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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

"...the average American commits three felonies a day, whether they know it or not."

They’ve Spit on the Bill of Rights Yet Again

By Mark Nestmann

Your friendly Uncle Sam has done a great job of ending the civil liberties protections enshrined in the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. Think of the PATRIOT Act, FATCA, and Obamacare, just to name a few examples.

But individual states are running roughshod over the Constitution as well, especially in the context of the “War on (Some) Drugs.” One example is the notorious practice of civil forfeiture, where police can seize your property without accusing you, much less convicting you, of a crime.

But there are many others. A case in point is Wisconsin. That state’s Supreme Court recently ruled that police do not need a search warrant to forcibly open locked doors in a private home.

In 2012, paramedics arrived at a residence in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after an emergency call. The patient, Antony Matalonis, appeared badly battered, with one side of his body covered in blood. City police accompanying the paramedics learned that Matalonis lived with his brother in a nearby residence.

Once the ambulance left, the officers then went to the home of Charles Matalonis, to investigate the circumstances surrounding Antony’s injuries. Charles allowed them to enter the home without a warrant. That turned out to be a big mistake.

Once inside the home, police conducted a “protective sweep” for more injured people, and for their own protection. During the sweep, they discovered marijuana paraphernalia and noticed the smell of “pot” originating behind a locked door. They asked Charles for permission to enter that room. When Charles refused, they threatened to enter forcibly. Charles then gave them a key. Inside the room, they discovered a single marijuana plant. Charles was arrested for manufacturing a controlled substance, a felony punishable by a 3½-year prison term and a $10,000 fine.

The Kenosha County Court found Charles guilty, but the verdict was reversed on appeal. Prosecutors then asked the state Supreme Court to reinstate the conviction. And in a 4–3 decision, they did so.

It’s bad enough that a citizen can be fined and imprisoned for possession of a plant with medicinal properties. But with this decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has declared that so long as police have permission to enter a home with or without a warrant, once they’re inside, they can conduct a protective sweep. Police then have the right to rifle through your belongings, break down locked doors, and seize evidence that can later be used against you.

Critics of the decision call it appalling, and I agree. But it should come as no surprise. The Wisconsin decision is only the logical outgrowth of the continuing erosion of civil liberties endorsed by Congress and the US Supreme Court.

Our founding fathers tried to ensure civil liberties would be protected by attaching a “Bill of Rights” to the Constitution – 10 amendments in all. The Fourth Amendment states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons and things to be seized.

Your home has a uniquely protected status. Unless police have probable cause – something more than a hunch – they can’t enter your home without a warrant, or unless you give them permission to do so.

However, the PATRIOT Act gives the FBI the authority to break into your home without informing you a search took place. Agents may gather evidence related to any federal crime to be used against you.

Your right to avoid a warrantless search ends completely in any “emergency” type situation. The aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013 demonstrated this new reality. Residents of Boston and surrounding towns were forced to submit to warrantless searches of their homes by heavily armed police.

Warrants are also incredibly easy for police to obtain. They have been issued to search homes based on window coverings that hinder police from peeking inside, having a “heat source” in the home, or even possessing a security system.

Incredibly, even if Charles had refused permission for police to enter his home, they could have used his refusal as evidence to obtain a warrant. That’s a consequence of a 1996 federal circuit court decision. In that case, a homeowner declined to allow police to search his home. Police presented this refusal as “evidence” to a magistrate and obtained a search warrant. Based on the results of the search, the homeowner was convicted on criminal charges. A federal appeals court ruled that while the magistrate improperly issued the warrant, evidence police seized during the search could be used against the homeowner.

The War on (Some) Drugs, the War on Terror, the War on Money Laundering, the War on Tax Evasion, and other militaristic campaigns to fight crime, terrorism and social ills aren’t going away. They’re intensifying, and the Fourth Amendment is just one casualty. Indeed, research by lawyer Harvey Silverglate concluded the average American commits three felonies a day, whether they know it or not.

If you live in the US, you’re part of these wars, whether you like it or not. Maybe it’s time to think about a “Plan B.”

Link:
https://www.lewrockwell.com/2016/05/mark-nestmann/govt-war-everything/

Americans are a conquered people...

Americans: A Conquered People: The New Serfs

By Paul Craig Roberts


As readers know, I have seen some optimism in voters support for Trump and Sanders as neither are members of the corrupt Republican and Democratic political establishments. Members of both political establishments enrich themselves by betraying the American people and serving only the interest of the One Percent. The American people are being driven into the ground purely for the sake of more mega-billions for a handful of super-rich people.

Neither political party is capable of doing anything whatsoever about it, and neither will.

The optimism that I see is that the public’s support of outsiders is an indication that the insouciant public is waking up. But Americans will have to do more than wake up, as they cannot rescue themselves via the voting booth. In my opinion, the American people will remain, serfs, until they wake up to Revolution.

Today Americans exist as a conquered people. They have lost the Bill of Rights, the amendments to the Constitution that protect their liberty. Anyone, other than the One Percent and their political and legal servants, can be picked up without charges and detained indefinitely as during the Dark Ages when the government was unaccountable and no one had any rights. Only those with power were safe. In America, today anyone not politically protected can be declared “associated with terrorism” and taken out by a Hellfire missile from a drone on the basis of a list of human targets drawn up by the president’s advisers. Due process, guaranteed by the US Constitution, no longer exists in the United States of America. Neither does the constitutional prohibition against the government spying on citizens without just cause and a court warrant. The First Amendment itself, whose importance was emphasized by our Founding Fathers by making it the First Amendment, is no longer protected by the corrupt Supreme Court. The Nine who comprise the Supreme Court, like the rest of the bought-and-paid-for-government, serves only the One Percent. Truth-tellers have become “an enemy of the state.” Whistleblowers are imprisoned despite their legal protection in US law.

The United States government has unaccountable power. Its power is not accountable to US statutory law, to international law, to the Congress, to the judiciary, to the American people, or to moral conscience. In the 21st century, the war criminal US government has murdered, maimed, and dislocated millions of people based on lies and propaganda. Washington has destroyed seven countries in whole or part in order to enrich the American elite and comply with the neoconservative drive for US world hegemony.

Americans live in a propaganda-fabricated world in which a brutal police state is cloaked in nice words like “freedom and democracy.” “Freedom and democracy” is what Washington’s war machine brings with sanctions, bombs, no-fly zones, troops, and drones to countries that dare to cling to their independence from Washington’s hegemony.

Only two countries armed with the strong military capability and nuclear weapons—Russia and China—stand between Washington and Washington’s goal of hegemony over the entire world.

If Russia or China falter, the evil ensconced in Washington will rule the world. America will be the Anti-Christ. The predictions of the Christian Evangelicals preaching “end times” will take on new meaning.

Russia is vulnerable to becoming a vassal state of Washington. Despite a legion of betrayals by Washington, the Russian government has just proposed a joint US/Russia cooperation against terrorists.

One wonders if the Russian government will ever learn from experience. Has Washington cooperated with the agreement concerning Ukraine? Of course not. Has Washington cooperated in the investigation of MH-17? Of course not. Has Washington ceased its propaganda about a Russian invasion of Crimea and Ukraine? Of course not. Has Washington kept any agreement previous US governments made with Russia? Of course not.

So why does the Russian government think Washington would keep any agreement about a joint effort against terrorism?

The Russian government and the Russian people are so unaware of the danger that they face from Washington that they let foreigners control 20 percent of their media! Is Russia unaware that Washington has Russia slated for vassalage or destruction?

China is even more absurd. According to the Chinese government itself, China has 7,000foreign-financed NGOs operating in China! Foreign-financed NGOs are what Washington used to destabilize Ukraine and overthrow the elected government.

What does the Chinese government think these NGOs are doing other than destabilizing China?

Both Russia and China are infected with Western worship that creates a vulnerability that Washington can exploit. Delusions can result in inadequate response to the threat.

All of the Europe, both western, eastern and southern, the British Pacific such as Australia and New Zealand, Japan and other parts of Asia are vassal states of Washington’s Empire. None of these allegedly “sovereign” countries have an independent voice or an independent foreign or economic policy. All of Latin America is subject to Washington’s control. No reformist government in Latin America has ever survived Washington’s disapproval of putting the interests of the domestic populations ahead of American corporate and financial profits. Already this yearWashington has overthrown the female presidents of Argentina and Brazil. Washington is currently in the process of overthrowing the government in Venezuela, with Ecuador and Bolivia waiting in the wings. In 2009 Killary Clinton and Obama overthrew the government of Honduras, an old Washington habit.

As Washington pays the UN’s bills, the UN is compliant. No hand is ever raised against Washington. So why does anyone on the face of the earth think that an American election can change anything or mean anything?

We know that Killary is a liar, a crook, an agent for the One Percent, and a warmonger. Let’s now look at Trump.

Are there grounds for optimism about Trump? In the West “news reporting” is propaganda, so it is difficult to know. Moreover, we do know that, at least initially, the response of the Republican Establishment to Trump is to demonize him, so we do not know the veracity of the news reports about Trump.

Without belaboring the issue, two news reports struck me. One is the Washington Post report that the Zionist multi-billionaire US casino owner Sheldon Adelson has endorsed Donald Trump for President.

Other reports say that Adelson has mentioned as much as $100 million as his political campaign contribution to Trump.

Anyone who gives a political campaign $100 million dollars expects something in exchange, and the recipient is obligated to provide whatever is desired. So are we witnessing the purchase of Donald Trump? The initial Republican response to Trump, encouraged by the crazed neoconservatives, was to abandon the Republican candidate and to vote for Killary.

Is Adelson’s endorsement a signal that Trump can be bought and brought into the establishment?

Additional evidence that Trump has sold out his naive supporters is his latest statement that Wall Street should be deregulated.

It is extraordinary that Trump’s advisers have not told him that Wall Street was deregulated back in the 20th century during the Clinton regime. The repeal of Glass-Steagall deregulated Wall Street. One source of the 2008 financial crisis is the deregulated derivative market. When Brooksly Born attempted to fulfill the responsibility of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and regulate over-the-counter derivatives, she was blocked by the Federal Reserve, the US Treasury, the SEC, and the US Congress.

Nothing has been done to correct the massive mistake of financial deregulation. The Dodd-Frank legislation did not correct the massive financial concentration that produced banks too big to fail, and the legislation did not stop Wall Street’s reckless casino gambling with the US economy. Yet Trump says he will dismantle even the weak Dodd-Frank restrictions.

The American print and TV media are so corrupt that these reports could be false stories, the purpose of which is to demoralize Trump’s supporters. On the other hand, should we be surprised if a billionaire aligns with the One Percent?

Elections are an unlikely means of restoring a government that is accountable to the people rather than to the One Percent. Even if Trump is legitimate, he does not have the experience in foreign and economic affairs to know who to appoint to his government in order to implement change. Moreover, even if he knew, unless Trump candidates also replace the Senate, Trump could not get his choices confirmed by a Senate accountable only to the One Percent.

Americans are a conquered people. We see this in the appeal from RootsAction to the rest of the world to come to the aid of the American people. Unable to stop the lawlessness of their own “democratic” government, Americans plea for help from abroad.

