“think of it as a free-price system instead of a free-market system”

From Tom Woods podcast: No. 1051: Want to Be Poorer?  Defy These Economic Laws

This interivew of Hunter Lewis was one of the best podcasts I’ve heard.  It is excellent on the value and meaning of prices.  He’s got 9 books offered at Amazon, but I thought that Tom Woods said that he wrote 14.  Okay, the Mises entry states that he’s got 11 books published.

Hunter Lewis is author of eleven books, including Economics in Three Lessons & One Hundred Economic LawsWhere Keynes Went Wrong, and Crony Capitalism in America 2008-2012, and has contributed to the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Times of LondonThe Atlantic and many other magazines and web sites including Mises.org and LewRockwell.com. Lewis is also co-founder of Against Crony Capitalism.org as well as co-founder and former CEO of Cambridge Associates, a global investment firm. He has served on boards and committees of fifteen not-for-profit organizations, including environmental, teaching, research, and cultural organizations, as well as the World Bank.

He cofounded an investment firm called Cambridge Associates.  

Think about the long-run, not just the short-run. 

Hazlit produced the sustainability concept in economics.  Sustainability is a very, very old idea.  We have to think about the long-term consequences with everything we do.  The idea that somehow we’ll achieve that better with more government control is totally fallacious because what governmnet normally gives us is unintended consequences.  It’s people acting on their own behalf, working in a market environment, competing and cooperating.  They’re much less likely to create unintended consequences than some government official sitting in Washington deciding for everybody. 

He discusses prices and crony capitalism.

The free flow of prices in an unimpeded way with no dictator in charge, not imposed, but the spontaneous interaction of individuals.  

Hunter’s points about the price system?

Helpful to think of it as a free-price system instead of free-market system. 

Oh, I like that! 

6:26  When young people begin to understand tha the tragedy of the middle class being destroyed –the srouce of the problems is government fixing, price manipulating, price controlling . . . .  He gives the example of the medical industry.  He says that prices, which are invisible by the public in general, are set by a committe of the Ameridcan Medical Association which then gives us prices to the medicare system, which is run by private insurance companies.  These companies apply these prices to their own system and so those prices go throughout the economy and in effect we have controlled and manipulated medical prices and that in turn leads to higher and higher prices of course, but people don’t see this.  It’s invisible to them.   

7:05  Who are the bosses in a free-price system?   Professor to the right of me, professor to the left, both Keynesians, socialists, certainly progressives.  Capitalism is the system that favors the bosses.  Socialism is the system that favors the workers.  Well, what about the consumers?  Where do they fit into your picture?  Because actually a free-price system is run by the consumers: and the consumers include all workers and others as well. 

from Howard Zinn on profits: “Profits have distorted our economy completely because it leaves people to make whatever things maximize profits,” something like that.   

Lewis explains,

Profits are a key part of the free-price system.  Because they provide the incentive for people to try and drive costs down and therefore prices down.  Why is it that we can produce certain things that are not so government-controlled, like computers and electronics more and more cheaply because there is the incentive to earn a profit to do it more and more cheaply and to make a better product at the same time.  So profits are absolutely essential.  And, of course, the signals that profits send are sent by the consumer.  The consumers are the bosses, and they’re telling the producers what they want and when they want it.  And so the whole system would collapse without the profits which are just part of the pricing. 

Tom asks,

I’ve heard people say “I don’t want to have an economy based on profits.  A kind of snarky response would be, “Would you rather have an economy based on losses?”  

Profits show that what is being produced is what people want  A section called “The Essential Role of Loss and Bankruptcy.”  Which I’d like you to comment on because that helps us to shows how the price system makes sure that what’s being produced is what people want and in the right quantities and its being produced as inexpensively as possible s as to be as least wasteful of our resources. What is the essential role of loss?

10:20  I think it’s more accurate to call the profit system the loss and bankruptcy system.  Because I actually think that the stick is more powerful than the carrot in terms of modifying human behavior and getting the results you want.  I mean most new businesses fail.  Even the very profitable businesses eventually their profits diminsh, decline, and disappear.  So actually, I mean, profits are only earned when there’s a problem to be solved and entrepreneurs go out and solve that problem.  And they have an opportunity in doing so to earn a very high profit but it doesn’t last very long, and everntually other people come in and compete and do the same thing and the profit disappears. 

11:23  Crony Capitalism.  It’s more serious than people think.  Most of it is largely invisible like the price manipulations connected to it.  For exampel you mentioned Obama’s green energy program.  But you might remember that fiscal clip bill in which Obama finaly succeeded in raising taxes on the rich so to speak.  That sounded fine to me.  On the other hand, on that same bill he had giveaways to his corporate donors, which in aggregate were larger than any additional taxes he was going to get from the rich.  So that bill did not increase revenue for the government even [in] theory.  It was full of giveaways to his corporate donors.  And, of course, the Green Energy program is yet another example where if you analzyed who got those Green Energy grants and loans and so on, more than two-thirds of them were major donors to the Obama administration.  And it’s not just the Obama administration, of course, it was the Bush Adminstration, it was the Trump Administration.  The whole thing works as a system because the government gives these price manipulations to special interests and the special interests give the government campaign contributions and other support and it’s all designed to help the special interests and the government, it’s not designed to help the consumers, the economy, or the voters. 

