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Updated: 3 hours 41 min ago

Do You Dream of Owning a Classic Car?

5 hours 29 min ago

It’s fun to own a “classic” (read, pre-modern) car. It can also be a hassle. Before you dive in, it’s a good idea to know what you’re in for, both good – and bad.

The good:

Pre-modern cars have personality; they’re interesting – something homogenized, same-same modern cars aren’t. Cars built in the ’70s and before were designed largely the way designers – rather than government bureaucrats – wanted them designed. Hence the wild fins, the jutting angles, the instantly recognizable differences between say a Chevy and a Ford (today, you tell them apart by the shape of the grille). Even such mundane-today things as steering wheels were distinctive to each brand/model back in the day, because back in the day there was no air bag mandate – and so, no fat blob of plastic in the center of the wheel, as today. If you have a classic car, you possess a piece of industrial art, a relic from a different time that’s more than just a two-dimensional photo or print.

Pre-modern cars also have meaningfully different operating characteristics. Functional diversity was much greater when a Chevy had a Chevy engine (designed and built by Chevrolet) and a Pontiac (RIP) had a Pontiac-designed and built engine. Which differed greatly from a Ford small block. Mopars starters had a unique sound when you keyed the ignition; Porsches and VWs (air-cooled, back then) could be identified by ear long before you actually saw the car. It’s an experience to drive these relics; even to just see them. Which accounts for the affection so many feel for them – a phenomenon that’s pretty much died off for modern cars, which are for the most part, appliances to be used for a period of time, then thrown away.

Driving a pre-modern car also involves much more actual driving. You are much more an active participant than a passive lump along for the ride.

In a high-powered pre-modern muscle car, for instance, the rear end will fishtail all over the road if you punch it when the light goes green. You must learn to modulate the throttle; find that balance between traction and acceleration.

It is easy to lose control of the thing if you’re not skilled – which is actually part of the fun.

While modern performance cars are much more powerful – and quicker/faster – than almost any ’60s or ’70s muscle car was, the experience in the modern car is anesthetized by all the electronic assists, from ABS to “launch control.” The element of driver skill has largely been removed from the equation. Almost anyone can put a new Corvette’s gear selector into D, floor the gas pedal and run a 12 second quarter mile. Very few people could drive a ’68 L-88 427 at all, let alone full-tilt down the quarter-mile.

Pre-modern cars are also comparatively simple. While in some cases there may be vacuum hoses to deal with, the wiring is minimal and of course there will be nocomputer at all. Working on these cars is about turning wrenches, not parsing “trouble codes.” Even fairly big jobs such as removing/rebuilding the engine is a walk in the park compared with attempting the same job in a modern car. And smaller jobs such as brake work are vastly simpler, easier to do – and (typically) a lot less expensive, because there are fewer parts involved and no electronics at all. A “hands on” person can learn to do almost all routine service (and graduate to more involved jobs) themselves, which is empowering as well as fun.

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We’re Gonna Get Rich in Phoenix

5 hours 29 min ago

Rich!  We’re all going to be rich!  If only we could have the Super Bowl here every year!

It has gotten a little noisy in the skies near my home.  With the Super Bowl here in metro-Phoenix this weekend the Scottsdale Airport is doing a rip-roaring business – emphasis on “roaring”.

The airport is described as “a general aviation reliever facility with no commercial commuter or airline service.”

But does it ever get the private jets of the rich and famous.  The Super Bowl is just one of the draws.  The Phoenix Open is underway in Scottsdale this weekend as well.

Altogether the area’s general aviation airports expect 1,100 private jets, but the Scottsdale airport is the busiest of them all.  Officials expect 30 – 32 departures per hour from Sunday night through Monday.

At least all those visitors are making us locals rich, Rich, RICH!  At least that’s what the rah-rah types in local government and their media mascots tell us.

Unfortunately, none of the typical claims about the crony capitalism of professional sports hold up to realistic examination.

I say this as one who was a leader in the fight against the very taxpayer-funded stadium in the Phoenix-metro city of Glendale where Super Bowl XLIX will be played this year.

George Will once call Glendale “less a community with professional sports facilities than a sports enterprise with a community held hostage.”

Glendale taxpayers still suffer today from the inflated promises they were made years ago about the way all their new sports facilities would make them rich.  It turned out to be nothing more than a bubble machine.

Can’t say I didn’t warn them.

The footballs may be underinflated, but the promises aren’t.

Just last year the car rental tax that was supposed to pay for the football facility was declared unconstitutional.  I sent the judge a note of appreciation since I was making that argument 15 years ago.

It’s not that I have anything against lavish sports facilities.  But why should people with no stake in the business be made to pay for it?  By some estimates the owners of the Arizona Cardinals saw their personal net worth grow by more than $300 million thanks to the boondoggle.

That’s a nice chunk of change.  Do you suppose working families or single mothers trying to raise their kids or anyone else who paid so that multi-millionaires would have a place to play will be getting dividend checks from the team or the NFL?

But that’s not how crony capitalism works.

As for Super Bowl XLIX itself, its boosters claim that it will bring an estimated $500 million in “economic impact” to Arizona.

Economic impact.  Whatever that means.  The mayor of Glendale says his host city will lose money on the event, just like the $1 million it lost on the 2008 Super Bowl.

Numbers-crunchers who aren’t affiliated with the teams or their boosters report that what spending these big events generate comes from crowding out other spending.  One study has discovered that there is no measurable impact on a community when its teams are on strike or in a lockout.

The NFL and the teams get crony treatment at every turn.   In fact the league is tax exempt and has an antitrust-exemption.  How does that happen?  Humorist Ron Hart explained the “the NFL hands out cash to politicians like ‘The Bachelor’ hands out roses — with the same intentions.”

Around here we are charged sales tax on just about everything, but the NFL even gets sales taxes waived on their pricey Super Bowl tickets.  I’d sure like to my taxes waived, too.   But sweetheart deals like that are for cronies..

The real essence of crony capitalism, whether it’s the NFL or the banksters, is this:  It privatizes profits and socializes losses.

It’s the new American way.

Now, who do you like on Sunday, New England or Seattle?

Or Katy Perry?

Where Do Our Words Come From?

5 hours 29 min ago

There are said to be around 6,500 spoken languages around the world.

While 2,000 of these languages are spoken by fewer than 1,000 speakers, others are much more common with words and phrases being passed down through generations and shared across countries and continents.

A map has been designed to highlight the spread of these common languages by plotting words, and their translations, from population to population.

Type a word in the interactive map below 

Called Word Map, the interactive guide (pictured) was created by Easyway Language Centre in Brazil. To use the map, type any word in any language into the search box and press Map It. As the words are mapped globally, the map reads each translation out loud. Coloured lines also connect countries with a common language

Called Word Map, the interactive guide was created by Easyway Language Centre in Brazil. If the tool above doesn’t work in your browser, use the original version.

To use the map, type any word in any language into the search box and press Map It. As the words are plotted globally, the map reads each translation out loud.

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Train Your Brain, Men

5 hours 29 min ago

In this series on mastering your attention, we have emphasized the fact that attention is not just the ability to focus on a single task without being distracted, but in fact is comprised of several different elements that must be effectively managed.

But this doesn’t mean that single-minded focus is not of paramount importance. Yesterday we compared managing your different kinds of attention to being the supreme commander of your mind – you must be able to deftly maneuver and deploy your units to various battles. But good management can only get you so far; to win the war on distraction, the absolute strength of your voluntary attention — your focus foot soldiers – greatly matters.

Research has shown that individuals who can sustain their attention for long periods of time perform better on all sorts of cognitive challenges than those who cannot. A man with a scatter-shot attention span will only be able to experience one plane of existence; he can skim across the surface of the world’s vast knowledge and wisdom, but is unable to dive deeper and discover the treasures below. The man with an iron-clad focus can do both; he is the boat captain and the pearl diver and the world is truly his oyster.

If you have a goal to learn and understand as much about the world as you possibly can before you die, strengthening your power of concentration is not an option, it’s a necessity.

Think of Your Mind as a Muscle

Last time we used the analogy of being supreme commander of your mind to explain attention management; when it comes to attention strengthening, we’d encourage you to think of your mind as a muscle. The parallels between strengthening your body and strengthening your mind are in fact so close that it’s really not so much an analogy as a description of reality.

Your physical muscles and your attention “muscles” both have a limited amount of strength at any given time, their stamina and power can either atrophy from inactivity or strengthen from vigorous, purposeful exercise, and they require rest and recovery after they’ve been intensely exerted.

You get the same feeling of internal dread/doubt right before you begin an intense workout – the one that says “I’m not sure I want to do this” – as you do right before you decide whether or not you’re going to read a long article, and in both cases you have to set your mind, bite down, and get going with it.

Just as you can hit a wall in a tough workout where you think you can’t do one more rep, in the middle of reading a long article your mind will want to quit and surf to another tab. In both cases, if you tell yourself to dig deeper, you’ll be surprised how much more strength and focus you actually have left in the tank.

And while everyone’s looking for cool new “secrets” for how to build both their body and mind – shortcuts and hacks heretofore undiscovered – the truth is that strengthening our physical and mental muscles comes down to plain, good old fashioned, highly unsexy work. Gaining strength in either area is ultimately about eating right, getting ample sleep, and engaging in challenging daily exercise.

So put on your lifting belt and chalk up your cranium. We’re going to hit the mental gym and turn your focus into a beast. Below, you’ll find your brain’s workout plan.

Your Concentration Training Program: 11 Exercises That Will Strengthen Your Attention

You’ll never get big muscles from sitting on the couch all day, and you’ll never develop amazing powers of concentration from exclusively reading Buzzfeed and watching Tosh.O. Your mind muscles, just like your physical muscles, need resistance; they need challenges that stretch their limits and in so doing, grow their focus fibers. Below we outline exercises that will beef up your focus so that you can start lifting heavier and heavier cognitive loads.

1. Increase the strength of your focus gradually. If you decide you want to physically get in shape, but are starting at ground zero, the worst thing you can do is to throw yourself into an extreme training program – you’ll end up injured, discouraged, or both, and you’ll quit before you even really get started.

Likewise, if your attention span is currently quite flabby, it’s best to slowly build up the weight you ask it to lift. In this series we’ve mentioned trying the “Pomodoro Method” in which you work for, say, 45 minutes straight and then allow yourself a 15-minute break. But for many of us, 45 minutes might as well be a mind marathon!

So start out with a pretty easy goal and work your way up from there. Set a timer for 5 minutes and focus completely on your work/reading for that time period. Then take a 2-minute break before going at it again for another 5 minutes. Each day, add another 5 minutes to your focused work time, along with an additional 2 minutes to your break time. In 9 days, you should be able to work for 45 minutes straight before you allow yourself an 18-minute break. Once you get comfortable with that set-up, you can work to lengthen your focus sessions a little, while shortening your break times.

2. Create a distraction to-do list. Because the internet has made any bit of information instantly accessible, we tend to want to look something up the moment it crosses our mind. “I wonder what the weather will be like tomorrow?” “What year did that movie come out?” “I wonder what’s new in my Facebook feed?” Consequently, we’ll toggle away from what we’re working on the instant these questions or thoughts pop into our minds. Problem is, once we get distracted, it takes on average 25(!) minutes to return to our original task. Plus, shifting our attention back and forth drains its strength.