The plea from RootsAction indicates that committed activists now acknowledge that change in America cannot be produced by elections or be achieved internally through peaceful means.

Link:
https://www.lewrockwell.com/2016/05/paul-craig-roberts/new-serfs/

Racial fakery...

You Are What You Say You Are

By Walter E. Williams

Last year, I declared myself a springbok trapped in a human body. A springbok is a highly agile individual who is among the “least concern” species and resides in the southeastern part of the African continent. With such a declaration, some people will suggest that I am suffering from a condition known as species dysphoria, in which one thinks he is a wild animal trapped in a human body. Species dysphoria is similar to gender dysphoria, a condition in which a person believes he is a woman trapped in a male body or a man trapped in a female body.

Many people will argue that I am in need of psychological counseling. I’d dismiss such a suggestion as animal phobia. You might ask, “Williams, why in the world would you want to call yourself a springbok?” The reason is simple. There is nothing in the Internal Revenue Code that says springboks have a federal tax obligation. If government officials were to demand taxes, I would ask the U.S. Department of Justice to intercede, plus they would be reported to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

In these modern times, reality is coming to be seen as optional. Say you are a man and want to be able to check out the ladies’ bathroom. You simply say you have transgendered yourself and are a lady. At schools, you could visit the ladies’ locker room and maybe even shower with the ladies. In the interest of equality, these options would also be open to those who think they are men trapped in women’s bodies and have transgendered themselves into men.

Just as people are not bound by sex, they are not bound by race. Last year, Rachel Dolezal made national headlines. Both of her parents are white, but for eight years, Dolezal claimed that she was black. As a result of her deception, she became president of the Spokane, Washington, the office of the NAACP and an instructor of Africana studies at Eastern Washington University. In Dolezal’s eyes, just as in the eyes of transgender people, the reality of DNA is not only irrelevant but also oppressive. Those who believe otherwise are seen as racist, homophobic or both.

Dolezal is not the only white woman who has benefited from racial fakery. Sen. Elizabeth Warren sometimes called “Pocahontas,” claimed that she was of Cherokee Indian ancestry. That helped her land a job at diversity-hungry Harvard University as a professor of law. She described herself as a minority in the Harvard Law School directory. Not only was her great-grandfather, not a Cherokee as she claimed but he was a white man who boasted of shooting a Cherokee Indian.

Personally, I don’t hold either Dolezal or Warren at fault for racial fakery. It was 1960, during my troubled time in the U.S. Army, when I faked my race. It was in Incheon, South Korea, where arriving soldiers were required to fill out a vital information form. Where it asked for race, I checked off “Caucasian.” The chief warrant officer, in charge of inspecting the forms, queried me about my designation. I told him that if I put down “Negro” — as we called ourselves at that time — I’d get the worst job. The officer probably changed the designation; I didn’t.

The irrelevancy of DNA and being able to say what you are can lead to income-earning opportunities heretofore nonexistent. For example, the men’s fastest 100-meter speed is 9.58 seconds. The women’s record is 10.49. What about weaker male runners claiming womanhood and running in the women’s event and winning the gold? Greater opportunities for fame and fortune exist in women’s basketball. It would only take a few tall men who claim they are women to dominate the game.

Some of the readers of my column are truly concerned and kind. One reader, upon reading last year’s column in which I claimed to be a springbok, warned, “Watch out for lions!”

Link:
https://www.lewrockwell.com/2016/05/walter-e-williams/say/

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Court Decision Grants Shocking New Government Powers...

Tis the season of bullshit...

Commencement Season

By Thomas Sowell


This is the season of college Commencement speeches — an art form that has seldom been memorable but has increasingly become toxic in recent times.

Two themes seem to dominate Commencement speeches. One is shameless self-advertising by people in government, or in related organizations supported by the taxpayers or donors, saying how nobler it is to be in “public service” than working in business or other “selfish” activities.

In other words, the message is that it is morally superior to be in organizations consuming output produced by others than to be in organizations which produce that output. Moreover, being morally one-up is where it’s at.

The second theme of many Commencement speakers, besides flattering themselves that they are in morally superior careers, is to flatter the graduates that they are now equipped to go out into the world as “leaders” who can prescribe how other people should live.

In other words, young people, who in most cases have never had either the sobering responsibility and experience of being self-supporting adults, are to tell other people — who have had that responsibility and that experience for years — how they should live their lives.

In so far as the graduates go into “public service” in government, whether as bureaucrats or as aides to politicians or judges, they are to help order other people around.

It might never occur to many Commencement speakers, or to their audiences, that what the speakers are suggesting is that inexperienced young graduates are to prescribe, or help to dictate, to vast numbers of other people who have the real world experience that the graduates themselves lack.

To the extent that such graduates remain in government — “public service” — they can progress from aides to becoming career politicians, bureaucrats, and judges, never acquiring the experience of being on the receiving end of their prescriptions or dictates. That can mean a lifetime of people with ignorance presuming to prescribe to people with personal knowledge.

However well-educated the students might be in particular narrow fields — and, in too many cases, they have not gotten even that — what the graduates might have, at best, is a foundation for acquiring the real world experience necessary to complete their education and fulfill the ancient admonition, “With all your getting, get understanding.”

The presumption is not understanding. It is the antithesis of understanding.

It was my personal good fortune never to have been present at a college or university Commencement speech until I was 46 years old. In my earlier years, my college and postgraduate degrees had been mailed to a forwarding address that I left behind when I took leave of the campus at the earliest opportunity.

At age 46, I was a Commencement speaker and had to be told and shown how to wear the regalia. By the time I actually heard someone else give a Commencement speech, I was in my 50s — and knew enough by that time to be appalled, rather than inspired.

It was also my good fortune not to have gone to college until I was several years older than most people. At an age when too many young people have been told too often how brilliant and exceptional they are — presumably to promote “self-esteem” — I was working at unskilled labor jobs and struggling to buy food and pay my room rent.

Having to start work at the bottom was a blessing in disguise — and extremely well disguised at the time.

I learned the hard way that the good grades I had earned before dropping out of school were of no use to me in my low-level jobs. No one told me how brilliant I was. They were too busy correcting my mistakes.

It was painfully obvious that adults around me understood much more about their work — and about life. This taught me inescapable lessons and respect for people who had no academic pretensions but a lot of common sense.

It would take a lot more than lofty Commencement speeches to undo those lessons. We all have windfall gains and windfall losses. But, all in all, I feel lucky compared to those graduates who are so vulnerable to slick Commencement speakers.


Link:
https://www.lewrockwell.com/2016/05/thomas-sowell/ignore-commencement-speeches/

Rapper threatens to kill Donald Trump if he takes away his mom's food stamps...

"Our ancestors were right. The U.S. government should leave the world alone, including not just the communist regime in Vietnam but also the rest of the communist world, Russia, China, Venezuela, and the entire Muslim world. Just leave them alone. And also unleash the private sector of Americans to interact with the people of the world. Drop all the sanctions, embargoes, travel controls, and trade restrictions. The biggest lesson from all this is that the adoption of a national-security apparatus, a type of governmental structure that characterizes totalitarian regimes, is the biggest mistake the American people have ever made."

Missing the Lessons on Vietnam
by Jacob G. Hornberger


In light of President Obama’s current trip to Vietnam, Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Sen. John McCain, and former U.S. Sen. Bob Kerry had a joint op-ed in the New York Times yesterday entitled “Moving On in Vietnam, but Remembering Its Lessons.” Unfortunately, however, the three Vietnam veterans have failed to draw the real lessons to be learned from that misbegotten war.

Here are the lessons they learned from the war: (1) that Americans should always thank and praise the troops no matter how wrongful the war that there are waging; (2) that American leaders need to be honest with the American people as to the aims of any U.S. war; (3) that U.S. officials need to exercise humility with respect to foreign cultures when waging wars in foreign lands; (4) “that with sufficient effort and will, seemingly unbridgeable differences can be reconciled,” as manifested, the three of them point out, by the resumption of diplomatic relations between the United States and Vietnam.

Unfortunately, the three men, along with the entire Washington national-security establishment, have failed draw the truly important lessons of the Vietnam War, which are as follows:

First lesson: The U.S. government has no business intervening in foreign wars, especially civil wars of other countries. The Vietnam conflict was always a civil war, one that the U.S. government had no legitimate authority to intervene in. In other words, the conflict was none of the U.S. government’s business, not only because there was never a congressional declaration of war, as the U.S. Constitution requires, but also because the Constitution doesn’t authorize the U.S. government to invade countries who are engaged in civil wars.

Like the modern-day interventions in the Middle East, the Vietnam War turned out to be one great big debacle. Some 58,000 American soldiers died for nothing. Absolutely nothing. No, the dominoes didn’t fall, as U.S. officials were saying they would if the U.S. did not intervene, and no, the commies didn’t end up conquering America and the world. The United States got defeated and Vietnam was reunited under communist rule. And today, the president and his national-security establishment are playing nice with the same brutal communist regime that killed those 58,000 American men.

Second lesson: Making nice with the Vietnamese communist regime shows what a crock the entire Cold War was and what a crock the renewed Cold War is. As I point out in my ebook The CIA, Terrorism, and the Cold War: The Evil of the National Security State, the Cold War was never necessary. All those years, the United States could have lived in peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, North Korea, Cuba, Guatemala, Chile, Iran, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and all other regimes that were socialist or communist in nature. If U.S. officials can play nice with the brutal communist regime that killed 58,000 American soldiers, it could have played nice with all the others communist regimes. It can do so today with Cuba, North Korea, Russia, China, and Venezuela.

Instead, throughout the Cold War the U.S. national-security state continued provoking crises and confrontations with the communist world rather than simply leaving them alone. Was it a bad thing that the Soviet Union was occupying Eastern Europe and East Germany? Of course. Who wants to be ruled by communists? But let’s not forget it was the U.S. government that delivered Eastern Europe and East Germany into the hands of the communists in the first place. That was because they had played nice with the Soviet communists during World War II, making them America’s partner and ally during the war and, even worse, giving them control over Eastern Europe and East Germany — only to use that control later to launch the Cold War and convert America’s federal government to a national-security state. As we are learning with Obama’s trip to Vietnam, which still controls South Vietnam with a communist iron fist, it would have been possible to peacefully coexist with the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and the rest of the communist world.

Indeed, consider Cuba, which the U.S. national-security state convinced Americans was a grave threat to “national security.” Yet, the fact is that Cuba never attacked the United States, never assassinated a U.S. official or tried to do so, never initiated terrorist attacks or acts of sabotage against the United States, never imposed an embargo against the United States, and never invaded the United States.

In other words, despite all the Cold War indoctrination and hype about Cuba, the fact is that that communist outpost 90 miles away from American shores never engaged in any aggression against the United States. Instead, it was the U.S. national security state that did all those things to Cuba. They invaded the island, they initiated acts of terrorism and sabotage inside Cuba, they imposed a brutal embargo that is in place to this day, and in partnership with the Mafia, if you can believe that, they tried to assassinate Cuba’s president, Fidel Castro.

