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Thursday, July 24, 2014

" For the life of me, I don’t understand why anyone would embrace a philosophy and policies that are failed and have no chance of success. That sure seems impractical to me. On the other hand, I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t embrace libertarianism, especially given the fact that it works. Embracing a philosophy that works seems to me to be infinitely practical."

The Practicality of Libertarianism
by Jacob G. Hornberger


People sometimes accuse libertarians of being impractical. That befuddles me because libertarianism is the only practical philosophy there is. Why is that? Because libertarianism works. The only philosophies don’t.

Consider immigration. People say: “You libertarians are so impractical with your call for open borders.”

Yet, what could be more practical than a policy that brings about peace, prosperity, and harmony?

Look at what statism has done in the area of immigration. We have endless cycle of crises and reforms, accompanied by paroxysms of anger, frustration, and exasperation. With the possible exception of the drug war, foreign policy, public schooling, and healthcare, you couldn’t find a more dysfunctional program than immigration controls.

Let’s also not forget the police-state environment along the border, including the Berlin Fence and those Soviet-style domestic checkpoints where Stasi-like guards demand to see your papers and get horribly angry when you refuse to answer their questions.

That’s an aberrant system. How can anyone say otherwise?

The results of immigration controls shouldn’t surprise anyone. After all, immigration controls are nothing more than a variation of socialist central planning. Wouldn’t we expect the consequences of socialism here to be just as perverse as they are in the Soviet Union, Cuba, North Korea, and China?

Consider the libertarian idea of open borders. No more immigration crises, deaths, human smuggling, and police state along the border. Just a normal flow of people back and forth across the border.

What’s more practical than a philosophy that works? What’s more impractical than a philosophy that doesn’t?

Look at the drug war. A perverse and dysfunctional system if there ever was one. Decades of violence, death, destruction, and corruption, without any noticeable effect on the supply of or demand for drugs. And notice something important: the more they crack down, the worse the problem gets.

Statists remain deeply wedded to the drug war, notwithstanding its decades of manifest failure and destructiveness. How practical is that? Can you think of anything more impractical than doubling down on a failed and destructive policy, especially in the hope of achieving a different result?

Consider the libertarian position: End the drug war by repealing all laws that criminalize the use, possession, distribution, or sale of drugs — all drugs, not just marijuana. What would that do? It would bring an immediate end to the drug gangs, drug lords, gang wars, and governmental corruption along with all the police-state practices and violations of liberty and privacy that have accompanied the drug war.

Pray tell: What could be more practical than that? Again, what could be more practical than a philosophy that works, especially compared to one that doesn’t work, hasn’t worked, and will never work?

Consider healthcare. Conservative statists spend their time exclaiming against Obamacare, while liberal statists spend their time defending it. What could be more impractical than those two positions? What good would it do to repeal Obamacare? Wasn’t there a huge healthcare crisis that Obamacare was intended to address? What good will it do to maintain Obamacare? Isn’t it just another socialist reform measure that is certain to provide more healthcare crises down the road?

In other words, both conservatives and liberals are just wasting their time, money, and energy. Their respective hopes and dreams regarding healthcare will continue to provide nothing but crises.

The libertarian position? Repeal Medicare, Medicaid, occupational licensure, and healthcare and insurance regulation. A total separation of healthcare and the state. What could be more practical than that, especially given we would once again be relying on the free market to deliver healthcare. Everyone knows — or should know — that the free market delivers the best of everything, especially compared to socialistic plans like Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare.

Just think: Under libertarianism, no more healthcare crises, and everyone receiving reasonably priced, high-quality healthcare from doctors and others who, once again, love what they do in life. What could be more practical than that?

Foreign interventionism? Nothing but violence, death destruction, horrific consequences, and foreign anger and hatred toward the United States under the statist philosophy.

World War I didn’t make the world safe for democracy or end all wars. It led to World War II, the war that delivered Eastern Europe and East Germany to the Soviet communists, which were then made the target of a 45-year Cold War along with the establishment of the national-security state, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, Persian Gulf War, and then came the war on terrorism, the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan, torture, rendition, indefinite detention, militarism, and the ever-growing assaults on the civil liberties and privacy of the American people.

What could be more dysfunctional and impractical than all that? Compare that to libertarianism, which would dismantle the warfare state, including the empire of foreign and domestic military bases, the Cold War national-security state apparatus, the CIA, the NSA, and the entire military-industrial complex—and abolish the taxes that fund them.

What would that accomplish? Only a peaceful, prosperous, and harmonious society, that’s all. What could be more practical than that?

Public schooling? By the time kids reach 18 years of age, they have had the love of learning smashed out of them through a rigid system of regimentation, conformity, deference to authority, and obedience. Of course, this is where people receive their indoctrination — mental training from the state to ensure that people remain faithful, loyal, and obedient drones of the system and lack the mental capability of challenging it at a fundamental level.

Everyone, even the most stalwart defenders of public schooling, acknowledge what a fiasco the system has been. Why, even the president of the United States refuses to send his children into the public schooling system. That’s because he loves his children and, therefore, refuses to hand them over to the state’s “educational” system.

What could be more impractical than a system that destroys or damages people’s minds in their formative years?

Libertarians? We say: Separate school and state. Get rid of all state involvement in education. Rely totally on the free market for education. What could be more practical than a free-market educational system, one in which people love to learn?

The good news is that more and more people, especially young people, are figuring all this out and self-describing as libertarians. That includes people from both the left and the right. You see this playing out especially in the drug war, where countless people are popping up everywhere calling for an end to the drug war.

For the life of me, I don’t understand why anyone would embrace a philosophy and policies that are failed and have no chance of success. That sure seems impractical to me.

On the other hand, I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t embrace libertarianism, especially given the fact that it works. Embracing a philosophy that works seems to me to be infinitely practical.


Link:
http://fff.org/2014/07/24/the-practicality-of-libertarianism/

This says it all...

Map of US Military and CIA Interventions since World War 2

By William Blum



Link:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/07/william-blum/us-military-and-cia-intervention/

"Call it what you will—taxes, penalties, fees or fines—but the only word that truly describes the constant bilking of the American taxpayer by the government and its corporate partners is theft."

The Stealing of America by the Cops, the Courts, the Corporations and Congress

By John W. Whitehead


Call it what you will—taxes, penalties, fees or fines—but the only word that truly describes the constant bilking of the American taxpayer by the government and its corporate partners is theft.

We’re operating in a topsy-turvy Sherwood Forest where instead of Robin Hood and his merry band of thieves stealing from the rich to feed the poor, you’ve got the government and its merry band of corporate thieves stealing from the poor to fatten the wallets of the rich. In this way, the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. All the while, the American Dream of peace, prosperity, and liberty has turned into a nightmare of endless wars, debilitating debt, and outright tyranny.

What Americans don’t seem to comprehend is if the government can arbitrarily take away your property, you have no rights.

In this way, the police state with all of its trappings—from surveillance cameras, militarized police, SWAT team raids, truancy and zero tolerance policies, asset forfeiture laws, privatized prisons and red light cameras to Sting Ray guns, fusion centers, drones, black boxes, hollow-point bullets, detention centers, speed traps and abundance of laws criminalizing otherwise legitimate conduct—is little more than a front for a high-dollar operation aimed at laundering as much money as possible through government agencies and into the bank accounts of corporations.

Indeed, as I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, the real motivating factor behind erecting a police state is not to protect the people, but to further enrich the powerful.

Consider the following costly line items, all part of the government’s so-called quest to keep us safe and fight terrorism while entrenching the police state, enriching the elite, and further shredding our constitutional rights:

$34 billion for police departments to add to their arsenals of weapons and equipment. Police departments across the country “have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.” The result: increased use of SWAT teams for routine tasks.

$6 billion in assets seized by the federal government in one year alone. This civil asset forfeiture scheme operates on the legal theory that one’s property can not only be guilty of a crime but is also guilty until proven innocent. Whether or not any crime is proven to have taken place, police seize and keep private property they “suspect” may be connected to criminal activity.

$3.8 billion requested by the Obama administration to build additional detention camps and add border patrol agents to the southern border. Border Patrol agents are already allowed to search people’s homes, intimately probe their bodies, and rifle through their belongings, all without a warrant.

$61 billion for the Department of Homeland Security, one of the most notoriously bloated government agencies ever created. The third largest federal agency behind the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense, the DHS—with its 240,000 full-time workers and sub-agencies—has been aptly dubbed a “runaway train.”

