History is not a sequence of unintelligible events and accidents

This was a terrific presentation.  Hans Hermann Hoppe thanks Murray Rothbard for his intelligent influence.

Here is Hans Hermann-Hoppe’s comments on conspiracies.  It’s the section that runs from 18:35 to 21:13:

Never to trust official history, invariable written by the victors, but to conduct all historical research instead like a detective investigating a crime.  Always, First and foremost, and as a first approximation, follow the money in search of a motive.  Who is to gain whether in terms of money, real estate, or sheer power in from this measure or that?  In most cases answering this question will lead you directly to the very actor or group of actors responsible for the measure or policy under consideration.  Simple as it is to ask this question, however, it is much more difficult and requires often arduous research to answer it and to unearth from under a huge smokescreen of seemingly high minded rhetoric and pious propaganda the hard facts and indicators the money flows and welfare gates. In order to actually prove a crime in order to identify and out its perpetrators.  Murray was a master in this at a time when you did not have access to computers, the internet, and search machines such as Google.  And to do this detective work, as I learned from Murray, you must go beyond official documents, mainstream media, the big and famous names, the academic stars at the prestigious journals, in short, everything, everyone deemed respectable and politically correct.  You must also, and in particular, pay attention to the work of outsiders, extremists and outcasts, that is to disrespectable and deplorable people that you are supposed to ignore or not even know about.  To this day, I have heeded and indeed relished following this advice.  Anyone who could see my list of bookmarks of frequently visited websites would likely be surprised, and any establishmentarian or leftist, in particular, would likely be shocked and shutter in disgust. 

Hoppe continues . . . .  The following is the section from the 21:13 to 23:20 mark.

Now with this general outlook on things revisionists such as Murray, and in his footsteps also myself, are regularly charged contemptuously, as some nutty conspiracy theorists.  to this charge, Murray would typically respond first put bluntly and sarcastically, even if I were certifiably paranoid, this cannot be taken as proof that no one was actually after you or your money after all.  And second, and more systematically, conspiracies are of course less likely the larger the number of supposed conspirators.  Also, it is naive to assume the existence of just one big all-encompassing conspiracy run by one all-powerful group of conspirators.  But conspiracies often rival or even contradcitory conspiracies, that is confidential efforts of various groups of people acting in concert in pursuit of common goal are indeed an ever present feature of social reality.  As any action, such conspiracies can succeed or they can fail and they can lead to consequences that were unintended by the conspirators.  But realistically speaking, most if not all historical events are more or less exactly what some identifiable people or group of people acting in concert intended them to be.  Indeed, to assume the opposite is to assume, incredibly, that history is nothing but a sequence of unintelligible events and accidents.

 

 

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How Socialism Ruined Venezuela

By Rafael Acevedo and Luis B. Cirocco

In order to understand the disaster that is unfolding in Venezuela, we need to journey through the most recent century of our history and look at how our institutions have changed over time. What we will find is that Venezuela once enjoyed relatively high levels of economic freedom, although this occurred under dictatorial regimes.

But, when Venezuela finally embraced democracy, we began to kill economic freedom. This was not all at once, of course. It was a gradual process. But it happened at the expense of the welfare of millions of people.

And, ultimately, the lesson we learned is that socialism never, ever works, no matter what Paul Krugman, or Joseph Stiglitz, or guys in Spain like Pablo Iglesias say.

It was very common during the years we suffered under Hugo Chávez to hear these pundits and economists on TV saying that this time, socialism is being done right. This time, the Venezuelans figured it out.

They were, and are wrong.

On the other hand, there was a time when this country was quite prosperous and wealthy, and for a time Venezuela was even referred to as an “economic miracle” in many books and articles.

However, during those years, out of the five presidents we had, four were dictators and generals of the army. Our civil and political rights were restricted. We didn’t have freedom of the press, for example; we didn’t have universal suffrage. But, while we lived under a dictatorship, we could at least enjoy high levels of economic freedom.

A Brief Economic History of Venezuela
The economic miracle began a century ago, when from 1914 to 1922, Venezuela entered the international oil race. In 1914, Venezuela opened its first oil well. Fortunately, the government did not make the mistake of attempting to manage the oil business, or own the wells. The oil wells were privately owned, and in many cases were owned by private international companies that operated in Venezuela. It wasn’t totally laissez-faire, of course. There were tax incentives and other so-called concessions employed to promote exploration and exploitation of oil. But most industries — including the oil industry — remained privatized.

