Sunday, October 22, 2017

Saturday, October 21, 2017

John McCain, Imperialist



By Paul Gottfried

Senator John McCain, never one to play it close to the vest, has amped up his criticism of the Trump administration’s foreign policy, calling it a “half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems.”
Quoted fully:
To fear the world we have organized and led for three quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain “the last best hope of earth” for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.
It is almost impossible to comprehend this speech, delivered by McCain while receiving the National Constitution Center’s Liberty Medal for bipartisanship on Monday, without understanding his party and its neoconservative vision of American global hegemony.

Those who aren’t of the same persuasion as McCain, the Wall Street Journaleditorial page, and Bill Kristol’s Weekly Standard might be puzzled as to how the senator can get away with attacking American nationalism while at the same time calling for an American imperial mission. Exhorting one’s country to advance its ideals and leadership across the globe, even against the wishes of those who don’t want this guidance, sounds very much like vintage Western imperialism. French and British imperialists in the late nineteenth century were always justifying their imperial rule as a transmission belt for bringing their higher morality to unenlightened peoples and races.
 
Radical Republicans during the French Third Republic defended their country’s territorial penetration of Africa and Asia as efforts to carry their revolutionary principles across the seas. How does McCain’s vision differ from this imperialist mission proclaimed by Europeans before the First World War? By the late nineteenth century all European nationalists pursued empire in the name of universal egalitarian or progressive ideals—even the Italian fascist press invoked such concepts when Mussolini invaded Ethiopia in 1936.

The difference between them and us, at least as understood by McCain and his neoconservative friends, derives from their claim of moral superiority. They didn’t have it, McCain thinks, whereas we do. Unlike those morally defective empire builders of centuries past, McCain wants us to believe that we really do raise up the lowly and confused wherever we exert influence. Besides, we’re only practicing true imperialism, argues Stanley Kurtz of the Hoover Institution, if we directly rule a territory that we intend to control. No other form of control counts as imperialism, according to this fastidious definition. Finally, according to neoconservative teachings, it is only America haters who despise our universal values and propositional nationhood, and who therefore question our duty to civilize the entire planet. All this reminds me of a riddle that we used to pose jokingly when the neocons rose to prominence in the 1980s. “When is an empire not an empire?” The answer: “When neocons say it’s not.”

Read the entire article

Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Friday, October 20, 2017

Government and Money

By Gary North

In the era of the gold coin standard, when citizens could bring in paper money and demand gold coins from a local bank, this transferred tremendous authority into the hands of the general public. The public could participate in a run on a local bank's gold. If this took place nationally, this would cause a run on the central bank's gold. This would force the central bank to stop inflating through fiat money. That was the great advantage of the gold coin standard. It transferred power into the hands of the general public. The general public could veto central bank policies of monetary inflation.

This is why all the governments of Western Europe outlawed the gold coin standard soon after World War I began in August 1914. Commercial bank runs began almost immediately. So, central banks and governments allowed commercial banks to break their gold contracts with their depositors. Then the central banks confiscated the gold in the commercial banks. They wound up with the public's gold. It was a gigantic act of theft. It was the end of the gold coin standard. There was a huge loss of liberty.

This happened in the United States on Monday, March 6, 1933, at 1 AM. President Roosevelt unilaterally allowed the federal government to steal the public's gold at $20 an ounce. Then, when the government had a lot of the gold, Congress hiked the price to $35 an ounce, thereby enriching the federal government by 75% on the stolen gold. This was a gigantic act of theft. The public did not care. Most of the economists did not care.

The only logical case for having government ownership of gold was under a gold standard. The government had to sell its gold at a fixed price. Because the government always asserts a monopoly over the monetary system, and because the gold coin standard did allow a veto of central bank policies, there was a case -- weak -- for a central bank's vault full of gold.

It would have been far better if the governments of the world had never been allowed to exercise any control at all over the monetary systems. Money is like anything else of value. It is best managed under liberty. It is best managed by private ownership of the means of production. Government monopolies over money always lead to inflation, and the inflation creates the boom bust business cycle. But economists, other than Austrian School economists, do not believe this.

Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Trump and Obamacare

By

Under the Constitution, when Congress passes legislation that directs the president to spend federal tax dollars — or, as is likelier the case today, dollars borrowed by the federal government — Congress must appropriate funds for the expenditure. So for every federal program that spends money, Congress must first create the program — for example, building a bridge or paving an interstate highway — and then it must pass a second bill that appropriates money from the federal treasury and makes it available to the president for the purpose stated in the first law.

When Obamacare was drafted in 2009 and 2010, one of the many compromises that went into it was the gradual rollout of its provisions; different parts of the law became effective at different times. The law was enacted with all Democratic votes. No Republican member of either house of Congress voted for it, and only a handful of Democrats voted against it.
By the time the subsidy provisions took effect, the Republicans were in control of Congress, yet Obama was still in the White House. When Obama asked Congress to appropriate the funds needed to make the subsidy payments required by the Obamacare statute, Congress declined to do so.

Thus, Obama — who, as the president of the United States, was charged with enforcing all federal laws — was denied the means with which to enforce the subsidy portion of his favorite legislation.

So he spent the money anyway. He directed his secretaries of the treasury and health and human services to take appropriated funds from unstated programs and to make the subsidy payments to the seven largest health insurance carriers in the United States from those funds. Of course, by doing so, he was depriving other federal programs, authorized and funded by Congress, of the monies to which they were entitled. But Obamacare was his legacy, and he was not about to let it die on the vine.

Can the president spend federal dollars, whether from tax revenue or borrowing, without an express authorization from Congress, even if he is following a law that requires the expenditures? In a word, no.

