package. If it has a 3 or a 7 then it may be made with BPA.

6. Volatile Organic Compounds (Or VOCs)

VOC’s are gasses that are emitted from certain solids such as: paint, pesticides, laundry detergent and a few others. They are highly toxic and have been linked to asthma and even cancer.

You can get paint without VOCs and can avoid using pesticides altogether. If you are not into trying a natural or homemade laundry detergent, then try to purchase the unscented kind. It has less or no VOCs than the regular “laundry smelling” kind of detergent.

There you have it, it is important to be aware of these harmful chemicals so that you can make a safer more informed choice for yourself, your family and the environment. The less people that support companies that use these chemicals, the less they will be manufactured. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, every time you spend money you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want to live in. Let’s opt for a greener, cleaner, kinder environment one step at a time.

Reprinted with permission from Collective Evolution.

Just Doing Their Government Jobs?

14 hours 49 min ago

The lamest, most ignorant, and most intellectually lazy excuse given to justify the actions of U.S. soldiers (and sailors, airmen, and Marines) is that they are just doing their job.

Of all the things I have been told over the years by apologists for the military, that soldiers are just doing their jobs is overwhelmingly the thing I am told the majority of the time.

Even as U.S. troops return to Iraq, some critics of further military action will still say that we need to support the troops because they are just following orders, they didn’t ask to go back to Iraq, they didn’t write their job description, they joined the military because they were patriotic, they are just serving their country, they had no choice but to join the military because they were unemployed, and, of course, they are just doing their jobs.

Because I am weary of repeating myself over and over and over again, instead of referring people to my LRC articles on soldiers being responsible for their actions, writing a lengthy e-mail trying to explain the culpability of soldiers, or referring people to my books War, Christianity, and the State and War, Empire, and the Military, from now on I intend to just give a simple nine-word reply.

Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

The horrendous treatment accorded to inmates by the guards at concentration camps before, during, and after World War II is well known.

Anyone who today tried to defend those who “worked” (that is, killed, starved, beat, gassed, and worked inmates to death) as a guard at concentration camps by saying that they were just doing their jobs would be dismissed at once as a madman.

And that is precisely why my reply to supporters, apologists, and defenders of the military will simply be that guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

So, in what follows I will not only state the evils that soldiers do when they do their “jobs,” but also my response to those who excuse their actions because, after all, soldiers are just doing their jobs.

Soldiers are just doing their jobs when they bomb, maim, and kill for the state. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Soldiers are just doing their jobs when they “accidentally” kill civilians. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Soldiers are just doing their jobs when they function as the president’s personal attack force. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Soldiers are just doing their jobs when they help to carry out a reckless, belligerent, and meddling U.S. foreign policy. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Soldiers are just doing their jobs when they invade another county. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Soldiers are just doing their jobs when they enforce UN resolutions. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Soldiers are just doing their jobs when they fight senseless foreign wars. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Soldiers are just doing their jobs when they make war without a constitutional declaration of war. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Soldiers are just doing their jobs when they occupy some foreign country. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Soldiers are just doing their jobs when they undertake “regime change.” Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Soldiers are just doing their jobs when they kill “terrorists” remotely via drone. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Soldiers are just doing their jobs when they help establish democracy at the point of a gun. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Soldiers are just doing their jobs when they work as recruiters and lie to impressionable young men. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Soldiers are just doing their jobs when they make widows and orphans. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Soldiers are just doing their jobs when they practice gunboat diplomacy. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Soldiers are just doing their jobs when they undertake “nation building.” Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Soldiers are just doing their jobs when they carry out assassinations. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Soldiers are just doing their jobs when they torture “terrorists” to get information. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Soldiers are just doing their jobs when they serve as policemen, firemen, security guards, social workers, guardians, babysitters, and overseers of the world. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Soldiers are just doing their jobs when they join the Army, travel the world, meet interesting people, and kill them. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Soldiers are just doing their jobs when they do everything but actually defend the United States. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

But it is not just the actions of soldiers that many Americans attempt to justify with lame, ignorant, and intellectually lazy excuses. They make apologies for cops as well.

So, again, in what follows I will not only state the evils that cops do when they do their “jobs,” but also my response to those who excuse their actions because, after all, cops are just doing their jobs.

Cops are just doing their jobs when they issue tickets for not wearing a seat belt. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Cops are just doing their jobs when they perform “no-knock” raids. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Cops are just doing their jobs when they hide at the bottom of a hill to give unsuspecting drivers a speeding ticket. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Cops are just doing their jobs when they arrest people for victimless crimes. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Cops are just doing their jobs when they forcibly extract DNA, urine, and blood from “suspects.” Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Cops are just doing their jobs when they arrest people for possessing a plant the government doesn’t approve of. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Cops are just doing their jobs when they go online and pretend to be a hooker trying to prostitute her 12-year-old daughter. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Cops are just doing their jobs when they perform strip-searches. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Cops are just doing their jobs when they arm themselves to the hilt with surplus military weapons. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Cops are just doing their jobs when they employ tactics designed for the battlefield and war zones. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Cops are just doing their jobs when they shoot people who try to defend themselves from police brutality. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Cops are just doing their jobs when they crack down on dissent using paramilitary tactics. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Cops are just doing their jobs when they seize property and cash from people who have not been charged or convicted of a crime. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Cops are just doing their jobs when they kick down your door in the middle of the night because they were told you had drugs in the house. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Cops are just doing their jobs when they have to meet their monthly ticket quotas. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Cops are just doing their jobs when they go undercover and lie in order to entice people to commit crimes. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Cops are just doing their jobs when they enter homes without search warrants. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Cops are just doing their jobs when they “stop and frisk” people without probable cause or reasonable suspicion. Guards at concentration camps were just doing their jobs.

Perhaps it is time for soldiers and cops who are Christians, libertarians, have moral scruples, want a clean conscience, have respect for individual liberty and private property, or want a free society to get another job. After all, you can’t have a war without soldiers, and you can’t have a police state without police.

They’re Getting Out of Dodge

14 hours 50 min ago

In a December 9, 2012 interview on The Common Sense Show, Jim Marrs discussed how approximately 400-500 top level bankers have left their positions and have gone into seclusion. Marrs reminded my listening audience of how the elite have developed seed vaults which only they have access to. Marrs was clearly alluding to the fact that some very bad events are coming and the global elite are aware of it and are moving to meet the threat. My insider sources inform me that the same thing is happening in various federal organizations who have recently retired from the CIA, DHS, NSA and FEMA. This fact is indisputable. I have firsthand knowledge of four ex-fed officials and their families who have relocated to safety enclaves when doing so was very disruptive to their respective family’s lives. Increasingly, it is looking like some major event(s) is/are coming and persons with insider information are attempting to remove themselves from harm’s way.

Getting Out of Harms Way: Massive Retirements Fromthe Alphabet Soup Agencies

When government officials, from the various alphabet soup agencies, retire en masse, it is not necessarily a noteworthy event. However, when the same officials retire en masse and then relocate to form their own survivalist enclaves, then this is something that we should all sit up and take notice of, especially when we are seeing the same behavior on the part of Wall Street executives.

In my dealings with purported alphabet soup agency informants, I have been receiving some very dire warnings in terms of what lies ahead for America. At the time I began to receive information, two years ago, about the dangerous times that we are living in, Doug Hagmann also went public with conversations he had with DHS’ “Rosebud” telling us much the same thing.

I have had conversations with two insiders and a relative of another insider who tell similar stories of a coming series of apocalyptic events. Much of the Hagmann information, to a large extent, corresponds to the information I have received.

DHS and CIA Relocations

It is a matter of official agency policy that some current DHS and CIA officials and their families will be provided safe sanctuary in various strategic locations in Colorado in times of trouble. Most people in the know are aware of the underground facilities which lies below the Denver International Airport which has an underground connected railway to the Cheyenne Mountain NORAD/Fort Carson/Peterson Air Force Base underground facilities. The structures are part of the Continuity of Government program developed by the United States government in the early days of the Cold War. However these facilities are increasingly becoming the planned refuge for many of the global elite residing within the United States when all hell breaks loose.

In September 2011, the evacuation of the elite to this safe hideaway was rehearsed in the DHS exercise known as Operation Mountain Guardian in which the Denver airport was shut down to commercial air travel except for specific, undesignated planes which were allowed to land in preparation for some staged catastrophe. This aforementioned event is not newsworthy because it has been reported in the mainstream. However, where this event becomes noteworthy to the public is because it is not coincidental that the CIA has relocated its major data collection facilities to underground structures in the Denver International Airport. The implications for residents living in or near the Washington DC Metropolitan area should be clear. The planned obsolescence for the nation’s capital is becoming increasingly apparent. The previous information is what is publicly available. The following information has not been disseminated but is highly relevant to what lies ahead.

Read the rest of the article

Proof the Next Crash Is Nigh

14 hours 50 min ago

There is nothing like the release of secret tape recordings to clarify an inconclusive debate. I recall that happening with Nixon back in the day. Even as a Washington apprentice I could see that he was a ruthless, power hungry abuser of his office, but much of official Washington just denied it. Then came the tapes. Soon there was no doubt. In short order Nixon was gone.

So now comes the Goldman tapes—-46 hours of recordings by an embedded New York Fed regulator at Goldman Sachs who got fired for attempting to, well, regulate. Would that the Carmen Segarra affair generates a Nixonian result—-that is, exposure that “regulatory capture” is an endemic, potent and inextricable evil that can’t be remediated in situ.

Never mind that what Ms. Segarra was attempting to regulate–whether Goldman had a conflict of interest policy with respect to its M&A clients—-was actually none of the state’s business in the first place. If in the instant case GS was giving squinty eyed advise to its client, El Paso Corporation, because it owned a $4 billion position in the other party to the transaction, Kinder Morgan, so be it. Either the conflict was harmless or eventually Goldman’s M&A business would have been punished by the marketplace—–even stupid executives and boards wouldn’t pay huge fees to be taken to the cleaners for long.

Actually, what the tapes really show is that the Fed’s latest policy contraption—-macro-prudential regulation through a financial stability committee—-is just a useless exercise in CYA. Apparently, even the colony of the bubble blind which inhabits the Eccles Building has started to get nervous about financial bubbles and instability in recent months. What with junk bond yields sporting a 5 handle, the Russell 2000 trading at 80X reported profits and the IPO market having gone full-tilt manic with last week’s pricing at 27X sales of a Chinese e-commerce mass merchant that is a pure proxy for the greatest credit fueled house of cards in human history—-it needed to show some gesture of concern.

Now, it might have gone straight to the horse’s mouth. It might have asked about 70 consecutive months of zero money market rates, for instance, and the manner in which that has enabled speculators to mount massive momentum trades everywhere in the financial markets by funding any “risk asset” that generates a yield or a short-run gain with nearly zero cost options or repo. Or it might have inquired about the destruction of the market’s natural internal mechanisms of stability and financial restraint—-that is, short sellers and two way trading—that has resulted from the Greenspan/Bernanke/Yellen Put; or it might have wondered whether its bald-faced doctrine of “wealth effects” and ever rising stock prices does not in itself create a massive bias toward speculative risking taking and a blind buy-the-dips herd mentality in the casino.

But that would have been inconvenient because it would meant an abrupt end to its labor market focused policy of “accommodation” and a violent hissy fit in the casino. So Yellen and here Keynesian compatriots have invented out of whole cloth a method to drive the wildly vibrating Wall Street financial jalopy with both feet to the floor. That is, on the monetary “policy” side they intend to perpetuate ZIRP for at least another 9 months and near-ZIRP as far as the eye can see , while at the same time interposing in today’s frothy financial markets a Stanley Fischer led posse of regulators to keep speculator exuberance within safe boundaries.

At this point it is not clear which part of the Fed’s “macro-pru” initiative is the more preposterous. Why would you think that a system which required only 9 months to fire Carmen Segarra for comparatively trivial meddling in Goldman’s M&A department is capable of bubble prevention when we are talking about trillions of inflated value in the stock, bond, derivatives and real estate markets?  Or that putting a proven serial bubble generator—-that’s essentially what Fischer accomplished during his stint as head of Israel’s central bank—at the head of the financial stability committee would produce, well, financial stability?

It should be evident by now that regulatory capture and the inherent capacity of the marketplace to evade bureaucratic rules, edicts and embedded supervisors mean that “macro-pru” is a crock—an excuse to prolong a dangerous monetary experiment that is inexorably fueling a giant financial bubble and the crash which must inevitably follow.

Take the soaring issuance of sub-prime auto credit, for example, which now accounts for a record 30% of car loans and is putting people in cars at 130% loan-to-value ratios—-borrowers that have no hope of avoiding the repo man a few months down the road. On the margin, nearly all of this explosive growth is being funded in the non-bank market. That is, by freshly minted sub-prime auto lenders who have been given a sliver of equity by LBO houses and a ton of debt by the high yield market.  Who is Stanley Fischer going to crack down upon—–the LBO houses creating these fly-by-night lenders, the Wall Street underwriters lead by Goldman who are distributing the junk or Bill Gross’s yield-parched successors at PIMCO and its mutual fund competitors who are buying the stuff?