So to stay on task, whenever something you want to check out pops into your head, just write it down on a piece of paper next to you (or perhaps in Evernote for you tech types), and promise yourself you’ll be able to look it up once your focusing session is over and your break time has arrived.

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Self-Determination and Liberty

5 hours 29 min ago

How To Start a Nuclear War

5 hours 29 min ago

The United States has just made an exceptionally dangerous, even reckless decision over Ukraine. Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader who ended the Cold War, warns it may lead to a nuclear confrontation with Russia.

Rule number one of geopolitics:  nuclear-armed powers must never, ever fight.

Yet Washington just announced that by spring, it will deploy unspecified numbers of military “trainers” to Ukraine to help build Kiev’s ramshackle national guard. Also being sent are significant numbers of US special heavy, mine resistant armored vehicles that have been widely used in Afghanistan and Iraq. The US and Poland are currently covertly supplying Ukraine with some weapons.

The US soldiers will just be for training, and the number of GI’s  will be modest, claim US military sources. Of course.  Just like those small numbers of American “advisors” and “trainers” in Vietnam that eventually grew to 550,000. Just as there  are now US special forces in over 100 countries. We call it “mission creep.”

The war-craving neocons in Washington and their allies in Congress and the Pentagon have long wanted to pick a fight with Russia and put it in its place for daring to oppose US policies against Iran, Syria and Palestine. What neocons really care about is the Mideast.

Some neocon fantasies call for breaking up the Russian Federation  into small, impotent parts. Many Russians believe this is indeed Washington’s grand strategy, mixing military pressure on one hand and social media subversion on the other, aided by Ukrainian oligarchs and rightists. A massive propaganda campaign is underway, vilifying Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin as “the new Hitler.”

Back to eastern Ukraine. You don’t have to be a second Napoleon to see how a big war could erupt.

Ukrainian National Guard forces, stiffened by American “volunteers” and “private contractors,” and led by US special forces, get in a heavy fire fight with pro-Russian separatist forces. Washington, whose military forces are active in the Mideast, Central America, the Philippines, Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, South Korea, has been blasting Moscow for allegedly sending some 9,000 soldiers into neighboring Ukraine.

The Americans, who have never been without total air superiority since the 1950’s Korean War, call in US and NATO air support. Pro-Russian units, backed by Russian military forces just across the border, will reply with heavy rocket fire and salvos of anti-aircraft missiles. Both sides will take heavy casualties and rush in reinforcements. 

Does anyone think the Russians, who lost close to 40 million soldiers and civilians in World War II, won’t fight to defend their Motherland?

Heavy conventional fighting could quickly lead to commanders calling for tactical nuclear strikes delivered by aircraft and missiles. This was a constant fear in nearly all NATO v Warsaw Pact Cold War scenarios – and the very good reason that both sides avoided direct confrontation and confined themselves to using proxy forces.

Tactical nuclear strikes can lead to strategic strikes, then intercontinental attacks. In a nuclear confrontation, as in naval battles, he who fires first has a huge advantage.

“We can’t allow Russia to keep Crimea,” goes another favorite neocon mantra. Why not? Hardly any Americans could even find Crimea on a map.

Crimea belonged to Russia for over 200 years. I’ve  been all over the great Russian naval base at Sevastopol. It became part of Ukraine when Kiev declared independence in 1991, but the vital base was always occupied and guarded by Russia’s military. Ukrainians were a minority in the Crimea – whose original Tatar inhabitants were mostly ethnically cleansed by Stalin. Most of those Russian troops who supposedly “invaded” Ukraine actually came from the giant Sevastopol base, which was under joint Russian and Ukrainian sovereignty.

Only fools and the ignorant can have believed that tough Vlad Putin would allow Ukraine’s new rightist regime to join NATO and hand one of Russia’s most vital bases and major exit south to the western alliance. 

Two of Crimea’s cities, Sevastopol and Kerch, were honored as “Hero Cities” of the Soviet Union for their gallant defense in World War II. Over 170,000 Soviet soldiers died in 1942 defending Sevastopol in a brutal, 170-day siege. Another 100,000 died retaking the peninsula in 1944.

In total, well over 16 million Soviet soldiers died in the war, destroying in the process 70% of the German Wehrmacht and 80% of the Luftwaffe. By contrast, US losses in that war, including the Pacific, were 400,000.

One might as well ask Texas to give up the Alamo or Houston as to order Russia to get out of Crimea, a giant graveyard for the Red Army and the German 11th army.

In 2013, President Putin proposed a sensible negotiated settlement to the Ukraine dispute: autonomy for eastern Ukraine and its right to speak Russians as well as Ukrainian. If war or economic collapse is to be avoided, this is the solution. Eastern Ukraine was a key part of the Soviet economy. Its rusty heavy industry would be wiped out if Ukraine joined the EU – just as was East Germany’s obsolete industries when Germany reunified.

So now it appears that Washington’s economic warfare over Ukraine is going to turn military, even though the US has no strategic or economic interests in Ukraine. Getting involved in military operations there when the US is still bogged down in the Mideast and Afghanistan is daft. Even more so, when President Barack Obama’s “pivot toward Asia” is gathering momentum.

Didn’t two world war at least teach the folly of waging wars on two fronts?

Want To Hinder Hair Loss?

5 hours 29 min ago

Many men, and less often women, often deal with the hardships of hair loss, and accepting this problem can be quite difficult. They may have known it was coming for some time, by watching the other people in their family deal with the same issue, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Fortunately, while hair loss is largely genetic, a good diet can encourage healthy hair growth and even possibly reduce balding. Furthermore, there are a number of natural remedies for hair loss and hair thinning, so you don’t need to go straight to the drug store for pharmaceuticals.

There are several changes you can make to your diet and lifestyle that will reduce the chances of hair loss. Here are 9 of them.

9 Natural Remedies for Hair Loss

1. Increase Protein Intake - Protein is the building block of life as well as the building block of each tissue in your body, including your hair. If you don’t eat meat, make sure you are getting enough complete proteins by adding legumes and whole grains together, quinoa, and nuts to your diet. If you are a meat-eater, lean proteins like chicken breasts are the way to go.

2. Take B-Complex - Vitamins: B vitamins have a wide range of benefits in the body. One in particular (B3) increases blood flow to the scalp. Taking a b-complex can ensure you are getting enough of them all.

3. Regulate Hormones - Many people who begin losing their hair early or without explanation find they have a hormonal imbalance. If you have other hormonal symptoms, look into natural supplements for hormone regulation and foods that promote healthy hormone levels.

4. Increase Vitamin A - Vitamin A is crucial to healthy hair because it “works with the fat synthesis.” Food products rich in vitamin A include leafy greens like kale, carrots, and eggs.

5. Drink More Water - Staying hydrated is crucial in tissue growth and health. The hair shaft itself is largely made up of water. Aim to drink at least 64 ounces each and every day.

6. Stop Smoking - Smoking reduces circulation, and this includes blood flow to the scalp. Stop smoking now and improved hair health will be just one of the benefits.

7. Herbs – When looking for natural remedies for hair loss, herbs are among the most sought out solutions. Lavender, rosemary, and thyme have been shown to help hair growth and prevent thinning or balding. Try either massaging the essential oils into your hair after shampooing, or you can make an herb tea using any of the herbs. The first option will likely have a more direct positive effect.

8. Vitamin E – Vitamin E also encourages circulation in the body and helps grow new blood vessels, which helps hair to grow. Opening a vitamin E capsule and applying the gel inside to hair follicles can prevent hair loss and balding.

9. Aromatherapy – Using essential oils like lavender, ginger, rosemary, and fenugreek for a scalp massage can also help with hair loss. 2 drops of essential oil can be blended with 15ml (1 tablespoon) of carrier oil, like jojoba.

We can’t always undo what nature has in store for us. If everyone in your family was bald by age 50, you might have a hard time reversing the trend, but by using these natural remedies for hair loss, you could slow the progression of hair loss and maintain healthy locks for as long as possible.

Additional Sources:


Reprinted from Natural Society.

Will You Be Able to Retire Comfortably at 91?

5 hours 29 min ago

My advice is to focus not on retiring comfortably, but on working comfortably.

You’ve probably seen articles and adverts discussing how much money you’ll need to “retire comfortably.” The trick of course is the definition of comfortable. The general idea of comfortable (as I understand it) appears to be an income which enables the retiree to enjoy leisurely vacations on cruise ships, own a well-appointed RV for tooling around the countryside, and spend as much time on the golf links as he/she might want.

Needless to say, Social Security isn’t going to fund a comfortable retirement, unless the definition is watching TV with an box of kibble to snack on.

By this definition of retiring comfortably, I reckon I should be able to retire at age 91–assuming I can work another 30 years and the creek don’t rise.

Since I earned my first real Corporate America paycheck at 16 in 1970 (summer job for Dole Pineapple), I’ve logged 45 years of work. Now if I’d been smart and worked for the government, I could have retired 10 years ago with generous pension and healthcare benefits for life.

But alas, I wasn’t smart, so here I am, a self-employed numbskull.

The articles and adverts usually suggest piling up a hefty nestegg to fund that comfortable retirement. As near as I can make out, the nestegg should be around $2.6 million–or maybe it’s $26 million. Let’s just say it’s a lot.

This presents retirees without generous government pensions two basic problems.One is making enough money to pay the bills of survival and set aside the two million or whatever the number is to retire comfortably.

The average full-time earned income in the U.S. is around $50,000, depending on how the statistics are massaged. At this income, the worker would need to to save every dime for 40 years to assemble the nestegg. Needless to say, this isn’t practical (unless you inherit a trust fund, in which case you don’t even have to bother with earned income.)

The magic solution is unearned income, i.e. dividends, interest, capital gains on investments, etc. If the worker aiming for that comfortable retirement socks his/her retirement nestegg in high-yielding investments, the nestegg will grow over time to the sky (i.e. the $2 million needed to retire comfortably.)

This raises the second problem: identifying those magical high-yielding investments that won’t suddenly turn to dust when the long-awaited retirement approaches.

In the good old days, plain old savings earned 5.25% annually by federal law. Buying a house was not a way to get rich quick, it was more like a forced savings plan, as over time real estate earned about 1% above the core inflation rate.

But all the safe ways of gaining earned income have been eradicated by the Federal Reserve. As I described in The Fed’s Solution to Income Stagnation: Make Everyone a Speculator (January 24, 2014), the status quo “fix” for economic stagnation was to financialize the U.S. economy. What this means on the ground is eliminate safe returns and make everyone a speculator in high-risk, high-yield financial games.

The essence of financialization is turning debt into a tradeable security that can be leveraged into speculative pyramids. If I loan you $100,000 to buy a house, that loan is called a mortgage. The collateral for the mortgage is the property. In the pre-financialization era, I held the mortgage to maturity (30 years) and collected the interest and principal. This trickle of earnings from interest was the entire yield on the loan.

In the securitized economy, I divide the loan into tranches that are sold to investors like stocks and bonds. I can “cash out” my entire gain in the present, and then sell derivatives on the securitized debt as a form of “portfolio insurance” to other buyers.

Clever financiers can pyramid security on security and debt on debt, all collateralized by debt on one property.

