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Free Lives Matter

Sat, 05/02/2015 - 02:01

The recent situations involving racial tensions, police criminality and violence in Ferguson, Baltimore and elsewhere have solutions just waiting to be implemented. And those solutions involve freedom, believe it or not.

For example, if free lives actually did matter, it is doubtful that a government’s monopoly over policing and security could be justified. The same could be said for restrictions on the right to self-defense.

When free lives matter, there would not be white police shooting and killing black victims, because anyone involved in community policing or security would be civilians, either as paid workers or volunteers. No one would have any artificial legal authority over anyone else, and each individual is accountable for one’s own actions. No one would be above the law as currently government police are.

Further, with no restrictions on the individual’s right to keep and bear arms, if white security officers were seen in the process of beating, assaulting or shooting non-resisting presumably innocent people, such security thugs would be gunned down by the neighbors. Currently, civilians would be arrested or probably killed if they might act to protect innocent victims of the brutality of government-monopolized police.

There would also be no such thing as “stop and frisk.” In New York City the NYPD have been forced by court orders to “reform” such a practice of stopping mainly black and Hispanic people without reasonable suspicion and frisking and searching them.

Can you imagine civilians just going around and ordering others to stop and then forcibly frisking and searching them? (But then, there would be fewer young people just hanging around that police currently want to search, as government bureaucrats wouldn’t be causing the elimination of entry-level or low-skill jobs available for the young people to have. But I digress.)

And in a situation such as the Baltimore protests which turned violent recently, there would be no order on security people to “stand down,” in which the Baltimore government police were ordered by the mayor to “retreat” and to let the rioters loot and burn down buildings. In contrast in which free lives matter, any resident or business owner has the freedom to use any means necessary to protect one’s family or business and livelihood from looters, arsonists and thugs, and to use deadly force if necessary. Any mayor who would disarm the people or otherwise make them defenseless would be impeached! And it would not matter what anyone’s skin color is.

So with any groups or individuals considering going well beyond just protesting recent government police killings of black civilians, the would-be looters or arsonists would know that store owners and employees probably have firearms and will use them.

In the society in which free lives matter, there would be no “knock-out game,” as the would-be knock-out goon would know that anyone nearby could possess a firearm, and so it wouldn’t be worth the coward’s risk to strike out and punch some anonymous victim.

Also, with no government monopoly over policing and security, that would also mean that without government “law enforcement officers,” all the laws on the books that have nothing to do with preventing aggression, theft and fraud would have to be completely repealed. All laws which pertain to victimless so-called “crimes” would be repealed. Yay, freedom!

And no more drug raids at the wrong house. (No more drug raids at the right house, either.)

No more drug raids, period. No more innocent people being shot and maimed or murdered by government police, no more innocent dogs being shot and maimed or murdered by government police. Can you believe that?

So besides self-defense freedom in which police socialism is ended and there is no government monopoly in community policing and security, there would be no such thing as victimless “crimes,” no drug war.

And in a society in which free lives matter, there would be no bureaucrats’ war on entrepreneurs and workers, no “minimum wage” forcibly imposed by parasites, no other business regulations which turn innocent producers and workers into “criminals” for not obeying bureaucrats’ despotic and tyrannical orders and red tape. Thus many more jobs would spring up all around, and any younger people of any race in the city or suburbs can start a business as well as find jobs of their choosing and opportunities abound. No more hanging around at the mall, no more involvement in drugs, and no more resentment toward society.

In the society in which free lives matter, no more Fergusons, no more Baltimores, and, one would hope, no more civil unrest. But most important, no more police state. Now that’s something to look forward to, in my view.

Stop the Police State’s Latest Scheme

Sat, 05/02/2015 - 02:01

We predicted it would happen. A year after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) scuttled plans to build its own nationwide database of vehicle license plate data, the agency is seeking bids from private contractors to provide the agency access to the same information.

DHS canceled last year’s plan in the wake of TSA domestic spying revelations and subsequent outrage over increasingly intrusive government surveillance. At the time, we predicted DHS would find another way to track every single car on the road, likely by relying on the services of private companies like Vigilant Solutions, one of the largest aggregators and purveyors of license-plate data.

Companies like Vigilant, as well as police agencies in all 50 states, use automated license plate readers (ALPRs) to capture an image of every license plate they encounter. Plate readers—essentially high-speed cameras mounted on patrol cars or at fixed locations—can scan up to 1,800 plates per minute.

The system marks the time and vehicle location and then checks the plate against a “hot list” of stolen vehicles, lapsed registrations, outstanding fines or warrants, etc. The system can also check for drivers with unpaid taxes or child support, lack of insurance or even to alert the repo man. Without legislative protections, private contractors will be free to sell license-plate data to the highest bidder.

With enough ALPRs, authorities can track the day-to-day movements of everyone who drives a car. By storing and mining that data, authorities can create a detailed profile of someone’s life: where they go and when, who they see, what they do. And this applies to everyone, whether they’re suspected of wrongdoing or not. This tracking of the public en masse raises serious privacy and constitutional concerns.

One way to fix this is to limit the amount of time authorities can retain license plate data. The shorter, the better. The NMA advocates that license plate information shouldn’t be stored at all and deleted immediately if it doesn’t result in a “hit.” Unfortunately, data retention polices vary widely by law enforcement agency, and some retain the information forever. DHS wants to access data going back five years (an outrageously long time), which raises the question of why keep data on a vehicle (and by extension a person) if they haven’t been implicated in wrongdoing? The answer should be obvious.

License plate readers should only be used for clearly defined purposes such as identifying vehicles of immediate interest or in missing persons cases. Using them for blanket, long-term surveillance violates a longstanding principle that government not monitor citizens unless it has individualized suspicion of wrongdoing.

The DHS scheme clearly goes too far and must not be implemented. We urge all NMA members to contact their U.S. senators and representatives to stop this flagrant intrusion on our privacy. Click here to get contact information for your legislators.

Tell your elected officials we need robust, standardized privacy protections for license plate data at the federal level. Legislation must balance the legitimate needs of law enforcement with the need to protect individual privacy. A good model comes from North Carolina where lawmakers considered an ALPR privacy bill to accomplish the following:

  • Restrict the use of ALPRs to municipal, county or state law enforcement agencies
  • Prevent sharing of plate data for any reason
  • Require deletion of data after 10 days unless flagged
  • Limit the types of crimes and violations that data can be used to investigate
  • Restrict data matching to specific databases such the State Criminal Justice Information Network, National Crime Information Center and missing/kidnapped persons lists

ALPR technology is here to stay. The key to limiting its impact on privacy is to enact strict controls on how the data can be used, who has access to it, how long it can be retained and how widely it can be shared. This needs to happen at the federal level and

Gold Manipulators Busted

Sat, 05/02/2015 - 02:01

In the aftermath of the Nav Sarao scapegoating farce, one week ago Zero Hedge decided to give the confused CFTC a helping hand and launched a daily series highlighting the constant spoofing and “manipulation” (in the CFTC and DOJ’s own words) that takes place in every asset class, but mostly in the E-mini futures (“Dear CFTC: This Is The Market Manipulating “Spoofing” Taking Place In The E-Mini Just Today“). Virtually every day since then we presented the “regulators” at the commodity trading commission a clear example of stock market manipulation, with the exception of Tuesday, when with the exclusive help of Nanex, we showed a clear case of gold spoofing.

This is what we said on April 28:

Here (courtesy of Nanex) are several examples in the June 2015 Comex Gold Futures this morning. All times are Eastern Daylight. In each of these cases, no trades (or a tiny few) executed against the large “spoof” order. You can see how prices were influenced by the sudden appearance (and disappearance) of these large, outsized orders.

1. June 2015 Comex Gold

Note how large buy and sell orders push prices up and down.

2. Another set of instances appear about 50 minutes after the first set (shown in chart 1).

3. Another set of spoofing instances appear about an hour after the second set (shown in chart 2).

You’re welcome CFTC — it’s the least we can do.

Best wishes, 

Zero Hedge 

Reminder: We won’t stop this until you are forced to address the glaring hypocrisy and utter incompetence of everyone involved in the regulation of market microstructure.

Much to our dismay, overnight we learned that while the CFTC continues to be very, very confused and challenged by all those lobby payments by the world’s “liquidity providing” HFTs and ignores alldocumented evidence of manipulation, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange – owner of the futures exchange wheer the bulk of modern manipulation takes place – did read this evidence of manipulation, and decided to immediately take action, suspending two traders for placing the manipulative “spoofing and layering” trades profiled here three days ago which were virtually identical to the ones that got Navinder Singh Sarao into headlines around the world last week. Except, of course, the asset class manipulated was gold. And, perhaps what’s far worse, the manipulation sent the price of gold briefly higher.

The names of the perpetrators: perhaps not surprisingly, Heet Khara and Nasim Salim. Extend to Navinder Sarao and a pattern emerges…

This is the full CME release:





A. The Chief Regulatory Officer or his delegate, upon a good faith determination that there are substantial reasons to believe that such immediate action is necessary to protect the best interests of the Exchange, may order that: 1) any party be denied access to any or all CME Group markets; 2) any party be denied access to the Globex platform; 3) any party be denied access to any other electronic trading or clearing platform owned or controlled by CME Group; or (4) any Member be immediately removed from any trading floor owned or controlled by CME Group. 


On April 30, 2015, CME Group’s Market Regulation Department (“Market Regulation Department”), through its Chief Regulatory Officer, summarily denied Nasim Salim (“Salim”) direct and indirect access to all CME Group markets, the CME Globex electronic trading platform, any other electronic trading or clearing platform owned or controlled by CME Group, and all trading floors owned or controlled by CME Group. The summary access denial prohibits trading, placing orders, and controlling or directing the trading for any person or entity in any CME Group exchange product. The summary access denial further prohibits the affiliation or business dealing with any member or member firm of CME, CBOT, NYMEX, or COMEX.