OK, Stanley Fischer being from MIT, the IMF, Citibank, the Bank of Israel—and to say nothing of his long ago supervision of Ben Bernanke’s PhD thesis which merely Xeroxed  Milton Friedman’s false claim that the Fed’s failure to engage in massive QE during 1930-1932 caused the Great Depression—-is too sophisticated to say “no auto junk, period”. What his committee will likely do is issue guidance about keeping debt-to-EBITDA ratios “prudent” at some notional leverage of say 6-8X when these newly minted auto junk yards are issuing the same.

But that’s before the underwriters parade in with a host of complications embedded in “adjusted EBITDA” to account for the fact that two fly-by-night subprime lenders, for example, just merged and therefore need a pro forma adjustment for down-the-road synergy savings; or that a newly minted lender is still scaling up its volume and that on a last month’s run-rate basis, its adjusted EBITDA ratio is 7.8X, not the 16X ratio embedded in its actual GAAP results.

And that doesn’t even account for the fact that the loan books of these start-up auto sub-primes are inherently unseasoned. It does take some time for an assistant night shift manager at a McDonald’s to become the subject of a “restructuring” initiative by the local franchisee and to subsequently default on his car loan. Indeed, the Fischer committee would even be up against the inherently vexing math of a rapidly ramping loan book. That is, while the denominator of loans issued is soaring, the numerator of delinquencies is still lagging. So loan loss reserves are invariably understated during the final blow-off stage of a financial bubble, meaning that earnings and EBITDA are over-stated and hidden leverage risk is rampant. The evidence is there in spades in the wreckage of the LBO and high yield markets during 20009-2010.

In short, even assuming that the obsequious culture of accommodation at the New York Fed so evident in the Goldman tapes could be uprooted, macro-pru is inherently impotent because of information asymmetry. What the Austrian thinkers 100 years ago said about socialism in general is true in spades with respect to the gambling casinos created by the Keynesian money printers. Without honest market prices in the trading pits and at loan desks and underwriting syndicates, financial booms and busts are inevitable, and the state’s regulators and supervisors are hopelessly at sea because they cannot hope to gather and process enough information to stymie the army of speculators chasing false prices with cheap credit.

Or to take another example, what is the Fischer committee going to do about leveraged stock buybacks? Not only is this fueling the speculative rise in the stock averages and the illusion that earnings are growing, when in fact it is only the share count which is shrinking, but it is also adding to the dangerous build-up of corporate debt that will become hugely problematic when interest rates are finally allowed to normalize.

But imagine the utter hissy fit that would instantly arise on Wall Street if the Fischer committee was even rumored to be addressing the issue of leveraged stock buybacks. It would generate a violent sell-off of the likes not seen since the House Republicans voted down TARP the first time around.

And then would come the information miasma. Wall Street would trot out the cash on the sidelines canard, arguing there is no problem here because not withstanding the current $700 billion annualized run-rate of buybacks for the S&P 500 alone, there is plenty of cash cushion available to corporate chieftains who wish to invest in their own company’s future— albeit with shareholder money, not theirs.

In truth, of course, the business sector did not delever one wit after the financial crisis.  Since the fourth quarter of 2007, business debt in the US has risen from $11 to $14 trillion. That $3 trillion gain dwarfs the $500 billion pick up in business cash balances. In fact, the rise in cash was never a sign of returning financial health in the fist place: it was only a telltale sign that by causing debt to be drastically mis-priced, the Fed was encouraging companies to artificially balloon both sides of their balance sheets.

Yet it would take the Fischer committee months to sort-out the truth and refute the sell-side propaganda—even if it had the will. Meanwhile, the bubble would continue to expand.

So here’s the thing. Our monetary politburo has its ass backwards. Macro-pru is an impossible delusion that should not be taken seriously be sensible adults. It is not, as Janet Yellen insists, a supplementary tool to contain and remediate the unintended consequence—that is, excessive financial speculation—-of the Fed’s primary drive to achieve full employment and fill the GDP bathtub to the very brim of its potential.

Instead,  rampant speculation, excessive leverage, phony liquidity and massive financial instability are the only real result of current Fed policy. We are at peak debt in the household and business sectors of the private economy. Accordingly, the credit channel of monetary transmission is broken and done. Indeed, the modest pick-up in leverage in the household sector  has been exclusively among utterly marginal borrowers. That is, among students who are just treading water until the eventual day of default and sub-prime auto borrowers who are actually underwater they day they take out their loans.

No, the central bankers’ one time parlor trick has been played and leverage was ratcheted-up until it reached a peak in 2007-2008.  Now the central bankers are pushing on a string.

But even as their liquidity tsunami never escapes the canyons of Wall Street, and, as an empirical matter, circulates right back to excess reserves at the New York Fed, it does have an immense untoward effect during its circular journey. Namely, it causes the most important price in all of capitalism—that is, the cost of overnight money and the speculators’ “carry” on his asset positions—to be drastically mispriced. It turns the central bank into a serial bubble machine.

Not 10,000 Carmen Segarra’s could stop the boom and bust cycle thus manufactured by the money printers ensconced in the Eccles Building. Stanley Fischer’s financial stability committee, therefore, is not merely a pointless farce. Its evidence that the next financial crash is nigh.

Reprinted with permission from David Stockman.

Japan as a Vassal State

14 hours 50 min ago

The American-triggered regime change in Ukraine at the Western end of the Eurasian continent has been widely discussed. Less noticed, if at all, has been the American-triggered change of government in Japan four years ago as part of the so-called ‘pivot’ aimed at holding back China on the Eastern end. The two ought to be considered together, since they share a purpose known as ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’.

A military ambition and agenda, this provides much activist energy among America’s neoconservatives and their fellow travelers, which include sundry financial and commercial interests. Made up of many parts, like the recently established “Africom” (U.S. Africa Command), the comparable effort to contain/isolate/denigrate the two former communist enemy giants, China and Russia, may be considered a central aim.

It does not add up to a feasible strategy for long-term American interests, but few American initiatives have been so in the recent past. Since neoconservatives, ‘liberal hawks’ and neoliberals appear to have captured the State Department and White House, and their activism has already produced significant geopolitical instability, it would be no luxury to dig deeper in developments on the rather neglected Asian side of the globe.

The protracted overthrow in the course of 2010 of the first cabinet formed by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) does not at first glance resemble what happened in Kiev on January 22nd 2014 – when Victoria Nuland & Co triggered, aided, and abetted an anti–Russian coup d’état. No snipers were involved. No deaths. No civil war against Japanese citizens who had supported a reformist program. It was a gentle overthrow. But an overthrow it was even so. And, importantly, while the Ukraine case served the elevation by consensus of Russia to being the new number one enemy of ‘the West’, the abrupt end to a new Japanese policy of rapprochement was the start of a fairly successful drive to create common imagery of China as a threat to its neighbors.

Back in September of 2009, Japan underwent a politically momentous change when a new ruling party came to power, thereby ending half a century of what had been in fact a ‘one-party democracy’. As the first serious opposition contender for government, the DPJ had won an overwhelming electoral victory with a strongly reformist manifesto. Its original, and at that time still essential, aim was to push for greater political control over a bureaucracy that is in many crucial ways politically unaccountable.

One of this new government’s first moves was to initiate a new China policy. Its main architect, Ichiro Ozawa, had filled several planes with writers, artists, and politicians to visit China for the specified purpose of improving “people to people and party to party” relations. At the same time, the prime minister of this first cabinet, Yukio Hatoyama, was openly declaring his intention to join other East Asian leaders in the formation of an Asean+3 community, consisting of the existing Asean grouping plus Korea, China and Japan. It is highly unlikely that the now diplomatically ruinous and possibly dangerous Sino-Japanese conflict over the Senkaku/Diyaou islands would have come into being if his cabinet had lasted.

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Clueless

14 hours 50 min ago

On yesterday’s site, I described the technical and fundamental mish-mash that now confronts us. I note that I’m still receiving advisories with long lists of stocks to buy. It’s not easy to make money when the trend is obscure. Along these lines, I note the thousands of hedge funds have thrown in the towel. CalPERS, an enormous California pension fund, has eliminated all the hedge funds from its portfolio.

One trouble with this business is that people won’t stop talking and advising even when they don’t have the slightest idea of what they’re talking about. It’s no mark of shame to admit that you are clueless, which is about where the investment industry finds itself today.

I note that there are five distribution days on the Nasdaq and three on the S&P. This is subtle evidence that institutions are quietly exiting this market.

The dividend yield on the widely followed S&P Composite is now at an historic low of 2.1%. This alone provides fuel for caution. For those wishing to avoid white knuckles and sleepless nights, I continue to suggest holding real constitutional money, better known as silver and gold. I thought of the Forty-Niners, who staked their futures on the hope of finding gold in the West. I thought of the prospectors who withstood freezing winters in their quest for gold in Alaska. Yet the wonder is that in a single generation, the Federal reserve has turned gold into an item of loathing. If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it. With the help of paper gold manipulation, the Fed has turned the public against constitutional money.

Gold is built into the DNA of mankind. My own conviction is that the Fed has committed one of the greatest crimes in economic history. Despite the anti-gold propaganda, gold will be the last currency standing. Buy gold while you can.

………………………………….

Suddenly, we’re dealing with a new Barack Obama; in a nutshell, he’s saying that he’s “had it.” The various Muslim factors are standing aside and watching the murderous ISIS gang have its way. Obama is saying that the US will do its part from the air in degrading ISIS, but the other Muslim factors must get together and stop ISIS on the ground. Furthermore, if ISIS directly menaces the US or its citizens, it will be stopped by whatever means are needed. This includes massive force which hints at atomic bombs.

Thus, the new Obama has made his case. The US will do its part in the air, for halting the murderous men of ISIS. The US is now upgrading its nuclear capabilities and if the US is directly menaced by ISIS, the tremendous power of the US military will come, if needed, and be used by the US to halt and dismember ISIS. ISIS, by its operations, is giving Muslims a fearful and horrendous reputation. At this point, it is up to the Muslim nations to stop ISIS. If the US must do it alone, so be it, says the new Barack Obama.

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Kindergarten Vaccination Rates Plunge

14 hours 50 min ago

The number of parents deciding not to vaccinate their children is growing at an alarming rate – at least according to officials who are now nonplussed at the waking of humanity.

Considering the quite ‘heavy’ vaccination schedules proposed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), parents should be refusing vaccinations. Since the 1950′s, the number of vaccines children under 6 are expected to obtain has grown by 414%. Apparently, at least Californian parents have had enough and are refusing to immunize their kindergarten-aged children.

Public health experts are saying that these refusals to have their children vaccinated (at a rate of half as often than just 7 years ago) is contributing to the re-emergence of measles across the state, and may lead to serious outbreaks of ‘other diseases.’ But this is nothing more than scare-mongering and the typical line of vaccination-pushers.

Actually, there are numerous studies which show that un-vaccinated children are far healthier than their vaccinated peers. Findings uncovered during one study looking at New Zealand’s children found that:

“. . . 92 percent of the children requiring a tonsillectomy operation had received the measles vaccination, indicating that the vaccination for measles may have made some of the children more susceptible to tonsillitis.”

The percentage of kindergartens in which at least 8% of students are not fully vaccinated because of personal beliefs has more than doubled as well, according to data on file with the state.

Health officials are not pleased with this trend since they believe in herd immunity, and since according to ‘experts,’ measles and whooping cough need at least 92% of kids immunized. The CDC is a big pusher of herd immunity, but as a direct result of vaccinations, mucosal immunity in children is very weak. This leads to more than one million children having to have tubes put in their ears every year due to Otitis Media or “glue ear.” It is a buildup of water in the ear, which requires this invasive medical procedure.

Despite herd immunity propaganda, there is no system of the human being, from mind to muscles to immune system, which gets stronger through avoiding challenges, but only through overcoming challenges.

Furthermore, it is a lie that disease will spread without vaccinations at a 95% rate. In truth, most states fail to meet the CDC’s goals of extending basic immunizations to 80% (not 95%) of children. Rates ran as low as 65% in Colorado in years past, and as low as 75% in Florida. This did not cause a sudden epidemic of measles, or flu, or whooping cough. Some experts suggest that herd immunity is a myth created by those who might profit from it,. It looks like many Californian parents agree, or at least are wary of vaccines in general.

“Five days a week, [children are] in their small classroom,” said Shannon Stokley, an epidemiologist at the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “That’s the perfect conditions for spreading germs and spreading infections.”

What Stokley seems to disregard are the numerous other factors which can contribute to outbreaks.

Barbara Loe Fisher, president of the National Vaccine Information Centre, a consumer’s group based in Virginia, argues that vaccines are responsible for the increasing numbers of children and adults who suffer from immune system and neurologic disorders, hyperactivity, learning disabilities, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and seizure disorders. She believes more studies to monitor the long-term effects of mass vaccination should be conducted. She wants physicians to be absolutely sure these vaccines are safe and not harming people.