14:14  “Economic Laws.”  Whole book is intended for young people.  Woods said he liked the 2nd part.  The initial are focused on economic method.  What would be some fundamental pieces of advices for studying economics correctly?  Avoid economic courses in colleges.  Funny.  Economics is one of the most popular majors.  On Demand:  “If you want to increase prices, for example wages, the most effective way to do so is not to mandate it but to increase demand.” 

17:58  Absolutely.  So many fallacies.  Take price controls.  Many people think that all you need to do is to mandate price controls.  In fact, to bring prices down, you need to increase supply.  And a good example of this is the medical system.  Right now government laws and regulations prevent nurses from doing most of the things they can do although they’re almost as well trained as doctors themselves.  They’re not allowed to do all the things they can do.  There are four-trained naturopathetic doctors.  They’re not allowed to do all the things they can do.  Chiropractors are not allowed to do all they can do.  The supply of medical services could be greatly increased if the government would allow it.  Why doesn’t the government allow it?  Because they’re working with the American Medical Association to prevent that kind of competion for medical doctors or Mds.  Again, if you want lower prices, you want more supply. 

19:15  “Laws of Profits.”  If you want lower prices, don’t try to abolish profits. 

And perhaps more in line with the topic of Tom’s podcast, particularly the section on free-prices, this book should be a good read.

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Nowadays what people call learning is forced on you . . . And everyone is forced to learn the same thing, [on] the same day, at the same speed . . . in class . . . and everyone is different –Isaac Asimov, 1988

This was pretty great.  I liked what he said about mass education.  Instead of having mass education with a curriculum, once we have computer outlets in every home, each of them hooked up to enormous libraries, be given answers and reference materials, regardless of how silly it seems to everyone else . . . . Nowadays what people call learning is forced on you.  And everyone is forced to learn the same thing, at the same day, at the same speed . . . in class.  And everyone is different . . . for some it goes too fast, for some too slow, for some in the wrong direction.  But give them a chance in addition to school . . . I don’t say we abolish school . . . but in addition to school to follow up their own bent from the start.

What about machines dehumanize learning?

As a matter of fact, it’s just the reverse.  It’s through this machine that we will be able to have for the first time a one-to-one relationship between information source and information consumer. 

What do you mean? 

In the old days, you used to have tutors for children.  The person who could afford it would hire a pedagogue and he would teach the children.   And if he knew his job, he could adapt his teaching to the tastes and the abilities to the students.  But how many people could afford to hire a pedagogue?  Most children went uneducated.  Then we reached the point where it was absolutely necessary to educate everybody.  The only way we could do it was to have one teacher for a great many number of students and in order to organize the situation properly, we gave them a curriculum to teach them.  So how many teachers are good at this?  Like everything else, the number of teachers is far greater than the number of good teachers.  So we either have a one-to-one relationship for the very few, or a one-to-many relationship for the very many.  Now, there’s a one-to-one relationship for the very many.  Everyone can have a teacher in the form of access to the gathered knowledge of the human species. 

. . . through the libraries that are connected to the computer in my . . . 

That’s right. 

 

“infant mortality rate was so high the government refused to register children as being born until they survived their first month.”

We just passed the 100-year anniverary of the Bolshevik Revolution in the Soviet Union, 1917-2017.  And still Americans and others in the west clamor for a return to communism, for a return to equitable distribution or redistribution of wealth (right, like it ever was equal; equally bad, maybe), and a call to a dictatorship of the proletariat as an answer to some phantom dictatorship of the rich.  Someone please point out to me this dictatorship of the rich.  I’m waiting.  The last point I’ll make here is that it seems that social justice warriors really take the productive abundance of a capitalist society for granted.  They see only the isolated worker toiling away 40 to 60 hours a week in hard labor for $22/hour.  It is really just class envy, isn’t it?  I mean too many of them would really like to see everyone own a two-story house, drive a Lexus, okay, a Camry, have those two great children with a 4-bedroom house in the burbs.  They assume that the level of production and wealth that is taking place in Los Angeles, in their own backyards, is also happening all across the world.  It is true that thanks to capitalism that wealth is spread throughout the world though at times seems to have missed a few of us here in Los Angeles, but the fact remains that capitalism thrives inside and outside a black market because the values of a country want that.  Puritans were capitalists.  Love them or hate them, the Yankees admired capitalism.  Love them or hate them, slave owners preferred capitalism to working for someone else.  The call for communism should come to an end.  Read James Bovard’s article on Romania.  And when you’re done, read another by Laura M. Nicolae, a Harvard graduate.  h/t Bob Wenzel

romania_0

By James Bovard

This month is the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party’s seizure of power in Petrograd, Russia. British Guardian columnist Paul Mason recent declared that the Soviet revolution provided “a beacon to the rest of humanity, no matter how short lived.” The New York Times has exalted the Soviet takeover in a series of articles on the “Red Century” – even asserting that “women had better sex under communism” (based largely on a single dubious orgasm count comparison of East and West German women.)

