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CIA Dream Come True?

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 02:01

The Russians and New Russians have no reason in the world to shoot down a Malaysian jet airliner and every reason not to do so.

It is at this point possible there was some kind of stupid mistaken firing, but, given the difficulty of hitting the plane at the altitude and speed with the equipment available to them, this is very unlikely.

The Black Flag U.S. downing of the plane FOR THE PURPOSE OF UNLEASHING AN IMMENSE, STAGED MEDIA PROPAGANDA ASSAULT ON RUSSIA AND THE NEW RUSSIANS is obviously a serious possibility and would be easy for the U.S. to do, though it runs the risk of being exposed by Russian electronic tracking–and that may be what we are seeing right now.

Another possibility seems more likely.



The first Malaysian jet that disappeared had mostly Chinese passengers and about twenty electronics experts who had been working with China to develop electronics of value to China’s military and civilian industries. I argued at the time that an insider attack by the CIA to cause the plane to crash into the ocean [by computer or other malfunction or by a tiny bomb destroying vital parts] was an obvious possibility.

That jet loss led to the first serious rift between the Chinese government and Malaysian airlines and possibly Malaysia because of all the loss of the Chinese and the mess in  handling it, not finding it.

Now another Malaysian jet has gone down, causing a tremendous rift between Malaysia and Europeans and providing a massive propaganda attack on Russia opportunity for the U.S.





If we find that the jet crashed in the Ukraine without being hit by a rocket, it will look even more like that.

You Can Be Denied Access to Your Money Market Account

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 02:01

It was nearly five years ago when Zero Hedge first wrote: “This Is The Government: Your Legal Right To Redeem Your Money Market Account Has Been Denied” in which we predicted as part of the ongoing herding of investors away from every other asset class and into stocks, regulation will be implemented to enforce that “money market fund managers will have the option to suspend redemptions to allow for the orderly liquidation of fund assets” or in other words implement redemption “gates.” The logic: spook participants in the $2.6 trillion money market industry with the prospect of being gated (i.e., having no access to one’s funds) and force them to reallocate funds elsewhere.

Moments ago the gates arrived, when following a close 3-2 vote (with republican commissioner Piwowar and democrat Stein dissenting), the SEC adopted new rules designed to curb the risk of investor runs on money market funds, capping the end of a years-long heated debate between regulators and the industry dating to the financial crisis according to Reuters.

Among the changes, funds will have to switch to a floating share price instead of the current $1/share (hence the term breaking the buck). But the key part: “The SEC’s rule will require prime money market funds to move from a stable $1 per share net asset value, to a floating NAV. It also will let fund boards lower redemption “gates” and fees in times of market stress.”

And therein lies the rub, because the very presence of the “gate” effect will be enough to send money market investors rushing out (as they are all sophisticated enough to know that this fake, rigged market is a house of cards just waiting to come down) and into other asset classes.

Of course, it is the desire of the SEC, the Fed and the US Treasury that the one asset class picked as an alternative to money markets is equities: considering that the entire rally since 2009 has been on the back of the Fed and the primary dealers, with virtually none retail participation, the SEC decided it was about time to herd the “retail investor” out of the ZIRP “danger” of money markets and into the “safety” of an all time higher stock market where even Janet Yellen admits there is at least a biotech and a social media stock bubble.

Below are some of the concerns voice by one of the objectors, Kara Stein, via Bloomberg which incidentally are all spot on:

Redemption gates are the “wrong tool to address risk,” said SEC Commissioner Kara Stein during open meeting.

Fear incentives will result in “greater chance of fire sales in times of stress and spread panic to other parts of the financial system while denying investors and issuers access to capital”

  • “Money market funds are only one part of wholesale funding markets that need to be strengthened”
  • In the event the gate imposed increases, investors have a “strong incentive to redeem ahead of others”
  • While a gate may be good for one fund, “it can be very damaging to the financial system as a whole”
  • When the gate for a fund is used, it doesn’t mean the “impact on wholesale funding markets will be prevented”

She is spot on. But forget about our opinion, or even that of the SEC, because while on the surface this now enacted proposal to establish withdrawal limits is spun as benign, it was the Fed itself who warned in April of 2014 that the possibility of suspending convertibility, including the imposition of gates or fees for redemptions, can create runs that  would not otherwise occur… Rules that provide intermediaries, such as MMFs, the ability to restrict redemptions when liquidity falls short may threaten financial stability by setting up the possibility of preemptive runs.

Clearly, everyone understand that the only purpose behind implementing “gates” is to redirect the herd. And with some $2.6 trillion in assets, money markets can serve as a convenient source of “forced buying” now that QE is tapering if only for the time being. The only question is whether the herd will agree to this latest massive behavioral experiment by the Fed, and allocate their funds to a stock market which is now trading at a higher P/E multiple than during the last market peak.

And should this particular exercise in inflating stock bubbles fail, then gating bond funds, another “reform” which as we reported last month is in the works, should certainly force equities to unseen bubble proportions.

On the other hand, a blow off top in which the S&P rises by a few hundred points in weeks if not days may be just what this market needs for its final catharsis before everyone realizes just how insane centrally-planned things have gotten, and the long-delayed reset can finally take place.

Reprinted with permission from

Eat More Chocolate

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 02:01

Many of us hold chocolate in high regard, if for no other reason than the taste—the decadent flavor and texture that makes you feel a rush of endorphins. But chocolate isn’t only good because of its taste. On the contrary, some of the best qualities of chocolate are actually health-related.

To be clear, when we talk about the health benefits of chocolate, we are largely talking about dark chocolate, that processed with the least amount of added sugar. Ideally, to get the health benefits from your chocolate treat, you should seek out cocoa concentrations as high as you can handle. Because most people don’t like their chocolate bitter, around 80% seems to be a reasonable compromise for many.

The earliest use of chocolate reportedly comes from the Olmec civilization in what is now Central America. It was then that the popularity of chocolate spread across the globe—into Europe and elsewhere. Now, chocolate can be found virtually anywhere, though it’s often stirred into the most otherwise unhealthy of dishes.

By itself, chocolate offers a wealth of healthy benefits. It’s loaded with antioxidants which can help fight oxidative stress and inflammation. But the benefits certainly don’t stop there.

One study, published in The Journal of Nutrition found that chocolate containing plant sterols and cocoa flavanols were able to lower cholesterol and reduce blood pressure.

Further research, from researchers with Harvard Medical School, recommends drinking two cups of hot chocolate each day to ward off cognitive decline associated with aging. Lead author of this study, Farzaneh A. Sorond, says, “As different areas of the brain need more energy to complete their tasks, they also need greater blood flow. This relationship, called neurovascular coupling, may play an important role in diseases such as Alzheimer’s.”

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Pro-US Government Collapses

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 02:01

KIEV, July 24 (RIA Novosti) – Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced his resignation Thursday following the collapse of the ruling European Choice parliamentary coalition.

“If no new coalition is formed and the existing coalition in a parliamentary-presidential republic had collapsed, the government and the prime minister have to resign. I announce my resignation because of the coalition’s collapse,” he said.

Yatsenyuk also expressed disappointment with Ukrainian parliament’s decision to reject a bill that allows the government to hand over up to 49 percent of the country’s gas transport system to investors from the European Union and the United States.

Parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchynov said parliamentary factions of the Svoboda and UDAR parties were to put forward the candidacy of the interim prime minister.

According to the Ukraine’s constitution, the resignation of Prime Minister entails resignation of the entire Cabinet. Cabinet of Ministers, dissolved by the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament), will continue to function until the new government is formed.

Earlier on Thursday, Ukraine’s Svoboda and UDAR parties announced their factions in the parliament were quitting the majority coalition, paving the way for the dissolution of parliament.

The majority coalition in the Ukrainian parliament, created after the February coup, had 256 members, the vast majority of them representing the former opposition parties of Batkyvshchina, UDAR and Svoboda.

With today’s resignations from the coalition, their number has fallen below the constitutional threshold of 226 members, giving the president the legal power to dissolve parliament in one month.

Verkhovna Rada appointed Arseniy Yatsenyuk Ukraine’s new Prime Minister on February 27, after President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted from power following a military coup.

Reprinted from RIA Novosti.

10 Controversial Air Crashes

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 02:01

The recent loss of Malaysian Airlines Flights MH370 and MH17 have been the source of endless speculation. Many questions remain unanswered. For MH17 at least, the answers suggest sinister goings-on and a crude attempt at a cover-up. Speculation over aircraft disasters isn’t new. Crashes from decades past continue to suggest that someone may have something they’re trying to hide.

Editor’s note: Where photos of the planes or crash sites were not available or appropriate, photos of planes of the same model have been used.

10 Cubana de Aviacion Flight 455

Cubana de Aviacion Flight 455 was brought down by two bombs on October 6, 1976, shortly after it took off from Seawell Airport in Barbados. Two bombs were created using plastic explosives hidden in toothpaste tubes. The bombs had been placed by two men, Freddy Lugo and Hernan Lozano, who’d boarded the plane in Trinidad and departed during its stopover at Seawell. They were found and arrested not long after the bombing.

