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[Markets] How Fascism Comes To America

Authored by Doug Casey via InternationalMan.com,

I think there are really only two good reasons for having a significant amount of money: To maintain a high standard of living and to ensure your personal freedom. There are other, lesser reasons, of course, including: to prove you can do it, to compensate for failings in other things, to impress others, to leave a legacy, to help perpetuate your genes, or maybe because you just can't think of something better to do with your time.

But I'll put aside those lesser motives, which I tend to view as psychological foibles. Basically, money gives you the freedom to do what you'd like – and when, how, and with whom you prefer to do it. Money allows you to have things and do things and can even assist you to be something you want to be. Unfortunately, money is a chimera in today's world and will wind up savaging billions in the years to come.

As you know, I believe we're well into what I call The Greater Depression. A lot of people believe we're in a recovery now; I think, from a long-term point of view, that is total nonsense. We're just in the eye of the hurricane and will soon be moving into the other side of the storm. But it will be far more severe than what we saw in 2008 and 2009 and will last quite a while – perhaps for many years, depending on how stupidly the government acts.

Real Reasons for Optimism

There are reasons for optimism, of course, and at least two of them make sense.

The first is that every individual wants to improve his economic status. Many (but by no means all) of them will intuit that the surest way to do so is to produce more than they consume and save the difference. That creates capital, which can be invested in or loaned to productive enterprises. But what if outside forces make that impossible, or at least much harder than it should be?

The second reason for optimism is the development of technology – which is the ability to manipulate the material world to suit our desires. Scientists and engineers develop technology, and that also adds to the supply of capital. The more complex technology becomes, the more outside capital is required. But what if sufficient capital isn't generated by individuals and businesses to fund further technological advances?

There are no guarantees in life. Throughout the first several hundred thousand years of human existence, very little capital was accumulated – perhaps a few skins or arrowheads passed on to the next generation. And there was very little improvement in technology – it was many millennia between the taming of fire and, say, the invention of the bow. Things very gradually accelerated and improved, in a start-stop-start kind of way – the classical world, followed by the Dark Ages, followed by the medieval world. Finally, as we entered the industrial world 200 years ago, it looked like we were on an accelerating path to the stars. All of a sudden, life was no longer necessarily so solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, or short. I'm reasonably confident things will continue improving, possibly at an accelerating rate. But only if individuals create more capital than they consume and if enough of that capital is directed towards productive technology.

Real Reasons for Pessimism

Those are the two mainsprings of human progress: capital accumulation and technology. Unfortunately, however, that reality has become obscured by a morass of false and destructive theories, abetted by a world that's become so complex that it's too difficult for most people to sort out cause and effect. Furthermore, most people in the OECD world have become so accustomed to good times, since the end of WW2, that they think prosperity is automatic and a permanent feature of the cosmic firmament. So although I'm very optimistic, progress – certainly over the near term – isn't guaranteed.

These are the main reasons why the standard of living has been artificially high in the advanced world, but don't confuse them with the two reasons for long-term prosperity.

The first is debt. There's nothing wrong with debt in itself; lending is one way for the owner of capital to deploy it. But if a society is going to advance, debt should be largely for productive purposes, so that it's self-liquidating; and most of it would necessarily be short term.

But most of the scores of trillions of debt in the world today are for consumption, not production. And the debt is not only not self-liquidating, it's compounding. And most of it is long term, with no relation to any specific asset. A lender can reasonably predict the value of a short-term loan, but debt payable in 30 years is impossible to value realistically. All government debt, mortgage debt, consumer debt, and almost all student loan debt does nothing but allow borrowers to live off the capital others have accumulated. It turns the debtors into indentured servants for the indefinite future. The entire world has basically overlooked this, along with most other tenets of sound economics.

The second is inflation. Like debt, inflation induces people to live above their means, but its consequences are even worse, because they're indirect and delayed. If the central bank deposited $10,000 in everyone's bank account next Monday, everyone would think they were wealthier and start consuming more. This would start a business cycle. The business cycle is always the result of currency inflation, no matter how subtle or mild. And it always results in a depression. The longer an inflation goes on, the more ingrained the distortions and misallocations of capital become, and the worse the resulting depression. We've had a number of inflationary cycles since the end of the last depression in 1948. I believe we're now at the end of what might be called a super-cycle, resulting in a super-depression.

The third is the export of dollars. This is unique to the U.S. and is the reason the depression in the U.S. will in some ways be worse than most other places. Since the early '70s, the dollar has been used the way gold once was – it's the world's currency. The problem is that the U.S. has exported perhaps $10 trillion – but nobody knows – in exchange for good things from around the world. It was a great trade for a while. The foreigners get paper created at essentially zero cost, while Americans live high on the hog with the goodies those dollars buy.

But at some point quite soon, dollars won't be readily accepted, and smart foreigners will start dumping their dollars, passing the Old Maid card. Ultimately, most of the dollars will come back to the U.S., to be traded for titles to land and businesses. Americans will find that they traded their birthright for a storage unit full of TVs and assorted tchotchkes. But many foreigners will also be stuck with dollars and suffer a huge loss. It's actually a game with no winner.