What about the nuclear missiles that the Soviet Union placed in Cuba during the Kennedy administration? Entirely defensive, intended to deter another U.S. invasion of the island. As soon as Kennedy promised that the United States would not invade Cuba again, the missiles were withdrawn. Of course, that deal led the U.S. national security establishment to believe that Kennedy was an appeaser and a traitor who had given America the greatest defeat in its history, at the hands of the communists.

The U.S. war against Cuba never had to be. There could have been peaceful coexistence with that country, just as there is today with Vietnam. The U.S. could have simply left Cuba and Vietnam alone.

But the U.S. national-security state would not permit that to happen. It would not permit anything to interfere with the continuation of the Cold War, which was always the key to ever-increasing budgets for the Pentagon, the CIA, and the rest of the national-security establishment.

More than 50 years ago, President Kennedy realized what President Obama is just now starting to glimpse — that it’s not necessary to go to war against countries that have communist or anti-U.S. regimes. He came to the realization that the entire Cold War, which his national-security state was determined to continue waging, was a crock.

Rejecting the pleas and demands of his national-security establishment, Kennedy reached out not just to restore regular relations with Cuba, as President Obama is doing today with Vietnam, he declared his intention to end the entire Cold War against the Soviet Union, Cuba, China, and the rest of the communist world. See, for example, his famous Peace Speech at American University on June 10, 1963 (the anniversary on which we are launching our newest ebook CIA & JFK: The Secret Assassination Files by Jefferson Morley, which can now be preordered).

That was something that the U.S. national-security establishment was determined not to let happen. In the minds of the Pentagon and the CIA, Kennedy was leading America to a Cold War defeat, one in which the Soviet Union would inevitably become the most powerful country in the world, one in which the United States would end up having to take orders from the worldwide communist establishment. Kennedy’s decision to make nice with the communist world met with anger, disdain, antipathy, fear, and rejection from the Pentagon, the CIA, and the rest of the national-security establishment. (See FFF’s ebook JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne. Also see Regime Change: The JFK Assassination by Jacob Hornberger.)

That’s why Kennedy failed to let the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA know in advanced what he planned to say in his Peace Speech at American University. It’s also why he didn’t let them know about the secret personal negotiations that he had initiated with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and Cuban leader Fidel Castro in an attempt to end the Cold War. That’s also why he began ordering a withdrawal of troops from Vietnam.

All that ended, of course, on the day Kennedy was assassinated. The Cold War continued. The Vietnam War took off. The budgets of the Pentagon and CIA have never stopped growing. The interventions in the Middle East continue. The U.S. national-security establishment now operates a formal program of assassination.

It’s clear that those big lessons from the Vietnam War have still not been learned. For 25 years, the U.S. national security state has been intervening in the Middle East and Afghanistan, under the notion that if they don’t, the dominoes will start falling and Saddam Hussein, al Qaeda, Iran, ISIS, or the radical Muslims will take over the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Latin America, Canada, and the United States, and not necessarily in that order. Whenever any public official even remotely suggests that the United States should stay out of those conflicts, the national-security establishment and its promoters scream to the high heavens about the grave threat to “national security” a non-interventionist foreign policy would pose. At the same time, the national-security establishment, operating through the U.S.-controlled NATO, continues to ensure that Cold War crises continue to persist by moving ever closer to Russia’s borders with troops and missiles. And, needless to say, the budgets for the national security establishment, which still exceed the military budgets of the next 8 countries combined, continue to grow.

In sum, the big overall lessons from Vietnam are: Our ancestors were right. The U.S. government should leave the world alone, including not just the communist regime in Vietnam but also the rest of the communist world, Russia, China, Venezuela, and the entire Muslim world. Just leave them alone. And also unleash the private sector of Americans to interact with the people of the world. Drop all the sanctions, embargoes, travel controls, and trade restrictions. The biggest lesson from all this is that the adoption of a national-security apparatus, a type of governmental structure that characterizes totalitarian regimes, is the biggest mistake the American people have ever made.


Link:
http://fff.org/2016/05/24/missing-lessons-vietnam/

Thursday, May 19, 2016

It's all part of the plan, folks...

Obama rushes to kill the economy in final months

by Sam Rolley


In an effort to ensure that Congress and the next president are powerless to reverse as many of his economy killing regulations as possible, President Barack Obama has rushed through $85 billion in new regulations since the beginning of the year.

The 44 new economically significant regulations were shoved through ahead of a May 23 deadline dubbed “Regulation Day” that officially marks Obama’s status as a lame duck.

“Once Regulation Day passes, the next Congress will have an opportunity to review the administration’s Lame Duck rules,” explained Sam Batkins, regulatory policy directory at the American Action Forum.

That’s why April was one of the busiest regulatory months this year.

And Obama made his regulatory rush count, creating an additional 13.9 million regulatory compliance hours for American businesses and costing every individual in the country an additional $116 in hidden regulatory taxes with his 44 new economically significant rules.

The costliest regulations just rammed through by the president include:
•Diligence for Financial Institutions: $2.5 billion
•Regulation of Smokeless Tobacco: $1.1 billion
•Transportation of Human and Animal Food: $998 million
•Blowout Preventer Systems: $890 million
•“Medicaid Mega Rule:” $471 million

“These regulatory costs essentially represent unchecked power for the president. Absent an intervention from the federal courts or a surprising supermajority in Congress, these rules will likely persist indefinitely,” Batkins said.

According to an AAF analysis of Obama’s regulatory scheming this year, the current administration has imposed nearly 40 percent more costly regulations than a president has at any point since 1996.

“Indeed, the administration has also approved three times as many economically significant rulemakings as were approved in 1996,” said Batkins.

Link:
http://personalliberty.com/obama-rushes-to-kill-the-economy-in-final-months/

Cartoon of the day...

Return Of The Gold Standard? Why Now?

In case you didn't know...

Thanks, Minimum Wage and the Drug War: Nearly 1 in 6 Young Men Are Jobless or Jailed

Ryan McMaken


The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) today released a new report concluding that in 2014, 16 percent of men between ages 18 and 24 were jobless or incarcerated. Out of a total of 38 million young men in the age group, 5 million were unemployed and one million were jailed.

In 1980, 10 percent of men in this category were jobless and 1 percent were incarcerated; those shares rose to 13 percent and 3 percent, respectively, in 2014.

Causes of Male Joblessness and Incarceration

The report lists several factors behind the increase:
•Economic changes: this includes more women entering the workforce and a decline in the demand for unskilled labor. Not surprisingly, the least skilled and least educated men have been impacted the most.
•Policy changes: This includes changes to military policies in which men with no high school diploma are no longer accepted in the military. The report also notes that the military now accepts more women in the military which has decreased the demand for men.
•Another factor is increased enforcement of child-support laws which has "made employment less attractive to some young fathers, because they can now keep less of their earnings."
•Interestingly, the report also cites minimum wage laws as a cause of unemployment. The report notes that increases of state-level minimum wages has increased joblessness.
•Incarceration has increased as well, due largely to more harsh sentencing rules which "have made nationwide incarceration rates about four times as high as they were in 1980." Most of these laws, the report notes, have occurred at the state level, and most prisoners are in state and local prisons and jails.
•The report also notes that spending on means-tested social benefits has also increased over the time period, which provides a disincentive to young men to take steps to increase their own wages.

Oddly, the report at no point mentions drug laws or the drug war, although the sentencing rules to which the report refers have been heavily impacted by the drug war.

Trouble Ahead

The implications for this trend are significant and point to social and economic problems in both the short term and long term.

Workers who enter the workforce later, whether due to joblessness or to incarceration, will be less productive workers. Over time, that will mean a less productive economy, and it also means those specific workers will be more likely to have to turn to public assistance during their careers, and especially later in life as they reach retirement without significant retirement funds of their own. An economy with fewer productive workers will have a higher cost of living and lower real wages.

This will lead to sociological problems as well, as young, unemployed men are more likely to engage in crime, and young formerly incarcerated men are much more likely to engage in crime. Former convicts have much greater trouble finding work, and are also more likely to be victims of crimes themselves. The overwhelming majority of homicide victims, for example, have been jailed in the past.

End the Minimum Wage, End the Drug War

Reading the report, it's difficult to not come to the conclusion that if we want to take steps right now to help young men become gainfully employed and stay out of prison, the two easiest things we can do is lower or eliminate minimum wages, and end the drug war by decriminalizing drugs while reversing the trend toward more harsh sentencing.

Even apart from this report, the federal government has long admitted that minimum wage laws increase unemployment. This is why federal regulations make an exception to minimum wage laws for disabled workers. Federal policy specifically accepts that disabled workers may have lower productivity, and thus are unemployable at or above the mandated minimum wage.

Similarly, young men often begin their careers with very few job skills and are unemployable at the mandated minimum wage. In most cases, though, it only takes a few months for their productivity to rise to the level of the minimum wage. With a rigid one-size-fits-all minimum wage, however, the first rung of the employment ladder is placed too high for many young men, and they are unable to find employment of any kind. While total elimination of the minimum wage (as is the case in Switzerland) is preferable, a humane step in the right direction would be to at least make an exception for workers under age 25, or to allow a minimum wage for workers during the first six months of employment (to note one possible variation). Until then, many young men will simply be denied the chance to even get their foot in the door of employment.

The drug war is the other major factor in keeping male productivity low and joblessness high. Many young men — including young husbands and fathers — have their lives destroyed for petty drug offenses that lead to draconian jail and prison terms that in turn render them virtually unemployable. And, of course, they can't work while jailed. While total drug legalization is best, a step in the right direction would be to decriminalize drug infractions (as is the case in Portugal) and eliminate jail time and prison terms. As Justin Murray notes here, the American legal system also employs prison terms for many infractions that incur only a fine in most other wealthy countries.

While it is also true that increases in welfare spending provides a disincentive to work, minimum wages and the Drug War often make employment virtually illegal for young men. While steps should be made to reduce these disincentives, a good first step would be to simply stop making men unemployable in the first place.


Link:
https://mises.org/blog/thanks-minimum-wage-and-drug-war-nearly-1-6-young-men-are-jobless-or-jailed

Military Propaganda...

The Techniques of Modern Military Propaganda

By Thierry Meyssan

Propaganda is a military technique which should be distinguished from strategic subterfuge. The former seeks to trick one’s own side, generally in order to garner support. The latter, whose antique archetype is the Trojan horse, aims to damage the adversary. As is often the case, this military technique has known many civil applications, in the commercial as well as the political sector.

While at first, the monarchic and oligarchic régimes were satisfied with making a display of their power, particularly through ceremonials and public architecture, the democratic régimes, as soon as they appeared, incited propaganda. Thus, the Athenian democracy favoured Sophism, in other words, a school of thought which attempted to present any presupposition as logical.

In the 16th century, a commercial family, the Medicis, imagined a way of re-writing its history and inventing a patrician origin for itself. To do so, it used «artistic patronage», soliciting the greatest artists of their country to materialise these lies through their works.

Later on, while religious wars were becoming generalised in Europe, Pope Gregory XV, facing the breakthrough of Protestantism, created a Ministry («dicastery») to defend and extend the Catholic faith. This was the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith («Congregatio de Propaganda Fide»), which is the origin of the word « propaganda »...