Lozano originally claimed to have been working on behalf of the CIA, but retracted the claim later. He said he and Lugo had been paid $16,000 and $8,000 respectively by Luis Posada Carriles. Posada had been a CIA contact until just a few months before the bombing. He was working alongside Orlando Bosch, also a former CIA contact. Both men were terrorists with the main aim of destroying the reign of the United State’s long-time opponent, Fidel Castro.

Whether or not the CIA were in any way involved in the bombing, they appear to have known about it. Released intelligence reports show that a CIA contact had overheard Posada days before the attack claim “We are going to hit a Cuban airplane” and “Orlando has the details.” Both former CIA contacts were arrested and tried in Venezuela, but both were able to escape and flee to the US.

In 1990, President Bush issued an administrative pardon to Bosch for entering the country illegally. The Justice Department had protested sharply against the act as they believed he was a threat to public security. Posada has also called the US home for many years, which has faced severe criticism for keeping him from justice. Posada’s lawyer summarized the situation thus: “How can you call someone a terrorist who allegedly committed acts on your behalf?”

9 Argo 16

On November 23, 1973, a Douglas C-47 crashed into an industrial park in Venice. The C-47 was a World War II transport, but this particular plane had a much more storied history. It flew for the Italian government, was sponsored by the CIA, and had been packed out with surveillance electronics.

The crash was initially put down to pilot error, but a second investigation concluded that the aircraft had been brought down deliberately, perhaps by a bomb. Yet the plane, nicknamed Argo 16, wasn’t an easy target for terrorists. Its movements and purpose were classified. The flight crews and personnel that looked after the aircraft were from specially chosen units. Smuggling a bomb onboard the aircraft would have been almost impossible.

Two groups have been implicated in the attack. The first is the Israeli security agency, Mossad. In late 1973, the Italian government was reported to have signed a pact with the Palestine Liberation Organization. In response for the Palestinians leaving Italy free from terrorist activity, the Italians would shuttle any captured PLO members back to Palestine. Argo 16 was the plane supposedly used for such missions, and Israel wanted to send a very strong message.

An alternate theory involves Operation Gladio, an operation sponsored by the CIA. The idea was to train a paramilitary group to provide resistance should the Soviet Union choose to invade Europe. Argo 16 was used to fly Gladio materials between locations. An attempt to disband the organization was made in 1973, but recruits resisted the idea. Claims were made that the Gladiatori bombed Argo 16 as a message to Italy’s government that they wouldn’t be shut down quietly.

8 United Airlines Flight 553

United Airlines Flight 553 was coming in to land at Chicago Midway International Airport on December 8, 1972, when air traffic control asked it to circle back and make another approach. The pilot descended too rapidly with too low an airspeed, and the plane crashed into a residential area almost 3 kilometers (2 mi) short of the airport. Two people on the ground were killed, as well as 43 passengers.

The crash became notorious because one of the passengers killed was Dorothy Hunt, wife of one of the CIA agents convicted during the Watergate scandal. Her body was discovered alongside a handbag containing $10,000 in $100 bills. It’s suspected she distributed cash to people connected to the Watergate conspiracy, and the incident became known as the “Watergate crash.”

Conspiracy theorists have pointed to the unusually swift arrival of the FBI as evidence that the plane was brought down deliberately. Hunt was a CIA operative herself. Some theories have suggested that Hunt and her husband were threatening to reveal government secrets if charges against E. Howard Hunt weren’t dropped. In 1974, Howard Hunt’s superior, referring to the CIA, said “I think they killed Dorothy Hunt.”

Cyanide was found in the bodies of many of the dead but was said to have been a result of smoke inhalation. One investigative author claimed to have found that a radio ham had called a Chicago talk show in the hours after the crash and reported hearing an exchange discussing sabotage. The National Transportation Safety Board investigation concluded that pilot error was the sole cause of the accident and that there was no evidence of sabotage.

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A Confession

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 02:01

To Our Friends, and Friends of the Freedom Movement:

We are excited to announce Ron Paul Channel’s expansion into Voices of Liberty, Powered by Ron Paul. As Voices of Liberty, we further amplify the messages of the freedom movement through engaging videos and insightful news coverage. There are some major changes coming that will allow you to become an integral part of the movement by making your voice truly matter.

In addition to Ron Paul Channel programming you’re used to, Voices of Liberty will offer more video, audio and editorial from well-known champions of liberty as well as everyday citizens in the freedom movement. We are also producing new shows that offer valuable information you can use in your daily life — from learning and practicing your constitutional rights to the future of monetary policy, business and technology.

With your participation, Voices of Liberty will be the go-to social platform for liberty-minded people. As a project spearheaded by me and the Voices of Liberty team, we have the power to accomplish our goals. Together, we will challenge the status quo through staying informed on today’s most pressing issues and engaging in constructive discourse to develop actionable solutions to achieve the change the liberty movement demands.

The Internet has allowed the message of liberty to spread like wildfire and that’s why we believe the restoration of liberty has a real fighting chance. As a project spearheaded by me and the Voices of Liberty team, we have the power to accomplish our goals. And with your help, we will be a formidable voice that influences elections, strikes down useless legislation and promotes social awareness on the issues that matter most to us all.

We’ve had enough of the unjustified wars, unconstitutional surveillance, extrajudicial drone assassinations, the continual weakening of the dollar, draconian drug laws, and the outright lies and deceptive doublespeak spouted by politicians with clandestine agendas.

We want to provide a brighter future for generations to come by ending these trillion-dollar wars, restoring economic prosperity, instituting real government transparency and ridding our country of warrantless spying on our private communications, among many other things.

By continuing your support and actively participating in Voices of Liberty, you can help determine the fate of our great nation.

We eagerly look forward to working with you,

Ron Paul and the Voices of Liberty Team

The Market Is Headed for a Fall

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 02:01

The 2008 Wall Street meltdown is long forgotten, having been washed away by a tsunami of central bank liquidity. Indeed, the S&P closed yesterday at 1,983—or up by nearly 200% from its March 2009 low. Yet four cardinal measures of Main Street economic health convey nothing like a 2X pick-up from the post-crisis bottom.

To wit, in June the count of  breadwinner jobs was 68.5 million or 5% below were it stood as the crisis got underway. Likewise, business investment in real plant and equipment is still 5% below its late 2007 peak. So too with the real median family income at about $53k—its still down by 6%. And unlike past cycles where safety net programs like food stamps shed recipients as the recovery gained momentum, there are still nearly 47 million Americans in the program compared to 30 million in March 2009.

This juxtaposition has been explained away by Wall Street stock touts under the heading that “this time is different”. Markets have allegedly sprung loose from their moorings in the real economy owing to record corporate profits and an upward re-rating of PE multiples reflecting lower than historical interest rates. And, indeed, the raw facts can be marshaled to this end.

As shown in the stunning chart below, profits have doubled as a share of corporate net value added since the turn of the century. Likewise, when measured against GDP, profits are at 60-year highs.

This is just the trouble, however. The robust rate of profit growth during recent years reflects a one-time gain in the profit share of factor income. This gain in all probability cannot be replicated again during the next decade, and, in fact, is extremely vulnerable to the mean reversion so evident in the historical data above. Indeed, that may have already begun during the first quarter of 2014 when the profit share dropped sharply as shown in both charts above.

The same can be said of low interest rates. After an unprecedented 33-year descent, the yield on the 10-year treasury benchmark has nowhere to go but higher; and after hitting a QE induced rock bottom of 1.5% in mid-2012, the benchmark yield has, in fact, bottomed and begun a climb toward normalization. No amount of money printing and financial repression by the central banks can keep yields on the current massive trove of $12 trillion of publicly held treasury debt at a negative after-tax and after-inflation rate indefinitely.

So this means that earnings are being drastically over-capitalized. Indeed, even without any allowance for profit and interest normalization, PE multiples are at the top of their historic range and at a point of extreme vulnerability where market crashes have invariably occurred in the past. In the case of the S&P 500, for example, reported LTM earnings adjusted for a recent pension accounting change which is not reflected in the historical data stand at about $100 per share. This means the broad market of big cap stocks is trading at 19.8X—-a tippy-top capitalization rate that has never been sustained.

And that is before considering the impact of interest rate normalization on the $3 trillion of debt carried by the S&P companies. That alone could reduce reported EPS by $5-$8 per share, and also throw a monkey wrench into the debt-financed flurry of stock buybacks that have accounted for nearly all of the gains in per share earnings during recent quarters.

Then there are the numerous and compounding headwinds lurking down the road. These include baby boom demographics and the massive overhang of $60 trillion of public and private debt domestically; and global troubles everywhere—from the bankrupting old age colony in Japan, to the tottering house of cards known as “red capitalism” in China, to the crushing burden of the socialist welfare state in Europe. Given these adversities, there is no reason to assume that US real growth will sharply accelerate from the tepid trends of the recent past.