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Don’t Corrupt Chili

5 hours 29 min ago

The core ingredients of chili are “fiery envy, scalding jealousy, scorching contempt, and sizzling scorn,” wrote New York author H. Allen Smith, in a 1967 essay for Holiday magazine. He was mostly right about that (I also like to add a dark lager) but wrong about almost everything else. Smith’s essay, titled “Nobody Knows More About Chili Than I Do,” is an historic example of pitch-perfect food trolling. In it, Smith denounces Texas and all its claims to chili dominance, and his piece culminates in a wildly misguided recipe with a special New York twist. “To create chili without beans, either added to the pot or served on the side,” he writes, “is to flout one of the basic laws of nature.”

Predictably, Smith’s column burned up the Lone Star State, where chili was born, and where it certainly doesn’t contain beans. The great Texas journalist Frank X. Tolbert wrote in his Dallas Morning News column that what Smith called chili was a mere vegetable stew. Another Dallas newspaperman, Wick Fowler, also fired back: “If you know beans about chili, you know that chili has no beans.” (That line was later committed to lyrics by a San Marcos songwriter, in 1976—the year before the Texas Legislature proclaimed chili as the state food.)

Tolbert and Fowler challenged Smith to a ghost-town cook-off. The bean question would be settled in Terlingua, a former mining outpost near the Mexican border, on Oct. 21, 1967. In what came to be known as the Great Chili Confrontation, Fowler represented Texas; Smith spoke for New York and the rest of the wide world. Three judges would decide the outcome: Terlingua Mayor David Witts; San Antonio brewmaster Floyd Schneider; and Hallie Stillwell, a judge from Alpine, Texas—who happened to be Smith’s cousin.

Schneider pulled the lever for Fowler’s Texas chili. Stillwell, who of course knew her cousin’s recipe by its bean-y texture, voted for Smith. The swing vote, Witts, took one bite of Smith’s New York bean “chili” and declared himself poisoned. His taste buds were ruined, he sputtered, according to accounts of those who were present. Witts was unable to try the other chili in good faith. No winner was declared.

Ever since then, beans have been forbidden in the annual Original Terlingua International Championship Chili Cookoff. And yet beans are a feature of nearly every so-called chili served outside Texas. I say so-called because even though beans are unlikely to permanently damage your taste buds, they are anathema to chili. Put plainly, beans do not belong in chili. And non-Texans’—especially New Yorkers’—repeated attempts to add beans to this regional specialty only reveal their own arrogance and ignorance.

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Secession Begins at Home

5 hours 29 min ago

[This article is adapted from a talk presented at the Houston Mises Circle, January 24, 2015.]

Presumably everyone in this room, or virtually everyone, is here today because you have some interest in the topic of secession. You may be interested in it as an abstract concept or as a viable possibility for escaping a federal government that Americans now fear and distrust in unprecedented numbers.

As Mises wrote in 1927:

The situation of having to belong to a state to which one does not wish to belong is no less onerous if it is the result of an election than if one must endure it as the consequence of a military conquest.

I’m sure this sentiment is shared by many of you. Mises understood that mass democracy was no substitute for liberal society, but rather the enemy of it. Of course he was right: nearly 100 years later, we have been conquered and occupied by the state and its phony veneer of democratic elections. The federal government is now the putative ruler of nearly every aspect of life in America.

That’s why we’re here today entertaining the audacious idea of secession — an idea Mises elevated to a defining principle of classical liberalism.

It’s tempting, and entirely human, to close our eyes tight and resist radical change — to live in America’s past.

But to borrow a line from the novelist L.P. Hartley, “The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.” The America we thought we knew is a mirage; a memory, a foreign country.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is precisely why we should take secession seriously, both conceptually — as consistent with libertarianism — and as a real alternative for the future.

Does anyone really believe that a physically vast, multicultural, social democratic welfare state of 330 million people, with hugely diverse economic, social, and cultural interests, can be commanded from DC indefinitely without intense conflict and economic strife?

Does anyone really believe that we can unite under a state that endlessly divides us? Rich vs. poor, black vs. white, Hispanic vs. Anglo, men vs. women, old vs. young, secularists vs. Christians, gays vs. traditionalists, taxpayers vs. entitlement recipients, urban vs. rural, red state vs. blue state, and the political class vs. everybody?

Frankly it seems clear the federal government is hell-bent on Balkanizing America anyway. So why not seek out ways to split apart rationally and nonviolently? Why dismiss secession, the pragmatic alternative that’s staring us in the face?

Since most of us in the room are Americans, my focus today is on the political and cultural situation here at home. But the same principles of self-ownership, self-determination, and decentralization apply universally — whether we’re considering Texas independence or dozens of active breakaway movements in places like Venice, Catalonia, Scotland, and Belgium.

I truly believe secession movements represent the last best hope for reclaiming our birthright: the great classical liberal tradition and the civilization it made possible. In a world gone mad with state power, secession offers hope that truly liberal societies, organized around civil society and markets rather than central governments, can still exist.

Secession as a “Bottom-Up” Revolution

“But how could this ever really happen?” you’re probably thinking.

Wouldn’t creating a viable secession movement in the US necessarily mean convincing a majority of Americans, or at least a majority of the electorate, to join a mass political campaign much like a presidential election?

I say no. Building a libertarian secession movement need not involve mass political organizing: in fact, national political movements that pander to the Left and Right may well be hopelessly naïve and wasteful of time and resources.

Instead, our focus should be on hyper-localized resistance to the federal government in the form of a “bottom-up” revolution, as Hans-Hermann Hoppe terms it.

Hoppe counsels us to use what little daylight the state affords us defensively: just as force is justified only in self-defense, the use of democratic means is justified only when used to achieve nondemocratic, libertarian, pro-private property ends.

In other words, a bottom-up revolution employs both persuasion and democratic mechanisms to secede at the individual, family, community, and local level — in a million ways that involve turning our backs on the central government rather than attempting to bend its will.

Secession, properly understood, means withdrawing consent and walking away from DC — not trying to capture it politically and “converting the King.”

Secession is Not a Political Movement

Why is the road to secession not political, at least not at the national level? Frankly, any notion of a libertarian takeover of the political apparatus in DC is fantasy, and even if a political sea change did occur the army of 4.3 million federal employees is not simply going to disappear.

Convincing Americans to adopt a libertarian political system — even if such an oxymoron were possible — is a hopeless endeavor in our current culture.

Politics is a trailing indicator. Culture leads, politics follows. There cannot be a political sea change in America unless and until there is a philosophical, educational, and cultural sea change. Over the last 100 years progressives have overtaken education, media, fine arts, literature, and pop culture — and thus as a result they have overtaken politics. Not the other way around.

This is why our movement, the libertarian movement, must be a battle for hearts and minds. It must be an intellectual revolution of ideas, because right now bad ideas run the world. We can’t expect a libertarian political miracle to occur in an illibertarian society.

Now please don’t get me wrong. The philosophy of liberty is growing around the world, and I believe we are winning hearts and minds. This is a time for boldness, not pessimism.

Yet libertarianism will never be a mass —which is to say majority — political movement.

Some people will always support the state, and we shouldn’t kid ourselves about this. It may be due to genetic traits, environmental factors, family influences, bad schools, media influences, or simply an innate human desire to seek the illusion of security.

But we make a fatal mistake when we dilute our message to seek approval from people who seemingly are hardwired to oppose us. And we waste precious time and energy.

What’s important is not convincing those who fundamentally disagree with us, but the degree to which we can extract ourselves from their political control.

This is why secession is a tactically superior approach in my view: it is far less daunting to convince liberty-minded people to walk away from the state than to convince those with a statist mindset to change.

What About the Federales?

Now I know what you’re thinking, and so does the aforementioned Dr. Hoppe:

Wouldn’t the federales simply crush any such attempt (at localized secession)?

They surely would like to, but whether or not they can actually do so is an entirely different question … it is only necessary to recognize that the members of the governmental apparatus always represent, even under conditions of democracy, a (very small) proportion of the total population.

Hoppe envisions a growing number of “implicitly seceded territories” engaging in noncompliance with federal authority:

Without local enforcement, by compliant local authorities, the will of the central government is not much more than hot air.

It would be prudent … to avoid a direct confrontation with the central government and not openly denounce its authority …

Rather, it seems advisable to engage in a policy of passive resistance and noncooperation. One simply stops to help in the enforcement in each and every federal law …

Finally, he concludes as only Hoppe could (remember this is the 1990s):

Waco, a teeny group of freaks, is one thing. But to occupy, or to wipe out a significantly large group of normal, accomplished, upstanding citizens is quite another, and quite a more difficult thing.

Now you may disagree with Dr. Hoppe as to the degree to which the federal government would actively order military violence to tamp down any secessionist hotspots, but his larger point is unassailable: the regime is largely an illusion, and consent to its authority is almost completely due to fear, not respect. Eliminate the illusion of benevolence and omnipotence and consent quickly crumbles.

Imagine what a committed, coordinated libertarian base could achieve in America! 10 percent of the US population, or roughly thirty-two million people, would be an unstoppable force of nonviolent withdrawal from the federal leviathan.

As Hoppe posits, it is no easy matter for the state to arrest or attack large local groups of citizens. And as American history teaches, the majority of people in any conflict are likely to be “fence sitters” rather than antagonists.

Left and Right are Hypocrites Regarding Secession

One of the great ironies of our time is that both the political Left and Right complain bitterly about the other, but steadfastly refuse to consider, once again, the obvious solution staring us in the face.

Now one might think progressives would champion the Tenth Amendment and states’ rights, because it would liberate them from the Neanderthal right wingers who stand in the way of their progressive utopia. Imagine California or Massachusetts having every progressive policy firmly in place, without any preemptive federal legislation or federal courts to get in their way, and without having to share federal tax revenues with the hated red states.

Imagine an experiment where residents of the San Francisco bay area were free to live under a political and social regime of their liking, while residents of Salt Lake City were free to do the same.

Surely both communities would be much happier with this commonsense arrangement than the current one, whereby both have to defer to Washington!

But in fact progressives strongly oppose federalism and states’ rights, much less secession! The reason, of course, is that progressives believe they’re winning and they don’t intend for a minute to let anyone walk away from what they have planned for us.

Democracy is the great political orthodoxy of our times, but its supposed champions on the Left can’t abide true localized democracy — which is in fact the stated aim of secession movements.

They’re interested in democracy only when the vote actually goes their way, and then only at the most attenuated federal level, or preferably for progressives, the international level. The last thing they want is local control over anything! They are the great centralizers and consolidators of state authority.

“Live and let live” is simply not in their DNA.

Our friends on the Right are scarcely better on this issue.

Many conservatives are hopelessly wedded to the Lincoln myth and remain in thrall to the central warfare state, no matter the cost.

As an example, consider the Scottish independence referendum that took place in September of 2014.

Some conservatives, and even a few libertarians claimed that we should oppose the referendum on the grounds that it would create a new government, and thus two states would exist in the place of one. But reducing the size and scope of any single state’s dominion is healthy for liberty, because it leads us closer to the ultimate goal of self-determination at the individual level, to granting each of us sovereignty over our lives.

Again quoting Mises:

If it were in any way possible to grant this right of self-determination to every individual person, it would have to be done. (italics added)

Furthermore, some conservatives argue that we should not support secession movements where the breakaway movement is likely to create a government that is more “liberal” than the one it replaces. This was the case in Scotland, where younger Scots who supported the independence referendum in greater numbers hoped to create strong ties with the EU parliament in Brussels and build a Scandinavian-style welfare state run from Holyrood (never mind that Tories in London were overjoyed at the prospect of jettisoning a huge number of Labour supporters!).