Moreover, during this period, tax rates in the country were relatively low.

In 1957, the marginal tax rate for individuals was 12 percent. There was certainly a state presence, and the public sector absorbed 20 percent of GDP. But, government spending was used mainly to build the country’s basic infrastructure.

The area of international trade was relatively free as well — and very free compared to today. There were tariffs that were relatively high, but there were no other major barriers to trade such as quotas, anti-dumping laws, or safeguards.

Other economic controls were few as well. There were just a few state-owned companies and virtually no price controls, no rent controls, no interest-rate controls, and no exchange-rate controls.

Of course, we weren’t free from the problems of a central bank, either. In 1939, Venezuela created its own central bank. But, the bank was largely inactive and functioned primarily defending a fixed exchange rate with the US dollar.

Moving Toward More Interventionism
Despite the high levels of economic freedom that existed during those years, government legislation started to chip away at that freedom. Changes included the nationalization of the telephone company, the creation of numerous state-owned companies, and state-owned banks. That happened in 1950. The Venezuelan government thus began sowing the seeds of destruction, and you can see the continued deterioration in the level of economic freedom in the decade of the 1950s.

In 1958, Venezuela became a democracy when the dictatorship was overthrown. With that came all the usual benefits of democracy such as freedom of the press, universal suffrage, and other civil rights. Unfortunately, these reforms came along with continued destruction of our economic freedom.

The first democratically elected president was Rómulo Betancourt. He was a communist-turned-social democrat. In fact, while he was in exile, he founded the Communist Party in Costa Rica and helped found the Communist Party in Colombia as well. Not surprisingly, as president, he started destroying the economic institutions we had by implementing price controls, rent controls, and other regulations we hadn’t had before. On top of that, he and his allies created a new constitution that was hostile to private property.

In spite of this — or perhaps because of it — Betancourt is almost universally revered in Venezuela as “the father of our democracy.” This remains true even today as Venezuela collapses.

Of course, compared to today, we had far greater economic freedom under Betancourt than we do in today’s Venezuela. But, all of the presidents — with one exception — who came after Betancourt took similar positions and continued to chip away at economic freedom. The only exception was Carlos Andrés Pérez who in his second term attempted some free market reforms. But, he executed these later reforms so badly and haphazardly that markets ended up being blamed for the resulting crises.

The Rise of Hugo Chávez
Over time, the destruction of economic freedom led to more and more impoverishment and crisis. This in turn set the stage for the rise of a political outsider with a populist message. This, of course, was Hugo Chávez. He was elected in 1998 and promised to replace our light socialism with more radical socialism. This only accelerated the problems we had been facing for decades. Nevertheless, he was able to pass through an even more anti-private-property constitution. Since Chávez’s death in 2013, the attacks on private property have continued, and Chávez’s successor, Nicolás Maduro, promises only more  of the same. Except now, the government is turning toward outright authoritarian socialism, and Maduro is seeking a new constitution in which private property is almost totally abolished, and Maduro will be allowed to remain in power for life.

A Legacy of Poverty
So, what are the results of socialism in Venezuela? Well, we have experienced hyperinflation. We have people eating garbage, schools that do not teach, hospitals that do not heal, long and humiliating lines to buy flour, bread, and basic medicines. We endure the militarization of practically every aspect of life.

The cost of living has skyrocketed in recent years.

Let’s look at the cost of goods in services in terms of a salary earned by a full college professor. In the 1980s, our “full professor” needed to pay almost 15 minutes of his salary to buy one kilogram of beef. Today, in July 2017, our full professor needs to pay the equivalent of 18 hours to buy the same amount of beef. During the 1980s, our full professor needed to pay almost one year’s salary for a new sedan. Today, he must pay the equivalent of 25 years of his salary. In the 1980s, a full professor with his monthly salary could buy 17 basic baskets of essential goods. Today, he can buy just one-quarter of a basic basket.

And what about the value of our money? Well, in March 2007, the largest denomination of paper money in Venezuela was the 100 bolivar bill. With it, you could buy 28 US dollars, 288 eggs, or 56 kilograms of rice. Today, you can buy .01 dollars, 0.2 eggs, and 0.08 kilograms of rice. In July 2017, you need five 100-bolivar bills to buy just one egg.