Yet at current top-of-the range PE multiples, the market has priced in a macro-economy that attains the kind of “escape velocity” that has been evident in historical business cycles. Unfortunately, we are now in month #61 of this recovery cycle–well past the 55 month historical average for a post-war recovery—and there has been no sign of a conventional cyclical rebound whatsoever. In fact, based on the disastrous Q1 GDP number (which is fixing to be further reduced in the upcoming benchmark revisions) and the tepid trends during Q2, forecasters are now tracking 2014 GDP growth at 1.7%—-the lowest rate since the 2009 bottom.

In short, the market is pricing in a future based on past business cycles that are now irrelevant in an economy laboring under $60 trillion of public and private debt and a peak 3.5X leverage ratio against national income. This means that historical credit fueled growth is no longer possible; and that GDP, therefore, can grow, at best, only at the tepid rate at which real wage and salary incomes are inching forward.

This all adds up to a case for capitalizing corporate earnings at a rate well below the historical norms, not at the tippy-top of prior experience. But the Wall Street casino is so juiced-up on the Fed’s promise of endless liquidity and puts under the stock averages that it is uninterested in the fundamentals, and will keep buying the dips until some confidence shattering black swan comes flying in from out of the blue.

And that points to the real evil of monetary central planning and the serial financial bubbles that it inexorably produces. Bubbles are now only recognized after they burst into a flaming crash. The chart below regarding the $2.3 trillion private label market in securitized sub-prime mortgages created by Wall Street in the run up to the last bubble top says it all. What were heralded to be money-good par securities because “that time was different” have ended up in a  smoldering pile of toxic waste.

 Reprinted with permission from David Stockman.

They Lied, Manipulated, and Carried Out a Major Fraud

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 02:01

The Global Warming crowd is now desperately trying to counter-act the data that says they are quite frankly about as credible as the old Y2K crowd back in 2000. The data have clearly shown that they have lied, manipulated, and outright carried out a major fraud upon society. They argue that man has altered the entire planet in just a few decades which is like focusing on a 7 day reaction in a bear market and declaring it’s really a bull market. The theory is totally unsound simply from a realistic research perspective.

The fact that surface temperatures have not warmed over the past 17 years showing that their climate models are unreliable, is now amazingly being refuted with quick new research led by James Risbey. In just a matter of weeks, he is leading the charge demonstrating his clearly predisposed bias. Risbey now excuses their nonsense of models that have overestimated global warming with a slapped together study published in Nature Climate Change asserting that their models actually generate good estimates of recent and past trends provided they also took into account natural variability known as El Nino-La Nina phases in the Pacific. OOPS! Cycles?

It is just amazing how these people are so sold on claiming millions of years can be altered in just a few decades like a 7 day rally in the middle of the Great Depression. Risbey is clueless obviously that cycles exist or how they function and claiming that the oceans are absorbing the heat so we do not feel it is clever. Effective he states he would be right but for El Nino-La Mina phases. OMG – is this cycles? He actually states: “You’re always going to get periods when the warming slows down or speeds up relative to the mean rate because we have these strong natural cycles”.

So lets see, there are roughly 30-year cycles (Pi cycle 31.4 years) whereby the Pacific alternates between periods of more frequent El Ninos – when the ocean gives back heat to the atmosphere – to La Ninas, when it acts as a massive heat sink, setting in train relatively cool periods for surface temperatures. This has been taking place before the Industrial Revolution. Violent storms were far worse at the bottom on the 300 year cycle in the energy output of the sun in the 18th century.

The record of the biggest hurricane seasons in the Atlantic since the start of the 20th century reveals only a cycle, not a progressive trend escalating that builds like a bull market.

1.                          1950                       8 2.                          2005                       7 3.                          1999                       6 3.                          1996                       6 3.                          1964                       6 3.                          1961                       6 3.                          1955                       6 3.                          1926                       6


By selecting climate models in phase with natural variability, Risbey is desperately trying to argue the global warming core trend is correct. Quite frankly, a few decades does not cut it. In market forecasting, this is no different from following Black–Scholes model that led to the Long-Term Capital Management collapse in 1998 when Genius Failed because they tested the model with data only back to 1971.

Even looking at the historical record of storms, none of the worst even took place during the 20th century.

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Rotting From Within

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 02:01

Depending on blowing the next bubble to temporarily prop up the economy is the height of foolhardy shortsightedness.

All the conventional policy fixes proposed by Demopublican politicos, technocrats and the vast army of academic/think-tank apparatchiks are the equivalent of slapping a coat of paint on a fragile facade riddled with dryrot. All these fake-fixes share a few key characteristics:

1. They focus on effects and symptoms rather than address the underlying causes, i.e. the dryrot at the heart of our government, society and economy.

2. They maintain and protect the Status Quo Powers That Be–no vested interests, protected fiefdoms or Financial Elites ever lose power as a result of these policy tweaks.

3. They are politically expedient, meaning they assuage the demands of vested interests rather than tackle the rot undermining the nation.

4. They ignore the perverse incentives built into current systems and the incentives of complicity, i.e. to cheer another coat of paint on the dryrot rather than face the costs of real reform.

The financial underpinnings of the economy and society are rotting from within:finance, higher education, defense, healthcare, law, governance, you name it.

This week I want to highlight a few key causes of this pervasive and eventually fatal systemic rot.

Let’s start with Our Ponzi Economy. There are three primary examples of our Ponzi Economy: pay-as-you-go social programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.); housing and the stock market. All are examples of financial Ponzi schemes.

All Ponzi schemes rely on an ever-expanding pool of greater fools who buy into the scheme and pay the interest/gains due the previous pool of greater fools. Ponzi schemes fail because the pool of greater fools is finite, but the scheme demands an ever-expanding pool of participants to function.

All Ponzi schemes eventually fail, though each is declared financially soundbecause this time it’s different. The number of greater fools required to keep the scheme going eventually exceeds the working population of the nation.

Here’s why Pay-As-You-Go Social Programs are all Ponzi schemes:

1 retiree consumes the taxes paid by 5 workers. Those 5 workers when they retire consume the taxes paid by 25 workers. Those 25 workers when they retire consume the taxes paid by 125 workers. Those 125 workers when they retire consume the taxes paid by 625 workers. Those 625 workers when they retire consume the taxes paid by 3,125 workers.

You see where this goes: very quickly, the number of workers required to keep the Ponzi scheme afloat exceeds the entire workforce.

The only way to keep the Ponzi scheme going is to keep raising payroll taxes on the remaining workers, which is precisely what welfare states (i.e. every developed economy on the planet) has done.

But raising taxes merely extends the Ponzi scheme one cycle. Eventually, taxes are so high that the remaining workers are impoverished. Right now, the U.S. has reached a ratio of 2 full-time workers for every retiree. As the number of retirees rises by thousands every day and the number of full-time jobs stagnates, the ratio will slide toward 1-to-1:

The Problem with Pay-As-You-Go Social Programs: They’re Ponzi Schemes (November 5, 2013)

Estimates are even worse in other developed nations. In Europe, the ratio of retirees over 65 to those between 20 and 64 will soon reach 50%–and that’s of the population, not of people with full-time jobs paying taxes to fund social welfare programs. (source: Foreign Affairs, July/August 2014, page 130)

As the percentage of the working-age populace with full-time jobs declines, the worker-retiree ratio will become increasingly unsustainable. The taxes paid by each worker are nowhere enough to fund the generous pension and healthcare benefits promised to every retiree.

In the U.S., the number of people of working age who are jobless is 92 million; the number of full-time jobs is 118 million. This chart of labor participation includes almost 30 million part-time employees who don’t earn enough to pay substantial taxes and millions of self-employed people making poverty-level net incomes.

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Fighting Fires Without Socialism

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 02:01

According to Terry L. Anderson and Daniel Botkin, “Fighting Western Fires with Economics” is a good idea.

Were I writing an essay with this title, I would emphasize the role of private property rights. If all forests were owned by individuals and private corporations, those that did well in protecting their trees from conflagrations would prosper, those who failed to do so would lose money and eventually be forced into bankruptcy. Whereupon the ones who were more efficient protectors of the woodlands would  take over the holdings of the failures, and more and more acreage would fall under the control of  those who were effective not only at fighting fires, but at all aspects of protecting and promoting this valuable resource.

Would this be a perfect system? No, of course not. Nothing in this vale of tears rises to that level. Entrepreneurs in charge of making these decisions are imperfect human beings, who always make mistakes. But this “weeding out of the unfit” process tends to ensure that more effective fire fighters would tend to control more and more stands of wood, and the particularly inept less and less. Does anyone else have a better idea? No? I thought not.

Is this the tack that was taken by Anderson and Botkin? No. Of course not. Had they done so, there would have been no reason for me to have written this sharpish critique of their essay. Instead, I might have just blogged this on, alerting readers to a good, modern, application of the Bastiat – Hazlitt insights.

Which analytic technique did these authors offer to combat forest fires? What advice did they offer to this end? Property rights, profit and loss? No. Perhaps a different version of these insights? No, again. We search in vain for even any mention of these concepts. And this is more than passing curious, in that these authors are well known as being advocates of free market environmentalism.