That’s because the drafters of the Constitution feared the very situation confronted by Congress and Obama in 2013 — a law that is no longer popular, is no longer supported by Congress and costs money to enforce, with a president eager to enforce it and a Congress unwilling to authorize the payments. To address this tension between a president wanting to spend federal dollars and a Congress declining to authorize him to do so, the drafters of the Constitution put the power of the purse unambiguously in the hands of Congress. The Constitution could not be clearer: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law."

It follows that where the appropriations have not been made by Congress, the funds may not be spent by the president. When Obama declined to recognize this constitutional truism, the House of Representatives sued the secretary of health and human services in federal court, seeking to enjoin her from making the subsidy payments, and the House won the case. The court underscored the well-recognized dual scheme of the Framers whereby two laws are required for all federal expenditures — one to tell the president on whom or on what the money should be spent and the second to authorize the actual expenditure. Without the second law — the express authorization — there can be no lawful expenditure.

President Trump, after making the same unlawful expenditures for nine months, decided last week to cease the practice. Whether he did so to bend Congress to his will on health care or he did so out of fidelity to the Constitution, he did the right thing, but he should have done it on his first day in office.

Let’s not lose sight of the whole picture here. President Obama has triumphed over President Trump and the Republicans who control Congress, because all but a handful of those who are faithful to the Constitution are behaving as if there were a constitutional obligation on the part of the federal government to provide health insurance for everyone in America. According to a plain reading of the Constitution — and even as articulated by the Supreme Court in the case that upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare — there isn’t.

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Our Idiot PC Media

Marc Faber Fired by CNBC, Fox, Sprott

For the following remark:

“I don’t want to enter into a serious discussion of the tearing down of monuments of historical personalities, but I cannot omit mentioning how the liberal hypocrites condemned the Taliban when they blew up the world’s two largest standing Buddhas (one of them 165 feet high), situated at the foot of the Hindu Kush mountains of central Afghanistan, in 2001. But the very same people are now disturbed by statues of honourable people whose only crime was to defend what all societies had done for more than 5,000 years: keep a part of the population enslaved. And thank God white people populated America, and not the blacks. Otherwise, the US would look like Zimbabwe, which it might look like one day anyway, but at least America enjoyed 200 years in the economic and political sun under a white majority. I am not a racist, but the reality — no matter how politically incorrect — needs to be spelled out as well. (And let’s not forget that the African tribal heads were more than happy to sell their own slaves to white, black, and Arab slave dealers.)”
Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

CIA Urges POTUS Trump to Delay Release of 3,000 Never-Before-Seen Documents on Assassination of John F. Kennedy

By Alex Christoforou
The Duran
 
October 18, 2017

More than 3,000 never-before-seen documents from the FBI, CIA, and Justice Department on the assassination of John F. Kennedy are scheduled be released, with many experts fearing that such a large release of secret JFK assassination documents will spur “a new generation of conspiracy theories.”
According to Roger Stone, the CIA is urging President Donald Trump to delay disclosing some of the files for another 25 years.
Roger Stone said in a post on his website…
“They must reflect badly on the CIA even though virtually everyone involved is long dead.”
Newsmax reports:
More than 3,000 never-before-seen documents from the FBI, CIA, and Justice Department are set to be released, along with 30,000 that have only been partially released in the past. The document dump “will simply fuel a new generation of conspiracy theories,” write Philip Shenon and Larry J. Sabato.

Sabato is the director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and author of “The Kennedy Half-Century” and Shenon is a former reporter for the New York Times and author of, “A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination.”
The CIA is urging President Donald Trump to delay disclosing some of the files for another 25 years according to friend and political adviser Roger Stone but the National Archives would not say whether any agencies have appealed the release of the documents.
According to The Gateway Pundit Roger Stone and Gerald Posner, two New York Times bestselling authors who are polar opposites about who killed JFK, have joined together to urge Donald Trump to release all the remaining classified files on Kennedy’s assassination.
About 3,100 files are still sealed in the National Archives. Under the 1992 JFK Records Act, the Archives have until October 26 to decide which of those files to publicly disclose.
Some of the classified documents include a CIA personality study of Oswald, top-secret testimony of former CIA officers to congressional committees, transcripts of interrogations with Soviet defector and Oswald handler Yuri Nosenko, letters about the case from J. Edgar Hoover and Jackie Kennedy, the CIA file on Jack Wasserman, the attorney for New Orleans mob boss Carlos Marcello, and the operational file of E. Howard Hunt, career spy and Watergate burglar.
Roger Stone, in his bestselling 2013 The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJset forth the case that LBJ was the mastermind of plot that included the CIA, the Mob and Big Texas Oil to kill Kennedy.
Gerald Posner, in his 1993 bestselling finalist for the Pulitzer for History, Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK, concluded that the Warren Commission conclusions are correct and Oswald acting alone had killed Kennedy.
While they might not agree on who killed Kennedy, Stone and Posner are longstanding advocates for the release of all the government files on the assassination.
“These files should have been released long ago,” says Posner. “The government does this all the time, over classified documents and then holds on to them for decades under the guise of ‘national security.’ All the secrecy just feeds people’s suspicions that the government has something to hide and adds fuel to conspiracy theories.” Posner is convinced the case will still be closed when the last document is made public.
”I know CIA Director Pompeo is urging the President to delay release of these records for another 25 years,” said Stone. “They must reflect badly on the CIA even though virtually everyone involved is long dead.” Stone believes the evidence supporting the case in his book is still hidden somewhere in government files.
Both authors called on President Trump – who is empowered to make the final decision should the National Archives or CIA balk on releasing all the files – to opt for transparency.

Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Monday, October 16, 2017

Pushing for Another War



By David Stockman

The bogus Iranian threat originated in the early 1990s when the neocon’s in the George HW Bush Administration realized that with the cold war’s end, the Warfare State was in grave danger of massive demobilization like the US had done after every war until 1945.