What's Next

These last three factors have enabled essentially the whole world to live above its means for decades. The process has been actively facilitated by governments everywhere. People like living above their means, and governments prefer to see the masses sated.

The debt and inflation have also financed the growth of the welfare state, making a large percentage of the masses dependent, even while they've also resulted in an immense expansion in the size and power of the state over the last 60-odd years. The masses have come to think government is a magical entity that can do almost anything, including kiss the economy and make it better when the going gets tough. The type of people who are drawn to the government are eager to make the state a panacea. So they'll redouble their efforts in the fiscal and monetary areas I've described above, albeit with increasingly disastrous results.

They'll also become quite aggressive with regulations (on what you can do and say, and where your money can go) and taxes (much higher existing taxes and lots of new ones, like a national VAT and a wealth tax). And since nobody wants to take the blame for problems, they'll blame things on foreigners. Fortunately (the U.S. will think) they have a huge military and will employ it promiscuously. So the already bankrupt nations of NATO will dig the hole deeper with some serious – but distracting – new wars.

It's most unfortunate, but the U.S. and its allies will turn into authoritarian police states. Even more than they are today. Much more, actually. They'll all be perfectly fascist – private ownership of both consumer goods and the means of production topped by state control of both. Fascism operates free of underlying principles or philosophy; it's totally the whim of the people in control, and they'll prove ever more ruthless.

So where does that leave us, as far as accumulating more wealth than the average guy is concerned? I'd say it puts us in a rather troubling position. The general standard of living is going to collapse, as will your personal freedom. And if you're an upper-middle-class person (I suspect that includes most who are now reading this), you will be considered among the rich who are somehow (this is actually a complex subject worthy of discussion) responsible for the bad times and therefore liable to be eaten. The bottom line is that if you value your money and your freedom, you'll take action.

There's much, much more to be said on all this. I've said a lot on the topic over the past few years, at some length. But I thought it best to be brief here, for the purpose of emphasis. Essentially, act now, because the world's combined economic, financial, political, social, and military situation is as good as it will be for many years… and a lot better than it has any right to be.

One more thing: Don't worry too much. All countries seem to go through nasty phases. Within the lifetime of most people today, we've seen it in big countries such as Russia, Germany, and China. And in scores of smaller ones – the list is too long to recount here. The good news is that things almost always get better, eventually.

*  *  *

Clearly, there are many strange things afoot in the world. Distortions of markets, distortions of culture. It’s wise to wonder what’s going to happen, and to take advantage of growth while also being prepared for crisis. How will you protect yourself in the next crisis? See our PDF guide that will show you exactly how. Click here to download it now.

Published:4/22/2019 8:06:49 PM
[Markets] 'Boobus Americanus', The CIA, & How The PC Movement Is Destroying The World

Authored by Justin Spittler via CaseyResearch.com,

As longtime readers know, our founder Doug Casey isn’t just a world-class speculator. He’s a rare, independent thinker and a walking encyclopedia. Best of all, he isn’t afraid to speak his mind… even if that means offending people.

That’s a rare commodity these days.

Today, people would rather be “politically correct”…

And that’s a big mistake.

According to Doug, this “PC” movement is just “one more termite eating away at the foundations of Western civilization itself.”

Read on to see why...

Justin Spittler: Doug, I want to ask you about political correctness. Obviously, PC culture’s nothing new, but it kind of seems like it’s spreading like cancer these days. Terms like “gender inclusivity,” “cultural appropriation,” and “white privilege” are everywhere.

A good example is an announcement by the University of Minnesota in 2017… saying it was dropping the names “king” and “queen” from its Homecoming festivities in favor of “royals.” It did this in the name of “gender inclusivity.”

Is PC culture getting totally out of hand, or am I going crazy?

Doug Casey: Parts of the culture are borderline insane. There’ve been news items regarding this on scores of different colleges and universities across the U.S. What you mentioned at the University of Minnesota was just part of a greater movement. Although I’ve got to say that I find the use of “Royals” objectionable. I dislike the idea of a hereditary aristocracy – kings and queens and royals. They’re basically just successful, silk-clad gangsters. Why the royal family in Britain is looked up to is a mystery to me. They, like all royals in the world, historically are just descendants of successful thugs.

But that’s not the point that the PC people are making. They don’t want to see people identified by their birth sex. They would rather that people “identify” as whatever gender – and I understand there are supposed to be about 40 – you feel you belong to. You can say you are whoever you think you are. And oddly enough, I’m somewhat sympathetic to that. I think you should be able to call yourself what you want, do what you want, say what you want, this is all fine. And let people judge you by how you identify yourself. Say that you’re a hermaphrodite dinosaur who was born on Mars, if you want. I don’t care; it’s your problem. But these PC types want to legislate that people have to treat the psychologically aberrated as if they were normal. They want laws and punishments governing what you can and can’t do and say and even feel. They want to force you to respect, and pay for, the fantasies of a minority. And change – overturn actually – the whole social culture of the country. It’s a very disturbing trend. It’s likely to end in violence.