Read the rest here:
https://www.lewrockwell.com/2016/05/thierry-meyssan/techniques-modern-military-propaganda/

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

OOPS!!!

Pressure Builds on Prosecutors Persecuting Climate Skeptics
Written by Alex Newman


Oops! The climate-alarmist movement and its armed enforcers have egg all over their face, again. After being warned that they may be breaking federal laws prohibiting criminal conspiracies against constitutionally protected rights, the state prosecutors persecuting skeptics of man-made global-warming alarmism are under growing national pressure to respect the rule of law, and the First Amendment in particular. Among other developments, one of the think-tanks being harassed is asking the federal judiciary to slap the Virgin Islands attorney general with a fine for his attack on free speech. More moderate state attorneys general, meanwhile, have also joined the fray, calling the probe of energy giant ExxonMobil and other targets a “fishing expedition of the worst kind” in a lawsuit aimed at stopping the "ideologically motivated" scheme.

The effort to use the legal process to seek out information that might incriminate climate skeptics formally began last year, when New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (shown) announced the subpoena of Exxon. However, official documents revealed that the effort actually began years earlier, when Rockefeller dynasty-funded climate alarmists met with far-left officials to strategize on how to wage war against the energy industry, as well as against voices that disagreed with their increasingly discredited theories on climate change. In late March, the contours of the half-baked legal strategy were made clear. Standing alongside climate profiteer and alarmist guru Al Gore, Schneiderman and other prosecutors announced that over a dozen alarmist state attorneys general were forming a coalition they dubbed “AGs United for Clean Power,” apparently a reference to the Obama administration's unconstitutional “Clean Power” decrees. The goal: to see if they could prosecute those who disagree.

However, things started going badly almost as soon as the AGs announced their coalition's agenda in New York City at a well-attended press conference. First, the infamous “Gore Effect” showed up, with record cold that tends to follow Gore around striking New York State right after the announcement of the anti-skeptic Inquisition. Then, documents exposed the prosecutors' behind-the-scenes collaboration with establishment-funded “green” activists to target their political enemies via the legal system. Eventually, legal experts and even a respected law professor reminded the state prosecutors — in top establishment media outlets, no less — that conspiracy to deprive people of rights, including the unalienable right to free speech protected by the First Amendment, can result in serious criminal and civil penalties. Even prominent climate alarmists expressed shock over the prosecutors' lawless efforts to intimidate, harass, and silence those who disagree with them.

Now, things are getting even worse for the “Clean Power” AGs and their Lysenkoism-style campaign. The non-partisan Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), one of numerous public policy groups in the prosecutors' crosshairs in the fishing expedition, received a subpoena for a decade's worth of e-mails surrounding its work on climate. The move sparked a national outcry, even among climate alarmists, over what was widely perceived to be a blatant and illegal attack on the First Amendment-protected rights of Americans. That assault was leveled by U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker, a pseudo-environmentalist anti-oil crusader and junior player in the alliance of alarmist prosecutors hoping to silence skeptics. His biggest claim to fame appears to be shaking down another oil company for money to put in a slush fund.

With his subpoena of the non-profit group, however, Walker may have bitten off more than he bargained for. Already, Walker's agency sent an e-mail to CEI noting that it planned to abandon the effort to force the group to hand over its materials, including donor information — at least for now. But CEI, which responded early on by vowing to fight, is still not backing down. Instead, it asked the District of Columbia Superior Court to fine AG Walker for violating the organization’s First Amendment-protected rights under D.C.’s Anti-SLAPP law. The group is also seeking attorneys’ fees and other sanctions, saying that the Virgin Islands attorney general never should have issued the subpoena to begin with, and that the constitutional damage he inflicted needed to be set right.

In comments to the media, officials with the organization blasted Walker for defying the U.S. Constitution's protections for free speech, and said that the courts should hold him accountable. “Mr. Walker’s attempt to silence us and others who share our views is an unconstitutional abomination,” declared CEI President Kent Lassman in a statement. “CEI will not sit still with this illegal threat hanging over our head, which is why we are asking the court to fine AG Walker and end his abuse of the legal process to intimidate CEI.” Other non-profit organizations skeptical of climate alarmism were also targeted by the group of attorneys general.

CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman, meanwhile, noted that Walker's letter announcing the decision to withdraw the subpoena, for now, was not good enough. “Attorney General Walker’s subpoena of us is an outrageous violation of our First Amendment rights, and its sole purpose is to shut down debate,” Kazman said. “Mr. Walker’s statement that he will end his D.C. court action, but may launch a new one whenever the mood strikes him, is the height of arrogance and demonstrates that he still doesn’t recognize the harm he has unlawfully inflicted.”

Lawmen are also taking action. Numerous moderate state attorneys general have already spoken out against their fellow state AGs for the witch hunt against climate skeptics. Now, at least two are taking more concrete action, filing a brief in Texas court against the Virgin Islands AG and his antics. “General Walker’s investigation appears to be driven by ideology, and not law, as demonstrated not only by his collusion with [a law firm he contracted to help], but also by his request for almost four decades worth of material from a company with no business operations, employees, or assets in the Virgin Islands,” wrote Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange in the May 16 filing. Exxon's principal offices are in Texas.

In a public statement, Paxton slammed Walker and his efforts, too. “This case is about abusing the power of the subpoena to force Exxon to turn over many decades’ worth of records, so an attorney general with an agenda can pore over them in hopes of finding something incriminating,” he said. “It’s a fishing expedition of the worst kind, and represents an effort to punish Exxon for daring to hold an opinion on climate change that differs from that of radical environmentalists.... The First Amendment ensures that all people are free to hold opinions and promote them in public debate. This action by the Virgin Islands‘ AG could effectively set a precedent that anyone can be criminally investigated because of their stated opinions.”

Of course, Exxon deserves little sympathy from Americans — the overwhelming majority of whom do not even believe the man-made global-warming theory or its oftentimes vicious promoters, described by top climate experts as a “cult” and even “global warming Nazis.” In addition to being a corporate member of the global-government-promoting Council on Foreign Relations, Exxon, along with other Big Oil giants, has been loudly demanding since at least 2009 that already-struggling taxpayers pay a “carbon tax.” It has also been a cheerleader for empowering the United Nations dictators club under the guise of “climate change.” Still, while skeptics and competitors may relish watching alarmist Exxon being persecuted and extorted by rogue prosecutors, the harm done to the First Amendment and constitutionally protected liberties of Americans must be resisted. Exxon may be in the crosshairs today, but if Americans do not speak out, anybody could be next.


Link:
http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/23199-pressure-builds-on-prosecutors-persecuting-climate-skeptics

"Boris is right – the EU is the very bureaucratic, centralized, dictatorial European federal superstate that Hitler and other top Nazis had planned to implement after World War 2."

Boris is Completely Right: The EU Was a Nazi Brainchild

Top Nazis planned to create federal European dictatorship

Paul Joseph Watson

Boris Johnson is being accused of hyperbole for comparing the EU to Adolf Hitler’s plan for Europe (because invoking the threat of a new world war if Britain leaves the EU, as David Cameron did, is completely reasonable).

The pro-Brexit Tory MP said that both Napoleon and the Nazi leader failed at unification and that the EU was “an attempt to do this by different methods”.

According to Donald Tusk, the European Council President, the former Mayor of London “crossed the boundaries” by making the comparison.

Pro-Remain campaigner Lord Heseltine labeled Johnson’s remarks “preposterous” and “obscene”.

However, Boris Johnson is completely correct.

The European Union is basically what the Nazis envisaged for the continent post World War 2.

In his 1940 book The European Community, Nazi Economics Minister and war criminal Walther Funk wrote about the need to create a “Central European Union” and “European Economic Area” arguing, “There must be a readiness to subordinate one’s own interests in certain cases to those of [the EC].”

Nazi academic Heinrich Hunke wrote, “Classic national economy..is dead…community of fate which is the European economy…fate and extent of European co-operation depends on a new unity economic plan”.

Fellow Nazi Gustav Koenig observed, “We have a real European Community task before us…I am convinced that this Community effort will last beyond the end of the war.”

Other top Nazis who called for the creation of a pan-European federal economic superstate include Ribbentrop, Quisling and Seyss-Inquart, who spoke of “The new Europe of solidarity and co-operation among all its people… will find…rapidly increasing prosperity once national economic boundaries are removed.”

In 1940, Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels ordered the creation of the “large-scale economic unification of Europe,” believing that “in fifty years’ time [people would] no longer think in terms of countries.”

Just 53 years later, the European Union in its current form was established.

It’s no surprise that what these top Nazis proposed is almost identical to what the EU later became.

It doesn’t matter if you put a touchy-feely, lefty, liberal face on it – at its very core – authoritarianism is authoritarianism.

Boris is right – the EU is the very bureaucratic, centralized, dictatorial European federal superstate that Hitler and other top Nazis had planned to implement after World War 2.

Link:
http://www.prisonplanet.com/boris-is-completely-right-the-eu-was-a-nazi-brainchild.html

JFK: Still secret...

Continued Secrecy in the JFK Assassination?
by Jacob G. Hornberger


In the early 1990s, Congress enacted the 1992 JFK Assassination Records Collection Act, which ordered federal agencies, including the CIA, to disclose to the American people their long-secret records relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The law was enacted as a result of public outrage generated by Oliver Stone’s movie JFK, which posited that Kennedy’s enemies within the U.S. national-security establishment had orchestrated the assassination and cover-up and had framed Lee Harvey Oswald for the crime.

Stone’s movie informed Americans that massive amount of records relating to the assassination were still being kept secret by federal agencies. The implication, of course, was that the national-security establishment (i.e., the military and the CIA) were keeping the records secret in order to cover up the fact that it had orchestrated and carried out the assassination. Public pressure to release the records, consisting in large part in telephone calls and letters to Congress, forced Congress to pass the Act and President George H.W. Bush to sign it into law.

Many of the records were released to the public during the 1990s, when the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), which was the special federal agency that was responsible for enforcing the law, was in existence.

But there was a big problem: Whoever wrote the law ensured that the ARRB would go out of existence before all the records were released. In fact, the law provided that federal agencies would have until October 26, 2017, to release their records, notwithstanding the fact that the ARRB would go out of existence in the 1990s.

Federal agencies, including the CIA, took advantage of that provision and continued keeping many of their JFK-related records secret, no doubt thinking that 25 years seemed like a long time away. Those long-secret records though were placed under the control of the National Archives, which has recently announced that it intends to fully comply with the law by releasing all the records in October of next year.

There was another big problem, however: The records do not have to be released if the president certifies that: (1) continued postponement is made necessary by an identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or conduct of foreign relations; and (2) the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

In other words, the much ballyhooed term “national security.” If the president decides that the release of remaining records, which consist of tens of thousands of pages, would threaten “national security,” the law authorizes him to continue the secrecy.

The chances that a president, whether Obama, Clinton, or Trump, doing that on his or her own initiative are slim. If it’s going to happen, it will inevitably entail a formal request from the CIA or some other federal agency seeking to continue keeping the records secret.