$80 billion spent on incarceration by the states and the federal government in 2010. Providing security, housing, food, medical care, etc., for six million Americans is a gold mine to profit-hungry corporations such as Corrections Corp of America and GEO Group. CCA has offered to buy and manage public prisons officials in 48 states offering at a cost savings to the states. In exchange, the prisons would have to contain at least 1,000 beds and states would have to maintain a 90% occupancy rate for at least 20 years. This has led to the phenomenon of overcriminalization of everyday activities, in which mundane activities such as growing vegetables in your yard or collecting rainwater on your property are criminalized, resulting in jail sentences for individuals who might otherwise have never seen the inside of a jail cell.

93 cents an hour for forced, prison labor in service to for-profit corporations such as Starbucks, Microsoft, Walmart, and Victoria’s Secret. What this forced labor scheme has created, indirectly or not, is a financial incentive for both the corporations and government agencies to keep the prisons full to capacity.

$1.4 billion per year reportedly lost to truancy by California school districts, which receive government funding based on student attendance. The so-called “solution” to student absences from school has enabled schools to rake in millions, fine parents up to $500 for each unexcused absence, with the potential for jail time, and has given rise to a whole new track in the criminal justice system devoted to creating new revenue streams for communities.

$84.9 million collected in one year by the District of Columbia as a result of tickets issued by speeding and traffic light cameras stationed around the city. Multiply that income hundreds of times over to account for the growing number of localities latching onto these revenue-generating, photo-enforced camera schemes, and you’ll understand why community governments and police agencies are lining up in droves to install them, despite reports of wide scale corruption by the companies operating the cameras.

$1.4 billion for fusion centers. These fusion centers, which represent the combined surveillance and intelligence efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement, have proven to be exercises in incompetence, often producing irrelevant, useless or inappropriate intelligence, while spending millions of dollars on “flat-screen televisions, sport utility vehicles, hidden cameras and other gadgets.”

In sum, the American police state is a multi-billion dollar boondoggle, meant to keep the property and the resources of the American people flowing into corrupt government agencies and their corporate partners. For those with any accounting ability, it’s clear that the total sum of the expenses being charged to the American taxpayer’s account by the government add up to only one thing: the loss of our freedoms. It’s time to seriously consider a plan to begin de-funding this beast and keeping our resources where they belong: in our communities, working for us.


Link:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/07/john-w-whitehead/gang-of-thieves/

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

What If Democracy Is a Fraud?

By Andrew P. Napolitano


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do we do about it?


Link:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/07/andrew-p-napolitano/democracy-is-a-fraud/

"Get your money out of money market funds now!!!"

It's Official: SEC Will Allow Money Market Funds To Stop Redemptions During Tumultuous Periods
By Robert Wenzel


As expected (SEE ALERT: Pull Your Money From Money Markets Now!), the Securities and Exchange Commission has voted 3-2 to implement a number of new rules and regulations surrounding money market mutual funds.

The most significant new rules, as far as individual investors are concerned, are rules which will now allow funds to impose a fee on shareholders who want to sell their shares, or allow funds to halt redemptions altogether.

The New York Federal Reserve Bank in April warned in a paper of the consequences of such a rule:

[T]he possibility of suspending convertibility, including the imposition of gates or fees for redemptions, can create runs that would not otherwise occur... Rules that provide intermediaries, such as MMFs, the ability to restrict redemptions when liquidity falls short may threaten financial stability by setting up the possibility of preemptive runs...one notable concern, given the similarity of MMF portfolios, is that a preemptive run on one fund might cause investors in other funds to reassess whether risks in their funds...

Got that? The Fed recognizes the possibility of preemptive runs that could spread throughout the money market sector because of these new rules.

Bottom line: The risk of holding funds in a money market fund just increased exponentially. Your money will be much more liquid in an elitist, establishment bank account.

Get your money out of money market funds now!


Link:
http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2014/07/its-official-sec-will-allow-money.html

Inflation??? What inflation??? Keep printing that money...

There Is No Inflation If You Don't Eat Dairy, Seafood, Fresh Fruit, Pork, Beef/Veal or Eggs....

But if you do, prices have soared since September 2013:


Link:
http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2014/07/there-is-no-inflation-if-you-dont-eat.html

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Be back in July or August. Time for a little vacation...

Reality check...

Reality Check: Guns Sales Up, Crimes Committed With Guns Down
Katie Pavlich


Earlier this week, Michael Bloomberg's new anti-gun Everytown released a bogus report claiming since Newtown in December 2013, 74 school shootings have taken place. The report was so bogus, even CNN went out of the way, twice, to correct the record. More from Ed Morrissey:

For the second time in two days, CNN went out of its way to debunk the Michael Bloomberg/Barack Obama claim that mass shootings have become epidemic and a “new normal” in American society. The day after CNN debunked the Bloomberg-funded Everytown claim that there were 74 Newtown-style mass shootings since Sandy Hook, Jake Tapper interviewed Northeastern University criminology professor James Alan Fox to look at the data rather than the anecdotes. Over a 40-year period, Fox concluded, mass shootings have remained flat — even while the population of the country has grown significantly over the same period
.



Since we're on the topic of "gun violence," it's never a bad time for a reality check. The fact is, as lawful gun sales have increased, crimes carried out with a firearm have decreased. A majority of people think violent crimes carried out with firearms have increased over the past 20 years. They haven't, but instead have been cut in half. This video from the National Shooting Sports Foundation break down the numbers:



In the words of John Lott: More guns. Less crime.

Link:
http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2014/06/13/reality-check-guns-sales-up-crimes-committed-with-guns-down-n1851342

The “war on compassion”...

In 33 U.S. Cities, Feeding the Homeless Has Been Criminalized

Michael Krieger

Liberty Blitzkrieg


The “war on compassion” when it comes to the homeless in America has been one of Liberty Blitzkrieg’s key themes this year. There are many reasons why I find this topic to be of such tremendous importance. First and foremost, I think that if we want to see how the state and crony corporate status quo will treat everyone in the future, all you have to do is look at how the homeless are being “dealt with.” Secondly, random groups feeding the homeless in various venues is a great example of decentralized compassion. Political power hates decentralization and is quite intentionally trying to corral the homeless into the centralized bureaucratic channels over which it has total control. So this isn’t merely a humanitarian issue, it is also a front line battle in the key war of our time: Decentralization vs. Centralization...


Read more:
http://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2014/06/12/in-33-u-s-cities-feeding-the-homeless-has-been-criminalized/

"...the evidence shows that America is no more violent than it has ever been and mass shootings aren't the new normal."

Study: Mass Shootings in America Not on the Rise

Despite public outcry and media coverage


New York magazine's "Science of Us" has revealed a study by a criminologist at Northeastern University which shows that mass shootings are not on the rise.

James Alan Fox has tracked mass-shootings of four or more fatalities spanning from 1976 through 2012. The data shows a steady rate of incidents as well as victims over that 36 year period -- no upward trend whatsoever.

Fox says that even if you change the data set to three victims, the result would be the same. "There isn't even any upswing in the number of school shooting victims," the article states.

Despite public outcry on social media and 24/7 media coverage lamenting that America is headed to hell in a hand basket, the evidence shows that America is no more violent than it has ever been and mass shootings aren't the new normal.



Link:
http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/study-mass-shootings-america-not-rise

Inflation??? What inflation???

Less Than 2% Inflation?
Michael S. Rozeff


The FED claims that inflation is below 2% a year in statements like this: “The Committee recognizes that inflation persistently below its 2 percent objective could pose risks to economic performance, and it is monitoring inflation developments carefully for evidence that inflation will move back toward its objective over the medium term.”

Wars are associated with inflation. With Iraq in the news, how much inflation in prices has occurred from the time that war began in March 2003? There is BLS data for the 11-year period 3/2003 to 3/2014. Here’s a sample. The inflation rates are annual continuously compounded rates.

16 oz bag of potato chips: From $3.546 to $4.538 (2.24% a year).
16 oz creamy peanut butter: $1.981 to $2.707 (2.84% a year)
16 oz cheddar cheese: $4.049 to 5.579 (2.91% a year)
16 oz white bread: $1.042 to $1.359 (2.41% a year)
16 oz ground chuck: $2.196 to $3.745 (4.85% a year)
16 oz broccoli: $1.199 to $1.784 (3.61% a year)
liter table wine: $6.451 to $10.747 (4.64% a year)
3.785 liters unleaded regular gasoline: $1.748 to $3.532 (6.39% a year)

Another data source:

1 year of college: $10,820 to $19,344 (5.28% a year)

1 megabyte memory storage: large declines per year for many years

Unfortunately, one cannot eat or drink computer memory, wear it, live in it, drive it, use it to heat or cool a room, pay taxes or insurance in it or have a surgical procedure done with it.


Link:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/food-price-inflation/

“Not only did they pick up a lot of weapons and guns and equipment, but they end up getting Black Hawk helicopters. And this is money that the taxpayers paid and we gave it to the Iraqis. They were supposed to be trained in taking care of and protecting their country, and here the Al-Qaeda is taking over the country.”

