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Updated: 5 hours 29 min ago

Gold, Its Value and Rarity

7 hours 5 min ago

Since Ancient times, gold has served a very unique function in society.

Gold is extremely rare, impossible to create out of “thin air”, easily identifiable, malleable, and it does not tarnish. By nature of these properties, gold has been highly valued throughout history for every tiny ounce of weight. That’s why it’s been used by people for centuries as a monetary metal, a symbol of wealth, and a store of value.

Visualizing Gold’s Value and Rarity

With all that value coming from such a small package, sometimes it is hard to put gold’s immense worth into context.

The following 11 images help to capture this about gold, putting things into better perspective.

1. The U.S. median income, as a gold cube, easily fits in the palm of your hand.

2. A gold cube worth $1 million, has sides that are 2/3 the length of a typical banknote.

3. All gold used for electrical connections in the Columbia Space Shuttle would be worth $1.6 million today.

4. Trump’s entire fortune of $3.7 billion as a gold cube would be shorter than Trump himself.

5. As a gold cube, the entire value of the Bitcoin market would fit in a hallway.

6. The fortune of the richest man on Earth, Bill Gates, would take up a single traffic lane.

7. The world’s entire annual production of gold is just a 5.5m sided (18 ft) cube.

8. Take the 147.3 million oz of gold out of Fort Knox, and it’s only slightly bigger.

9. All gold held by the Central Banks pales in comparison to the Brandenburg Gate.

10. All gold mined in human history is dwarfed by the Statue of Liberty.

11. To pay off $63 trillion of global sovereign debt, you’d need a gold cube the size of a building.

Reprinted from Visual Capitalist.

The post Gold, Its Value and Rarity appeared first on LewRockwell.

The Cancer of War Crimes

7 hours 5 min ago

Despite vowing not to use depleted uranium (DU) weapons in its military action in Syria, the US government has now admitted that it has fired thousands of the deadly rounds into Syrian territory. As Foreign Policy Magazine reports:

US Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesman Maj. Josh Jacques told Airwars and Foreign Policy that 5,265 armor-piercing 30 mm rounds containing depleted uranium (DU) were shot from Air Force A-10 fixed-wing aircraft on Nov. 16 and Nov. 22, 2015, destroying about 350 vehicles in the country’s eastern desert.

Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman John Moore said in 2015 that:

US and coalition aircraft have not been and will not be using depleted uranium munitions in Iraq or Syria during Operation Inherent Resolve.

Now we know that is not true.

Numerous studies have found that depleted uranium is particularly harmful when the dust is inhaled by the victim. A University of Southern Maine study discovered that:

…DU damages DNA in human lung cells. The team, led by John Pierce Wise, exposed cultures of the cells to uranium compounds at different concentrations.

The compounds caused breaks in the chromosomes within cells and stopped them from growing and dividing healthily. ‘These data suggest that exposure to particulate DU may pose a significant [DNA damage] risk and could possibly result in lung cancer,’ the team wrote in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.

We should remember that the United States is engaged in military activities in Syria in violation of international and US law. There is no Congressional authorization for US military action against ISIS in Syria and the United Nations has not authorized military force in violation of Syria’s sovereignty either.

The innocent citizens of Syria will be forced to endure increased risks of cancer, birth defects, and other disease related to exposure to radioactive materials. Depleted uranium is the byproduct of the enrichment of uranium to fuel nuclear power plants and has a half-life in the hundreds of millions of years. Damage to Syrian territory will thus continue long after anyone involved in current hostilities is dead.

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Fiction and the Fed

7 hours 5 min ago

Even the most innocent novel can give its reader a fresh perspective on the economy during the author’s time. Economic writings and economic conditions often inspired great writers who, in turn, allowed us to contemplate either a glimpse or a detailed picture of economic reality. Stendhal was influenced by Malthus, Flaubert by Bastiat, and Ayn Rand by Mises. Other novelists faithfully described the economic times of their lives. Émile Zola, for instance, brilliantly accounts for the French 1882 financial crisis in his novel L’Argent (1891) and unconsciously exhibits the evils of fractional reserve banking.

Just as Zola’s L’Argent, so too F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925) is a product of the business cycle. Some have interpreted Fitzgerald’s novel as an indictment against capitalism. It is not. It has been said that Gatsby is a product of alcohol prohibition, but Gatsby is also the unfortunate product of the Federal Reserve’s expansionist monetary policy. The “constant flicker” of the American life described by Fitzgerald in his celebrated novel is no less than the artificial boom driven by the Fed during the roaring twenties.

Inequality and the Fed during the Twenties

The Franco-Irish economist Richard Cantillon was among the first to notice the redistributive effects of monetary creation. Cantillon observed that the first to receive the newly created money saw their incomes rise whereas the last to receive the newly created money saw their purchasing power decline as consumer price inflation came about.

Under modern central banking, money is created and injected into the economy through credit on financial markets. Thus, the economics of Cantillon effects tells us that financial institutions benefit disproportionately from money creation, since they can purchase more goods, services, and assets for still relatively low prices.

One of the most visible consequences of this growth of financial markets triggered by monetary expansion is asset price inflation. Increases in asset prices will mainly benefit the wealthy for several reasons. First, the wealthy tend to own more financial assets than the poor in proportion to income. As the wealthy’s net worth increases, securities with continuously rising prices can be used as collateral for new loan requests. Second, it is easier for the richest individuals to contract debt in order to buy financial assets that can be sold later at a profit. Since credit-easing lowers the interest rate and therefore funding costs, the profits made by selling inflated assets bought on credit will be even greater. Finally, asset price inflation coming with the growth of financial markets will benefit the workers, managers, traders, etc., in the financial sector.

Not surprisingly, the development of ostentatious wealth and extreme inequality is one of the main themes in The Great Gatsby — which was published and written during the boom that would finally lead to the Great Depression. In his bestseller on the causes of the “Great Crash” of 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression in the United States, John K. Galbraith mentions “the bad distribution of income” as the first of “five weaknesses which seem to have had an especially intimate bearing on the ensuing disaster.” The cause of this rising inequality is to be found in asset price inflation.

The responsibility of the Fed in the asset price bubble of the 1920s cannot be doubted. Indeed, as late as 1927, Benjamin Strong, who was then governor of the Fed, told the French economist Charles Rist that he was going to give “a little coup de whiskey to the stock market.” Similarly, the former chairman of the Fed, Marriner S. Eccles, points to the rising inequality financed by credit expansion during the 1920s, when, “as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When their credit ran out, the game stopped.”

Money in The Great Gatsby is either inherited or derives from the mysteries of high finance or comes from crime or is made on the sports field. Involuntarily, Fitzgerald unfolds the Cantillon effect before our eyes. Indeed, the artificially stimulated financial sector, Fitzgerald shows, creates a distinctive geography and urban space. Whereas Manhattan and Long Island benefit from the redistributive effects of money production by the Fed and the Wall Street banks, the rest of America suffers from them. Thus, in the first chapter of the book, Nick Carraway explains that “Instead of being the warm center of the world, the Middle West now seemed like the ragged edge of the universe — so I decided to go East and learn the bond business.” Under central banking, money is first of all where it is artificially produced rather than in the hands of the most talented entrepreneurs. Nick followed the money.

Easy Money and Consumerism

The Great Gatsby describes a society that had gone beyond industrialism to become driven by leisure and consumption. But this too was at least partially caused by the Fed’s policies. As Dr. Guido Hülsmann writes in The Ethics of Money Production (p.187), “The spiritual dimension of these inflation-induced habits seems obvious. Money and financial questions come to play an exaggerated role in the life of man. Inflation makes society materialistic.”

No surprise then that the romance between Gatsby and Daisy is fashioned by materialistic concerns. Daisy’s love for Gatsby is conditioned by his great wealth. Daisy’s emotions are “materialistic”:

Suddenly, with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily.

“They’re such beautiful shirts,” she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. “It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such — such beautiful shirts before.”

Consumerism is a function of monetary inflation because easy money policies create the illusion of wealth and thus lead individuals to consume more than they would otherwise. Because consumption increases, the capital stock will decline and society will ultimately be poorer than it would have been. This naturally leads us to depict the cultural consequences of easy money which are so visible in The Great Gatsby.

The Cultural Consequences of Inflation

The cultural effects of inflation have perhaps never been clearer than during the 1920s. As H.L. Mencken writes in 1925 in his review of The Great Gatsby, “To find a parallel for the grossness and debauchery that now reign in New York one must go back to the Constantinople of Basil I.” Mencken then adds with typical wit and gusto:

The thing that chiefly interests the basic Fitzgerald is still the florid show of modern American life — and especially the devil’s dance that goes on at the top. He is unconcerned about the sweatings and sufferings of the nether herd; what engrosses him is the high carnival of those who have too much money to spend, and too much time for the spending of it. Their idiotic pursuit of sensation, their almost incredible stupidity and triviality, their glittering swinishness — these are the things that go into his notebook.

By meddling with money, the Fed created an illusion of wealth and contributed to the creation of an all-pervasive world of illusion. It is Paul Cantor, that patron saint of Austrian literary criticism, who has noticed the link between inflation and the distortion of reality. Under fiat money, reality is confused with illusion and inauthenticity becomes a prevalent trait among the people. As Paul Cantor writes:

In a paper money economy, one does not see gold anymore, but the currency gives the illusion of the presence of wealth. The increasingly mediated character of the modern economy, especially the development of sophisticated financial instruments, allows the government to deceive its people about the nature of its monetary policy. When a government tries to clip coins or debase a metal currency, the results are readily apparent to most people. By contrast, the financial inter-mediation involved in modern central banking systems helps to shroud monetary conditions in mystery.

This inauthenticity of the characters in The Great Gatsby is obvious. From the beginning, everyone is speculating about Gatsby’s true identity. “Somebody told me they thought he killed a man once” says one; “it’s more that he was a German spy during the war” answers another. Gatsby himself lies about the fact that he was educated at Oxford. Worse, Daisy’s love for Gatsby is revealed to be phony as she finally realizes that her allegiance is with her husband Tom.