CME Group’s Chief Regulatory Officer’s summary access denial of Salim was based upon the findings of an investigation conducted by the Market Regulation Department, which revealed that on multiple trade dates during the time period of March 1, 2015 through April 28, 2015, Salim engaged in a pattern of activity in which he repeatedly entered orders or layered multiple orders for Gold and Silver futures contracts without the intent to trade. Specifically, Salim entered these orders or layered multiple orders to encourage market participants to trade opposite his smaller orders resting on the opposite side of the book. After receiving a fill on his smaller orders, Salim would then cancel the resting order or layered multiple orders that he had entered on the opposite side of the order book.

Salim introduced Heet Khara (“Khara”), who is also the subject of a summary access denial action, to his first FCM and Salim had an account at the second FCM at which Khara traded in a disruptive manner. Further, it appears that on multiple occasions Salim and Khara coordinated efforts to engage in disruptive activity. In an example from April 28, 2015, Salim entered small-lot orders on one side of the market in Gold futures, after which Khara entered large orders on the opposite side. When Salim’s small orders were filled, Khara canceled the large orders. Salim has not responded to correspondence from the Exchange.

The foregoing conduct, as well as Salim’s failure to cooperate with the Exchange, present a good faith determination that there are substantial reasons to believe that such immediate action is necessary to protect the best interests of the Exchanges and the marketplace.  


Pursuant to Rule 413, this access denial will remain in effect for 60 days, commencing on the effective date below and continuing through and including June 29, 2015, unless the Chief Regulatory Officer or his delegate provides written notice that this access denial will be extended for an additional period of time.

We expect the CFTC and the DOJ to unleash the wrath of god now that the CME showed them how gold manipulation works, something they figured out by looking a this article.

And while we are delighted that yet one more alleged case of gold manipulation is now confirmed, we are curious if the CME, CFTC and DOJ will also prosecute instances of gold manipulation when the ultimate outcome is the price of gold going lower instead of higher, such as the one documented in “Vicious Gold Slamdown Breaks Gold Market For 20 Seconds“, “Stop Logic” Gold Slam Was So Furious It Shut Down CME Trading Again” and on countless other occasions most of which have been duly documented on this website.

Finally, we wonder: will the CME, CFTC, DOJ, and FBI pursue as promptly all those instances of constant S&P 500 manipulation and spoofing we profiled over the past week in particular, and over the past 6 years in general? Or was this merely another “Sarao” case when several (non-Caucasian) traders are scapegoated by the regulators, with the naive expectation that investors will suddenly assume the market – in this case that of gold – is no longer rigged?

Reprinted with permission from Zero Hedge.

The Saudi 9/11 Coverup

Sat, 05/02/2015 - 02:01

The Bill Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation has taken millions of dollars from foreign governments attempting to buy influence with a woman who might be the next president.

The $2 million contribution from Saudi Arabia, however, is the most troubling.  Putting aside that the Saudi’s oppress women, denying them the most basic human rights, the self styled “women’s advocate’ should still return that cash.  Money from foreign nationals and foreign governments is illegal in US political campaigns.  So the Saudis are using their petro-dollars to buy future influence.

It is worth taking a moment to examine how the Saudis have used their vast wealth to effect US foreign policy and have used their influence to hide the facts about the Saudi’s actual role in the events of 9/11 from the American people.

In fact, the Saudis have used their power and influence to cover-up their involvement in the greatest terrorist attack in US history and continue to do so today.

As many American’s know, at least 11 members of the Bin Laden Family were spirited out the country in 24 hours after the 9/11 attacks with the assistance of the George W. Bush Administration.  The FBI still denies knowing about the seven airplanes used to move the Bin Ladens out of the country when all private, commercial and military air-travel was grounded.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States, orchestrated the exodus of more than 140 Saudis scattered throughout the United States,  They included members of two families: one was the royal House of Saud, the family that ruled the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, perhaps the richest family in the world.  The other family was the Saud’s close allies, the Bin Ladens, who in addition to owning a multibillion-dollar construction company had produced the notorious terrorist Osama Bin Laden.

Yet none of those spirited out of the country were questioned nor was a list of those leaving supplied.  Dan Grossi, a former police officer recruited by the Tampa Police to escort the departing Saudis said he did not get the names of the Saudi he was escorting.  “It happened so fast,” Grossi says.  “I just knew they were Saudis.  They were well connected.  One of them told me his father or his uncle was good friends with George Bush Senior.”

The White House denied the flights even took place.  Officially, the FBI says it had nothing to do with the repatriation of the Saudis.  “I can say unequivocally that the FBI had no role in facilitating these flights one way or another,” said FBI Special Agent John Iannerelli.” Bandar, however, characterized the role of the FBI very differently.  “With coordination with the FBI,” he said on CNN, “we got them all out.”

Among those hustled out of the country were Osama’s brother-in-law Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, thought by US Intelligence to be an important figure in Al Qaeda and connected to the men behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and to the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole.  Also in the traveling party was Khalil Bin Laden, who boarded a plane in Orlando to leave the United States and was suspected by Brazilian Intelligence for possible terrorist connections.  According to the German wire service Deutsche Presse-Agentur, he had visited Belo Horizonte, Brazil which was a known center for training terrorists.  Neither was questioned before leaving the US.

The erudite, Western-educated and Saville Row tailored Prince Bandar was a influential figure in the world of Islam and the power circles of Washington.  His father, Defense Minister Prince Sultan, was second in line to the Saudi crown.  Bandar was the nephew of King Fahd, the aging Saudi monarch, and the grandson of the late king Abdul Aziz, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia.

So close to the Bush family was the Saudi Ambassador that Barbara Bush dubbed him “Bandar Bush.”

The Bush and bin Laden families have long-standing business dealings.  These began in the late 1970’s when Sheik Mohammed bin Laden, the family patriarch and Osama’s father, had, through a friend of the Bush family named James R. Bath, invested $50,000 in Arbusto, the oil exploration company founded by George W. Bush with his father’s help.  The “investment” was arranged by James R. Bath, an aircraft broker who had emerged as an agent for the House of Saud in political and business circles.

In 1997, Prince Bandar gave $1 Million to the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas.  In 1989, King Fahd gave $1 Million to Barbara Bush’s campaign against illiteracy.  In 2002 Prince Alwaleed bin Talal gave $500,000 to Andover to fund a George Herbert Walker Bush scholarship.  In 2003, Prince Bandar gave a $1-Million oil painting of an American Buffalo hunt to President Bush for use in his presidential library after he leaves the White House.

On September 11, 2001, Shafiq Bin Laden, an “estranged” half-brother of Osama, invested an initial $38 million in the Carlyle Group in Washington, D.C. Carlyle is a $16 billion private equity firm that pays huge fees to “advisors” George H.W. Bush and former Secretary of State James Baker.

After former president George H.W. Bush, James Baker, and former prime minister John Major of Great Britain visited Saudi Arabia on behalf of Carlyle, the Saudis increased their investment in the Carlyle Group to at least $80 million.

It’s therefore not surprising that the BBC reported that FBI agents in London were pulled off an investigation of Bin Laden family and Saudi royals soon after George W. Bush took office.  In addition to Osama Bin Laden, other members of the family had terrorists connections and were under investigation by FBI.

Of the 19 9/11 hijackers, 14 were Saudi yet after the attack on American soil FBI Agent John O’Neill stated publicly he was blocked from investigating the Saudi connection for “political reasons.”  What political reasons are more important than the investigation of the World Trade Center destruction and the murder of 2000 Americans?

More recently, the New York Times and others have reported on an aborted investigation into Saudis who fled Florida two weeks before the 9/11 attack.  The investigation into the prominent Saudi family’s ties to the hijackers started on Sept. 19, 2001, and remained active for several years.  It was led by the FBI’s Tampa field office but included the bureau’s field offices in New York and Washington.

Incredibly, the FBI identified persons of interest, established their ties to other terrorists, sympathies with Osama bin Laden and anti-American remarks.  They examined their bank accounts, colleges and places of employment.  They tracked at least one suspect’s re-entry into the US.  Yet none of this was never shared with Congress or the 9/11 Commission.

Now it’s being whitewashed again, in a newly released report by the 9/11 Review Commission, set up last year by Congress to assess “any evidence now known to the FBI that was not considered by the 9/11 Commission.”  Though the FBI acknowledges the Saudi family in Florida was investigated, it maintains the probe was a ‘dead end.”

The 9/11 review panel included one local FBI report from the Florida investigation that said Abdulaziz and Anoud al-Hijji, the prominent Saudi couple who “fled” their home, had “many connections” to “individuals associated with the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001.”  The panel’s report also doesn’t explain why visitor security logs for the gated Sarasota community and photos of license tags matched vehicles driven by the hijackers, including 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta.

Former Florida Senator Bob Graham, former Chairman of the US Senate Intelligence Committee has publicly accused the FBI of a ‘cover-up” in the Florida case.  Graham said there was no evidence that the Bureau had ever disclosed the Florida investigation to his Committee or the 9/11 Commission, which delivered their report in 2004.

There are still 28 pages of the 9/11 report regarding the Saudis that remain classified and were redacted, wholesale, by President George W. Bush.  After reading it, Congressman Thomas Massie described the experience as “disturbing” and said, “I had to stop every two or three pages and rearrange my perception of history…it’s that fundamental.”

Intelligence officials say the claims in the secret 28 pages were explored and found to be “unsubstantiated” in a later review by the national commission.  If that is the case, why not release them?  The Saudis have covered their trail.