It goes without saying that any claim that the disclosure of records relating to an assassination carried out more than 50 years, supposedly by a lone nut, is going to adversely affect the United States is, well, ludicrous. Regardless of what the records show, the United States is not going to fall into the ocean, the federal government isn’t going to collapse, and the communists are not going to invade and conquer the United States and take over the IRS and the Interstate Highway System. If the United States could survive the release of the Snowden documents, it can withstand the release of the JFK assassination records.

Yes, it’s true that the release of the records might well damage the CIA and other federal agencies, especially if the information in such records lends support to the thesis put forward in Stone’s movie 30 years ago. But while the disclosure of truth relating to the JFK assassination might prove damaging to the national-security establishment, that’s not the same thing as damage to the country. In fact, the disclosure of truth in the Kennedy assassination is the best thing that could ever happen to the country.

Some in the mainstream press claim that there were no “smoking guns” in the release of records in the 1990s. But such is clearly not the case. The evidence adduced by the ARRB, including both testimony and written records, provided a large body of long-secret circumstantial evidence that pointed in the direction of Kennedy’s enemies within the national-security establishment, evidence that the mainstream press, for some reason, has been reluctant to confront and investigate.

Much of that circumstantial evidence, as well as motive, has been set forth in the following books relating to the JFK assassination that have been published by FFF:

The Kennedy Autopsy by Jacob Hornberger

JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne (who served on the staff of the ARRB)
Regime Change: The JFK Assassination by Jacob G. Hornberger
The CIA, Terrorism, and the Cold War: The Evil of the National Security State by Jacob Hornberger

For example, consider the sworn testimony of Saundra K. Spencer, who was petty officer in charge of the White House Laboratory at the Naval Photographic Center in Washington, D.C. She worked closely with the Kennedy White House in the development of photographs. It would be difficult to find a more credible witness than Saundra Spencer.

Spencer testified under oath before the ARRB. She was asked to examine the official autopsy photographs that are in the records today. She testified that those official autopsy photographs were definitely not the ones she developed on the weekend of the assassination. She also testified that the photographs she developed showed a large-sized wound in the back of Kennedy’s head, depicting an exit wound, which would connote a shot having been fired from Kennedy’s front. Oswald was in Kennedy’s rear and, therefore, could not have shot him from the front.

Spencer wasn’t the only one who confirmed that Kennedy had a big blow-out wound in the back of his head. So did the Dallas treating physicians. Consider, for example, what Dr. Robert McCllelland told CBS in 2013: “(I said) ‘My God, have you seen the back of his head?’ And they said, ‘No, we came in just ahead of you.’ And I said, ‘Well, the whole back of his head is missing on the back side.’ Well, when I saw that injury to the back of his head, it became apparent to all of us, all three of us who were gathered around the President’s head working on him, that this was a fatal injury.”

They weren’t the only ones. There were other witnesses, including two FBI agents, who affirmed that there was a large exit-sized wound in the back of Kennedy’s head.

As I showed in The Kennedy Autopsy, the official autopsy photographs show the back of Kennedy’s head to be intact. That leaves two possibilities: (1) All the witnesses who affirmed the large exit-sized wound in the back of Kennedy’s head conspired with each other to concoct a false story regarding the wound in the back of Kennedy’s head or (2) the U.S. national-security establishment published official autopsy photographs that falsely depicted the condition of Kennedy’s head.

Here’s another anomaly. Robert Knudsen was the official social photographer for President Kennedy. He would follow him around and take informal pictures of Kennedy, his wife Jacqueline, and his children John and Caroline. Like Spencer, it would be difficult to find a more credible witness than Knudsen.

The ARRB learned that Knudsen had been telling people for years that he had been the official photographer for the Kennedy autopsy.

But there was a big problem. The official autopsy photographer was actually a man named John Stringer.

So, was Knudsen lying? Why would the official White House photographer for Kennedy’s social life lie? What would be his motive? Wouldn’t he know that it would be easy for people to determine he was lying? All that some reporter would have to do is ask Stringer and other people at the official autopsy whether Knudsen was there. They would have confirmed that Knudsen wasn’t there.

But there is another possibility — that Knudsen was telling the truth, which would mean that there was some other autopsy procedure that he photographed, one that he was led to believe was the official autopsy. Wouldn’t this possibility dovetail with Saundra Spencer’s testimony that the official autopsy photographs in the records were not the ones she developed?

Unfortunately, the ARRB was unable to subpoena Knudsen to testify because by that time, he had passed away.

These are just two of the many unexplained anomalies that were disclosed to the American people as a result of the JFK Records Act.

For many more, read our four ebooks cited above.

Also, read the fascinating new ebook being published by The Future of Freedom Foundation, entitled CIA & JFK: The Secret Assassination Files authored by former Washington Post reporter Jefferson Morley, who runs the best website relating to the JFK assassination—JFKFacts.org. This ebook will be published on Amazon on June 10, the anniversary of President Kennedy’s famous Peace Speech at American University, which deeply angered the national-security establishment with its call to end the Cold War and befriend the Soviet Union and Cuba. You can pre-purchase it here for $3.99.

Are there more anomalies in the records that are set to be released in October 2017? My hunch is that there are and that that’s the reason why the CIA and other elements of the national security state did not release them back in the 1990s, preferring to wait until the final deadline of 2017 and hoping that CIA officials in charge at that time could secure a further extension of time for secrecy.

Will the U.S. national-security establishment ask the president for further secrecy with respect to the 1963 JFK assassination? My hunch: There is no doubt about it. They know that researchers are champing at the bit to examine those remaining records.

Should they be granted continued secrecy? Of course not. If they have nothing to hide, they shouldn’t fear disclosure of records relating to an event that occurred more than a half-century ago.

Will the president, whoever he or she is, grant continued secrecy in the JFK assassination? That depends on the American people. If there is as much outrage as there was in the early 1990s, a request for continued secrecy might not be granted. But if there is apathy and indifference, the secrecy will likely be extended for another 25 years.

Link:
http://fff.org/2016/05/17/continued-secrecy-jfk-assassination/

Vaccines, nutrition widely ignored in most medical schools...

Doctors admit on video that they know NOTHING about vaccines

by: Isabelle Z.


Most people like to think that doctors are unquestionable experts in their fields, and that their years of education give them a broad and solid base of knowledge about all aspects of health and medicine. It turns out, however, that medical schools are failing them and the general public time and time again, by glossing over some very important issues, such as vaccines.

In a startling video posted on YouTube, several doctors admit that they really don't know much about vaccines at all, and that this is not really part of the curriculum in medical school. Perhaps this might help explain why seemingly caring and intelligent doctors are so willing to push vaccines on children, yet it leaves a lot more questions unanswered. Perhaps the biggest question everyone should be asking is: Why aren't medical schools teaching doctors the truth about vaccines?

The video is entitled "Are Doctors Experts On Vaccines?" and the answer is a resounding NO, as illustrated in the compilation of various clips showing different doctors admitting they know very little about vaccines.




Dr. Suzanne Humphries said: "You may not know this, but doctors are not taught about vaccines in medical school. We are not taught what's in vaccines as far as the adjuvants. We are not taught how vaccines are manufactured as far as what kind of animals go into them. We are not taught the potential dangers of vaccination, and we are basically given a piece of paper that says when the vaccines are due and to give them."

Several other doctors profiled in the video echo these sentiments, saying they had no idea that vaccines contained mercury, and were not taught such information in medical school. It would appear that many intelligent doctors are actually quite ignorant when it comes to basic health principles. Several examples of seemingly smart doctors being completely unaware of fundamental nutrition and health concepts were outlined in a recent podcast by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger. Like many of us, he asks how the entire medical industry has become focused on the profit model of prolonged sickness instead of health and self-healing.

Some doctors know the truth

Thankfully, there are a number of doctors who have made a point of seeking out unbiased information on vaccines from independent sources that do not have a financial stake in getting and keeping people sick.

Dr. Toni Bark, who appears in the video saying that the schedule of vaccines is taught in medical school but not their ingredients, earned her medical degree at Rush Medical School and completed her Pediatric Residency at the University of Illinois. She is now the Vice President of the American Institute of Homeopathy, and says that the kids who come to her from other practices who are fully vaccinated are the ones who show signs of OCD, asthma, autism, panic disorders and other issues that she does not see in children who were not vaccinated. In addition, she says that she has never seen a child with asthma, food allergies, or autism who was not vaccinated.

Vaccines, nutrition widely ignored in most medical schools

This lack of education about vaccines goes hand in hand with another failing of the medical school system: the lack of education on nutrition. It's understandable to assume that doctors know all there is to know about nutrition as it relates to health, but the truth is that medical schools do not teach doctors much about nutrition, with some med schools not even requiring a single course on nutrition! In 2010, Natural News reported that only a quarter of medical schools offered even the bare minimum recommended hours in nutrition education.

It is no wonder, then, that they are so willing to accept the lies that Big Pharma tells them about their medications being effective and safe. As some of the doctors in the video point out, they are also not taught to question research, which is very scary indeed, and does not bode well for the general public.

It turns out that nature holds the key to many of the problems people are currently facing, whether it's CBD oil from the marijuana plant, or immune-boosting turmeric. For those who are interested in learning more about this, the Natural Medicine, Healing & Wellness Summit is devoted to these topics.

The video closes with some excellent advice: "... So when your doctor starts pushing vaccines on you or your child, ask him what he knows about vaccine ingredients."


Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/054058_vaccine_ingredients_ignorant_doctors_medical_illiteracy.html#ixzz490LiUF5n


The fluoride factor...

Is it the FLUORIDE? Today's humans are so dumbed down, they can't solve sixth grade word problems based on simple addition

by: Daniel Barker


Judging from what one runs across on the internet, it's easy to believe that something must be dumbing down the populace, as a recent Daily Mail piece humorously illustrated.

The Mail published a Tweet from a mother which involved a math question given to year 2 students – one the mom felt was too difficult for children as young as six years old to be expected to solve.

Here is the question:

"There were some people on a train. 19 people get off the train at the first stop. 17 people get on the train. Now there are 63 people on the train. How many people were on the train to begin with?"

Admittedly, this puzzle might be somewhat advanced for an average six-year-old, but it shouldn't be that hard for an adult, since it requires only some very basic addition and subtraction skills.

If you guessed the answer to be 65, you are correct!

"The correct answer is in fact 65, which you arrive at by subtracting the 17 people who just boarded from the current number of passengers, 63, to get 46. Then you add the 19 passengers who got off to arrive at 65."

Now, that wasn't so difficult, was it? Any adult should be able to easily arrive at the correct answer, right?

Well, you might be surprised – many of the respondents to the Tweet, and even the mother herself, were unable to get it right.

Louise Bloxham, the mom, claimed that she found the "right" answer on a Facebook forum for teachers; apparently their answer was 46.

Are we being 'dumbed down' deliberately?

It's easy to poke fun at those with less than stellar math skills, but are we really becoming dumbed down as a society?

Some experts think so, and that it is being done to us deliberately.