For the reader who knows his monetary history, nothing is clearer in The Great Gatsby than the cultural decline for which the artificial inflation of the money supply is responsible. Central banking, today as in the 1920s, led formerly good Americans to lie, commit fraud, and desert hard work. As Nick Carraway narrates the first night he goes to Gatsby’s mansion:

I was immediately struck by the number of young Englishmen dotted about, all well dressed, all looking a little hungry, and all talking in low, earnest voices to solid and prosperous Americans. I was sure that they were selling something: bonds or insurance or automobiles. They were at least agonizingly aware of the easy money in the vicinity and convinced that it was theirs for a few words in the right key.

In an inflationary environment, one must dream of becoming an overnight success because the slow steady way of amassing a fortune by working hard simply will not work. Hard-working people are systematically screwed. George Wilson, the garage owner and the figure of the hard-working American is, with Gatsby himself, the great loser of the novel. Not only is his wife Tom Buchanan’s mistress but she ends up dead. In The Great Gatsby, the Cantillon effect holds true even for love and women. Fitzgerald, however, somehow anticipated the bust that inevitably follows the boom. Gatsby dies. Nick returns to the Middle West.

One disappointing aspect of The Great Gatsby is the lack of contrast between the nouveaux riches who got wealthy thanks to fraud and financial speculation and the entrepreneurially talented bourgeoisie. This contrast, for instance, was made much clearer in Émile Zola’s book L’Argent. In Fitzgerald’s world, on the other hand, all the rich people are immoral and disgusting creatures. To this extent, Zola was much more successful, more than 30 years before Fitzgerald, in accounting for the corruption of entrepreneurial values and the debauchery caused by modern finance under fractional reserve banking and central banking.

One reason why Fitzgerald was incapable of elucidating different categories of rich was his insensitive ignorance of the financial sector itself. Contrary to Garet Garett’s novel The Driver (1922) which precisely describes the inner workings of the financial sector, Fitzgerald is sloppy and particularly unknowledgeable when it comes to describing the stock market. Thus, there probably is a germ of truth when Mencken writes that The Great Gatsby is “no more than a glorified anecdote, and not too probable at that.” Nonetheless, the moral decay on display in Fitzgerald’s novel serves, not merely as titillation for the reader, but as an object lesson in the evils of both central banking and prohibition.

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

The post Fiction and the Fed appeared first on LewRockwell.

6 Lessons From the Oroville Damn Disaster

7 hours 5 min ago

Have you ever pictured what it would be like to be ordered to immediately evacuate your home because of an impending emergency? Imagine only having enough time to grab your pets and your children and head for the hills. While many believe there is adequate advanced notice in evacuations, this isn’t always the case.

As many of you know, due to the higher than normal rain levels in California, water levels at Oroville Dam, the nation’s tallest dam, were so high that an emergency spillway was used for the first time. Initially, dam officials believed the measure worked, but were soon disappointed Sunday afternoon, as more water from record storms flowed into Lake Oroville. This is when officials detected a hole in the emergency spillway. Officials put out an evacuation order Sunday afternoon telling around 200,000 people the emergency spillway at Orville Dam could fail within an hour. With no time to lose, panicked residents quickly left the area scrambling to get out of harms way. As evacuees made the mass exodus, they sat for hours in gridlock hoping to get to their destinations in time.

While the dam break is slightly diminishing and the mandatory evacuation order has been lifted, many residents are thinking twice about going back due to another series of storms that will hit the Oroville area over the weekend and are threatening to dump 10 more inches in water. One resident states, “I don’t want to live in Oroville anymore,” said Shelly Clarke, 52, who fled her home with her husband and slept in her car overnight. “After this, I’m afraid of the dam.” Source

When I wrote The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster, I emphasized that every disaster teaches us another lesson in how to be better prepared and this one is no different. This essential survival guide stresses how important is to have plans and supplies in place in order to be better prepared for the disasters that are on the horizon.

6 Lessons to Learn from the Oroville Dam Disaster

Keep the following in mind the next time you think you don’t need to prepare or evacuate.

1. Evacuations can come at the very last minute and many may not be prepared in time.

The mandatory evacuation order came Sunday afternoon and 200,000 residents were given one hour to leave. Even if you are given short notice to evacuate, it is very difficult to get your belongings in order under the stress of a mandatory evacuation. One Oroville resident recollects how most people barely had time to grab their kids and pets before leaving in all directions. Some fled on foot. Some fled without shoes. Deyan Baker, 19, Anthony Rhoads, 21, and their 2-year-old daughter, Rylee, of Oroville, had no car, so they ran into the street hoping someone would give them a lift. Source

“We were running. No one was stopping,” Baker said. “I started having a panic attack. I felt helpless.”

Preparedness experts suggest having an evacuation bag or bug out bag prepped for items for the entire family. Make sure these are easily accessible and ready to go for emergencies such as this. While a dam break may not be a disaster your area would encounter, what about a gas leak, or a refinery spill? What about a wild-fire? There are many reasons to have evacuation supplies. Here is an evacuation checklist to ensure you have everything covered. As well, consider preparing your evacuation vehicle.

2. Evacuations are dangerous.

Not only is a mass exodus arduous, but dangerous as well. During evacuations there is always some risk to danger. For instance, many are in a state of panic and do not always make the wisest of choices. One Oroville evacuee brings up the point of just how dangerous the roads are when evacuating.

“Cars were speeding by so fast, some careening on the shoulders to pass the traffic, “you could smell the engines burning,” Rhoads said. “You could smell the burnt oil, burned clutches, tires squealing.” Source

There are those who are in a mental state of its ‘every man for himself’. There are also others who are opportunists and take advantage of the situation and can cause injury as a result. One Oroville evacuee knows this lesson all too well. Cameron Asbury, 33, was packing up the truck with his family’s belongings after receiving the evacuation order Sunday afternoon when an unidentified man hijacked the vehicle, ran him over and sped away. You can read more about that here. The point here is during evacuations, it can be dangerous due to heightened emotions, desperation and opportunists taking advantage of the situation. Make sure that you have a way to protect yourself. While many do not believe in firearms, having one during these times would be advantageous.

3. No one knows when evacuation orders will be lifted. 

While the mandatory evac order has been lifted for Oroville, there is still an evacuation order in place and many are not sure when they will come back with the threat of the dam still fresh in their minds. When an evacuation is ordered the residents are left to the mercy of the local government in deciding when it is safe to come back. Having a short-term disaster plan in place before a disaster strikes will relieve some of the stress associated with evacuating. As well, with a solid plan (conceived while you were calm and rational) this will ensure that you won’t skip any important planning steps. Living out a disaster in an emergency shelter is not always the best choice, especially if you have pets or special health care needs. Consider how important having an emergency fund would be in a situation such as this. Having money set aside in advance to pay for hotel stays, food, etc. would prevent you from going into further debt.

Read the Whole Article

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50% of Western Central Bank Gold

7 hours 5 min ago

We have recently had some significant news about the sovereign gold market that makes the unclarity even more unclear. Central banks and the BIS in Basel go to great length to tell the world absolutely nothing about their gold dealings. All transactions are carried out covertly and no central bank ever has an official audit of their gold holdings. The last US audit was during Eisenhower’s days in the 1950’s. Ron Paul has been pushing for an audit but to no avail. Will Trump instigate an audit? Well, he might have the intention but when he finds out that a major part of the US 8,000 tons of gold is not there, it will all go quiet. There have been pressures for audits in France and Germany in later years but this has had no effect. No country wants to reveal that the gold isn’t there.

Germany takes 5 years to repatriate 647 tons of gold

Germany has recently pretended that they are totally open about their gold dealings, but what have they actually told the world?

In 2013 Germany announced a plan to repatriate 674 tons of gold from the US and France. In the first year, they only received 37 tons back and were told that they would have the rest in 2020. We have now been informed that the programme has been accelerated. Out of the 3,381 tons that Germany owns, 51% or 1,713 tons will be in Germany by the end of 2017. Over 49% of the German gold will remain abroad with 1,236 tons still in New York and 432 tons in London.

You wonder why it needs to take five years to repatriate 674 tons. Listening to interviews with the chiefs of the Deutsche Bundesbank, they explained what a major logistical exercise it has been. According to the Bundesbank, they have had major problems with transport, insurance, security etc. If we take Switzerland as an example, we both receive and export over 2,000 tons of gold annually. And that excludes major transfers between banks and to private vaults. The same happens in countries like the UK, China, India and the US. So around the world, many 1,000s of tons of gold are shipped annually without any logistical problem. You wonder then why the normally very efficient Germans have problems to ship 674 tons over five years?

The reason is of course that the gold wasn’t available because it had been leased or maybe even sold. This is confirmed by comments that the bars received in return were not the same as the original ones.

But the big question is now if the 1,668 tons that remain in the US and France actually exist? If they do, why not bring them back to Germany?  Originally the reason for holding gold outside of Germany was the cold war. But it would be hard to explain how gold in the UK and France avoided the cold war. Currently there is no cold war so that is not a valid reason. We know of course why the gold originally was held in New York and London because that is where the majority of the gold trading takes place.

But major central banks like the Bundesbank don’t need to move the gold if they lease it. Anyone trading with these Central Banks believes they are creditworthy. Our view is of course different. Central banks hold toxic debt that will never be repaid and therefore they are not safe.  

Bullion Banks will hypothecate the same gold many times

So why is the gold not in Germany? Initially it was used for leasing and trading. In the past when gold was leased, it was kept within the London or New York bank pools and just shuffled between the banks. But now it is very different because the buyers are mainly China, India and Russia. And these countries are not interested in paper trading. They want the physical bars delivered. The effect of this is that when a Central Bank leases the gold to a bullion bank, the bank then sells the gold to China and China will of course take delivery. All Central Banks now have is an IOU from the trading bank. When the Central Bank asks for its gold back, it won’t be there and the trading bank will need to borrow gold from someone else like a client. So the bullion banks will hypothecate the same gold many times. That is why investors must never store gold in a bank.

Central Banks don’t just lease their gold to the market. They most probably also sell gold covertly. Total Central Bank holdings are 33,000 tons. Of that Western Central Banks hold around 23,000 tons of gold including the IMF holding. No one knows how much of that gold actually remains in the West.