I believe I first heard the term “political correctness” used on a Saturday Night Live show back in about 1980. And I thought it was just a joke – like most of the things on SNL. But it turned out to be a real thing, and it’s been building momentum, for at least the last two generations. Where is it going to end? I’m not sure, but it’s just one more termite eating away at the foundations of Western civilization itself. People that go along with this stuff aren’t just crazy. They’re actually evil. They’re the same types who rallied around Robespierre during the French Revolution, Lenin during the Russian Revolution, Hitler in ’30s Germany, and Mao in China. It’s a certain personality type.

The fact that the average American still puts up with this kind of nonsense and treats it with respect is a bad sign. PC values are continually inculcated into kids that go off to college – which, incidentally, is another idiotic mistake that most people make for both economic and philosophical reasons. It’s a real cause for pessimism.

Justin: I agree 100%, Doug. But here’s something our average reader might not realize.

The PC “movement” is actually happening across the world.

For example, Cardiff Metropolitan University in the U.K. banned words like “mankind,” “homosexual,” “housewife,” “manmade,” and “sportsmanship” in an effort to “promote fairness and equality through raising awareness about the effects of potentially discriminatory vocabulary.”

Here are some of the university’s approved alternatives…

Instead of “manpower,” students and faculty should say “human resources.”

Instead of “mankind,” “humanity.”

Instead of “sportsmanship,” “fairness.”

Instead of “polio victim,” “polio survivor.”

So here we have another university trying to legislate what people can and cannot say in the name of fairness and equality.

But I really don’t see how this accomplishes anything. Would you agree?

Doug: Completely. The words you use control the way you think. These people don’t have good intentions, they have bad intentions. Destructive intentions. They’re opposed to all the things that, starting with Ancient Greece, made Western civilization unique, and better than any other on Earth. They’re opposed to the concepts of individualism, personal freedom, capitalism, economic liberty, free thought, and the like. And it starts with controlling the words you use. George Orwell pointed that out in 1984 where he created “Newspeak,” which was a new version of the English language that used all kinds of different new words in order to change the way people think. And to make it impossible for them to think clearly, because the words were purposely misdefined, often to the opposite of the meanings that they actually have. So, sure, this is part of the continuing corruption of Western civilization itself.

And you’re right, it’s not just in American universities. It’s in universities everywhere, because the culture of universities everywhere has been controlled by this whole class of progressives, social justice warriors, cultural Marxists, socialists – they go under a number of names. I don’t know what’s going to be done about it, quite frankly, because the average person doesn’t have A) the backbone and B) the philosophical knowledge to counter these people. So there’s great cause for pessimism, watching this happen and accelerate. It’s not slowing down, it’s accelerating everywhere.

For instance, some years ago I sat on the Board of Trustees of two different universities. The other trustees weren’t academics, but normal, successful middle-class people. And they were completely snowed by these crazy trends. They were of good will, but they’d been brainwashed by their own educations, and the culture around them, into thinking that although perhaps the SJWs and such were going “too far,” they didn’t actively oppose them. I’m afraid the intellectual and psychological battle has been lost.

Justin: Exactly, it seems people across the world are waging a war on their own freedom of speech. Meanwhile, you have the government waging a war on people’s privacy…

Facebook and internet service providers are hawking private browsing data, Google is listening in on our conversations, the CIA is hacking people’s smartphones…

As disturbing as this all is, I can’t say I’m surprised. Are you?

Doug: No, I wasn’t at all surprised by it. But people’s reaction to these horrible things is that, “Well, the CIA should be reined in a bit, they should be brought under control.” But this is the wrong reaction. The CIA – along with the NSA, the DEA, and a bunch of others – should be abolished, because the CIA has become an actual Praetorian guard. It’s become a government within a government. They have their own armed forces, they have their own sources of income. You can go rogue within the CIA, and if you’re powerful enough or clever enough you can basically do what you want because you’re an armed government agent that’s a member of a very powerful group.

These people are completely out of control. And they have a powerful propaganda machine that works around the clock to convince ignorant and paranoid Boobus americanus that they’re actually good guys, working for his interests against the rest of the world.

The CIA should be abolished because it’s dysfunctional, but also because it serves no useful purpose. It’s never ever predicted, through its so-called “intelligence gathering,” anything of value – ever. The Korean War, the rise of Castro, the fall of the Shah, the rise of Islam, the fact that the Soviet Union was just an empty shell – you know, they thought the Soviet Union was actually competing with the U.S. from an economic point of view. They’re always absolutely wrong on everything. It defies the odds of pure chance. They’re not just useless, but extremely dangerous. All the coups and revolutions they’ve plotted were disasters.

Can you abolish them? Can you get rid of them at this point? No, they’re far too powerful. And anybody that tries is either going to be killed and/or discredited by their black propaganda. At this point the situation’s completely out of control, and we just have to see where it ends. As an individual American, you should try to insulate yourself from these people. Because they’re not going away; they’re going to become even more powerful.

Justin: How can the average American do that? Should they flee to another country? Delete their Facebook? Is this something people can even escape?