But if support for the principle of self-determination is to have any meaning whatsoever, it must allow for others to make decisions with which we disagree. Political competition can only benefit all of us. What neither progressives nor conservatives understand — or worse, maybe they do understand — is that secession provides a mechanism for real diversity, a world where we are not all yoked together. It provides a way for people with widely divergent views and interests to live peaceably as neighbors instead of suffering under one commanding central government that pits them against each other.

Secession Begins With You

Ultimately, the wisdom of secession starts and ends with the individual. Bad ideas run the world, but must they run your world?

The question we all have to ask ourselves is this: how seriously do we take the right of self-determination, and what are we willing to do in our personal lives to assert it?

Secession really begins at home, with the actions we all take in our everyday lives to distance and remove ourselves from state authority — quietly, nonviolently, inexorably.

The state is crumbling all around us, under the weight of its own contradictions, its own fiscal mess, and its own monetary system. We don’t need to win control of DC.

What we need to do, as people seeking more freedom and a better life for future generations, is to walk away from DC, and make sure we don’t go down with it.

How To Secede Right Now

So in closing, let me make a few humble suggestions for beginning a journey of personal secession. Not all of these may apply to your personal circumstances; no one but you can decide what’s best for you and your family. But all of us can play a role in a bottom-up revolution by doing everything in our power to withdraw our consent from the state:

  • Secede from intellectual isolation. Talk to like-minded friends, family, and neighbors — whether physically or virtually — to spread liberty and cultivate relationships and alliances. The state prefers to have us atomized, without a strong family structure or social network;
  • secede from dependency. Become as self-sufficient as possible with regard to food, water, fuel, cash, firearms, and physical security at home. Resist being reliant on government in the event of a natural disaster, bank crisis, or the like;
  • secede from mainstream media, which promotes the state in a million different ways. Ditch cable, ditch CNN, ditch the major newspapers, and find your own sources of information in this internet age. Take advantage of a luxury previous generations did not enjoy;
  • secede from state control of your children by homeschooling or unschooling them;
  • secede from college by rejecting mainstream academia and its student loan trap. Educate yourself using online learning platforms, obtaining technical credentials, or simply by reading as much as you can;
  • secede from the US dollar by owning physical precious metals, by owning assets denominated in foreign currencies, and by owning assets abroad;
  • secede from the federal tax and regulatory regimes by organizing your business and personal affairs to be as tax efficient and unobtrusive as possible;
  • secede from the legal system, by legally protecting your assets from rapacious lawsuits and probate courts as much as possible;
  • secede from the state healthcare racket by taking control of your health, and questioning medical orthodoxy;
  • secede from your state by moving to another with a better tax and regulatory environment, better homeschooling laws, better gun laws, or just one with more liberty-minded people;
  • secede from political uncertainly in the US by obtaining a second passport; or
  • secede from the US altogether by expatriating.
  • Most of all, secede from the mindset that government is all-powerful or too formidable an opponent to be overcome. The state is nothing more than Bastiat’s great fiction, or Murray’s gang of thieves writ large. Let’s not give it the power to make us unhappy or pessimistic.

All of us, regardless of ideological bent and regardless of whether we know it or not, are married to a very violent, abusive spendthrift. It’s time, ladies and gentlemen, to get a divorce from DC.

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

How Climate Change Leads to Volcanoes

5 hours 29 min ago

The stupid, it burns like a magnesium flare.

Excerpt from the article:

Now, you can add yet another problem to the climate change hit list: volcanoes. That’s the word from a new study conducted in Iceland and accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters. The finding is bad news not just for one comparatively remote part of the world, but for everywhere.

Iceland has always been a natural lab for studying climate change. It may be spared some of the punishment hot, dry places like the American southwest get, but when it comes to glacier melt, few places are hit harder. About 10% of the island nation’s surface area is covered by about 300 different glaciers—and they’re losing an estimated 11 billion tons of ice per year. Not only is that damaging Icelandic habitats and contributing to the global rise in sea levels, it is also—oddly—causing the entire island to rise. And that’s where the trouble begins.


Here’s the money quote:

“As the glaciers melt, the pressure on the underlying rocks decreases,” Compton said in an e-mail to TIME. “Rocks at very high temperatures may stay in their solid phase if the pressure is high enough. As you reduce the pressure, you effectively lower the melting temperature.” The result is a softer, more molten subsurface, which increases the amount of eruptive material lying around and makes it easier for more deeply buried magma chambers to escape their confinement and blow the whole mess through the surface.

“High heat content at lower pressure creates an environment prone to melting these rising mantle rocks, which provides magma to the volcanic systems,” says Arizona geoscientist Richard Bennett, another co-author.

Perhaps anticipating the climate change deniers’ uncanny ability to put two and two together and come up with five, the researchers took pains to point out that no, it’s not the very fact that Icelandic ice sits above hot magma deposits that’s causing the glacial melting. The magma’s always been there; it’s the rising global temperature that’s new. At best, only 5% of the accelerated melting is geological in origin.

So, Iceland has had melting glaciers, OK we’ll accept that, but Iceland is not the world, and a good number of volcanoes that have erupted in the last century are in the tropical parts of the world where there are no glaciers on the volcanoes or magma fields, yet somehow, this writer, Jeffrey Kluger, extrapolates Iceland’s glacier melt to volcano link up to to the entire world.

Read the Whole Article

US Escalation

5 hours 30 min ago

Steven Pifer, a senior fellow at Brookings, writes “The West, including the United States, needs to get serious about assisting Ukraine if it does not wish to see the situation deteriorate further. That means committing real money now to aid Ukraine’s defense.” (

He’s dead wrong. No matter who is in the right or wrong in Ukraine, the U.S. shouldn’t intervene further. It shouldn’t have intervened in the first place.

Escalation by the U.S. and European powers will make matters worse. As a general rule, U.S. interventions make matters worse and fail to achieve even their advertised goals, about which one may also be rightly skeptical. See, for example, this 1994 article arguing a case for the futility of U.S. interventions.

U.S. interventions tend to intensify wars, resulting in more and worse civilian casualties and refugees, more and greater destruction, and more and greater military casualties.

U.S. interventions result in a more powerful state at home. Wars and related interventions on any scale establish precedents for greater powers of the state. The idea of using the state to eradicate or ameliorate evils takes root. This idea leads to government that knows no ideological limits, because evils are everywhere both here and abroad. As time passes, the state then applies its enhanced powers in whatever spheres of American life turn out to be politically favorable. The result after many interventions and decades is a warfare-welfare-regulatory state, a spying-police state, and a state with a massive propaganda apparatus. The departments of the federal government control every significant sector of American life.

Intervention after intervention by government embeds the idea that we the people need the government for the sake of our safety and security. This is a totally false idea.

In the case of Ukraine, U.S. intervention over the past has already gone wrong. (There is evidence that U.S. intervention goes back for 70 years.) It has led to sanctions on Russia. This policy is completely wrong. Confrontation with Russia is completely against the interests of Americans. What good does it do to create a world of hostile relations, a world divided, a world with some nations cut off and isolated from others, and a world in which great powers are rivals over a set of lesser nations? The benighted policy of sanctions has already resulted in inducing Russia to solidify relations with China, Greece, Turkey and Iran. As such state-to-state actions go in this world of states, these moves are not remarkable; but in a context in which the U.S. regards these new economic and military relations as hostile, we are seeing the genesis of Cold War II. This is bad, and it’s the direct result of U.S. intervention in Ukraine, the U.S. position on Ukraine and the sanctions on Russia. These sanctions are really unthinkable.

Advice like that of Steven Pifer, which seeks to expand the U.S. role in Ukraine into military confrontation with Russia, could not be more wrong. Its main result will be to escalate the conflict into one between two major powers. The Ukrainian people, east, west, north and south, will suffer.

The two sides are both going outside for help, as often happens in civil wars. The U.S. should stop being one of those outsiders providing aid, arms or help to one of the battling sides. This recommendation does not hinge on Russia’s actions. It doesn’t hinge on Crimea, on the downing of MH17, or on Russian tanks, artillery or personnel, volunteers or regulars. It doesn’t hinge on borders, the history of Ukraine and Russia, Neo-Nazis, democracy, or perceived rights and wrongs. Non-intervention is based on the idea that the U.S. government should not be in the business of righting evils that it identifies, domestic or foreign.

At a fundamental level, a philosophy of law and government is the issue. Each of us as persons, if we so choose, can identify evils and decide what to do about them. No one of us has willingly or voluntarily deputized government persons to do this for us. There are no documents, contracts, or legal instruments that I or anyone else have signed that have chosen government personnel as our agents and instructed them to intervene in Ukraine. There are no such signed and valid contracts that have given them the power to extract taxes from us to pursue their quests, visions and crusades. In other words, such interventions are not legitimate. They are not legitimated. They are thought to be and said by many persons to be legitimated by the Constitution and various rituals still pursued to this day, but they are not. The customs of many who support government and its attendant interventions do not make for or justify laws that are applicable to the many others who demur and dissent from the powers being imposed on them. Might does not make right. Majority rule does not make right. Legalisms propounded by might are not necessarily lawful, although they may accidentally be so. There really is no lawful link between you and me and a government action like intervening in Ukraine.

The U.S. intervenes in a hundred or more countries with various forms of “aid”, Ukraine being one of them. To quote one article:

“Since 1992, the government has spent about $5.1 billion to support democracy-building programs in Ukraine, Thompson said, with money flowing mostly from the Department of State via U.S. Agency for International Development, as well as the departments of Defense, Energy, Agriculture and others. The United States does this with hundreds of other countries.

“About $2.4 billion went to programs promoting peace and security, which could include military assistance, border security, human trafficking issues, international narcotics abatement and law enforcement interdiction, Thompson said. More money went to categories with the objectives of ‘governing justly and democratically’ ($800 million), ‘investing in people’ ($400 million), economic growth ($1.1 billion), and humanitarian assistance ($300 million).”

This article is making the point that the assistance was humanitarian and that it didn’t lead in a direct line to the coup d’etat against the democratically-elected government of Ukraine that has led to the current conflict, with its attendant miseries imposed on the population of that country. But whether or not that assistance or even earlier links of the CIA to elements in Ukraine contributed to Maidan, what these interventions purportedly do is to fight what the U.S. government regards as evils and institute various goods. Fighting evils is, however, precisely what the U.S. government has no business doing and should not be doing.

What these interventions do is to establish beachheads of the U.S. government in a long list of foreign countries. This often includes military beachheads. These beachheads provide options for the U.S. government that can be exercised in the future, including the options of further aid, further intervention and escalation when conflicts occur. These beachheads tie the U.S. government to foreign governments so that the U.S. government can exercise influence on those governments. Foreign governments become dependent on foreign aid, IMF loans, World Bank projects and other such infusions. But foreign governments then gain influence over the U.S. government. The U.S. institutions that benefit from the programs and links to foreign governments become dependent for their own livelihoods on these activities. They become proponents for a larger U.S. government that’s responsive to foreign demands and interests. The U.S. becomes more likely to become a proponent of foreign interests and to intervene further.