So among many other invented two-bit threats, the Iranian regime was demonized in order to keep the Imperial City in thrall to its purported national security threat and in support of the vast global armada of military forces, bases and occupations needed to contain it (including the Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf and US bases throughout the region).

The truth, however, is that according to the 2008 NIE ( National Intelligence Estimates) of the nation’s 17 intelligence agency, the Iranian’s never had a serious nuclear weapons program, and the small research effort that they did have was disbanded by orders of the Ayatollah Khamenei in 2003.

Likewise, what the Imperial City claims to be state sponsored terror is actually nothing more than Iran’s foreign policy—something that every sovereign state on the planet is permitted to have.

Thus, as the leader of the minority Shiite schism of the Islamic world, Iran has made political and confessional allliances with various Shiite regimes in the region. These include the one that Washington actually installed in Bagdad; the Alawite/Shitte regime in Syria; the largest political party and representative of 40 percent of the population in Lebanon(Hezbollah); and the Houthi/Shitte of Yemen, who historically occupied the northern parts of the country and are now under savage attack by American weapons supplied to Saud Arabia.

In the case of both Syria and Iraq, their respective governments invited Iranian help, [as well as Russian] which is also their prerogative as sovereign nations. Ironically, it was the Shiite Crescent alliance of Iran/Assad/Hezbollah [and especially Russia] that bears much of the credit for defeating ISIS on the ground in Mosul, Aleppo, Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor and elsewhere in the now largely defunct Islamic State.

Read the entire article

Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

More Gun Lies the Establishment is Telling You



By

To start with, as per the Standard Anti-Self-Defense Handbook — and using the so-far unexplained Las Vegas shooting spree as the latest platform — the usual Second Amendment scoff-laws still prominently include firearm suicides in their gun-death tally.

Thank goodness folks deprived of guns won’t use overdoses, tranquilizers-plus-booze, carbon monoxide, razor blades, poison, etc. — and bridges, tall buildings, and open windows for jumping — if they can’t get guns!

Or are the usual Congressional victim-disarmers misleading us again?
Suicide by any means, while regrettable, is a voluntary act, and those determined, gun or no gun, nearly always succeed. With that in mind, let’s put things in perspective:
The 19,392 gun suicides in the U.S. in 2010, a typical year, swamped the 11,078 firearm homicides. That is, firearm suicides amount to a whopping ~two-thirds of reported gun deaths, dwarfing all other categories combined.
So by lumping voluntary suicides in with homicides to inflate the anti-gun bogeyman — and scare the kids — the gun-grabbers are indeed trying to mislead us again.

Another interesting epicycle: A new study — not by the “Authorities” who, in the interest of self-preservation try to duck it — shows that in 2015 U.S. cops killed at least 1,152 people, usually with firearms. This is the first time that statistic has been available because the FBI, etc. have refused to collect that data. For some reason.

That 1,152 deaths-by-cop is very close to 10% of the 11,078 homicides reported in 2010. Are those killings-by-cop included in the official homicide figures? Someone else will have to answer that one. Either way, that would mean cops are responsible for about 10% of U.S. gun homicides.

It’s also highly relevant that, as documented in Arm Yourself With The Facts, civilians shoot almost twice as many criminals as cops do, and their error rate — killing an innocent by mistake approximately 2% of the time — makes the cops kill-rate of 11% innocents killed seem down-right criminal.

And while we’re looking at things the misguided anti-gun folks like to coverup and/or ignore, even government studies by hostile researchers admit at least 108,000 defensive uses of firearms per year with other authoritative estimates as high as 2.5 million.

And then there are those “assault rifles.”

As far as crime goes, statistics — and common sense — both show, so-called “assault weapons” are non-starters, not to mention mis-named. Despite Hollywood, carrying an AR-15, AK-47 or other military-looking long gun concealed under your long black “duster” — or using one in close quarters, as in a robbery or mugging perhaps — just isn’t practical and rarely happens. Even The New York Times calls it “The Assault Weapon Myth.”

In defending your home from an outside assault, however, such weapons are very practical. So maybe it would be more accurate to call them “anti-assault weapons.”
And it isn’t always guns – – –
24 Injured In Stabbing At Franklin Regional High School « CBS Pittsburgh
And, if you’re worried about terrorism, firearms aren’t the most deadly or easiest weapon to use, although they may stop such a weapon – – –
…Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel drove a rented, refrigerated truck weighing about 20 tons into crowds along a roughly 2-kilometer stretch of Promenade des Anglais on Thursday night, killing 84 people — including 10 children and adolescents — and injuring 202 others…. Attack in Nice – CNN
And then there’s the prominent role drugs play in mass-murders. No, not stupidly outlawed “illegal” drugs, establishment drugs. For example, most school shooters were on prescribed anti-depressants like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, etc. And of course, U.S. schools themselves were another common factor.

Las Vegas Mandalay Bay shooter Paddock was taking Valium which can lead to aggressive behavior.

Our last misleader — Obama — also fertilized the lie that, with our guns, we Americans are an extremely violent people. Despite that hate-speech from the Propagandist-in-Chief, when compared to other countries, the U.S. isn’t all that violent. About average, in fact.

Except, of course, Americans overseas. You know, those unfortunates in the military who are forced to invade countries under false pretenses, blow up wedding parties, funerals and hospitals with B-52s, drones and Hellfire Missiles, etc. And are thus creating enemies for our kids, grand kids and the yet unborn for generations to come.

In that overseas arena, however, as polls show, folks indeed think the United States — that is, the U.S. Government — is extremely violent and poses the greatest threat to world peace.

If the Congressional oath-breakers were sincere about reducing violence here “in the freest country in the world,” instead of illegitimately using “Executive Orders to further tinker with the U.S. Constitution, the chronic oath-breakers would immediately decriminalize “illegal” drugs.