So, socialism is the cause of the Venezuelan misery. Venezuelans are starving, eating garbage, losing weight. Children are malnourished. Anyone in Venezuela would be happy to eat out of America’s trashcans. It would be considered gourmet.

So, what’s the response of our society? Well, it’s the young people who are leading the fight for freedom in Venezuela in spite of what the current political leaders tell them to do. They don’t want to be called “the opposition.” They are the resistance, in Spanish, “la resistencia.” They are the real heroes of freedom in our country, but the world needs to know that they have often been killed by a tyrannical government, and all members of the resistance are persecuted daily.

Nevertheless, a new pro-market leadership must emerge before we can expect many major changes. Our current political opposition parties also hate free markets. They don’t like Maduro, but they still want their version of socialism.

This is not surprising. As Venezuelans, our poor understanding of the importance of freedom and free markets has created our current disaster. We Venezuelans never really understood freedom in its broader dimension because when we enjoyed high levels of economic freedom, we allowed the destruction of political and civil rights, and when we finally established a democracy, we allowed the destruction of economic freedom.

But there is reason for hope. Along with the Mises Institute we do believe that a revolution in ideas can really bring a new era to Venezuela. On behalf of the resistance and millions of people in our country, we thank the Mises Institute for this opportunity to briefly tell the full history of Venezuela. Thank you very much. 

Originally appeared at Mises.org.

h/t Robert Wenzel @ EconomicPolicyJournal

“Maybe as his skies are wide”

Working Man

Recorded in 1973.
Released in March, 1974.
Written by Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee.
Drummer on the song was John Rutsey.  From their first album, Rush, 1974.

Like all of the songs on the band’s first album, the song features original drummer John Rutsey, who was replaced by Neil Peart in 1974. 

Nice to put things in context.  

Their song “Tom Sawyer,” recorded in October, 1980, wasn’t released until February, 1981, on their album Moving Pictures

 

The lyrics are here:

A modern day warrior
Mean, mean stride
Today’s Tom Sawyer
Mean, mean pride

Though his mind is not for rent
Don’t put him down as arrogant
He reserves the quiet defense
Riding out the day’s events
The river . . .

What you say about his company
Is what you say about society
Catch the mist, catch the myth
Catch the mystery, catch the drift

The world is, the world is
Love and life are deep
Maybe as his skies are wide

Today’s Tom Sawyer
He gets by on you
And the space he invades
He gets by on you

No, his mind is not for rent
To any God or government
Always hopeful yet discontent
He knows changes aren’t permanent
But change is

What you say about his company
Is what you say about society
Catch the witness, catch the wit
Catch the spirit, catch the spit

The world is, the world is
Love and life are deep
Maybe as his eyes are wide

Exit the warrior
Today’s Tom Sawyer
He gets by on you
And the energy you trade
He gets right on to the friction of the day.

POLICE SCANNER at 19:31 Mark: “It sounds like it’s confirmed: there are at least 2 shooters with fully automatic weapons.”

Horrible.

Date: 10/02/2017.

Place: Las Vegas Village, which attracted 25,000 guests a day to the same event last year.  The 15-acre plot near Luxor and Mandalay Bay is one of two open-air venues on the Strip owned by MGM Resorts International. 

Reported killed: 58.

Number wounded: 518.

A must-listen: Police Scanner Audio.  Las Vegas Police Response to Shooting at Mandalay Bay.  Original source was Rense.com.  He linked it from Alex Jones’ InfoWars.com.  

The big question that follows from these mass shootings is that of security.  Either it will be determined that security was lax and that it needs to be beefed up or that it was somehow compromised.  Either way it is turned into a justification to move civic society into a martial law.  Look what happened in Boston 2013.  Now this was Vegas, a vacation and gambling town, but what about the residents who live in the desert city?  And who is running these mass shootings, for clearly this was not executed by a lone gunman.  Too many shots were fired to be physically capable for one man, who it is said was not an avid gun guy.  There is an abundance of evidece in video and on police scanners, evidence that criminal class’s media fail to report.  All is well, people.  Move along.  Ignore the man behind the curtain.  

Why and how did Stephen Paddock get sucked up into this?  As his brother stated, he was financially well-off, went into Vegas to gamble occasionally, ate burritos.  He was a regular guy. 

And certainly there are many issues that governments and corporations can exploit following these shootings, one being gun control, know that gun sales usually go up after these events.  

From the police scanner:

Shots coming from Mandalay Bay . . . half way up. 