Doug: It’s now a very small world, so it’s very hard to escape. But you just mentioned something to consider. I spend two-thirds of the year in South America, and travel a lot. Believe it or not, I don’t personally have a cell phone, because I don’t like to feel tethered to an electronic device. Societies down here aren’t nearly as electronically oriented as they are in the U.S. Though my internet connection in Cafayate, Argentina is much better than the one I have in Aspen. So, yes, that’s one thing. It’s easier to be out of sight and out of mind of the bad guys if you’re out of the U.S., which is the epicenter of all of this. I think that’s important. And being physically absent and trying to limit your use of electronic devices and be careful when you do use them. That’s about all you can do at this point.

Or you can be a good little lamb, and never think out of the box. To mix metaphors, you can act like an ostrich and stick your head in the sand, believing you have nothing to hide, because you’re one of the herd who never does anything wrong. Too few people have read Harvey Silverglate’s book where he points out how the average American often commits about three felonies a day.

But that book is surely inaccurate. It’s 10 years old. Now it’s probably like five felonies a day.

Justin: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today, Doug.

Doug: My pleasure, Justin.

*  *  *

If you enjoy Conversations With Casey, you’ll want to get your hands on our popular book – Totally Incorrect Volume 2. It’s Doug’s most controversial book yet… and you can get it for free. This book is not available anywhere else right now. Learn how to get your copy right here.

Published:4/7/2019 7:56:09 PM
[Law] He Killed a Man. Then This Gangster Changed His Life.

At 16, Casey Diaz went to prison for killing a man. The son of an alcoholic father, Diaz grew up in a rough neighborhood and... Read More

The post He Killed a Man. Then This Gangster Changed His Life. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:4/3/2019 2:33:55 AM
[Markets] Doug Casey: Why Socialism Is A Moral Failing

Via CaseyResearch.com,

Most likely Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) is the future of the Democratic Party – and of the U.S.

Why?

She’s cute, vivacious, charming, different, outspoken, and has a plan to Make America Great Again. And she – or at least her handlers – is shrewd. She realized she could win by ringing doorbells in her district, where voter turnout was very low, and about 70% are non-white. There was zero motivation for residents to turn out for the tired, corrupt, old hack of a white man she ran against.

The things she says are politically astute, although she herself doesn’t seem very intelligent. In fact, she’s probably quite stupid. But let’s define the word “stupid.” Otherwise, it’s just a meaningless pejorative – name-calling. Which I want to avoid.

But in fact she doesn’t appear to have a very high IQ. I suspect that if she took a standardized IQ test, she’d be someplace in the low end of the normal range. But that’s just conjecture on my part, entirely apart from the fact a high IQ doesn’t necessarily correlate with success. Besides, there are many kinds of intelligence – athletic, aesthetic, emotional, situational…

A high IQ can actually be a disadvantage to getting elected. Remember it’s a bell-shaped curve, and the “average” person isn’t a rocket scientist. That’s compounded by the fact half the population has an IQ of 100 or less. They’re suspicious of anyone who’s more than, say, 15 points smarter than they are.

However, there are better ways to define stupid than “a low score on an IQ test,” that apply to Alexandria. Stupid is “the inability to predict not just the immediate and direct consequences of actions, but the indirect and delayed consequences of your actions.”

She’s clearly unable to do that. She can predict the immediate and direct consequences of the policies she’s promoting: her supporters are very excited about “liberating” other people’s wealth that just seems to be sitting around. Power to the People, and AOC! But she’s completely unable to see the indirect and delayed consequences of her policies – which I hope I don’t have to explain to anyone now reading this.

If you promise people unicorns, lollipops, and free everything, they’re going to say, “Gee, I like that, let’s do it.” She’s clever on about a third grade level.

But there’s an even better definition of stupid. Namely, “an unwitting tendency to self-destruction.” All the economic ideas that she’s proposing are going to wind up absolutely destroying the country.

It’s as if she thinks that what’s happened recently in Venezuela and Zimbabwe – not to mention Mao’s China, the Soviet Union, and a hundred other places – was a good thing.

That’s my argument for her being stupid. And ignorant as well. But perhaps I’m missing something. After all, Karl Marx – who would thoroughly approve of her ideas – was both highly intelligent, and extremely knowledgeable; he was actually a polymath. The same can be said of many academics, left-wing economists, and socialist theoreticians.

So perhaps a desire for “socialism” isn’t just an intellectual failing. It’s actually a moral failing.

Socialism – A Moral Failing

Socialism is basically about the forceful control of other people’s lives and property. In my view, that’s evil.

I’m afraid Alexandria is evil on a basic level. I know that sounds silly. How can that be true of a smiling young girl who says she wants just sunshine and unicorns for everybody? It’s too bad the word “evil” has been so compromised, so discredited, by the people who use it all the time – bible-thumpers, hysterics, and religious fanatics. Evil shouldn’t be associated with horned demons and eternal perdition. It just means something destructive, or recklessly injurious.

The world would be better off if she went back to waitressing and bartending. But she herself isn’t the problem. She’s fungible. Her handlers can easily replace her, as an individual. The problem is that voters like what she represents.

It really helps to be young, good looking, and affable. But those things do nothing to solve the immense problems plaguing the U.S., just under the surface. Wouldn’t it be nice if everybody had a job paying at least $15 an hour, free schooling, housing was a basic human right, free medical, free food, and 100% green energy? It doesn’t sound evil – it just sounds stupid. But it’s actually both.