Instead, horrors, they took on the role of efficiency experts for the state. Murray N. Rothbard had this to say about Milton Friedman in this regard: “Milton Friedman has once again been guided by his overwhelming desire not to remove the State from our lives, but to make the State more efficient.” Why do I mention this? I am not sure of Botkin, but Anderson is certainly a disciple of Friedman (full disclosure, as if any were needed: as I am of Rothbard). The point is, both Anderson and I are heavily guided by our respective mentors: Anderson (and Botkin) try to promote more efficient state control of forests, and I now upbraid him (them) for so doing, from the free enterprise perspective.  Neither the word “privatization” nor the phrase “private property” appears even once in this essay, and this is incomprehensible for an analyst who claims any adherence at all to the philosophy of laissez faire capitalism.

What do they say, instead? They call for a reallocation of government resources: “With homes, watersheds and vistas threatened, city, county, state and federal agencies have little choice but to throw everything they have into suppression, once again neglecting the basic forest management needed to clear the tinder buildup that fuels infernos.” Is this advice clearly wrong? No. It might well be the case that diverting expenditures from suppression to clearing timber buildup will reduce the harm generated by conflagrations. But without a competitive market, where some owners try plan A and others B, C or D, and then see who earns the most profit, we will never know for sure.  Unless competition is allowed, we are flying blind. We are in a position similar to that of the Soviet central planners, who also had to operate in the absence of the profit and loss system.

Our authors also reject “balance of nature ecology” in favor of “modern ‘dynamic ecology.”” The latter “understands nature as a motion picture, so to speak, not a still life” as in the former case.  The “balance of nature” suggest(s) there is some optimal global temperature whereas dynamism sees a “never-ending movie, (where) the environment has always changed and is always changing, and humans have always played a role.” I confess that as an economist and a libertarian, a supporter of private property rights, I really have no dog in this fight. Full disclosure: I scarcely understand the full differences between these two. All I know for sure is that the best way to determine which policy is more economical is to allow both management techniques to compete with each other.  This is an empirical issue, not a matter of praxeology, or economic law. Time preferences would appear to play a role here and thus, perhaps, there is no one “correct” way to which all entrepreneurs should conform.

I confronted a similar challenge in my work on road privatization. I speculated that perhaps, just perhaps, a single system emanating from our friends in Washington DC regarding highway speed limits (40 miles per hour minimum, 70mph maximum) was not the most conducive one to saving lives. Instead of a one size fits all system, I opined that different thoroughfare owners might implement dissimilar rules, in order to reduce traffic fatalities. But, should it be 50mph in the right lane, 65mph in the middle lane and 80mph is the left lane?  Or perhaps 55mph in the right lane, 70mph in the middle one and 80mph is the left? Maybe 50, 60 and70 would work better in terms of minimizing deaths and maximizing distance travelled per hour? Should owners west of the Mississippi adopt faster speeds than east of this river, given fewer motorists per mile? Not being a road engineer, merely a free market economist, I simply did not know. (I am also ignorant as to whether red, blue, green or white tablecloths most satisfy restaurant patrons.) So I recommended a competitive system in which different highway corporations would try some of these options, and/or any others of their own devising, or even continue the status quo. Then  we would live and learn; then, we would have a hope of improving highway safety.

It is precisely the analogous public policy recommendation I would make in the present case regarding forest fires. Do not subscribe to policy A (as do Anderson and Botkin) or B or C or D either. Rather, call for privatization, free enterprise, competition, and allow the market process to determine the best management technique, or, possibly, several of them.

Anderson’s organization, PERC, used to be called the Political Economy Resource Center. It subsequently changed its name to the Property and Environment Resource Center. All the more reason, then, to be true to the first word in its new title, “property,” as in private property.

In the view of these authors, “science should guide forest managers.” No, no, no. Science should not guide present governmental bureaucratic managers in their decision making. In that direction lies becoming an efficiency expert for the state, something to be avoided like the plague. Nor, or course, should anti science guide them. Instead, libertarianism should do so. That is, libertarianism should be the guiding light.  These Soviet style central planners should be turfed out of their cushy high paying jobs in which they are never automatically penalized for their mistakes. According to Thomas Sowell, “It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting these decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.”  Science schmience. These civil “servants” should be supplanted by forest entrepreneurs who will indeed pay a price for errors. That is the best, indeed only rational way to bring about rational management of these resources.

In the view of Anderson and Botkin, in sharp contrast, “Dynamic economics requires finding the appropriate institutions for connecting human action with environmental change. Government can help by providing realistic signals about the environment and encouraging people to act on them.” Were this support of socialism emanating from the left wing of the Democratic Party, or from the watermelons (green on the outside, but red on the inside), it would pass without critical comment from me. There is more anti market verbiage emanating from that side of the aisle than you can shake a stick at. But, when it is published in an ostensibly free market newspaper such as the Wall Street Journal, and written by authors with impeccable free enterprise credentials such as Anderson, it deserves critical comment. The “appropriate institutions for connecting human action with environmental change” are economic freedom, private property rights and laissez faire capitalism. The government is also known far and wide as the provider not of “realistic signals” but of the very opposite. Its Fed interest rate policies provide “signals” that misallocate the inter-temporal capital and resource markets. Its minimum wage laws provide misbegotten “signals” in the labor market, creating unemployment for the unskilled. Its drug war provides “signals” that encourages the rise of gangsterism and fill our jails to overcapacity. Its tariffs provide “signals” that undermine international trade and with it the international division of labor. Its agricultural policies provide “signals” that misallocate resources from that sector of the economy, and these examples are the tip of the veritable ice berg. Why oh why, pray tell, should we expect, let alone ask for, “realistic signals” from the statists in forestry, or fire-fighting?

Anderson and Botkin even admit that FEMA subsidies “distorted incentives … to rebuild in the same locations” in the aftermath of Sandy and Katrina. They bewail that “low-interest loans are available to homeowners and business that suffered property damage in the San Diego wildfires. Such policies fool people into thinking that they can live anywhere without accepting the environmental risks…” Why, then, do they rely on this malevolent and inefficient institution, government, to play a positive role in fighting western fires?

These authors go so far as to assert that “markets can also play a constructive role.” They properly point to the movement of the grain belt. But markets, or at least free markets, simply cannot properly function in the absence of private property rights. Free markets and private property rights are joined at the hip. You can’t have one without ‘tother. Hopefully when next Anderson and Botkin address such issues they will approach them in a manner more compatible with economic freedom.

The Food Stasi

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 02:01

While Americans in the nearby city of Detroit face life in third world conditions, unable to even afford running water,  the state of Michigan decided to direct its resources towards cracking down on a small food co-op in Standish for having the utter audacity to provide milk, butter, cream and eggs to people who bought shares in the organic dairy.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture must be so proud of their deeds, after they forced Joe and Brenda Golimbieski, the owners of  Hill High Dairy and Jenny Samuelson, the owner of My Family Co-op, to dump out 248 gallons of milk, to break 100 dozen eggs, and to destroy an undisclosed amount of fresh cream, butter and cheese.

According to a post on the Hill High Dairy page on Facebook, the agents from the MDA stood over the family, watching as the food was destroyed.

100 dozen eggs… Each egg had to be broken. 248 gallons dumped in a sprayer that had to be witnessed by MDA being dumped and sprayed on the field.

Here are pictures of the destruction of this food from Hill High Dairy page – if you’re on Facebook, please go and give them a “like” to show your support.

According to the owners of the dairy, the MDA threatened to arrest the co-op owner, Jenny Samuelson,  for “selling food without a license.” However, the farm is a co-op, where people must buy shares. The MDA, however, said that the co-op contracts were invalid, and therefore, instead of being shared, the food was being sold. Because co-op members had paid for their shares, technically the MDA stole food that belonged not just to the Golimbieski family, but to every single member of that co-op.

One member wrote angrily:

This is such a shame! I paid for these products and this is what happened!!!! They are all criminals!!! Government stealing all our food! I paid just so that Jenny and the farmers didn’t have to carry the burden all on their own!!!! A crying shame. Shame on Michigans Department of Agriculture! Criminals everyone on u!!!!

Looking at the website and Facebook page, all I see are happy, well-treated animals, actually roaming around in fields.  How is it that Michigan approves of the horrific conditions in its state’s factory farms, where animals are tortured, drugged, and crammed into cages for the entirety of their miserable lives, but raising animals humanely and naturally is considered “dangerous”?

What is wrong with the world when REAL farming is treated like a crime and fresh food is treated like the crystal meth?