The Pentagon and U.S. military, lacking great purposes after the Cold War, readily embraced interventions along three lines: drug interdiction, fighting terrorism, and training foreign military forces, both here and abroad. The public relations or propaganda arms of the U.S. now say that these programs, which bring thousands of foreign military personnel to the U.S. for education, help instill American values and establish contacts between the U.S. and foreign military personnel. (See, for example, here.)

The military portion of the military-industrial complex promotes its own size and scope, so as to retain its access to resources extracted from taxpayers. It defines new missions and propagandizes them as important or essential. Interventions are its business. This is the case in Ukraine and other trouble spots. The military battens on trouble spots as do its suppliers. Promotions are helped by active duty, combat and missions engaged in, even if they are not missions accomplished. These interventions do no good to Americans who are outside the military-industrial orbit.

Pifer’s article is co-written with Strobe Talbott. Steven Pifer is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center on the United States and Europe. He is Director of Brookings’ Arms Control Initiative. Strobe Talbott is President of the Brookings Institution. Six other members of the establishment join them in their recommendation, which includes supplying Ukraine with lethal aid, radar, anti-armor weapons, etc. These persons are “former U.S. representative to NATO Ivo Daalder, former undersecretary of defense Michèle Flournoy, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst, former deputy undersecretary of defense Jan Lodal, former NATO European commander James Stavridis and former U.S. European Command deputy commander Charles Wald.

All of these seem to have learned zip from previous escalations, such as occurred constantly throughout the Vietnam War. Their so-called expertise in foreign affairs is impossible to detect in their recommendation. Pifer is certainly not living up to his title relating to arms control. These members of the U.S. elite have not learned a thing from the escalation in Iraq that graduated from sanctions to outright aggressive war, from the escalation in Afghanistan which went from getting bin Laden to taking down the Taliban government, from the ongoing escalation in Syria that has produced ISIS and now is totally in confusion, from the escalation in Libya that wrecked the country and from the escalation in Yemen, a country now undergoing a change in government that the U.S. didn’t foresee. Along similar lines, there was no need for Americans to fight communism in Vietnam and there is no need for the U.S. government to fight the devils it perceives are operating in Ukraine.

You Must Love, Honor, and Obey

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 02:01

Should it be illegal – a crime in and of itself – to dislike cops?

The Fraternal Order of Police – the union for cops – thinks it ought to be. It is officially demanding that cops – already a protected (and entitled) class – be further set apart from ordinary folks by passing legislation that would enable prosecutors to pursue additional “hate crimes” charges against any not-cop who is accused of voicing anti-cop sentiments while, say, “resisting arrest” by attempting to ward off the wood shampoo being administered by a cop. Or in the course of committing any other crime involving one of the state’s enforcers of the laws where the crime-committer can be characterized as having committed the crime with dislike of cops in his heart.

One must (literally) love Big Brother … or else.

Well, one must at least not convey any indication of overt dislike for him and his minions. That might be regarded as hateful and thus actionable.

The proposed legislation – “act now!” says the FOP – would expand existing race-based “hate crimes” laws that make a murder more than merely a murder if the perpetrator and his victim are of different ethnicities.

Or rather, if the murderer is white and his victim not-white (it is extremely rare for a black murderer of a white to be charged with hating his victim – though one wonders who imagines that a murderer of any race is kindly inclined toward his victim, whether of the same race or otherwise).

At any rate, the proposal would make the murder (or assault) of a cop more than merely a murder or an assault – which it de facto already is. Even to kill a police dog – including incidentally/inadvertently – is treated with particular severity by the system (whereas cops routinely murder non-cop canines very deliberately – and with near-impunity). The mere touching of a cop’s person by a mundane is also a serious crime – whereas they may touch us (and more) with prima nocta impunity.

This will make everything nice and de jure – and (as the lingo goes) enhance the punishments imposed upon any citizen for transgressing the person of a cop, four legged or two.

It goes without saying, of course, that cop malice for mundanes will not carry extra sanctions.

“Enough is enough,” squeals FOP President Chuck Canterbury. “It’s time for Congress to do something to protect the men and women who protect us.” (Italics added; insert laugh track here.)

That “something” being an additional 10 years of prison time for doing “x” to a cop vs. doing the same thing to a not-cop, if it can be shown that the offender “hates” cops.

In the age of the Internet – and social media – this will not be hard to do. Have you everwritten an e-mail or posted a comment online critical of cops? Derisive of “officer safety”? Referred to one as a “pig”? If you have, don’t forget that these sentiments are on file – on a hard drive out in the Utah desertforever. Your comments and postings may come back to haunt you someday… .

That day may the day you’re arrested for transgressing a “free speech zone,” or ignoring the government-vehicles-only diktat during the next snowstorm. You do not immediately Submit and Obey, find yourself arrested and charged. They pull your records – which remember will exist in perpetuity – and lo and behold, discover you don’t love Big Brother.

Read the Whole Article

Foul Play Still Not Ruled Out

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 02:01

The Malaysian government has officially declared the disappearance of Malaysian Airline flight MH370 an accident and says there were no survivors.

No trace of the Beijing-bound aircraft has been found since it disappeared on 8 March 2014.

Officials say that the recovery operation is ongoing but that the 239 people onboard are now presumed dead.

The plane’s whereabouts are still unknown despite a massive international search in the southern Indian Ocean.

The declaration on Thursday should allow compensation payments to relatives of the victims.

‘Deepest sorrow’

Malaysian officials said that the recovery of the missing aircraft remained a priority and that they had pursued “every credible lead”.

Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) Director-General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said that it was “with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that we officially declare Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 an accident.”

“All 239 of the passengers and crew onboard MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives,” he said.

Following Thursday’s announcement, China’s foreign ministry called for compensation for the victims’ families.

“We call on the Malaysian side to honour the promise made when they declared the flight to have been lost and earnestly fulfil their compensation responsibilities,” spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement.

The majority of the passengers on MH370 were Chinese.

Despite Thursday’s announcement, the Malaysian authorities are not ruling out foul play, reports the BBC’s transport correspondent Richard Westcott.

He says it is a legal move designed to help families claim compensation.

Read the Whole Article

Don’t Talk to the Media

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 02:01

Arizona - -( Thomas Greer gained fame in July of this year by making some imprudent statements to reporters.

He had shot one of a pair of burglars that had assaulted him in his home. He said that the woman that he killed, Andrea Miller, had told him that she was pregnant as a ruse to gain advantage and prevent him from shooting her. Greer is 80 years old, and had his collar bone broken in the assault.

From the

‘Thomas Greer is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury,’ according to the report signed by Deputy District Attorney Janet Moore.

‘Greer exercised his legal and legitimate right of self-defense when he shot and killed Andrea Miller.’

The investigation makes it seem likely that Greer was “tough talking” to reporters, rather than clearly stating the facts of what happened.

His previous statement:

‘The lady didn’t run as fast as the man so I shot her in the back twice. She’s dead.. but he got away. She says “don’t shoot me, I’m pregnant, I’m gonna have a baby” and I shot her anyway.

The statement did not hold up against forensic analysis.  Mr. Greer fired three shots, two of which struck Miller, once in the left side of the chest, and once in the right knee.  Neither shot is in the back, as stated by Greer.  The shooting happened inside of Greer’s home, not outside, as was implied by early reporting. After being shot, Miller fled the home and collapsed in the alley outside.

Presumably, Greer told prosecutors a different version of events, one that was consistent with the physical evidence, probably on the advice of counsel.

The incident serves as an example of why it is a bad idea to talk to the media after a self defense shooting.  While you have no legal obligation to tell the media the truth, you will be tried in the court of public opinion.

Greer was widely accused of being a cold blooded murderer because of the ill considered statements that he made.  He would have been better served by refusing comment.

I have to give the prosecutor, Janet Moore, credit for thoroughly investigating this case and making the right decision.  It would have been politically correct to take the old white guy’s braggadocio at face value and prosecuted him to the full extent of the law.

It would not have served justice, it would have been a waste of taxpayers money, but it would have been politically correct.

Gus Adams, who has been implicated as Miller’s accomplice, is being charged with her murder, under the felony murder rule. Most states have a version of the rule. Its essence is that if you are involved in a crime where someone is killed, where the death would not have happened if the crime were not attempted or committed, you can be charged as the person responsible for the death.


A Rule of Law that holds that if a killing occurs during the commission or attempted commission of a felony (a major crime), the person or persons responsible for the felony can be charged with murder.

Generally an intent to kill is not necessary for felony-murder. The rule becomes operative when there is a killing during or a death soon after the felony, and there is some causal connection between the felony and the killing.

While Mr. Greer was finally found to have been justified in his actions, it could have cost him far more than it did.  His case serves as a strong example to others not to talk to the media.

c2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch

What If Stores Are Empty and Prepping Illegal?

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 02:01

Did you ever think about what your life would be like if the stores were closed? I’m not talking about a post-apocalyptic Mad Max scenario or a winter storm that clears the shelves. I’m talking about a long-term disruption of services caused by an economic collapse.

What if you couldn’t run to Wal-Mart to get soap?  What if the grocery store had supplies so limited that they were rationed out to people in such small amounts that the food you got was not enough to meet your needs? What if there were no diapers for your baby or aspirin to cure a headache?

This is exactly what happens in a serious economic collapse. It happened a couple of years ago in Greece, and it’s happening right now in Venezuela. reports a scene of desperation:

Long lines, some stretching for blocks, formed outside grocery stores in the South American country’s capital as residents search for scarce basic items such as detergent and chicken.

“I’ve visited six stores already today looking for detergent — I can’t find it anywhere,” said Lisbeth Elsa, a 27-year-old janitor, waiting in line outside a supermarket in eastern Caracas. “We’re wearing our dirty clothes again because we can’t find it. At this point I’ll buy whatever I can find.”

Inside a Plan Suarez grocery store yesterday in eastern Caracas, shelves were mostly bare. Customers struggled and fought for items at times, with many trying to skip lines. The most sought-after products included detergent, with customers waiting in line for two to three hours to buy a maximum of two bags. A security guard asked that photos of empty shelves not be taken.

Police inside a Luvebras supermarket in eastern Caracas intervened to help staff distribute toilet paper and other products.

“You can’t find anything, I’ve spent 15 days looking for diapers,” Jean Paul Mate, a meat vendor, said outside the Luvebras store. “You have to take off work to look for products. I go to at least five stores a day.”

“This is the worst it has ever been — I’ve seen lines thousands of people long,” Greisly Jarpe, a 42-year-old data analyst, said as she waited for dish soap in eastern Caracas. “People are so desperate they’re sleeping in the lines.”

So what a real economic collapse looks like is  actually this:

photo credit:

Here’s a video via The Dave and Chad Show:

The situation is dire, and shows no signs of improvement on the horizon.  Why is the economy so bad in Venezuela? A report by JD Heyes of Natural News gives a snapshot:

A combination of economic factors has all contributed to Venezuela’s disintegration — a lack of foreign capital and declining oil prices among them — but the country’s socialist economic policies are at the root of every problem.

There are shortages of virtually everything, from car batteries to toilet paper — even McDonald’s french fries. Annual inflation rose to 64 percent in November.

The government there sounds a lot like the government here.  Military forces have deployed to the nearly barren stores to “protect” shoppers and store employees. Meanwhile, like something out of a dystopic movie, Interior Minister Carmen Melendez took to the airwaves to utter blatantly untrue propaganda in an attempt to assuage the hungry and increasingly desperate citizens.

“Don’t fall into desperation — we have the capacity and products for everyone, with calmness and patience. The stores are full.”