Both the Florida Investigation and the hidden 28 pages of the 9/11 report received more attention this year when an Al Qaeda operative in custody described prominent members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family as major donors to the terrorist network in the late 1990s.  The claim by terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, prompted a quick statement from the Saudi Embassy saying 9/11 commission rejected allegations that Saudi officials had funded Al Qaeda.

But Senator Graham who has seen the classified material spilled the beans: “The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11, and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier,” he said, adding, “I am speaking of the kingdom,” or government, of Saudi Arabia, not just wealthy individual Saudi donors…“  This is a pervasive pattern of covering up the role of Saudi Arabia in 9/11 by all of the agencies of the federal government which have access to information that might illuminate Saudi Arabia’s role in 9/11.”

US Intelligence has sought to undermine the credibility of both Graham and Moussaoui, labeling Graham as a past-his-prime publicity seeker and Moussaoui as mentally unstable.

Yet the New York Post reported, “sources who have seen the censored 28 pages say it cites CIA and FBI case files that directly implicate officials of the Saudi Embassy in Washington and its consulate in Los Angeles in the attacks” — which, if true, would make 9/11 not just an act of terrorism, but an act of war by a foreign government.  The section allegedly identifies high-level Saudi officials and intelligence agents by name, and details their financial transactions and other dealings with the San Diego hijackers. It zeroes in on the Islamic Affairs Department of the Saudi Embassy, among other Saudi entities.”

If true, [it] would make 9/11 not just an act of terrorism, but an act of war by a foreign government.

In fact the Saudis are playing a dangerous double game, claiming to be US allies in the war on terror at the same time funding terrorist groups that espouse a violent Wahhabi Islamic ideology that is particular to Saudi Arabia.  At the same time, they have used their money and influence to shield the truth from the American people.  With their huge contributions to the Clintons, they hope to do it again.

10 Amazing Ancient Geoglyphs

Sat, 05/02/2015 - 02:01

The most well-known geoglyphs in the world are undoubtedly the Nazca Lines of coastal Peru. Yet, scattered across the globe are thousands of other geoglyphs that are equally as impressive.  The earth carvings remain one of archaeology’s greatest mysteries. Despite a plethora of research on these amazing creations, the purpose of geoglyphs continues to elude researchers and remains a matter of conjecture. Some scientists believe they are linked to the heavens, representing constellations in the night sky. Other experts believe that the lines played a role in pilgrimage, with one walking across them to reach a sacred place. Yet another idea is that the lines are connected with water, something vital to life yet hard to get in the desert. Here we examine ten alluring geoglyphs from across the planet.

The enigmatic Nazca lines of Peru

Located in the arid Peruvian coastal plain, some 400 km south of Lima, the geoglyphs of Nazca cover an incredible 450 km2. They are among archaeology’s greatest enigmas because of their quantity, nature, size and continuity. The geoglyphs depict living creatures, stylized plants and imaginary beings, as well as geometric figures several kilometres long.  The startling feature of the Nazca geoglyphs is that they can only really be appreciated from the air, raising questions about how and why they were created. The Nazca lines number in their thousands and the vast majority of them date from 200 BC to 500 AD, to a time when a people referred to as the Nazca inhabited the region. The earliest lines, created with piled up stones, date as far back as 500 BC.  Although the lines can in fact be seen from the ground, there is nothing remotely exciting about seeing them from this perspective. However, from the air, their true beauty and the wonders of their creation can be realised. Despite a plethora of research on these amazing creations, the purpose of the lines continues to elude researchers and remains a matter of conjecture. Some scientists believe they are linked to the heavens with some representing constellations in the night sky. However, research has found that there are just as many lines not related to constellations as those that are, meaning that this theory cannot provide a complete explanation. Other experts believe that the lines played a role in pilgrimage, with one walking across them to reach a sacred place such as Cahuachi and its adobe pyramids. Yet another idea is that the lines are connected with water, something vital to life yet hard to get in the desert, and may have played a part in water-based rituals. However, the fact the lines have remained enigmatic have promoted alternative theorists to float ideas about extraterrestrial communication or ‘messages to the gods’.

The puzzling case of the Atacama Giant

The geoglyphs of the Atacama Desert in South America are less familiar than the world-renowned Nazca lines, yet they are far more numerous in number, more varied in style, and cover a much larger area. One of the most intriguing and controversial of the Atacama desert geoglyphs is the so-called Atacama Giant, which continues to stir debate regarding its true meaning and interpretation.  The Atacama Giant is an anthropomorphic geoglyph measuring 119 metres in height, making it the largest known geoglyph in the world. It is characterized by a square head and highly stylized long legs. Four lines can be seen coming out from the top of the giant’s head, as well as on each side of its head. There has been no shortage of explanations and theories to account for the strange features of this enormous geoglyph. According to one interpretation, it was a sort of astronomical calendar that indicated the movement of the moon. With this knowledge, it is said that the day, the crop cycle, and the seasons could be calculated. Another interpretation maintains that the Atacama Giant represents a deity worshipped by the local population. Other theories suggest extra-terrestrial visitations, marking of a pilgrimage route, or that it reflects an ancient type of language.  Although the function of the geoglyphs of the Atacama Desert still remain a mystery, it is undeniable that they held great importance to the people who lived in the region. It is hoped that the geoglyphs will be preserved for future generations, and that further research may one day uncover their secrets.

Over 50 ancient geoglyphs, including swastika, discovered in Kazakhstan

Archaeologists are calling them the Nazca lines of Kazakhstan – more than 50 giant geoglyphs formed with earthen mounds and timber found stretched across the landscape in northern Kazakhstan. They are designed in a variety of geometric shapes, including crosses, squares, rings, and even a swastika, an ancient symbol that has been in use for at least 12,000 years. The geoglyphs, which are very difficult to see on the ground, were first spotted on Google Earth. Since then, a team of archaeologists from Kazakhstan and Lithuania, have investigated the giant structures using aerial photography and ground-penetrating radar. Their results revealed a wide variety of shapes ranging from 90 to 400 metres in diameter, mostly made of earthen mounds, but one – the swastika – was made using timber.  Researchers have not yet dated the structures but their characteristics suggest they are around 2,000 years old. “As of today, we can say only one thing — the geoglyphs were built by ancient people. By whom and for what purpose, remains a mystery,” said archaeologists Irina Shevnina and Andrew Logvin, of Kostanay University, in an email to Live Science.

Read the Whole Article

Where Hitler’s Socialists Fought Stalin’s Communists

Sat, 05/02/2015 - 02:01

In one picture, Red Army soldiers stand guard outside a burning building in the east of Berlin with machine guns at the ready. Seven decades later, another shows a man cycling past the same scene, seemingly without a care in the world.

These astonishing photographs compare Berlin in 1945 – when the city was falling to the Soviets as they marched on Adolf Hitler’s last line of defence – to the peaceful German capital now.

The incredible pictures from the end of the Second World War – in Europe, at least – were taken by Red Army photographer Georgiy Samsonov. 

The images were unearthed by Fabrizio Bensch, who used black and white film to capture the exact same locations today – and the comparisons are extraordinary.

Soviet soldiers are seen celebrating outside the Reichstag in central Berlin just days after Adolf Hitler’s suicide in 1945. The historic building bears the scars of the war, which saw it bombed on numerous occasions. The contrasting scene today shows people cycling past where artillery once stood, presumably on their way to work.

Other pictures show shaken German parents and children daring to leave their homes shortly after the end of the Battle of Berlin. The calm scene today shows Mercedes and BMWs parked up alongside the now upmarket street.

Another moving image shows Red Army troops pointing to a sign outside the New Reich Chancellery, the offices of Adolf Hitler. It took five years for the rubble of the Nazi stronghold to be cleared, but in its place now stand offices, social houses and – where the men posed for the photograph – a pre-school.

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Welcome to Liberland

Sat, 05/02/2015 - 02:01

The first citizens will arrive on Friday to populate the world’s newest self-declared country – Liberland, a tiny patch of woodland and fields on the sandy banks of the River Danube.

The establishment of the pocket-sized nation was declared earlier this month on land wedged between Croatia and Serbia which, its founders argue, was never properly claimed by either country.

Ten bizarre micronations

Mini-states Down Under are sure they can secede

Liberland has its own flag, which features an eagle and a sun, a constitution, and a motto – “To live and let live”.

Its self-appointed ruler is Vit Jedlicka, a conservative, anti-EU Czech politician and admirer of Britain’s Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP.

The Liberland flag

Known officially as the Free Republic of Liberland, the country’s independence was formally declared on April 13.

Some 120 would-be citizens are expected to arrive on Friday for what has been dubbed the state’s first Liberty Day.

Prospective Liberlanders are encouraged to bring food, beer and “all necessary equipment for comfortable survival in nature”, including tents and sleeping bags.

As yet, there are no houses or other buildings on the no-man’s-land sliver of territory.

The first 100 people to turn up to the site, which lies at the end of a dusty road on the west bank of the Danube, will be granted honorary citizenship.

Liberland has not been recognised by any other country, least of all Serbia or Croatia, but that has not stopped 300,000 people around the world from applying for honorary citizenship.

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Does Putin Have Inside Info on 9/11?

Sat, 05/02/2015 - 02:01

One of the strangest aspects of politics is the so-called socialists who argue they are for the people, but tend to be the most dangerous in society. In ancient Athens, Sparta was able to finally conquer Athens because she became extremely arrogant and made unreasonable demands upon her allies. One by one, her allies turned against her and supported the then communistic state of Sparta, which did not even issue coinage as the state came first.

Now Russia and China will hold their first joint naval exercise in the Mediterranean Sea. The Chinese Defense Ministry announced on Thursday that they will join Russia in a naval exercise off the coast of Somalia under the stated purpose of an anti-piracy operation.