Shots fired from Mandalay Bay.  Many people down.  Stage left.  Just be advised.

CT: I need eyes . . . somebody in the CT can you tell me where it is coming from.  

“It sounds like an elevated position at this time.”

3:21: I am going to form a strike team

Shots are coming from Gate 7.

We have an arrival deployed.  

Sounds like it’s either Mandalay or Luxor.  We cannot tell. 

4:57:  Control.  We need the boulevard shut down north and southbound.  Russell Road.  Flammingo.  

5:19:  159–it’s coming from like the 50th or 60th floor.  [quite a divergence from the 32nd floor; why that’s a variance of almost double, Batman]  North of Mandalay Bay.  It’s coming out a window. 

5:30:  I am seeing mobile flashes in the middle of Mandalay Bay on the north side.  Kind of on the west towar but towards the center . . . of the casino like one of the middle floors. 

Mandalay Bay northbound, right outside 91

6:15:  I am inside the Mandalay Bay on the 31st floor.  I can hear the automatic fire coming from one floor ahead.

6:26:  Repeated.  Copy.  Just be advised.  It is automatic fire.  Fully automatic fire from an elevated position.  And take cover.   

6:37:  That is correct.  I’m right below it. 

6:40:  Multiple GFW to the chest, legs, femeral arteries. . .  Send a medical check.  Medical check 4As

6:54:  There’s a flashing coming from about a 3rd of the way up . . . center tower Mandalay Bay.  Be advised.

7:06:  We need all units to stop coming northbound on Las Vegas Boulevard because he’s shooting this way.  It’s a horrible cover spot. 

7:18:  Okay, all units do not go northbound. 

7:34:  Control.  166.  I have a gunshot victim at Gate 4 in the leg.   Reno & Giles.  I have another female look like she was shot in the mouth.  CP:  We need to send medical to Reno & Giles.

8:12:  Just be advised.  We’re being pinned down on the east side of Las Vegas Boulevard . . . and we’re going to be north of a . . . we’re just north of Mandalay Drive.  We got about 40 to 50 people pinned against this wall.  We’re taking on gunfire.  It’s going right over our heads.  There’s debris coming over our heads.  So we’re pinned down here as much as civilians.  

8:47:  Contol.  166.  I have a gunshot victim at Gate 4.  Gunshot to the leg.  

8:57:  Hey we can’t worry about the victims.  We need to stop the shooter before we have more victims.  Anybody have eyes on the shooter?

9:04:  About 154 on Mandalay Bay, fixing the whole lot. 

9:32:  We have multiple, multiple victims shot right out in front of the medical tent.  We got one shot in the head.  

9:39:  Hey officers, please stay calm.  Just relax.  We’re trying to this set up.  Just stay calm. 

9:48:  I’m in the medical tent on the east side.  We’re making turniquets out of blankets, but we’re running out of blankets.  

9:57:  Control.  See if we can contact Mandalay Bay have them shut down their elevators so he can’t get mobile.  And we can take the stairs and block all the stair exits. 

10:24:  Where do you want the CT at? 

10:26:  South central. 

10:29:  Copy.

10:31:  For copies . . . all calls are sent to SWAT. 

11:07:  Be advised.  Several drunk civilians.  They’re trying to jump the gate and run for it.  

14:15: Control.  I haven’t seen any flashes from Mandalay, but if it is coming from Mandlay there is a strobe light coming from one of those windows on the east side. 

15:04:  Control.  We’re getting from civilians that there might have been 3 shooters. 

15:10:  We’ve interviewed multiple people leaving the concert venue . . . that is on the north side of Hacienda, east side of Las Vegas Boulevard, say that there are multiple people isntead of 5 they shot or were shooting in the concert venue. 

15:51:  123942.  I’m in the stairwell on the 32nd floor.  

16:00:  I’m on the 32nd floor.  The room is going to be 135.  Break.

17:04:  We have a 4-man element, however it’s at the very end of the hall 

17:55:  Control.  We just spoke with security.  They say they have shots fired on 29 and 22nd levels.  [That’s pretty specific.]  

18:36:  We have security officer shot in the leg on the 32nd floor.  He’s standing by by the elevator [would you trust some guy in a security uniform standing by by an elevator waiting for help?  I can’t help but think of the movie, 

19:02:  We might need to split these channels.  We’re gonna need a dedicated on for this 32nd floor I think. 