From a Global Research report entitled "The Dumbing Down of America – By Design:"

"The most obvious example of how Americans have been dumbed down is through this nation's failed public education system. At one time not that long ago America reigned supreme as a leading model for the rest of the world providing the best quality free public K-12 education system on the planet. But over the last many decades while much of the rest of the world has been passing us by, it seems an insidious federal agenda has been implemented to condition and brainwash a population of mindless, robotic citizenry that simply does what it's told, and of course the brainwashing commences early in America's schools."

The report's author, Joachim Hagopian, heavily criticizes the U.S. educational system, but also identifies a number of other factors contributing to America's mental decline, including the consolidation of mass media, drug use (both illicit and legal), alcohol, and even the flicker rates of televisions and computer monitors.

But, that's not all that's making us dumber. Pesticides, heavy metals, hormones and numerous other toxins enter our bodies through the foods we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink.

The fluoride factor

The fluoride added to our drinking water is believed by many to be one of the most significant factors in our loss of mental capacity. At least 50 studies have confirmed a link between fluoride and reduced intelligence.

As reported by Fluoride Alert:

"As of April 2016, a total of 57 studies have investigated the relationship between fluoride and human intelligence, and a total of 38 studies have investigated the relationship fluoride and learning/memory in animals. Of these investigations, 50 of the 57 human studies have found that elevated fluoride exposure is associated with reduced IQ, while 37 of the 39 animal studies have found that fluoride exposure impairs the learning and/or memory capacity of animals. The human studies, which are based on IQ examinations of over 12,000 children, provide compelling evidence that fluoride exposure during the early years of life can damage a child's developing brain."

There are many factors involved in our dumbing down, but avoiding exposure to fluoride may be one of the most important keys to maintaining a healthy, functional brain.


Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/054063_dumbing_down_fluoride_factor_math_skills.html#ixzz490KtyajG


The Facebook Facedown...

"Segregation is right when it is practiced privately, voluntarily, and peacefully."

The Rights and Wrongs of Segregation

By Laurence M. Vance

Segregation is alive and well.

After a series of sexual assaults against women in Cologne, Germany, by Muslim migrants, a German rail service announced it was instituting “women only” train cars to protect women who ride the train. The Mitteldeutsche Regiobahn rail company says “the segregated train cars are designed to make women traveling alone or with small children feel safe.” Each train will have two “women-only” compartments “located at the center of the train and close to the customer service compartment.” Boys up to the age of ten will be allowed access to the special cars as well.

But this is nothing new. In Delhi, India, the metro rail system added a “women only” car to its trains back in 2010 after numerous complaints of women being sexual harassed by men.

“Women-only” train cars can also be found in Japan, Indonesia, Brazil, and Egypt. In some of these and other countries, there also exist “women-only” buses.

Here in the United States, the subject of segregated train cars brings to the mind of most Americans—except public school-educated students who slept during history class—the famous Supreme Court case of Plessy v. Ferguson from back in 1896.

In 1890, the state of Louisiana enacted a law requiring segregated rail cars for whites and blacks. The first section of the statute enacted that all railway companies carrying passengers in their coaches in this State shall provide equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races by providing two or more passenger coaches for each passenger train, or by dividing the passenger coaches by a partition so as to secure separate accommodations: Provided, That this section shall not be construed to apply to street railroads. No person or persons, shall be admitted to occupy seats in coaches other than the ones assigned to them on account of the race they belong to.

The second section required that the officers of such passenger trains shall have power and are hereby required to assign each passenger to the coach or compartment used for the race to which such passenger belongs; any passenger insisting on going into a coach or compartment to which by race he does not belong shall be liable to a fine of twenty-five dollars, or in lieu thereof to imprisonment for a period of not more than twenty days in the parish prison, and any officer of any railroad insisting on assigning a passenger to a coach or compartment other than the one set aside for the race to which said passenger belongs shall be liable to a fine of twenty-five dollars, or in lieu thereof to imprisonment for a period of not more than twenty days in the parish prison; and should any passenger refuse to occupy the coach or compartment to which he or she is assigned by the officer of such railway, said officer shall have power to refuse to carry such passenger on his train, and for such refusal neither he nor the railway company which he represents shall be liable for damages in any of the courts of this State.

The third section provided penalties for the refusal or neglect of the officers, directors, conductors, and employees of railway companies to comply with the act, but with the caveat that “nothing in this act shall be construed as applying to nurses attending children of the other race.”

Homer Plessy, an “octoroon” (1/8 black), was enlisted to challenge the law. On June 7, 1892, Plessy bought a first-class ticket on the East Louisiana Railroad in New Orleans and boarded a “white-only” only train car. After refusing to vacate the car, he was arrested and removed from the train. The judge presiding over his trial, John Ferguson, found him guilty and ordered him to pay a $25 fine. The Louisiana Supreme Court upheld the judge’s ruling.

The U.S. Supreme Court took the case on appeal and ruled by a vote of 7-1 against Plessy. In the majority opinion, authored by Justice Henry Brown, the Court said:

So far, then, as a conflict with the Fourteenth Amendment is concerned, the case reduces itself to the question whether the statute of Louisiana is a reasonable regulation, and, with respect to this, there must necessarily be a large discretion on the part of the legislature. In determining the question of reasonableness, it is at liberty to act with reference to the established usages, customs, and traditions of the people, and with a view to the promotion of their comfort and the preservation of the public peace and good order. Gauged by this standard, we cannot say that a law which authorizes or even requires the separation of the two races in public conveyances is unreasonable, or more obnoxious to the Fourteenth Amendment than the acts of Congress requiring separate schools for colored children in the District of Columbia, the constitutionality of which does not seem to have been questioned, or the corresponding acts of state legislatures.

This case was overturned by the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954 when the Court ruled that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”

As today is the 120th anniversary of the Plessy case, it is a good time to review the rights and wrongs of segregation.

The word segregation, like discrimination, has been so demonized that most people consider it to be a synonym for racism.

But segregation in and of itself is not inherently wrong, or bad, or evil. To segregate is to separate or set apart something from other things or from a main body or group. Farmers segregate their crops. Cashiers segregate their bills and coins. Grocers segregate their produce. Fruit growers segregate good fruit from bad. Schools segregate students according to grade level. Orchestras segregate musicians by the instruments they play.

Yes, but (it is objected) segregation of people should never be based on race. But why not? That segregation should never be based on race is one of those statements that people accept as inherently true and not in need of any defense or explanation.

Segregation based on race (or anything else), although it may not be moral, ethical, wise, or just, should be perfectly legal, as long as it is private, voluntary, and peaceful.

As it stands now, individuals have the right, on property they own or control, to segregate people by race (or anything else). For example, guests at a wedding or dinner party. Now, do people actually try to segregate guests by race at weddings or dinner parties? I highly doubt it. Some of the guests—from any race—might become offended and leave. And what would be the point anyway? As it stands now, what is more likely to happen is that if an individual doesn’t want to be around someone from a particular race, then he will exclude people of that particular race from his event or not go as a guest to an event where people from that race are present. But in the unlikely case that a private segregated event were held, the segregation would have to be voluntary in the sense that guests could either accept the segregated seating or leave. As long as the event was private, voluntary, and peaceful; that is, no one was forced to attend or forced to stay, then it would be perfectly legal, as it should be. This doesn’t mean that the segregated event would be a good thing. That is entirely subjective. What it does mean is that the government would not interfere in any way with private, voluntary, peaceful activity no matter who thought it was immoral, unethical, unwise, or unjust.

But in a free society (which, of course we don’t live in), businesses would also have the right to practice segregation for any reason and on any basis—even by race. The owner of an apartment building would have the right to segregate tenants as he sees fit—by race or any other characteristic. If a potential tenant doesn’t like being segregated on the top floors with similar people, then he can rent another apartment. The owner of a restaurant would have the right to segregate diners as he see fit—by race or any other characteristic. If a potential diner doesn’t like separate entrances, separate restrooms, and separate tables for diners of a particular class or group, then he can eat at another restaurant. In either case: no complaints, no lawsuits, no trials, no lawyers, no fines, and no government involvement in any way with private, voluntary, peaceful activity.

It doesn’t matter if the segregation is based on bigotry, racism, ignorance, or stereotypes. It doesn’t matter if the segregation is stupid, illogical, senseless, or irrational. Private property doesn’t cease to be private property just because a business is opened on it.

But again, what is more likely to happen is that if a business owner doesn’t want to serve someone of a particular race, or someone having some other characteristic he doesn’t like, then he will exclude people of that race, or having that characteristic, from service at his business. After all, no business has a requirement to provide service to any individual, and no individual has a right obtain service at any business. At least not in a free society.

So, in theory, if individuals have the legal right, and businesses should have the legal right, to segregate people by race—even though in practice such segregation would not likely take place—then what was wrong with segregation as it was formerly practiced in the United States?

Everything.

Up until the 1960s, many state and city governments mandated that business owners segregate their black and white clientele. Business owners could be legally punished for not segregating the races.

Bus and train stations had to have separate waiting rooms and ticket windows for black and white patrons. Buses had to have segregated seating. Railroads had to have separate cars for each race or segregated railcars. Restaurants had to have separate dining areas and separate entrances for black and white diners. Hospitals had to have separate entrances for black and white patients and visitors. Blacks and whites could not play pool together. Black and white juvenile delinquents and mental patients could not be housed together. Separate toilet facilities and drinking fountains had to be provided for each race. Theaters were segregated by race. Bars could not serve drinks to the two races within the same room. Blacks and whites could not be buried in the same cemetery.

These things didn’t happen because business owners were all white racists who didn’t mind taking the black man’s money as long as he could humiliate him while doing so. These things took place because the government mandated that they take place. The government violated the property rights of business owners on a massive scale. It is the government that instituted the segregation of the races. It is the government that maintained segregation by force. It is the government that caused racial injustices. It is the government that fueled animosity between the races.

These things were also the case when it came to government institutions like the public schools. But the solution to the old issue of segregated public schools was not the Brown v. Board of Education decision, it is the same solution to the new issue of transgender students in public schools wanting to use the restroom corresponding to their “gender identity”: abolish the public school system.

Segregation is right when it is practiced privately, voluntarily, and peacefully. Segregation is wrong when it is instituted and enforced by government decree.

Link:
https://www.lewrockwell.com/2016/05/laurence-m-vance/segregation-always-wrong/

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Insanity...

12 Signs That A Cloud Of Insanity Has Descended On The Land

By Michael Snyder


What in the world is happening to America? Recently, I was asked to describe what we are watching happen to our nation. After thinking about it, I have come to the conclusion that it is almost as if a “cloud of insanity” has descended upon the United States and much of the rest of the western world. From our top leaders on down, people are engaged in incredibly self-destructive behavior and are making extremely irrational decisions. Some would describe it as being given over to a depraved mind, and I would have to agree. It is almost as if some sort of severe form of mental illness were rapidly spreading through the air and infecting everyone. Virtually every day I am immersed in news and current events, and it can be difficult to shock me after all this time. But lately, there have been quite a few stories that have stunned even me. The following are a few of those stories…

#1 A 27-year-old woman in Maryland is hoping to “normalize naked breasts” by running around in public without any clothing on the upper half of her body. So far she says that she has not been arrested and no men have tried to touch her inappropriately.