Then there is the whole affair of the NSA tapping the cell phone of Germany’s Merkel. Reports indicate that Obama was actually briefed on it in 2010 and personally approvedABC reported that Obama knew about the tapping of Merkel’s phone. Der Spiegel did a write-up on the whole scheme, discussing how the USA set up a spy nest in Berlin to listen in on all the politicians. This issue insulted the image of the USA in Germany to such a degree that the government was forced to investigate. Even RT reported that Merkel was on the spy list since 2002. There have been numerous conflicting reports surrounding the incident.

Then it was said that the document that started the row was fake, and that Merkel’s phone may not have been tapped. De Spiegel announced that they stood behind their report. Now, the claims are that Merkel knew all along that her phone was tapped. It does not seem that this scandal will go quietly into the light.

Meanwhile, Putin threatens to release evidence that 9/11 was in part an attack against its own people by the U.S. government to create a new enemy. All we do is move from one scandal to the next. Granted, it does seem strange that he would just threaten such an exposure. If I had such evidence, I would release it. The claim is that the World Trade Center was intentionally demolished. There seems to have a widespread belief, which was the case with at least WTC7 – the old Salomon Brothers building where they took our computers and files. Whether there were charges placed in the Twin Towers to make them fall has always been a question, although the design of those buildings was to ensure they would collapse in that manner. What has not been widely reported, though, has been that because the government constructed those buildings, they exempted themselves from their own regulations. There were no sprinklers in the stairwells.

Reprinted  from Armstrong Economics.

Electric Cars Don’t Work

Sat, 05/02/2015 - 02:01

Why is it that alternative technologies that clearly do not work –  which are so gimped by functional and economic problems as to be not-viable on the market absent huge subsidies and even then, it’s hard to give them away – continue to receive seemingly endless financial and political support … while technologies that actually might work better than current internal combustion engine technology can’t seem to get any traction at all?

Electric cars are hopeless.

For more than a century now, generations of engineers have tried – and, so far, failed – to develop a battery that will endow an electric car with the range and reasonable recharge times necessary for everyday-driver viability… at a cost (not subsidized) that would make such a car a better choice, economically speaking, than an otherwise comparable gasoline (or diesel) powered car. Billions of dollars, probably, have been thrown at the electric car and – so far – no major technological improvement over a 1906 Baker Landolet.

Meanwhile, whatever happened to the natural gas-burning car?

Back in the mid-’90s, both Ford and GM built – and actually sold – natural-gas (CNG) fueled cars. Several things about them were interesting.

One, they were big cars. Ford sold a CNG version of its six-passenger/full-size Crown Vic; GM sold a CNG version of the Vic’s primary competition – the Chevy Caprice. Part of the reason for going with the big car as the platform was the need for a big trunk to house the CNG tank (and still have some trunk space left for people’s things). But the take-home point was that you got a nice big family car – with a V8 engine – rather than a scrunched up subcompact.

Two, they were practical. No range issue, because you had plenty (150-plus) on the CNG and the distance you could drive was not affected by the outside temperature or greatly reduced if you ran accessories like the AC and headlights, as it is in electric cars. And besides, when the CNG ran dry, the car automatically switched over to gasoline.

These cars were dual fuel.

An internal combustion can burn gas and CNG (or propane). All that was necessary to allow the switch from one fuel to another was some additional plumbing and calibration of the car’s ECU (the computer that makes air-fuel ratio adjustments and so on).

So, no worries about running empty – and no waiting for hours to refuel.

Read the Whole Article

Left ‘Libertarians’ Hate Progress If It’s Unequal

Sat, 05/02/2015 - 02:01

On February 9, 2015 I published an essay entitled “The Gentrifier.” In it I explained that contrary to the economic illiterates who hate and revile this practice, it is entirely a legitimate one. Since there has been confusion about this practice on the part of one writer who really ought to know better, I shall try to explain it even more slowly and carefully than I did at the outset.

What is gentrification? It merely constitutes one aspect of bidding for scarce resources; that which occurs in the real estate market. The more general case occurs continuously all throughout the market. For example, I purchase a loaf of bread. There is only so much bread available at any given time. I raise the price of this product by an infinitesimal amount. And, also, I have precluded someone else from purchasing that particular foodstuff. That is the general case. The same principle applies to real estate. I rent an apartment, or purchase a home. In so doing, I made it impossible for anyone else to occupy that specific domicile. Assume, now, that I honestly earned the money with which I made both of these purchases, I have violated no law that a libertarian need respect.

Since I wrote that essay, a new case of gentrification has made the news that may be of interest.

Robert Wenzel reports that “Protesters Plan To Block Google, Apple & Facebook Shuttle Buses In Oakland Friday.” Wenzel continues: “The free market haters will be out in force on Friday in Oakland. Demonstrators plan to block tech shuttle buses leaving Oakland and taking employees to Silicon Valley. The blocking is part of a series of Bay Area protests planned for International Workers’ Day on May 1.”

And what has put the noses of the protesters out of joint? States Wenzel: “According to an announcement on The rich have begun colonizing North Oakland, West Oakland, and Downtown. Their tech buses, their pricey cafes, and their luxury apartments have begun to appear with alarming frequency. This May Day, we will deliver a simple message to these colonizers during their morning commute.”

“Colonizing,” it would appear, is a synonym for “gentrifying.” The protesters take umbrage, in other words, that some people are outbidding others for scarce real estate space in California.

But, there is one more element that must be explored before we can see the full ramifications of this phenomenon. What seems to stick in the craw of those who oppose gentrification (or colonizing) is not so much X outbidding Y for scarce resources. That is only a part of the problem. More egregious is that Y was there first; then, X came along and outspent Y for the resources that Y had long been purchasing. In other words, if the computer nerds were the original inhabitants of Oakland, that would not have been quite so bad in the eyes of the anti market critics. What is really horrific in their view is that others had previously occupied the premises in this geographical area and then, later on, the gentrifiers came along and outbid them for the real estate in question. In other words, it is bad enough, very bad indeed, that X purchased the good in question, and Y was left out in the cold. It is so much, much, much worse that in the past Y occupied the very consumer good in question, and can no longer do so because X has now paid more for it. But this is just tough cheese from the libertarian point of view. Consumers (and producers, and landlord and lenders and borrowers and everyone else) are allowed to compete against each other not only for new provisions, but also for those long in existence. Tenants and homeholders, and condominium owners may compete against each other too!

One last point before we are ready to delve into the critique offered by Mr. Kevin Carson. Who, mainly, are the gentrifiers? Wenzel points to computer programmers in one case, but they are not the typical “violators.” No, that honor belongs to male homosexuals.

According to one author: “While glbtq people in general are participants in gentrification, gay men in particular are often at the vanguard of gentrifying neighborhoods. This is because they tend to have a higher percentage of disposable income and often want to live in urban centers that are tolerant and culturally vibrant.  Many of the neighborhoods that gay men move into and gentrify were previously working-class or poor neighborhoods primarily populated by black residents. These areas often have historic homes that the new residents restore while complaining that the old residents have done little to maintain their own. Examples of locations in the United States that have experienced this sort of gentrification in recent years are Asbury Park, New Jersey; German Village and Clintonville, in Columbus, Ohio; Dupont Circle, in Washington, D. C.; Lakeview (known colloquially as Boys Town), in Chicago; and the Oak Lawns/Cedar Springs area of Dallas.”

According to another: “Economists have long speculated about the effects of gayborhoods on everything from diversity to gentrification to housing prices. One common theme of this analysis is that neighborhoods with a higher than average density of gay residents are by definition more diverse and open-minded, with a wider range of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups as well. Another common argument is that gays often pioneer the revitalization of disadvantaged, crime-filled urban neighborhoods – and their presence can be seen as an early marker of gentrification and a precursor to a jump in housing prices.”

And in the view of a third: “A lot of times when people speak of gentrification, they mention gay males as one of the leading signs. How in the world did being gay become synonymous with gentrification? Since when does somebody’s sexuality determine whether a neighborhood’s status would rise or not?! When I think about this as logically as I can, the most basic conclusion I can come to is that these are, largely, white middle-class men who also happen to be gay. Yet when people speak of them, it’s just the gay part that is being highlighted, thus a neighborhood is becoming more upscale. Nobody certainly looks at gay/bisexual black people as a sign of gentrifiers.

Thus, people who vociferously oppose gentrifiers may want to rethink their positions if they wish to adhere to any connection at all to political correctness.

I lied. Let me make yet one more point before we delve into the case against gentrification offered by Mr. Kevin Carson. Why am I replying to him at all? In rereading my original essay on this topic I find nothing untoward. At least in my own mind, I wrote clearly, utilized elemental economics and basic libertarian theory. Gentrification is part and parcel of the market system and violates no libertarian precepts whatsoever. I respond to Mr. Carson for one reason: he is associated with libertarianism, and, it is important to show the error of his argument, lest people mistakenly think he speaks, accurately, for this philosophy.

Evidence for this contention? For one thing, he writes on a blog entitled: Center for a Stateless Society: A Left Market Anarchist Think Tank & Media Center. Thus, a “market anarchist” opposes the market. This cannot be allowed to stand. For another, his anti free enterprise, anti libertarian book was made the subject of an entire issue of the Journal of Libertarian Studies. I think very few such books, if any, were given such an honor by JLS. (The only one I remember singled out for such intensive treatment was the far more deserving Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State and Utopia). Here is my own critique of that publication: Block, Walter E. 2006. “Kevin Carson as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Book review of Carson, Kevin A. 2004. Studies in Mutualist Political Economy. Self-published: Fayetteville, AR”; The Journal of Libertarian Studies; Vol. 20, No.1, Winter, pp. 35-46; Mr. Carson simply cannot be allowed to get away with traducing and misrepresenting libertarianism. Hence, this reply to him.