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Smack Down

14 hours 50 min ago

“Libertarianism is logically consistent with almost any attitude toward culture, society, religion, or moral principle. In strict logic, libertarian political doctrine can be severed from all other considerations; logically one can be – and indeed most libertarians in fact are: hedonists, libertines, immoralists, militant enemies of religion in general and Christianity in particular – and still be consistent adherents of libertarian politics. In fact, in strict logic, one can be a consistent devotee of property rights politically and be a moocher, a scamster, and a petty crook and racketeer in practice, as all too many libertarians turn out to be. Strictly logically, one can do these things, but psychologically, sociologically, and in practice, it simply doesn’t work that way.”  [my emphasis, HHH]

Murray Rothbard, “Big-Government Libertarians,” in: L. Rockwell, ed., The Irrepressible Rothbard, Auburn, Al: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2000, p. 101

Let me begin with a few remarks on libertarianism as a pure deductive theory.

If there were no scarcity in the world, human conflicts would be impossible. Interpersonal conflicts are always and everywhere conflicts concerning scarce things. I want to do X with a given thing and you want to do Y with the same thing.

Because of such conflicts – and because we are able to communicate and argue with each other – we seek out norms of behavior with the purpose of avoiding these conflicts. The purpose of norms is conflict-avoidance. If we did not want to avoid conflicts, the search for norms of conduct would be senseless. We would simply fight and struggle.

Absent a perfect harmony of all interests, conflicts regarding scarce resources can only be avoided if all scarce resources are assigned as private, exclusive property to some specified individual. Only then can I act independently, with my own things, from you, with your own things, without you and me coming into conflict.

But who owns what scarce resource as his private property and who does not? First: Each person owns his physical body that only he and no one else controls directly (I can control your body only in-directly, by first directly controlling my body, and vice versa) and that only he directly controls also in particular when discussing and arguing the question at hand. Otherwise, if body-ownership were assigned to some indirect body-controller, conflict would become unavoidable as the direct body-controller cannot give up his direct control over his body as long as he is alive; and in particular, otherwise it would be impossible that any two persons, as the contenders in any property dispute, could ever argue and debate the question whose will is to prevail, since arguing and debating presupposes that both, the proponent and the opponent, have exclusive control over their respective bodies and so come to the correct judgment on their own, without a fight (in a conflict-free form of interaction).

And second, as for scarce resources that can be controlled only indirectly (that must be appropriated with our own nature-given, i.e., un-appropriated, body): Exclusive control (property) is acquired by and assigned to that person, who appropriated the resource in question first or who acquired it through voluntary (conflict-free) exchange from its previous owner. For only the first appropriator of a resource (and all later owners connected to him through a chain of voluntary exchanges) can possibly acquire and gain control over it without conflict, i.e., peacefully. Otherwise, if exclusive control is assigned instead to latecomers, conflict is not avoided but contrary to the very purpose of norms made unavoidable and permanent.

Let me emphasize that I consider this theory as essentially irrefutable, as a priori true. In my estimation this theory represents one of the greatest – if not the greatest – achievement of social thought. It formulates and codifies the immutable ground rules for all people, everywhere, who wish to live together in peace.

And yet: This theory does not tell us very much about real life. To be sure, it tells us that all actual societies, insofar as they are characterized by peaceful relations, adhere, whether consciously or subconsciously, to these rules and are thus guided by rational insight. But it does not tell us to what extent this is the case. Nor does it tell us, even if adherence to these rules were complete, how people actually live together. It does not tell us how close or distant from each other they live, if, when, how frequent and long, and for what purposes they meet and interact, etc.. To use an analogy here: Knowing libertarian theory – the rules of peaceful interactions – is like knowing the rules of logic – the rules of correct thinking and reasoning. However, just like the knowledge of logic, as indispensible as it is for correct thinking, does not tell us anything about actual human thought, about actual words, concepts, arguments, inferences and conclusions used and made, so the logic of peaceful interaction (libertarianism) does not tell us anything about actual human life and action. Hence: just as every logician who wants to make good use of his knowledge must turn his attention to real thought and reasoning, so a libertarian theorist must turn his attention to the actions of real people. Instead of being a mere theorist, he must also become a sociologist and psychologist and take account of “empirical” social reality, i.e., the world as it really is.

This brings me to the topic of “Left” and “Right.”

The difference between the Right and the Left, as Paul Gottfried has often noted, is a fundamental disagreement concerning an empirical question. The Right recognizes, as a matter of fact, the existence of individual human differences and diversities and accepts them as natural, whereas the Left denies the existence of such differences and diversities or tries to explain them away and in any case regards them as something unnatural that must be rectified to establish a natural state of human equality.

The Right recognizes the existence of individual human differences not just with regard to the physical location and make-up of the human environment and of the individual human body (its height, strength, weight, age, gender, skin- hair- or eye-color, facial features, etc., etc.). More importantly, the Right also recognizes the existence of differences in the mental make-up of people, i.e., in their cognitive abilities, talents, psychological dispositions, and motivations. It recognizes the existence of bright and dull, smart and dumb, short- and far-sighted, busy and lazy, aggressive and peaceful, docile and inventive, impulsive and patient, scrupulous and careless people, etc., etc.. The Right recognizes that these mental differences, resulting from the interaction of the physical environment and the physical human body, are the results of both environmental and physiological and biological factors. The Right further recognizes that people are tied together (or separated) both physically in geographical space and emotionally by blood (biological commonalities and relationships), by language and religion, as well as by customs and traditions. Moreover, the Right not merely recognizes the existence of these differences and diversities. It realizes also that the outcome of input-differences will again be different and result in people with much or little property, in rich and poor, and in people of high or low social status, rank, influence or authority. And it accepts these different outcomes of different inputs as normal and natural.

The Left on the other hand is convinced of the fundamental equality of man, that all men are “created equal.” It does not deny the patently obvious, of course: that there are environmental and physiological differences, i.e., that some people live in the mountains and others on the seaside, or that some men are tall and others short, some white and others black, some male and others female, etc.. But the Left does deny the existence of mental differences or, insofar as these are too apparent to be entirely denied, it tries to explain them away as “accidental.” That is, the Left either explains such differences as solely environmentally determined, such that a change in environmental circumstances (moving a person from the mountains to the seaside and vice versa, for instance, or giving each person identical pre- and post-natal attention) would produce an equal outcome, and it denies that these differences are caused (also) by some – comparatively intractable – biological factors. Or else, in those cases where it cannot be denied that biological factors play a causal role in determining success or failure in life (money and fame), such as when a 5 foot tall man cannot win an Olympic gold medal in the 100 meter dash or a fat and ugly girl cannot become Miss Universe, the Left considers these differences as pure luck and the resulting outcome of individual success or failure as undeserved. In any case, whether caused by advantageous or disadvantageous environmental circumstances or biological attributes, all observable individual human differences are to be equalized. And where this cannot be done literally, as we cannot move mountains and seas or make a tall man short or a black man white, the Left insists that the undeservedly “lucky” must compensate the “unlucky” so that every person will be accorded an “equal station in life,” in correspondence with the natural equality of all men.

With this short characterization of the Right and the Left I return to the subject of libertarianism. Is libertarian theory compatible with the world-view of the Right? And: Is libertarianism compatible with leftist views?

As for the Right, the answer is an emphatic “yes.” Every libertarian only vaguely familiar with social reality will have no difficulty acknowledging the fundamental truth of the Rightist world-view. He can, and in light of the empirical evidence indeed must agree with the Right’s empirical claim regarding the fundamental not only physical but also mental in-equality of man; and he can in particular also agree with the Right’s normative claim of “laissez faire,” i.e., that this natural human inequality will inevitably result also in un-equal outcomes and that nothing can or should be done about this.

There is only one important caveat, however. While the Right may accept all human inequalities, whether of starting-points or of outcomes, as natural, the libertarian would insist that only those inequalities are natural and should not be interfered with that have come into existence by following the ground-rules of peaceful human interaction mentioned at the beginning. Inequalities that are the result of violations of these rules, however, do require corrective action and should be eliminated. And moreover, the libertarian would insist that, as a matter of empirical fact, there exist quite a few among the innumerable observable human inequalities that are the result of such rule-violations, such as rich men who owe their fortune not to hard work, foresight, entrepreneurial talent or else a voluntary gift or inheritance, but to robbery, fraud or state-granted monopolistic privilege. The corrective action required in such cases, however, is not motivated by egalitarianism but by a desire for restitution: he (and only he), who can show that he has been robbed, defrauded or legally disadvantaged should be made whole again by those (and only those) who have committed these crimes against him and his property, including also cases where restitution would result in an even greater inequality (as when a poor man had defrauded and owed restitution to a rich one).

On the other hand: As for the Left, the answer is an equally emphatic “no.” The empirical claim of the Left, that there exist no significant mental differences between individuals and, by implication, between various groups of people, and that what appear to be such differences are due solely to environmental factors and would disappear if only the environment were equalized is contradicted by all everyday-life experience and mountains of empirical social research. Men are not and cannot be made equal, and whatever one tries in this regard, inequalities will always re-emerge. However, it is in particular the implied normative claim and activist agenda of the Left that makes it incompatible with libertarianism. The leftist goal of equalizing everyone or equalizing everyone’s “station in life” is incompatible with private property, whether in one’s body or in external things. Instead of peaceful cooperation, it brings about unending conflict and leads to the decidedly un-egalitarian establishment of a permanent ruling-class lording it over the rest of the people as their “material” to be equalized. “Since,” as Murray Rothbard has formulated it, “no two people are uniform or ‘equal’ in any sense in nature, or in the outcomes of a voluntary society, to bring about and maintain such equality necessarily requires the permanent imposition of a power elite armed with devastating coercive power.”[1]

There exist countless individual human differences; and there exist even more differences between different groups of individuals, since each individual can be fit into countless different groups. It is the power-elite that determines which of these differences, whether of individuals or of groups, is to count as advantageous and lucky or disadvantageous and unlucky (or else as irrelevant). It is the power elite that determines how – out of countless possible ways – to actually do the “equalizing” of the lucky and the unlucky, i.e., what and how much to “take” from the lucky and “give” to the unlucky to achieve equality. In particular, it is the power elite, by defining itself as unlucky, that determines what and how much to take from the lucky and keep for itself. And whatever equalization is then achieved: Since countless new differences and inequalities are constantly re-emerging, the equalizing-job of the power elite can never ever come to a natural end but must instead go on forever, endlessly.

The egalitarian world-view of the Left is not only incompatible with libertarianism, however. It is so out of touch with reality that one must be wondering how anyone can take it seriously. The man-on-the-street certainly does not believe in the equality of all men. Plain common sense and sound prejudice stand in the way of that. And I am even more confident that no one of the actual proponents of the egalitarian doctrine really, deep down, believes what he proclaims. Yet how, then, could the Leftist world-view have become the dominant ideology of our age?

At least for a libertarian, the answer should be obvious: the egalitarian doctrine achieved this status not because it is true, but because it provides the perfect intellectual cover for the drive toward totalitarian social control by a ruling elite. The ruling elite therefore enlisted the help of the “intelligentsia” (or the “chattering class”). It was put on the payroll or otherwise subsidized and in return it delivered the desired egalitarian message (which it knows to be wrong yet which is enormously beneficial to its own employment prospects). And so the most enthusiastic proponents of the egalitarian nonsense can be found among the intellectual class.[2]

Given, then, that libertarianism and the egalitarianism professed by the Left are obviously incompatible, it must come as a surprise  – and it is testimony to the immense ideological powers of the ruling elites and their court intellectuals – that many who call themselves libertarian today are, and consider themselves to be, part of the Left. How is such a thing possible?

What ideologically unifies these left-libertarians is their active promotion of various “anti-discrimination” policies and their advocacy of a policy of “free and non-discriminatory” immigration. [3]

These “libertarians,” noted Rothbard, “are fervently committed to the notion that, while each individual might not be ‘equal’ to every other, that every conceivable group, ethnic contingent, race, gender, or, in some cases, species, are in fact and must be made ‘equal,’ that each one has ‘rights’ that must not be subject to curtailment by any form of ‘discrimination.’ “ [4]

But how is it possible to reconcile this anti-discrimination stand with private property, which all libertarians are supposed to regard as the cornerstone of their philosophy, and which, after all, means exclusive property and hence, logically implies discrimination?

Traditional leftists, of course, do not have this problem. They do not think or care about private property. Since everyone is equal to everyone else, the world and everything on and in it belongs to everyone equally – all property is “common” property – and as an equal co-owner of the world everyone has of course an equal “right to access” to everywhere and everything. Absent a perfect harmony of all interests, however, you cannot have everyone have equal property and equal access to everything and everywhere without leading to permanent conflict. Thus, to avoid this predicament, it is necessary to institute a State, i.e., a territorial monopolist of ultimate decision-making. “Common property,” that is, requires a State and is to become “State property.” It is the State that ultimately determines not just who owns what; and it is also the State, then, that ultimately determines the spatial allocation of all people: who is to live where and allowed to meet and have access to whom – and private property be damned. After all, it is they, the Lefties, who would control the State.

But this escape route is not open to anyone calling himself a libertarian. He must take private property seriously.

Psychologically or sociologically, the attraction of non-discrimination policies to libertarians can be explained by the fact that an over-proportionally large number of libertarians are misfits or simply odd – or to use Rothbard’s description,  “hedonists, libertines, immoralists, militant enemies of religion …., moochers, scamsters, and petty crooks and racketeers” – who became attracted to libertarianism because of its alleged ‘tolerance’ toward misfits and outliers, and who now want to use it as a vehicle to free themselves from all discrimination typically, in everyday life, dished out to their likes. But how do they do it “logically?” Left-libertarians, bleeding heart libertarians and humanitarian-cosmopolitan libertarians are not simply leftists. They know of the central importance of private property. Yet how can they seemingly logically reconcile the notion of private property with their promotion of anti-discrimination policies and in particular their propagation of a policy of discrimination-free immigration?