19:19:  And we have a 4-man team up here and we’re having another element coming to us.  

19:31:  It sounds like it’s confirmed: there are at least 2 shooters with fully automatic weapons.  

Between the two, Becky Aykers and Jon Rappaport, they have the best two examinations, albeit early, on the Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock.  Paddock?  Is that where horses are prepared for the races?  Wikipedia has that too, “The word paddock is also used to describe other small, fenced areas that hold horses, such as saddling paddock at a racetrack, the area where race horses are saddled before a race.”  I mean is all the irony lost on this correlation? 

So there’s that.

Here’s an interesting detail.  Paddock, 64, was a retired accountant and a multimillionaire.  How many millionaires do you know who carry a truckload of weapons up to the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Hotel, who either converts rifles into fully-automatic or brings them with him apparently broken down and slipped inside a couple of large duffle bags, draws no concern in an overly secure heavily secured environment of the United States and within 4 minutes shoots to kill 58 people, while wounding over 500 from a guy whom his brother characterized as “not an avid gun guy at all . . .  He has no military background or anything like that.” Jon Rappaport asks the poignant questions

Variety.com states: “…the shooting rampage that police have said lasted about four and a half minutes.”

515 wounded, 58 killed in four and a half minutes.

That would come out to an average of one person killed or injured every 2.1 seconds.

The question arises: how likely is it that one person, particularly Stephen Paddock, was the shooter, since according to his brother, Stephen was “not an avid gun guy at all…He has no military background or anything like that.”

The irony is that when it comes to war or secret bases or other crimes committed by the federal government, information flows like techtonic plates.  Cosmically slow.  But when mass shootings occur, why we know things about the suspect before it is physically possible to know them.  Same thing happened with the JFK assassintation.  We knew the shooter, his name, and that he was a U.S./Soviet double agent almost the same day and printed by the evening edition or the next day.  Then the day after that he was shot.  So pay attention to how these shootings are run.  They are fairly formulaic.  Becky Akers spots that fact.  The colloquial phrase is false-flag. 

Well, well, well: killer immediately identified, “heroic” cops locate him, he’s now conveniently dead, his family’s shocked senseless at such uncharacteristic crimes, the usual suspects demand more control of gun-owners… The tragedy in Las Vegas boasts all the earmarks of a false-flag from the sociopaths who brought us 9/11.

Meanwhile, Our Rulers were “securing” the Route 91 Festival as they do so many other events in the police-state. They searched innocent attendees with nary a warrant or even a thought thereof. Cynics might wonder whether the government cold-bloodedly calculates that its now-accepted ritual of disarmament facilitates these massacres. In any event, all the groping and metal detectors patently can’t prevent these attacks—so why do Americans tolerate the Fourth Amendment’s evisceration?

Again, just as I advise boycotting commercial aviation, so I advise avoiding any gathering that forces you to submit to anti-Constitutional searches. No event on earth is worth the degradation those searches entail: you pay a small fortune for a ticket only to endure the insult of waiting in a mind-numbingly long line so that “security” can abuse you—or worse, as the Deep State grows increasingly murderous.

Rappaport in an earlier post in the day captured the testimony of a young woman who has poor language skills

The Express (UK): “One woman, who was at the Route 91 music event, claimed an unidentified woman had told other concert-goers they were ‘all going to die’ after pushing her way to the front of the venue…The witness, 21, told local news: ‘She had been messing with a lady in front of her and telling her she was going to die, that we were all going to die. They escorted her out to make her stop messing around with all the other people, but none of us knew it was going to be serious’…She [the winess] described the lady as Hispanic. The lady was escorted from the venue along with a man. The unnamed witness, who was attending the event on her 21st birthday, described the pair as short, both around 5 ft 5ins to 5ft 6ins tall, and looked like ‘everyday people’.”

Here are a few pictures of the scene around Mandalay Bay Hotel.

UPDATE #1:  10/04/2017 . . . Turns out Paddock was a federal employee.  He was a postal carrier for a decade, was an agent for the IRS, and an auditor for the Defense Department.    

Paddock had a business degree from Cal State Northridge. In the 1970s and ’80s, he worked as a mail carrier and an IRS agent and held down a job in an auditing division of the Defense Department, according to the government. He later worked for a defense contractor.

UPDATE #2:  10/04/2017 . . . Vegas Survivor Tells Michael Savage that She Heard Multiple Shooters.  