I’ll tell you what’s wrong – big corporations do not want us to have options. They want a monopoly and they are working hard to destroy our other choices. Big Agri clearly has many good friends in the Michigan Department of Agriculture. Clearly the “Department of Agriculture” really means the “Department of Big Agri”. They aren’t there to support small farmers or people who wish to be self-sufficient. They are there to lock down the market for corporate farms. (Like Dean Foods, who also owns Horizon Organics – read more about the way this company does business - they own up to 90% of the corporate milk business in the state, according to an article on The Complete Patient )

David Gumpert, a raw milk advocate and owner of the site The Complete Patient wrote:

The government-sponsored dump of nearly $5,000 of milk, eggs, butter, and cream from Michigan’s My Family Co-Op yesterday carried a very clear and powerful political message to all Americans: We control your food and we don’t like you buying your food outside the corporate food system. Every now and then, we are going to remind you of what bad children you are being by taking your food and throwing it in the garbage. In fact, we are going to do more than remind you, we are going to completely humiliate you by preventing you from even feeding it to farm animals and instead forcing it to be disposed of in a landfill or dumpster…

…If you think I am exaggerating the intent of what is going on here, ask yourself this question: When was the last time you saw government agents seize and condemn food from a place like Foster Farms or Taco Bell or Del Monte or Kellogg’s or Trade Joe’s when their food has been found to contain pathogens, or made people sick? There’s been not even a suggestion that food at My Family Co-Op contained pathogens or made anyone sick. (Read the rest of Mr. Gumpert’s excellent essay on the subject)

The state of Michigan appears in the news again and again for infringing upon the liberty of its residents to choose what they wish to consume. Recently, they took away the “right to farm” from ordinary people, rescinding a law that had been on the books for years. Before that, Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources destroyed a farmer’s heritage pigs, calling them an “invasive species.”

This horrible visual of a farmer destroying fresh food while an “agent” stands over him to make certain that it’s inedible will stick with me. It’s like a scene from a movie, where the vanquishing enemy goes “scorched earth” on the denizens of the area they have conquered, ruining their crops, stealing their food stores, and most of all, making certain that they know they’ve been defeated.

Except it’s not a movie. It’s life in America. The barbarians are members of the government, and it is our own farms that are under siege.

Reprinted with permission from The Organic Prepper.

Trust a Good Driver Who’s ‘Drunk’

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 02:01

Sunday evening, the wife and I went for a walk along the Blue Ridge Parkway. As we were leaving, a guy on a newish Harley rolled into the overlook parking lot. And dropped his bike. I got out to help him get it back up. That done, I got back in the car and we began to drive away.

Here’s where it gets Weird.

My wife noticed it first. Look! The guy has a handicapped plate.

On his bike.

Now, being a Libertarian, I’m opposed to this business of putting (scratch that; being forced to put – and pay for) “plates” on anyone’s bike, handicapped or not. They are the equivalent of those tags you see punched through the ears of cattle – and are hanging off the bumpers of “our” cars and bikes for exactly the same reason.

Free men don’t need plates on their cars anymore than free-ranging cattle have tags in their ears. Would either freely consent to such a thing?

Of course not.

Anyhow. If a guy can manage to ride his bike with a wooden (or metal) prosthetic leg – or hell, no legs at all – it’s ok by me. Or rather, it is none of my business.

Some people have higher-order skills and are better even at 50 percent capacity than some people are at 100 percent. The “drunk driving” analogy is generally applicable. Take an excellent driver – someone with a great deal of natural skill and perhaps some high-level training – and have him drink three or four beers. Even “impaired” – as defined by the law  - he’s still a better driver than most people are completely sober.

This is an unassailable fact that is routinely assailed. Or rather, dismissed out of hand.

If one is nabbed in a “sobriety checkpoint” – which does not test one’s ability to drive or ride but only tests whether one has “x” arbitrary percentage of alcohol in one’s bloodstream (according to a notoriously inaccurate test) – one gets caged and charged with a heavy offense. In court, it’s no defense to demand proof that one’s driving/riding was wobbly. Indeed, even if the arresting cop agrees that one’s driving/riding was absolutely faultless, it is considered (by the law) an irrelevance.

Which is outrageous.

Aren’t we constantly hectored that the object of these exercises is “safety”? Well, if the person’s driving or riding can’t be faulted, isn’t that prima facie evidence of safe driving/riding?

Objectively – on the face of it – arbitrary classifications of people based on some generic “group” metric are indefensible. They presume Smith is incompetent because Jones is – even though Smith has done nothing to warrant being regarded as incompetent.

It’s stultifying because it does not allow for individual variance.

And individuals vary.

Read the rest of the article

Democracy Is a Fraud

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 02:01

What if you were allowed to vote only because it didn’t make a difference? What if no matter how you voted the elites always got their way? What if the concept of one person/one vote was just a fiction created by the government to induce your compliance?

What if democracy as it has come to exist in America today is dangerous to personal freedom? What if our so-called democracy erodes the people’s understanding of natural rights and the reasons for government and instead turns political campaigns into beauty contests? What if American democracy allows the government to do anything it wants, as long as more people bother to show up at the voting booth to support the government than show up to say no?

What if the purpose of contemporary democracy has been to convince people that they could prosper not through the voluntary creation of wealth but through theft from others? What if the only moral way to acquire wealth is through voluntary economic activity? What if the government persuaded the people that they could acquire wealth through political activity? What if economic activity includes all the productive and peaceful things we voluntarily do? What if political activity includes all the parasitical and destructive things the government does? What if the government has never created wealth? What if everything the government owns it has stolen?

What if governments were originally established to protect people’s freedoms but always turn into political and imperialist enterprises that seek to expand their power, increase their territory and heighten their control of the population? What if the idea that we need a government to take care of us is a fiction perpetrated to increase the size of government? What if our strength as individuals and durability as a culture are contingent not on the strength of the government but on the amount of freedom we have from the government?

What if the fatal cocktail of big government and democracy ultimately produces dependency? What if so-called democratic government, once it grows to a certain size, begins to soften and weaken the people? What if big government destroys people’s motivations and democracy convinces them that the only motivation they need is to vote and go along with the results?

What if Congress isn’t actually as democratic as it appears? What if congressional elections don’t square with congressional legislation because the polls aren’t what counts, but what counts are the secret meetings that come after the voting? What if the monster Joe Stalin was right when he said the most powerful person in the world is the guy who counts the votes? What if the vote counting that really counts takes place in secret? What if that’s how we lost our republic?

What if the problem with democracy is that the majority thinks it can right any wrong, write any law, tax any event, regulate any behavior and acquire any thing it wants? What if the greatest tyrant in history lives among us? What if that tyrant always gets its way, no matter what the laws are or what the Constitution says? What if that tyrant is the majority of voters? What if the majority in a democracy recognizes no limits on its power?

What if the government misinforms voters so they will justify anything the government wants to do? What if the government bribes people with the money it prints? What if it gives entitlements to the poor and tax breaks to the middle class and bailouts to the rich just to keep everyone dependent on it? What if a vibrant republic requires not just the democratic process of voting, but also informed and engaged voters who understand first principles of human existence, including the divine origin and inalienable individual possession of natural rights?

What if we could free ourselves from the yoke of big government through a return to first principles? What if the establishment doesn’t want this? What if the government remains the same no matter who wins elections? What if we have only one political party — the Big Government Party — and it has a Democratic wing and a Republican wing? What if both wings want war and taxes and welfare and perpetual government growth, but offer only slightly different menus on how to achieve them? What if the Big Government Party enacted laws to make it impossible for meaningful political competition to thrive?

What if the late progressive Edmund S. Morgan was right when he said that government depends on make believe? What if our ancestors made believe that the king was divine? What if they made believe that he could do no wrong? What if they made believe that the voice of the king was the voice of God?

What if the government believes in make believe? What if it made believe that the people have a voice? What if it made believe that the representatives of the people are the people? What if it made believe that the governors are the servants of the people? What if it made believe that all men are created equal, or that they are not?

What if the government made believe that it is always right? What if it made believe that the majority can do no wrong? What if the tyranny of the majority is as destructive to human freedom as the tyranny of a madman? What if the government knows this?

What do we do about it?

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

‘It Stops Today’

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 02:01

“Every time you see me, you want to mess with me! I’m tired of it! It stops today!”

Eric Garner, a peaceful and productive citizen, had suffered years of pointless and unnecessary harassment by the costumed predators employed by the NYPD. He told one of them to leave him alone. Such impudence by a mere Mundane cannot be tolerated, so Garner was murdered in the street in full public view.

Several plainclothes officers were prowling Garner’s Staten Island neighborhood on the afternoon of July 17 seeking to harvest revenue by catching harmless people in the act of committing petty infractions. Police Commissioner William Bratton describes this as “stamping out petty offenses as a way of heading off larger ones.” in practice, this means authorizing police to commit actual crimes in their efforts to turn harmless people into “offenders.”

When a fight erupted in Garner’s neighborhood, the plainclothes officers – who have no enforceable duty to protect persons or property – didn’t intervene. Garner did, according to witnesses, breaking up the fight and restoring peaceful order. This made Garner conspicuous to the officers whose uselessness he had just demonstrated.

The 43-year-old father of six and grandfather of two had been arrested on dozens of occasions and had court dates scheduled later this year for charges of marijuana possession and selling untaxed cigarettes. Even if one assumes – and one shouldn’t — that either of those charges involved an actual crime, on the day he was killed Garner had done nothing whatsoever to justify being interrogated by the police, let alone arrested.

The first fatal mistake Garner made was to act as a peacemaker. The second was to assert his self-ownership in the face of someone employed by the contemporary equivalent of a slave patrol. Within minutes, five police officers attacked himone of them slipping behind him to apply an illegal chokehold. Garner died of cardiac arrest after being swarmed and suffocated in front of numerous horrified witnesses, one of whom captured the entire event – from first confrontation to homicide – on camera.