Ron Paul Slams Obama's Policy on Iraq

By Russia Today


Former congressman Ron Paul is attributing the current crisis in Iraq to failed American foreign policy and warns the worse has yet to come.

In a video statement posted to the Ron Paul Channel website on Thursday, the former representative for Texas and three-time presidential hopeful blamed decades of policy decisions made by both the right and the left for situation in Iraq, where Al-Qaeda-affiliated militants have seized no fewer than two major cities in the country’s northern region this week.

“But the real irony here is that Iraq had no Al-Qaeda in it when we went into Iraq, because right after 9/11 a story was concocted and based on lies and misinformation that Al-Qaeda was in Iraq, that there was weapons of mass destruction — all those things that motivated the people and the propaganda to get the support, and Congress went along with it and started spending all that money,” Paul said.

More than a decade later, the ex-lawmaker added, the repercussions are still being seen. Military aid and other supplies have been provided to the Iraqi people since the US first became involved, he said, and now weapons and even helicopters have fallen into the hands of rebel fighters — the same forces that the US is considering attacking, President Barack Obama acknowledged this week.

“Not only did they pick up a lot of weapons and guns and equipment, but they end up getting Black Hawk helicopters. And this is money that the taxpayers paid and we gave it to the Iraqis. They were supposed to be trained in taking care of and protecting their country, and here the Al-Qaeda is taking over the country,”Paul said in the 11-minute video uploaded to his site this week.

Elsewhere in the clip — aptly titled American Foreign Policy in Iraq is ‘Ridiculous’ — Paul condemned what has become standard practice for the US as being “stupid” and “dumb.”

“There is an alternative to this,” he said. “We don’t have to continue to do the dumb things that have been done for so long. It’s time that we just rised up [sic], used good policy and came to our sense. So in that sense, there is always a chance that things will get much better. But I think the American people ought to realize how bad things are. How much worse they are, tragically, before we even went into Iraq.”

Paul’s latest remarks come just days after he spoke out against American foreign policy in an op-ed published on his website in response to a recent speech delivered by Obama at West Point military academy.

“President Obama spoke at length about the US role in promoting democracy around the world, but why does it seem that the US government only recognizes elections as free and fair when the US-favored candidate wins?” he asked.

“There is much to disappoint in Obama’s big foreign policy speech. It represents a continuation of the policy of ‘do what we say and we will subsidize you, disobey us and we will bomb you.’”

On Thursday this week, Pres. Obama told reporters that he had not rule out any options with regards to the escalating crisis in Iraq, and Baghdad has requested that the White House authorize military assistance by way of airstrikes. Later in the day, outgoing press secretary Jay Carney said the administration was not considering a boots-on-the-ground option.

“The odds of troops going in there are still pretty slim, although I don’t consider that an impossibility,” Paul added during his own address.


Link:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/06/russia-today/depraved-destructive-demonic/

"This week saw the collapse of two divisions of Iraq’s government army, a full 30,000 men running like chickens before the relentless advance of the fighters of ISIS – the Islamic State of Iraq and Shams(Syria). The same puppet army trained and equipped for a decade by the US at a cost of $14 billion. An evil portent of what awaits Afghanistan’s US-led army and police."

Iraq Blows Wide Open

By Eric Margolis


The late Saddam Hussein was certainly right when he predicted that America’s invasion of Iraq would become “the Mother of All Battles.” Eleven years later, it continues.

This week saw the collapse of two divisions of Iraq’s government army, a full 30,000 men running like chickens before the relentless advance of the fighters of ISIS – the Islamic State of Iraq and Shams(Syria). The same puppet army trained and equipped for a decade by the US at a cost of $14 billion. An evil portent of what awaits Afghanistan’s US-led army and police.

Remember when President George W. Bush boasted, “mission accomplished?” Was not the wicked Saddam Hussein lynched by US Shia allies? Wasn’t the dreaded al-Qaida defeated and its leader, Osama bin Laden, assassinated? Remember all that crowing from Washington about “draining the swamp” in Iraq?

As soon as the US knocks down one challenger to its domination of the Mideast – which I call the American Raj - another rises up. The latest: ISIS, a fierce jihadist force that now controls large parts of Syria and Iraq.

ISIS is a combination of Sunni jihadist groups fighting the Shia-backed Damascus government of Bashar Assad (a US enemy backed by Shia Iran), and resurgent units of Saddam’s old Ba’athist army, led by Izzat Ibrahin al-Douri, the last surviving member of Saddam’s inner circle, and a handful of al-Qaida in Iraq.

They are battling to overthrow the US-installed Shia regime in Baghdad of Nuri al-Maliki, an Iranian ally. There are suspicions ISIS may be secretly financed by Sunni Saudi Arabia, a US ally.

Wait a minute. My enemy’s enemy is my friend, as the old Mideast saying goes. The US is trying to overthrow Syria’s secular government to undermine its ally, Iran. The US has been using brutal jihadist groups against the Assad regime in Damascus. But now these jihadists in Syria have mostly fallen under the sway of ISIS – which is chewing up the US-backed regime in Baghdad. Confusing, is it not? My enemy’s enemy has become my friend’s enemy.

The 2003 invasion of Iraq, the stupidest war in US history, which was rousingly backed by Congress and the media, has produced a monumental mess of mind-numbing complexity as Washington trips over its own feet. The ladies advising President Barack Obama on his Mideast policy are hopelessly befuddled.

Washington, now in a major panic over ISIS, is moving towards air strikes against Iran using warplanes based in Kuwait and the Gulf. The US also has two full mechanized combat brigades in Kuwait. Republicans are calling for US ground forces to re-enter Iraq to shore up the widely detested Maliki regime.

While Washington dithers, its little Kurdish protectorate in northern Iraq is threatening to send its combat-effective ‘pesh merga’ fighters to battle ISIS. But this is making both Turkey, which opposes any Kurdish state, and Iran, with its own Kurdish problem, very uneasy. Iraq used to be part of the Ottoman Empire. Its vast oil reserves are a constant enticement to energy-deprived Turkey.

This awful mess can be directly traced to neoconservative strategists in Washington clustered around Vice President Dick Cheney. In 2002, their primary goal, according to Cheney, was to wreck Iraq, the most industrially advanced and progressive Arab state, so removing a major foe of Israel, and then grabbing Iraq’s oil.

Following the time-tested Roman imperial formula of ‘divide et impera’(divide and rule), Washington played Iraq’s long downtrodden Shia against its Sunni minority, igniting a wider Sunni-Shia conflict in the Arab world, notably in Syria.

In fact, Israel emerged as the sole strategic victor of the Bush/Cheney war against Iraq. That war, so far, has cost the US 4,500 soldiers killed, 35,700 wounded, 45,000 sick and over $1 trillion. Iraq lies in ruins, likely shattered beyond all attempts to put it back together. No senior American or British official has faced trial for this disastrous, trumped-up war.

Nuri Maliki has totally excluded Sunnis from power in Iraq, and uses brutal secret police and torture to repress them. Small wonder he faces a major uprising. Iraq’s oil-based economy remains in ruins. Many Iraqis believe their now wretched nation was far better off under Saddam Hussein, as brutal and clumsy as he was.

Interestingly, efforts by ISIS to forge an Islamic state in a merged Syria and Iraq is one of the first major challenges to the foul Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 under which the British and French Empires secretly colluded to divide up the moribund Ottoman Empire’s Mideast domains. Today’s artificial Mideast borders were drawn by the Anglo-French imperialists to impose their rule on the region. Iraq and Syria were the most egregious examples.

ISIS appears set on erasing the British-French borders and re-creating the unified Ottoman province (Turkish: vilyat) of Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. In the West, the neocon-dominated commentariat calls ISIS terrorists. In the Mideast, many see them as anti-colonial fighters struggling to reunite the Arab world sundered and splintered by the western powers. The western powers are now preparing to strike back.


Link:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/06/eric-margolis/saddam-hussein-was-right/

" So Eric Cantor made a career of milking the Warfare State and pandering to Wall Street. This brought him nearly to the top of the Washington heap. But in the end, it did not fool his constituents. And most certainly it set back the conservative cause immeasurably."

Good Riddance To Rep. Eric Cantor: Bagman For Wall Street And The War Party
By David Stockman


Its possible to describe Rep.Eric Cantor as a serial sell-out. But that would be giving an unprincipled politician driven by an unalloyed ambition to climb the greasy pole of Washington power too much credit. In truth, Cantor never campaigned for any recognizable principle; he merely maneuvered his way to the top of the House GOP hierarchy by following in the tawdry footsteps of modern GOP bagmen like Tom DeLay and Roy Blunt.