The problem isn’t just that she got elected on this platform in a benighted – but increasingly typical – district. The problem is that most young people in the U.S. also have her beliefs and values.

The free market, individualism, personal liberty, personal responsibility, hard work, rationality, free speech – the values of western civilization – are being washed away, everywhere. But it’s hard to defend them, because the argument for them is intellectual, economic, and historical. While the mob, the capita censi, the “head count” as the Romans called them, is swayed by emotions. They feel, they don’t think. Arguments are limited to Twitter feeds. Or 30-second TV sound bites.

When somebody says, for instance, “Why can’t we have free school for everybody? The university buildings are already built. The professors are already there. So why can’t everybody just go to class, and learn about gender studies?” The same arguments are made for food, shelter, clothing, entertainment, communication – everything in fact.

To counter that, you have to come up with specific reasons for why not. You end up sounding like a Negative Nelly because you’re telling people they can’t have something.

I guess I’ve given too much credit to the goodwill and the common sense of the average American. The proof of that is the success of AOC. Her election brings the average American’s psychological aberrations to the fore.

It’s exactly the type of thing the Founders tried to guard against by restricting the vote to property owners over 21, going through the Electoral College. Now, welfare recipients who are only 18 can vote, and the Electoral College is toothless. Some want to totally abolish the College, and have even 16-year-olds and illegal aliens voting.

Nobody, except for a few libertarians and conservatives, is countering the ideas AOC represents. And they have a very limited audience. The spirit of the new century is overwhelming the values of the past.

Everybody Will Blame Capitalism

When the economy collapses – likely in 2019 – everybody will blame capitalism, because Trump is somehow, incorrectly, associated with capitalism. The country – especially the young, the poor, and the non-white – will look to the government to “do something.” They see government as a cornucopia, and socialism as a kind and gentle answer. Soon, they think, everyone will be able to drink lattes all day at Starbucks while they play with their iPhones, living on a Guaranteed Annual Income.

The people who control the government definitely won’t want to be seen as “do nothings.” Especially while the ship of state is sinking in The Greater Depression. They’ll want to be seen as forward thinkers, problem solvers, and social justice warriors.

So we’re going to see much higher taxes, among other things. There’s no other way to pay for these programs, except sell more debt to the Fed – which they’ll also do, by necessity.

The government is bankrupt. But like all living things from an amoeba to a person to a corporation, its prime directive is to survive. The only way a bankrupt government can survive is by higher tax revenue and money printing. Of course, don’t discount a war; these fools actually believe that would stimulate the economy – the way only turning lots of cities into smoking ruins can.

I don’t see any way out of this.

Published:3/31/2019 4:46:10 PM
[Markets] Doug Casey: Why Modern Monetary Theory Will Destroy Money...

Authored by Doug Casey via InternationalMan.com,

MMT centers around the notion that the economy in general, and money in particular, should be the creatures of the State.

It’s not a new idea – the meme has been around in one form or another since at least the days of Marx.

MMT basically posits that the wise and incorruptible solons in government should create as much currency as they think is needed, spend it in areas they like, and solve any problems that occur with more laws and regulations.

It’s nothing new. Just a more radical version of the economic fascism that’s dominated the U.S. since at least the days of the New Deal. It’s just another name for an old, and very stupid, set of economic ideas. By stupid I mean, “showing an inability to predict the indirect and delayed consequences of actions.”

Won’t Work

Politicians are now talking about the supposed benefits of MMT. Pseudo-economists are doing their abstruse and incomprehensible mathematical computations about how it might affect the economy.

The public will easily be convinced they’ll get something for nothing.

But what we should be talking about here is moral principle. It’s not a question of whether MMT will work or not work. It won’t. It will work about as well as the economic policies of Venezuela and Zimbabwe. Or Argentina, where I am at the moment.

These schemes have never worked in all of history. They result in a vastly lower standard of living, along with social strife. MMT is about radically increased government control. The argument shouldn’t be over whether MMT will “work” or not. The argument should be about whether it’s moral and proper for people in the government – whether elected or appointed – to print money to change the economy into something that suits them better.

What Money Is

Money represents the hours of your life that you spent earning it. That’s the basic principle here. It represents concentrated life – all the things you want to have and do for yourself, and provide for others in the future.

When these people destroy the value of money, they’re destroying part of your life.

“Inflation” isn’t caused by greedy butchers, bakers, and gasoline makers. It’s caused by an excess of purchasing media. MMT will give the State total control of its quantity and quality.

If the government increases the money supply by, say, 10 times, general prices will go up by 10 times. The value of your dollar savings will drop 90% – perhaps most Americans won’t care, because they have no savings, just debt.

In any event, some people will get hold of a lot more of that 10x increase than others. And they’ll get hold of it earlier, before prices really take off.

Who? Inevitably cronies.

Moral Question

Look, absolutely every government intrusion into the economy – whether it’s taxes or regulations or inflation – always benefits the people in and around the government. And damages society as a whole.