This reminds me of that scene in “The Interview” where one of the main characters, Dave Skylark, discovers that the abundance he was assured of wasn’t real and that the food in the grocery store window was actually made of plastic.

If you’re paying attention, you’ll be able to see the writing on the wall. More and more businesses are closing here in America, and we could soon be going down the same chaotic path as Venezuela, and Greece before them.

Prepping Is Not the Answer

You probably never expected to read that on a preparedness website, did you?

You might think that if you’re a prepper, you’re immune to all of this. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.  In the case of Venezuela, prepping became illegal last fall.

Today’s lesson is that when times get tough, the government can and will persecute those who have planned ahead.

The Attorney General of Venezuela, Luisa Ortega Díaz, called on prosecutors to target people who are “hoarding” basic staples with serious sanctions.

She called on prosecutors to seek their detention.

The attorney general called on people to remain calm, not to fall for provocations, and not to be afraid of the “alleged” food shortage.

Based on the figures provided by the Central Bank of Venezuela, shortage hit 20% in August; in other words, 20 out 100 items are missing from the shelves.

According to a press release, the Attorney General Office has designated an ad hoc group of prosecutors to work nationwide with other authorities and cope with the threats against food security and, consequently, against the State. (source)

So basically, the Venezuelan government intends to treat those who prepared ahead of time like domestic terrorists…sound familiar?

Executive orders are already in place to crack down on preppers should the government decide to do so. The game pieces have already been moved into place to ban “hoarding” in America.  In 2012, President Obama signed an executive order that gives the federal government authority over every resource and infrastructure element in the United States. And “every resource” includes your pantry.

Michael Snyder recently wrote about the war on preppers on his site, The Economic Collapse Blog:

There are approximately 3 million preppers in the United States today, and often they appear to be singled out for punishment by bureaucratic control freaks that are horrified at the thought that there are families out there that actually want to try to become less dependent on the system.  So if you use alternative methods to heat your home, or if you are not connected to the utility grid, or if you collect rainwater on your property, or if you believe that parents should have the ultimate say when it comes to health decisions for their children, you could become a target for overzealous government enforcers.  Once upon a time, America was the land of the free and the home of the brave, but now we are being transformed into a socialist police state where control freak bureaucrats use millions of laws, rules and regulations to crack down on anyone that dares to think for themselves.

So, what can you do?

“What can you store?” is not the answer to this conundrum.

“What can you make?” – that’s the answer.

Your focus has to be on long-term sustainability, frugality, and self-reliance.  Don’t get me wrong – a stockpile is sensible and an important course of action. It should definitely be part of your preparedness plan.

However, you need to also be ready for the time when the supplies in your well-stocked pantry are no longer available.  You need to be able to meet as many of your own needs as possible or you’ll end up being one of those people wearing dirty clothes because you can’t find laundry soap or going hungry because you can’t find any food at the stores – or can’t afford it if you can find it.

Lots of us have taken steps to free ourselves from the chains of the local Wal-Mart, but we can take it a step further.

We can learn to be self-reliant.

This means:

It’s only by reducing your need for the things sold in stores that you can exempt yourself from the chaos and desperation that will erupt when or if an economic collapse situation occurs here.

Take the time to revisit the situation in Greece a couple of years ago. Families were so desperate they gave up their children to be raised by the state when they could no longer afford to feed them.  People worked longer hours for less money, while the cost of everything went up, causing instant crippling poverty for the former middle class. Suicide rates sky-rocketed and the country’s lifestyle changed dramatically – and not for the better.

Reprinted with permission from The Organic Prepper.

Suppressing the Truth About the Boston Bombing

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 02:01

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ROCKWELL:  Well, good morning.  This is the Lew Rockwell Show.  And it’s great to have as our guest this morning, Mr. Russ Baker.  Russ is an award-winning investigative reporter.  I mean, an actual investigative reporter.  I think that’s, unfortunately, a dying breed.  He’s written for The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Village Voice, Esquire, and many, many others publications.  To me, most importantly, he’s the author of a great book called Family of Secrets:

The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces that Put It in the White House and What Their Influence Means for America, and an updated paperback under the title of Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years.  Russ has his own site, of course,, also, which continues his investigative reporting outside of the mainstream media.

Russ, with all this sort of the reaction of the government and the press in the Boston bombing, I’m reminded also, the same with all these leak investigations, that the purpose of government classification is to keep things secret from the American people, not the Russkies or whoever is the demonized foreigner of the moment.  And is anybody, but you, from a reputable and experienced journalistic standpoint, questioning the information shutdown that’s taken place in Boston?  I mean, we know they shut down Boston and the suburbs in an outrageous use of power, but also there’s been no information.  I mean, first of all, some of the stuff they told us turned out to be lies or mistakes.  But everything has been shut down for alleged national security reasons but I’m assuming to keep embarrassing information secret from Americans.

BAKER:  Yeah, there’s a long history of that.  Throughout my journalism career, I’ve seen repeatedly how attempts to prevent the public or it’s representatives in the press from obtaining information has turned out to be, as you say, to basically protect themselves.  Almost never do I see evidence that this would have actually damaged national security.  And, of course, the term “national security” itself is rarely examined as to what it means and so we just take all of this stuff for granted.

Now, in the Boston bombing story, as you know, I devote most of my time; but I’m not writing books like Family of Secrets.   I devote almost all of my time to, also  We’re a non-profit investigative news site.  And as you know, Lew, I started that some years ago because I felt like we weren’t getting the story from the corporate media, but we also weren’t getting the story from the so-called alternative media, which seemed to operate with such an agenda that you could kind of always predict where the stories are going to come down.

One of our readers said, “My god, you’re talking about a pure journalism play.”  In other words, we are not going into these stories trying to persuade you that we know everything, that our viewpoint is right.  We’re actually interested in information.  And so we’re really interested in knowing what happened at the Boston bombing.  It’s not that we believe that the authorities are telling the truth or that they’re not telling the truth.  We are looking at the actual facts of the case.   And in the information that has come out, we’re seeing tremendous anomalies, inconsistencies, out-right falsehoods, reversals by these agencies, and we are troubled by them.  And we think that that’s all the basis for reporting.  And so I and other members of our team have been working this story now for more than a month, and we’re going to stay at it for a few more months.  We’re hoping that the public will support us so we’re able to cover the costs for doing this.  As a non-profit, that’s very important to us.  But nevertheless, we’re going to continue looking at these things.

Certainly, what you’re talking about with the information clamp down, this is very, very disturbing because we’ve seen all kinds of clamp downs.  We saw the clamp down on the freedom of movement.  We’ve seen the increasing encroachment of military troops into our American cities.  We see the public getting softened up and being made to become more and more comfortable with living in kind of a military state almost.  And I think that that’s one of the larger themes of many, many themes that need to be addressed in investigating the Boston bombing.

ROCKWELL:  Now, you’ve actually been on the ground in Boston?

BAKER:  Well, that’s right.  I spent the last two weeks there.  I’ll be going back again.  I can’t stay there full time.  I’m based in New York now, not in Boston.  But I did spend two weeks there, and it was very, very instructive and I got a sense of a bunch of things.  I met with and even drove around with journalists from major newspapers and radio shows; some good people, but I could see the limitations.  There really is almost nobody there digging deeply into these problematical issues.  And when I say problematical issues, what I mean is it is the job of the media to just find out what happened.  It is not our job to pass along what somebody else says happened.  That’s not our job.  And the media there, the major newspapers, the TV and the radio, by and large, just said what the authorities told them.  In a few cases, places like “The Boston Globe,” they do more than that, a little bit more than that; they’ve tried to talk to people.  But I can tell you from my own experience that a lot of this stuff is being controlled.

We’ve done four pieces.  We have another one coming up in a few days.  That’s going to be about this carjacking victim, which is a very, very important piece of this story that has not been investigated by the media.  Another one we just did recently is about the shooting of an MIT police officer named Sean Collier.  That story was treated — it was not examined, Lew, in the context of what that story was.  That story was actually a kind of a propagandistic moment.  And those of us who study and read history remember that back in the Nazi era, there was the killing of a police officer, a Horst Wessel, and they even created a song for the Nazi movement, the “Horst Wessel” song.  Killings of police officers that are magnified like this — and if you go to and read that article, there’s a photo of all of these baseball players at a stadium standing with their hats off and their heads bent in a giant projection of this one police officer.  And what is that for?  Because, tragically, police officers are killed in the line of duty all the time.  Why all of the focus on this one police officer?  I have never, Lew, seen a news organization ask that question.  Why are we focusing on this police officer?  And more importantly, what actually happened with this police officer that would make us interested in him?

ROCKWELL:  Well, of course, it’s clearly become an unexamined assumption that police are worth more than regular people.  So the killing of a cop is far worse than the killing of an old lady or a young father or whatever else, which happens all the time.  And in fact, there actually are not that many police killed in the line of duty.  You can actually find out that figure.  It’s far more dangerous to be a commercial fisherman or a logger or a farmer or many other occupations than to be a cop.  So it’s not actually true that they’re always being killed.

But absolutely, it’s made into a huge political deal, as Will Grigg puts it, with a Brezhnev-style funeral any time a cop is killed, whereas,  if some poor store owner or whatever is killed in the line of duty, his family cares and that’s about it.

BAKER:  I agree with you, that’s true.  I guess what my point was that even in agreeing with you that there are not that many police officers killed, there still are nationally probably some.

ROCKWELL:  Oh, sure.  Actually, about 40 to 50, which is terrible.

BAKER:  But what interests me here is this particular police officer.

By the way, I mean, there were two police officers shot; one died and one almost died.  And they’re both very strange cases.  And so, first of all, I was struck by the fact that they wanted to make it a big deal about this police officer’s death.  Biden flew in and addressed his funeral.  It’s literally said that thousands of law enforcement people came from all over the country to attend the funeral of this man they didn’t know.  Now, it is logical to ask, “Why would people attend a funeral of a person they didn’t know?”  It’s for some reason.  And what it really comes down to is it’s propagandistic.  And what this is, is this is focusing the public and it’s very strongly sending out a message that the system is taking care of you and you have to honor the system.  “This person died for you.”

And what’s very interesting was, if you go into that article and you read all the detail of what I investigated — and we’ll be doing more on this — first of all, when Officer Collier was killed, we were essentially told either explicitly or implicitly that he had been killed by these two brothers.  Now what’s very interesting is, at the time that he was killed, all we knew was that these two brothers, whose names were not even public yet, were pictures out a video, wearing backpacks, walking along with dozens, hundreds of other people wearing backpacks and walking.  And so it was the death of this police officer that set everything into motion.

And as soon as I heard about the death of this police officer, I thought, OK, when an officer is down, when that is announced, I can tell you this — and I know a lot of police officers and many of them are very, very fine people, but they act with a kind of a pack mentality — and it suddenly turbo charges.  You know, there’s a whole tradition, the Blue Wall of Silence and all this, and when anything happens to a police officer in any instance, immediately, all the other police respond in a very, very aggressive way.  And so what you saw was, the second he had been shot, boy, whatever the police officers were doing, they were all going to get whoever did this.  And so this became the justification for that shootout on the street in Watertown; later, going after the younger brother, the Tsarnaev brother, and peppering that boat with gunshots when he wasn’t even armed.  This was essentially a kind of retribution for their fellow officer.  Except for one thing, and that is that about a week later, when they were doing this whole big memorial service with Biden and everything, they rather quietly announced that, oh, you know what, actually, the original story that he had maybe tried to stop these brothers and they had killed him was not right.  It turns out, they don’t know who shot this man.  He didn’t confront anybody.  And he was assassinated.  And do you know where he was assassinated, Lew?  He was sitting in his patrol car.  Just sitting there.  Somebody came up behind him for no apparent reason and killed him in cold blood.  We have no evidence right now that those brothers even did it.  But that was the precipitating event that then unleashed all of this fire power.