The short answer is: in placing all current private property and its distribution among distinct people under moral suspicion. With this claim, the left-libertarians fall into the opposite error from that committed by the non-libertarian Right. As indicated, the non-libertarian Right commits the error of regarding all (or at least almost all) current property holdings, including in particular also the property holdings of the State, as natural and just. In distinct opposition, a libertarian would recognize and insist that some present property holdings, and all (or at least most) State-holdings, are demonstrably unnatural and unjust and as such require restitution or compensation. In reverse, the left-libertarians claim that not only all or most State-holdings are unnatural und unjust (from this admission they derive their title ‘libertarian’), but that also all or most private property holdings are unnatural and unjust. And in support for this latter claim, they point to the fact that all current private property holdings and their distribution among various people have been affected, altered and distorted by prior State action and legislation and that everything would be different and no one would be in the same place and position he currently is had it not been for such prior State-interferences.

Without any doubt, this observation is correct. The State in its long history has made some people richer and others poorer than they would have been otherwise. It killed some people and let others survive. It moved people around from one place to another. It promoted some professions, industries or regions and prevented or delayed and changed the development of others. It awarded some people with privileges and monopolies and legally discriminated against and disadvantaged others, and on and on. The list of past injustices, of winners and losers, perpetrators and victims, is endless.

But from this indisputable fact it does not follow that all or most current property holdings are morally suspect and in need of rectification. To be sure, State-property must be restituted, because it has been unjustly acquired. It should be returned to its natural owners, i.e., the people (or their heirs) who were coerced to ‘fund’ such ‘public’ property by surrendering parts of their own private property to the State. However, I will not concern myself with this particular “privatization” issue here.[5] Rather, it is the further-reaching claim that past injustices also render all current private property holdings morally suspect, which does not follow and which is certainly not true. As a matter of fact, most private holdings are likely just, irrespective of their history – unless and except in such cases in which a specific claimant can prove that they are not. The burden of proof, however, is on whoever challenges the current property holdings and distribution. He must show that he is in possession of an older title to the property in question than its current owner. Otherwise, if a claimant cannot prove this, everything is to remain as it currently is.

Or: To be more specific and realistic: From the fact that Peter or Paul or their parents, as members of any conceivable group of people, had been murdered, displaced, robbed, assaulted, or legally discriminated against in the past and their current property holdings and social positions would have been different if it had not been for such past injustices, it does not follow that any present member of this group has a just claim (for compensation) against the current property of anyone else (neither from within nor from outside his group). Rather, in each case, Peter or Paul would have to show, in one case after another, that he personally has a better because older title to some specified piece of property than some current, named and identified owner and alleged perpetrator. Certainly, a considerable number of cases exists where this can be done and restitution or compensation is owed. But just as certainly, with this burden of proof on any challenger of any current property distribution, not much mileage can be gained for any non-discriminatory-egalitarian agenda. To the contrary, in the contemporary Western world, replete with “affirmative action” laws that award legal privileges to various “protected groups” at the expense of various other correspondingly un-protected and discriminated groups, more – not less – discrimination and inequalities would result if, as justice would require, everyone who in fact could provide such individualized proof of his victimization was actually permitted to do so by the State and bring suit and seek redress from his victimizer.

But left-libertarians – the bleeding-heart and humanitarian-cosmopolitan libertarians – are not exactly known as “fighters” against “affirmative action.” Rather, and quite to the contrary, in order to reach the conclusion that they want to reach, they relax or dispense altogether with the requirement for someone claiming victimhood of offering individualized proof of victimization. Typically, in order to maintain their intellectual status as libertarians, the left-libertarians do so quietly, surreptitiously or even unknowingly, but in effect, in giving up this fundamental requirement of justice, they replace private property and property rights and rights violations with the muddled notion of ‘civil rights’ and ‘civil rights violations’ and individual rights with ‘group rights’ and thus become closet-socialists. Given that the State has disturbed and distorted all private property holdings and distributions, yet without the requirement of individualized proof of victimization, everyone and every imaginable group can easily and without too much intellectual effort claim somehow “victimhood” vis-à-vis anyone else or any other group.[6]

Relieved of the burden of individualized proof of victimhood, the left-libertarians are essentially unrestricted in their ‘discovery’ of new “victims” and “victimizers” in accordance with their own presupposed egalitarian assumptions. To their credit, they recognize the State as an institutional victimizer and invader of private property rights (again, from this derives their claim to be ‘libertarians’). But they see far more institutional and structural injustices and social distortions, far more victims and victimizers, and far more need for restitution, compensation and attendant property redistribution in the current world than only those injustices and distortions committed and caused by the State and to be resolved and rectified by shrinking and ultimately dismantling and privatizing all State holdings and functions. Even if the State were dismantled, they hold, as late and lasting effects of its long prior existence or of certain pre-State conditions, other institutional distortions would remain in place that required rectification to create a just society.

The views held by left-libertarians in this regard are not entirely uniform, but they typically differ little from those promoted by cultural Marxists. They assume as ‘natural,’ without much if any empirical support and indeed against overwhelming evidence to the contrary, a largely ‘flat’ and ‘horizontal’ society of ‘equals,’ i.e., of essentially universally and world-wide homogeneous, like-minded and -talented people of more or less similar social and economic status and standing, and they regard all systematic deviations from this model as the result of discrimination and grounds for some form of compensation and restitution. Accordingly, the hierarchical structure of traditional families, of sex roles and of the partition of labor between males and females, is considered unnatural. Indeed, all social hierarchies and vertical rank orders of authority, of headsmen and clan-chiefs, of patrons, nobles, aristocrats and kings, of bishops and cardinals, of ‘bosses’ generally, and of their respective underlings or subordinates, are viewed with suspicion. Similarly, all great or ‘excessive’ disparities of income and wealth – of so-called ‘economic power’ – and the existence of both a downtrodden under-class as well as of an upper class of super-wealthy people and families are deemed unnatural. As well, large industrial and financial corporations and conglomerates are considered artificial creatures of the State. And also suspect, unnatural and in need of repair are all exclusive associations, societies, congregations, churches and clubs, and all territorial segregation, separation and secession, whether based on class, gender, race, ethnicity, lineage, language, religion, profession, interests, customs or tradition.

From that vantage point, the ‘victim’ groups and their ‘victimizers’ are easily identified. As it turns out, ‘victims’ make up the vast majority of mankind. Everyone and every conceivable group is a ‘victim,’ except that small part of mankind composed of white (including northern Asian) heterosexual males, living traditional, bourgeois family lives. They, and especially the most creative and successful ones among them, (excluding interestingly only rich sports or entertainment celebrities) are the ‘victimizers’ of everyone else.

While this view of human history strikes one as bizarre in light of the amazing civilizational achievements originating from precisely this minority group of ‘victimizers,’ it coincides almost completely with the victimology also propagated by cultural Marxists. Both groups only differ on the cause of this similarly identified, described and deplored ‘structural state of victimization.’ For the cultural Marxists, the cause for this state of affairs is private property and unbridled capitalism based on private property rights. For them, the answer how to repair the damage done is clear and easy. All necessary restitution, compensation and redistribution are to be done by the State, which they presumably control.

For the left-libertarians this answer does not work. They are supposed to be in favor of private property and the privatization of State-property. They cannot have the State do the restitution, because as libertarians they are supposed to dismantle and ultimately abolish the State. Yet they want more restitution than only that resulting from the privatization of all so-called public property. Abolishing the State is not enough for them to create a just society. More is needed to compensate the just mentioned huge majority of victims.

But what? And on what grounds? Whenever there is individualized proof of victimization, i.e., if some person A can demonstrate that another person B had invaded or taken A’s property, or vice versa, no problem exists! The case is clear. But absent any such proof, what else is it that the ‘victimizers’ owe their ‘victims,’ and on what grounds? How to determine who owes whom how much and of what? And how to implement this restitution scheme in the absence of a State, and without thereby trampling on someone else’s private property rights? This poses the central intellectual problem for any self-styled left- libertarian.

Not surprisingly, the answer given by them to this challenge turns out evasive and vague. From all I can gather, it amounts to little more than an exhortation. As a keen observer of the intellectual scene has summarized it: “Be nice!” More precisely: You, you small group of ‘victimizers,’ must always be especially ‘nice,’ forgiving, and inclusive vis-a-vis all members of the vast majority of ‘victims,’ i.e., the long and familiar list of everyone except white, heterosexual males! And as for enforcement: All ‘victimizers’ not demonstrating proper respect to some victim-class member, i.e., victimizers who are ‘nasty,’ unforgiving or exclusive or who say ‘nasty’ or disrespectful things about them, must be publicly shunned, humiliated, and shamed into obedience!

At first sight or hearing, this proposal how to do restitution may – as can be expected coming from ‘nice’ people – appear, well, well meaning, harmless and plain ‘nice’. In fact, however, it is anything but ‘nice’ and harmless advice. It is wrong and dangerous.

First off: Why should anyone be particularly nice to anyone else – apart from respecting ones’ respective private property rights in certain specified physical means (goods)? To be nice is a deliberate action and takes an effort, like all actions do. There are opportunity costs. The same effort could also be put to other effects. Indeed, many if not most of our activities are conducted alone and in silence, without any direct interaction with others, as when we prepare our meal, drive our car, or read and write. Time devoted to ‘niceness to others’ is time lost to do other, possibly more worthwhile things. Moreover, niceness must be warranted. Why should I be nice to people who are nasty to me? Niceness must be deserved. Indiscriminating niceness diminishes and ultimately extinguishes the distinction between meritorious and faulty conduct. Too much niceness will be given to undeserving people and too little to deserving ones and the overall level of nastiness will consequently rise and public life become increasingly unpleasant.

Moreover, there are also genuinely evil people doing real evil things to real private property owners, most importantly the ruling elites in charge of the State-apparatus, as every libertarian would have to admit. One surely has no obligation to be nice to them! And yet, in rewarding the vast majority of ‘victims’ with extra love, care and attention, one accomplishes precisely this: less time and effort is devoted to exhibiting nasty behavior toward those actually most deserving of it. The power of the State will not be weakened by universal ‘niceness,’ then, but strengthened.

And why is it in particular the small minority of white, heterosexual males, and especially its most successful members that owes some extra-kindness to the vast majority of all other people? Why not the other way around? After all, most if not all technical inventions, machines, tools and gadgets in current use everywhere and anywhere, on which our current living standards and comforts largely and decisively depend, originated with them. All other people, by and large, only imitated what they had invented and constructed first. All others inherited the knowledge embodied in the inventors’ products for free. And isn’t it the typical white hierarchical family household of father, mother, their common children and prospective heirs, and their ‘bourgeois’ conduct and lifestyle – i.e., everything the Left disparages and maligns – that is the economically most successful model of social organization the world has ever seen, with the greatest accumulation of capital goods (wealth) and the highest average standards of living? And isn’t it only on account of the great economic achievements of this minority of ‘victimizers’ that a steadily increasing number of ‘victims’ could be integrated and partake in the advantages of a worldwide network of the division of labor? And isn’t it only on account of the success of the traditional white, bourgeois family model also that so-called ‘alternative lifestyles’ could at all emerge and be sustained over time? Do not most of today’s ‘victims,’ then, literally owe their lives and their current living to the achievements of their alleged ‘victimizers?’

Why not the ‘victims’ giving special respect to their ‘victimizers’? Why not bestow special honor to economic achievement and success instead of failure, and why not give special praise to traditional, ‘normal’ lifestyles and conduct rather than any abnormal alternative that requires, as a necessary condition of its own continued existence, a pre-existing dominant surrounding society of ‘normal’ people with ‘normal’ lifestyles?

I will come to the apparent answer to these rhetorical questions shortly. Before, however, a second – strategic – error in the left-libertarian advice of special niceness towards ‘historic victims’ must be briefly addressed.

Interestingly, the ‘victim’ groups identified by both left-libertarians and cultural Marxists differ little if at all from the groups identified as ‘underprivileged’ and in need of compensation also by the State. While this poses no problem for cultural Marxists and can be interpreted as an indicator of the extent of control that they have already gained of the State apparatus, for left-libertarians this coincidence should be cause for intellectual concern. Why would the State pursue the same or similar end of ‘non-discrimination’ of ‘victims’ by ‘victimizers’ that they, too, want to achieve, if only by different means? Left-libertarians are typically oblivious to this question. And yet to anyone with only some common sense the answer should be apparent.

In order to reach total control over each individual person, the State must pursue a divide et impera policy. It must weaken, undermine and ultimately destroy all other, rival centers of social authority. Most importantly, it must weaken the traditional, patriarchic family household, and especially the independently wealthy family household, as autonomous decision-making centers by sowing and legislating conflicts between wives and husbands, children and parents, women and men, rich and poor. As well, all hierarchical orders and ranks of social authority, all exclusive associations, and all personal loyalties and attachments – be it to a particular family, community, ethnicity, tribe, nation, race, language, religion, custom or tradition – except the attachment to a given State qua citizen-subject and passport holder, must be weakened and ultimately destroyed.