One commentator had Cantor pegged right on the money, as it were, years ago. On the heels of the 2010 GOP landslide, it was evident that Cantor’s true ambition was to
accumulate a massive war chest to further his own ambitions, not to seize on the tea party momentum to fundamentally reverse the tide of Big Government:

Hand-picked by Majority Whip Roy “Abramoff-R-Us” Blunt early in his tenure to be a deputy whip, sort of an official water-carrier, Cantor moved up swiftly through the ranks as a Blunt protégé, because he was cheerfully obedient when sitting in the room with Friends of Abramoff and because he was unusually good at the money. “He’s about the money,” one wag offers admiringly.

But he was never about conservative principles. Instead, Cantor is one of those post-Reagan Republicans who have managed to reduce conservative policy to such grandiose, content-free platitudes that there is never any danger that their stump speeches at home, or even on the floor of the House, will get in the way of doing Washington business as usual.

There are certain litmus tests that cogently demonstrate the difference between platitude and principle—-and one of them pertains to the matter of crony capitalist subsidies and tax breaks for big business. On that score, I once heard Cantor give a stem-winder in behalf of free markets at a conference full of business and financial types who nodded, applauded and whooped it up. But that was just a pro forma sermon. The next day he was back in Washington making sure that the Ex-Im bank authorization was extended for another 3-years.

In this case, Washington business as usual amounts to salving the spurious complaint of Boeing and General Electric lobbyists that the Brits, EU and Japan subsidize export finance for aircraft, jet engines and heavy capital equipment—-so American taxpayers need to level the playing field. Well, yes, if US policy is to be driven by the statist and socialist mistakes of foreign governments then by all means tax American farmers and bus drivers so that Boeing will make its quarterly EPS.

There is an alternative. Let Boeing and GE suffer a hairline reduction in EPS by providing their own concessional pricing to customers, while shielding millions of innocent US taxpayers and business from being dunned for the tab on April 15. Then let the free market decide where to allocate capital; and let America’s businesses, not Washington bureaucrats, discover where they have the greatest competitive advantage in both domestic and foreign markets, including the ones that are rigged by foreign governments which have an addiction to wasting taxpayer money.

What the beltway statists like Cantor do not understand is that there is no magic level of GDP, or Washington enabled quarterly rate of growth to get there. And most certainly there is no reason to believe that higher taxes on most of the economy to boost a thin but politically noisy sub-segment— commercial aircraft and jet engines—will make the GDP bigger and the nation wealthier.

The true conservative touchstone, therefore, is to let the free market decide how much GDP and how much growth. These should be an unplanned outcome on the free market, not a consequence of Washington-divined targets and beltway-directed policy interventions.

And the political rhetoric that goes with that proposition would intuitively resonant with the American public. Namely, that Washington meddling, regulating, subsidizing and taxing will make things worse, not better; and that the job of generating economic growth and employment belongs to the collectivity of American business, labor, entrepreneurs, savers and investors, not a handful of fixers inside the beltway. That is, twin peas-in-a-pod like Senator Chuck Schumer on the Left and Rep. Eric Cantor on the Right.

So his record speaks for itself. Rep. Cantor was a statist who had learned to lip-sync the platitudes of the modern Republican right. But on the defining issues of our times, he did not trust the free market for a moment, and did not have the slightest clue as to what fiscal rectitude requires after decades of Keynesian borrow and spend.

The fraught moment came on October 3, 2008 when he helped Hank Paulson, the Goldman Sachs plenipotentiary then occupying the 3rd floor of the Treasury Building, force the House GOP rank-and-file into a catastrophic retreat. That is, after properly rebuking the White House demand to bail-out the Wall Street gambling houses by voting “no” on the first TARP consideration, House Republicans were forced into a shameful about face on the second vote.

As much as anyone else, Eric Cantor bears the blame for this final and irreversible triumph of Big Government. It marked the full-dress return of the Keynesian policy model—-the prior defeat of which had been the one and only victory that the Reagan era actually accomplished on the battlefield of ideas. But Cantor’s platitudinal conservatism was so shallow that in the hour of crisis when principle actually matters, he could not recognize that he was being led down the primrose path by an out-and-out Keynesian money printer at the Fed and an economically illiterate Wall Street front-man at the Treasury.

And this goes to the heart of the phony economic conservatism of the Eric Cantor’s and Paul Ryan’s. Both voted for TARP and the auto bailouts because they are complete ignoramuses about the elephant in the room which is leading the Washington policy assault on free markets and fiscal rectitude. Namely, the Federal reserve and the monetary central planning model that has become national policy since the Greenspan era.

But that’s why we had the September 2008 crisis. It did not reflect a fundamental flaw of capitalism, or an outbreak of unusual greed, or insufficient regulation of investment banks—and most especially not a once-in-a-hundred-years outbreak of something called “contagion” that required throwing away the rules of the free market to save it, as the clueless occupant of the White House then phrased it.

No, it was just another central bank enabled financial bubble bursting. That is the inherent and inexorable result of destroying honest price discovery on Wall Street and placing “puts”, props and pegs under the price and yields of securities in the capital and money markets.

In short, the Fed has turned Wall Street into a dangerous gambling casino and Washington into ceaseless fiscal auction. And that’s where Cantor’s real sin comes into play. Not once after the financial crisis did Cantor or the so-called establishment GOP leadership take on the elephant in the room. Never did he even remotely recognize that the monetary politburo ensconced in the Eccles Building has accomplished what amounts to an economic coup d' etat.

Stated differently, financial repression, ZIRP, QE, wealth effects and the Greenspan/Bernanke/Yellen “put” under the stock market and risk assets generally are not just a major policy mistake; they are a full-throttle assault on the heart and soul of conservative economics.

You can not expect to have fiscal rectitude in a modern democracy, for example, when the central bank since the year 2000 has monetized nearly $4 trillion of public debt—and once Paulson’s “bazooka” failed in September 2008, the GSE securities among that total most surely are de facto public debt. Indeed, financial repression makes the carry cost of the public debt so painless—-that is, probably about $400 billion per year less than it would be under a regime of free market interest rates—that not one in a hundred politicians can see they virtue of fallen on the fiscal sword in the here and now in behalf of unborn generations of taxpayers who will carry the burden of today’s fiscal folly.

So it has been Keynesian central bankers, ironically, that have enabled platitudinous conservatives like Cantor to have their cake and eat it, too. To be sure, the latter have never missed an opportunity to scold the self-avowed big spender currently in the White House for his sorry fiscal record, but look what they have done instead.

Year after year they have proposed phony baloney budgets based on accounting fairy dust and pie-in-the sky economic assumptions two or more decades down the road that give constituents not a single clue as to the sacrifices and pain that will be needed to tame the endless profligacy of the nation’s Welfare State and Warfare State. At the same time, they have folded like a lawn chair every time push has come to shove on continuing resolution and debt ceiling crises in the here and now.

Cantor’s record on this score is so horrendous that he ought to spend the next decade in sackcloth and ashes doing penance to the god of fiscal rectitude, if there is one. On the first point, he has been an avid backer of the serial “Ryan” budgets, but each and every one of these dopey plans have significantly increased defense spending and given a free pass to the nation’s massive social insurance system. Yet the latter costs $1.5 trillion per year and embodies the sheer myth that social security and Medicare are earned retirement insurance and are funded out of “assets” that have been accumulated over decades.

In fact, there is nothing in those trust funds except Treasury IOUs. And there are few things more destructive of job creation in the high-cost American economy than the 15% payroll tax that currently underfunds the system, and which will inexorably become even more economically destructive as it rises in the future.
So there is no alternative accept to call the social insurance Ponzi for what it is and to impose a sweeping means test on the millions of affluent retires getting combined social security/Medicare benefits of upwards of $50,000 per year which they didn’t earn. That could then be accompanied with a switch to general revenue funding from a consumption tax—so that the onerous payroll levy which parades as an “insurance premium” could be sharply reduced or eliminated.

Yet Cantor and Ryan just pretended that social insurance didn’t matter: Social Security got a free pass forever and Medicare was always to be fixed after a decade into the future—a point which never comes. Instead, they made their numbers add up with savage cuts in the means tested safety net, but even these cuts were phony. They were to occur by block granting food stamps, Medicaid and other welfare programs and then returning them to the states with a 20-25% haircut.

House Republicans invented that ploy way back in the early 1980s in order to duck voting for real reforms, but the political scam was immediately self-evident. Not a single GOP governor wanted the task of being the “out-sourced” budget cutter!

The same has been true ever since. So the Ryan-Cantor position on the entire $2.5 trillion domestic budget is to punt on the huge social insurance portion and to scam on the rest. Yet once actual defense increases are thrown into the budget pot, the fraudulence of the Cantor-Ryan fiscal position becomes all the more evident.
Without providing an iota of honest disclosure or even a semblance of a credible outline for shrinking a Federal budget which will spend upwards of $50 trillion over the next decade, they insist that taxes are too high and that the secret to the fiscal challenge is even more tax cuts so that we get even more rosy scenario economic growth than is built into the CBO’s Keynesian economic forecasts to begin with.