Professor Hunt Tooley’s November 1 Mises article on “The Bolshevik Great Experiment: 100 Years Later” vividly captured the stunning death tolls communism produced in Russia and elsewhere. Stalin reputedly said that one death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.

Communism’s mortality toll does not capture its full horror – the daily degradation that its victims suffered. In the mid-1980s, there were plenty of Soviet apologists writing in the western media. Practically any Soviet Bloc reform was touted as the turning of the corner to sustained economic progress. I was mystified why people living in freedom would idealize a system of state slavery.  

In 1986 and 1987, I slipped behind the Iron Curtain a half dozen times to study economic perversity and political slavery, writing articles for The New York Times, Wall Street Journal Europe, Freeman, Journal of Economic Growth, and other publications. My final trip – in November 1987 – began in Budapest, Hungary, before heading on to the most repressive regime in Europe.

The train from Budapest to Bucharest, Romania was called the Orient Express. The original 1880s Orient Express connected Paris to Constantinople. The menu on the train’s first run included oysters, soup with Italian pasta, turbot with green sauce, chicken ‘à la chasseur’, fillet of beef with ‘château’ potatoes, ‘chaud-froid’ of Game animals, chocolate pudding, and a buffet of desserts. In the communist rendition of the Orient Express, there was no food on the train in Romania, though a few morsels may have been available in Hungary.

I had a cabin to myself as the train rolled southeast from Budapest. I had been told that if border guards found a map of Romania or any other dubious papers, I would be arrested or denied entry. Late at night, nearing the Romanian border, I studied documents one more time, drilling into my head the things that I should be looking for, and then tore them up and threw them out the train window, piece by piece.

Shortly after midnight, the train lumbered to a stop in Transylvania, at the Hungary-Romania border. The scene had all the ambience of the original 1931 Dracula movie. I didn’t hear wolves howling but the mountain terrain, low-hanging fog and military guards with German shepherds endlessly circling the train sufficed.

My cabin was searched four times, with each team outdoing their predecessors. The mattresses on the bunk beds were jostled and practically every cubic inch of space was poked or prodded.  The final inspection was supervised by a cute (by communist standards) military officer. Perhaps the authorities thought I would confess my perfidy to a different gender. Nope: I was just another tourist heading to the “Paris of East Europe,” as Bucharest preened itself in pre-communist times. Except that there were almost zero tourists in a land renamed “the Ethiopia of Europe.” I entered Romania illegally, relying on an easily-acquired tourist visa instead of going through the hassle of getting a journalist visa (which would have also assured more harassment).

After the final search, guards bolted my cabin shut from the outside. The pseudo-luxury train had officially been transformed into a traveling jail. My American passport had earned me special treatment again. I leaned back and counted my blessings. In Western Europe, they charged double for a private cabin.

The Orient Express was no longer an express after it entered Romania, taking 13 hours to rumble 400 miles and running far behind schedule.  Everywhere were signs of a government increasingly fearful of its people. Throughout Transylvania, radio towers were surrounded by military guards and barbed wire. The train stopped at Brasov—a medieval-era city that had been briefly renamed Stalin City—until relations with Moscow chilled. Shortly before I passed through, thousands of workers responded to wage cuts by ransacking communist party offices and killing two government militia men.  There were horse-drawn wagons next to spewing factories and huge apartment complexes. Many people had abandoned their slipshod cars after government sporadically banned the sale of gasoline for private vehicles.

Around 9 the next morning, there was a rapping on my cabin door – like someone sending a secret message.  I heard someone struggling with that bolted lock and then the door popped open and half a dozen ill-clad Romanian factory workers rushed in. They had heard there was a foreigner confined on the train. They stared at me like I was E.T. from outer space. Two workers leaned over and pawed my leather boots, eyes wide in amazement. Leather boots had apparently become the same luxury there that full-length mink coats were in America. Yet, in the pre-communist era, leather boots were probably commonplace for factory and farm workers. We communicated with simple gestures since I did not speak Romanian and they spoke no English. They seemed to be full of good will, but vanished after a few minutes – perhaps fearful of being caught with a foreigner.

The workers were likely no fans of communist dictator Nicole Ceausescu, who seemed determined to starve the people into submission. Though Romania had been one of the world’s top grain exporters before World War One, food had become as rare as honest economist statistics.  Children could not get milk without a doctor’s prescription. It was forbidden for foreigners to send food to Romanians. The government responded to food shortages with a publicity campaign on the danger[s] of overeating. The government also revved up advertising in western nations touting Romania’s “world famous” weight-loss clinics. Food shortages became so bad that the lion in the Bucharest Zoo was converted into an involuntary vegetarian and lost his teeth as a result.

The communists destroyed hundreds of square miles of prime farmland to erect factories and open pit mines. Hundreds of villages were razed and the residents corralled into cities and conscripted to work in factories. The government put almost all investments into heavy industry — the ultimate source of bragging rights for communist leaders. But roughly half of Romania’s output was so shoddy that it was ready for the junk heap moments after it rolled off the assembly line. Romanian industry was also extremely inefficient, consuming up to five times as much energy per unit of output as western factories. The government compensated by cutting off electricity to people’s homes for up to six hours during the winter, and permitting only one 25-watt light bulb per room.