But of course, they’re not sincere.

Judging by the composition of the all-time world record U.S. prison population, decriminalization would eliminate approximately two-thirds of the robbery, burglary, mugging etc. since that would crash the price and eliminate the need for folks to steal to support their drug habit.
Well, at least to support their non-establishment drug habit – – –
Drug Goes From $13.50 a Tablet to $750, Overnight – The New York Times
But forget political new-speak, the real reason our unpopular elected pervaricators are again attempting to disarm us is likely the real reason the Second Amendment exists. And is second only to the First Amendment. Which is also under attack.

HERE for updates, additions, comments, and corrections.
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Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Is Iran Malign?

Malign: adj 1. Evil or harmful in nature or effect:

By Michael S. Rozeff

Is Iran malign? Yes, insofar as any state is per se malign; yes, as malign as any other state that wants to secure its borders; yes, as malign as any state with ambitions to expand its influence beyond its borders; and as malign as any state that seeks to export its system of government; and as malign as any state that seeks to consolidate and retain its domestic power; and as malign as any state that seeks military power to ward off other states that are inimical to it; and as malign as any state that builds covert aggressive operations that misleadingly are called “intelligence”.
In short, Iran is as malign as any other state operating in a system of international anarchy that has these kinds of aims; and most do.

Iran is as malign as any state that now includes or in the past has included one or more of the above enumerated properties, such as the U.S. The U.S. at its inception harbored extensive ambitions to expand over the continent. The U.S. targeted not only what are now the lower 48 states, but also Canada, Mexico, Central America, Cuba and Hawaii. It declared the entirety of South America as a region of its influence and potential intervention. In the last century, the U.S. has sought to export its form of government worldwide. It has accumulated military power that both defends America and attacks other states. It has created economic systems that extend its influence to many other countries. Its military alliances and presence span the globe. Iran’s expansion of relations with Latin American countries are mainly economic in nature. They are no more malign than those that the U.S. has with Asian countries. Indeed, the U.S. has forged political and military ties with many such countries that dwarf any similar activities by Iran beyond its borders. The U.S. is far more an aggressive power than Iran.


Iran is as malign as Israel, a state that in its own ways has operated along similar lines: secure its borders; expand its territory; retain domestic control by its ruling class; expand its military power and use it both defensively and offensively; develop an organization (Mossad) to conduct covert operations; maintain domestic control by a ruling class.

Iran has influence and presence in neighboring Syria, Iraq and Lebanon through state-to-state relations, economic relations, and through Hezbollah, Shia militias, and the IRG. In this respect, Iran is as malign as any other state that has now or in the past has had similar kinds of relations and influence with nearby border states: The Russian Federation, the U.S., Brazil and Israel, to name a few current ones, never mind seeking out the extensive historical examples.

The U.S. wants to suppress or contain Iran’s ambitions, and so it paints Iran as malign and a threat to the U.S. The charge that Iran is evil, a synonym for malign, is meaningless in a comparative context. Iran doesn’t significantly deviate from the behavior of many states, past and present. The charge that Iran threatens the U.S. is false. Iran is no military threat to America.

Iran competes with Israel for regional dominance. The U.S. takes Israel’s side. Because of the political and financial heft of Israel among American voters and the Congress, which the U.S. government does not want openly to acknowledge, the U.S. resorts to all sorts of fanciful rationales to explain why the U.S. looks upon Israel as an “interest” or as a protectorate or as a 51st state. It resorts to characterizing Iran as evil for doing the same kinds of things that many states, including the U.S., are doing or have done.

If Iran had submarines that could launch nuclear-tipped missiles at America, it would be a threat; but only if its own assured destruction by our own bombs didn’t deter it. A madman at the helm or in control of the nuclear buttons is a risk that arises within any country, including our own, Israel, Pakistan, India, China, North Korea, the U.K., France and Russia. That’s the world we live in; and that’s the biggest reason for seeking peaceful relations with every country and seeking ways to prevent nuclear war. This includes creating systems that can be monitored that prevent madmen or seemingly rational men from having sole power to launch nuclear weapons. It includes systems that prevent accidents. It includes nuclear disarmament.

In the present system of states, peace cannot be secured unless states secure it. This requires that the state’s officials have peace as an overriding aim. The danger in the current system of states is that representatives in key governments across the world do not represent what may be and might be the peaceable aims of their peoples. They support their own aims and those of the state. They support views, aims and ambitions of their shadow governments, deep states and interest groups. They teach their peoples to fear enemies, to suppress actual and conceivable threats of foreign countries, to hate foreigners, to hate foreign leaders, to regard foreigners with suspicion, and to support the domestic state’s ambitions, powers and expansion aims.

If states are not securing the peace to the degree that we the people want; if they are actively propagandizing us for war aims; and if they continue to foment aggression, then we must secure the peace ourselves. We have to recognize peace as our interest and make it an important aim.

Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Leftist "Logic": Prudence=Crime

By Tom Woods

I can’t keep up with the left-libertarian world anymore. The nuttiness is coming out faster than I can smash it.

The latest entry: Sarah Skwire, in Newsweek.

“Who Hates Women Most? Pence, Trump, or Weinstein?”
You can already see where this is going (Skwire in italics):
Vice President Mike Pence won’t meet alone with women.
Meanwhile, guys like Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein won’t keep their hands off them.

Almost the same thing, obviously!

Pence’s camp would have women kept in some sort of professional purdah, where important avenues to public influence and power are cut off because it is just too morally dangerous to interact with women on equal terms.

Trump and Weinstein would have women brought front and center—as long as they’re showing off a lot of cleavage and getting groped—but only as signals of their masculine power and success.