In short, this is just kidstuff. Cantor and Ryan have effectively removed the GOP from the field of fiscal battle by serving up budgetary platitudes for home consumption by the rank and file. At the same time, they have whiffed each and every time they have faced an action forcing deadline. In the spring of 2011, for example, in connection with the CR expiration crisis, the served up $39 billion in “cuts” that were so transparently phony that the CBO scored them as saving $4 billion at best. And then spending as usual resumed.
In the summer of that year they caved again—this time on the debt ceiling crisis. The solution of the budget super-committee and the automatic sequester speaks for itself. The latter never had any possibility of producing a real budget shrinkage plan. And when the sequester threatened to actually bite into spending, it was Ryan and Cantor who lead the charge in behalf of a compromise to restore $22 billion of spending for defense by giving the liberals $22 billion in higher spending for domestic programs.

At the end of the day, that ignominious Ryan-Murray compromise goes to the very heart of Cantor’s betrayal of the cause of free markets and small government. He has been an unabashed servant of the Washington War Party during his entire career. Time and time again, he helped whip the GOP rank and file into a frenzy of militaristic bombast about imaginary threats to America’s security in places all over the globe which are none of our business. That absolute nonsense of sanctions and unrelenting hostility to the regime in Tehran is perhaps the most egregious example.

So Eric Cantor made a career of milking the Warfare State and pandering to Wall Street. This brought him nearly to the top of the Washington heap. But in the end, it did not fool his constituents. And most certainly it set back the conservative cause immeasurably.


Link:
http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2014/06/must-read-good-riddance-to-rep-eric.html

Friday, June 13, 2014

Ain't no difference twixt the two...

The Republican Creed on Free Enterprise
by Jacob G. Hornberger


We, the members of the Republican Party, hereby affirm our deep and abiding commitment to the principles of free enterprise (i.e., economic activity free of government control and regulation), except for:

1. Immigration controls.

2. Public (i.e., government) schooling.

3. Drug laws.

4. Social Security.

5. Medicare and Medicaid.

6. Tariffs, embargoes, sanctions, and import restrictions.

7. Insider-trading laws.

8. Antitrust laws.

9. Agricultural subsidies.

10. SBA loans.

11. The Federal Reserve.

12. Fiat money.

13. FDIC.

14. Student loans.

15. Education grants.

16. Minimum-wage laws.

17. Welfare.

18. Public housing.

19. Environmental regulations.

20. Income taxation and the IRS.


Link:
http://fff.org/2014/06/13/the-republican-creed-on-free-enterprise/

Central Bankers Are Planning A "Kinetic Strike" To Protect The Dollar Collapse...

Mass Shootings and Mental Health...

The fitness tax...

Misguided D.C. bureaucrats to levy new tax on gym memberships and yoga studios; 'punishing healthy lifestyles'

by: L.J. Devon

As the price of medical care and health insurance skyrockets, and with mandated health insurance taxes looming, many people are looking to implement healthy lifestyles to prevent sickness and disease. Yoga is growing in popularity, providing positive health benefits that instill good breathing patterns, reduced stress levels, greater flexibility and endurance.

With more people exploring yoga techniques, D.C. bureaucrats are busy eying the growing market surrounding this healthy lifestyle practice, as they prepare to sabotage and tax it.

In fact, the D.C. Council is looking to implement a 5.75 percent sales tax on transactions at yoga studios and gyms. Betsy Poos, co-owner of Capitol Hill Yoga, is taken aback by the new measures, which are part of the city's 2015 fiscal budget.

"This feels like a tax on healthy lifestyles," Poos said Monday in an interview with CQ Roll Call.

While the price increases are relatively small for yoga classes, about a dollar more for an $18 class, the underlying principle is at stake. Government is expanding its reckless spending behavior at the expense of healthy, productive people. This may inadvertently discourage people from learning yoga or even caring about their health, as government stands in the way to capitalize. Those struggling to pay for a $100/month gym membership likely won't sign up if the membership costs $50 or $60 more annually.

New yoga taxes projected to deter new customers

Poos is already concerned that the new tax could deter new students from her yoga studio. "In the past five months, 25 percent of our sales revenue have come from consumers brand new to our studio -- first-time walk-ins," Poos said. If "even 10 percent" of new customers shy away thanks to the new tax prices, "we stand to lose much of our overall profit margin."

How low can big government go?

If intrusive measures like this are not stopped, how far will bureaucrats go to siphon money from the free market? How much longer will it take for bureaucrats to implement bamboozling schemes like sidewalk tolls that punish people for the healthy lifestyle choice of walking or running? If deep breathing and lifting weights can be taxed, so can walking.

Others in the fitness industry are also concerned. Capitol Hill's Biker Barre and local CrossFit trainers have voiced their opposition, as has the Capitol Hill Association of Merchants and Professionals, or CHAMPS.

Writing to the Hill's small business community on June 4, CHAMPS President Scott Magnuson stated, "Once again the D.C. Council has let down small businesses in DC." Magnuson criticized the council's abrupt actions, saying that they "do not build confidence in an already fragile relationship between the District government and small business leaders."

"If a doctor prescribes you a pill, there's no sales tax," said Ian Mishalove, co-owner of Flow Yoga Center in Northwest D.C. "If the doctor prescribes you yoga, there's a tax."

Insidious new taxes also target bowling, car washes and water delivery

The abrupt and corrupt budget proposal was initiated by D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, who stands in support of the new gym tax as part of new individual income tax revisions. Former D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams also backs the measure, which also goes after small businesses and services like carpet cleaning, billiards, bowling, car washes and water delivery. These taxes will make transactions like those of car washes less efficient. Imagine having to dig out extra pocket change each time to play pool or bowl, or insert an extra dime for that car wash.

D.C. councilman pretends to be about "fairness"

A Change.org petition took off in opposition to the new D.C. tax codes. Mendelsen pretended that the new taxes are about fairness.

"The goal of the [D.C. Tax Revision Commission] was to recommend an overall tax structure that is fair, equitable and reduces the overall burden on District residents," Mendelson said after being confronted with the petition.

How is it fair when authoritarians like Mendelson get to sit back in their office at the expense of productive and healthy people who are trying to make an honest living in a tough economy?

In protest, physically active residents of the D.C. area are planning to get politically active on the issue, meeting with wellness leaders and planning a day of action at D.C.'s Freedom Plaza.

Betsy Poos said, "Word is starting to get out."


Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/045559_gym_tax_bureaucrats_yoga_studios.html#ixzz34WCWyEit

Get your money out, now...

Australia Seizes 360M From Dormant Bank Accounts And All 50 U.S. States Are Doing This Too

By Michael Snyder


Do you have a bank account that you don't actively use or a safe deposit box that you have not checked on for a while? If so, you might want to see if the government has grabbed your money. This sounds absolutely crazy, but it is true. All over the world, governments are shortening the time periods required before they can seize "dormant bank accounts" and "unclaimed property". For example, as you will read about below, just last year the government of Australia seized a whopping 360 million dollars from dormant bank accounts. And this kind of thing is going on all over America as well. In fact, all 50 states actually pay private contractors to locate bank accounts and unclaimed property that can be seized. In some states, no effort will be made to contact you when your property is confiscated. And in most states, the seized property permanently become the property of the state government after a certain waiting period has elapsed. So please don't put money or property into a bank somewhere and just let it sit there. If you do, the government may come along and grab it right out from under your nose.

In this day and age, broke governments all over the globe are searching for "creative ways" to raise revenues. In Australia for example, the time period required before the federal government could seize a dormant bank account was reduced from seven to three years, and this resulted in an unprecedented windfall for the Australian government over the past 12 months...

The federal government has seized a record $360 million from household bank accounts that have been dormant for just three years, prompting outrage in some quarters amid complaints that pensioners and retirees have lost deposits.

Figures from the Australian Security and Investments Commission (ASIC) show almost $360 million was collected from 80,000 inactive accounts in the year to May under new rules introduced by Labor. The new rules lowered the threshold at which the government is allowed to snatch funds from accounts that remain idle from seven years to three years.

The rule change has delivered the government a massive bonanza with the money collected in the year to May more than the total collected in the past five decades combined.

Most Americans are not going to be too concerned about this because it is happening on the other side of the planet.

But did you know that this is happening all over the U.S. as well?

For instance, the waiting period in the state of California used to be fifteen years.

Now it is just three years.

And when California grabs your money they don't just sit around waiting for you to come and claim it. Instead, it gets dumped directly into the general fund and spent.

If you do not believe that California does this, just check out the following information that comes directly from the official website of the California State Controller's Office...