But they’re sold to the voters, to the hoi polloi, to the “head count,” as something that will put them on easy street. Which is a lie, of course.

But that’s not what the argument should be about. The average guy doesn’t understand economics; he doesn’t think, he feels.

Furthermore, nobody talks about whether cockamamie ideas like MMT are morally right or wrong. Instead, they have pointless and ridiculous arguments about whether it works or not. Well, it doesn’t work. But that’s a distraction.

This matter is essentially a moral question, not a technical question. Does somebody in government have a right to determine your economic destiny? Or not?

The fact that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez [AOC] – an ambitious, terminally ignorant, morally crippled 29-year-old Puerto Rican bartender – is setting the tone for this whole discussion tells you how degraded the U.S. has become. It’s well on its way to turning into a giant welfare and police state.

But, as you know, I always look on the bright side. Which is that – if you give yourself a little psychological distance – this is all a comedy.

AOC, The Donald, Bolton, Bernie Sanders, Pocahontas, Hillary, Kamala, etc., etc. They’re all dangerous megalomaniacs. But the chimpanzees listen to them, choose teams, hang on to their every word, support them, and are easily incited to hoot and pant at each other.

The American public is going to get exactly what it deserves. I have no sympathy for them. Or about as much as I would have had for the Romans in the fifth century, when the empire was collapsing.

*  *  *

Clearly, there are many strange things afoot in the world. Distortions of markets, distortions of culture. It’s wise to wonder what’s going to happen, and to take advantage of growth while also being prepared for crisis. How will you protect yourself in the next crisis? See our PDF guide that will show you exactly how. Click here to download it now.

Published:3/27/2019 9:18:18 PM
[] Deb Heine: Here Are 50 "Journalists," NeverTrumpers, Celebrities, and DicPic-Sending Twitter Weirdos Who Most Embarrassed Themselves With Their Collusion Delusion Conspiracy Theories Deb Heine is like Casey Kasem counting down the hacks, grifters, loons, and cucks. The below Washington Post video makes mock of the Democrats who most hyped the Collusion Delusion. Now, you may say, "Wow, they went there?" But think... Published:3/27/2019 2:48:01 PM
[Markets] Doug Casey On The Year The World Falls Apart

Via CaseyResearch.com,

It’s “Totally Incorrect” week here at Casey Research...

We’ve shared Doug Casey’s uncensored insights – on topics ranging from the climate change hoax to the next 9/11-type event.

But today’s essay may be the most controversial one yet

Doug says a disaster of historic proportions is on the menu for 2019.

And it’s critical to understand what’s happening.

Read on for four specific predictions about what lies ahead. Some of these predictions may seem outlandish... but you owe it to yourself to hear what he has to say...

Prediction 1: The End of Retirement

The average American can forget about retirement. We’ve all heard these stories about how the average American couldn’t lay his hands on $1,000 to save his life. His expenses aren’t going away, however, even if his income does.

It seems like things have reached a critical mass. And if the economy slows down there are going to be a lot of people losing their homes again. They’ll be unable to pay their credit card bills, their car payments, their student loans, or anything else. They aren’t going to be able to buy anything. They wound up in breadlines in the ’30s. But today 40 million Americans have SNAP cards to take away the hunger pains and embarrassment of being penniless. There could be 100 million in a few years.

I know this sounds outrageous because right now everything is running fairly smoothly. The standard of living of the average middle-class American has degraded slowly over decades but hasn’t yet totally collapsed. But that’s the way it is a day before a volcano explodes, or a day before an earthquake, or minutes before an avalanche starts coming down.

This isn’t a theoretical discussion. Most retirement plans are in serious jeopardy. Many pension funds are already seriously underwater, even after a very long boom.

The situation is likely to deteriorate. The stock market is in a bubble. The bond market is in a hyper bubble. A lot of value could disappear very quickly. By the time this depression bottoms, in today’s dollars – I don’t know what the dollars are going to be worth – the Dow could trade at 5,000, or less. We’re going to see interest rates exceed what we saw in the early 1980s, when the U.S. government was paying 15%.

From a retiree’s point of view, things are not going to improve. It’s going to get worse, not better. His savings, if he has any, are going to be attacked from several angles. I don’t see any way out of this. Unless friendly aliens land on the roof of the White House and present Trump with some kind of magic technology.

Prediction 2: A White Male Privilege Tax, and Other Radical Tax Hikes

You’ve got to remember that the prime directive of any organism, whether it’s an amoeba, a person, a corporation, or a government, is to survive. Bankrupt governments – and they’re all bankrupt because of welfare state policies – are going to fight to survive. The only way that they can survive is to tax more and print more money. And that’s exactly what they’re going to do. Of course, don’t discount a war; these fools actually believe that would stimulate the economy – the way only turning lots of cities into smoking ruins can.

I suspect they’ll try to make white males bear most of the burden. That’s partly because they still have most of the money. And partly because it’s become fashionable to hate white males in particular. It’s natural to want to hurt people that they think are the problem – what Marxists would say are the “class enemy.”

We’re going to see much higher taxes, among other unsavory things. There’s no other way to pay for welfare state programs, except sell more debt to the Fed – which they’ll also do, by necessity. Inflation will get out of control as a result.