The health system was collapsing, and the infant mortality rate was so high the government refused to register children as being born until they survived their first month. The government also routinely cut off power to hospitals, causing a thousand deaths the previous winter.  Yet, some western experts hailed Ceausescu as a path-breaking visionary. A 1979 World Bank report, the “Importance of Centralized Economic Control,” praised the Romanian regime for pursuing “policies to make better use of the population as a factor of production” [italics added] by “stimulating an increase in birth rates.”

And how did the benevolent ruler do this? By prohibiting distribution of contraceptives and banning abortions. Because the Plan called for higher birth rates, every female forfeited the right to control her body or life. Ceausescu proclaimed in 1985: “The fetus is the socialist property of the whole society… Those who refuse to have children are deserters.” The government forced all women between the age of 18 and 40 to have a monthly gynecological exam to assure that no one robbed the State by having a secret abortion. These policies turned Romania into the World Capital of abandoned babies.

Finally arriving in Bucharest, I learned that the Hotel Intercontinental was the only place westerners were allowed to stay. After I checked in, a beefy 30ish woman with bad eye makeup came flat-footing up. She asked in a gravely, three-pack-a-day voice: “Would you like to have some company?”

“Do what?”

“Would you like some company – in your room?” She smiled and pointed upstairs.

“Uh… no, I’m doing fine.”

“Why are you here in Bucharest?” She cooed gutturally.

“I’m a tourist.”

“But it is so cold outside. Let’s stay inside. Aren’t you lonely?”

There were several reasons I demurred, including my strict rule to never tussle with any woman who had a better mustache than I did.

The Romanian government was known for using intelligence agents as prostitutes. Instead of a simple honest hooker, she was probably a spook-hooker. Seeing how badly everything else in that country functioned, I had no itch to learn the Romanian standard for “good enough for government bawdy work.”

I checked into my room, which looked custom-designed for surveillance. There was “dead space” and unmarked doors between each guest room. I flipped on the TV and saw choruses of peasants and workers in overalls listlessly waving flags and singing praises to Ceausescu, the self-proclaimed “Genius of the Carpathians,” as the camera zoomed in for close-ups of the great man’s face.

Fascinating stuff, but the plot line was thin, so I sought entertainment elsewhere.

When I visit a new city, I love to spend hours walking around and getting a feel for the turf. I stopped and asked the concierge for a street map of downtown Bucharest. I figured he might have a guide to the Greatest Triumphs of Ceausescu-ism within an eight block radius of Communist Party headquarters.

The concierge grimaced even before I got to my verb. This gray-skinned, beady-eyed guy was hired for this job because he naturally exuded hatred of mankind.

“For what do you need a map?”

“Because I want to see the city’s landmarks.”

“We have no maps. If there is some place you want to go, you tell me what it is and I will tell you how to get there.”

“Where is the old part of the city?” I asked, knowing that most of it had been leveled to make room for the ugliest “socialist realism” monoliths outside of Pyongyang.  The concierge scowled and muttered something – perhaps a Romanian slur for vexatious foreigners. My hunch was this guy didn’t make a living from tips.

On the street, many people darted their eyes away – as if looking at foreigners caused leprosy. I had heard that it was a crime for Romanians to talk to strangers. But a few people summoned up a hodgepodge of English phrases to plead for a pack of Kent cigarettes to bribe doctors to treat their sick children. Because the Romanian currency was practically worthless, packs of Kents circulated as a black market currency. I had bought a couple cartons of Kents before going to Romania, and I gave packs to a few people who spoke to me.

I stepped into the largest department store in Bucharest; it was dark, dank and miserable. Sales clerks were sitting on piles of new clothing heaped on the floor. While workers in Hungary had lazed around, Romanian workers seemed stupefied. One of the store’s main attractions were incredibly rickety baby carriages – the kind to use when you want to kill your kid and sue the pants off somebody. Except that this government never had any liability to its victims, no matter how many perished from its products or policies.

I passed by the boarded-up front door of an ancient church, standing forsaken amidst construction projects that had obliterated surrounding edifices. Many Romanians fretfully crossed themselves as they passed it by.

Outside the U.S. embassy, Romanian guards with machine guns stood to dissuade locals from seeking asylum. My hunch was that stopping there would be far more hassle than it was worth. (I had been targeted by Czech police after visiting the U.S. embassy in Prague earlier that year.)

Like other communist regimes, Romania was an economic theocracy. The government used its iron fist to make sure everything happened according to Plan. For instance, according to the 1986-90 five year plan, Romanian scientists would make 4015 discoveries, of which 2,423 would result in new products by Romanian businesses. The Plan did not specify how insufficiently creative scientists would be scourged.

Romania was one of the World Bank’s favorite regimes, receiving more than $2 billion between 1974 and 1982. The World Bank predicted in 1979 that Romania would “continue to enjoy one of the highest growth rates among developing countries over the next decade… and become an industrialized economy by 1990.” But much of Romania’s apparent economic growth was the result of World Bank aid. The more handouts the World Bank gives a country, the easier it becomes to portray the nation as a success story. World Bank president Robert McNamara [yes, that McNamara] cited Romania to vindicate his “faith in the financial morality of socialist countries.”