Is half Germany’s gold in China?

If we take the example of Germany which by the end of 2017 officially will have 50% of its gold or 1,668 tons abroad. If that has been leased and then sold on to China, those 1,668 tons are permanently gone from the West. But they are still counted as Western Central Bank gold. All Germany has is a paper claim that will never be settled in physical gold. The sathem solfme is probably the case for other Western Central Bank gold. Just like with Germany, up to 50% of Western Central Bank gold has probably been leased. That would amount to 12,000 tons. Most of those 12,000 tons have probably been bought by the Silk Road countries as I discuss in the next section. That leaves Western Central Banks with a potential paper claim of 1/2 Trillion Dollars of gold. They will of course never see that gold again.

Read the Whole Article

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The US Empire Will Destroy Itself

7 hours 5 min ago

BALTIMORE – Victoribus spolia

So far, the most satisfying thing about the Trump win has been the howls and whines coming from the establishment.

Each appointment – some good, some bad from our perspective – has brought forth such heavy lamentations.

You’d think Washington had been invaded by Goths, now raping the vestal virgins (if there are any within the Beltway) on the White House lawns while the Capitol burns to the ground.

Regret and Suffering

Trump is happening, of course.

And the very people who made it happen are now in various stages of regret… suffering… or hysteria.

What a delight it is to see them in such pain!

All along I-95 – from the Holland Tunnel to Route 295 into the heart of D.C., at a distance of a football field between one and another – you see their fabled leaders, lieutenants, and water carriers crucified, with a small crowd gathered around each, weeping.

There is Hillary, of course. And Senator Elizabeth Warren (secretly happy to see HRC brought to grief).

Then there’s Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. If there is another 9/11 crisis with Trump in charge, he warns: “America as we know it will soon be gone.”

There are the Republican traitors, too – Colin Powell, Henry Paulson, Michael Chertoff – now hanging from their crosses.

And there are the neo-con turncoats, too – Max Boot, Robert Kagan… Crucifixion is probably too good for them.

They are not only traitors to the Republican cause, whatever that may be, but warmongers, too, ready to switch allegiances just to keep the money flowing to their crony friends in the security industry.

Now they all keen away… But what did they expect?

Had they not been lustily ripping off the working stiffs for decades? With their fake money and fake wars, they had transferred trillions of dollars from the Main Street economy into their own pockets.

And then, after the grandest larceny in all of history, didn’t they lecture the poor victims on global warming, racism, and cisgender issues?

Had they not been so rapacious and sanctimonious… they might have their own egregious gal in the White House now! Instead, the country is run by a man they consider an outrageous jackass.

Sniff… sniff… We feel so sorry for them.

“Great Disrupter”

But where does that leave us?

It leaves us with the hero of 2016, too – the man who routed all those hopeless whiners.

And it leaves us with the same swamp… the same swamp critters pulling strings and hatching plans… and the same fake wars – on the real economy, on terror, on poverty, and on drugs.

So far, the losers are crying… all the way to the bank.

Donald Trump is a “great disrupter,” says the press. What exactly will he disrupt?

If Mr. Trump is to “make America great again,” he must do more than make the insiders mad. He must make them pay.

We saw what destroyed the Soviet Union’s empire: win-lose deals.

The nomenklatura… the insiders… the Communist Party hacks all made out well ­– for a time. Meanwhile, the average person suffered. His income fell in line with his liberty. Naturally, a lot of people didn’t like it.

Stalin had to use drastic measures to keep the losers in check. Between 1936 and 1937, his secret police, the NKVD, arrested 1.5 million people. They shot 600,000 – a rate of about 1,000 a day.

By 1953, there were 5 million people in Gulags, or “internal exile,” in Siberia. Whole groups were exterminated, including poets, writers, scientists, and 85% of the Russian Orthodox clergy.

Meanwhile, win-win deals – voluntary exchanges – were practically outlawed. And without them, the system became so pathetic and unproductive, even the elite gave up trying to get anything out of it.

Moneymen and Gunmen

Now we know why America’s middle class suffers, too… not on the same scale, but for the same basic reason.

Too many win-lose deals were imposed on them by the Parasitocrats, the insiders – the same people who now loathe the president they so richly deserve.

Household income in the U.S. is now lower than it was at the end of the last century. In the year 2000, the typical household had an income of $58,574. Today, it is only $57,827.

So now we know what Mr. Trump must do: reduce the number of win-lose deals to make room for more win-win deals. It is that simple.

But doing so isn’t simple.

The swamp critters – the insiders and Parasitocrats who control and profit from government regulations and legislation – are behind the win-lose deals. They’ll fight to protect them.

We’ve seen, too, that the deals fit into three main categories: entitlements, the military-industrial-security complex, and Wall Street.

As for the first, the Republicans have promised to overhaul Obamacare. But the president has sent mixed messages.

He also pledged to not cut entitlements. And when asked how he would pay for them, he answered that he knows “where to get the money from” and “nobody else knows.”

More than likely, the new president will be unable or unwilling to make any substantial dent in spending on pensions, pills, or schools. There are simply too many crony swamp critters and zombie voters on the receiving end.

Besides, they are not completely lose-lose programs. Overpriced and inefficient they may be. Still, ordinary people do get some real benefits from them.

That leaves the two biggies: the military-industrial-security complex and Wall Street.

Thus do the clouds lift and the picture clarifies.

Trump and his team must try to rein in the gunmen and the moneymen, or they are nothing but conmen.

Reprinted with permission from Bonner & Partners

The post The US Empire Will Destroy Itself appeared first on LewRockwell.

Water in Your Ear?

7 hours 6 min ago

By Dr. Mercola

Have you ever been swimming (or even in the bathtub), tilted your head the wrong way and gotten that uncomfortable sensation of water entering your ear canal?

Often the water will drain out on its own, but if it doesn’t, it can get trapped and lead to a condition known as swimmer’s ear, aka otitis externa. The sensation is uncomfortable at first — a slightly tickling, eye-watering twinge anywhere from your ear to your jawline and throat, and sound might be muffled.

But water isn’t the only thing that can exacerbate this problem. Trying to fix the problem in the wrong way using all kinds of instruments to help open up the tubes and perhaps get wax out of the way can make the problem worse or even introduce bacteria that can cause infection.

You should not use cotton swabs, pens, bobby pins, crochet needles or even your fingers for this purpose.

The trouble is, any of these instruments can cause damage to your ear canal’s delicate lining. Don’t do it! At the very least, it can cause an ear infection, and there are several safe and effective things you can do to get water to drain from your ears without making the problem worse.

Safe Methods for Removing Water From Your Ears

Nobody likes having water trapped in their ears. Frankly, it makes you miserable, but to get it out safely and without doing further damage requires an understanding of how water behaves.

Remember, gravity generally causes water, wherever it is, to seek the lowest level to settle. Evaporation, suction and wicking are other measures to try.

You may feel “fizzing,” hear popping noises and even experience a deep itch inside of your ear. Tilt your head to the side, use three or four drops of the solution and let it “percolate” for a few minutes before draining.

If you already have an ear infection, a perforated eardrum or tubes in your ears (or your child’s), options involving drops are not recommended.

Prevention and Why It’s Important

When dogs emerge from water, they shake their heads vigorously from side to side, sending a spray of water in all directions to get excess water off their coats, but as a preventative measure this may have just as much to do with shaking water out of their ears.

It might look odd, but this method, too, would be worth the strange looks you might get. Especially if water in your ears has a tendency to cause problems, wearing a swim cap or ear plugs when showering or swimming would be worth any inconvenience.

In fact, doctors advise people involved in water sports (or in water frequently for any other reason) to wear ear plugs.

Infection is the thing to be most vigilant to prevent. That’s most important if the water comes from a lake or river where the water may be polluted. Harmful bacteria in the water can cause swimmer’s ear.

Your risk of developing swimmer’s ear increases if you have eczema, psoriasis or a similar chronic skin disorder, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology— Head and Neck Surgery.2 Other conditions also make swimmer’s ear more prevalent, according to Medical News Today:3

  • Excess moisture in your ear
  • Scratches or cuts in your ear canal
  • Allergies to skin or hair products or jewelry

Information Worth Knowing About Ear Infections

Infections can spread, including those caused by a new piercing that gets infected, and may worsen an ear infection. Some people may assume regular pH checks and chlorination will rid swimming pools of any infection-causing bacteria, but not always.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says germs can be spread even by a fine mist of contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, water play areas, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers or oceans.4 More specifically:

“Ear infections can be caused by leaving contaminated water in the ear after swimming. This infection, known as “swimmer’s ear” or otitis externa, is not the same as the common childhood middle ear infection.

The infection occurs in the outer ear canal and can cause pain and discomfort for swimmers of all ages. In the United States, swimmer’s ear results in an estimated 2.4 million health care visits every year and nearly half a billion dollars in health care costs.”5

Ear Infections and Other Complications

Besides pain, redness and swelling inside and outside your ear, symptoms, listed by Medical News Today,6 include:

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), swimmer’s ear involves inflammation outside of the ear canal and may extend to the tympanic membrane:

“The acute form has an annual incidence of approximately 1 percent and a lifetime prevalence of 10 percent. On rare occasions, the infection invades the surrounding soft tissue and bone; this is known as malignant (necrotizing) otitis externa, and is a medical emergency that occurs primarily in older patients with diabetes mellitus.”7

Medical News Today reiterates that a severe infection may lead to fever and pain in your face, neck or side of the head. Additionally: “Complications of swimmer’s ear may include temporary hearing difficulties and pain. Rare complications include long-term infection, deep tissue infection, bone and cartilage damage, and infection that spreads to the brain or nerves.”8

Swimmer’s ear is the most common infection swimmers experience and can last as long as three weeks. If it lasts longer than that, or pain and inflammation is ongoing for several days, it’s time to see a medical professional.