So, at long last, what does this author have to say about gentrification? (See his “‘Libertarians’ for Ethnic Cleansing” March 29th, 2015,

Our author starts out on the wrong foot. He asserts that I “come out explicitly in favor of direct state intervention to evict poor people for the sake of promoting business interests.” That is a very serious charge indeed to make against a libertarian such as me. It would be helpful were Mr. Carson to have quoted me to that effect. He does not. I could with equal evidence claim that Mr. Carson has not yet stopped beating his wife. Namely, with no evidence at all.

In order to not defend gentrifiers who came by their wealth by illicit means, and thus unjustifiably competed for goods and services, I said this: “Assume that the rich came by their wealth in an honest way, not through government grants of special privileges, subsidies, bail-outs, a la crony capitalism, but via laissez faire capitalism. Thus they have contributed more to everyone else than the poor. If anything would be unfair, it would be that the well-to-do would have to take the leavings and those without much honestly earned wherewithal get the lion’s share.”

Mr. Carson acknowledges this. He even quotes me to this effect. But, then, he says: “Having thus assumed away the entire real world of privilege enjoyed by actually existing rich people, and the fact that local governments are nothing but showcase properties of the local real estate interests, Block goes on to argue that anything short of inequality and merciless gentrification would be grossly unfair to the rich, because they ‘have contributed more to everyone else than the poor.’”

But this is an improper criticism.  Yes, I am indeed “assuming away” this phenomenon, in order to focus narrowly on gentrification itself. I did not want to confound it with other issues such as source of income or wealth. Mr. Carson, instead, interprets me as denying that some rich people attained their wealth improperly. This sort of thing prevents us from attaining real disagreement; instead, we pass each other as ships in the night, me saying one thing, and Mr. Carson criticizing me for saying something entirely different. Yes, indeed, the rich who earned their wealth honestly have indeed “contributed more to everyone else than the poor.” Mr. Carson may not like this, he may resent it, but he gives no reasons why this claim of mine is erroneous.

I am also at a complete loss to understand why Mr. Carson would attribute to me support to “go and shoot them poor people dead.” It seems that he makes this up out of the whole cloth. Again, he has as much warrant, namely none, for making this claim as I would have if I accused him of beating his wife.

Mr. Carson takes particular umbrage at me supporting gentrification in behalf of World’s Fairs and the Olympics.  He states: “Block neglects to mention that all these things ‘happen’ with the very active involvement of local government using eminent domain to demolish entire neighborhoods (mostly inhabited by poor people of color).”

Again, I fear, my critic is reaching a bit. Of course, these things “happen” under the aegis of government. Pretty much everything nowadays, “happens” under the baleful eye of the state apparatus. Are we then to condemn everything that occurs? That would appear to be the logic employed herein. As for “eminent domain” I am on record, over and over again, for opposing this violation of private property rights, and making the claim it is not needed. For example, here, where I devote an entire chapter to maintaining eminent domain would not be needed, or used, with fully privatized roads, streets and highways. In any case, there is no need to use eminent domain against the poor to make way for such events. With some exceptions of course, renters are almost guaranteed to be more impoverished than owners. If someone owned a dwelling coveted by the World’s Fair or Olympics, he would hardly be poverty stricken.

Here is Mr. Carson’s last criticism: “Block writes that anti-gentrifiers, in attempting to suppress our natural ‘tendency to truck and barter,’ display an ignorance of Adam Smith. But Smith also wrote of the Whig landed oligarchs of his day that landlords ‘love to reap where they have not sown.’ In failing to recognize gentrification as an example of this, Block displays his own ignorance.”

Evidently, my critic did not read that I was limiting my defense of gentrifiers to those who earned their wealth honestly. Surely, this does not include those who “reap where they have not sown.”

All in all, not a very pretty exercise on the part of Mr. Carson. If this is the best that can be done on the part of left wing “libertarians” — misconstruing, making up criticisms with no evidence whatsoever put forth in their behalf, engaging in name-calling – there is not much to say, positively, about this self-styled branch of “libertarianism.” For a splendid defense of my views on gentrification against the critique of Mr. Carson, see that offered by Robert Wenzel.

A Military Takeover?

Sat, 05/02/2015 - 02:01

Why are US special forces holding a massive exercise in the US southwest this summer? Is it something civil libertarians should be worried about? The Texas governor announced that the Texas State Guard would be monitoring US military moves in Texas. Was it a smart move? Tune in to the Ron Paul Liberty Report:

Top 10 LRC Articles

Sat, 05/02/2015 - 02:01
1. First They Came for the Anti-Vaxxers Bretigne Shaffer on the state-pharma plot. . 2. The Coming Breakup of the United States By passive resistance, not force of arms, says Fred Reed. . 3. I Don’t Believe in Religious Freedom The Rev. Larry L. Beane II explains why not. . 4. Forcing Cajuns To Go Cashless Joseph Salerno on Louisiana fascists. . 5. Better Than College Dr. Sherri Tenpenny on 11 steps to changing your life. . 6. F* This Court and Everything It Stands for  The most epic legal filing ever.  . 7. The Don Fanucci of American Politics And the real cause of the American “Civil War.” Article by Thomas DiLorenzo. . 8. My Wife Has Coronary Artery Disease Instead of statins, I’m prescribing these supplements, says Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD. . 9. The ‘Perfect’ Man What men think women want; what women actually want. . 10. The Blueprint for Locking Down America  John W. Whitehead on what the power elite plan. .

To Understand the Riots

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 02:01

Baltimore is burning and the book most relevant to the tragedy, and to that of Ferguson, MO, Detroit, MI, and many other cities in the US is Friedrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom.

The media will pimp the idea that racism caused the rioting, looting, and burning, but racists live in every city in the US that is not on fire. Baltimore and Ferguson have more in common with the Arab “Spring” and the frequent rioting in Paris and London than with the civil rights marches of the 1960s. Cairo and Tunis erupted a few years ago because they had armies of unemployed young people with no jobs, many of them with worthless university degrees.

Both countries had been socialist for decades and had guaranteed a free education to any student who wanted one. Most of the time the state created new jobs in the bureaucracy to absorb the graduates. They were “rubber stamp” jobs because the state would add jobs by requiring more stamps for the myriads of licenses they required for everything from driving permits to selling water. Eventually, the states had to stop fabricating worthless jobs because they couldn’t pay for them any longer. That caused the army of unemployed to surge. The Arab “Spring” blossomed when an out-of-work college grad in Tunis set himself on fire because the government refused to give him a permit to open a hot dog stand, his last hope for an income.

The socialist government in France has created similar armies of hopeless people on welfare. They are Muslim for the most part and will never be able to find a job because businesses don’t create jobs in France. Labor regulations that amount to extortion and ridiculously high taxes ensure that businesses fail or leave unless protected from competition. The backgrounds in the riot-prone cities of the US are similar. The largest cities are showcases for socialism. The US’s largest cities, like Baltimore, are proud bastions of the left.

The owner of the Baltimore Orioles, John Angelos, tweeted that

“… my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation…”

Mr. Angelos is not quite right that jobs have left Baltimore. Baltimore has a lot of wealthy people earning very high incomes in finance. What Baltimore lacks is jobs that employ the middle and lower classes, such as manufacturing jobs. Those jobs left Baltimore because high taxes and strangling regulations forced them to leave just to survive. Some sources estimate that federal regulations alone cost US businesses almost $2 trillion per year; that’s more than 10% of US GDP. The US also enjoys the highest federal corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. Add to those the swarms of state, county and city regulations and taxes and it’s a miracle any business survives in the US.

Baltimore city councilmen and pastors in TV interviews rarely mention racism. Instead they talk about the hopelessness caused by the lack of opportunities through jobs.

And Mr. Angelos neglected to tweet which “political elite” has ruled Baltimore for the past half century. Just as in most other major cities in the US, especially in the north and California, the elite have been exclusively socialists, though they refer to themselves as Democrat or “progressives” or “liberals.” Republicans and conservatives are not much better; they’re socialist-lite. They have followed the same strategy as Moscow, Cairo, Tunis, and Paris: punish businesses and drive them away while expanding the welfare rolls for the unemployed. To paraphrase Ludwig von Mises, socialism is paradise until the money runs out, then it’s hell. The socialist elite have transformed once-great US cities into third world disasters where a small, extremely rich elite rules over poverty stricken masses and an emaciated middle class.

Someone should be asking why the rioting is happening in the showcase cities for socialism and not in the southern cities like Atlanta and Dallas? Not that those cities are examples of pure laissez-faire. They’re far from it, but in comparison to Baltimore they look very free. Are there no racist police in the south?

So why doesn’t socialism work like the “progressive” or “liberals” or Democrats or socialist-light conservatives claim it will? And why will they and their mainstream media public relations departments spend most of their time convincing people that wild west capitalism is a problem?

Hayek answered both in Road to Serfdom.  Most historians since World War II have convinced the public that Nazi Germany represented advanced capitalism. The British during the war had the same idea. Hayek knew better. After all, the real name of the Nazis was “National Socialists.” Hitler and his crew thought they carried the banner of socialism. So how did people become confused? Nazis were smarter and more devious than communists, who gladly relieved people of their property. Nazis allowed business owners to keep the paper title to their businesses while controlling every aspect of the business from pricing to what and how much to produce. Along with the Italians they invented a form of socialism properly called fascism. Apologists for socialism didn’t want to claim Hitler as one of their own, so they used the paper title that business owners retained as an excuse to label German socialism as capitalism. The economic system in the US today, but especially in cities like Baltimore, is closer to German and Italian fascism than to Adam Smith style free market capitalism.