The World Bank also praised the Romanian regime for its ability to “mobilize the resources” required to boost economic growth. In reality, the government was brutalizing its subjects to squeeze out “surpluses” to lavish funds on World Bank-approved industrial enterprises – the same tactic Stalin used to finance his Five-Year Plans.

The Romanian regime also “mobilized resources” by pawning its ethnic German and Jewish inhabitants. West Germany paid roughly $20,000 for each German exported, and Israel paid a similar amount for each Romanian Jew released. There were international agreements banning slave trading in the nineteenth century, but selling human beings in the twentieth century was acceptable if the receipts went for progressive purposes. (Eighty percent of Romanian children resettled in West Germany were judged to be severely malnourished.)

The World Bank never cut Ceausescu off; instead, he ceased borrowing after he became convinced that western debt was a curse on his country. Championing Ceausescu did not prevent McNamara from being appointed to the Board of Directors of the Washington Post or from being canonized as a benevolent saint by the American media when he kicked the bucket in 2009.

As I knocked around Bucharest, I assumed I was being followed. Roughly 1 in 15 Romanians was working as a government informant. Since I knew that pulling out a notebook would set off alarm bells, I instead jotted notes on the palm of my hand. Such behavior was seen as merely weird, not menacing. I could use single words as pegs to later pull up a strand of facts and thoughts.

When I arrived at Bucharest’s main airport to exit to Frankfurt, I noticed that most of the travelers ahead of me were openly giving a pack of Kents to each dreg at the multiple security checkpoints. I was soon passing out cigarette packs to guards like an old widow tossing candy to kids on Halloween.

I saw one or two German businessmen yanked aside for more punitive searches, and their clothes were scattered far and wide across the guards’ tables. As I passed the last checkpoint, I counted my blessings that I had avoided such depredations.

That Lufthansa jet on the tarmac was the prettiest thing I had seen since the Orient Express crossed the Romanian border. There was one past-his-prime soldier standing listlessly about 20 yards from the plane. I held up my passport and he waved me on.

I’d almost reached the plane’s gangway when I heard: HALT!

I turned and saw the guard running towards me, his submachine gun bouncing off his ample belly.

Puffing a bit, he caught up to me – grabbed my left arm, yanked it back, and, pointing at my palm, demanded to know: “WHAT IS THIS?!!!?”

I looked at my hand, then I looked at the guard.

“It’s ink.”

He paused, squinted, nodded his head knowingly, and then waved me on to the plane.

As soon as the Lufthansa jet cleared Romanian air space, I retrieved my small notebook from the usual hiding place – inside my underwear – and began extracting my palm notes.

The following month, the New York Times printed my “Eastern Europe, the New Third World” which declared that “Eastern Europe is much closer to economic collapse than most westerners realize. After hundreds of so-called market-oriented reforms, there are still no market economies in Eastern Europe.” The Readers Digest piece on the same topic appeared in ten foreign language editions. I was trying to help East Bloc regimes get the credit rating they deserved.

Throughout the Soviet Bloc, governments tried to reform economies while retaining government ownership and pervasive control of prices and production even for non-socialist activities. It was impossible to repair East Bloc economies without stripping communist parties of their power.

Unfortunately, as decades have passed since the fall of the Soviet Union, romanticism is deep-sixing the bitter facts of the lives people in communist regimes were forced to live. But any economic system that forces lions to go vegan should never be forgiven.

James Bovard is the author of ten books, including 2012’s Public Policy Hooligan, and 2006’s Attention Deficit Democracy. He has written for the New York TimesWall Street JournalPlayboyWashington Post, and many other publications.

The above originally appeared at Mises.org.

 

Saudi Arabia Paid Donald Trump Over $150 Billion Dollars to Silence Western Media Over the Yemen Catastrophe

Marwa Osman.  Find her at Twitter.

She answers Ron Paul’s question about the hottest spot in the Middle East.  Her answer?  She admits it’s very complicated as a huge hotspot, but the biggest hotspot is Yemen.  Yesterday was the last day for ISIS in Syria, and two days before that it was the last day for ISIS in Iraq.  Have you heard anything about that anywhere in the maintstream press?  I have not though admittedly I don’t listen at all to mainstream media.  Because the Iraqi Army along with the PMU, they have liberated all Iraqi land from ISIS.  She adds that yesterday was the last day for the Abu Kamal, the last ISIS stronghold in Syria.  Actually, maybe she is referring to this one.  It was liberated by the Syrian-Arab Army, the Russian allies, and Hezbollah.  Now there is no more ISIS!  Huge deal but no one is talking about this.   Syria off the hotspot.  Now it’s Yemen has been for the past 3 and 1/2 years, since March 2015.  Has been bombarded on a daily basis.  Military casualties are way less than the civilian ones.  100,000 civilian deaths.  Ministry of Health in Yemen so far has recorded more than 100,000 deaths.  The UN is not capable of reaching all the parts of Yemen, the cities and villages throughout Yemen.  What the Ministry of Health is doing is collaborating with the societies within those villages.   The numbers are beyond horrific.  Let us not also forget the photos of the deaths, the children, the malnutrition, the cholera, the blockade of the seaports, it is beyond a catastrophe.  