And what better way to do this than to pass anti-discrimination laws!

In effect, by outlawing all discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, age, race, religion, national origin, etc., etc., a vast number of people are declared State-certified ‘victims.’ Anti-discrimination laws, then, are an official call upon all ‘victims’ to find fault and complain to the State about their own ‘favorite’ ‘oppressors,’ and especially the more wealthy ones among them, and their ‘oppressive’ machinations, i.e., their ‘sexism,’ ‘homophobia,’ ‘chauvinism,’ ‘nativism,’ ‘racism,’ ‘xenophobia,’ or whatever, and for the State to respond to such complaints by cutting the ‘oppressors’ down to size, i.e., in successively dispossessing them of their property and authority and correspondingly expanding and strengthening its own monopolistic power vis-a-vis an increasingly weakened, fragmented, fractionalized and de-homogenized society.

Ironically, then, and contrary to their self-proclaimed goal of wanting to shrink or even eliminate the State, the left-libertarians with their peculiar, egalitarian victimology become accomplices to the State and effectively contribute to the aggrandizement of its power. Indeed, the left-libertarian vision of a discrimination-free multicultural society is, to use Peter Brimelow’s phrase, Viagra to the State.

Which brings me to my final subject.

The role of left-libertarianism as Viagra to the State becomes even more apparent when one considers their position on the increasingly virulent question of migration. Left-libertarians are typically ardent advocates in particular of a policy of ‘free and non-discriminatory’ immigration. If they criticize the State’s immigration policy, it is not for the fact that its entry restrictions are the wrong restrictions, i.e., that they do not serve to protect the property rights of domestic citizen, but for the fact that it imposes any restrictions on immigration at all.

But on what grounds should there be a right to un-restricted, “free” immigration? No one has a right to move to a place already occupied by someone else, unless he has been invited by the present occupant. And if all places are already occupied, all migration is migration by invitation only. A right to “free” immigration exists only for virgin country, for the open frontier.

There are only two ways of trying to get around this conclusion and still rescue the notion of “free” immigration. The first is to place all current place occupants and occupations under moral suspicion. To this purpose, much is made of the fact that all current place occupations have been affected by prior State-action, war and conquest. And true enough, State borders have been drawn and redrawn, people have been displaced, deported, killed and resettled, and state-funded infrastructure projects (roads, public transportation facilities, etc., etc.) have affected the value and relative price of almost all locations and altered the travel distance and cost between them. As already explained in a slightly different context, however, from this undisputable fact it does not follow that any present place occupant has a claim to migrate to any place else (except, of course, when he owns that place or has permission from its current owner). The world does not belong to everyone.

The second possible way out is to claim that all so-called public property – the property controlled by local, regional or central government – is akin to open frontier, with free and unrestricted access. Yet this is certainly erroneous. From the fact that government property is illegitimate because it is based on prior expropriations, it does not follow that it is un-owned and free-for-all. It has been funded through local, regional, national or federal tax payments, and it is the payers of these taxes, then, and no one else, who are the legitimate owners of all public property. They cannot exercise their right – that right has been arrogated by the State – but they are the legitimate owners.

In a world where all places are privately owned, the immigration problem vanishes. There exists no right to immigration. There only exists the right to trade, buy or rent various places. Yet what about immigration in the real world with public property administered by local, regional or central State-governments?

First off: What would immigration policies be like if the State would, as it is supposed to do, act as a trustee of the taxpayer-owners’ public property? What about immigration if the State acted like the manager of the community property jointly owned and funded by the members of a housing association or gated community?

At least in principle the answer is clear. A trustee’s guideline regarding immigration would be the “full cost” principle. That is, the immigrant or his inviting resident should pay the full cost of the immigrant’s use made of all public goods or facilities during his presence. The cost of the community property funded by resident taxpayers should not rise or its quality fall on account of the presence of immigrants. On the contrary, if possible the presence of an immigrant should yield the resident-owners a profit, either in the form of lower taxes or community-fees or a higher quality of community property (and hence all-around higher property values).

What the application of the full cost principle involves in detail depends on the historical circumstances, i.e., in particular on the immigration pressure. If the pressure is low, the initial entry on public roads may be entirely unrestricted to ‘foreigners’ and all costs insofar associated with immigrants are fully absorbed by domestic residents in the expectation of domestic profits. All further-going discrimination would be left to the individual resident-owners. (This, incidentally, is pretty much the state of affairs, as it existed in the Western world until WW I.) But even then, the same generosity would most likely not be extended to the use made by immigrants of public hospitals, schools, universities, housing, pools, parks, etc.. Entry to such facilities would not be “free” for immigrants. To the contrary, immigrants would be charged a higher price for their use than the domestic resident-owners who have funded these facilities, so as to lower the domestic tax-burden. And if a temporary visitor-immigrant wanted to become a permanent resident, he might be expected to pay an admission price, to be remitted to the current owners as compensation for the extra-use made of their community property.

On the other hand, if the immigration pressure is high – as currently in the entire Western, white, heterosexual male dominated world – more restrictive measures may have to be employed for the same purpose of protecting domestic resident owners’ private and common property. There may be identity controls not only at ports of entry, but also at the local level, in order to keep out known criminals and otherwise undesirable riffraff. And apart from the specific restrictions imposed on visitors by individual resident-owners regarding the use of their various private properties, there may also exist more general local entry restrictions. Some especially attractive communities may charge an entrance fee for every visitor (except for resident-invited guests) to be remitted to resident-owners, or require a certain code of conduct regarding all community property. And the requirements of permanent ownership-residency for some communities may be highly restrictive and involve intensive screening and a heavy admission price, as is still the case today in some Swiss communities.

But of course, then: this is not what the State does. The immigration policies of the States that are confronted with the highest immigration pressure, of the US and Western Europe, have little resemblance with the actions of a trustee. They do not follow the full cost principle. They do not tell the immigrant essentially to “pay up or leave.” To the contrary, they tell him “once in, you can stay and use not just all roads but all sorts of public facilities and services for free or at discounted prices even if you do not pay up.” That is, they subsidize immigrants – or rather: they force domestic taxpayers to subsidize them. In particular, they also subsidize domestic employers who import cheaper foreign workers. Because such employers can externalize part of the total costs associated with their employment – the free use to be made by his foreign employees of all resident public property and facilities – onto other domestic taxpayers. And they still further subsidize immigration (internal migration) at the expense of resident-taxpayers in prohibiting – by means of non-discrimination laws – not only all internal, local entry restrictions, but also and increasingly all restrictions concerning the entry and use of all domestic private property.

And as for the initial entry of immigrants, whether as visitor or resident, States do not discriminate on the basis of individual characteristics (as a trustee would, and as every private property owner would, regarding his own property), but on the basis of groups or classes of people, i.e., based on nationality, ethnicity, etc.. They do not apply a uniform admission standard: of checking the identity of the immigrant, of conducting some sort of credit check on him, and possibly charging him an entrance fee. Instead, they allow some classes of foreigners in for free, without any visa requirement, as if they were returning residents. Thus, for instance, all Rumanians or Bulgarians, irrespective of their individual characteristics, are free to migrate to Germany or the Netherlands and stay there to make use of all public goods and facilities, even if they do not pay up and live at German or Dutch taxpayers’ expense. Similarly for Puerto Ricans vis-à-vis the US and US taxpayers, and also for Mexicans, who are effectively allowed to enter the US illegally, as uninvited and unidentified trespassers. On the other hand, other classes of foreigners are subject to painstaking visa restrictions. Thus, for instance, all Turks, again irrespective of their individual characteristics, must undergo an intimidating visa-procedure and may be entirely prevented from traveling to Germany or the Netherlands, even if they have been invited and command over sufficient funds to pay for all costs associated with their presence.

Resident owner-taxpayers are thus harmed twice: once by indiscriminatingly including some classes of immigrants even if they can’t pay up and on the other hand by indiscriminatingly excluding other classes of immigrants even if they can.

Left-libertarians do not criticize this immigration policy as contrary to that of a trustee of public property ultimately owned by private domestic taxpayer-owners, however, i.e., for not applying the full-cost principle and hence wrongly discriminating, but for discriminating at all. Free, non-discriminatory immigration for them means that visa-free entry and permanent residency be made available to everyone, i.e., to each potential immigrant on equal terms, regardless of individual characteristics or the ability to pay for the full cost of one’s stay. Everyone is invited to stay in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland or the US, for instance, and make free use of all domestic public facilities and services.

To their credit, left-libertarians recognize some of the consequences this policy would have in the present world. Absent any other, internal or local entry restrictions concerning the use of domestic public properties and services and increasingly absent also all entry restrictions regarding the use of domestic private property (owing to countless anti-discrimination laws), the predictable result would be a massive inflow of immigrants from the third and second world into the US and Western Europe and the quick collapse of the current domestic ‘public welfare’ system. Taxes would have to be sharply increased (further shrinking the productive economy) and public property and services would dramatically deteriorate. A financial crisis of unparalleled magnitude would result.

Yet why would this be a desirable goal for anyone calling himself a libertarian? True enough, the tax-funded public welfare system should be eliminated, root and branch. But the inevitable crisis that a “free” immigration policy would bring about does not produce this result. To the contrary: Crises, as everyone vaguely familiar with history would know, are typically used and often purposefully fabricated by States in order to further increase their own power. And surely the crisis produced by a “free” immigration policy would be an extraordinary one.

What left-libertarians typically ignore in their nonchalant or even sympathetic appraisal of the predictable crisis is the fact that the immigrants who caused the collapse are still physically present when it occurs. For left-libertarians, owing to their egalitarian preconceptions, this fact does not imply a problem. For them, all people are more or less equal and hence, an increase in the number of immigrants has no more of an impact than an increase of the domestic population via a higher birthrate. For every social realist, however, indeed for everyone with any common sense, this premise is patently false and potentially dangerous. A million more Nigerians or Arabs living in Germany or a million more Mexicans or Hutus or Tutsis residing in the US is quite a different thing than a million more home-grown Germans or Americans. With millions of third- and second-world immigrants present when the crisis hits and the paychecks stop coming in, it is highly unlikely that a peaceful outcome will result and a natural, private-property-based social order emerge. Rather, it is far more likely and indeed almost certain that civil war, looting, vandalism, and tribal or ethnic gang warfare will break out instead – and the call for a strong-man-State will become increasingly unmistakable.

Why, then, one might ask, does the State not adopt the left-libertarian “free” immigration policy and grasp the opportunity offered by the predictable crisis to further strengthen its own power? Through its internal non-discrimination policies and also its current immigration policies, the State has already done much to fragment the domestic population and so increase its own power. A “free immigration” policy would add another, enormous dose of non-discriminatory “multiculturalism.” It would further strengthen the tendency toward social de-homogenization, division and fragmentation, and it would further weaken the traditional, white, heterosexual male dominated ‘bourgeois’ social order and culture associated with the “West.”

The answer as to ‘why not?’ appears simple, however. In contrast to left-libertarians, the ruling elites are still realistic enough to recognize that besides great opportunities for State growth, the predictable crisis would also entail some incalculable risk and could lead to social upheavals of such proportions that they themselves may be swept out of power and be replaced by other, ‘foreign’ elites. Accordingly, the ruling elites proceed only gradually, step by step, on their path toward a “non-discriminatory multiculturalism.” And yet they are happy about the left-libertarian “free immigration” propaganda, because it helps the State not just to stay on its present divide et impera course but to proceed on it at an accelerated pace.

Contrary to their own anti-statist pronouncements and pretensions, then, the peculiar left-libertarian victimology and its demand for undiscriminating niceness and inclusiveness vis-a-vis the long, familiar list of historical “victims,” including in particular also all foreigners qua potential immigrants, actually turns out to be a recipe for the further growth of State power. The cultural Marxists know this, and that is the reason why they adopted the very same victimology. The left-libertarians do apparently not know this and are thus the cultural Marxists’ useful idiots on their march toward totalitarian social control.

Let me come to a conclusion and return to libertarianism, and the topic of Left and Right – and thereby finally also to the answer to my earlier rhetorical questions concerning the peculiar leftist victimology and its significance.

You cannot be a consistent left-libertarian, because the left-libertarian doctrine, even if unintended, promotes Statist, i.e., un-libertarian, ends. From this, many libertarians have drawn the conclusion that libertarianism is neither Left nor Right. That it is just “thin” libertarianism. I do not accept this conclusion. Nor, apparently, did Murray Rothbard, when he ended the initially presented quote saying: “but psychologically, sociologically, and in practice, it simply doesn’t work that way.” Indeed, I consider myself a right-libertarian – or, if that may sound more appealing, a realistic or commonsensical libertarian – and a consistent one at that.

True enough, the libertarian doctrine is a purely aprioristic and deductive theory and as such does not say or imply anything about the rival claims of the Right and the Left regarding the existence, the extent and the causes of human inequalities. That is an empirical question. But on this question the Left happens to be largely unrealistic, wrong and devoid of any common sense, whereas the Right is realistic and essentially correct and sensible. There can be consequently nothing wrong with applying a correct aprioristic theory of how peaceful human cooperation is possible to a realistic, i.e., fundamentally rightist, description of the world. For only based on correct empirical assumptions about man is it possible to arrive at a correct assessment as regards the practical implementation and the sustainability of a libertarian social order.