Those who visit the fetid and disreputable social media neighborhoods where police congregate anonymously and express themselves candidly will quickly learn that Garner has only himself to blame. He was an overweight, combative black man who didn’t know his proper place, which was at the feet of his betters, meekly accepting the shackles and submitting to whatever indignities they deemed appropriate.

“Anytime a person says `I’m tired of it, it stops today,’ that will almost always end with the use of force,” insisted one contributor to an LEO-exclusive forum. “He made that decision, not the police. The Police must effect the arrest and rise above any resistance” – including verbal resistance to unwarranted harassment by the police, which as Garner’s death illustrates can be treated as a capital offense.

Elsewhere police and their apologists – both paid and uncompensated – are caviling about the nature of the restraint used by Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who attacked the victim’s throat. Because the victim reportedly didn’t suffer significant damage to his throat and trachea, the illegal restraint wasn’t a “true” chokehold, or so the apologists insist. Under NYPD guidelines in place since 1993, this isn’t relevant: The policy explicitly and categorically forbids the use of any restraint involving pressure against the neck or throat.

Furthermore, since 2011, thousands of New York residents have been arrested and convicted under a law that makes any aggressive contact resulting in “obstruction of breathing or blood circulation” a criminal offense – a felony when that act results in the victim suffering “stupor, loss of consciousness, impairment and/or physical or serious physical injury….”

If that statute were applied equitably, as it almost certainly will not be, Pantaleo and his accomplices would be prosecuted for murder.

Atrocities of this kind happen every day across the soyuz, many of them generated by the decades-long derangement known as the war on drugs. The murder of Eric Garner demonstrates that even if drugs were “legalized,” police would still find ways to kill innocent people while collecting the state’s cut of drug proceeds: Remember, the officers who harassed, surrounded, and eventually killed Garner accused him of selling “untaxed” cigarettes.

Three days before the NYPD murdered Eric Garner, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that his Cigarette Strike Force had “seized nearly $1.7 million in cash and contraband” during its first six months of operation. Directed by the state Tax Department, the strike force is a public works project for the coercive sector, encompassing twelve federal and local law enforcement bodies.

Through the task force, participating agencies, from the Department of Homeland Security to the NYPD’s 120thPrecinct – the on-duty home to Eric Garner’s murderers – have access to “crime-related intelligence” to help them collaborate in the supposedly vital task of dismantling “major cigarette trafficking organizations.”

None of this has even the remotest connection to the protection of persons and property. This is law enforcement pared down to its detestable essentials — state-licensed aggressors dispatched to harass, detain, and kill people purely for the purpose of revenue collection.

“All these agencies realize those among us who sell illegal cigarettes are a threat to government tax revenue,” belched New York State Commissar for Taxation Thomas H. Mattox, describing cigarette sales conducted without giving a cut to the political class as “economic crimes that fill the pockets of criminals.”

The expression “economic crimes” is a Soviet-grade collectivist coinage, and Comrade Cuomo channeled the hell-dwelling spirit of Feliks Dzherzhinsky in expressing his determination to punish those who participate in black market cigarette sales.

“Cigarette smugglers should be on notice – our administration will not stand for [sic] those who break the law and steal from taxpayers,” decreed Cuomo, determined to protect his regime’s exclusive privilege of stealing from the productive public. “New York has zero tolerance for this illegal activity, and those who further it will be brought to justice.”

Or, as the killing of Eric Garner demonstrated, those suspected of violating the “zero tolerance” standard by occasionally selling loose cigarettes will be hounded beyond forbearance and then slaughtered in the streets.

Tobacco, like marijuana, is a substance with mood-altering properties. Unlike marijuana, tobacco is legal; another distinction is that tobacco, unlike marijuana, has no known beneficial uses. Apart from a handful of very small jurisdictions, sale and consumption of tobacco have never been prohibited. Instead, the parasite class has expanded efforts to impose “sin taxes” on tobacco: By some estimates, taxes account for more than half the retail price of the typical carton of cigarettes.

Over the past five years, as revenue-hungry governments have ruthlessly increased cigarette taxes, the black market has expanded in similar – and predictable — fashion. Not surprisingly,New York, where taxes are confiscatory, has the highest “inbound cigarette smuggling rate” in the country, according to the Tax Foundation.

Two hundred and forty-six years ago, revenue agents in Boston impounded a large cargo ship christened Liberty that contained a bounty of untaxed goods. The owner of that vessel was a notorious scofflaw and extremist who had been cheating the government by withholding its cut of his commerce.

The officials responsible for this seizure acted out of the smug assurance that the “decent” majority would support this righteous assertion of authority. They were wrong. Rather than rallying to the cause of law and order, the population turned against its government, assaulting officers and attacking their facilities.

Acting on the principle that law enforcement “must rise above resistance,” authorities escalated their efforts to restore order, eventually sending in the military. This led to a massacre that triggered a revolution in which that same supposedly reprehensible smuggler, John Hancock, would play a significant role.

Eric Garner’s exasperated proclamation “It stops today!” is cognate with “Don’t tread on me,” and his murder by an army of occupation immeasurably more vicious and corrupt than the Redcoats could precipitate a long-overdue rebellion against the omnivorous elite that army serves. This is why no effort will be spared to redirect outrage over this atrocity into racial collectivist channels, were it will serve the interest of people who encourage ordinary Americans to look with suspicion and hostility at each other, rather than directing such attention at those who presume to rule the rest of us.

 Obiter dicta 

Last week I had the privilege of being interviewed by Jeff Deist, President of the Mises Institute, on the subject of “Police State Keynesianism”:

Go here to listen to or download my most recent Freedom Zealot Podcast.

Follow me on Twitter here.

Was Elvis a Jewish Indian?

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 02:01

From Chapter 4, “DNA,” Old Souls in a New World:  The Secret History of the Cherokee Indians, by Donald N. Panther-Yates (Cherokee Chapbooks 7; Phoenix:  Panther’s Lodge, 2013) ISBN-13: 978-0615892337

Few people know it but Elvis Presley claimed to be Jewish and Cherokee. A DNA test run on a rare specimen of his in 2004 bore this out. Both of Elvis’ assertions were based on the ancestry of his mother, Gladys Love Smith. Growing up in Memphis, Elvis went to summer camp through the Jewish community center. When his mother died, he took care to have her grave marked with a Star of David (since removed). He studied Judaism increasingly in later years and to the end of his life wore a chai necklace, symbol of Jewish life. Published genealogies take Gladys’ strict maternal line back to great-great grandmother Nancy Burdine, a professed Jewess born in Kentucky, whose mother was White Dove, a reputed fullblood. Through his mother’s direct female line, Elvis was a Jewish Indian, an American Indian Jew.

Well, maybe not. Bracketing for the moment what makes one a Jew, we have to admit that American Indian identity is not so simple either. One factor weighing heavily in both claims, however, is DNA.

Paleo-American genetics is fraught with problems. According to a previous director of Tulane’s Middle American Research Institute, the field is a notorious “battleground of the theorists,” a controversial area “which has snared to their downfall not a few crackpots, mystics, ‘linguistic acrobats,’ racists and even ‘famous institutions’ . . . [including] of course the anthropological profession itself.” The DNA landscape is strewn with racist bombshells and political dynamite.

About twenty years ago, in a work as revered as it is unreadable, Italian-born geneticist Luca Luigi Cavalli-Sforza at Stanford University unveiled a tree of man based on an analysis of 120 markers from forty-two world populations. Looking solely at female lines, he posited two main limbs, African and non-African. The latter branched off into Europeans (Caucasians) and Northeast Asians (Siberians and Mongolians). Included in Northeast Asians were so-called Amerindians. Amerinds were closest in genetic distance to Northern Turkic, Chukchi and other Arctic peoples. They shared a number of genetic markers with their ancient neighbors, including a similar frequency of female lineages. These came to be labeled mitochondrial haplogroups A, B, C, and D.

Little did Cavalli-Sforza and his team expect to encounter any snags in their research, much less defunding by the U.S. Government and the United Nations, but this is exactly what happened. The genial professor received a letter from a Canadian human rights group called the Rural Advancement Foundation International. They demanded he stop his work immediately. They accused the Human Genome Diversity Project of biopiracy. The scientists were stealing DNA.

Ever since that slippery slope, geneticists have trodden warily around the issue of Native American demographics and genetics.

Theodore Schurr’s team in 1990 had matched “Amerindian” changes in mitochondrial DNA over the last 40,000 years with those of Mongolians and Siberians. The lines were indelibly drawn. The scientific community laid down the law that the earliest Native Americans come from four primary maternal lineages. Only female haplogroups A, B, C and D are true Native American types. A fifth lineage, haplogroup X, was admitted, provisionally, in 1997.

Elvis’s American Indian mitochondrial type is B. What account can we make of this haplogroup? Certain critics of the new axiom in American Indian genetics point out that B is not associated in high frequencies with Mongolian populations. Rather, it is Southeast Asian in origin—something borne out by the Elvis sample having also a rare Asian ethnic marker. B’s center of diffusion is Taiwan and it is common, even dominant, among Polynesians, the Hopi, and Pueblo Indians like the Jemez.