Antibiotics and Vaccines May Worsen the Problem

The middle ear infection previously referenced, otitis media, or OM, is the most common one experienced by children, but might not need to be. The American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery notes:

“About 62 percent of children in developed countries will have their first episode of OM by the age of one, more than 80 percent by their third birthday, and nearly 100 percent will have at least one episode by age 5. In the U.S. alone, this illness accounts for 25 million office visits annually with direct costs for treatment estimated at $3 billion. Health economists add that when lost wages for parents are included, the total cost of estimated treatments mount to $6 billion.”9

Further, the usual treatment for children with these infections is typically either antibiotics or pressure equalizing tubes, inserted surgically. But this can lead to bacterial resistance, meaning the infection becomes even more difficult to treat. Even worse, the tubes don’t always do the job properly and may need to be re-inserted.10

While the concept of vaccines is to stimulate peoples’ immune systems without actually causing illness, it doesn’t always happen that way. The website adds that pneumococcus is one of the most common and potentially serious bacteria to cause ear infections (not to mention sinus infections, pneumonia and meningitis).

If a pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for your child, you’ll need to weigh the risks of the vaccine against the potential benefits. In the case of ear infections, which often go away on their own with no treatment needed, there is some research that kids given vaccines actually have more ear infections than those not vaccinated. Further, more children may suffer adverse reactions from vaccines than any other type of drug or procedure.11

Sources and References

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An Actual Movie About an Entrepreneur

7 hours 6 min ago

Most people believe McDonald’s is in the burger business. Not hardly. “McDonald’s is one of the biggest real estate companies in the world,” Jonathan Maze wrote for Nation’s Restaurant News in 2015, “It owns $28.4 billion worth of land and buildings, before depreciation. It also leases the land, the buildings or both on 15,000 of its restaurant sites.”

The defining moment in the spectacular new movie “The Founder” has Harry Sonneborn (B.J. Novack), then an executive with Tastee Freeze, explaining to Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton), after going over McDonald’s books, why his (and the McDonald brothers) company was growing like a weed but dying on the vine. Kroc didn’t control any of the real estate, and Sonneborn tells him flatly, “You’re not in the burger business, you’re in the real estate business.”

The Founder” features another struggling salesman/entrepreneur downing whiskey (see “Gold”)at all hours trying to make just that one big score. The movie opens with Kroc trying to peddle milkshake machines by day and listening to motivational records in cheap hotel rooms under the influence of Canadian Club at night. Paraphrasing Say’s Law, he constantly chirps “Increase the supply and the demand will follow” in his sales pitch.

The viewer gets the sinking feeling he is another Willy Loman, except, well, we know how it turns out.  When a restaurant in San Bernardino orders six machines, Ray thinks it must be a mistake. Dick McDonald assures Kroc, who is talking to him from a pay phone in the midwest, that yes, he ordered six, but really needs eight machines, as sounds of a busy kitchen can be heard in the background. Kroc decides to drive to San Bernadino to see for himself.

Dick and his brother Mac (John Carroll Lynch) have dinner with Kroc and tell him their story. It’s a classic entrepreneurial tale of F.A. Hayek’s unplanned trial and error. A particularly enlightening scene has the McDonald brothers remembering the use of a tennis court and chalk to lay out the perfect kitchen layout to execute their “speedee service system.”

They had their employees simulate the traffic flow of each iteration.   When employees would run into one another, Dick would shoo them aside, erase his chalk-drawn stations, and re-draw the layout until he created the perfect kitchen setup.

Then, with a perfect kitchen and a system to provide burgers and fries in 30 seconds, nobody showed up.  But, then customers began to line up for what today would be considered a very plain hamburger. People went crazy for it. Fast food, wrapped in paper, fetched by the customer at the window.  The new age was born.

Kroc’s entrepreneurial vision saw McDonald’s concept nationwide. The brothers had tried franchising on a small scale and believed it to be impossible to manage.  They had too much pride in their product to let loose of it. As brilliant as they (especially Dick) were, their vision extended only to their property. Kroc, not the McDonald’s, epitomized what Murray Rothbard described in Economic Controversies, “the entrepreneur is not passive but extremely active. He takes risks, and attempts to forecast the future; he grapples with uncertainty.”

Kroc’s first wife, played by a perfectly dour Laura Dern, is tired of Ray’s schemes. She wants the life of dining at the Country Club with a husband that isn’t on the road hustling all of the time. Ray’s mortgaging of the house to finance the franchising model sends her into a tailspin when the bank calls to collect a seriously past due payment.

Sonneborn overhears Kroc giving an angry earful to his banker, chases him down, and provides life-changing advice.  Entrepreneurial “alertness” is grasping a good idea and running with it. And run Kroc did. He and the McDonalds had a contract requiring the brothers to approve everything, but Ray grew tired of their constant denials and began to ignore them.

Once he had the real estate, he had control. Contracts are only good if they can be enforced with the financial firepower to win in court. The guys in San Bernardino kept cranking out burgers and fries while telling Kroc to stop growing.

However, Ray, at age 52, was a man on a mission. He looked everywhere for hungry scrappers to be franchisees. He soon learned the rich guys he knew, and his wife Ethel liked so much, from the Country Club, while having the money, didn’t make good franchisees. They were too lazy and cared more about their golf handicaps than the management of their restaurants.  Kroc believed family men working two jobs after failing at their own businesses were perfect McDonald’s franchise candidates.

With scenes of Kroc picking up trash and sweeping store parking lots, moviegoers are constantly reminded that owning a business isn’t a glamorous do-nothing-but-count-the-money endeavor. It’s never ending hard work, attention to detail, and perseverance.

It took perseverance to get “The Founder” in theaters. The movie was shelved for two years. And while I gush about it, the movie has grossed only $11 million. Esteemed reviewer Rex Reed thinks he knows why. The movie would be a warm and fuzzy if the heroes were the two brothers. Instead, “It’s a painful story,” writes Reed, “but despite Michael Keaton’s charisma, the centerpiece of the film is such a heel that you cannot like him, believe what he says, or care about what he does to cheat his way to the top. With no one to root for, the movie leaves a bitter after-taste no Chicken McNugget can erase.”  Reed protest too much.

The film “Super Size Me” focused on a heel accusing McDonald’s of making America obese and the star [Morgan Spurlock] was said to have “goofy watch ability.” Nobody roots for entrepreneurs. Succeeding is somehow cheating. Outmaneuvering obstinate partners is supposedly unethical.

However, entrepreneurs don’t care. “No dullness and clumsiness on the part of the masses can stop the pioneers of improvement,” wrote Ludwig von Mises. “There is no need for them to win the approval of inert people beforehand. They are free to embark upon their projects even if everyone else laughs at them.”

The film portrays plenty of people laughing at Kroc. In the end, he fashioned thousands of multi-millionaires, including his third wife Joan, who won great acclaim, not for making billions, but for giving away what Ray created, including $225 million to National Public Radio. All things considered, maybe she was the heel.

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Feeding Your Inner Caligula

7 hours 6 min ago

Self-love used to be a vice, but nowadays it is the nearest thing to a virtue, as a supposed precondition of our own mental health (whatever that might be).

An Irish friend kindly forwarded me an article from The Irish Times reporting on a school in County Dublin that, on St. Valentine’s Day, encouraged children to write Valentine cards to themselves. They were supposed to inscribe in them what they loved about themselves, on the theory that self-love is a precondition to success, happiness, and resilience, and should therefore be taught early and probably incessantly.

My view is that the head teacher of the school ought to be given hemlock to drink for corrupting youth, but I accept that some people might think this punishment a little severe. Indeed, there are some people—the author of the article among them, a psychotherapist—who think the promotion of youthful self-satisfaction and conceit an excellent idea, the key to the little ones’ future happiness.

I looked up the school’s mission statement on the internet. Suffice it to say that it contained few surprises, other than the fact that it existed at all. It was the expected dreary catalog of modern pieties, among them the celebration of the uniqueness of the child and respect for diversity of traditions, values, and beliefs, irrespective of the particular nature or content of those traditions, values. and beliefs. As for “celebrating” uniqueness: How is it to be done? By getting the little geniuses to chant “I am unique, you are unique, we are all unique, everyone is unique!” while holding hands and dancing round a tree as the teacher beats the rhythm on a tambourine?

The tide of cliché has been rising for years, despite (or, as Schopenhauer would no doubt have said, because of) the ever-greater proportion of educated persons in the population. It requires a certain level of education, after all, to be able to write the following, taken at random from the article in The Irish Times:

Self-esteem matters, and as children are still forming core beliefs about themselves, adults can engage with them to really tune in to that fact.

No person who had left school at the age of 12 could have written such a sentence, which of course is a very powerful argument for reducing, as a preventive measure, the age at which children leave school. No mere ignoramus, no child sent down the mines at the age of 6, could ever have uttered these words, which somehow manage to combine dogmatism with absence of clear meaning.

Read the Whole Article

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The Stakes for Trump

7 hours 6 min ago

We need to understand, and so does President Trump, that the hoax “war on terror” was used to transform intelligence agencies, such as the NSA and CIA, and criminal investigative agencies, such as the FBI, into Gestapo secret police agencies. Trump is now threatened by these agencies because he rejects the neoconservative’s agenda of US world hegemony that supports the gigantic military/security annual budget.

Our secret police agencies are busy at work planting “intelligence” among the presstitute media that Trump is compromised by “Russian connections” and is a security threat to the United States. The plan is to make a case in the media, as was done against President Nixon, and to force Trump from office. To openly take on a newly elected president is an act of extraordinary audacity that implies enormous confidence, or else desperation, on the part of the police state agencies.

Here you can see CNN openly cooperating with the CIA in treating wild and irresponsible speculation that Trump is under Russian influence as if it is an established fact. The “evidence” provided by CNN and the CIA is a “report” by the New York Times that, with little doubt, was planted in the NYT by the CIA.

This is so obvious that it is clear that CNN and the CIA regard the American people as so gullible as to be completely stupid.

Glenn Greenwald explains to Amy Goodman that the CIA is after Trump because Trump’s announced policy of reducing the dangerous tensions with Russia conflicts with the military/security complex’s need for a major enemy.