Not dining alone with women who are not his wife — not a completely insane policy on both sides, you’d think — doesn’t seem to most people to involve cutting women off from positions of influence and power. It’s almost as if feminism is driven by hysteria and irrationality, but we shall return to that topic another day.

Meanwhile, the normal-person population still probably clings to the idea that (1) not dining alone with women, and (2) molesting them, are distinct enough courses of action that there’s no neat little lesson to be drawn by considering them together.

Those who think women must be secluded from men because they offer too many dangerous temptations or too much potential for rumor, and those who think that women are just great as long as they can be treated like amusement parks may appear to be treating women differently.
They may appear to be treating them differently, you see.

But they’re not treating them differently, according to our author. A guy who brutalizes women and forces them into sexual situations against their will is really doing the same thing that Pence does: “treating women as ancillary to men.”

(This is straight out of the SJW playbook — where, for instance, speech and violence are really the same thing. Oh, really? Get your teeth kicked in sometime and tell me that’s really the same thing as being called a name.)
Perhaps the article was posted before the rape accusations against Weinstein surfaced. I’m willing to give the author the benefit of the doubt.
But what we knew about Weinstein even before the rape charges was grotesque enough.

As the father of five girls, I think it’s safe to say a normal person would consider them safer in Pence’s company than in Weinstein’s. (I have no doubt Skwire agrees.)

What’s hard to fathom is that news about an outright predator would surface, and someone would think: let’s draw a parallel to — of all people! — Mike Pence.

I’m no Mike Pence fan, as you all know. But what kind of bizarre motivation is at work here, that you’d hear about Weinstein and immediately think: get Pence! (I shall leave this to you, dear reader, as an exercise.)

It really is the transvaluation of all values. Pence’s policy is now to be rendered odious — so much so that he belongs in the same analysis with a molester.

We do, at last, get this grudging concession:
It matters, of course, that guys like Weinstein are sexually predatory, while guys like Pence are just exclusionary. One is illegal. The other is merely obnoxious.

The fact that sexual predation is illegal seems hardly to be its most salient feature. How about traumatizing, invasive, or evil?

Can’t go there, I guess, because then it would be even more preposterous to try to draw a common lesson that would include both Weinstein and Pence.

A pop libertarian commentator posted this article on Facebook and added, “Skwire nails it here.”
The response was widespread disgust — nearly every comment has been one of utter disbelief.

Skwire is the same person who once said a humorous article by the popular and capable Julie Borowski made her embarrassed to be a libertarian.

Now we know how you felt, Sarah.

Reprinted from the Tom Woods Letter.

Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

With "Friends" Like These...



By Ol' Remus

Now the NRA is looking to help promote "gunstock control" even knowing gun control laws are written over-broadly and enforced even more broadly. All laws, including the proposed "gunstock control" law, make criminals where there weren't any. And that's all they do. They don't prevent crime, they create it. More laws, more criminals. It can't be any other way. To gun control activists, gun owners are criminals, and there aren't yet enough laws to prosecute them all.

The whole purpose of the second amendment is to keep our right of self defense off the table. How is it different with bump stocks? It isn't. It's more infringement, plain and simple. It gets filed with the rest of the gun control laws, because that's what it is. Bump stocks are pointless novelties to most, but it doesn't matter, if a citizen wants one that's his decision to make. Not DC's. Certainly not the NRA's, if you're entrusted and funded to defend a principle, you defend it, and all that flows from it. Not just the popular parts. Not just the parts easiest to defend.

The NRA is apparently unaware they're throwing in, as a sweetener, the credibility they've earned since 1968. Neither their members or the gun control lobby will respect them for this. The NRA is supposed to stand against mindless stampedes, not join them. They should know the gun control crowd goes berserk when it smells blood. Watch their "bump fire act" run to a thousand pages. And even this won't be the end of it. It never is.

Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Monday, October 09, 2017

"Hail Mary" Financial Policy


By

For those who believe in the virtue of central bank economic stimulus, the moment of truth has finally arrived. Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen announced late last month that the Fed plans to start shrinking its balance sheet for the first time since it expanded from less than $900 billion in 2008 to an unprecedented $4.5 trillion today. The initial wave of selling will start gradually next month with only $6 billion of Treasuries and $4 billion of mortgages, but the compounding effect over the coming months may shake investors’ confidence.
This kind of unwind has never been attempted before in history, and even the experts are extremely polarized about what might happen next.
Not many people care to understand the potential implications of programs like quantitative easing, which has been implemented most aggressively by the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of Japan since the depths of the Great Recession. The policy essentially involves pumping trillions of newly created dollars, euros, and yen into the financial system to ensure there’s always enough credit available for markets to function. Central banks buy up government treasuries, mortgages, and even shares of companies at prices that couldn’t possibly be supported in a freely traded system. This manipulated environment allows central planners to keep interest rates near zero and push money into certain asset classes.

These low rates have helped drive credit card debt, student loans, and auto loans to more than a trillion dollars each. People’s short memories and naive trust in the current system has led many to blindly follow the crowd into near debt enslavement. Low interest rates not only incentivize consumers to borrow and spend but also force investors to chase higher returns by putting their money in risky places like the stock market instead of safer positions like money market and savings accounts.
When central banks merge with government powers to bail out corrupt and bankrupt institutions, rest assured the public will always be the one to suffer the fallout. Debt-dependent governments like the United States are the prime beneficiaries of this unholy alliance. Without the restraint of higher interest rates, the State can accumulate even larger amounts of debt without having to about having to shift any immediate burden to the taxpayer.

At what felt like the worst period of the 2009 financial crisis, this supposed ‘QE fix’ gained instant popularity with politicians and financial pundits alike. Talking heads were desperate to broadcast any hope or plan for a brighter future. It not only alleviated the mounting pressure on elected representatives to take action, but it also began a huge wealth transfer from savers and those on fixed incomes to the wealthiest holders of financial assets.