Realistically, then, a right-libertarian does not only recognize that physical and mental abilities are unequally distributed among the various individuals within each society and that accordingly each society will be characterized by countless inequalities, by social stratification and a multitude of rank orders of achievement and authority. He also recognizes that such abilities are unequally distributed among the many different societies coexisting on the globe and that consequently also the world-as-a-whole will be characterized by regional and local inequalities, disparities, stratification and rank orders. As for individuals, so are also not all societies equal and on a par with each other. He notices further that among these unequally distributed abilities, both within any given society and between different societies, is also the mental ability of recognizing the requirements and the benefits of peaceful cooperation. And he notices that the conduct of the various regional or local States and their respective power elites that have emerged from different societies can serve as a good indicator for the various degrees of deviation from the recognition of libertarian principles in such societies.

More specifically, he realistically notices that libertarianism, as an intellectual system, was first developed and furthest elaborated in the Western world, by white males, in white male dominated societies. That it is in white, heterosexual male dominated societies, where adherence to libertarian principles is the greatest and the deviations from them the least severe (as indicated by comparatively less evil and extortionist State policies). That it is white heterosexual men, who have demonstrated the greatest ingenuity, industry, and economic prowess. And that it is societies dominated by white heterosexual males, and in particular by the most successful among them, which have produced and accumulated the greatest amount of capital goods and achieved the highest average living standards.

In light of this, as a right-libertarian, I would of course first say to my children and students: always respect and do not invade others’ private property rights and recognize the State as an enemy and indeed the very anti-thesis of private property. But I would not leave it at that. I would not say (or silently imply) that once you have satisfied this requirement “anything goes.” Which is pretty much what ‘thin’ libertarians appear to be saying! I would not be a cultural relativist as most “thin” libertarians at least implicitly are. Instead, I would add (at a minimum): be and do whatever makes you happy, but always keep in mind that as long as you are an integral part of the worldwide division of labor, your existence and well-being depends decisively on the continued existence of others, and especially on the continued existence of white heterosexual male dominated societies, their patriarchic family structures, and their bourgeois or aristocratic lifestyle and conduct. Hence, even if you do not want to have any part in that, recognize that you are nonetheless a beneficiary of this standard “Western” model of social organization and hence, for your own sake, do nothing to undermine it but instead be supportive of it as something to be respected and protected.

And to the long list of ‘victims’ I would say: do your own thing, live your own life, as long as you do it peacefully and without invading other people’s private property rights. If and insofar as you are integrated into the international division of labor, you do not owe restitution to anyone nor does anyone owe you any restitution. Your coexistence with your supposed ‘victimizers’ is mutually beneficial. But keep in mind that while the ‘victimizers’ could live and do without you, albeit at a lower standard of living, the reverse is not true. The disappearance of the ‘victimizers’ would imperil your very own existence. Hence, even if you don’t want to model yourself on the example provided by white male culture, be aware that it is only on account of the continued existence of this model that all alternative cultures can be sustained at their present living standards and that with the disappearance of this “Western” model as a globally effective Leitkultur the existence of many if not all of your fellow ‘victims’ would be endangered.

That doesn’t mean that you should be uncritical of the “Western,” white male dominated world. After all, even these societies most closely following this model also have their various States that are responsible for reprehensible acts of aggression not only against their own domestic property owners but also against foreigners. But neither where you live nor anywhere else should the State be confused with “the people.” It is not the “Western” State, but the “traditional” (normal, standard, etc.) lifestyle and conduct of the western “people,” already under increasingly heavy attack by their very “own” State-rulers on their drive toward totalitarian social control, that deserves your respect and of which you are a beneficiary.

Notes

[1] Egalitarianism and the Elites, Review of Austrian Economics, 8, 2, 1995, p. 45.

[2] Murray Rothbard has listed them: “academics, opinion-molders, journalists, writers, media elites, social workers, bureaucrats, counselors, psychologists, personnel consultants, and especially for the ever accelerating new group-egalitarianism, a veritable army of ’therapists’ and sensitivity trainers. Plus, of course, ideologues and researchers to dream up and discover new groups that need egalitarianizing.” (Ibid, p. 51)]

[3] As for who among today’s so-called libertarians is to be counted as a leftist, there is a litmus test: the position taken during the recent presidential primaries on Dr. Ron Paul, who is easily the purest of libertarians to ever gain national and even international attention and recognition. Beltway libertarians around Cato, George Mason, Reason, and various other outfits of the ‘Kochtopus’ dismissed Ron Paul or even attacked him for his “racism” and lack of social “sensibility” and “tolerance,” i.e., in short: for being an upstanding “right-wing bourgeois,” leading an exemplary personal and professional life.

[4] Ibidem, p. 102

[5] See on this subject Hans-Hermann Hoppe, “Of Private, Common and Public Property and the Rationale for Total Privatization,” Libertarian Papers, Vol. 3., No.1, 2011. http://libertarianpapers.org/articles/2011/lp-3-1.pdf

[6] Characteristically, this stealthy transformation of libertarianism into closet-socialism via the confused notion of ‘civil rights,’ has been identified decades ago already by Murray Rothbard. To quote him:  “Throughout the Official Libertarian Movement [of left-libertarians], ‘civil rights’ has been embraced without question, completely overriding the genuine rights of private property. In some cases, the embrace of a ‘right not to be discriminated against’ has been explicit. In others, when libertarians want to square their new-found with their older principles, and have no aversion to sophistry and even absurdity, they take the sneakier path blazed by the American Civil Liberties Union: that if there should be so much as a smidgen of government involved, whether it be use of the public streets or a bit of taxpayer funding, then the so-called ‘right’ of ‘equal access’ must override either private property or indeed any sort of good sense.” Ibid, pp. 102/03.

Perpetual Lies of the Empire

14 hours 50 min ago

One might think that by now even Americans would have caught on to the constant stream of false alarms that Washington sounds in order to deceive the people into supporting its hidden agendas.

The public fell for the lie that the Taliban in Afghanistan are terrorists allied with al Qaeda. Americans fought a war for 13 years that enriched Dick Cheney’s firm, Halliburton, and other private interests only to end in another Washington failure.

The public fell for the lie that Saddam Hussein in Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” that were a threat to America and that if the US did not invade Iraq Americans risked a “mushroom cloud going up over an American city.” With the rise of ISIS, this long war apparently is far from over. Billions of dollars more in profits will pour into the coffers of the US military security complex as Washington fights those who are redrawing the false Middle East boundaries created by the British and French after WW I when the British and French seized territories of the former Ottoman Empire.

The American public fell for the lies told about Gaddafi in Libya. The formerly stable and prosperous country is now in chaos.

The American public fell for the lie that Iran has, or is building, nuclear weapons. Sanctioned and reviled by the West, Iran has shifted toward an Eastern orientation, thereby removing a principal oil producer from Western influence.

The public fell for the lie that Assad of Syria used “chemical weapons against his own people.” The jihadists that Washington sent to overthrow Assad have turned out to be, according to Washington’s propaganda, a threat to America.

The greatest threat to the world is Washington’s insistence on its hegemony. The ideology of a handful of neoconservatives is the basis for this insistence. We face the situation in which a handful of American neoconservative psychopaths claim to determine the fate of countries.

Many still believe Washington’s lies, but increasingly the world sees Washington as the greatest threat to peace and life on earth. The claim that America is “exceptional and indispensable” is used to justify Washington’s right to dictate to other countries.

The casualties of Washington’s bombings are invariably civilians, and the deaths will produce more recruits for ISIS. Already there are calls for Washington to reintroduce “boots on the ground” in Iraq. Otherwise, Western civilization is doomed, and our heads will be cut off. The newly created propaganda of a “Russian threat” requires more NATO spending and more military bases on Russia’s borders. A “quick reaction force” is being created to respond to a nonexistent threat of a Russian invasion of the Baltics, Poland, and Europe.

Usually it takes the American public a year, or two, three, or four to realize that it has been deceived by lies and propaganda, but by that time the public has swallowed a new set of lies and propaganda and is all concerned about the latest “threat.” The American public seems incapable of understanding that just as the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth, threat was a hoax, so is the sixth threat, and so will be the seventh, eighth, and ninth.

Moreover, none of these American military attacks on other countries has resulted in a better situation, as Vladimir Putin honestly states. Yet, the public and its representatives in Congress support each new military adventure despite the record of deception and failure.

Perhaps if Americans were taught their true history in place of idealistic fairy tales, they would be less gullible and less susceptible to government propaganda. I have recommended Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick’s The Untold History of the US, Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the US, and now I recommend Stephen Kinzer’s The Brothers, the story of the long rule of John Foster and Allen Dulles over the State Department and CIA and their demonization of reformist governments that they often succeeded in overthrowing. Kinzer’s history of the Dulles brothers’ plots to overthrow six governments provides insight into how Washington operates today.

In 1953 the Dulles brothers overthrew Iran’s elected leader, Mossadegh and imposed the Shah, thus poisoning American-Iranian relations through the present day. Americans might yet be led into a costly and pointless war with Iran, because of the Dulles brothers poisoning of relations in 1953.

The Dulles brothers overthrew Guatemala’s popular president Arbenz, because his land reform threatened the interest of the Dulles brothers’ Sullivan & Cromwell law firm’s United Fruit Company client. The brothers launched an amazing disinformation campaign depicting Arbenz as a dangerous communist who was a threat to Western civilization. The brothers enlisted dictators such as Somoza in Nicaragua and Batista in Cuba against Arbenz. The CIA organized air strikes and an invasion force. But nothing could happen until Arbenz’s strong support among the people in Guatemala could be shattered. The brothers arranged this through Cardinal Spellman, who enlisted Archbishop Rossell y Arellano. “A pastoral letter was read on April 9, 1954 in all Guatemalan churches.”

A masterpiece of propaganda, the pastoral letter misrepresented Arbenz as a dangerous communist who was the enemy of all Guatemalans. False radio broadcasts produced a fake reality of freedom fighter victories and army defections. Arbenz asked the UN to send fact finders, but Washington prevented that from happening. American journalists, with the exception of James Reston, supported the lies. Washington threatened and bought off Guatemala’s senior military commanders, who forced Arbenz to resign. The CIA’s chosen and well paid “liberator,” Col. Castillo Armas, was installed as Arbenz’s successor.

We recently witnessed a similar operation in Ukraine.

President Eisenhower thanked the CIA for averting “a Communist beachhead in our hemisphere,” and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles gave a national TV and radio address in which he declared that the events in Guatemala “expose the evil purpose of the Kremlin.” This despite the uncontested fact that the only outside power operating in Guatemala was the Dulles brothers.

What had really happened is that a democratic and reformist government was overthrown because it compensated United Fruit Company for the nationalization of the company’s fallow land at a value listed by the company on its tax returns. America’s leading law firm or perhaps more accurately, America’s foreign policy-maker, Sullivan & Cromwell, had no intention of permitting a democratic government to prevail over the interests of the law firm’s client, especially when senior partners of the firm controlled both overt and covert US foreign policy. The two brothers, whose family members were invested in the United Fruit Company, simply applied the resources of the CIA, State Department, and US media to the protection of their private interests. The extraordinary gullibility of the American people, the corrupt American media, and the indoctrinated and impotent Congress allowed the Dulles brothers to succeed in overthrowing a democracy.

Keep in mind that this use of the US government in behalf of private interests occurred 60 years ago long before the corrupt Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes. And no doubt in earlier times as well.

The Dulles brothers next intended victim was Ho Chi Minh. Ho, a nationalist leader, asked for America’s help in freeing Vietnam from French colonial rule. But John Foster Dulles, a self-righteous anti-communist, miscast Ho as a Communist Threat who was springing the domino theory on the Western innocents. Nationalism and anti-colonialism, Foster declared, were merely a cloak for communist subversion.

Paul Kattenburg, the State Department desk officer for Vietnam suggested that instead of war, the US should give Ho $500 million in reconstruction aid to rebuild the country from war and French misrule, which would free Ho from dependence on Russian and Chinese support, and, thereby, influence. Ho appealed to Washington several times, but the demonic inflexibility of the Dulles brothers prevented any sensible response. Instead, the hysteria whipped-up over the “communist threat” by the Dulles brothers landed the United States in the long, costly, fiasco known as the Vietnam War. Kattenburg later wrote that it was suicidal for the US “to cut out its eyes and ears, to castrate its analytic capacity, to shut itself off from the truth because of blind prejudice.” Unfortunately for Americans and the world, castrated analytic capacity is Washington’s strongest suit.

The Dulles brothers’ next targets were President Sukarno of Indonesia, Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba of Congo, and Fidel Castro. The plot against Castro was such a disastrous failure that it cost Allen Dulles his job. President Kennedy lost confidence in the agency and told his brother Bobby that after his reelection he was going to break the CIA into a thousand pieces. When President Kennedy removed Allen Dulles, the CIA understood the threat and struck first.