Read the rest of the article

DC War Sheet Attacks Ron Paul

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 02:01

What a bizarre article about Dr. Paul from the National Journal! Beginning from the title, the piece read like something from a high school newspaper.

Does a publication playing the role of the grown-up voice on Capitol Hill really publish a piece titled “Ron Paul Is Putin’s New Best Friend“?

And it goes downhill from there.

In the article, author Lucia Graves starts by accusing Dr. Paul of “blaming America first” because in his weekly column on Sunday he pointed out that we have seen this movie before: the US government has brought us to war (Iraq, Libya, etc) and nearly brought us to war (Syria) on information it swore was the absolute, indisputable truth at the time but which turned out to be lies and propaganda.

She had not heard of this before?

Maybe this will refresh her memory.

Paul cautioned skepticism about Obama and Kerry’s claims that they know exactly what happened with the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 before the investigation had even begun, much less concluded.

After all, he pointed out, they assured us they were certain that Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack on Ghouta in Syria last summer. They had all the evidence, they swore, but they couldn’t show the rest of us. And it turns out they lied.

Paul’s crime, it seems, is that the Russian media re-published his article which suggested that we wait to blame Russia (or Ukraine, or the rebels) until an investigation can be concluded. Here is what Dr. Paul wrote that was so outrageous to her:

[i]t is entirely possible that the Obama administration and the US media has it right this time, and Russia or the separatists in eastern Ukraine either purposely or inadvertently shot down this aircraft. The real point is, it’s very difficult to get accurate information so everybody engages in propaganda. At this point it would be unwise to say the Russians did it, the Ukrainian government did it, or the rebels did it. Is it so hard to simply demand a real investigation?

Because the Russian media re-published the article, Paul was “Putin’s best friend.”

His other great crime, this writer asserts, is that his piece was devoid of conspiracy theory! That made it so cleverly seductive!

She wrote:

Politically, it’s a much sounder line of argument for protecting Russia from blame than what’s being reported on Russian TV (much of which is funded by the Kremlin), where conspiracies theories abound.

Yes how dare he stick to facts!

Sticking to facts, avoiding outlandish conspiracy theories, and cautioning against taking the word of the US government on matters of foreign policy make Dr. Paul “Putin’s best friend,” she avers:

With his cool, dispassionate rhetoric, Paul seems to be just about the best voice for Putin’s interests anywhere—and better, surely, than Kremlin TV.

Is this how serious journalists write? Ironically, it reads more like a denunciation piece in some 1950s publication of the Bulgarian Communist Central Committee: “Comrade Borissov’s lack of deception made him all the more suspicious!”

Does anyone need more explanation as to why people are abandoning the mainstream media in droves?

I am on Twitter.

How To Generate and Store Emergency Power

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 02:01

When the Power Goes Out: Generating and Storing Power

More than ever, our civilization relies on electrical power for everything: lighting, entertainment, communications, security, heating / cooling, cooking, food refrigeration, the list goes on and on. Our reliance on the electrical grid has made electricity critical to our lives.

Short power outages (under 12 hours) have resulted in widespread traffic chaos, hospital evacuations, and even civil disorder. Multi-day outages can adversely affect water and sewage systems, supermarkets, gas stations, and cellular phone systems.

As you can see in this 1965 image, even big cities like New York suffer from power outages.

The Basics

This subject is huge and I am only scratching the surface here. As a result I’m not discussing solar, wind, or small-hydroelectric power. All three have pros and cons that are discussed at length in print and online. Here I will concentrate on what most people can easily put together in a suburban environment with a reasonable investment in time and money.

Preparing for extended power outages is a little more complicated than you’d think. These days, having a generator is just scratching the surface…EVERYTHING in our lives consumes electricity. While you could run a generator 24 hours a day, it is a horribly inefficient waste of fuel, as well as a surefire way to piss off your neighbors and attract unwanted attention.

Any serious power outage strategy will also include one or more storage batteries, a 12 volt-to-120 volt inverter, and a quality battery charger. You can run your generator in the daytime to power appliances and charge batteries, then shut it down overnight while you quietly run your devices on the stored power in your batteries.

The Basics

The electricity that comes out of your wall sockets is 120 volts, alternating current (AC). AC current is easy to transmit long distances, but cannot be stored. AC current is very dangerous if mishandled, resulting in burns, electrocution, and/or death. Conversely, direct current (DC) which is used in phone, laptop and car batteries is able to be safely and easily stored for later use. 12 volt DC current is one of the keys to emergency power.

Let’s define a few electrical terms:

  • Current: This parameter is measured in Volts; think about a mountain stream, the higher the current number, the stronger the current and the more power is transmitted through the current. This is a measure of force, or “push.”
  • Amperes (Amps): This is a measure of quantity of electricity…we’re most familiar with amps because it is usually an overload of amps on an electrical circuit that causes a fuse to blow or a circuit breaker to trip. You know, Mom using her blow dryer while Susie heats up her coffee in the microwave…too much power in use. Batteries are rated in terms of “Amp-hours,” which is an expression of how long the battery can provide a certain quantity of power.
  • Watts: This is the measure of the amount of work that can be done. In general, this is the key measure in determining if appliances can be accommodated in a given electrical circuit. This is a familiar measure for light bulbs and blow dryers. More importantly, it is the measure used to rate the power generating capacity of portable generators and inverters.

AC current can be converted to DC current; we do this every day when we plug in our phone or laptop charger. DC can be converted to AC through the use of an “inverter.” To store power, we use “deep-cycle” batteries which look like car batteries but are specifically designed to efficiently take in and give back DC current. When we need AC current to run a refrigerator or lights, our inverter converts the DC current to AC.

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Anti-Russian Propaganda Unraveling

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 02:01

Tuesday the US government admitted it had been bluffing about its certainty that Russia was behind the downing of Malaysian Air Flight MH-17 over Ukraine.

This dramatic turn of events started with State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf claiming Monday that the State Department’s certainty of Russian involvement in the apparent downing of the plane was primarily based on “social media” evidence.

That means with a likely budget of more than $100 billion, the US Intelligence Community is making decisions that may involve global nuclear war based on people’s Tweets and YouTubes!

Asked in Monday’s State Department briefing about US government evidence for its claims of Russian government involvement and separatist direct blame for the shooting down of the plane, Harf said:

You saw the Secretary yesterday speak very clearly about our assessment that this was an SA-11 fired from Russian-backed, separatist-controlled territory; that we know – we saw in social media afterwards, we saw videos, we saw photos of the pro-Russian separatists bragging about shooting down an aircraft.

She added:

Based on open information which is basically common sense, right – we know where it was fired from, we know who has this weapon

Who needs evidence — it’s “common sense”! Right?

But then the Russian military command did an interesting thing. They held a press conference laying out the evidence they had, including information from air traffic controllers and satellites, and simply asked the US to do the same to prove its assertions of Russian complicity. They did not claim that the US-backed government in Kiev shot down the plane, they asked that government to explain why a jet fighter showed up on radar ascending rapidly toward the Malaysian plane shortly before it disappeared.

The Russians asked the US to share the intelligence upon which it based its claim that the Russians were directly or indirectly behind the attack on the passenger plane.

The State Department responded with its spokeswoman citing social media and secret information that could not be shared.

It was a near exact replay of similar US government claims about Syria’s Assad using chemical weapons last year. That time, Secretary of State Kerry claimed dozens of times  on television that “we know” Assad fired the chemicals into the village. Yet the US Intelligence Community refused to sign off on his claims and the Obama Administration was forced to release what it called a “Government Assessment” rather than the standard Intelligence Community consensus assessment.

And now once again — for the time being — the US was forced to back down. In an off-the-record briefing with “senior intelligence officials” Tuesday, this was what was left of Kerry’s assuredness just days ago of Russia’s blame in the matter:

[W]e don’t know a name, we don’t know a rank and we’re not even 100 percent sure of a nationality. …There is not going to be a Perry Mason moment here.

Was this another US Intelligence Community revolt against the warmongers and ideologues in the State Department?

From certainty that Russia and the “pro-Russian” rebels in east Ukraine were deliberately behind the attack, which as Obama stated Monday internationalized the conflict (hinting at a more aggressive response, perhaps NATO?), Tuesday’s press briefing by senior intelligence officials sang a different tune:

“Five days into it (following the crash) it does appear to be a mistake.”

After four days of threats from Obama and Kerry (and their Twittering minions) that Russia would be punished for its role in downing the plane, it is now the US Intelligence Community’s assessment that the shoot-down was a “mistake” and they are “not even 100 percent sure” who shot it down.

About the claim that Russia was providing the rebels in eastern Ukraine with weapons, the US intelligence officials said, “[w]e think they’re continuing to do it.”

From Kerry’s certainty to US Intelligence Community’s “we think” is an enormous chasm, and as the excellent Robert Parry points out, it represents a certain amount of courage among US government intelligence analysts who come to conclusions very different from the pre-determined conclusions of their superiors.