As this monumental scheme comes to a close, it will become clearer that the divided political environment, record high stock and bond valuations, and impending debt ceiling may create a recipe for the real threat — a loss of confidence. The central banks have been propping up the world’s financial systems for so long that people have forgotten how quickly things can change.
Federal Reserve economists and officials have traditionally displayed a united front to the outside world when it comes to their monetary policy decisions. Any slight deviation in opinion can have a tremendous impact on the public’s trust in the current centralized fiat system. Lately, however, there have been signs of dissent from within their own ranks.
St. Louis Fed economist Stephen D. Williamson has expressed his doubts about quantitative easing several times but most recently wrote:
Evaluating the effects of monetary policy is difficult, even in the case of conventional interest rate policy….With respect to QE, there are good reasons to be skeptical that it works as advertised, and some economists have made a good case that QE is actually detrimental.”

In 2015, Williamson also stated similar uncertainty about the success of the program:
There is no work, to my knowledge, that establishes a link from QE to the ultimate goals of the Fed—inflation and real economic activity.

If QE hasn’t worked as advertised and has failed to create real economic activity, then this whole recovery may have been an artificial boom unlike anything we’ve seen before. Unfortunately, central banks have fully convinced the public of their near supernatural power over the economy. Although many still can’t imagine a financial model without government control or central banks, the individuals who see the writing on the wall have already started to adapt.

Blockchain technology and potential asset-backed currencies have finally created competition against fiat money. Although the infrastructure is still in its infancy, the ability to decentralize finance will force the established institutions to respond. The regulatory and taxation powers that have been held by unaccountable agencies for centuries are now being disrupted by real innovation. The future of wealth generation lies in the digital marketplace and real assets that are shielded from the decisions of bureaucrats and bankers.

The Federal Reserve led the entire global financial system down a rabbit hole that nobody is sure how to get out of. The credibility of a system in place for over a century is on the line, and everyone should pay close attention to the actions taken from now on. Nothing has been fundamentally resolved, and the incompetence of central planners shows they will never break from their ideology. If the stock markets do sell off in response to this historic change in monetary policy, expect Janet Yellen and central banks around the world to ramp up their printing presses yet again.

Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Can the Government Keep Us Safe?

By Judge Andrew Napolitano

Here we go again. The United States has been rattled to the core by an unspeakable act of evil perpetrated by a hater of humanity. A quiet, wealthy loner rented a hotel suite in Las Vegas, armed it with shooting platforms and automatic weapons, knocked out two of the windows, and shot at innocents 32 floors below. Fifty-nine people were murdered, and 527 were injured.

The killer used rifles that he purchased legally and altered illegally. He effectively transformed several rifles that emit one round per trigger pull and present the next round in the barrel for immediate use (semiautomatics) into rifles that emit rounds continuously when the trigger is pulled — hundreds of rounds per minute (automatics). Though some automatic rifles that were manufactured before 1986 can lawfully be purchased today with an onerous federal permit, automatic weapons generally have been unlawful in the United States since 1934. Even the police and the military are not permitted to use them here.

I present this brief summary of the recent tragedy and the implicated gun laws to address the issue of whether the government can keep us safe.

Those who fought the Revolution and wrote the Constitution knew that the government cannot keep us safe. Because they used violence against the king and his soldiers to secede from Great Britain, they recognized that all people have a natural right to use a weapon of contemporary technological capabilities to protect themselves and their liberty and property. They sought to assure the exercise of this right by enacting the now well-known Second Amendment, which prohibits the government from infringing upon the right to keep and bear arms.

When the Supreme Court interpreted this right in 2008 and 2010, it referred to the right to keep and bear arms as pre-political. “Pre-political” means that the right pre-existed the government. It is a secular term for a fundamental, or natural, right. A natural right is one that stems from our humanity — such as freedom of thought, speech, religion, self-defense, privacy, travel, etc. It does not come from the government, and it exists in the absence of government.

The recognition of a right as fundamental or natural or pre-political is not a mere academic exercise. This is so because rights in this category cannot be abrogated by the popular will. Stated differently, just as your right to think as you wish and say what you think cannot be interfered with or taken away in America by legislation, so, too, your right to own, carry and use arms of the same sophistication as are generally available to bad guys and to government officials cannot be interfered with or taken away by legislation. That is at least the modern theory of the Second Amendment.

Notwithstanding the oath that all in government have taken to uphold the Constitution, many in government reject the Second Amendment. Their enjoyment of power and love of office rank higher in their hearts and minds than does their constitutionally required fidelity to the protection of personal freedoms. They think the government can right any wrong and protect us from any evil and acquire for us any good just to keep us safe, even if constitutional norms are violated in doing so.

Can the government keep us safe? In a word, no.

This is not a novel or arcane observation but rather a rational conclusion from knowing history and everyday life. In Europe, where the right to keep and bear arms is nearly nonexistent for those outside government, killers strike with bombs and knives and trucks. In America, killers use guns and only stop when they are killed by law-abiding civilians or by the police.

The answer to government failure is a candid recognition that in a free society — one in which we are all free to come and go as we see fit without government inquiry or interference — we must be prepared for these tragedies.

We must keep ourselves safe, as well as those whom we invite onto our properties.

Surely, if the president of the United States were to have appeared at the concert venue in Las Vegas to address the crowd, the Las Vegas killer would never have succeeded in bringing his arsenal to his hotel room. Government always protects its own. Shouldn’t landowners who invite the public to their properties do the same? The Freedom Answer Boo... Andrew P. Napolitano Best Price: $3.17 Buy New $3.58 (as of 03:26 EDT - Details)

Add to government’s incompetence its useless intrusive omnipresence. In present-day America, the National Security Agency — the federal government’s domestic spying agency — captures in real time the contents of every telephone call, email and text message, as well as all data sent over fiber-optic cables everywhere in the U.S. Thus, whatever electronic communications the Las Vegas killer participated in prior to his murders are in the possession of the federal government.