The State acquires unclaimed property through California's Unclaimed Property Law, which requires "holders" such as corporations, business associations, financial institutions, and insurance companies to annually report and deliver property to the Controller's Office after there has been no customer contact for three years. Often the owner forgets that the account exists, or moves and does not leave a forwarding address or the forwarding order expires. In some cases, the owner dies and the heirs have no knowledge of the property.

And it is not just bank accounts and safe deposit boxes that are covered by California law. The reality is that a vast array of different kinds of "unclaimed property" are covered...

The most common types of Unclaimed Property are:

Bank accounts and safe deposit box contents

Stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and dividends

Uncashed cashier's checks or money orders

Certificates of deposit

Matured or terminated insurance policies

Estates

Mineral interests and royalty payments, trust funds, and escrow accounts.

And when a state government grabs your property, the consequences can be absolutely devastating. The following is an excerpt from an ABC news report from a few years ago...

San Francisco resident Carla Ruff's safe-deposit box was drilled, seized, and turned over to the state of California, marked "owner unknown."

"I was appalled," Ruff said. "I felt violated."

Unknown? Carla's name was right on documents in the box at the Noe Valley Bank of America location. So was her address -- a house about six blocks from the bank. Carla had a checking account at the bank, too -- still does -- and receives regular statements. Plus, she has receipts showing she's the kind of person who paid her box rental fee. And yet, she says nobody ever notified her.

"They are zealously uncovering accounts that are not unclaimed," Ruff said.

To make matters worse, Ruff discovered the loss when she went to her box to retrieve important paperwork she needed because her husband was dying. Those papers had been shredded.

And that's not all. Her great-grandmother's precious natural pearls and other jewelry had been auctioned off. They were sold for just $1,800, even though they were appraised for $82,500.

And some states are even more aggressive than the state of California in going after bank accounts.

In a recent article, Simon Black noted that the state of Georgia can go after "dormant bank accounts" after just one year of inactivity...

In fact, each of the 50 states has its own regulations pertaining to the seizure of dormant accounts. And the grand prize goes to… the great state of Georgia!

Georgia’s Disposition of Unclaimed Properties Act sets the threshold as low as one year.

In other words, if you have a checking account in Georgia that you haven’t touched in twelve months, the state government is going to grab it.

So much for setting aside money for a rainy day and having the discipline to never touch it.

As economic conditions get even worse, the temptation for governments all over the planet to grab private bank accounts is going to become even greater.

We all remember what happened in Cyprus. When the global financial Ponzi scheme finally collapses, politicians all over the world are going to be looking for an easy way to raise cash. And our bank accounts may be one of the first things that they decide to confiscate.

So please don't keep all of your eggs in one basket, and check on all of your accounts in regular intervals.

In this day and age, it pays to be diligent.

Link:
http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/australia-seizes-360m-from-dormant-bank-accounts-and-all-50-u-s-states-are-doing-this-too

"The clear winner here? The US military-industrial complex, of course, as well as the banks who lend money to the governments to fight wars provoked by various “developed nation” spy agencies."

How The US Is Arming Both Sides Of The Iraqi Conflict

Zero Hedge


Recall a week ago we wrote “US Begins Delivering F-16s To Iraq This Week, A Decade After It Wiped Out Iraq’s Air Force” in which we said:

… the US will deliver the first of 36 F-16 fighter jets to Iraq in what Baghdad’s envoy to the United States called a “new chapter” in his country’s ability to defend its vast borders with Iran and other neighbors.

….the US earlier in March provided Iraq with some 100 Hellfire missiles as well as assault rifles and other ammunition. Then in April the US sent more arms, providing Iraq with 11 million rounds of ammunition and other supplies.

It is unknown how many of these have fallen into Al Qaeda/ISIS hands (we do know that at least one Iraqi Black Hawk chopper was captured during the rush for Mosul). What is known is that as PBS Frontline reported two weeks ago, while the administration has denied arming Syrian “rebels”, i.e. the same ISIS militants that have crossed the border and are now fighting in Iraq…


… the reality is that it has. From: “Obama Says Not Arming Syrian Rebels, Syrian Rebels Say He Is”

… the Syrian rebels themselves say they are already armed and trained by US in the use of sophisticated weapons and fighting techniques, including, one rebel said, “how to finish off soldiers still alive after an ambush.” The interviews are the latest evidence that after more than three years of warfare, the United States has stepped up the provision of lethal aid to the rebels, as PBS notes “it appears the Obama administration is allowing select groups of rebels to receive US-made anti-tank missiles.”

The commander of the unit also told Ali that their American contacts had asked him to bring 80 to 90 members of his unit to Ankara for training.

One of the fighters said they received three weeks of training in how to conduct ambushes, conduct raids and use their weapons. They also said they received new uniforms and boots.

“They trained us to ambush regime or enemy vehicles and cut off the road,” said the fighter, who is identified only as “Hussein.” “They also trained us on how to attack a vehicle, raid it, retrieve information or weapons and munitions, and how to finish off soldiers still alive after an ambush.”

To summarize: the US was arming and training the same Al Qaeda/ISIS groups of Jihadists, that it concurrently gave Iraq weapons to fight. And since the Iraq army has so far proven utterly incapable of any resistance, it is now up to US drones to “fight” the same “rebels” that the US itself was collaborating with until a month or so ago.

The clear winner here? The US military-industrial complex, of course, as well as the banks who lend money to the governments to fight wars provoked by various “developed nation” spy agencies.

Collateral damage? Millions of innocent people on the ground in Syria and Iraq, and everywhere else too.

Link:
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-06-12/how-us-arming-both-sides-iraqi-conflict

"In the space of a few hundred years the world has moved from theocracy to democracy to pharmacracy..."

Szasz and the Myth of Mental Illness

By Ciaran Ryan

In 1961, the late, great Thomas Szasz wrote a book called The Myth of Mental Illness.

He followed this classic with several more, notably The Manufacture of Madnessand The Therapeutic State. He was a brave man, viciously attacked by his psychiatric colleagues in the 1960s and 1970s, but he persisted with his exploration of truth and liberty. Szasz was born to Jewish parents in Budapest in 1920 and moved to the US in 1938. He studied medicine and psychiatry, and served two years in the US Navy in the 1950s.

What is astonishing about Szasz, like the Polish-born author Joseph Conrad, was his mastery of the English language. Szasz spoke not a word of English when he first arrived in the US (Conrad only learned English in his twenties when he moved to the UK). It was the author Bertrand Russell who alerted Szasz to “the beauty and power of incisive and unpretentious English prose.”

Szasz, who passed away last year, was a frightening adversary in debates, and few colleagues dared take him on. He was funny, caustic and ridiculed the absurdities of modern psychiatry: “If you talk to God, you are praying. If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.”

He averred that psychiatry was unique among all professions in its capacity to commit people who have done no wrong to insane asylums by way of involuntary commitment (imprisonment). As such, it should more properly be labelled a branch of law than medicine. He was not against psychiatry per se, only what he calledcoercive psychiatry.

Szasz punctured the bloated pomposity of modern psychiatry by exposing its lack of scientific rigour. He coined the term “therapeutic state” to describe the control the state has assumed over one’s body, including the prohibition on self-murder. Suicide, he declared, is the most basic human right, as is the right to ingest psychotropic drugs or battery acid. Not that he advocated these positions – he was all about personal responsibility for one’s own decisions, good, bad or dangerous.

Szasz did a wonderful job of documenting the absurd history of this pseudo-science. Benjamin Rush, the founding father of American psychiatry, declared negritude (having a black skin) a disease, a form of leprosy. Fast forward 200 years and homosexuality became the disease du jour of the psychiatric movement. Fast forward a couple of decades, and kids fidgeting in class were labelled ADHD, drugged and zombified.

“Psychiatry…attached medical-sounding labels (“diagnoses”) to certain unwanted behaviours, exemplified by masturbation and homosexuality. Then, conflating diagnoses with diseases, they claimed to have discovered new brain diseases (Szasz 1991). In fact, they did no such thing. Instead, they medicalised human problems traditionally perceived in religious terms, transforming sins and crimes—such as self-murder, self-abuse, and self-medication—into sicknesses,” wrote Szasz.

This is where his forensic approach to language was brought to bear with such powerful effect. Like Voltaire, he demanded that the terms being used be properly defined.

There is no such thing as mental illness, declared Szasz, since it fails the standard scientific test for disease, as established by the German physician, Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902), the originator of cell theory: a disease is a bodily lesion, objectively identifiable by anatomical, physiological, or other physicochemical observation or measurement. In other words, for an illness or disease to be present, it must be observable at an anatomical level, such as under a microscope.