“The deep state, although there’s no precise or scientific definition, generally refers to the agencies in Washington that are permanent power factions. They stay and exercise power even as presidents who are elected come and go. They typically exercise their power in secret, in the dark, and so they’re barely subject to democratic accountability if they’re subject to it at all. It’s agencies like the CIA, the NSA, and the other intelligence agencies, that are essentially designed to disseminate disinformation and deceit and propaganda, and have a long history of doing not only that but also have a long history of the world’s worst war crimes, atrocities and death squads. This is who not just people like Bill Kristol, but lots of Democrats are placing their faith in, are trying to empower, are cheering for as they exert power separate and apart from—in fact, in opposition to—the political officials to whom they’re supposed to be subordinate.

“And you go—this is not just about Russia. You go all the way back to the campaign, and what you saw was that leading members of the intelligence community, including Mike Morell, who was the acting CIA chief under President Obama, and Michael Hayden, who ran both the CIA and the NSA under George W. Bush, were very outspoken supporters of Hillary Clinton. In fact, Michael Morell went to The New York Times, and Michael Hayden went to The Washington Post, during the campaign to praise Hillary Clinton and to say that Donald Trump had become a recruit of Russia. The CIA and the intelligence community were vehemently in support of Clinton and vehemently opposed to Trump, from the beginning. And the reason was, was because they liked Hillary Clinton’s policies better than they liked Donald Trump’s. One of the main priorities of the CIA for the last five years has been a proxy war in Syria, designed to achieve regime change with the Assad regime. Hillary Clinton was not only for that, she was critical of Obama for not allowing it to go further, and wanted to impose a no-fly zone in Syria and confront the Russians. Donald Trump took exactly the opposite view. He said we shouldn’t care who rules Syria; we should allow the Russians, and even help the Russians, kill ISIS and al-Qaeda and other people in Syria. So, Trump’s agenda that he ran on was completely antithetical to what the CIA wanted. Clinton’s was exactly what the CIA wanted, and so they were behind her. And so, they’ve been trying to undermine Trump for many months throughout the election. And now that he won, they are not just undermining him with leaks, but actively subverting him. There’s claims that they’re withholding information from him, on the grounds that they don’t think he should have it and can be trusted with it. They are empowering themselves to enact policy.

“Now, I happen to think that the Trump presidency is extremely dangerous. You just listed off in your news—in your newscast that led the show, many reasons. They want to dismantle the environment. They want to eliminate the safety net. They want to empower billionaires. They want to enact bigoted policies against Muslims and immigrants and so many others. And it is important to resist them. And there are lots of really great ways to resist them, such as getting courts to restrain them, citizen activism and, most important of all, having the Democratic Party engage in self-critique to ask itself how it can be a more effective political force in the United States after it has collapsed on all levels. That isn’t what this resistance is now doing. What they’re doing instead is trying to take maybe the only faction worse than Donald Trump, which is the deep state, the CIA, with its histories of atrocities, and say they ought to almost engage in like a soft coup, where they take the elected president and prevent him from enacting his policies. And I think it is extremely dangerous to do that. Even if you’re somebody who believes that both the CIA and the deep state, on the one hand, and the Trump presidency, on the other, are extremely dangerous, as I do, there’s a huge difference between the two, which is that Trump was democratically elected and is subject to democratic controls, as these courts just demonstrated and as the media is showing, as citizens are proving. But on the other hand, the CIA was elected by nobody. They’re barely subject to democratic controls at all. And so, to urge that the CIA and the intelligence community empower itself to undermine the elected branches of government is insanity. That is a prescription for destroying democracy overnight in the name of saving it. And yet that’s what so many, not just neocons, but the neocons’ allies in the Democratic Party, are now urging and cheering. And it’s incredibly warped and dangerous to watch them do that.”

The United States is now in the extraordinary situation that the liberal/progressive/left is allied with the deep state against democracy. The liberal/progressive/left are lobbying for the impeachment of a president who has committed no impeachable offense. The neoconservatives have stated their preference for a deep state coup against democracy. The media obliges with a constant barrage of lies, innuendos, and disinformation. The insouciant American public sits there sucking its thumb.

What can Trump do? He can clean out the intelligence agencies and terminate their license granted by Bush and Obama to conduct unconstitutional activities. He can use anti-trust to break up the media conglomerates that Clinton allowed to form. If Bush and Obama can on their own authority subject US citizens to indefinite detention without due process and if Obama can murder suspect US citizens without due process of law, Trump can use anti-trust law to break up the media conglomerates that speak with one voice against him.

At this point, Trump has no alternative but to fight. He can take down the secret police agencies and the presstitute media conglomerates, or they will take him down. Dismissing Flynn was the worse thing to do. He should have kept Flynn and fired the “leakers” who are actively using disinformation against him. The NSA would have to know who the leakers are. Trump should clean out the corrupt NSA management and install officials who will identify the leakers. Then Trump should prosecute the leakers to the full extent of the law.

No president can survive secret police agencies determined to destroy him. If Trump’s advisers don’t know this, Trump desperately needs new advisers.

The post The Stakes for Trump appeared first on LewRockwell.

Greenspan on Gold

7 hours 6 min ago

“When our friends get elected, they aren’t our friends any more.” — M. Stanton Evans

My deceased friend Stan Evans became deservedly famous for this law of politics.

This law applies to high-level appointments.

Back in the days when I was starting out in my career, Alan Greenspan wrote an article for Ayn Rand’s Objectivist newsletter. It was pro-gold standard. It has been reprinted all over the Web. Back then, only a handful of us knew about it. I reviewed it in 2007 here.

Greenspan personally launched the modern era of extreme intervention by the Federal Reserve in order to stop a collapse in the stock market. That took place in the second month of his chairmanship at Federal Reserve. It was in late October, 1987. The American stock market had dropped by 20% in one day. Around the world, other markets had dropped by a comparable percentage. No one knew why then. No one knows why now.

Greenspan and the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee intervened the next day to inject fiat money into the banking system in order to stop the collapse. That was the beginning of what became known as “Greenspan’s put.” Stock market investors knew from that point on that the Federal Reserve would not allow the market to fall significantly. That carried through right until Bernake’s intervention in 2009.

Listen to Greenspan today. He justifies his policies as FED chairman in terms of gold.

When I was Chair of the Federal Reserve I used to testify before US Congressman Ron Paul, who was a very strong advocate of gold. We had some interesting discussions. I told him that US monetary policy tried to follow signals that a gold standard would have created. That is sound monetary policy even with a fiat currency. In that regard, I told him that even if we had gone back to the gold standard, policy would not have changed all that much.

This really is incredible. He is saying that his policies, and the Federal Reserve’s policies, were basically close to what the Federal Reserve’s policies would have been prior to August 15, 1971. In other words, he was basically a gold standard man while he was chairman of the FED.

This is what happens when our friends go to Washington.

Read the Whole Article

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A Toast to California’s Secession

7 hours 6 min ago

There’s been a lot of talk recently about California seceding from the union. It’s akin to Hollywood celebs vowing to move out of the country if a Republican wins the White House. Meaning that it’s all bluster. Those who extol the virtues of the People’s Republic of California love to make hollow threats, but they possess neither the courage nor the financial resources to back them up.

If California were ever on its own, within six months of its “independence” it would be unable to function at even a survival level. Though it boasts the sixth largest economy in the world (larger than that of both Brazil and France!), there’s no economy big enough to keep a Marxist country afloat. This has been demonstrated time and again in such failed nations as Cuba, the Soviet Union, Mozambique, and every other country that has experimented with socialism/communism in any of its hideous forms.

The majority of California’s adult population consists of adult children whose brains have never developed beyond adolescence. They cling to a stunted Woodstock mentality that makes them incapable of rational thought, which, if not addressed professionally, has the potential to be fatal. They live in an Oz-like land of constant frustration, which causes them to resort to tantrums and violence as the combined solution to every perceived problem.

The bottom line to all this is that a majority of Californians are not able to function as self-sustaining adults in the real world, so they irrationally dedicate themselves to the impossible task of trying to remake our imperfect world into a perfect world they create in their soiled minds.

Such an immature and naïve mental state can have dire consequences not only for the individual who is saddled with it but for rational people of good will who live in the same societal space as they do. It’s dangerous to everyone, because those who are part of the Radical Left, in particular, employ lies, slander, and violence day-in-and-day-out in an attempt to achieve their impossible goal of creating the perfect world they envision in their minds.

I lived in Southern California for about 20 years, and I loved it for about ten of those years. It was a period when seemingly everything that happened was wonderful — meeting and marrying the most beautiful, kindest, most caring woman in the world, enjoying my four children as they progressed through grade school, middle school, and high school, rising from oblivion to the pinnacle of the book-publishing world by writing and self-publishing two New York Times #1 bestsellers, and much, much more.

But as we rolled into the eighties, the glitzy lifestyle of Los Angeles began to lose its appeal for me. Being surrounded by millions of Hollywood types and, worse, wannabe Hollywood types, became a painful daily task. I grew tired of seeing people with no visible means of support driving Rolls-Royces and living in rented mansions.

Above all, the left-wing political craziness and political correctness began to wear me down. I got tired of debating low-information people — and, worse, no-information people — and increasingly found myself withdrawing from the outside world.

I slowly faced up to the reality that people in Southern California had a collective mental disorder that caused them to talk and act in ways that was completely foreign to how the rest of the nation thought or behaved.

I remember many years ago Paul Newman saying that “Los Angeles is like a beautiful lady dying of cancer.” Notwithstanding his liberal credentials, Newman nailed it. For sheer luxury and beauty, it’s hard to beat Beverly Hills, Holmby Hills, and Bel-Air, but, with just a few exceptions, most of the rest of Los Angeles is a sewer.

I became convinced, and today am certain, that California cannot be saved. It long ago passed the tipping point and is now a giant left-wing cauldron boiling over with hatred, intolerance, and violence. It’s gigantic GDP can’t save it, because when GDP in California increases, it always brings with it an increase in welfare benefits. The Sacramento beast has an insatiable appetite for vote-buying entitlements, regulations, and illegal schemes.