Standing with her husband at the concert, she had her right shoulder facing the Mandalay Hotel and the woman behind her was shot in the stomach.  She wondered how could she have gotten shot square on in the stomach at a right angle like that?  Good question. 

UPDATE #3:  10/05/2017 . . . Raymond Page, an on-duty utility worker [he works on traffic signals in LV], stops what he’s doing when he hears gunfire and runs into the line of fire to videotape and save people.  He is quoted as saying

It was almost like it was a movie, as it was happening,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Maybe the biggest problem with relaying witnesses’ statements is that they are selective and they are set up by the leading questions from reporters.  For how does one account for the nearly stadnardized phrasing with which people answer trauma?  “It was like a movie” sounds too much like a little kid adding excitement to his testimony as a way to elevate it, make it more important than any competing version.  Am I cynical? 

UPDATE #4:  10/05/2017 . . . Stephen Paddock had been prescribed valium.  What could this possibly mean?  

UPDATE #5:  10/06/2017 . . . List of victims of Las Vegas shooting.  

Shots fired into Bellagio Hotel lobby.  

Rappaport raises a great point–the shooting is a mixture of staged and real events, staged and real victims, staged and real props.  This is the nature of how the media puts together fake news.  

UPDATE #6:  10/11/2017 . . . Cui Bono?  This has the answer to that

UPDATE #7:  10/11/2017 . . . from RT: Curiouser and curiouser . . . .  

from Jack Douglas:

The FBI has “a thousand” agents on this and they let someone enter Paddock’s home to search and destroy. Typical.

and this from Zero Hedge:  

NBC is reporting that a maintenance worker said Wednesday he told hotel dispatchers to call police and report a gunman had opened fire with a rifle inside Mandalay Bay before Paddock began firing on the Harvest country music festival below.

UPDATE #8:  10/15/2017 . . . Iraq Vet Accounts for the Ballistics of the Las Vegas Shooting.

UPDATE #9:  10/16/2017 . . . Daisy Luther at the Organic Prepper asks some poignant questions.  

UPDATE #10:  10/16/2017 . . . And, of course, security guard Jesus Campos, who took a shot from sniper, Stephen Paddock.  ZeroHedge claims that Campos is missing or on the lam.

UPDATE #11:  10/18/2017 . . .  Las Vegas: A False-Flag?  That notion started as a rumor.  Slowly, hard correlations are beginning to emerge.  

Michael Geary compiled a series of provocative links on the recent atrocity in Las Vegas. First is this article, which explores some of the curious “Insider Trading and Financial Anomalies” that preceded the attack. Then there’s the fact that the chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, which owns the Mandalay Bay in Vegas, not only sits on a “council” in the Department of Homeland Security but also acts as a trustee for the Brookings Institution. And, intriguingly enough, the company that supposedly “secured” the Rt. 91 Harvest Fest touts its “partnership” with the DHS.

But the tragedy in Vegas wasn’t a false flag. Oh, no, no, no.

“with regard to war . . . even the victor loses”

This was excellent. If you haven’t heard it or you’ve ignored it, it really needs to be heard and heeded and planned for.

There are a lot of financial time bombs that the U.S. government, and state governments, have created.

The $20 trillion national debt gets plenty of press.

The insolvency of Social Security and Medicare don’t get nearly enough.

But there’s also another financial time bomb lurking to the tune of trillions. Unfunded public pensions.

The point that pleased me was the one about how governments launch wars to conceal their financial insolvency.  Ron Paul cited Clinton’s example when he bombed 

Loved what Lew Rockwell said about financial pundits and how they phrase any financial crisis . . . 

To hear official voices talk, we have not been going through the longest recession in the postwar period. Instead, we have been through a 24-month “slow recovery.” It is also called a “sagging economy with sound fundamentals.” Greenspan has made references to a “soft patch” in a foundation otherwise as hard as stone.

Indeed, in the effort to avoid using the term recession, the Federal Reserve has become a business-cycle phrase mill. Thus, according to the Fed, this is a “soft economy,” a “subpar” economy,” a “skittish” economy, an economy “weighed down by weak expenditures,” an economy of “persistent weakness,” or, my favorite, an economy facing “formidable barriers to vigorous expansion.” Call it what you want, but don’t call it a recession. As for the D-word, depression, don’t even think it!