Cancer, pneumonia and tuberculosis all meet this test. Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and Attention Deficit Disorders do not. These are simply forms of “misbehaviour” that psychiatrists have labelled and medicalised.

In fact, no mental “illness” satisfies the standard definition of disease. As pointed out by psychiatrist Peter Breggin, author of Toxic Psychiatry, there is no such thing as a chemical imbalance in the brain unless one starts taking anti-depressants or anti-psychotic medication. None of the hundreds of other disorders from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), which is the psychiatrists’ billing bible, meet the standard definition of illness.

Psychiatry hated Szasz for pointing this out.

In the space of a few hundred years the world has moved from theocracy to democracy to pharmacracy, he wrote. In times past, when people felt depressed, they talked to a friend, priest or doctor. Now they get prescribed anti-depressants. As Breggin points out, the most dangerous time is when you are first put on these medications, and then when you try to get off them. The withdrawal symptoms are horrendous. In Toxic Psychiatry, Breggin explains what happens: “Combining antidepressants [e.g., Prozac, Luvox] and psychostimulants [e.g., Ritalin] increases the risk of cardiovascular catastrophe, seizures, sedation, euphoria, and psychosis. Withdrawal from the combination can cause a severe reaction that includes confusion, emotional instability, agitation, and aggression.” Add to that suicidal thoughts and potentially violent behaviour.

All this is relevant in light of the recent mass shootings in the US. Virtually all shooters of the last decade have been on “therapeutic” levels of psychiatric drugs, something the mainstream press has belatedly recognised.

Tragic though these killings are, Szasz would at least be satisfied that psychiatry is at last getting the kind of spotlight it deserves.

Jon Rappoport over at lewrockwell.com spells this out brilliantly.


Link:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/06/ciaran-ryan/the-myth-of-mental-illness/

'Our society is now one in which kids who challenge the teachers’ politically correct diktats and teens who “speak truth to power” are diagnosed with “oppositional defiant disorder,” and adults who are considered to be “anti-government” or who challenge the statist quo are considered by the elites to be “terrorists.”'

America's Culture of Escapism, Denial, and Narcissism

By Scott Lazarowitz

Yet another incident of multiple murders has occurred, this time in Santa Barbara, committed by 22-year-old student Elliot Rodger who left behind videos and a manifesto which showed him to be extremely narcissistic and irrational.

And once again, hysterical anti-self-defense people call for not only more gun control but for “mental health” background checks and disarming those determined to have a “mental illness.”

As Ron Paul noted, observations of the mental health of others is subjective. Who will decide who is “mentally ill”? We saw what the psychiatric community did to Justina Pelletier, who didn’t even have mental health issues but a medical condition. The zealously ideological psychiatrists seized her case and removed custody of her from her parents over to the State. And it was these medical and government bureaucrats who caused whatever mental health issues I can imagine she has now. The clinicians want to impose their “behavior modification” ideology at all costs.

The real issues with these campus killings is not mental illness, guns, knives or cars. But there are ignoramuses and devious people out there who are campaigning to disarm innocent people, for no good reason.

So if you want to discuss some possible causal factors to these school campus killings, looking at the perpetrators’ earlier lives can be instructive. And even more relevant, in my view, are the kids’ obsession with video games, parents and teachers’ self-centered detachment from the kids’ emotional needs, and psychiatric drugs.

Regarding the psychiatric drugs, during Elliot Rodger’s later years, his last psychiatrist prescribed the anti-psychotic drug Risperidone but after researching it Rodger wouldn’t take it. However, it appears that he was possibly addicted to Xanax ( a benzodiazapine anti-anxiety drug) and was also prescribed Vicodin (a pain killer), both of which he had intended to take just before ending his life, according to his manifesto, My Twisted World (on Scribd), and last video(s).

Sandy Hook School killer Adam Lanza’s psychiatric drug history is unclear. According to this Hartford Courant article, which includes interviews of Lanza’s earlier psychiatrists and a psychiatric nurse, the nurse prescribed the SSRI antidepressant Celexa to Adam Lanza when he was about 14 or 15, but Lanza’s mother Nancy Lanza reported that Adam was experiencing side-effects and she then withdrew the medication. However, after the Sandy Hook killings about 5 years later, neighbors and acquaintances of the Lanzas had stated that they believed Adam was “on medication,” so it is possible that he may have been taking a psychiatric drug prescribed by a later psychiatrist. The post-Sandy Hook toxicology report stated there were no drugs, prescription or otherwise, in Adam Lanza’s system, but there is also the possibility that Lanza could have been suffering from withdrawal had he been taking a psychiatric drug at one time. Also, there have been allegations of a cover-up by Connecticut’s state medical examiner.

The Centers for Disease Control has reported that 1 in 13 children ages 6 to 17 is on some form of psychiatric medication. The connection between many of the mass murders in recent years and the SSRI antidepressants or anti-psychotics is well documented. For instance, Columbine High School killer Eric Harris had been taking Luvox after his psychiatrist switched him from another SSRI antidepressant Zoloft. The alleged Aurora theater shooter James Holmes had also been taking Zoloft, as well as the Benzodiazapine anti-anxiety drug Clonazepam. And the Red Lake school shooter Jeff Weise had been taking Prozac.

But another aspect of the Elliot Rodger and Adam Lanza stories I wanted to address is the video games. Some people believe those video games to be addictive.

In his earlier years, Elliot Rodger had the Game Boy and Nintendo 64 and was attached to the popular but allegedly addictive Pokemon. And when he was 10 years old for Christmas his mother bought him a Playstation 2. At age 11 he received an Xbox and the military sci-fi game Halo became his favorite video game.

At age 13 he received the MMORPG World of Warcraft for Christmas. In his manifesto, he noted, “(World of Warcraft) was like stepping into another world of excitement and adventure. It was a video game world, but they made it so realistic that it was like living another life, a more exciting life. My life was getting more and more depressing at that point, and WoW would fill in the void. It felt refreshing and relieving.”

At this point, the video games became a large part of Elliot Rodger’s life. He wrote about his mother moving to a new apartment: “This was the point when my social life ended completely. I would never have a satisfying social life ever again. It was the beginning of a very lonely period of my life, in which my only social interactions would be online through video games, with the sole exception being my friendship with James. The ability to play video games with people online temporarily filled in the social void. I got caught up in it, and I was too young and naïve to realize the severity of how far I had fallen. I was too scared to accept it. This loss of a social life, coupled with the advent of puberty, caused me to die a little inside. It was too much for me to handle, and I stopped caring about my life and my future. I even stopped caring about what people thought of me. I hid myself away in the online World of Warcraft, a place where I felt comfortable and secure.” World of Warcraft became an obsession for him, continuing into high school.

Regarding Adam Lanza and his incessant video game playing, there are several articles online which seem to be distorting or exaggerating his use of violent video games. For instance, this Guardian article states that Lanza was obsessed with mass murder and listed only violent video games based only on some items police actually found in the Lanza home, while this Techdirt article clarifies that he also had non-violent video games such as Dance Dance Revolution, and it was that video with which the article claims Lanza actually was obsessed. This Hartford Courant op-ed agrees based on witness interviews that Lanza’s real obsession was for the non-violent video games, especially Dance Dance Revolution.

In my view, when someone spends hours at a time, day after day, totally immersed in the imaginary non-realities of video games, how can that not distort one’s general perceptions of reality? Even if he weren’t taking psychiatric drugs, and even if the videos into which he seemed to be emotionally merged were mostly non-violent, how can such intensive time spent with the video games not affect his ability to discern between real humans and fictional characters in video games?

The video games can psychologically reinforce a perception of others as mere objects, and the psychiatric drugs can also chemically exaggerate emotions such as anger and rage, and can effect in deadening a sense of empathy toward others.

While some people say “conspiracy theorist,” others point to connections between the recent mass killings and implications of government-infiltration of media and use of drugs to “trigger” violent behavior in people, some of whom have claimed no knowledge of their even having committed violent acts.

Which should not be too hard to fathom, by the way, given that we now know that the NSA has not only collected video gamers’ chats, buddylists and geolocations but also NSA agents themselves participate and role-play in games and discussions as a means of extracting personal information and metadata and recruiting informants, specifically in Xbox Live and World of Warcraft. We also know that governments have instilled their propaganda in these video games.

And besides the video games, many people now, especially the younger ones, escape from the realities of life with other distraction-based computer-related activities such as texting, constant email-checking, Facebook and otherwise hand-held device preoccupations. Staring into a video screen is a form of hypnosis, in my view. I see young people turning into zombies who, if they are not themselves violent they seem to be more accepting of government, military and police violence as a normal way of life.

The increase in police violence and hysteria, by the way, with thousands of unnecessary S.W.A.T. raids and so forth, is occurring at a time in which actual civilian violence in America has been in a steady decline. Nevertheless, the people seem to be passively and subserviently accepting of this American police state.