Mass surveillance is expressly prohibited by the Fourth Amendment, but the government does it nevertheless. It claims it does so to keep us safe. Yet this exquisite constitutional violation results in too much information for the feds to examine in a timely manner. That’s why the evidence of these massacres — from Sandy Hook to Boston to Orlando to San Bernardino to Las Vegas — is always discovered too late. At this writing, the government has yet to reveal what it knew about the Las Vegas killer’s plans before he executed them and executed innocents.

This leaves us in a very precarious position today. The government cannot keep us safe, but it claims that it can. It wants to interfere with our natural rights to self-defense and to privacy, but whenever it does so, it keeps us less safe. And in whatever arena it keeps us less safe and falsely fosters the impression that we are safe, we become less free.

Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

"Chinese Fire Drill" on the strip in Las vegas

Via The Daily Mail dot com

TIMELINE OF TERROR IN VEGAS: 

Country music star Jason Aldean was performing on stage at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival when lone gunman Stephen Paddock, 64, opened fire on the 22,000 people gathered.

About 10pm: Paddock smashes out two windows on the 32nd floor with a hammer-like implement and opens fire with his arsenal of at least 19 weapons - including fully automatic weapons.

10.08pm: First phone call to police that shots had been fired at the festival outside the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

10:18pm: Officers ask the hotel to shut down the elevator so the suspect can't flee.

10:19pm: A team of four officers begin to make their way into the Mandalay Bay, moving up towards the 32nd floor.

10:21pm: An officer, whose location is unclear, calls over the radio: 'Gunshot wounds to the chest and head. We need immediate medical!'
Another officer says police and revelers on the ground are still taking fire.

10.23pm: False reports come in of multiple shootings at multiple other locations. Response teams are sent out to investigate.

10:24pm: One of the four officers inside the Mandalay calls dispatch to report that they are in the stairwell on the 32nd floor and can still hear gunshots coming from room 135.

Dispatch responds by calling for backup from SWAT to help prepare to bust into the suspect's room.

10:25pm: Radio transmissions indicate Paddock may have stopped firing into the crowd at this moment.

10:28pm: Police officers gathered at the Mandalay Bay report that Paddock has shot at a security guard in the hallway of the floor outside his room. They call for backup.

10:37pm: SWAT officers report they are now moving up to the 32nd floor to help the police officers.

10:38pm: Cops say they haven't heard gunfire in about 10 minutes. Police radio transmissions reveal there is still some confusion over which floor the gunman is on, and whether there could be multiple shooters.

10.44pm: On the ground, terrified festival goers begin stealing empty police cars to flee from gunfire.

10.54pm: Officers report they've cleared many areas in the hotel and casino.

10:55pm: An officer said he was on floor 32 and was readying to make entry.
But he [is]warned to be 'careful' on police radio transmissions by control, who asked 'Are you with the SWAT guy?' When the officer replied he was not, he was told to wait for them.
  
10:57pm: An officer reports they had locked down the hallway outside the gunman's room, telling dispatch they had 'multiple rifles and plenty of officers'.

But there was then a 24 minute delay while they appeared to wait for the SWAT team to arrive.

11.08pm: Las Vegas police confirm they have shut down a portion of The Strip
 
11.21pm: SWAT teams storm the 32nd floor room that Stephen Paddock was firing from. They gained entry using flashbangs designed to stun the shooter. Paddock fired through the door as SWAT teams were trying to breach the room. By the time they entered the room, he had shot himself dead. Seventy-two minutes elapsed from the first 911 call to Paddock being found dead.

11.24pm: Officer tells dispatch: 'We have one suspect down.'

11:28pm: 'We have one suspect down. Multiple firearms,' an officer confirmed again, adding it was definitely the suspect who was 'firing into the crowd.'

11.32pm: McCarran International Airport announced it was diverting flights destined for the city.

11.34pm: Interstate 15 in and out of Las Vegas was shut down for a time.

11.56pm: Hospitals in Las Vegas said that at least two people were dead and 24 were injured of which 12 were critical.

12.01am: Almost two hours after the first emergency call police confirmed that one suspect was 'down'.

1.06am: The Southern California police department say that one of their officers is among the injured.

1.34am: At this point the death toll dramatic rises to 20 people dead and 100 injured.

1.54am: Police in Las Vegas says that two of their officers who were off-duty were among the dead.

2.13am: Investigators say that they are looking for the 'roommate' of the shooter - Marilou Danley and describe her as a person of interest.

3.30am: Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo announces that the death toll is now at least 50 dead and 200 injured - making this the deadliest shooting in US history

6.30am: Investigators say they have located Marilou Danley and say that she is overseas and is not longer a person of interest.

9.30am: Sheriff provides another update and says that the death toll is now in excess of 59 and that 527 people are injured.

But there is an unexplained 24 minute delay as armed and ready officers were forced to wait outside the suspect's hotel room door.
Eventually, at 11.21pm, SWAT teams used an explosive device to break into the gunman's room and found he had killed himself a few moments before.

'Breach, breach, breach!' an officer was heard yelling over police scanner radio, as they entered the room after the explosion, before another officer told dispatch: 'We have one suspect down.'

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department declined to comment about the delay to the DailyMail.com.

Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

The Myth of "Democracy"





By Butler Shaffer

The state-violence visited upon Catalan voters by the Spanish government confirms Emma Goldman’s observation: “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”  The American power-structure is equally fearful of the boobeoisie controlling the apparatus of the state via the polling booth, refusing to accept the outcome of last November’s preferences for Trump over Hillary. The “rabble,” as 18th century  British authorities  called those who objected to their rule, have become the modern establishment’s class of “deplorables.”  Ahhh, but if CNN and politicians of both major parties  can convince “Joe Six-pack” that Trump’s election wasn’t an expression of democratic preferences, but was an “act of war” perpetrated by the Russian government, not only might the establishment’s desire to delegitimize Trump’s victory be accomplished, but might also provide a “justification” for going to war with Russia.

Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Monday, October 02, 2017

Real vs Fake "War on Terrorism"

By Stephen Lendman

Russia’s military intervention in Syria at the request of its government began two years ago today – September 30.

It dramatically changed the dynamic on the ground, turning sure defeat into eventual triumph.
Thousands of square miles of Syrian territory were liberated from the scourge of US-supported terrorists, defeating Washington’s imperial aims, wanting regime change, the country transformed into another vassal state.
Tass reviewed Russian operations over the past two years, saying “victory over terrorism is near.” Its efforts transformed armed opposition conflicting groups into “a common front in the struggle against terrorists.”
What began two years ago today “is entering its final phase,” Russian air power enabling Syrian and allied forces to regain control over “85% of the country’s territory,” a remarkable turnaround from conditions before Moscow’s involvement.
Washington didn’t expect it, intending to eliminate Assad the way it ruthlessly killed Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi.
Things didn’t go as planned. Russia foiled US objectives, achieving them highly unlikely, a significant body blow to its regional aims, a step closer to defeating them worldwide.
In Syria, Aleppo was liberated late last year, the country’s pre-war commercial hub. Historic Palmyra was freed twice, hopefully for good after the second time.
The campaign to liberate Zeir Ezzor province entirely from US-supported terrorists continues, ISIS’ last stronghold in the country. Its three-year-long siege of the city was broken, security sweeps underway to eliminate its remnants in residential and other areas.

“Official forecasts regarding the chances of a successful completion of the anti-terrorist operation sound ever more optimistic,” said Tass.

Ahead of the Deir Ezzor campaign, Akerbat was liberated, “a major transport hub and command center (and stronghold) of the terrorists in the east of Hama province,” Tass explained.

“With the loss of the city the terrorists were no longer able to regroup forces, receive ammunition and supplies, while the Syrian government army gained access to Deir Ezzor.”

During 24 months of combat, 38 Russian military personnel perished, including General Valery Asapov, the coordinates of his location almost certainly provided ISIS by US forces. Washington bears responsibility for his death.

Russian and American objectives in Syria are world’s apart – Moscow combating terrorism, Washington supporting it. Bilateral relations are dismal on virtually everything except cooperation in non-military space activities.

Astana peace talks spearheaded by Russia continue making progress – without significant breakthroughs so far because Washington wants endless war and regime change, waging a losing battle, pursuing it anyway.


According to Russia’s reconciliation center, 2,200 localities joined the ceasefire agreement. More than 230 armed groups agreed to observe it.

Reconstruction in some areas began, restoring power, water and other essential infrastructure a vital first step, along with supplying humanitarian aid – Russia, Iran and Damascus alone providing it.

Nothing from America. Nothing from the EU. Nothing from regional Arab countries. Nothing from Israel, of course. Woefully inadequate UN help, Syrians on their own, dependent on their government and allies.

Moscow remains firmly committed to Syrian sovereign independence, its territorial integrity, and right of its people alone to choose their leadership, free from foreign interference.

“Both Russian and Syrian military commanders stress the intention to push ahead with the operation until the elimination of the last terrorist” nationwide, said Tass.

Reprinted with permission from Stephen Lendman

Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ  H/T Lew Rockwell

Sunday, October 01, 2017






Briefly tonight: A new study reveals that illegal migrants in America cost $135 billion in upkeep while paying in a scant $19 billion in taxes. This resulting in a $116 billion dollar net drain. But everyone knows having nice things isn’t cheap. So what nice things are we getting for that $116 billion? Hey, look at the time.

Though it is necessary to make a few points on this topic. And since you won’t see those points made in the media, you’ll have to resign yourself to reading here.

First, because Washington fires mountains of money into the abyss like an ongoing terrestrial gamma burst, $116 net billion may not sound so unwieldy. But it’s a more egregious sum than you may imagine. For context, consider that what we pay illegals to squat here exceeds the annual state budgets of Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming combined.

Second, the above calculation of revenues and outlays related to illegal immigration is so rare to see because it’s so useful to read. In contrast, more duplicitous commenters perpetually alight upon GDP as their metric of choice when appealing for the importation of Pakistan. They do this because gross GDP is worthless in measuring the alleged benefits of immigration.

A slug leaving its mucus trail across the wall can conceivably add a dollar to GDP. But that tells you nothing whatsoever of whether its presence represents an economic boost or burden to the host society. And that absence of actual insight is precisely why liberal economists find GDP so useful.

Third, a first world society requires far more than mere break-even participants. Imagine if illegals were so productive as to be just that–they’d still represent an enormous deficit. Because maintaining the social commons of a modern Western welfare state requires huge numbers of highly positive contributors to make up for the broad cohort who are not. Perhaps this fact hasn’t yet been revealed to left-wing columnists, but migrants will eventually grow old, just like the legacy Americans they come to call racist. If we received only break-even contributors, what surplus wealth would pay for papa Paco’s Da Vinci machine and dialysis? No one ever seems to ask.

Fourth, I am far more concerned about importing swarms of hostile aliens who will attack my traditions, nullify my vote, and crow about taking my children’s national inheritance, than I am how much money they kick into the till. If George Soros were here illegally, would tax contributions alone cause us to feel grateful for his malice? A nation isn’t an economy. And sharing a country isn’t sharing a future.

Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