That said, given that the national debt can never repaid — and, in fact, is going to increase dramatically in the coming years — I favor killing two birds with one stone and settling our debt with our largest creditor, China, by giving it title to the state of California outright — lock, stock, and illegal immigrants. Then, let Sacramento figure out how to deal with its new Asian rulers who don’t take kindly to liberal ideas like sanctuary cities, rioting, and welfare fraud.

As I’ve written about before, it’s inevitable that the United States will ultimately break into several nations, but right now just getting the People’s Republic of California out of our lives and out of our pocketbooks would be a real boost to the average American’s morale.

So, with that delicious thought in mind, I invite you to join me in a toast to California’s secession — voluntarily or forced, I’m not particular.

Reprinted with permission from

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More Reds Under Our Beds

Sat, 02/18/2017 - 02:01

President Dwight Eisenhower’s warning about the dangers of the military-industrial complex made half a century ago ring as loud and clear today.  The soft coup being mounted against the Trump government by America’s ‘deep state’ reached a new intensity this week as special interests battled for control of Washington.

The newly named national security advisor, Lt Gen Michael Flynn, was ousted by Trump over his chats with Russia’s ambassador and what he may or may not have told Vice President Pence.  The defenestration of Flynn appeared engineered by our national intelligence agencies in collaboration with the mainstream media and certain Democrats.

Flynn’s crime?  Talking to the wicked Russians before and after the election.  Big, big deal.  That’s what security advisors are supposed to do: keep an open back channel to other major powers and allies.  This is also the job of our intelligence agencies.

There is no good or bad in international affairs. The childish concept of ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ comes from the Bush era when simple-minded voters had to be convinced that America was somehow in grave danger from a bunch of angry Mideast goat herds.

The only nations that could threaten America’s  very existence are nuclear powers Russia, China, India, France, Britain, and Israel (and maybe Pakistan) in that order.

Russia has thousands of nuclear warheads targeted on the US mainland.   Any real war with Russia would invite doom for both nations.  Two near misses are more than enough. Remember the 1962 Cuban missile confrontation and the terrifying 1983 Able Archer scare – near thermonuclear war caused by Ronald Reagan’s anti-Russian hysteria and Moscow’s panicked response.

Margolis’ #1 rule of international relations:  make nice and keep on good terms with nations that have nuclear weapons pointed at you.  Avoid squabbles over almost all matters. Intelligence agencies play a key role in maintaining the balance of nuclear terror and preventing misunderstandings that can cause war.

Gen. Flynn was a fanatical anti-Islamic wing nut. He was, to use Trumpese, a bigly terrible choice. I’m glad he is gone.  But Flynn’s sin was being loopy, not talking on the phone to the Russian ambassador.  The White House and national intelligence should be talking every day to Moscow, even ‘hi Boris, what’s new with you guys?  ‘Nothing much new here either besides the terrible traffic.’

The current hue and cry in the US over Flynn’s supposed infraction is entirely a fake political ambush to cripple the Trump administration.  Trump caved in much too fast.  The deep state is after his scalp: he has threatened to cut the $80 billion per annum intelligence budget – which alone, boys and girls, is larger than Russia’s entire defense budget! He’s talking about rooting waste out of the Pentagon’s almost trillion-dollar budget, spending less on NATO, and ending some of America’s imperial wars abroad.

What’s to like about Trump if you’re a member of the war party and military-industrial-intelligence-Wall Street complex?  The complex wants its golden girl Hilary Clinton in charge.  She unleashed the current tsunami of anti-Russian hysteria and demonization of Vladimir Putin which shows, sadly, that many Americans have not grown beyond the days of Joe McCarthy.

As a long-time student of Cold War intelligence, my conclusion is that both sides knew pretty much what the other was up to, though KGB and GRU were more professional and skilled than western special services.  It would be so much easier and cheaper just to share information on a demand basis.  But that would stop the Great Game.

It’s sickening watching the arrant hypocrisy and windbaggery in Washington over alleged Russian espionage and manipulation.  The US has been buying and manipulating foreign governments since 1945. We even tapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone.  This week Wikileaks issued an intercept on CIA spying and manipulation of France’s 2012 election.  We live in a giant glass house.

The Russians are not our pals.  Nor are they the evil empire.  We have to normalize our thinking about Russia, grow up and stop using Moscow as a political bogeyman to fight our own internal political battles.

Right now, I’m more worried about the far right crazies in the Trump White House than I am about the Ruskis and Vlad the Bad.

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JFK’s Murder

Sat, 02/18/2017 - 02:01

On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was gunned down in the streets of Dallas in broad daylight. According to the Warren Commission (1964), the government’s first official investigative panel into the president’s death, JFK was shot by lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald from the 6th floor window of the Texas School Book Depository Building with an Italian Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. The Commission concluded that Oswald fired three shots: one that missed (the Commission said it was inconclusive which of the shots missed), one that hit both Kennedy and Governor John Connally (the “magic bullet”), and the final shot that hit Kennedy in the head.

The “magic bullet” is so named because it followed what seems to be an extraordinary trajectory: it penetrated JFK’s back, exited the throat, then proceeded to hit Connally (who was sitting in front of Kennedy), passing through his back, hitting a rib, exiting his chest, hitting his right wrist, and finally hitting his left thigh, leaving behind a small fragment seven millimeters beneath the skin. What was presumably this same bullet was later found on a stretcher in nearly undamaged condition.

The later House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) contradicted the Warren Commission by concluding that JFK’s death was probably the result of a conspiracy involving two shooters. Today, however, most newsmedia and government figures publicly accept the findings of the Warren Commission, even though polling consistently shows that the vast majority of Americans have serious doubts about its conclusions.

Dr. Cyril Wecht, for two decades the elected coroner of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania (including Pittsburgh), is a nationally acclaimed forensic pathologist, and holds both a medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh (1956), and a law degree from the University of Maryland (1962). Forensic pathologists specialize in medically determining how and why someone died. In criminal murder cases this function is absolutely vital in helping to determine the guilt or innocence of a suspect — in no case more so than in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Dr. Wecht, a very early critic of the Warren Commission, testified at the HSCA. At the annual JFK Lancer assassination research conference in Dallas, held in November, Dr. Wecht summarized the medical evidence against the lone-gunman hypothesis.

At the center of Dr. Wecht’s examination is what has become known as the “single-bullet theory” — or the “magic bullet,” as it is known to its detractors: the theory that one bullet can account for the multiple wounds (besides the headshot) of both JFK and Governor Connally. According to Dr. Wecht, the conclusions of the Warren Commission rest entirely on the single-bullet theory. If that theory fails, then there had to be more than one gunman. This, in turn, leads to questions about the history of the United States since 1963 that many people would rather not pursue.

With both passion and meticulous attention to detail, Wecht dissects the Warren Commission’s conclusions. Moving beyond the medical evidence, he then utters words unexpected from any former American elected official, and particularly powerful coming from a person with his credentials:  “What we witnessed…my friends, in plain, plain English — was [a] coup d’état in America. The overthrow of the government. That’s what this case was all about.”

At a time when America again faces extraordinary political turbulence, what happened more than half a century ago takes on renewed significance.

As a service to our readers, we provide transcripts with our podcasts. We try to ensure that these transcripts do not include errors. However, due to a constraint of resources, we are not always able to proofread them as closely as we would like and hope that you will excuse any errors that slipped through.

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Truly Staggering Health Benefits

Sat, 02/18/2017 - 02:01

Oregano oil is extracted from the oregano plant (Origanum vulgare), a perennial herb from the flowering plant family Lamiaceae. Thanks to its high concentration of antioxidants, carvacrol, and other critical vitamins and nutrients, the health benefits of oregano oil are truly staggering. Oregano oil may support gastrointestinal, respiratory, and skin health. Additionally, its chemical makeup is a powerful force against harmful organisms.

Unlike the dried leaves used in cooking, organic oregano oil provides the health benefits of both the leaf and flower in a few concentrated drops. The potency of oregano oil is due to carvacrol, the compound in the leaves and flowers that is responsible for most of oregano’s positive health benefits.[1] There are over fifty different types of oregano. Mediterranean varieties of oregano, like those grown in Turkey, usually have the highest amount of carvacrol. These varieties include Origanum heracleoticum and Origanum vulgare, among others.

According to Greek myth, oregano was a beloved and cherished herb of the goddess Aphrodite. She grew it in her garden atop Mount Olympus. Given this history, it’s no surprise that oregano has been studied intensely and its benefits for human health are well known. Below are the top nine you should know about.

1. Calms Lip Blemishes

Many people apply oregano oil to lip blemishes with the belief it will help soothe the area and accelerate healing time. Research is ongoing to pinpoint the validity of this use. Carvacrol may promote resistance against the harmful organisms that cause lip blemishes.[2]

2. Helps with Food Preservation

Spices and herbs, like oregano, have a long history of food preservation and safety. Many types of food, especially raw meat, are a haven for harmful bacteria. Oregano oil may help resist harmful organisms. In one study, a concentrated application of carvacrol slowed the growth of lab cultures or caused them to stop multiplying altogether.[3] Other studies show that essential oils, including oregano, halt the spread of organisms in spoiled fruit juice[4]and aged meat.[5]

3. Soothes Muscle Discomfort

Oregano itself is tremendously soothing and research shows that oregano oil may be helpful for reducing muscle discomfort. In one study, carvacrol was administered orally to mice and measured against opioid-based pain medication. The study concluded that carvacrol offered benefits similar to opioid drugs while being safer.[6]

4. Promotes Intestinal Balance

Maintaining a proper balance of healthy bacteria in your intestines and gut is crucial for supporting good health. A healthy colony of intestinal flora encourages proper digestion and boosts the immune system. Good bacteria also support the immune system and help balance mood. Carvacrol may help promote gut health by creating an appropriate balance of good bacteria and bad bacteria.[7]

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California’s Megafloods of the Past

Sat, 02/18/2017 - 02:01
Posted at the Fabius Maximus website.