Writes Parry:

If you were, say, a U.S. intelligence analyst sifting through the evidence and finding that some leads went off in a different direction, toward the Ukrainian army, for instance, you might hold back on your conclusions knowing that crossing senior officials who had already pronounced the verdict could be devastating to your career. It would make a lot more sense to just deep-six any contrary evidence.

So here we are, with no US smoking gun (thus far). Only social media and highly suspect voice intercepts and satellite photos of BUK launchers.

Russia “shares responsibility” for the shoot-down because, according to the US, it provided training and weapons to the separatists in eastern Ukraine. Only according to a CNN reportbased on a classified intelligence assessment, “there is no intelligence suggesting Russia ever transferred [a BUK missile system] across the border.”

Of course all of this might change. But in the meantime, despite the arrogance of the mainstreamers, those of us skeptical of another US cry for war appear to be justified.

I am on Twitter.

Official Lies About the Shootdown of a Jetliner

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 02:01

Some truths CNN reveals only accidentally. One such truth Anderson Cooper shared on the night of July 17. In speaking about the shoot down of Malaysian airliner MH 17 earlier that day, Cooper referred back to “July 17, 1996, when TWA Flight 800 was shot down off the coast of Long Island in New York.”

See it here:

TWA Flight 800 was fresh on Cooper’s mind. Two days earlier, Cooper hosted a CNN special report on the subject, “Witnessed: The Crash of TWA Flight 800.” To understand the depth of media-government complicity, it is useful to compare “Witnessed” with two prior videos.

One is the ironically titled, “No Survivors: Why TWA 800 Could Happen Again.” CNN created this special report for the tenth anniversary of the crash in 2006. The second is a fifteen-minute video produced by the CIA in 1997 that we will call “Zoom Climb.”

“Zoom Climb,” the theatrical highlight of the FBI investigation, was designed to negate the stubborn testimony of the eyewitnesses. An animated sequence in “Zoom Climb” shows an internal fuel tank explosion blowing the nose off the 747. According to the video’s narration, TWA 800 then “pitched up abruptly and climbed several thousand feet from its last recorded altitude of about 13,800 feet to a maximum altitude of about 17,000 feet.”

This rocketing aircraft was alleged to look like a missile and to have confused the eyewitnesses.  This animation was essential to close the investigation. Without this zoom climb scenario, the FBI had no way to explain what hundreds of official eyewitnesses had actually seen.

In the animated sequence created for the 2006 “No Survivors,” however, CNN completely eliminated the zoom climb from its explosion scenario. A year ago, I addressed this discrepancy when I appeared on CNN’s “New Day” program with the producer of “No Survivors,” Jim Polk. Polk, who spoke before me, implied that there was but a single eyewitness, a helicopter pilot who said “he did see a missile before the explosion.”

I countered, “Well, unlike what Jim says, there were 270 eyewitnesses to a missile strike, 96 of them, this is FBI eyewitnesses, saw it from the horizon ascend all the way up to the plane.”

I then asked Polk, “Why did you eliminate the zoom climb if the CIA — and what was the CIA doing involved in this in the first place — if the CIA used that to expressly discredit the eyewitnesses?

Polk admitted the CIA zoom climb was “controversial” and conceded that CNN removed it because “there’s no supporting evidence for the CIA’s animation.” In “No Survivors,” however, Polk did not bother even to acknowledge the controversy, namely that the CIA had created a bogus animation to discredit the very real testimony of hundreds of eyewitnesses, and CNN knew it. “Controversial” does not do this outrage justice.

Aware, perhaps, that some viewers caught the discrepancy, “Witnessed,” split the difference between the CIA’s zoom climb and the perfectly flat trajectory of “No Survivors.” CNN did so by showing an animation produced by the NTSB three years after the CIA video to smooth out some of the absurdities in “Zoom Climb.”

In this animation, Flight 800 rises gently for about 1500 feet, corkscrews in the sky in great sweeping loops, then noses over and falls more or less straight down. Like “No Survivors,” however, “Witnessed” does not alert the viewer to the inconsistency among these videos, an inconsistency that reveals the rank dishonesty of both the CIA and NTSB productions.

“Witnessed” did, however, add some dollops of truth to the official media position. One had to do with the testimony of pilot David McClaine who witnessed the crash from an Eastwinds airliner about three thousand feet above TWA Flight 800 and some twenty miles away.

In “No Survivors,” CNN uses his testimony to support the government position. The network quotes McClaine as saying, “I did not see any missile at all.”

In fact, McClaine’s full testimony made hash out of the government position.  When a few honest members of the NTSB witness group finally got to question the CIA analysts responsible for the animation in 1999, they focused on McLaine’s testimony. They did so because his testimony refuted the CIA theory.

“If [TWA 800] had ascended,” Robert Young of the NTSB witness group told the CIA analysts during this interview, “[McLaine] would have been concerned because it ascended right through his altitude.” When a CIA analyst tried to deflect the question, Young continued. “I think [McClaine] would have noticed [the climb],” he said sarcastically. “Your analysis has it zooming to above his altitude.”

In “Witnessed,” CNN allows McLaine to make the case that when he saw the explosion, “[TWA 800] went down, not up. . . . The wings fell right off the airplane right away. So how is it going to climb, or what if it had no wings?” McLaine also conceded that a missile “could have come from the other side of the airplane,” but from his position above TWA 800, he did not see it.

Young and his colleagues also grilled the CIA analysts about just how many people actually saw the purported zoom climb. “That is something that a few eyewitnesses saw,” said Analyst 1. “The guy on the bridge saw that.” The CIA, in fact, built its animation around this one individual.

On July 30, 1996, Mike Wire, a millwright who observed events from a bridge in Westhampton, had told an FBI agent exactly what he had seen, specifically “a white light that was traveling skyward from the ground at approximately a 40 degree angle. . . . the white light ‘zig zagged’ as it traveled upwards, and at the apex of its travel the white light “arched over” and disappeared from Wire’s view.” After the light disappeared, the FBI 302 continues, Wire “saw an orange light that appeared to be a fireball.”

In “Zoom Climb,” the narrator says of Wire’s testimony, “The white light the eyewitness saw was very likely the aircraft very briefly ascending and arching over after it exploded rather than a missile attacking the aircraft.”

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12 Natural Ways To Fight a Cold

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 02:01

The cold and flu season typically occurs as we approach the autumn and winter months, bringing with it a host of pains, chills, and ills associated with this colder period. Highly contagious and annoyingly persistent, a cold is caused by more than 200 viruses present in our environment.[1] There are many natural ways to soothe the common cold, mostly by increasing your immunity to these invasive viruses. If you follow these simple recommendations this cold and flu season, your chances of developing a cold can decrease significantly.

1. Vitamin D

Boosting your levels of vitamin D has dozens of benefits, and research shows that this sunshine vitamin also reduces the chances of developing the common cold as well as the flu. [2] The vitamin, which is produced by the body in response to sunlight exposure, increases immune cell activity, reduces toxicity, and lowers the inflammatory response.

2. Zinc

Double-blind studies have shown that zinc reduces both the intensity and duration of the common cold by up to 50%. [3Zinc also improves immunity and fights bacterial load within the body. [4] Common sources of zinc include pumpkin seeds and cashews.

3. Turmeric

Turmeric is a yellow and mellow-tasting spice highly prized for its use in Indian cuisine and natural medicine. You can find the root in its whole form at some specialty supermarkets, and the powder can also be found in most spice sections at common grocery stores. It’s rich in antioxidants, one aspect that may aid in improving and protecting immunity. [5] Also, turmeric has been shown to protect defenses from fungal and bacterial compounds. [6] For a cold-fighting tea, place 1/4 tsp. of turmeric powder in eight ounces of hot water. Drink this mixture often throughout the autumn and winter seasons. As a gentle food, turmeric may also help soothe a sore throat. Simply combine 1/2 tsp. turmeric with 1 tbsp. of raw, local honey and consume slowly to coat the throat.

4. Echinacea

Echinacea is an herb that has seen continuous support in the natural health community as an important cold-fighting plant. Some research suggests that it’s helpful for regulating a healthy immune response; [7] [8] yet despite this research, many conventional medical professionals remain skeptical on the herb’s ability to keep a cold at bay. Animal models have shown that Echinacea provides antiviral and antibacterial compounds responsible for combating dangerous bacteria or viruses that cause the cold. [9] [10]

5. Vitamin C

If you have a lingering cold that just won’t go away, or if you experience colds frequently throughout the year, chances are you are not getting enough vitamin C. This important water-soluble nutrient is found in high amounts in green vegetables and citrus fruits and is crucial for maintaining a healthy immune system. [11Freshly-squeezed lemon juice or a green smoothie are two excellent ways to receive vitamin C in your diet. Consuming warm herbal tea with lemon juice during a cold or before one sets in may be helpful for reducing its duration.

6. Cinnamon

A warming circulatory stimulant, cinnamon is a powerful health-promoting spice with dozens of benefits for the body. Not only can it maintain blood sugar levels in healthy range, [12] cinnamon has also been shown to boost the immune system while behaving as a natural antiviral. [13] Sip on some cinnamon tea when you feel the chills coming on, and sprinkle some cinnamon in your smoothies, breakfast foods, or coffee every day to help drive away viruses.

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