#2 It is being reported that “sex roulette parties” are becoming increasingly popular in the western world. The concept behind these parties is that there is someone in attendance that is secretly HIV positive, and everyone engages in unprotected sex with others in the room without knowing who that particular individual is.

#3 The obsession with body art in the western world is officially getting out of control. A couple of the hottest trends right now among those that are into “body modification” are to tattoo your eyeballs and split your tongue.

#4 A Catholic archbishop from St. Louis recently testified in court that he “wasn’t sure whether he knew it was illegal for priests to have sex with children“.

#5 All over the nation, colleges and universities are holding workshops and events to promote “polyamory” as “an acceptable lifestyle choice” to our young people. According to Wikipedia, polyamory is “the practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships involving more than two people, with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.”

#6 With each passing year, the level of debt slavery in this country gets even worse. The average American household with debt now owes approximately $131,000 and is paying out about $6,000 a year in interest.

#7 A dangerous form of synthetic marijuana is popping up in many American cities these days, and it sends many of the users into zombie-like states…

Investigators in Clearwater described a scene out of The Walking Dead; people slumped over in such a stupefied state they could hardly move or speak. It was a patrol becoming too routine in Crest Lake Park as officers respond to a growing number of Spice, or synthetic marijuana, overdose calls.

Police say dozens of calls have come in for people who have had to be rushed to the hospital because of suspected Spice use. Tampa medical and law enforcement professionals warned last week about a dangerous uptick in overdoses possibly linked to a bad batch of the drug. Clearwater investigators aren’t ruling out a connection to the Tampa cases.

#8 According to some progressives, identifying yourself as an “American” is now considered to be a “microaggression” and should be avoided because it might offend minority groups.

#9 Even though we can see what socialism has done to Venezuela, North Korea and dozens of other failed regimes throughout history, young Americans are embracing it with gusto. In fact, one survey recently found that a majority of American young adults under the age of 30 say that they completely reject capitalism.

#10 The Obama administration has just issued new “guidelines” that require public schools all across America “to allow transgender students to use the restroom and locker rooms that correspond to their chosen gender“. So 55 years after President John F. Kennedy declared that we would put men on the moon, Barack Obama is declaring that we will put men somewhere else where they have never been before…

#11 One anonymous member of Congress identified only as “Congressman X” is making waves by putting out a new book that explains what really goes on behind the scenes in Washington. The New York Post has published some new quotes from this book, and a couple of them are quite stunning…

Congress is too polarized and partisan to get anything done, by the congressman’s account.

“There seems to be a complete disintegration of confidence in government. A fear that government is its own special interest,” he says.

“America’s on an irreversible decline and no one in Washington seems to care . . . ”

When even members of the U.S. Congress start admitting that our nation is in “an irreversible decline”, you know that the party is just about over.

#12 When you look up the term “corrupt politician” in the dictionary, photographs of Bill and Hillary Clinton should be right there. Bill has a history of well documented sexual escapades that goes back for decades, and both of them should be serving long prison sentences for a shocking series of horrible crimes that goes all the way back to the 1970s. But the American people are willingly ignoring all of this, and if the election were to be held today it is almost certain that Hillary Clinton would be the next president of the United States.

Ultimately, we get the leaders that we deserve, and I am not just talking about the White House.

If you look at Congress today, they very much reflect who we are as a nation, and it isn’t a pretty picture.

One of the big reasons why there is so much craziness in America today is because there is no longer a shared set of values or morals that unites us. You would like to think that we should all be able to at least agree on the U.S. Constitution, but in law school I learned that courts routinely ignore the Constitution whenever it suits them. In fact, we might as well not even have a Constitution anymore because hardly anyone in the legal community takes it seriously these days.

Without any foundation to stand on, it is inevitable that our nation will crumble. The widespread insanity that we are witnessing is simply the acceleration of a process of decay that has been in motion for decades.

I would like to think that we could turn things around, but at this point I am not very optimistic.

What about you?


Link:
http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/12-signs-that-a-cloud-of-insanity-has-descended-on-the-land

Governments Create Monopolies...

Governments Create Monopolies and Cause Worker Exploitation, Not Free Markets
by Richard M. Ebeling


The world is threatened with a renewed wave of anti-capitalism and anti-business sentiments and policies. Many who cheered the demise of Soviet communism in the early 1990s, presumed that this meant that, by default, the case for free markets and competitive enterprise had won in the battle of ideas. Over the last twenty-five years it has become clear that the same misguided arguments against free market capitalism constantly reemerge, like an ideological vampire waiting to rise from the intellectual grave and drain market freedom of its lifeblood by more government regulations and controls.

One of the most persistent of these misguided ideas is the belief that left on its own, competitive markets tend to bring about concentration of wealth, inequality of income, and “market power” to exploit workers and consumers of what justly should be theirs.

The most recent example of this is an article on, “Monopoly’s New Era,” by Joseph E. Stiglitz, the 2001 Nobel Prize winner in economics, which appeared on Project Syndicate website on May 13, 2016. Professor Stiglitz is one of those thinkers who seem to see a “market failure” at every turn and apparently has rarely found a government intervention he did not like.

Two Ways of Looking at the Market Process

He contrasts two differing views of the market economy. One view, an outgrowth of Adam Smith and those who followed in his intellectual footsteps over the last 250 years, argue that freedom, prosperity, and income equity are generally assured wherever the market is kept open and competitive, with minimal government impediments.

The other “school of thought” that he interestingly identifies with no one particular thinker of the past “takes as its starting point ‘power,’ including the ability to exercise monopoly control or, in labor markets, to assert authority over workers,” Stiglitz explains. “Scholars in this area have focused on what gives rise to power, how it is maintained and strengthened, and other features that may prevent markets from being competitive. Work on exploitation arising from asymmetries of information is an important example.”

Professor Stiglitz insists that this second approach has shown its insight and efficacy in the clear evidence of concentration of market control and income inequality in such sectors of the market such as finance and banking, cable television, health care, pharmaceuticals, agro-business, and a variety of others.

The truth and reality of this concentration of power and wealth conception of capitalism, Stiglitz argues, is also shown, historically, in labor markets, to the disadvantage of many “minority” groups. “Of course, historically, the oppression of large groups – slaves, women, and minorities of various types – are obvious instances where inequalities are the result of [market] power relationships,” he states.

His conclusion, therefore, should not be surprising. If competitive capitalism leads to it’s opposite – concentrated, monopoly capitalism – then government regulation and control is essential to preserve a free, prosperous, and “socially just” society. Or in the words with which Professor Stiglitz concludes his article: “But if markets are based on exploitation, the rationale for laissez‐faire disappears. Indeed, in that case, the battle against entrenched power is not only a battle for democracy; it is also a battle for efficiency and shared prosperity.”

Karl Marx’s Theory of Worker Exploitation

The nineteenth century economist most famous for insisting that capitalism leads to concentration, monopoly and exploitation was, of course, Karl Marx. He is the leading thinker that Stiglitz avoids mentioning by name. Marx claimed to have unearthed “the laws of historical evolution” that by a necessity as irresistible as the physical laws of nature, place human history on a trajectory that transformed society from feudalism to capitalism and would have to culminate in the triumph of socialism and a post-scarcity world of communism.

Marx was insistent that businessmen are driven in the pursuit of profits to invest in laborsaving industrial machinery. This results in two consequences. First, in this competitive race for profits through industrialization, some private enterprisers would be driven to the wall and pushed out of business, with their companies bought up by those capitalists who had better weathered the market storm. As this process repeated itself, there would be fewer and fewer private enterprisers left standing, with the result of the private ownership of businesses remaining in fewer and fewer hands. Hence, market competition leads to the concentration of ownership and wealth in the hands of a diminishing number of enterprise owners, according to Marx.

Second, as machines replace workers, there are fewer and fewer jobs for all those needing employment to feed themselves and their families. The non-property owning workers – “the proletariat,” in Marxian jargon – are joined by the businessmen driven out of business due to that concentration of ownership and wealth.

Workers competing for a decreasing number of jobs bring about a lowering of wages and decreased living standards for the vast majority of the population. Thus, a growing material inequality emerges between most working members of society and the handful of property-owning wealthy capitalists, or as it has become fashionable to describe them nowadays, the “one percent.”

Finally, in the Marxian version of this theory, the workers rise up and overthrow the remaining handful of exploiting capitalists, and the new dawn of historical progressivism arrives: socialism, with the State owning, managing and centrally planning the resources and enterprises of the society in the name of “the people.”

Marx’s Errors and the Benefits from Classical Liberal Capitalism

Both economic theory and the actual events of economic history have shown the errors and absurdities in this and related theories over the last two hundred years. Rather than a bi-polar social world of a handful of “the rich” versus a human mass of “the poor,” industrial and financial capitalism saw the emergence of what has become known as “the middle class,” whose numbers came from the ranks of the poverty-ridden poor of the pre-capitalist era.

The political philosophy of classical liberalism that gained intellectual ground in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries called for the end to absolute monarchy and the establishment of representative, but constitutionally limited government. It espoused the cause of ending the governmental privileges and favors bestowed on a narrow group of special interest groups surrounding and serving the king, including legal monopolies that prevented market competition.

Classical liberalism called for the end to slavery, the emancipation of women, and an equality of individual rights for all in society to life, liberty, and honestly acquired property before an unbiased and impartial rule of law.

Domestic and international trade barriers were reduced or abolished, opening the field to virtually unrestricted free market competition. A smaller and far less intrusive government brought about a lowered tax burden on all in the society, leaving more of the earned wealth by all in the hands of the private individuals whose efforts and energies had produced it.

Respect and enforcement of private property rights; competitive markets open to all those with entrepreneurial visions of how to manufacture and sell more, better and less expensive goods and services to consumers as the peaceful and honest means of pursuing the earning of profits; freed labor markets giving all the opportunity to search out gainful employment wherever the most attractive terms of earning a living seemed to offer itself; and a growing financial sector provided the means for making possible the expensive industrial investments that created jobs and expanded the productive capabilities of society.

Capitalism Created a Prosperous Middle Class from the Poor

The last point is, perhaps, worth emphasizing. Through most of human history, the vast majority of people who found themselves able to somehow save anything out of their meager earnings were fortunate if they could hide away a few gold or silver coins as a form of accumulated wealth.

But the development of modern banking now made it possible for even those of meager material means to put aside their modest savings in a financial institution offering an interest return on their deposits. These financial institutions could now pool together large amounts of savings from many modest savers. They funneled these people’s savings out to entrepreneurs who could never have funded their dreams of industrial enterprises out of their own incomes.

Out of the profits earned by the successful entrepreneurial borrowers came the monetary means to pay back what had been borrowed plus the interest payments agreed to, to start up or to expand their private enterprises. This interest income earned by the banks both paid the interest owed to the depositors and increased the capital of the banks to develop their ability to lend to a growing number of enterprising borrowers.

The increasing field of created and expanded private enterprises was made possible through the savings of “the workers,” themselves, and who thereby earned interest on their individual savings accounts, and through the plowing back of retained earnings into those enterprises by successful businessmen widened the number of businesses looking for workers to fill the growing number of jobs in the marketplace.