Note its proximity to Saudi Arabia.  The middle east, the hottest spot is Yemen.  The humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen should be a priority.  The failures of the U.S. allies in the region . . . ?  Isn’t the U.S. themselves actively engaged in fighting in Yemen, if that’s what you want to call it.  It’s more like they’re bombing funerals and weddings. 

Here is CBS’s “60 Minutes” episode on YemenHere’s the story about CBS omitting any and all reference to the U.S. military involvement in Yemen.

It started with President Obama, and now it’s continuing with President Trump.  They fail to tell people that the U.S. has been invovled directly in bombing certain sites.  some of the sites were funeral processions, other sites were acutal wedding events.  And they bombed them with the claim that . . . . What kind of intel is that!  We’re talking about the U.S., the most sophisticated intelligence agencies on the planet.  And they bomb funerals and weddings, and they say “Oops! Sorry!”  Killing 100 plus people, which is basically a catastrophe.  And even if they don’t want to talk about the role of the US administration in allowing this catastrophe to happen, then why don’t they report about the role of the UN that is being stopped that is being stopped by the US and Saudi Arabia?  Why don’t they report about the blockade killing the people equally as the bombs are?  The people have no food, they have no water.  There was a plant, an industrial location that produces bottled water and that was also hit.  What do you expect?  There’s no water, there’s no food.  People are going to devastatedly die!

Ron Paul asks why does the Yemen catastrophe get a pass in the mainstream media in the U.S. while we hear an endless and implaccable warnings about the possibility of nuclear war with North Korea?  

Osman’s answer is perfect.  Well, I could tell you–there are 450 billion reasons for that, which includes the payment that was given to Donald Trump on his only visit to Saudia Arabia, where he just landed, there was a party, they paid him a check of over $150 billion dollars. 

8:56 mark
I think that is enough to buy ALL of the mainstream media opinions in the west.  But still the Yemeni catastrophe is so loud, it’s so up in their faces that they cannot just let it go and we have seen a hype in that in the last couple of weeks and that is because of the positions in Saudi Arabia, becausa of the internal bickering and internal problems in Saudi Arabia, and so that gave this some space to talk about Yemen. 

Keep listening.

“We are trapped in brinkmanship . . . between Yankee and Southern Culture”

This caught my eyeVia Lew Rockwell.  It’s a review of Woodward’s book on 11 different and distinct cultural regions within the U.S.  The book is where you’ll find specifics, but this article with its maps and short summaries is a good start.  I’ve agreed previously with Dr. North about moving to where the brains are, but this article offers a cultural snapshot of the different regions that might help you make a decision if you are in fact planning a move.  I grew up in the Los Angeles area.  I have been to Chicago, Portland, Seattle, New York, Dallas, New Orleans, Columbus, Ohio, Vancouver and others.  Recently I was in Phoenix, and the culture in Phoenix, though still part of that Far West, is remarkably different, say, from LA County.  The states have different personalities.  

11-nations

In case you need to tell which state is which . . .

Map USA

In his fourth book, “American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures in North America,” award-winning author Colin Woodard identifies 11 distinct cultures that have historically divided the US.

“The country has been arguing about a lot of fundamental things lately including state roles and individual liberty,” Woodard, a Maine native who won the 2012 George Polk Award for investigative reporting, told Business Insider.

“[But] in order to have any productive conversation on these issues,” he added, “you need to know where you come from. Once you know where you are coming from it will help move the conversation forward.”

Here’s how Woodard describes each nation:

Yankeedom
Encompassing the entire Northeast north of New York City and spreading through Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, Yankeedom values education, intellectual achievement, communal empowerment, and citizen participation in government as a shield against tyranny. Yankees are comfortable with government regulation. Woodard notes that Yankees have a “Utopian streak.” The area was settled by radical Calvinists.

New Netherland
A highly commercial culture, New Netherland is “materialistic, with a profound tolerance for ethnic and religious diversity and an unflinching commitment to the freedom of inquiry and conscience,” according to Woodard. It is a natural ally with Yankeedom and encompasses New York City and northern New Jersey. The area was settled by the Dutch.

new york cityNew York City is located in Woodward’s New Netherland.  Flickr / Andrés Nieto Porras

The Midlands
Settled by English Quakers, The Midlands are a welcoming middle-class society that spawned the culture of the “American Heartland.” Political opinion is moderate, and government regulation is frowned upon. Woodard calls the ethnically diverse Midlands “America’s great swing region.” Within the Midlands are parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska.

Tidewater
Tidewater was built by the young English gentry in the area around the Chesapeake Bay and North Carolina. Starting as a feudal society that embraced slavery, the region places a high value on respect for authority and tradition. Woodard notes that Tidewater is in decline, partly because “it has been eaten away by the expanding federal halos around D.C. and Norfolk.”