Warren Nutter, my Ph.D. dissertation chairman, later Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, taught his students that for the US government to maintain the people’s trust, which democracy requires, the government’s policies must be affirmations of our principles and be openly communicated to the people. Hidden agendas, such as those of the Dulles brothers and the Clinton, Bush and Obama regimes, must rely on secrecy and manipulation and, thereby, arouse the distrust of the people. If Americans are too brainwashed to notice, many foreign nationals are not.

The US government’s secret agendas have cost Americans and many peoples in the world tremendously. Essentially, the Foster brothers created the Cold War with their secret agendas and anti-communist hysteria. Secret agendas committed Americans to long, costly, and unnecessary wars in Vietnam and the Middle East. Secret CIA and military agendas intending regime change in Cuba were blocked by President John F. Kennedy and resulted in the assassination of a president, who, for all his faults, was likely to have ended the Cold War twenty years before Ronald Reagan seized the opportunity.

Secret agendas have prevailed for so long that the American people themselves are now corrupted. As the saying goes, “a fish rots from the head.” The rot in Washington now permeates the country.

Enriching the Merchants of Death

14 hours 50 min ago

Even though it ultimately failed at the ballot box, the recent campaign for Scottish independence should cheer supporters of the numerous secession movements springing up around the globe.

In the weeks leading up to the referendum, it appeared that the people of Scotland were poised to vote to secede from the United Kingdom. Defeating the referendum required British political elites to co-opt secession forces by promising greater self-rule for Scotland, as well as launching a massive campaign to convince the Scots that secession would plunge them into economic depression.

The people of Scotland were even warned that secession would damage the international market for one of Scotland’s main exports, whiskey. Considering the lengths to which opponents went to discredit secession, it is amazing that almost 45 percent of the Scottish people still voted in favor of it.

The Scottish referendum result has done little to discourage other secessionist movements spreading across Europe, in countries ranging from Norway to Italy. Just days after the Scottish referendum, the people of Catalonia voted to hold their own referendum measuring popular support for secession from Spain. 

Support for secession is also growing in America. According to a recent poll, one in four Americans would support their state seceding from the federal government. Movements and organizations advocating that state governments secede from the federal government, that local governments secede from state governments, or that local governments secede from both the federal and state governments, are springing up around the country. This year, over one million Californians signed a ballot access petition in support of splitting California into six states. While the proposal did not meet the requirements necessary to appear on the ballot, the effort to split California continues to gain support.

Americans who embrace secession are acting in a grand American tradition. The Declaration of Independence was written to justify secession from Britain. Supporters of liberty should cheer the growth in support for secession, as it is the ultimate rejection of centralized government and the ideologies of Keynesianism, welfarism, and militarism.

Widespread acceptance of the principle of peaceful secession and self-determination could resolve many ongoing conflicts. For instance, allowing the people of eastern Ukraine and western Ukraine to decide for themselves whether to spilt into two separate nations may be the only way to resolve their differences.

The possibility that people will break away from an oppressive government is one of the most effective checks on the growth of government. It is no coincidence that the transformation of America from a limited republic to a monolithic welfare-warfare state coincided with the discrediting of secession as an appropriate response to excessive government.

Devolving government into smaller units promotes economic growth. The smaller the size of government, the less power it has to hobble free enterprise with taxes and regulations.

Just because people do not wish to live under the same government does not mean they are unwilling or unable to engage in mutually beneficial trade. By eliminating political conflicts, secession could actually make people more interested in trading with each other. Decentralizing government power would thus promote true free trade as opposed to “managed trade” controlled by bureaucrats, politicians, and special interests.

Devolution of power to smaller levels of government should also make it easier for individuals to use a currency of their choice, instead of a currency favored by central bankers and politicians.

The growth of support for secession should cheer all supporters of freedom, as devolving power to smaller units of government is one of the best ways to guarantee peace, property, liberty — and even cheap whiskey!

See the Ron Paul File

You Were Born Free

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 02:01

You were born free … a bundle of tremendous potential.

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You were loved, and loved unconditionally.

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The concept of lack was foreign to you.

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As you grew you started to question the world around you.

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You hunted fireflies on warm summer nights and you put them in jars to light your room at night.

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And the door to your imagination was never locked.

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Einstein said, “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.”  But government schools were more interested in you becoming an obedient drone … and they wound up killing your joy of learning.

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You were ridiculed when you challenged the status quo.

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You were judged … and so learned to judge others.

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And so you allowed group mentality to sway your actions and decisions.

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The Powers That Be worked very hard to make you believe you have no power, no control. So, you did as you were told, and feared the consequences of what would happen if you did not. You became ruled by fear. 

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Presidents Serve at the Pleasure of the CIA

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 02:01

There are people who have devoted their careers to untangling the history of the JFK assassination, and for this I am grateful. But I came to the AARC conference in Bethesda this weekend hoping to get a broad sense of who was behind the plot, and how heirs to power in the wake of JFK continue to corrupt America to this day. In this, I was disappointed.

Fifty years on, there is agreement only on the outline of a narrative: JFK was shot by several gunmen hiding on the ground in Dealey Plaza. Oswald had been pre-selected as scapegoat. CIA and LBJ were prime movers in the plot, but they could not have gotten away with what they did if JFK had not stood up to powerful military and financial interests and provoked their ire.

Most readers of this site have long realized that the Warren Commission report was a whitewash, and that JFK was assassinated by a conspiracy of government insiders. I was surprised that about half the presentations yesterday (and those planned today and tomorrow) were directed toward debunking (yet again) the official “lone assassin” theory. Another segment of the conference was devoted to tussles with the National Archive over release of documents. In addition, there were hours spent describing the forensic sleuth-work used to decode CIA documents that have come into public view, and to sort out the many pseudonyms used by the few key players. I’m grateful that there are dedicated people who do this work, but details at this level are interesting only to afficionados.

Old Men, First-hand Accounts

Ernst Titovets, now a medical researcher at University of Minsk, reminisced about Lee Harvey Oswald, pal of his youth during two years when Oswald lived abroad in the USSR. He told us that Oswald was voluble, idealistic, a pacifist and admirer of President Kennedy. He described Oswald’s political vision as combining the socialist economy of Soviet Russia with the freedom and democracy of the USA. He was convinced a better world was coming, as both systems would soon implode from their own excesses.

In the day’s high point, we heard a first-hand confirmation of CIA primacy in the plot. Antonio Veciana, now 86 years old and infirm, was a Cuban exile and anti-Castro activist, recruited by CIA personnel. (He spoke through a translator yesterday, though his English is not so bad.) He had heard through his handlers of the assassination plot in 1963, which at the time he thought to be justified by JFK’s softness on Castro. A few years later, he came to a more sympathetic view of JFK, and regretted not having spoken up when he could. But he has waited until this year to bare his history and speak out. (He spoke glowingly of JFK’s American University address.)

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Central to Veciana’s narrative and several other accounts during the day was a story of the Cuba connection, and the reason that Earl Warren was coerced into lending his reputation and credibility to an absurd cover-up. In addition to the “lone nut” story, scapegoating Lee Harvey Oswald, the CIA had prepared another false account for selective, internal use. Oswald was sent by CIA agent David Atlee Phillips (aka Maurice Bishop) to Mexico City to get a Cuban visa. As pre-arranged, the visa request was denied. But the trip to Mexico and a (disputed) visit to the Cuban Embassy were used to fabricate a story

  • that Oswald was an agent of Castro
  • that JFK and RFK had plotted to kill Castro
  • that Castro had envoyed assassins to take out JFK pre-emptively

Three times, LBJ approached Earl Waren to head the investigation, and three times he declined. Finally, Warren was convinced that if the American people knew “the truth”, they would demand a full-blown invasion of Cuba, risking war with the Soviet Union. Warren thought he was lying to save the world from nuclear holocaust.

Or so the story goes.

Threads to the Present

Andrew Kreig, author of Presidential Puppetry and occasional OEN contributor, makes a case that the JFK assassination fundamentally changed American politics. Presidents from LBJ through Obama have understood that they serve at the pleasure of the CIA, and demands placed on them have been increasingly audacious and destructive. Kreig goes further to assert that every recent presidential candidate (both parties) has been pre-vetted, trained and promoted by the CIA.

This speaks to the importance of correcting the record, and of the timeliness of a new investigation to tell us who were the heirs to power in the wake of the Coup of 1963, and how they connect forward to the people leading our country today. It also helps explain why the National Archives has never complied with the 1992 order from Congress to de-classify all records related to the case; why the assassination has become a taboo topic in the MSM; and why so many people who certainly know better pretend that JFK’s assassination was an isolated tragedy.

Reprinted with permission from OpEdNews.

If You’re Bumped

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 02:01

If you’ve ever sat in a plane on the tarmac only to have the flight cancelled, been bumped just before boarding, or landed at your destination only to be told your luggage will arrive sometime in the next 12 hours, you know how air travel can suck. In all of those cases, the airline owes you for your trouble. Sometimes it’s good customer service, and other times it’s the law. Here are some of the legal rights you may not know you have, and how to go about filing your claims or getting what’s due to you if you’ve been wronged.

Know Your Rights Before You Book Your Flight

Being prepared for what might happen starts before you even get to the airport. We’ve discussed the airline passenger’s bill of rights and your basic rights when flying before, but you may not know that your rights begin before you even buy your ticket.

You Have the Right to Lock In Your Fare In Advance, Without Paying

For example, most people don’t know that you have the right to book airfare and then lock in the price you see for 24 hours without payment. As long as you’re booking directly through the airline (third party travel booking services don’t necessarily have to abide by this rule), you can see a price you want and lock it in while you decide whether or not you want to take it. In a time where our minds are trained to assume prices change by the minute, it’s a benefit few people take advantage of, and all you have to do is call your airline to get the price locked in and reserved, without being charged for it. Here are some more tips to lock in your fare in advance.

You Have the Right to Cash for Bumped Flights and Delayed Luggage

Similarly, if you’re bumped from a flight involuntarily, or you arrive at your destination and your luggage is delayed, you’re entitled to cash, not vouchers or a discount on a future flight. The US Department of Transportation says:

Airlines will now be required to refund any fee for carrying a bag if the bag is lost. Airlines will also be required to apply the same baggage allowances and fees for all segments of a trip, including segments with interline and code share partners. Airlines are already required to compensate passengers for reasonable expenses for loss, damage or delay in the carriage of passenger baggage.

Those “reasonable expenses,” according to Airfare Watchdog, are up to $3,300 for domestic flights, and $1,500 for international flights, depending on the duration of the delay and the value of your luggage.

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Are You being Poisoned by Mercury?

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 02:01

I was presenting at the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology a few weeks ago in Austin, TX. At a breakout session, I was asked by a person in the audience why I did not speak out enough against mercury poisoning.

I was shocked at this question. I thought my views on mercury were clear.

So, let me reiterate my views on mercury. Mercury is a poison with no known therapeutic value to the human body. In fact, it is one of the most poisonous metals to the human body. Mercury is known to destroy the functioning of hundreds of enzymes in the body. It is a neurotoxin that has been associated with a host of neurological and immune system disorders such as depression, anxiety, seizures, autism, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. We should all try to limit our exposure to mercury.

For over 20 years, my partners and I have been testing nearly all of our patients for heavy metal levels.   Our testing has shown that mercury toxicity is alive and well in the 21st Century. Over 80% of our patients have tested positive for having elevated levels of mercury via hair, serum, and/or urine testing.

Where are we being exposed to mercury? The two most common sources are from dental amalgam fillings and seafood. Mercury amalgam fillings contain 50% mercury by weight. American dentists are the second largest users of mercury in the U.S. In fact, and still place over 30 million toxic mercury fillings every year. Dental mercury in the U.S. contributes about 28.5 tons of mercury into the environment. The American Dental Association, who still defends the use of mercury fillings, should be ashamed and held liable for this disaster.

There is simply no justification for a dentist to place a toxic metal—mercury–in any living being’s mouth. Any dentist who still uses mercury amalgam fillings should have his/her license revoked. Sadly, most conventional dentists not only still use mercury, they defend the use of mercury amalgam fillings.

The dentist may claim that the mercury filling is inert—that no mercury will be released from an amalgam filling. That idea has been disproven in many studies. Every time you chew or expose the filling to hot food or drink mercury is released as a vapor which is quickly taken up by the body. Studies have clearly shown a direct correlation with the amount of mercury in the body and the number of mercury amalgam fillings.

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Foreign Aid Promotes Ebola

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 02:01
Dr. James Appel has been asked by Adventist Health International to join her in the overwhelming job of providing care for non-Ebola cases that have been neglected due to other hospital closures by Ebola quarantine.  Dr. Appel is a very experienced mission doctor and has written extensively about providing Seventh-day Adventist health care in the Muslim country of Chad since 2004.  His blogs about their daily experience caring for patients during the Ebola Crisis are available at www.ahiglobal.org. After one month in Liberia, working with Dr. Seton and her dedicated Liberian nurses and doctors, Dr. Appel daily triages Ebola patients.   The problems of preventing spread of this deadly disease in an impoverished community are a daily reality to this small team of Seventh-day Adventist health care workers.  As a massive and expensive foreign aid campaign slowly begins to respond to this crisis, Dr. Appel offers a very insightful analysis of what is wrong and what could be right from the donors and governments belatedly rushing in to “help.”  These deeply insightful comments were written by Dr. Appel  from Monrovia, Liberia  Monday, September 15, 2014.  Adventist Today feel his opinions deserve to be considered by all donor organizations, and his article is reproduced here with Dr. Appel’s permission:

 

I don’t mean to be critical—

by Dr. James Appel

I don’t mean to be critical.  I can’t really know what’s going on.  I’m just a simple family doctor working in a hospital.  I’m not really even taking care of Ebola patients.  How could I know why Liberia is losing the fight against Ebola?