Of course, you’ve got to remember that as recently as the Eisenhower administration the top marginal tax rate was theoretically 91%. The average person didn’t pay anywhere remotely near that because it was a steeply progressive tax rate. Nobody did, frankly, especially the rich, because there were loads of tax shelters, which no longer exist. Hiding money offshore, among other things, was easy. Now these things are out of the question.

Now there’s no place to hide from the State. And envy is rampant. How bad could it get? In Sweden during the 1970s, the marginal tax rate, including their wealth tax, was something like 102%. So, almost anything is possible.

Of course they’ll raise taxes radically. It’s time to eat the rich.

Prediction 3: Like Venezuela, Socialism Will Conquer the U.S.

Its ideas already have. First, we should define what socialism is: it’s State ownership of the means of production. It was supposed to be a passing stage on the road to communism. Communism is communal ownership of private goods – houses, cars, shops, and consumer items – as well as capital goods. Nobody even talks about that anymore, since capitalism has given most people so much stuff that they don’t even have room to store it all.

Socialism in the U.S. is unlikely. Governments have found it’s much more efficient to simply have the State control capital, as opposed to owning and operating it. It’s so much easier to just take as much as they want of the profits, then blame the capitalists if something goes wrong with delivery of the goods.

Forgetting about North Korea and Cuba, there are no socialist states anywhere in the world. What we have instead are welfare states – where the government provides some degree of free schooling, free medical care, free housing, free food, and so forth. If not free, then subsidized. The next step is a guaranteed annual income.

The word “socialism” today is actually just shorthand for a welfare state, which is what Boobus americanus, the hoi polloi, really want. They don’t really care who owns the factories, the fields, and the mines. What they care about is that somebody gives them a soft life.

When you give people the ability to vote themselves free stuff at somebody else’s expense they’ll do it. But – much worse – they now actually think it’s the right thing to do. Why? Mainly because of the propaganda that they’ve absorbed through college, and the media, the entertainment world, and numerous other places. There’s no question about the fact that the U.S. will turn into a full-fledged welfare state.

Socialism is basically about the forceful control of other people’s lives and property. It isn’t just an intellectual failing. It’s actually a moral failing. Although – perversely – it’s sold as being moral. People buy it because they like to believe they’re doing the right thing.

It will end with an economic collapse. Then a political and – most importantly – a cultural collapse.

Prediction 4: A New 9/11-Type Event – Real or a Contrived False Flag

It’s entirely possible. It’s still completely undetermined what actually happened on 9/11, and who was actually behind it. Notwithstanding that, considering how the U.S. government continues to provoke people all over the world, there’s certainly some group, most likely Mohammedans, who’ll decide to strike out against the great Satan.

And as 9/11 showed, regardless of who was actually responsible, a very small number of people can have a very large effect on things. Especially when the system itself is critically unstable, which it is today.

They might do something like Mumbai in 2008. It took only two dozen fanatics with ordinary guns. They turned the whole city totally on its head for days. That was extremely cheap, low-tech, and easy. Warfare has always been a matter of economics; cheap trumps expensive. There are scores of ways to severely disrupt an advanced society for a trivial investment. On the other hand, it’s extremely expensive to disrupt a primitive society, as the U.S. is discovering in Afghanistan.

Anyway, “terrorism” is an extremely low-cost method of warfare. It will have a gigantic effect, when someone decides to use it in the U.S. 9/11 was just an amuse bouche. You can plan your life around something like that happening again.

The world is evolving at the rate of Moore’s Law in many regards. Let me emphasize that military technology is changing too. Aircraft carriers, B2s, F35s, M1 tanks, and so forth are basically junk. Great for fighting the Soviet Union, which no longer exists. They serve no useful purpose in the kind of battles that are likely in the future.

If someone wants to attack the U.S., they’re not going to use an ICBM; they’re extremely expensive, clunky, and you can see where they come from, guaranteeing retaliation. It’s total idiocy that even a maniac wouldn’t bother with. Not when you can deliver a backpack nuke by FedEx, cheap and on time. Or you could use any commercial aircraft, container ship, or truck.

If you want to blame Iran – and really whip up the U.S. population – there would be nothing like a small nuclear or radiological attack to do it. It’s a pity, since they’re a distant regional power with a failing economy, who present about zero threat to the U.S.

If I were to attempt putting my finger on exactly when the U.S. will go over the edge, I would think the real catalyst might be the next 9/11-type event. I don’t doubt it’s going to happen.

How are we any different than the Germans in the 1920s? They were one of the most civilized, best-educated countries in Europe and they fell into the abyss.

Published:3/23/2019 6:51:43 PM
[Markets] Toxic Chemical Inferno Threatens Houston Area As Black Plume Extends For Miles

The petrochemical fire that has been raging out of control at an oil storage facility in Deer Park, Texas since Sunday is now impacting the greater Houston area by what's been described as a "plume of thick, black smoke [which] for a third day intensified overnight as pungent fumes pervaded neighborhoods more than 20 miles away," according to Bloomberg and local reports

The Intercontinental Terminals Company in Deer Park, Texas on March 18. Image source: AP

The fire which has consumed highly flammable chemical tanks at the Intercontinental Terminals Company oil plant about 15 miles (24 kilometers) southeast of Houston remains "uncontrolled" according to local officials. 