The answer to the question of why socialism doesn’t work is the other theme of Hayek’s book. Hayek shows that socialism of any flavor destroys more wealth than it creates and impoverishes the people, but it also guarantees that the worst sort of people capture the top power positions. Any casual observer understands that people don’t advance in politics on merit. They advance by proving their loyalty to the party ideology. Even a hint of disloyalty can end a political career. In the same way that members of gangs climb the ranks by committing the most violent crimes, so members of political parties enhance their careers by biting heads off snakes to prove their loyalty. They must sacrifice all personal integrity and be willing to say what the party wants said and do what the party needs done regardless of scruples.  That’s one reason so many successful politicians end up in prison.

The media and socialist politicians have a long history of blaming every failure, like Baltimore, on residual capitalism and using every crisis to promote greater socialism through state control of every aspect of our lives. Don’t let them get by with it this time. Baltimore is showcase for socialism.

Reprinted with permission from Affluent Investor.

There Is Nothing Surprising About Baltimore

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 02:01

Baltimore burns, the current and most recent example of violent reaction to perceived injustice. It is not necessary that there is truth or guilt behind the perception in any one particular instance; it is sufficient that there is truth or guilt behind the perceived injustices often enough. This is sufficient to create the perception.

There is nothing right, moral, or just about indiscriminant looting and violence – let nothing I write here suggest otherwise; yet, the fall into such violence is understandable.  It is a predictable reaction, blowback, to the policies of the right on the one hand and the left on the other.  In the case of the right, the connection is more obvious as it takes little intellectual capacity to connect the dots – the reaction immediately follows the action; in the case of the left, an elementary understanding of economics, incentives, and logic is required – far too much to expect from most, it seems.

The Right

Police can kill with immunity.

No statement so broad can be always true, yet it is true often enough.  Wearing the badge offers immunity to the gun-bearer.  There are examples of this almost every day, it seems; yet, only a few such incidents draw national attention – and even here, usually only after video evidence in contradiction to the party line is revealed.

Protect the shield, protect the blue line.  It isn’t only within the police departments; what of the prosecutors, what of the judges, what of the law?  All stand silent, at least when not contributing to the cover-up.  No justice, no peace.

Administrative leave or a quiet retirement with full pension.  If punishment is ever meted out, it is such as this.  Not bad work if you can get it.

Occasionally a community will react – see Baltimore.  It isn’t to condone, only to understand: blowback.  There was a statement by one women, one with very poor command of the English language – so poor that one might instantly put her in the category of an uneducated cretan. Yet, her words were golden – the most die-hard libertarian (too small a minority) or morally-consistent Christian (an even smaller one) would have no trouble agreeing with the justness of her sentiment, which means that she will be ignored by almost everyone.

I paraphrase her statement: The police should be under the same law as the rest of us.

A nation of laws, not men.  What could this mean other than what this insightfully intelligent woman offered?  There was a time when this was true, in the supposedly horrible, dark days of the Middle Ages, when the law was above all, when even the king was below the law with only the duty to uphold the law – nothing more.

The right only offers sentiments such as: obey orders and you won’t get hurt; if you don’t do anything wrong, you have nothing to fear.  Of course, even these admonitions aren’t true – what of the SWAT team breaking down the wrong door?  What of throwing a grenade into a baby’s crib?  Collateral damage.  Cause enough collateral damage and you will get blowback.

Yet, what if the world you live in is one where those you are told to obey often kill with immunity?  What if you have seen this often enough, what if you heard enough stories to make this perception your reality?  In what kind of world is death the penalty for disobeying the one by whom you rightly feel threatened?  It is true in the criminal world.  It was equally true in Stalin’s world.  This is what the right offers.

I have no idea if death at the hands of the immune is true more often in lower-class black communities than in other communities; however, I suspect if this happened as often in upper-middle-class white communities we would have heard about it – I suspect something would even have been done about it by now.

The Left

Robert Wenzel refers to them as LBJ’s grandkids: those multiple generations who have grown up since the mid-sixties without fathers, without role models, without jobs, without hope, without incentive to improve.  Fruits from the loins of LBJ’s Great Society.  Income guaranteed for proof of feminine fertility and masculine virility, without the need for responsibility.

On top of this, little chance for legal, introductory employment due to minimum wage requirements.  When legal employment is out of reach, other opportunities are secured. Peddling drugs is one such option; drug laws have overly impacted (or have been overly enforced against) minority communities, further removing father figures from their responsibilities – victimless crimes resulting in incarceration rates higher than anywhere else on earth.

LBJ isn’t alone with his bone offered to the left in order to have a free hand in prosecuting the genocide of millions of Vietnamese; there is no shortage of voices calling for compassion for those who have had hard times pour down upon their heads.  Compassion with your money, not theirs; compassion with your money whether you want to contribute or not.  Compassion poured down to the point of ensuring the drowning of those being compassioned upon.

Life without consequence or responsibility; one generation after another with this life offered as the model – always another lost generation.  The idea of respect for property and life is lost on those who are able to obtain property and life with no effort necessary – with pay raises offered for promiscuity.

Property without effort results in no respect for property.  Life without effort results in no respect for life.  Two plus two equals four; no respect for property or life results in looting and death.

Don’t point to individual cases of the small handful that have found a way to break out of this hell that the left has created for them – there are always exceptions to expected outcomes for every incentive system.  However, incentives have a way of achieving – far more often than not – that which they incentivize.


The right demands order and compliance, hence police are free to kill with immunity; the left demands compassion with your money, hence generations grow without any comprehension of the idea of respect for property and life, no knowledge of how to productively contribute to society.

There is nothing surprising about Baltimore.  Blowback.  Actions have consequences.

Reprinted with permission from Bionic Mosquito.

Government Radio

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 02:01

If all of us rolled down our car windows at 5 pm on weekdays, we would hear a single great voice booming out across the land as if God himself were thundering from the heavens.  In reality it would be countless car radios beaming out in unison “All Things Considered,” sometimes known as “Small Things Considered,” so stunted is its coverage of the news.  Such jokes abound, “Boring Edition” at morning commute time, with the whole operation labeled “National Propaganda Radio” or “National Pentagon Radio.”  My contribution: “National Pablum Radio.”

But NPR is no joking matter; it reaches over 20 million listeners a week.  (Rush claims to reach 15 million, 25% less, and even this is apparently, but not surprisingly, hard to verify.)  By comparison, the Wall Street Journal has a daily circulation of somewhat over 2 million, The New York Times a little under 2 million and USA Today about 1.6 million.  So NPR has enormous reach and influence in the constellation of the mainstream media.  Its drive time “news” programs , “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered,“ carried by almost all of its 900 member stations are its most popular fare.   How could it be otherwise?  The listeners are hermetically sealed in their cars for hours each day at these times.

NPR’s coverage of foreign affairs and of the wars of the U.S. Empire is especially nefarious.  FAIR and other organizations dutifully and routinely plod through NPR coverage to document bias, an eminently worthwhile project.  But such reports come too late to help immunize the average listener.  We need a quick and easy way of seeing through the fog of NPR.  Fortunately there is such a way: If we simply stop and think with some care about what we are hearing, we will discover it is the grinding day upon day repetition of imperial propaganda.  The key is active skepticism, and we badly need to cultivate it in ourselves and our friends.

Let’s take a recent feature as an example.  On April 22, Robert Siegal of Small Things Considered went for deep analysis of the situation in Yemen and the Middle East.  He interviewed Nicholas Burns, a “professor” now at the Kennedy School of Imperialism (often mislabeled as the School of Government) at Dear Old Harvard.   One might think Burns a non-government source, a good professor seeking the truth.   Not so.  Burns, before he was put out to pasture in that graveyard of Has Beens in Cambridge, “served” in the State Department at the highest levels under Bush I, the Clintons and Bush II. (At the very end of the feature Siegal hastily adds that Burns is “formerly of the State Department.”)

Here is a central item from this interview, found in full here:

SIEGAL: Where does Washington figure in all of this? Well, we’re going to ask Nicholas Burns. ……

BURNS: You know, I think President Obama has a really tough challenge in the Middle East. There are four states in a period of disintegration, in freefall – of course, you know about Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen….. But when you have four states in open civil war, that is a Middle East that we haven’t seen really in a hundred years, since the breakup of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First World War.

Let’s stop right there.  First of all, that there are failed states all over the Middle East is not great insight.

The real question is why the failed states. But does Siegal ask, or does Burns volunteer, where all this instability came from?  Not on your life.  But we all know the answer.  We all know that Iraq and Libya were stable states before the U.S. and its allies bombed them to smithereens and overthrew the regimes there, the one in Libya having at that time the highest Human Development Index in all of Africa.  Syria was also stable until the American ambassador appeared in the streets of Damascus joining those calling for the overthrow of Assad, Killary’s so-called Syrian “moderates,” and until Obama began braying for Assad to go.  Obama’s bombing of Syria, however, never commenced, because the British and US public said “no,” and both British Parliament and U.S. Congress, feeling the pressure from below, also said “no.”  But beneath the surface, the Yankee destabilization of Syria continued.  Finally, Yemen has been the poster child for U.S. drone attacks, which alienated the entire population who then forced out the US puppet president.  The panicky Saudi bombing of Yemen backed by the U.S. followed and continues.

So Siegal might have said the following:

SIEGAL: “Good God, Burns, what have you imperial mandarins done?  Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost, close to 2 million due to war and sanctions in Iraq alone.  How can you live with yourself.  Should you not be hauled off forthwith to the ICC, along with your collaborators at State and “Defense”?  It is an embarrassment to have a war criminal of your likes on this program.  I apologize to my listeners.  I will have to consider resigning.”

Of course Siegal did not say that.

What did Siegal say?

SIEGEL: Picking up on your observation that the four countries in the region are in freefall – Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen – should the United States be committed to the integrity of these countries if they don’t seem to have the sticking power to hold together?

Here Siegal passes from insipid to astonishing!