On war, Rockwell’s point is brilliant

The longtime emphasis of the old liberal tradition with regard to war is this: even the victor loses.  We lose resources.  We lose tax dollars.  We lose trading relationship and good will around the world.  Most of all, we lose freedom.  And herein lies the biggest cost of war to us, for there is no way that the U.S. can maintain a free market that is the foundation of prosperity while at the same time it attempts to create a global military central plan.  

UPDATE on WAR from Daniel McAdams at LewRockwell.com.

War has all the characteristics of socialism most conservatives hate: centralized power, state planning, false rationalism, restricted liberties, foolish optimism about intended results, and blindness to unintended secondary results.  –Joseph Sobran

O, Hypocrisy!

Trump’s UN Speech

I missed President Trump’s speech.  Thank God.  One of the reasons people long for the Reagan years is not because of Reagan’s fiscal conservatism, but that he at least had style. He told a joke while he was fleecing you, and his opponents and detractors laughed and loved it.  He at least brought style to the podium.  Whereas Trump’s style is, alas, militant.

Early on in his speech, he goes to bat for the Pentagon.  After touting the economic successes that his presidency has brought, he brags about the size of the military’s budget.

Companies are moving back, creating job growth the likes of which our country has not seen in a very long time. And it has just been announced that we will be spending almost $700 billion on our military and defense.

Our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been. For more than 70 years, in times of war and peace, the leaders of nations, movements, and religions have stood before this assembly. Like them, I intend to address some of the very serious threats before us today but also the enormous potential waiting to be unleashed.

When has our military ever been strong?  The Chinese kicked the hell out of the American army during the Korean War.  So what is Trump bragging about?  The Marines who landed on the shores of Normandy invaded a greatly reduced Germany army with most of their forces on the Russian Front or depleted.  Can’t really celebrate that one. Spent almost 30 years in total trying to subvert the regimes in North and South Vietnam. And, oh, shhh!, don’t mention Afghanistan or that War on Terror.  It’s a boondoggle, folks, a cash cow for the Pentagon and weapons manufacturers.  There is no real enemy. I mean none of these examples are proof of a strong military.  We have a strong military budget.  

The Neo-Con sales pitch continues . . .

But each day also brings news of growing dangers that threaten everything we cherish and value. Terrorists and extremists have gathered strength and spread to every region of the planet. Rogue regimes represented in this body not only support terrorists but threaten other nations and their own people with the most destructive weapons known to humanity.

Why is there a question as to who wrote Trump’s speech?  The Daily Caller says that it was former Advisor, Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, while other reports, coming from WaPo, say that it was Stephen Miller.  Regardless, it was all Neo-con rag drek.

Trump invoked the Marshall Plan?  Bizarre.  And he sells it as some rescue mission.  It was a plan of deterrent against the Soviet invasion of Europe as the war came to an end.

It was in the same period, exactly 70 years ago, that the United States developed the Marshall Plan to help restore Europe. Those three beautiful pillars — they’re pillars of peace, sovereignty, security, and prosperity.

The Marshall Plan was built on the noble idea that the whole world is safer when nations are strong, independent, and free. As President Truman said in his message to Congress at that time, “Our support of European recovery is in full accord with our support of the United Nations. The success of the United Nations depends upon the independent strength of its members.”

O, Hypocrisy!  How can a sitting U.S. President or any candidate for president or any past president even think to utter these words?

We do not expect diverse countries to share the same cultures, traditions, or even systems of government. But we do expect all nations to uphold these two core sovereign duties: to respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation. This is the beautiful vision of this institution, and this is foundation for cooperation and success.

“we do expect all nations to uphold these two core sovereign duties: to respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation.”  You have got to be kidding me.  The other UN delegates must have privately chuckled at this one, including anyone else who knows about the U.S. foreign adventures.  Can you say Afghanistan?  How about Iraq?  Libya?  Vietnam?  Greneda?  El Salvador?  Just to name a few.  When has the U.S. ever respected the sovereignty of any nation?  How many military bases does the U.S. have around the world?  If you need a visual, this might help.

US Military Bases around Iran

Here is the rest of the Trump’s speech if you can stand it.  

Gawd, the only task one has when listening to Trump’s speech is to parse out and rebutt his lies.  

Unbelievable. 

Strong, sovereign nations let their people take ownership of the future and control their own destiny. And strong, sovereign nations allow individuals to flourish in the fullness of the life intended by God.