The next thing that happened is this carjacking.  And an unknown person, whose name is still not public, has said that he was carjacked by these brothers and that they told him, “We planted the bomb and we killed that cop.”  Now, those are two things that there is no hard evidence that they did either of them, but now you’ve got killed the cop and then you have a carjacking with an unnamed person saying these guys told me they did it.  And then one of them is killed; the other one, I believe, they attempted to murder him.  So what you would have had, Lew, is you would have had a situation where both of these suspects would be dead, an unknown witness would connect them to both of the things, the whole thing would be over; and that military, that huge military police response would have been accepted, and we would be used to the idea that there will be more of these things.

ROCKWELL:  Well, that’s right.  And of course, then we had the younger brother writing out his confession on the side of the boat in the dark.

BAKER:  Well, in the dark, but this guy was basically gravely injured.


BAKER:  According to the story, which is a little bit strange, of the man who owned that boat, when he went out to check, I mean, he saw blood there.  I mean, this guy was already in a pool of blood before they called the cops.  Because we know he’s gravely injured in the hospital.  So the likelihood that he was in any shape, you know, to sort of heroically prop himself up and go to these incredible lengths to scrawl out a confession virtually with his dying breath is a little bit hard to believe.

At the end, I think the notion was that they thought this guy was going to die.  With those shots that they fired, given the fact that he hadn’t fired a single shot at them, you have to assume that at least one person in that group, whether it was local police or it was the FBI people on the scene, was shooting to kill.  That was the intent, it seems.  And so this confession, if it’s even real — and we haven’t seen that in that confession.  And other thing we’ve been reporting is that that confession was reported to us by John Miller, a senior correspondent at CBS News.  It’s very, very important to remember that John Miller’s last major job was that he was a top official of the FBI.  He was a lead spokesman for the FBI.  He loves the FBI.  He’s very, very close with them.  And this is the man who is now back in journalism telling us this story.  He also has been a key figure throughout.  He got one of those so-called exclusive interviews with the unknown carjacking victim.  So in other words, this entire narrative is being constructed essentially by the FBI or its allies.

ROCKWELL:  I always think of the FBI as the American secret police.  And if you called them that, then when you see this sort of thing going on, it seems to me you ought to take things with maybe not a grain of salt but a cup of salt.

BAKER:  You know, I’ve reported all over the world.  I was one of the first reporters into East Germany before the wall came down; Romania when Ceausescu was overthrown.  I’ve been in so many societies where there was totalitarianism or authoritarianism.  And these kinds of organizations — you do need police, you do need investigative agencies but, unfortunately, the abuses are just rampant.  And anybody who is listening to this who thinks that that is unfair, I invite you to read any of dozens, maybe scores of books about J. Edgar Hoover, who ran the FBI for half a century, and to see that he ran it like a personal fiefdom, basically, like a mobster, and everybody in the agency was terrified of him.  There were constant cover-ups in there.  You understood you could lose your job in a second if you asked any questions at all.  Some of these books are by scholars.  Others are by people who worked in the FBI itself.

And so I have to agree with you.  I mean, in some respect, of course, one wants an agency like the FBI to be there, but that doesn’t mean we have to apologize for the grave structural, philosophical and other problems with it.  The FBI, the CIA, the Secret Service, local police, all of these institutions are absolutely riddled with problems.  And, you know, my attitude as a journalist is many institutions are riddled with problems, many aspects of the federal government, but also private industry, big corporations, riddled with problems, abuses and so forth.  And it is not our job as journalists, and I don’t think it’s our jobs as citizens, to just accept what anybody tells us and to just blindly trust when they say, whether it’s the FBI or it’s your bank, “Hey, we care about you.” Baloney!  I mean, they’re in business for themselves.

ROCKWELL:  Well, I would say this goes back in some sense to the New Deal, but America was a corporatist system, what Mussolini would have called a Fascist system, a combination of big government and big business against the rest of us.  And so, yeah, there are plenty of problems.

But I must say I’m always struck by the subservience of the American people, with the exception of a few of us.  And maybe it’s just my imagination.  Maybe people are actually boiling with upset and dissidence against what’s going on.  But it seems like, whether in my former territory of Boston or other places, people seem to accept this militarism and really what was a temporary totalitarian state in Boston, even the ridiculous notion of soldiers going around in desert camouflage in Boston.  What is the point of that except, of course, for militaristic propaganda?

BAKER:  That’s right.  And it’s also to sort of get people used to these ideas.

I think it’s important to understand that not everybody shares the same benign notion about the rest of us.  You know, when I go out and I walk down the street, I try to feel, even if I’m in a bad mood, positively disposed.  And I look out and I say, “These are my people,” I mean, whoever it is walking down the sidewalk, whether they’re black or they’re white or they’re rich or they’re poor.  And that really is supposed to be the spirit of this country.  They tell us all the time we’re in this together.  That’s why we have these big things at stadiums that the sports are about and everything else, is to make us feel like we’re part of something, to be committed to this kind of togetherness.  But unfortunately, not everybody shares that.  And the truth of the matter is that if you talk to a lot of people in the military and plenty of people in the police privately, they will tell you that they don’t like democracy.  They don’t like the majority making decisions.  They’re not happy with that.  They are worried about who is going to attain power.  And if you are a big industrialist or banker or something else, your primary concerns are not increasing freedom of speech and increasing the democracy and transparency, because those don’t serve you.  If you’re already at the top — this is why these kinds of people tend to have what you were referring to, sort of Fascistic inclinations, because really what they want is that kind of corporative situation where the organs of power are primarily there to defend their enterprise, to go in and bust up the efforts by workers to organize, to try to stop consumer advocates or anyone who wants to look into conditions or circumstance or the quality of the products or the services that they’re purveying.

I know that you and I differ somewhat on some of these issues, but I think that we agree on the notion that the principles of democracy and freedom and speech are important ones and that there are a lot of people who aren’t for that.  And unfortunately, because of the influence of money in our society, those people dominate things.  They can influence who gets elected president.  And then the president chooses the attorney general, has a kind of say in who becomes the FBI director, and even more importantly, who are those career people at the FBI or at the Justice Department who are in there for the long haul.  And when they leave, finally, they take very, very wealthy jobs, of course, in the corporate world.  And so they understood all along who it was that they needed to be pleasing.

ROCKWELL:  Yeah.  Of course, I must say, my own position is the president is just sort of a smiley face on the lapel of the oligarchy.  I mean, he represents a huge, huge business and state Military Industrial Complex, Security Industrial Complex, interests.  He’s not really an independent actor.  If he were an independent actor, they’d kill him, like Kennedy.

Speaking of Kennedy, before I talk to you about the very, very important book that you’re working on now, tell us what happened in the alleged fire or bomb or whatever the heck it was at the Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston.

BAKER:  You know, that’s a strange one, because we were told that that happened almost at the same time of the marathon bombing, within a short time of that, on the same day.  We still haven’t gotten a straight answer on what happened.  I’ve been doing a little bit in the way of inquiries and, I have to say, I have questions about that.  I don’t think that the authorities are being forthcoming.  And even more disturbing than the bombing itself, the potential damage there or attempted damage to priceless research materials that people like I need to continue to investigate what happened to John F. Kennedy, what happened to American 50 years ago, and how it’s impacting us today, which I believe it is.  The past certainly is prologued.  But not only am I concerned about that but, you know, there was no coverage.  I mean, after we were assured, oh, no, it’s just a coincidence and someone was smoking or something —


— the media dropped it.  There were no more stories.  Go and Google this thing, you’ll see zero, almost.  I mean, nothing from the local Boston media or the national media.  I mean, WhoWhatWhy is a little, tiny non-profit and we’re looking into it.  And these giant news organizations have nobody asking these questions.

I find the Boston bombing story absolutely rife with weird messaging.  And it could all be coincidental; it may be coincidental; probably a lot of it is.  I’ll give you an example.  The shooting of Officer Collier was almost a dead ringer for the shooting of Officer Tippet in the Lee Harvey Oswald/John F. Kennedy saga.  Lee Harvey Oswald wouldn’t even have been a real suspect in the Kennedy assassination had not a police officer been shot shortly after Kennedy was killed, because Oswald was just one of many people who worked in that building.  Nobody said that they saw him with a rifle.  He only became really a suspect when this police officer was shot and then the description of the man who shot him matched Oswald.  So here you see a very, very similar thing where it’s a police officer goes down right after this other event and plays a role essentially in tying them, making these non-suspects suspects, and making them very, very guilty.  So that was one thing.

The second thing is this thing at the library on the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination.  There are many, many disturbing parallels.  You’ve got, in both of those stories, the suspects had recently been in Russia.  Remember that?  They both had been in Russia.


Strange families.  Both the Tsarnaevs and Lee Harvey Oswald had been being monitored by the FBI.  Both of them had relatives, or other people they were associated, with ties to the CIA.  I mean, is this all coincidental?  Does somebody have a particularly sophisticated and sick sense of humor?  I mean, what are we looking at here?  Of course, you’re not even allowed to ask these questions.

Another story going up probably today is how The New York Times, instead of investigating any of these things, they quickly have somebody roll out a story talking about conspiracy theorists and how anybody who has questions about things basically is sort of mentally ill, which is a very, very important contradiction.  If you ask any questions and you don’t accept the conventional narrative that everything is just fine, there is something really, really wrong with you.

ROCKWELL:  Sort of the KGB line, right?  Maybe you need to be put in a special hospital and injected with special drugs because you’re crazy to be a dissident.

BAKER:  Well, you know, Lew, there’s an incredible parallel about that.  As you know, in my book, Family of Secrets — and you were talking about how presidents are puppets — Family of Secrets, which I spent five years on, is a pretty definitive investigation of, as Gore Vidal said, sort of a half of a century of a story that we don’t know about presidents and how they’re created and who’s behind them.  And it’s all documented.  It’s footnoted, you know, a thousand footnotes.

ROCKWELL:  It’s a great book, a great book.

BAKER:  Thank you very much.

But, you know, my continuing efforts to look into these giant traumas, what happened to Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy and Walter Reuther, you know, union leaders who died in a strange plane crashes and so on, there’s so much of this, and it is disproportionately reformers who get taken out.  Very, very few corporate-cozy conservative politicians, who also, by the way, fly in private planes all the time, never seem to have an accident.  But this stuff we need to look at.

Now, you were talking about the KGB and putting people into mental hospitals but, you know, that happens in the United States all the time.  And just one example is there was an Army sergeant by the name of Dinkin, who was intercepting cables and big top-secret stuff at a military base in 1963, and he divined from his own monitoring of cable traffic that there was an assassination plot against JFK.  And he divined that that assassination plot was going to involve right wingers and members of the military and some foreign assassins, and that it was going to take place in Dallas in November of 1963.  And when he tried to say what he knew, they put him into a mental hospital and they began injections and they began essentially doing mind-control things with him.  And eventually, he was forced to say, oh, no, the reason I said those things — and he gave some other explanation that was totally benign.  And that was the only way that this man could get out of basically the gulag.  So if you think that these things only go on in the Soviet Union, you’re wrong.