Should the US be “committed to the integrity of these countries if they do not have the sticking power to hold together, he asks”?  Does he mean the “sticking power” obliterated under US assault?  Can a reasonably intelligent listener not discern this perversion of the truth?  Of course he or she can.  But to do so requires a skeptical, questioning ear.  This is the “ear” which we should be cultivating in ourselves.  In Eastern Europe the skeptical ear was well developed and it gave rise to reams of ridicule of the offending regimes.  We are badly in need of the same.

Such reportage is hawked every day by Siegal and the other snake oil peddlers holding forth on the airwaves of NPR.  In the face of this, “Do not believe everything you hear on the radio” is sound advice.  Let us ask ourselves when listening to reportage from afar on NPR:  Is the obvious being omitted –  until it is forgotten? Is the “expert” in fact a member of the ruling imperial elite, whether in government or in one of the imperial think tanks?  And is there context and history being offered?  (NPR pats itself on the back incessantly, especiall during fundraising, claiming that its listeners are superior beings and that it offers “depth,” “context” and “questioning.”  It does nothing of the sort for foreign affairs, as one can readily see in this exchange. )

With a skeptical stance the propaganda melts away and NPR is neutralized.  Such neutralization may be a matter of life and death, since the imperial mandarins and their media lackeys are hell bent on driving us into an ever more disastrous course, one that may lead to WWIII.

This writer would like to focus regularly on examples of NPR’s misdeeds and propaganda.  We need an NPR Watch – desperately.  So if you encounter a news atrocity, send it to this writer with your comments.  And please include the transcript, both quote and URL, along with comments. 

‘Denier’ James Delingpole Immortalized

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 02:01

James Delingpole, and other prominent British skeptics, have been immortalised on an art installation “wall of infamy”.

According to James;

I am one of several climate change sceptics to have been celebrated and immortalised in an exciting new, prizewinning art installation at Anglia Ruskin, one of Britain’s largest universities. (h/t Liam Deacon)

It comprises a faux-stone slab (made out of plywood) engraved with my own name and that of five other British climate sceptics – Christopher Booker, Nigel Lawson, Christopher Monckton, Melanie Phillips, Owen Paterson – beneath the legend “Lest We Forget Those Who Denied.” The sculpture has been described as an “oil painting with a difference” because a continuous stream of engine oil drools symbolically over the “deniers’” names, like tragic sea otters after an Exxon spill.

Read more:

I must say I’m a little jealous of my friend James. Where is my art installation wall of infamy? I mean, how many of these climate articles do I have to write?

Given the amount of publicity this political stunt has generated for the artist who created it, hopefully there will be some copycat attempts before too long. Please make sure you get the spelling of my name correct – that is “Worrall” with an “A”.

Reprinted from Watts Up With That?

The Greatest Danger in the World

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 02:01

I am on a journey through Vietnam with a group of American Vietnam War veterans who now live in Vietnam and work to address some of the profound human problems still caused by a war that ended 40 years ago. Known as VFP Hoa Binh Chapter 160, these men work to help people still being maimed by the estimated one and a half billion pounds of bombs (“ordnance”) dropped by the United States on Vietnam during the war that did not explode at the time they were released (7 million tons, or 14 billion pounds of bombs were dropped on Vietnam and an estimated 10% of them failed to detonate). In addition these American veterans work to help some of the approximately 1 million people (a Red Cross of Vietnam estimate) people born with genetic defects or otherwise disabled or in poor health due to exposure to the 20 million gallons of toxic herbicides sprayed on South Vietnam’s tropical rainforests food and crops. The primary herbicide used was Agent Orange, which contains the known carcinogen dioxin. While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency denies that dioxin is a mutagen (causing mutant genes), the rate of birth defects in Vietnam as quadrupled since the war.

We visited a number of the victims of unexploded ordnance and toxic herbicides, which brings home the human dimensions of suffering, misery and death that are the inevitable legacy of war. The primary causes of exploding war-era ordnance today are farmers working in their fields and scrap metal collectors. Scrap metal can earn a villager as much as $75 a year–a meaningful sum of money to the impoverished and one of the only sources of income available to them. Nguyen Xuan Thiet in Quang Tri Province made part of his annual income to support his family by collecting and selling scrap metal. In 2005 he found a mortar, and while moving it it exploded, blowing off both of his legs and one of his hands. For two years after coming home from the hospital he was completely incapacitated. The VFP-sponsored Project RENEW has now supplied him with prosthesis that allow him to walk. His family is so poor that they continue to collect scrap metal for income in spite of the tragedy that befell the father.

Friendship Village just outside of Hanoi is a facility for victims of Agent Orange that was initiated by an American Vietnam War veteran, George Mizo, who later died his own exposure to Agent Orange. The village currently cares for 150 people, many of them children severely disabled with genetic birth defects assumed to be from Agent Orange. Education begins at the most basic level, teaching the physically and/or mentally impaired children how to use the toilet and otherwise keep themselves clean. More advanced students might learn to cook and how to engage in a trade that will offer them some income. There are currently about 125,000 children in Vietnam with birth defects thought to be related to Agent Orange, so the work of Friendship Village barely scratches the surface of the depths of need. This is the third generation of such children; the dioxin–induced deformities are expected to last for several more generations before the chemical breaks down adequately to no longer be a threat to human well-being.

We also visited the Tran Van Tram family of seven. The first son born to the parents of this family, now 30 years old, was a healthy child. The other four children born have severe mental and physical birth defects. They can neither stand nor walk, so they crawl about the house with rigid legs. Because their brains never fully developed nothing they cannot engage with the world around them. They can neither take care of themselves, interact with others nor do work of any kind. These children are between the ages of 18 and 28, so the parents have had to care for their totally incapacitated offspring for all of those long years, mostly with no help whatsoever. Vietnamese peasants are often poorly educated and live with many superstitions, so it is common for them to feel their disabled children are a punishment for some misdeed in life.

There is an intense rainy season in this part of Vietnam, and therefore for these children to use the nearby outhouse they had to crawl through a trail of mud to get there; impoverished peasants cannot afford home improvements. Project RENEW discovered the travail of this family had and has worked to ease their burden, including building a covered cement path to the toilet facilities for the children. The father spoke to express his profound appreciation for this small gift from the American Vietnam veterans. When the mother joined the family for a group picture, she cried inconsolably. The father said she was crying tears of joy, but it is more likely she was overwhelmed from her years of toil to care for her four incapacitated children, and moved by the presence of the only concerned foreigners she had ever encountered.

A young couple in Aloui had a daughter with severe birth defects 17 years ago; then four years ago the father died of a blood disease. Because her daughter cannot control here bodily functions, nor can she stand nor walk, she is spending her life on a wooden pallet in the family’s kitchen/barn building (the family pigs are close by). A VFP-supported group called Hearts of Hue discovered this family and devised a plan to allow the mother to gain access to an income and meaningful work. They supplied the family a pregnant beef cow, and instructed them on how to care for the animal. The original cow was valued at $800, and the calf can be sold after one year for $700–a princely sum in rural Vietnam. They are also instructing the family in how to raise productive forage for the animals, and built a roofed loafing pen where the cattle can stay under cover in the rainy season. In this way a family that had been devastated by the after effects of the war was given renewed hope for a decent life.

Beyond the inestimable amount suffering and death inflicted on the Vietnamese people by the war and its after effects, the destruction wrought to the land, the air and the water of Vietnam by the United States was extreme. ‘Not since the Romans salted the land after destroying Carthage has a nation taken such pains to visit the war on future generations’, wrote Ngo Van Long of the US war against Vietnam. The damage was not the accidental by-product of war, but part of the attrition strategy which deliberately aimed to drive the peasants into the cities in order to deprive the National Liberation Front of a population and food base and safe jungle havens. ‘Tell the Vietnamese,’ said General Curtis LeMay, ‘that we are going to bomb them back to stone age.’

Much of Vietnam was turned into “free fire zones”, into which hurtled immense tonnages of explosives and herbicides. The intention was to crush a peasant army by the profligate use of technologically advanced weapons and techniques. This involved truly massive rural area bombing, chemical and mechanical forest destruction, large-scale crop destruction, destruction of food stores, the destruction of hospitals, and large-scale population displacements; in short, the massive, intentional disruption of both the natural and human ecologies of the region. 5 million hectares, over 40% of the area of South Vietnam, were obliterated or badly damaged.

Machinery known as Rome plows was popular with the American troops. These were large bulldozers equipped with sharpened ten-foot wide blades. Several of them would smash through the forests, linked together with huge chains, uprooting everything in their paths. The Rome plows completely removed the trees and significantly disturbed the topsoil of 325,000 hectares, or 3% of southern Vietnam’s forests.

The flora and fauna of Vietnam have suffered profound losses due first to the destruction of the country’s forests during the war, followed by the needs of a growing population of impoverished and traumatized people afterwards. Here is a sampling of the current condition of some of the large mammals in Vietnam: 1) The Lesser Short-horned Rhinoceros- extinct in Vietnam as of 2011. 2) The Indochinese Tiger- an estimated 10-20 left in Vietnam as of 2010. 3) The Kouprey- a very large ungulate weighing up to 2000 pounds, it was first discovered by the scientific community in 1937, and is now extinct in Vietnam. 4) The Saola- A forest-dwelling bovine found only in Laos and Vietnam, it was discovered by science in 1992. Only one has been seen in Vietnam in the interim, and it died in captivity. 5) The Asian Elephant- Formerly abundant in Vietnam, there are an estimated 75 wild elephants in the country and they are expected to be extinct there within 10 years. 6) Primates- Five of Vietnam’s 19 primate species are on the list of the world’s 25 most critically endangered primates, including the Golden-headed Langur (about 60 left in the world), Delacour’s Langur (about 200 left), the Gray-shanked Douc (600), the Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey (250), and the Eastern Black-crested Gibbon (110).