Summary: To boost our fear, activists and journalists report the weather with amnesia about the past. Ten-year records become astonishing events; weather catastrophes of 50 or 100 years ago are forgotten. It makes for good clickbait but cripples our ability to prepare for the inevitable. California’s history of floods and droughts gives a fine example — if we listen to the US Geological Survey’s reminder of past megafloods, and their warning of the coming ARkStorm.

” A 43-day storm that began in December 1861 put central and southern California underwater for up to six months, and it could happen again.”

— “California Megaflood: Lessons from a Forgotten Catastrophe” by B. Lynn Ingram (prof of Earth Science, Berkeley) in Scientific America, January 2013.

Lithograph of K Street in Sacramento, CA during the 1862 flood. From Wikimedia commons.

One of the key events in California history has disappeared from our minds. For a reminder see this by the US Geological Survey.

“Beginning on Christmas Eve, 1861, and continuing into early 1862, an extreme series of storms lasting 45 days struck California. The storms caused severe flooding, turning the Sacramento Valley into an inland sea, forcing the State Capital to be moved from Sacramento to San Francisco for a time, and requiring Governor Leland Stanford to take a rowboat to his inauguration. William Brewer, author of Up and Down California in 1860-1864, wrote on January 19, 1862, ‘The great central valley of the state is under water — the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys — a region 250 to 300 miles long and an average of at least twenty miles wide, or probably three to three and a half millions of acres!’

‘In southern California lakes were formed in the Mojave Desert and the Los Angeles Basin. The Santa Ana River tripled its highest-ever estimated discharge, cutting arroyos into the southern California landscape and obliterating the ironically named Agua Mansa (Smooth Water), then the largest community between New Mexico and Los Angeles. The storms wiped out nearly a third of the taxable land in California, leaving the State bankrupt.

“The 1861-62 series of storms were probably the largest and longest California storms on record. However, geological evidence suggests that earlier, prehistoric floods were likely even bigger. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that such extreme storms could not happen again. However, despite the historical and prehistorical evidence for extreme winter storms on the West Coast, the potential for these extreme events has not attracted public concern, as have hurricanes. The storms of 1861-62 happened long before living memory, and the hazards associated with such extreme winter storms have not tested modern infrastructure nor the preparedness of the emergency management community.”

For an account of the flood from that time see this by J. M. Guinn; an excerpt from Exceptional Years: A History of California Floods and Drought (1890). Red emphasis added.

Flooded area in California: 1861-1862. From The West without Water.

“The great flood of 1861-62 was the Noachain deluge of California floods. During the months of December 1861, and January, according to a record kept at San Francisco, 35 inches of rain fell, the fall for the season footed up nearly 50 inches {average is 24 inches/year}. As in Noah’s the windows of heaven were opened, and the waters prevailed exceedingly on the face of the earth.

“The valley of the Sacramento vast inland sea; the city of Sacramento was submerged and almost ruined. Relief boats on their errands of mercy, leaving the channels of the rivers, sailed over inundated ranches, past floating houses, wrecks of barns, through vast flotsams, made up of farm products farming implements, and the carcasses of horses, sheep, and cattle, drifting out to sea.

“…To the affrighted vaqueros, who had sought safety on the hills, it did seem as if the fountains of the great deep really been broken up, and that the freshet had filled the Pacific to overflowing. The Arroyo Seco, swollen to a mighty river, brought down from the mountains and canyons great rafts of drift-wood …{that} furnished fuel to poor people of the city for several years.

“It began raining on December 24, 1861, and continued for thirty days, with but two slight interruptions. The Star published the following local: ‘A Phenomenon – Tuesday last the sun made its appearance. The phenomenon lasted several minutes and was witnessed by a great number of persons.’

“…After the deluge, what? The drought. It began in the fall of 1862 and lasted to the winter of 1864-65. The rainfall for the season of 1862-63 did not exceed four inches, and In the fall of 1863, a few showers fell, but not enough to start the grass. No more fell until March. The cattle were of gaunt, skeleton-like forms, moved slowly of food. Here and there, singly or in small weak to move on, stood motionless with of starvation. It was a pitiful sight. …

“The loss of cattle was fearful. The plains were strewn with their carcasses. In marshy places …the ground was covered with their skeletons, and the traveler for years afterward was often startled by coming suddenly on a veritable Golgotha — a place of skulls — the long horns standing out in a defiant attitude, as if protecting the fleshless bones. …The great drought of 1863-64 put an end to cattle raising as the distinctive industry of Southern California.”

For a more detailed account see “California Megaflood: Lessons from a Forgotten Catastrophe” by B. Lynn Ingram (prof of Earth Science, Berkeley) in Scientific America, January 2013 (PDF here).  The risk of such megafloods remains today as shown in the video “Central Valley Flood Risk” by the California Department of Water Resources and the Corps of Engineers, July 2011.

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You May Not Talk to the Russians

Sat, 02/18/2017 - 02:01

A New York Times article says “The agency’s [FBI’s] investigation of Mr. Manafort began last spring as an outgrowth of a criminal investigation into his work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine and for the country’s former president, Viktor F. Yanukovych. It has focused on why he was in such close contact with Russian and Ukrainian intelligence officials.”

Paul Manafort chaired Trump’s campaign. The poor guy just did not realize that he couldn’t even exchange pleasantries with anybody Russian. If you are not anti-Russian, then you must be pro-Russian. That’s how the nitwits in the U.S. intelligence agencies think. And if you’re pro-Russian, then you must be in their pockets or a spy or a dupe. You don’t deserve to be making U.S. policy, which must remain anti-Russian until America manages to break up Russia and take it over.

You see, American citizens do not have the freedom to talk with Russians. The people they talk to may be spies, after all. My 1991 visit to Russia with my wife is next to be investigated, especially since we spent some time in Kiev. Russia is the enemy of us all. Don’t speak to any Russian or person of Russian descent. Putin deserves no respect, and Trump obviously is his puppet. Putin obviously tampered with American voting machines and secured Trump’s election. Trump must be thrown out of office immediately. Russia is imperialist and wants to take over the world. It’s aggressive. It never abandoned its Communist ambitions. The Cold War never ended. These are facts! Russia threatens Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Poland and your local bar and pool hall. This is not fake news! It is real, you fools! Russia should give back Crimea and allow the Ukrainian armed forces to take back Donbass. Russia should allow westerners to enter its country and preach the overthrow of its government. It should allow George Soros to finance the dismemberment of the country. Russia is nothing but a bunch of backward peasants; Obama has said so. It must be true. The U.S. must never alter its suspicion and distrust of anything Russian. We must all erase from history Russia’s role in defeating Hitler in World War II. Russia was never an ally of America. That’s an impossibility. How could such a poor country have stood up against Hitler’s mechanized divisions and panzers?

Forget about Russia’s nuclear weapons. They are old and rusty. The U.S. will knock them right out in a first strike, and the U.S. anti-ballistic missiles will miraculously clear the air of any Russian missiles targeting U.S. cities. Don’t worry if a few H-bombs make it through. What’s 50 million people and a radioactive halo against ending Russia once and for all!? Our leaders will be safe in their underground caverns, to lead the rest of us to bigger and better things. America will be great!

Americans like Mr. Manafort are all potential criminals if they so much as communicate with Russians, put in a good word for them, or, God forbid, even feel them out on their positions, policies, people, and beliefs. Trump’s people should have stayed as ignorant as possible of any Russians prior to his election. If they communicated with these devils, they must be regarded with great suspicion. The FBI must investigate them. There are not enough real criminals around anymore who have actually killed, raped and stolen. The FBI must now investigate potential criminals and crimethink. Anyone of us right now might be thinking destructive thoughts and imagining bonfires, bomb bursts, and ballistic missile explosions. The FBI needs to go after video game players, video arcades, and video manufacturers.

What does it matter if the FBI and the CIA can examine everyone’s phone calls and e-mails? Didn’t the Gestapo have a similar spy network, and wasn’t it a highly effective way of controlling the German population and anyone who disagreed with Hitler’s policies? Who cares about due process of law? The government makes the law. The Constitution is a dried up piece of useless parchment written by racist pigs, make that racist white pigs. What does it matter if the NSA doesn’t control access to the content and lets unnamed CIA operatives read them and leak them? Why shouldn’t you or I be subjected to investigations for having friends in foreign countries? We all may be terrorists, right? We definitely need an even stronger police state in order to flush out the terrorists among us. Trump is surely a Manchurian candidate and an enemy of the people. That’s what certain people are saying. That’s what the New York Times and the Washington Post are printing. It must be true!

If you are even thinking about being friendly to Russians, stop it now! Get it through your heads, you numbskulls: Russia is our Enemy! Trump is a Russian agent. Even his own party wants to investigate him and defang him. They want to take away his Twitter account! Milo was a trial run. Next, come bigger fish. Trump will be confined to his quarters where he can twitter all day long, but they won’t go any further than the desk of John O. Brennan. Who is he? He’s the man who can’t stand anything that Trump says. He’s the former CIA chief who’s one of the powers behind the anti-Trump campaign; that’s my guess because his antipathy to Trump has been open and strong.

But do we actually know the sources of the leaks? No, not at this moment. Rats prefer to stay hidden in the dark.

The post You May Not Talk to the Russians appeared first on LewRockwell.

Annals of the Stupid Party

Sat, 02/18/2017 - 02:01

No matter what happened while Barack Obama occupied Pennsylvania Ave., several things have become clear since Donald Trump took office in January:

Most Congressional Republicans don’t want to repeal Obamacare.

Most Congressional Republicans don’t want to restrict immigration.

Most Congressional Republicans don’t want to lower taxes.

Most Congressional Republicans want to go to war with the world.

Most Congressional Republicans like unconstitutional federal power and bloated bureaucracy.

That shouldn’t surprise anyone.

The late Sam Francis labeled the Republican Party the “Stupid Party” for a reason. But perhaps the label should be on the voters who keep sending them to Washington. They lie and we punch their ticket to D.C.

Clyde Wilson has been sounding the alarm about these faux conservatives for nearly five decades. As he writes in the Forward to his recent Annals of the Stupid Party: Republicans Before Trump (published just before the November election), “the greatest obstacle to meaningful change will be the Republican Party.” It always has been.