ROCKWELL:  Of course, you’re exactly right.  Many things go on here as well.

And, Russ, before we go, I want you, to the extent you can, tell us about the book you’re working on now.

BAKER:  Well, you know, I generally don’t talk too much about what I’m working on.  But I will say this.  In terms of subjects and major interests to me, I continue to be very interested in the John F. Kennedy assassination.  Would have loved to have something out on the 50th anniversary of his assassination, but that story is so layered and so complicated, some people believe we could never get to the bottom of it.  I think we can.  I think we can put enough pieces of the things together to figure out what happened.  And I think that solving that is absolutely essential for us to understand what kind of society we really live in, to kind of wake up.  And you know, people say, though, “This is so depressing, I don’t want to hear about it,” but that is not a way to empower yourself.  You empower yourself by educating yourself, by having your eyes open, by understanding how things work.  And that is really the beginning to go about and correct these things, because this country has always — and Franklin Roosevelt said this and Woodrow Wilson said it.  They always warned us that they didn’t really run the country.  Franklin Roosevelt very famously said in a letter to somebody, he said, as you and I both know, the real power in this country resides in the financial circles on Wall Street.  And that’s true.  And I’m continuing to look at Obama and how people like that get to the top and people like Hillary Clinton, and who are behind them, and why it is that, whether we have a Democrat or a Republican, even though there are real substantive differences, primarily on social issues, when it comes to the big global issues and the big financial issues, essentially, we see very, very similar policies and appointments made.  What is really going on in this country?  Why is it that we actually seem to live under a kind of a one-party state?  And that is what my continuing efforts, my books, and, most importantly, my work at, which really is the main focus of my efforts in my life today.  It’s to build a meaningful journalistic institution that can train a whole new generation of journalists, funded entirely by the public, with no corporate influence or government influence, asking questions with neither fear, nor favor, and doing what we’re supposed to be doing, really, as journalists.

ROCKWELL:  You know, it’s interesting when you mention Roosevelt and Wall Street.  I’ve always thought that it was an amazing thing that when you hear at least the mini biographies of FDR, of course, he was the governor and assistant naval secretary, president, and so forth.  It was never mentioned that for a long time, he was a bond salesman on Wall Street.

BAKER:  Well, that’s right.

ROCKWELL:  I mean, he was a key guy on Wall Street.

BAKER:  Yeah.

ROCKWELL:  So he came out of that milieu, of course, from the American aristocracy and so forth.

BAKER:  It only seems to be people from that class like him and like John F. Kennedy that dare take on their own people.

ROCKWELL:  Well, I appreciate very much, Russ, your coming on today, telling us about what you’re doing in Boston and otherwise, and can only cheer you on.  As you say, we have some differences about the nature of the state and capitalism and so forth, but we certainly are agreed that this stuff, the bad things going on need to be exposed.  There are so few people doing the exposing, and it’s great that you and your staff are doing so, and I can only wish you more success.  And I can’t wait for your next book.

BAKER:  Well, thank you very much.  I’ll take that as an incentive to get moving a little bit faster on it.

ROCKWELL:  Thank you, Russ.  Bye-bye.

BAKER:  Thank you very much, Lew.  Bye.

ROCKWELL:  Well, thanks so much for listening to the Lew Rockwell Show today. Take a look at all the podcasts. There have been hundreds of them. There’s a link on the LRC front page. Thank you.

Podcast date, June 4, 2013

Homeschool Children Kidnapped

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 02:01

What began as an investigation ignited by an anonymous report turned into a nightmare for an Arkansas homeschooling couple and seven of their children last week – and it’s not over yet.

Arkansas sheriff’s deputies in Garland County have “stolen” seven homeschoolers from their parents in a home raid spurred by an anonymous caller who told authorities the family’s house contained a “poisonous substance” — which turned out to be a mineral supplement/water purifier that isn’t FDA-approved. It’s been more than a week since the officers and the Department of Human Services (DHS) seized the seven homeschoolers. They remain in state custody.

Michelle Stanley, the mother of the seven children, is still in shock that the police and DHS have gotten away with abducting her children — taking them into custody under what she calls false pretenses.

“The DHS has come and stolen our kids from us under the guise of ‘protecting our children,” Stanley wrote in an email shortly after her home was raided by police and the DHS, according to Health Impact News.

Michelle Stanley shared that the debacle began a month before the seizure of her children, which resulted from a complaint made to authorities that she and her husband permitted their children to run around outside in the snow barefoot. She quickly assured the female DHS agent that her children were having harmless fun — a family tradition when it snowed.

“We showed her some of the ‘200 and something’ pair of shoes and told her (actually the kids told her) how it was their preference to go barefoot and that it was like a tradition to briefly run out in the snow barefoot and take a picture of the footprints,” Stanley explained to the investigator last month.

Then, round two of the assault on her parental rights began when a DHS agent and sheriff’s deputies returned to the Stanleys’ home on Monday, January 12.

“Several people showed up at our door, all obviously here for the investigation, and we welcomed them in,” the homeschooling mother recounted, according to WND. “However, they desired us to step outside in order to speak privately with Hal [her husband] and I, and not in front of the kids.”

But this did not sit well with the officers and agent of the state, who refused to let the parents remain in their home.

(For the rest of this horror story, click the link.)

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LBJ, Hillary
, and Other Government Criminals

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 02:01

Is this the scandal that ends Hillary’s campaign? Former President Bill Clinton visited the hedonistic private island of a billionaire pedophile who police found was engaging girls as young as 12, multiple times. Now a new lawsuit may compel the former president to testify under oath about what he was doing there. The New York Post reported that Hillary is furious that Bill is mired in the scandal.

Democrat mega donor and billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was tied by Palm Beach Police to as many as 40 underaged girls and allegedly provided minor girls to Prince Andrew and lawyer Alan Dershowitz, among others. Now, a lawsuit to overturn a secret and controversial sealed wrist slap plea deal that got Epstein a mere 15 months in a Palm Beach Halfway house, may reveal what Clinton was doing on the island and why Clinton flew on Epstein’s plane 10 times to party abroad, according to FAA Logs. One woman abused on the island by Epstein told the UK Daily Mail Clinton was provided with two women “no older than 17″ when he visited Epstein’s island.

A lawsuit to overturn the secret plea and a secondary defamation suit deal filed by a respected former Judge and a Fort Lauderdale lawyer may force Dershowitz to testify, and could rope in Bill Clinton.

Incredibly, state and federal prosecutors charged Epstein with one count of soliciting only adding, “soliciting a minor” after objections by both the Palm Beach Police and the FBI. Epstein was allowed to spend 16 hours a day in his Palm Beach Mansion and report to jail only at night. A few nights ago on FOX, Ann Coulter spoke the truth on the Jeffrey Epstein case. She hit the nail on the head when she said, “This is the elites circling the wagon and protecting a pederast.”

Let’s take Coulter’s observations a step further: the Epstein case is about the pedophile elite VIP friends of Jeffrey Epstein circling the wagons and protecting not just Jeffrey Epstein, but themselves.

“Elitism” is really about people who believe, because they have huge amounts of power, money, and connections, that the rules of society that the common man or woman must follow do not apply to them. Jeffrey Epstein was running a well- organized sex trafficking ring that provided underage girls for himself and his pedophile friends, many of whom were VIP figures in business and politics with names you would recognize. Epstein ‘bought” a girl from Eastern Europe and was gifted three 12 years olds for his birthday by a wealthy European pedophile pal.

Virginia Roberts, known in a new lawsuit as Jane Doe #3, was the precious jewel of Jeffrey Epstein, who sexually abused her and pimped her to his friends. Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s pedophile girlfriend, was the one who snared Virginia into the Epstein web when she was a mere 15 years of age and working as a towel girl at a local Palm Beach spa in 1998. Ghislaine, one of several pedo recruiters for Epstein, Roberts became a sex slave and child prostitute who worked for Epstein for the next three years. Virginia, now 30 and a mother of three, says that she still cries at night when she thinks of Epstein. Many of these girls, now women, still cry when they think of what Jeffrey Epstein and his circle of VIP pedophiles did to them — how they stole their innocence.

Roberts said Epstein trafficked children to politicians, Wall Streeters and A- listers to curry favor, to advance his business, and for political influence. Courageous Virginia Roberts says that Epstein also made her have sex multiple times with both Prince Andrew and Epstein’s close friend Alan Dershowitz. Prince Andrew is currently getting shelled in the British media and very few Royal observers are sticking their necks out to support him.

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How Accurate Is American Sniper?

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 02:01

On Feb. 2, 2013, former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle was killed at a shooting range near Chalk Mountain, Texas, while attempting to help fellow veteran Eddie Ray Routh. He had gained notoriety during the Iraq war—with 160 confirmed kills out of a possible 255, Kyle remains the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history. Almost two years later, actor-director Clint Eastwood has transformed the 2012 memoir American Sniper from a best-seller into a box-office hit.

Controversy over Kyle’s credibility casts doubts on the film, however—claims that he engaged in a bar fight with former Minnesota governor and pro wrestler Jesse Ventura, sniped looters in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and killed two carjackers all remain unsubstantiated. (The first was the subject of a $1.845 million defamation lawsuit Ventura brought and won against Kyle.) This, coupled with a New Yorker piece exploring Kyle’s tendency for embellishment, may make audiences ask: Does Eastwood’s American Sniper stick to the narrative as presented by Chris Kyle or to the known facts—or does it blend the two?

The answer is not an easy one. More than any other strategy, omission keeps the film true to life. Questionable episodes (including those mentioned above) are excised. Eastwood de-emphasizes training and non-Iraq sequences to grant breathing room to a handful of military operations, building a film around Kyle’s tense decisions to pull the trigger or grant mercy. What emerges is a morality tale—one that, unlike the memoir, reflects on what simmers beneath the surface. Below, I probe the film’s key moments for inaccuracies.

Texas Cowboy

American Sniper’s Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) is an all-American boy raised in rural Texas with strong Christian values and a passion for firearms. His father imparts strict lessons about the difference between sheep, sheepdogs, and wolves—and the importance of finishing a fight. And indeed, in his memoir, Kyle credits paternal influence for his black-and-white morality.

But skipping ahead, the film takes some liberties. Early on, the movie shows Kyle taking part in a rodeo before finding his girlfriend in bed with another man, whom he quickly dispatches. While Chris Kyle participated in “saddle bronco bustin’ ” from high school into college, his rodeo career ended when a bronco flipped and left him with pins in his wrists, broken ribs, and other injuries. Neither his brother nor an unfaithful girlfriend are mentioned in the book, but he did become a ranch hand to pay the bills after partying with rodeo groupies drained his income. During this time, he approached the recruitment office to enlist—not, as the movie suggests, because he witnessed American lives lost on the news, but because he had always intended to join the military following school.

When his rodeo injuries precluded enlistment, Kyle quit school to work on ranches full time. However, he soon got a call from Navy recruiters who reversed their earlier decision. In the movie, this waffling is glossed over to make his enlistment seem like a streamlined response to injustice—Kyle goes straight from busting broncos to SEAL training.

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