Greater Appalachia
Colonized by settlers from the war-ravaged borderlands of Northern Ireland, northern England, and the Scottish lowlands, Greater Appalachia is stereotyped as the land of hillbillies and rednecks. Woodard says Appalachia values personal sovereignty and individual liberty and is “intensely suspicious of lowland aristocrats and Yankee social engineers alike.” It sides with the Deep South to counter the influence of federal government. Within Greater Appalachia are parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Indiana, Illinois, and Texas.

LouisvilleLouisville, Kentucky, is located in Woodward’s Greater Appalachia.  Flickr / Peter Dedina

Deep South
The Deep South was established by English slave lords from Barbados and was styled as a West Indies-style slave society, Woodard notes. It has a very rigid social structure and fights against government regulation that threatens individual liberty. Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina are all part of the Deep South.

El Norte
Composed of the borderlands of the Spanish-American empire, El Norte is “a place apart” from the rest of America, according to Woodard. Hispanic culture dominates in the area, and the region values independence, self-sufficiency, and hard work above all else. Parts of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California are in El Norte.

The Left Coast
Colonized by New Englanders and Appalachian Midwesterners, the Left Coast is a hybrid of “Yankee utopianism and Appalachian self-expression and exploration,” Woodard says, adding that it is the staunchest ally of Yankeedom. Coastal California, Oregon, and Washington are in the Left Coast.

San Francisco City and HomesSan Francisco is a natural fit for Woodward’s Left Coast.Shutterstock / prochasson frederic

The Far West
The conservative west. Developed through large investment in industry, yet where inhabitants continue to “resent” the Eastern interests that initially controlled that investment. Among Far West states are Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Washington, Oregon, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Nebraska, Kansas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California. 

New France
A pocket of liberalism nestled in the Deep South, its people are consensus driven, tolerant, and comfortable with government involvement in the economy. Woodard says New France is among the most liberal places in North America. New France is focused around New Orleans in Louisiana as well as the Canadian province of Quebec.

First Nation
Made up of Native Americans, the First Nation’s members enjoy tribal sovereignty in the US. Woodard says the territory of the First Nations is huge, but its population is under 300,000, most of whose people live in the northern reaches of Canada.

Woodard says that among these 11 nations, Yankeedom and the Deep South exert the most influence and are constantly competing with each other for the hearts and minds of the other nations.

“We are trapped in brinkmanship because there is not a lot of wiggle room between Yankee and Southern Culture,” Woodard says. “Those two nations would never see eye to eye on anything besides an external threat.”

In 2013, Ted Cruz infamously held the Senate floor for 21 hours in an attempt to filibuster Obamacare.

Woodard also believes the nation is likely to become more polarized, even though America is becoming a more diverse place every day. He says this is because people are “self-sorting.”

“People choose to move to places where they identify with  the values,”  Woodard says. “Red minorities go south and blue minorities go north to be in the majority. This is why blue states are getting bluer and red states are getting redder and the middle is getting smaller.”

“As soon as we got to the 20th century, the deviants began to proliferate”

Why I Never Watched House of Cards

Gary North – November 16, 2017

This caught my eye.

The problem with “House of Cards” is it paints everyone in Washington with the same poison brush. I suspected it would bad for our brand from the start, but tuned in for the first season out of curiosity. I turned off the first episode after Frank Underwood killed a dog with his bare hands. After a year of persuading, friends talked me out of my boycott. I gritted my teeth through three more episodes, until Frank Underwood was in bed with a 20-something female reporter 30 years his junior, who was calling her dad to wish him a happy Father’s Day while the Congressman was ripping her clothes off. We have two twenty-something daughters. I was done.

This was exactly the place where I switched away from Netflix. I realized that this Congressman was a psychopath, and that he was not representative of anything I saw on Capitol Hill. I was there only six months, and I was isolated in an office on the other side of the main office, but what I saw there was the normal run-of-the-mill bureaucracy that is the inevitable result of over-funding by the federal government.

If the money were not so gigantic, most of what goes on in Washington’s political circles would be penny-ante stuff. It’s mostly about raising enough money to get re-elected. There are undoubtedly lots of payoffs, but the main one is the promise of employment as a lobbyist after someone has finished his term in Congress. That’s when he makes the big bucks. It’s basically multibillion-dollar chiseling. It’s not social pathology. It’s what governments have done from day one. The difference is simply that the numbers are so big today.

Government is about four things: money, power, sex, and booze. Rare is the politician who is not affected by any of these four. Undoubtedly, some politicians get addicted to one or more of them. But that doesn’t mean that he strangles dogs on the street.

I find it remarkable that Kevin Spacey is something of a psychopath. He played the part to the hilt. He did the same in the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Also in The Usual Suspects. Also in American Beauty. I thought he was a great method actor. I was wrong.

REALISM VS. DEVIANCE
I don’t like unrealistic dramas. I don’t even like unrealistic comedies. I turned off Alpha House after five minutes for the same reason that I turned off House of Cards. It just was not realistic. It tried to be funny, but it failed. If humor is not grounded in realism, it isn’t funny. This is why Mary Tyler Moore still holds up. Ted Baxter is funny because he is exaggerated. But everybody knows at least one insecure blowhard like Ted. This is why the exaggeration is funny. The same comment applies to Betty White’s Sue Ann Nivens, although I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone quite like her. But I can imagine somebody like her.