If one absorbs the fact that we committed genocide against the 3.5 million of the Vietnamese people that we slaughtered in the American War (this number being one of the most recent estimates), and ecocide upon the natural environment of Vietnam, and takes into account that there was no reason whatsoever for the war, one comes to fully appreciate just how dysfunctional and destructive the human mind and so-called ‘leadership’ can be. It is important to recall that the Vietnam War is not an isolated event. As I wrote about in my previous essay in this series (which can be read online by googling ‘War is God’s Way of Teaching Geography’), just before the destruction of Vietnam we obliterated North Korea; 15 years after Vietnam we were bombing Iraq. Today we are bombing five countries at the same time.

The greatest danger in the world today to the ecological integrity of the biosphere and the sanctity of life is the United States government and the masses of mindless young men who do its bidding, being incapable of thinking for themselves and starving for the identity of the uniform. If that seems like a radical statement, re-read the previous paragraph. At a deeper level the problem is the superstitious, almost religious response of the human mind to external authority. We know power corrupts, but we persist in putting mere mortals in positions of extreme power. The global situation will improve only when we take responsibility for our own financial, ethical and ecological lives, and cease to allow ourselves to be led around by the nose by so-called leaders who are inevitably corrupted by the positions of power into which we ourselves put them.

Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience.   Howard Zinn

Every tyranny must necessarily be grounded upon general popular acceptance. In short, the bulk of the people themselves, for whatever reason, acquiesce in their own subjection….If we led our lives according to the ways intended by nature and the lessons taught by her, we should be intuitively obedient to our parents; later we should adopt reason as our guide and become slaves to nobody.   Etienne De La Boetie, The Politics of Obedience, written in 1552

History shows that most human beings would literally rather die than objectively reconsider the belief systems they were brought up in. The average man who reads in the newspaper about war, oppression and injustice will wonder why such pain and suffering exists, and will wish for it to end. However, if it is suggested to him that his own beliefs are contributing to the misery, he will almost certainly dismiss such a suggestion without a second thought,  Larken Rose, The Most Dangerous Superstition


Film: The Boy with No Face-  (full film)

Film: Lighter Than Orange-  (3 minute trailer; highly recommended)

Book: Kill Everything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam by Nick Turse (required reading)

Book: The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose (on the question of authority)

Essay on Etienne de la Boetie’s book The Politics of Obedience

Friendship Village-

VAVA- Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange

RENEW- Restoring the Environment and Neutralizing the Effects of War-

Why Does Government Hate and Fear the Self-Reliant?

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 02:01

I’m sure many of you remember when armed “nuisance abatement teams” from Los Angeles County, descended upon the independent minded folks who were living in the desert outskirts of the city. For the “crime” of living off the grid and growing their own food, they were harassed with fines, and forced to leave their homes at the barrel of a gun. It was probably the most dreadful moment for the prepper community in recent memory. Many of us would love to leave the city and live free of the system, but stories like that remind us that no matter where we go, the long arm of the government may be waiting to drag us back into the fold.

We have to ask ourselves, why does the government hate, nay fear, the self-reliant? On the surface it doesn’t make sense. It’s outrageous and has no practical value. Every person who is self-reliant is one less person the government has to provide for; and when disaster strikes, it takes some weight off of their disaster relief efforts.

But once you dig deeper, the reasons become abundantly clear. The short answer is that our government and many like it, is parasitic in nature. Some would argue that we don’t need half the services they provide, and even the ones we do need, are provided with gross inefficiency. Their system is designed to extract as much labor and capital from the population that it can so that they may spread the benefits to their cronies and dependents. It’s that simple. They don’t want you to be independent, because that’s one less person they can leach off of.

Again, that’s the short answer, and I’m sure every free thinking person already understands that concept. But if we want to get to the heart of the matter we have to ask ourselves, what does self-reliance even mean? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it is understood as:

Reliance on one’s own efforts and abilities

Sounds self-explanatory, but in reality it doesn’t do the word any justice. It kind of reminds me of when President Obama said “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” He was correct to some degree, in that we all rely on other people for certain services. In that sense, none of us are self-reliant or ever will be. But if you want to find the true meaning of self-reliance, you need to define “reliance” by itself.

Read the Whole Article

Zombies Brought Down Mayan Civilization

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 02:01

Gualfin (“End of the Road”), Argentina

Dear Diary,

US stocks are still near their all-time highs.

Gold is still clinging to the $1,200-an-ounce mark.

So, let’s return to the examination of why the 21st century has been such a dud so far.

Here’s a simple answer: There are too many zombies.

$75,000 a Year from Uncle Sam

First, a reader explains how to become a zombie:

Follow these easy, proven 13 steps to financial well-being…

1. Don’t get married to her

2. Use your mom’s address to get mail sent to

3. Guy buys a house

4. Guy rents out house to his girlfriend who has two of his kids

5. Section 8 will pay $900 a month for a three-bedroom home

6. Girlfriend signs up for Obamacare so guy doesn’t have to pay out the butt for family insurance

7. Girlfriend gets to go to college free for being a single mother

8. Girlfriend gets $600 a month for food stamps

9. Girlfriend gets free cellphone

10. Girlfriend gets free utilities

11. Guy moves into home but uses mom’s house to get mail sent to

12. Girlfriend claims one kid and guy claims one kid on taxes… now you both get to claim head of household at $1,800 credit

13. Girlfriend gets disability for being “bipolar” or having a “bad back” at $1,800 a month and never has to work again

This plan is perfectly legal and is being executed now by millions of people.

A married couple with a stay-at-home mom yields $0.00 dollars.

An unmarried couple with stay-at-home mom nets:

$21,600 disability +

$10,800 free housing +

$6,000 free Obamacare +

$6,000 free food +

$4,800 free utilities +

$6,000 Pell grant money to spend +

$12,000 a year in college tuition free from Pell grant +

$8,800 tax benefit for being a single mother

= $75,000 a year in benefits

We haven’t verified the details above… But if they’re correct… $75,000 a year is not chicken feed.

Zombies in Suits

But the big money is still not in food stamps and disability.

The big money is on Wall Street and in Northern Virginia. That’s where the zombies wear suits.

Archaeologist Arthur Demarest explains that we’re not the first society to be brought low by zombies. They caused the decline of the Mayan civilization too:

Society had evolved too many elites, all demanding exotic baubles […] all needed quetzal feathers, jade, obsidian, fine chert, and animal furs. Nobility is expensive, non-productive and parasitic, siphoning away too much of society’s energy to satisfy its frivolous cravings.

Yes, it’s the elite zombies who are most expensive. The hoi polloi get peanuts (albeit lots of them). The elites get much more.

For example, where did all those trillions in Fed “stimulus” go?

Little of it went to the guys on disability (although it did help cover Washington’s spending deficits).

No, that money helped prop up the prices of financial assets (directly in the bond market and indirectly in the stock market).

Shareholders made money. Executives got bonuses. Wall Street firms made out… well… like bandits.

It’s easy. The financial wizards arrange for a company to sell bonds – earning millions in fees for the service.

Then the company takes the money (borrowed at the lowest interest rates in history) and uses it to buy back its own stock (paid for at one of the most richly valued levels in history).

The price of the remaining shares goes up (because more earnings accrue to each remaining share) – triggering bonuses for all the insiders.

The trick is so sweet that corporate America is set to hit a new milestone this year – nearly $1 trillion in buybacks!

Let Them Eat Cake

Everybody is happy… all the corporate nobility, that is.

The poor working stiffs are worse off than ever. Because all this insider financial gaming reduces the long-term capital formation and serious investing that creates real jobs and real wealth.

But the plain people have no idea how the money system is rigged against them. And at least they have disability.

The elites always figure out ways to crony up with government… and to turn themselves into zombies.

King Louis XVI of France must have been a decent fellow. But he was surrounded by zombies.

Almost the entire First and Second Estates – the clergy and the nobility – lived off of privileges, tariffs, taxes, grants, rents and other entitlements.

After they took their share, there was hardly enough national output left to support the working classes.

And you think America’s hedge fund managers have a nice tax deal with their “carried interest?”

France’s elite was practically exempt from taxes.

But with so many zombies, 18th-century France struggled to stay solvent. A couple of bad harvests… and people began to starve.

“We’re hungry. We want bread,” chanted the poor women in front of the Tuileries Palace in Paris.

At that moment, if you believe the popular account, the king’s young wife, Marie Antoinette, needed better PR people.

“They say they are hungry,” the flack might have told her.

“You should say something about how you care deeply about their hunger. How you feel their pain. And how you are working day and night with the royal court to alleviate the food shortages in France.”

Instead, the darling but dim Austrian blurted out what must have sounded, for a moment, like a “bon mot.”

“They have no bread? Well, let them eat cake!”

Whether it was true or not, the story got around. And it sounded true enough.

Soon the mob was roused and the revolution couldn’t be stopped.

Reprinted with permission from Bonner & Partners.

6,000 Pounds of Food Produced

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 02:01

Survivalist communities and preppers all over America have learned that the properly tilled land can produce tremendous amounts of food. Well-balanced soil is quite generous and will give back much more than it receives. A few organic seeds, adequate watering, and some rich compost can provide even a novice farmer with a bountiful harvest.

Ever since Big Agra took over the farming of America’s vast farmlands, most people are disconnected from the process of food production from seed to table. Agribusiness has so thoroughly monopolized farming and husbandry that many children in the cities think that the food comes from supermarkets and grocery stores, not grainfields and orchard groves.

Now comes along a family just south of LA that has set the bar a little higher for the many residential farms that are popping up all over the place. Their track record is quite extraordinary by any standard. Here are the latest numbers from a family that farms just 4,000 square feet of land.

Read the Whole Article


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