I haven’t sat on any NGO (non-governmental organization) committees or listened to the WHO (World Health Organization) discussions or to what the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has to say.  I’m just ignorant.

But I’m going to give my opinion anyway.

Losing a fight

Liberia is losing the fight against Ebola because they are depending on NGOs and an influx of Western money instead of traditional ways of dealing with epidemics.  The first few Ebola epidemics were in remote villages where the villages touched by Ebola were self-quarantined according to ancient traditions of dealing with plagues.  No one went in and out, and the surrounding communities brought them food.  The caregivers washed themselves and their clothes rapidly and frequently after each contact with the patient, just using simple soap and water.  Very few ever got sick, and the disease was controlled in a few months.

Excited

Here in Liberia, everyone is excited about the millions of US dollars being poured in to “fight Ebola,” and everyone wants a piece of the pie.  A certain NGO out in rural Liberia quarantined a village, claiming they’d tested and found three cases. They applied for and received US$ 250,000 to fight Ebola in this village.  They brought in a few sacks of rice and some chlorine.  The villagers mobbed the trucks and carried off the plunder.  And, miracle of miracles, not a single person died in the village.

Great effort at treating and controlling Ebola?  Or pretending there’s Ebola in order to pocket some easy cash?  I’ve never heard of a 0% fatality rate for Ebola, but you make the call.

Dozens of Land Cruisers

NGO’s spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to level earth with heavy equipment over a month in order to build tent cities capable of isolating and treating Ebola, but then not even giving them IV fluids or food, so that the Ebola patients sneak out of the tents and cross the street looking for food.

Dozens if not hundreds of US$70,000 Land Cruisers are taking foreigners around town to hotels, bars, clubs, and fancy guest houses so they can feel comfortable while they fight Ebola, and yet they can’t even collect the dead bodies that could expose so many more!

We’ve had bodies left for up to three days.  Others have stayed in the open for up to five days before being collected.  Patients are often turned away from the Ebola centers, and some have even refused to take anyone who doesn’t come in an ambulance.  How many of the poor in West Point slum can afford an ambulance, even if there were enough available to take them?

Low-Tech Solutions

I propose the following solution.  I got the idea from a seasoned MSF doctor named Cameron.  (MSF is Médecins Sans Frontières, or Doctors Without Borders.)

There are two reasons people call the Ebola hotline: they have a dead body they suspect of Ebola, or they have a live patient they suspect of Ebola.

If there’s a dead body, the hotline should alert some local drivers with old beat-up pickup trucks, and the first one to the site gets the body.  Of course, they will be given full protective gear.  If they bring the body in within 3 hours of the call they get US$50; if they bring it in within 6 hours of the call they get US$40; if within 12 hours, US$30; if within 24 hours, US$20; if after 24 hours, US$10.  If after 48 hours, US$5.  This will motivate people to quickly get the bodies and bring them in to be tested and buried appropriately, with minimal chance for contact and spread.

If it’s a live patient suspected of Ebola, a taxi can be called and for a few dollars take a nurse or lab tech out to the site in full protective gear.  They will draw blood for Ebola testing, take the address and contact info, give the family a box filled with gowns, gloves, masks, rubber boots, bottles of chlorine, antibiotics, anti-malarials, oral rehydration salts and anti-vomiting medications.  They will contact the community leaders, who will ensure that the family is not only quarantined in their compound, but also provided with food and water.

Local economy

All this could be done for a fraction of the current funds being used, and would be more effective, because the patients would all get the individual care that only a family member can give, including adequate food.  It would also be more effective because you’d be using local methods and using the money to invest in the local economy instead of paying the high costs of plane tickets, salaries, living expenses, transportation costs, etc., of foreign aid workers.

Working alongside

I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be foreigners involved.  I’m just saying that the foreigners should be workingalongside the Liberians, helping them to find a solution to the Ebola problem, not trying to impose Western ideas that obviously aren’t working.  Foreigners should not be bringing in a lot of money that is spent on things that will just make the Liberians envious and want to share in the spoils of aid money.

Sorry for speaking my mind so frankly, but sometimes I just can’t seem to hold it all in, whether people like it or not.

(Please like or share this article, especially if you have contacts in the donor community responding to the Ebola crisis.  Donations to Adventist Health International to support Dr. Seton and her staff can be made at http://www.ahiglobal.org/main/donate-now. )

Do We Need a National Museum of Kitsch?

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 02:01

Some years ago, in a flash of inspiration while in Istanbul, I had an idea of a kind that occurs to me infrequently: I thought of an entirely new institution, the National Museum of Kitsch. I would collect particularly egregious examples of kitsch and display them in a gallery, thereby performing, in my own imagined estimate, a public service of some magnitude. By showing what was bad, I should point people in the direction of the good.

Throughout my life, unfortunately, I have never been able to follow up on my imagined projects. They are like dreams; I forget them shortly afterward. There is another obstacle to my project: I could collect examples of kitsch all right because kitsch tends to be cheap, and I could even call for donations from a public wishing to rid itself of its hideous ornaments—but I am not rich enough to buy or construct the large building necessary to display them (the collection, I fear, would soon grow to enormous size, indeed become untenably large).

The object that inspired my idea was an alarm clock in the form of a pink plastic mosque with gold-colored decorations on sale for three Euros on a street-stand. Its alarm was in the form of a muezzin’s call, and if it went on for long enough, if the sleeper failed to wake and to turn it off, the verses that the muezzin recited changed and his tone grew more urgent. I thought I detected a note of moral disapproval entering his call.

There were four colors of mosques to choose from: apple green, baby blue, lemon yellow, and shocking pink. It was the latter that I chose because it was the worst, if judgments of good and bad could be said to apply to this particular genre of object. A real collector, I suppose, would have bought all four.

The mosque alarm clocks were made in China. I suppose you can say that a country with a manufacturing sector has reached maturity in the economic sense when it subcontracts the manufacture of its kitsch to another country.

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Did Marco Polo Discover America?

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 02:01

An incredible new map could reveal that 13th century Italian explorer Marco Polo was actually the first European to discover America – more than two centuries before Christopher Columbus set sail for the New World. 

A crude map drawn on sheepskin shows what appears to be the Bering Straight, Alaska, the Aleutian Islands and the west coast of North America. 

‘Map with Ship’ comes from a trove of 14 documents that have just been studied in depth for the first time. They were found in the 1930s in a trunk in that belonged to an Italian immigrant who settled in San Jose, California.

The documents, reportedly written by Polo’s daughter Bellala recount how the Venetian explorer met a Syrian trader on the Kamchatka Peninsula on the far eastern edge of the Asian continent then sailed across the Bering Straight to North America.

Before his voyage, the trader told Polo about a land far east – a 40 days voyage from Kamchatka, Smithsonian Magazine reports.  

It is believed that if Polo sailed to North America, he would have crossed the Bering Straight – a 51-mile stretch of waster that connects the easternmost point of Asia  to the westernmost point of Alaska. 

This new land, the documents say, was called ‘the Peninsula of Seals’ and it was ‘twice as far from China’ as Kamchatka and Polo soon set sail in search of it.

Polo arrived, according to the documents, and discovered a people who wore seal skins, ate only fish and lived in homes ‘under the earth,’ according to the Smithsonian.

The documents also describe a great glacier that came down into the sea. 

It appears that Polo then sailed around the Alaskan coast – possibly even around the Aleutian Islands, east to British Columbia and down the Canadian coast. 

One expert, who authored a Website called MarcoPoloinSeattle.com even claims that the Venetian explorer even made it to Washington and Puget Sound.  

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The CIA/MSM Contra-Cocaine Cover-Up

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 02:01

Eighteen years after it was published, “Dark Alliance,” the San Jose Mercury News’s bombshell investigation into links between the cocaine trade, Nicaragua’s Contra rebels, and African American neighborhoods in California, remains one of the most explosive and controversial exposés in American journalism.

The 20,000-word series enraged black communities, prompted Congressional hearings, and became one of the first major national security stories in history to blow up online. It also sparked an aggressive backlash from the nation’s most powerful media outlets, which devoted considerable resources to discredit author Gary Webb’s reporting. Their efforts succeeded, costing Webb his career. On December 10, 2004, the journalist was found dead in his apartment, having ended his eight-year downfall with two .38-caliber bullets to the head.

These days, Webb is being cast in a more sympathetic light. He’s portrayed heroically in a major motion picture set to premiere nationwide next month. And documents newly released by the CIA provide fresh context to the “Dark Alliance” saga — information that paints an ugly portrait of the mainstream media at the time.

On September 18, the agency released a trove of documents spanning three decades of secret government operations. Culled from the agency’s in-house journal, Studies in Intelligence, the materials include a previously unreleased six-page article titled “Managing a Nightmare: CIA Public Affairs and the Drug Conspiracy Story.” Looking back on the weeks immediately following the publication of “Dark Alliance,” the document offers a unique window into the CIA’s internal reaction to what it called “a genuine public relations crisis” while revealing just how little the agency ultimately had to do to swiftly extinguish the public outcry. Thanks in part to what author Nicholas Dujmovic, a CIA Directorate of Intelligence staffer at the time of publication, describes as “a ground base of already productive relations with journalists,” the CIA’s Public Affairs officers watched with relief as the largest newspapers in the country rescued the agency from disaster, and, in the process, destroyed the reputation of an aggressive, award-winning reporter.

(Dujmovic’s name was redacted in the released version of the CIA document, but was included in a footnote in a 2010 article in the Journal of Intelligence. Dujmovic confirmed his authorship to The Intercept.)

Webb’s troubles began in August 1996, when his employer, the San Jose Mercury News, published a groundbreaking, three-part investigation he had worked on for more than a year. Carrying the full title “Dark Alliance: The Story Behind the Crack Explosion,” Webb’s series reported that in addition to waging a proxy war for the U.S. government against Nicaragua’s revolutionary Sandinista government in the 1980s, elements of the CIA-backed Contra rebels were also involved in trafficking cocaine to the U.S. in order to fund their counter-revolutionary campaign. The secret flow of drugs and money, Webb reported, had a direct link to the subsequent explosion of crack cocaine abuse that had devastated California’s most vulnerable African American neighborhoods.

Derided by some as conspiracy theory and heralded by others as investigative reporting at its finest, Webb’s series spread through extensive talk radio coverage and global availability via the internet, which at the time was still a novel way to promote national news.

Though “Dark Alliance” would eventually morph into a personal crisis for Webb, it was initially a PR disaster for the CIA. In “Managing a Nightmare,” Dujmovic minced no words in describing the potentially devastating  effect of the series on the agency’s image:

The charges could hardly be worse. A widely read newspaper series leads many Americans to believe CIA is guilty of at least complicity, if not conspiracy, in the outbreak of crack cocaine in America’s cities. In more extreme versions of the story circulating on talk radio and the internet, the Agency was the instrument of a consistent strategy by the US Government to destroy the black community and keep black Americans from advancing. Denunciations of CIA–reminiscent of the 1970s–abound. Investigations are demanded and initiated. The Congress gets involved.

Dujmovic acknowledged that Webb “did not state outright that CIA ran the drug trade or even knew about it.” In fact, the agency’s central complaint, according to the document, was over the graphics that accompanied the series, which suggested a link between the CIA and the crack scare, and Webb’s description of the Contras as “the CIA’s army” (despite the fact that the Contras were quite literally an armed, militant group not-so-secretly supported by the U.S., at war with the government of Nicaragua).

Dujmovic complained that Webb’s series “appeared with no warning,” remarking that, for all his journalistic credentials, “he apparently could not come up with a widely available and well-known telephone number for CIA Public Affairs.” This was probably because Webb “was uninterested in anything the Agency might have to say that would diminish the impact of his series,” he wrote. (Webb later said that he did contact the CIA but that the agency would not return his calls; efforts to obtain CIA comment were not mentioned in the “Dark Alliance” series).

Dujmovic also pointed out that much of what was reported in “Dark Alliance” was not new. Indeed, in 1985, more than a decade before the series was published, Associated Press journalists Robert Parry and Brian Barger found that Contra groups had “engaged in cocaine trafficking, in part to help finance their war against Nicaragua.” In a move that foreshadowed Webb’s experience, the Reagan White House launched “a concerted behind-the-scenes campaign to besmirch the professionalism of Parry and Barger and to discredit all reporting on the contras and drugs,” according to a 1997 article by Peter Kornbluh for the Columbia Journalism Review. “Whether the campaign was the cause or not, coverage was minimal.”

Neverthess, a special senate subcommittee, chaired by then-senator John Kerry, investigated the AP’s findings and, in 1989, released a 1,166-page report on covert U.S. operations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. It found “considerable evidence” that the Contras were linked to running drugs and guns — and that the U.S. government knew about it.

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