Wilson romps through the history of the GOP in this splendid collection of essays. From Lincoln to George Quincy Bush to the current establishment crop in Washington, including Mike Pence, he explains why Americans should never trust a Republican. Trump is different to a degree, but he is an outlier and the inertia of the “Stupid Party” is already working against him.

Most Americans forget or we never taught that the Republicans were from their inception in 1854 the party of revolution, be it economic, political, or social.

From the income tax to the loss of real federalism, to the establishment of state capitalism and central banking, to heavy-handed regulation and social engineering, to activist federal judges, the Republicans have their fingerprints all over every unconstitutional and immoral act.

The national government is their creation. The Democrats simply adopted their playbook in the early twentieth century. Think Teddy Roosevelt’s “national greatness conservatism” or Lincoln’s misuse of the meaning of the Declaration of Independence. They have crafted a civic religion on the ruins of what actually made America great. It wasn’t banks, bombs, and bureaucracy.

Wilson explains that while many Americans sat on the sidelines during the Quincy Bush years, content that an “R” was in office, the central government expanded its power exponentially. Bush, in fact, made Clinton look great. At least he was willing to accept fiscal if not personal responsibility.

It did not improve while Obama organized America. The opposition was easy when it was largely symbolic, but as the American public is quickly discovering, “Republican principles” don’t go beyond passing meaningless legislation that would never make it past Obama’s desk. Trump would have signed much of it. Now, crickets.

Passing actual legislation that critics would label “conservative” or “limited government” has never been their M.O. Wilson accurately calls it the “Republican Charade.”

And even Wilson’s beloved Dixie has been sucked into the Republican maelstrom. For example, “Senator No,” Jesse Helms, became a “National Republican” and Wilson writes “never met a Republican president or a Republican policy he doesn’t like.” Washington can be intoxicating which is why principled men either burn out, are marginalized, or are co-opted. It’s easier to be with them than against them.

Wilson believes Trump may be different. If his recent press conference and quick action on a number of bedrock issues is any indication, he may be correct. But then again, Trump is not your typical Republican.

Perhaps the only way to truly make America great is to rid the American consciousness of the myth of St. Abraham. That would help undermine the vice grip the “Stupid Party” has on American “conservative thought.”

This would involve a systematic overhaul of American “conservative” institutions, among them large print media and “conservative” think tanks. Neocons are being exposed as frauds. That trend needs to continue.

Wilson’s solution to the problem? Have Trump tell the Republicans, “You’re Fired!” As he asks, rhetorically, “Why save the stupid party?”

Readers of this insightful book will be left wondering the same thing.

The post Annals of the Stupid Party appeared first on LewRockwell.

Guaranteed To Infuriate the Establishment

Sat, 02/18/2017 - 02:01

If there are any sacred cows in America, the one at the head of the herd has got to be Abraham Lincoln. Our culture gleefully vilifies almost everyone. Psycho-biographies, in which the darkest interior rooms of the subject are exposed to light, are the rage these days. But somehow Lincoln for the most part has managed to escape all this. He’s still the great American hero, venerated by layperson and scholar alike, sometimes to the point of embarrassing hagiography. (I once knew a history professor, for example, who insisted that students refer to Lincoln, both in class discussions and in term papers, as “MR. Lincoln.” His class could just as well have been offered by the theology department.)

Thomas DiLorenzo refuses to genuflect before Lincoln’s altar. In *The Real Lincoln*, a book that’s guaranteed to infuriate a wide audience, ranging from Civil War buffs to Lincoln scholars to African-Americans to political liberals to history traditionalists, DiLorenzo claims that Lincoln’s real historical legacy is the strong centralized state that characterizes the American political system today. From first to last, claims DiLorenzo, Lincoln’s political vision was the creation of a Whiggish empire of protectionist tariffs, government subsidized railroads, and nationalization of the money supply. In the first year and a half of his administration, he pushed through much of this agenda. The average tariff rate tripled, railroads began raking in government money (a “war necessity”), and the National Currency Acts monopolized the money supply.

So far none of this is terribly alarming. Even admirers of Lincoln will admit much of what DiLorenzo says about Lincoln’s economic dream and Whig leanings. But where DiLorenzo begins to stir up a storm is when he claims (1) that Lincoln basically allowed an unnecessary and horribly bloody war to occur in order to further his political vision of a strong state; (2) Lincoln was a “constitutional dictator”; and (3) Lincoln was never terribly concerned with slavery as a moral injustice.

In reference to the first point, DiLorenzo points out that the right to secession was simply taken for granted by most Americans prior to Lincoln’s administration because they saw the country as a voluntary association of states. Lincoln didn’t “save” the Union so much as he destroyed it as a voluntary association. In reference to the second point, DiLorenzo provides example after example of Lincoln’s disregard–supposedly in the interests of the state–for the Constitution: launching a military invasion without Congressional consent; suspension of habeas corpus; censorship of newspapers; meddling with elections; confiscating private property; and so on. Finally, in reference to the last point–which is probably the book’s most inflammatory one–DiLorenzo argues that Lincoln rarely mentioned the issue of slavery in political speeches until it became politically expedient to begin doing so. His opposition to slavery was always based on what he feared was its economic dangers, not on moral principle.

As his contemporaries accurately noted, Lincoln the “Great Emancipator” was never an abolitionist. Even after the Emancipation Proclamation, he was willing to tolerate slave-holding in non-secessionist states. His ultimate solution–one that infuriated abolitionists such as Horace Greeley–was to colonize American blacks “back” to Africa or the Caribbean.

Much of DiLorenzo’s claims about Lincoln’s activities will be familiar. What’s new about the book is the overall unfavorable portrait of Lincoln that emerges as DiLorenzo discusses them. It may be the case that DiLorenzo has swung too far in the opposite direction from conventional Lincoln hagiography. But it may also be the case that his book will encourage more moderate and accurate portrayals of Lincoln in the future.

Reprinted from


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Cometh the Angel of Death

Sat, 02/18/2017 - 02:01

LOVINGSTON, VIRGINIA – Amid all the sound and fury of the Trump news cycle, hardly anyone noticed.

There is a specter haunting this economy.

It is the specter of inflation…

Exterminating Angel

Bloomberg has the report:

The U.S. cost of living increased in January by the most since February 2013, led by higher costs for gasoline and other goods and services that indicate inflation is gathering momentum.

The consumer-price index rose a larger-than-forecast 0.6% after a 0.3% gain in December, Labor Department figures showed Wednesday. Compared with the same month last year, costs paid by Americans for goods and services rose 2.5%, the most since March 2012.

French investment bank Natixis makes a related observation:

The return of inflation in the euro zone with the rise in the oil price will drive the European Central Bank to give up QE […] Our estimate is that an end to QE would raise interest rates by 110 basis points. [A basis point is 1/100th of a percentage point.]

Wait… Inflation is what the Fed has been looking for. And the latest numbers reveal it may have already reached the Fed’s target of 2%.

If you’ll recall, the Fed set itself two targets: Unemployment would have to fall below 5%. And inflation would have to rise above 2%. Reaching those two targets would prove that the economy was healthy enough to allow the Fed to raise rates.

Higher rates of inflation – higher prices – signal more consumer demand. And more labor demand, too. It suggests there are more people with more money ready to spend it. How could that ever be a bad thing?

And now, with the Fed’s key targets hit, we’re ready to return to the good ol’ days, right?

Oh, dear, dear reader… If it were only that simple!

The typical U.S. household’s income is below the level of 1999. Higher consumer prices will make it harder to keep up living standards.

But the bigger problem is debt.

Real money – backed by gold – is limited. This limits the amount of debt… because there’s only a limited amount of money to lend.

The post-1971 fake-money system, on the other hand, allowed debt to creep up… and then gallop away. Now, there’s more than $200 trillion of it worldwide – about three times the global economic output.

And here’s the thing: As debt rises, inflation becomes an exterminating angel. Welcome at first… then deadly.

Rising prices signal to lenders that the amounts they are owed are losing buying power. They will demand higher rates of interest to protect themselves.

Great Extinction

But this is a world whose major institutions – banks, pension funds, governments, large corporations… all the major players in the Deep State system – have flourished on extremely low-interest rates.

Now, like dinosaurs that have adapted to the tropics, they’ll shiver, die, and go extinct when the chilly winds blow.

And they could blow hard…

Even an increase of just 1% in the cost of servicing debt – if applied to the world’s debt load – would cost more than $2 trillion a year in interest.

Everyone who had to borrow – those aforementioned major players – would suddenly find themselves unable to continue living in the style in which they’d become accustomed.

Ordinary households would be in trouble, too. Mortgage rates would go up. House prices would fall. Credit markets would “seize up,” making it difficult to refinance old loans.

They would have to cut back… laying off workers and canceling expansion projects… or go broke.

Your stocks could easily drop to half of today’s prices… and stay there. Your pension might have to be trimmed. Even the government, if forced to pay more to service its debt, would have to reduce spending.

But don’t worry. The central banks have the matter in hand, right?

Now that inflation and unemployment are in line, they can let rates rise, right? This will tamp down inflation, right?

Recession Warning

It won’t happen…

As we’ve been warning, the Fed can never voluntarily return to a normal interest rate policy because it has created a world that depends on an abnormal one.

Here’s what will happen: The Fed will talk about raising rates. It may even raise them another quarter point or more.

But a recession and a bear market are coming, probably before the end of this year. If President Trump were smart, he’d be trying to get them to start soon so he could blame them on Obama. The longer they take to arrive, the more they have his brand on them.

Markets and economies are part of the natural world. They have to breathe in and breathe out. Their lungs fill with ambition and optimism. Then, they must exhale, blowing out the mistakes and disappointments.

But when the “correction” comes, the giant raptors in Northern Virginia and the megafauna of Manhattan will howl for succor.

The Fed will immediately abandon its pretense of returning to normal. Instead, it will buy stocks and bonds.

And it may ban cash… impose negative interest rates… rain down money from helicopters… and come up with novel new ways of distorting, delaying, and defrauding the economy.

Reprinted with permission from Bonner & Partners

The post Cometh the Angel of Death appeared first on LewRockwell.


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