“. . . allows individuals to flourish in the fullness of the life intended by God.”  How in the hell does Trump know what God intends for any life?  The hutzpa.  The insults to God that he gets away with.  Amazing.  

In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch. This week gives our country a special reason to take pride in that example. We are celebrating the 230th anniversary of our beloved Constitution — the oldest constitution still in use in the world today.

“In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch.”  Okay, Lie #10,676.  How many times have you heard that we’re going to war to spread democracy around the world?  There’s always the justification for democracy, like that’s worked out so well here in the U.S.  

This timeless document has been the foundation of peace, prosperity, and freedom for the Americans and for countless millions around the globe whose own countries have found inspiration in its respect for human nature, human dignity, and the rule of law.

The greatest in the United States Constitution is its first three beautiful words. They are: “We the people.”

“We the people” are the three most beautiful words?  Really, a call for collectivism is the most beautiful?  Not “shall not be infringed,” as in “A well regulated militia being the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed . . . .”  December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the Constitution).  And here is how North Korean, Kim Jong Un responded.  Incredible really when you begin to see foreign leaders behave with more gravitas and intelligence than our own president.  However you may feel about him, Trump’s performance is at best disappointing. 

North Koreas response to TRump UN speech

For the snapshot of the Jong Un’s speech, a h/t TargetLiberty.

Ken Burns Caught Dead Shilling for Empire

Find the full documentary at PBS.org.

The good . . . 

The film follows previous Burns works in providing poignant footage mixed with compelling interviews and a backdrop of good music, starting in this case with Bob Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall.

The bad . . . 

Despite the counter-cultural veneer, however, and admirable efforts to provide a Vietnamese perspective, Burns and Novick’s film in its first episode provides conventional analysis about the war’s outbreak and can be understood as a sophisticated exercise in empire denial.

The film is misleading at the outset in quoting an American soldier who recounts the pain of his homecoming, insinuating that veterans were maltreated in the United States–a trope often used to blame antiwar activists for creating this allegedly anti-veteran and divisive climate.  

The indictment only gets worse.  Here Burns and Novick justify Washington’s mass murder.  I wonder.  Did Burns and Novick not see these images? 

I find sometimes that the war monsters need reminders.  But they may find offense in such a suggestion, for they feel that their fight embodies ideals than mere mortals are poorly equipped to understand.  Yet it is precisely body count of mortals that counts for a win or loss in American military engagement.  So the objectives change when it suits them in the press.  They’ll even tell their soldier, again mere mortals, what’s at stake, and what’s at stake for soldiers is obviously different than what’s at stake for civilians at home.  But we don’t know anymore because the U.S. bombs indiscriminately any town it wants.  Civilians are clearly targets.  They might be called soft targets used to destabilize the enemy or demoralize him.  Either way, each man and woman on this planet is within range of a U.S. military target.  How many victims does the U.S. need to cool its jets?  See this man who survived the atomic blasts at Hiroshima.  The perpetrators of this deed are not heroes; they are monsters.  And the U.S. has been exporting war . . . well always.   For those of you born in the 20th century, can you remember a time when the U.S. hasn’t bombed, mass murdered, droned, poisoned, or otherwise killed folks from another nation, always under the dumbest pretense of national security somewhere on the other side of the globe?

But I digress.

The ugly . . . 

Burns and Novick mislead viewers further by showing footage of North Vietnamese migrating to the South fleeing communist terror and interviewing a woman whose family fled while leaving out the fact that the CIA worked to sabotage North Vietnam’s economy, created a fake resistance movement and coerced many Catholics and others to flee by spreading false rumors about Vietminh atrocities and promising them 40 acres and a mule.

Burns and Novick depict the southern guerrilla movement as being controlled by the Hanoi Politburo when the National Liberation Front (NLF) was founded in direct response to the 10/59 law passed by South Vietnamese premier Ngo Dinh Diem that allowed for the execution of regime opponents after a military trial.

Burns and Novick also leave out some of the sinister aspects of nation building in the late 1950s, such as the police training program led by CIA advisers working under the cover of Michigan State University (MSU) who imported surveillance equipment and built up Diem’s secret police.

It’s disappointing to see this.  I’ve liked Burns’ previous documentaries, not all of them, but the ones on the Dust Bowl and Baseball.  But here he is toeing the official line, the official narrative which never brings restitution or free trade or freedom only a mountain of skulls.

Continue reading . . . .