But given the influence that psychiatric drugs may have had on Elliot Rodger and Adam Lanza, and given how militarized local police departments have become and how many military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have joined local police departments, should we be concerned about how some of those in the military and vets have themselves been given those same kinds of psychiatric drugs?

And that includes the “cocktails” of several drugs, such as antidepressants, sedatives, sleeping pills and pain killers doctors have been giving them. Military doctors give the soldiers tens of thousands of prescriptions for these mind-altering psychiatric drugs each year. One crony executive VA bureaucrat also has sat on the boards of GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and AstraZeneca, makers of some of the most commonly-prescribed (and dangerous) anti-psychotics and antidepressants. According to Dr. Peter Breggin, author of The Anti-Depressant Fact Book and a book on psychiatric drug withdrawal and who has testified as an expert witness in cases involving these drugs, the antidepressants actually worsen soldiers depression and have been linked to suicides and violence. Meanwhile, some of the studies which clear these drugs contain huge loopholes in order to hide the truth.

Coincidentally, both Adam Lanza and Elliot Rodger were diagnosed with Asperger’s, had been characterized as “withdrawn” and “shy,” were bullied, and their parents divorced. But in my view those things had nothing to do with their later becoming mass killers. But I can assert that the extensive, obsessive video gaming and the psychiatric drugs may have contributed.

In my view, both the psychiatric drugs and obsessive video game rapture greatly magnified Adam Lanza’s rage and possible resentment toward his mother for controlling his life extensively as well as her leaving him home alone to escape into the world of video games. And the drugs and video game rapture also magnified Elliot Rodger’s rage and extreme narcissism and hatred toward women for rejecting him.

My concern here is that instead of exploring children’s emotional issues during early years, the adults of our generally impatient society rush to label a child with this or that “disorder,” and the more ignored his true issues are the more deeply repressed he can become.

For instance, if a child reacts so negatively to being touched or hasn’t spoken by age 3, as was the case with Adam Lanza, then can it be possible that the child may have experienced something of a traumatic or invasive nature prior to that point?

And what’s going on with the child emotionally that is distracting him from concentrating on the class material or his homework, or causing him to act out or become withdrawn? And if it’s something chemically influenced (prior to the administration of any psychiatric drugs), then the processed foods, fast foods etc. and extra vaccines with all those additives and synthetic chemicals really do affect the brain and influence emotions and behaviors, especially in vulnerable and developing kids.

Today’s psychiatric and “mental health” community exploits these situations, in my view. I can see why, rather than dealing with what’s going on with a troubled child, today’s psychiatrists and psychologists find their behavior modification therapy stuff less challenging for them. Such a behavior modification ideology is very authoritarian and pedagogical in nature, and involves the therapist telling the patient what to do and how to act. it doesn’t take into account the child’s actual individual needs, but it does take into account the clinicians’ own emotional needs to be controlling and directing the behaviors of others.

Some books that may be of interest include The Family Crucible: The Intense Experience of Family Therapy by Augustus Napier and Carl Whitaker, and For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence and Thou Shalt Not Be Aware: Society’s Betrayal of the Child by Alice Miller.

Our society is now one in which kids who challenge the teachers’ politically correct diktats and teens who “speak truth to power” are diagnosed with “oppositional defiant disorder,” and adults who are considered to be “anti-government” or who challenge the statist quo are considered by the elites to be “terrorists.”

The rush to more civilian disarmament and calls for “mental illness” background checks are discomforting, to say the least.

Link:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/06/scott-lazarowitz/should-innocent-americans-be-disarmed/

Fiction becomes reality...

Happy Birthday, George Orwell

By Allen Mendenhall


George Orwell, novelist, essayist, journalist and critic, was born 111 years ago on June 25th. His novel 1984, a disturbing reminder of the dangers of excessive state power, remains gripping and popular, as does his allegorical novella Animal Farm, a creative and devastating critique of Stalinism.

Before long, however, Orwell’s fiction may cease to shock as surveillance states across the globe turn his dystopian Oceania and nightmarish Big Brother into horrible realities.

Here in America, according to an April Rasmussen survey, 37% of voters fear their federal government and 57% believe the federal government threatens rather than protects individual liberty. How did we come to this?

For starters, the federal government has been stockpiling weapons and ammunitions to control the market in these products so that ordinary citizens will be unable to arm themselves or defend their homes and families from invasion or worse. The FBI has subjected gun-sellers to heightened scrutiny by sending its agents into gun shops to interrogate employees about the behavior of purchasers—for instance, whether particular purchasers complained about the size of the American government while they were in the shop.

Meanwhile, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, an agency established by Congress, has been pressuring banks and financial institutions to dissolve their relations with gun retailers regardless of whether those retailers maintained good credit and legitimate licensing.

Not to be outdone, the Department of Justice has cooked up “Operation Choke Point,” a program allegedly designed to target risky businesses involving pornography, online gambling, and drug paraphernalia, but which the DOJ has treated as a pretext for shutting down firearms companies by regulating how banks deal with the entire firearms industry.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently organized an armed standoff against cattle ranchers in Nevada over disputed cattle grazing rights. BLM agents trained sniper rifles on the citizen ranchers. In response, members of the Oklahoma militia readied themselves to join the Nevada ranchers and to take arms against the federal government. The armed BLM threat led former congressman Ron Paul to suggest that “a government that continually violates our rights of property and contract can fairly be described as authoritarian.”

Paul himself has been targeted by the federal government. The politicized Internal Revenue Service has fined him and his nonprofit Campaign for Liberty for failing to turn over their donor list to the agency. The IRS continues to demand the list. This same IRS has audited at least 10% of tea party donors. The percentage is probably higher, but we cannot know for sure because certain donor lists have been destroyed.

By 2015, the Federal Bureau of Investigation will have stored facial recognition data, fingerprints, retina scans, and palm prints for a third of all Americans, not just for criminals.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau plan to require 227 million Americans to disclose sensitive financial information such as mortgage and credit card data as well as social security numbers for a national database to be maintained and monitored by corporations. Federal lawmakers have also proposed a national database to track school and health records for college students—purportedly to understand the effects of socioeconomic background on student performance in higher education.

Since a 2009 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) intelligence report labeled military veterans as likely domestic terrorists, police departments in major cities have begun to militarize their operations to combat the perceived threat, according to one Indiana Police Sergeant. Other homegrown terror threats according to DHS include libertarians, Christians, and those who proclaim a favorable view of the American founders.

The DHS labels as “extreme right wing” anyone who is “suspicious of centralized federal authority” and “reverent of individual liberty.” It is as if the State is turning American signifiers on their head by reversing their import and association. The liberal model of freedom and liberty has become the model of right-wing extremism. Deconstructionists refer to such reversals as “flipping the binaries,” a semantic tactic whereby a privileged term becomes devalued in favor of its opposite.

The case of the DHS is particularly insidious as young men and women are shipped off to fight the State’s wars only to return home disgraced and distrusted. The State turns these young men and women into trained killers and then, having finished with them, releases them back into civilian life, but not before stigmatizing them with harmful DHS labels. Veterans are not likely to take comfort in the fact that the military now engineers brain chips to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

Lawmakers and policy wonks have called for more federal government entanglement with the banking industry under the ruse of “regulation.” Despite continued public outcry about the federal government’s subsidizing of failing and failed companies, including and especially banks, people seem to believe that more regulations will reverse the traditional blurring of the lines between regulators and bankers.

The predictable result of increased government regulation in banking will be more federal participation in allegedly private activity and perhaps future bailouts, handouts, and privileges for those companies most willing to share employees with the federal government and to pander to politicians and bureaucrats. More regulations will ensure job security and higher salaries for the federal regulators themselves, who earn more each year than the bank executives. Even the secretaries of the regulators at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency earn on average $79,182 annually.

The National Security Agency (NSA) has engaged in the systematic and clandestine tracking and collecting of communications data from not only ordinary Americans but also congressmen and foreign leaders such as Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil. The NSA breached the private servers of companies and executed a massive malware infective program while gathering millions of text messages and call records for internal review.

The NSA even monitored online video gamers and used browser cookies for spying purposes, going so far as to track people’s porn habits. Much of the NSA spying has taken place under the cover of the secretive United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a rubber-stamping kangaroo court that lends government surveillance the appearance of propriety.

If all this weren’t frightening enough, the NSA has been intercepting images of people to harvest on a database that uses facial recognition technologies.

Thanks to you, Mr. Orwell, there are still many Americans who grow suspicious when totalitarianism creeps up on us slowly and by gradual degrees. Happy birthday. You weren’t a model capitalist, but it’s largely because of you and your cautionary stories that we aren’t in worse shape.

Link:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/06/allen-mendenhall/orwells-oceania-in-1984/