At the same time, investment in more and better machines, tools and equipment in those industrial enterprises were increasing the productivity of each worker employment, helped to increase the wages worth paying each worker hired in conjunction with the increased demand of more employers competing for workers in their businesses.

Of course, wages for all types of labor did not all rise at the same time and to the same degree. But looking over the decades of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, competitive and relatively free markets demonstrated the lie to all the naysayers like Karl Marx who claimed that “the workers” were doomed to poverty, destitution, and despair. Competitive capitalism did and has been raising increasing portions of mankind from wretched subsistence and starvation to unimaginable ease, comfort and convenience that even the richest and most successfully plundering kings and conquerors of the past could never have conceived.

Joseph Stiglitz and Asymmetric Information

Joseph Stiglitz, needless to say, is not a Marxist or a socialist, and it would be unfair to in anyway suggest that he is. His own variation on the injustice of capitalism and its potential for exploitation is partly based on his theory of “asymmetric information” and how it enables private enterprisers to take advantage of consumers and workers in society. Indeed, this theory helped earn him the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2001.

A core element in his theory is that individuals in the marketplace do not all possess the same type or degree of knowledge. Some people know things that others do not. And this “privileged” information can enable some to “exploit” others. For instance, the producer and marketer is likely to know far more about that product’s qualities, features and characteristics that he is offering on the market than most of the buyers possibly interested in purchasing it.

By withholding or not fully informing the potential buyer about all of the qualities, features and characteristics of his good, he may succeed in creating a false impression that makes the consumer have a greater demand for it and be willing to pay a higher price for it than would be the case if that consumer knew as much about the good as the seller knows.

Markets Integrate and Coordinate Decentralized Knowledge

There is no doubt that in a system of division of labor there is an accompanying division of knowledge, but this is a theme in theories of the market process long ago explained by economists in the “Austrian” tradition, especially Friedrich A. Hayek, who also received a Nobel Prize in Economics in 1974.

The Austrians have long emphasized that competition is a “discovery procedure” through which individuals find out things never known or imagined before. The peaceful rivalry of the marketplace creates the incentives for entrepreneurs to be unceasingly alert to profit opportunities to see possibilities that either others have missed or not thought of before. The unknown or barely perceived become seen and understood, and then taken advantage of in the form of new, better, and less expensive products offered to the consuming public.

The purpose of competitive markets and price systems is precisely to provide a way to integrate and coordinate the dispersed and decentralized knowledge in any society possessing a degree of complexity.

This same competitive market has also found ways to reduce and overcome the asymmetry of consumer versus seller knowledge concerning the qualities, features and characteristics of goods, as well, and thereby to reduce the potential and possibility of “exploiting” what the seller may know at the expense of the market buyers.

The Meaning of Search Goods and Judging the Quality of Products

In explaining how markets do this, economists sometimes distinguish between two types of goods offered and sold on the market: search goods and experience goods.

Search goods are those that can be examined and judged by the potential buyer before a purchase is made. For instance, suppose that a supermarket advertises that perfectly ripened bananas are available and on sale in their store. A consumer can enter the supermarket and fairly reasonably judge whether the quality of the good matches what has been promised in the advertising before buying it.

If examination shows that the bananas are either non-eatable green or over-ripened brown, the consumer can walk away without spending a penny on a product that has not met what was promised. By falsely or incorrectly advertising, or even unreasonably exaggerating in its advertising, the business runs the risk of not only losing that sale but the loss of its brand name reputation, threatening to see that consumer never return to that establishment again. Plus, that person can tell others what his “search” of the good came up with, potentially leading to those others not trusting that businesses advertising word without inspecting the good themselves.

This creates a self-interested incentive on the part of such sellers to practice “true in advertising,” or suffer the loss of some their regular customers upon whose repeat business their long-term profitability is dependent.

The Meaning of Experience Goods and Market Safeguards

Experience goods are those goods whose qualities, features and characteristics cannot really be fully known and appreciated without using the product in question for a period of time. Think of an automobile; you can go for a test drive, but your own best judgment of its safety, reliability and handling cannot be really known without driving the car in various weather and traffic conditions over a period of time. Or think of a bed mattress; you sit down and bounce on it, or stretch out and lay down on it in the furniture showroom, but you cannot really know if it will give you a comfortable and restful sleep every night until you’ve gone to bed on it for a period of time.

The same applies to many goods, such as household appliances, for instance. The competitive market’s response to this uncertain and imperfect knowledge on the part of potential buyers has been the seller and manufacture’s system of product warranties that enable the buyer to return the product over a period of time for his or her money back, or a replacement at no extra cost to the buyer.

It is, again, in the seller’s own self-interest to make sure that the product is what has been promised and is reliable in its working order and performance. Once more, the seller and manufacturer run the risk of losing their brand name reputation concerning quality and trustworthiness. Plus, if a warranty has to be fulfilled it is the manufacturer or seller who is forced to eat the cost of replacing the unit returned due to malfunction or failure to match buyer expectation, thus cutting into his own profit margin.

Market Uncertainty and Franchise Businesses

But what about those situations in which concern about repeat business or brand name reputation do not seem to be as present? For instance, suppose you are traveling on business or vacation and are passing through some town you are highly unlikely ever to see again.

You’re hungry for a meal or a place to stay for the night. How can you know about the quality of the meal in the local “Joe’s Greasy Spoon,” or the bedbug-free mattress in any of the rooms in the local “Bates Motel”?

The market has provided consumer information about the qualities, features and characteristics of such products and services to overcome this inescapable imperfect knowledge in the form of chain stores and franchises. You may never eat or sleep again in that particular town, but you will likely eat and sleep away from home somewhere at sometime again in the future.

The sight of the MacDonald’s “Golden Arches” or the sign for an IHOP (International House of Pancakes) anywhere, any place tells you the quality and variety of foods that you can have in any of their establishments, regardless of where its location in the United States or even the world. The same applies to seeing the sign for a Motel 6, or a Holiday Inn Express or an Embassy Suites, or a Hilton-family hotel.

You may never again go to that particular MacDonald’s or Holiday Inn, but if you travel you may very well eat or spend the night at some other chain franchise of that company. And that is the repeat business and brand name reputation that is important to the “mother company.” Thus, each chain store and franchise is required to meet standards of quality and variety that enables the consumer to have a high degree of confidence and reduced knowledge uncertainty of what he or she is getting when they enter any of these establishments regardless of where it may be located.

What makes this practice in the market consistently happen and successfully relied upon? Market competition and the self-interested profit motive.

“Perfect Competition” versus the Competitive Process

Professor Stiglitz sets up the straw man of what in economics is known as the “perfect competition” model. The presumption is that a market is only and truly “competitive” when it is filled with such a large number of sellers that each one is too small to influence the market price and in which each seller offers a product the quality of which is exactly the same ones sold by his competitors; and in which every buyer already knows all the same perfectly correct information as is known by all the sellers in those same markets.

Friedrich Hayek demonstrated the essential fallacies in this argument exacting 70 years ago when he delivered a lecture on “The Meaning of Competition” on May 20, 1946 at Princeton University. He explained that the very nature of a truly competitive market is precisely one in which rivals are attempting to improve the qualities of the products they offer to consumers and try to devise ways to make their products at lower costs precisely to be able to afford to offer them at lower prices to buyers to attract business way from their competitors. That is what makes market competition a dynamic, never-ending process of improved and less expensive goods and services available for the members of any society.

For economists like Joseph Stiglitz, trying to offer goods at prices different than your rivals or with qualities and characteristics differentiated from those sold by your competitors is a sign of “market failure,” of “imperfect” or “monopolistic” market practices. But for economists like Friedrich Hayek, such price and product rivalry and competition is the essential indication of the vibrancy of the competitive process at work.

Market competition in Hayek’s sense of the concept does not need a large number of rivals to be “truly” competitive. What is required are no political or legal barriers that stand in the way of potential competitors either at home or from abroad. From the economic point-of-view the market encompasses the world, regardless of where those who runs governments may have drawn lines on a political map.

Stiglitz’s “Market Failures” are Really Forms of Crony Capitalism

And this gets to the crucial and essential error in Professor Stiglitz’s argument concerning the concentration of “monopoly” power in the marketplace, and any resulting “unjust” inequality of wealth.

Every one of the examples that he lists as instances of such concentration of “market power” – finance and banking, cable television, health care, pharmaceuticals, agro-business – are all instances in which the competitive, free market has been interfered with by the paternalistic and regulatory hand of the government. It is not the market that has “failed” in these corners of the economy, but rather it is the presence and pervasiveness of the interventionist state.

But this, too, is typical of market critics such as Professor Stiglitz. They deceptively call “market failures” instances not of competitive free markets but of “crony capitalism” under which special interests have successfully interacted with politicians and bureaucrats to rig the market for their own benefit at the expense of both consumers and potential competitors who are legally prevented or hindered from entering sectors of the economy where they would like to try to gain market share and earn profits by offering better and lower priced goods than their privileged rivals are offering to those consumers.

Con Men Are Always with Us, Free Markets Constrain Them

Are there con men, hucksters and cheats? Of course there are. They existed in ancient Athens just as they exist today. There are always people who will try to dishonestly get what others have, when doing it that way seems easier and less costly than through honest production and trade.

The question is not whether human nature can be transformed to eliminate this aspect of human conduct. The question is, are their market institutions and incentives that can systemically reduce this type of behavior and, instead, generate more honest and properly informed human interactions?

And the answer is, yes. In fact, most of these positive incentive mechanisms have emerged and evolved out of the competitive market process, itself. These “market solutions” to the “social problem” of asymmetric information were discovered by market participants themselves to be profitable ways of gaining consumer trust and confidence and business, without any government command or imposition. Plus, their discovery and practiced institutional forms could never have been fully anticipated or imagined in their detail before and separate from the competitive market processes that generated them.

Once again, the “let-alone” principle of peaceful competitive market association has demonstrated itself to be superior to the presumption and arrogance of the governmental social engineer.

Worker Exploitation has Its Source in Government Intervention

Furthermore, if workers have been exploited in the past or present, and do not receive the full and proper value for the labor services they may render, this, too, has been the result of politically-sponsored or allowed “power” inside the market. Compulsory labor unions have manipulated and rigged labor markets, giving wage and work privileges and favors to some workers, but at the expense of other workers locked out of employment and income opportunities due to the “closed shop.”

Government imposed minimum wage laws have priced some low and unskilled workers out of jobs leaving them unemployed and possibly permanent wards of the government’s welfare state programs. Anti-competition regulations and related market restrictions (including burdensome taxes on business) have reduced the private sector’s ability and incentives to create jobs and invest in ways that raise the value of workers’ output over time.

If workers are “exploited” in the modern world, Professor Stiglitz should look at the very interventionist policies that he proposes and defends. They are the primary cause of the very conditions and injustices that he deplores, including the greater degrees of material inequality than would or need exist, if only the regulating and paternalistic state they he so much desires and admires were to get out of the way of the free market competitive process.

Link:
http://fff.org/explore-freedom/article/governments-create-monopolies-cause-worker-exploitation-not-free-markets/