I also didn’t watch the evening soap operas of the 1980’s: Dallas and Dynasty. They made successful capitalists look crooked. Yet, all over the world, these two shows were wildly popular, especially Dallas. People loved to hate J.R. Ewing. I lived in Tyler. That was 90 minutes from Dallas. I never heard of anybody like J.R. Ewing. I remember all the hullabaloo in 1980 about “who shot JR?” That was the buzz around the world all through that summer. I had hoped that the shooter would turn out to be Nielsen. It wasn’t. The show lasted another 11 years, and then, 21 years later, it was revived for two years.

One of the greatest scholars of all time was the founder of the sociology department at Harvard, Pitirim Sorokin. He was an extraordinary student of culture, and he had graduate students who did a lot of his work for him. He was convinced that we live in the final stage of what he called the sensate culture. This is a culture that is geared to science, economic comfort, and moral dissipation. He said that one of the marks of our culture is that the great works of literature focus on deviant people. In the spring of 1960, as a freshman, I took an upper division course in the history of American literature. As soon as we got to the 20th century, the deviants began to proliferate. We had to read all three volumes of Studs Lonigan. This is how Wikipedia describes the trilogy:

Farrell wrote these three novels at a time of national despair. During the Great Depression, many of America’s most gifted writers and artists aspired to create a single, powerful work of art that would fully expose the evils of capitalism and lead to a political and economic overhaul of the American system. Farrell chose to use his own personal knowledge of Irish-American life on the South Side of Chicago to create a portrait of an average American slowly destroyed by the “spiritual poverty” of his environment. Both Chicago and the Irish-American Roman Catholic Church of that era are described at length, and faulted. Farrell describes Studs sympathetically as Studs slowly deteriorates, changing from a tough but fundamentally good-hearted, adventurous teenage boy to an embittered, physically shattered alcoholic.

We were also assigned the abominable novel, An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser. Dreiser was a drunk. So was F. Scott Fitzgerald. So was William Faulkner. I tried to read Absalom Absalom, but I stopped after one chapter. As I recall, I used Cliff’s Notes to get through the thing. Apparently, we’re supposed to revere Faulkner. I don’t see any reason why we should. The second half of that course was probably the most wasted half a semester that I ever took.

I must admit that I thought the best piece of acting that the great Robert Duval ever did was in a low-budget production of a Faulkner story, Tomorrow. It was a tightly focused story about a man who was not a deviant. He was not a drunk. He was a decent man with limited capabilities and limited goals. (The incomparable Horton Foote wrote the screenplay. When Foote and Duval teamed up, the results were spectacular. Think Tender Mercies.)

In my senior year course on the history of American literature for the Ron Paul Curriculum, after 1915, I do only movies. Hollywood until 1960 was run by Jewish moguls who were intensely patriotic, and they also understood what would sell the American people. The movies were mostly uplifting. There were a few exceptions, such as The Grapes of Wrath, but they really were exceptions. There were gangster movies, of course, but the gangsters always wound up the way Jimmy Cagney wound up in Angels With Dirty Faces and White Heat: dead. There was moral cause and effect in Hollywood movies up until 1960. That changed with Elmer Gantry and Inherit the Wind.

I am not much on nostalgia. My attitude towards the past is similar to P.J. O’Rourke’s. “When you hear the phrase ‘the good old days,’ think ‘dentistry.'” But that is not true about American novels and post-1960 Hollywood movies. I also don’t think it’s true of 20th century literature in general. The much-heralded great novels of the 20th century have not been marked by uplift. They have focused on deviants. I don’t see a lot of progress in highbrow literature. Things don’t seem to be getting any better. American movies show that American storytelling is still the best in the world. But the content of the stories is too often deviant. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was even worse than Virginia Woolf.

Reprinted here with the expressed, written permission from Dr. Gary North.

“The more you scream for equality, the more your unconscious is going to admire dominance”

The part that I found most interesting was the end, where Peterson makes two statements. First he say that women are responsible for distribution, men are responsible for production.  Women made sure that everyone got enough.  He points to this for the reason why there are a disproportionate number of women SJW.  “We don’t konw what women are like with political power because they’ve never had it.  What would a female political philosophy be like?  Make sure that everything is distributed equally.  

Are SJW trying to create chaos?  Otherwise, it would be static.  

He explains that “men test ideas, women test men.”

Finally, on protest and the use of shame and all of that that goes along with this radical move toward egalitarianism that there’s a tremendous amount of provocation.  Massive political demand for political equality, and the fastest selling novel that the world has ever seen was S&M fascination.  Crazy alliance between feminists and radical Islamists.  Why is it that feminists aren’t protesting non-stop against Saudi Arabia?  Great question. 

There is an attraction that’s emerging among the female radicals for that totalitarian male dominance that they’ve chased out of the west?  As the demand for egalitarianism and the eradication of masculation accelerates, there’s going to be a longing in the unconsious for the precise opposite of that.  The more you scream for equality, the more your unconscious is going to admire dominance.