The petrochemical fire had triggered a "shelter-in-place" warning for area residents on Sunday, who were further advised by Deer Park city officials to close air ventilation systems in their homes and close all windows.

Disturbingly, a black plume has settled over downtown Houston and has now reportedly made its way to the city's northside. Bloomberg cited one local woman who noted"You can really smell and taste it now."

According to prior local reports, the initial chemical tanks that caught fire were known to contain a highly flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixture called naphtha, which is often used as a raw material for production and conversion to gasoline.

Bloomberg further described:

"...in residential neighborhoods on the city's north side, a chemical odor descended Tuesday morning on an otherwise clear day."

Naphtha is classified as "Extremely flammable" and a dangerous irritant to humans if encountered in "high vapor concentration".

According to its chemical safety fact sheet it is "Irritating to eyes and respiratory system. Affects central nervous system. Harmful or fatal if swallowed. Aspiration Hazard."

Now a total of eight storage tanks are reported to be on fire after firefighters dealt with a drop in water pressure while attempting to extinguish the fire Monday evening. 

Starting Monday a thick haze began to gather over the fourth largest city in the United States, worrying employees who were in Houston's downtown high rises. 

City and environmental officials have throughout the ordeal assured residents that Harris County Pollution Control was conducing air quality monitoring tests of the area, but still cautioned residents to stay indoors if at all possible.

On Monday the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said in a public statement that there were no "immediate health concerns at ground level," but residents have complained that updates have not been issued fast enough. Monitors with the Intercontinental Terminals Company also sought to assure Deer Park citizens that "Readings are currently well below hazardous levels."

A number of Houston area schools were closed due to the potential for toxic air problems on Monday and Tuesday, and highways running near the facility were shut down in both directions. 

Potential health effects of the smoke include coughing, difficulty breathing and irritation to eyes and throat, according to the One Breath Partnership, an organization that works to improve air quality. — Bloomberg/Houston Chronicle

Deer Park residents were first notified early Sunday by the following public alert: "City of Deer Park issuing SHELTER-IN-PLACE emergency in Deer Park," the city wrote in multiple emergency messages. "Please take immediate action and seek shelter," the warnings directed.

In a follow-up warning which was also extended to Pasadena and other suburbs of Houston, people were advised: "Residents are asked to remain sheltered and avoid going outdoors if at all possible. Community air monitoring is being conducted and additional updates will be provided as they become available."

Published:3/19/2019 10:54:34 AM
[Cuba] The uses of socialism (Scott Johnson) When it comes to the creation of wealth, socialism is worse than worthless. It is a great destroyer. For the promotion of equality by immiseration of the people who suffer under it, socialism is a powerful tool. But as a means of social control by the ruling elite, it is unparalleled. Yesterday’s long New York Times story by Nicholas Casey — “‘It Is Unspeakable’: How Maduro Used Cuban Doctors to Published:3/19/2019 7:31:29 AM
[Markets] Doug Casey Destroys The Modern Monetary Theory Miasma

Via CaseyResearch.com,

The left has a new obsession... Modern Monetary Theory (MMT).

MMT is an economic theory which essentially argues that the U.S. government wouldn’t need to collect taxes or borrow money to finance spending. It could simply print more money if necessary.

Now, this concept isn’t new. It’s been around for decades. But its popularity has skyrocketed, thanks to endorsements from Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), the new rising star of the Democratic Party.

This new breed of socialist Democrats has embraced MMT because it would make all their crazy ideas possible. The national debt, deficits, and inflation concerns would no longer stand in the way of projects like the Green New Deal or universal healthcare/housing/education.

In short, MMT would give the government a green light to spend money even more recklessly than it does now. That’s a problem.

So I got Doug Casey on the phone to discuss this matter at length...

Justin: Doug, what do you make of Modern Monetary Theory? Would this economic framework help or hurt the U.S. economy?

Doug: MMT centers around the notion that the economy in general, and money in particular, should be the creatures of the State. It’s not a new idea – the meme has been around in one form or another since at least the days of Marx. MMT basically posits that the wise and incorruptible solons in government should create as much currency as they think is needed, spend it in areas they like, and solve any problems that occur with more laws and regulations.

It’s nothing new. Just a more radical version of the economic fascism that’s dominated the U.S. since at least the days of the New Deal. It’s just another name for an old, and very stupid, set of economic ideas. By stupid I mean, “showing an inability to predict the indirect and delayed consequences of actions.”

Politicians are now talking about the supposed benefits of MMT. Pseudo-economists are doing their abstruse and incomprehensible mathematical computations about how it might affect the economy. The public will easily be convinced they’ll get something for nothing.

But what we should be talking about here is moral principle. It’s not a question of whether MMT will work or not work. It won’t. It will work about as well as the economic policies of Venezuela and Zimbabwe. Or Argentina, where I am at the moment. These schemes have never worked in all of history. They result in a vastly lower standard of living, along with social strife.

MMT is about radically increased government control. The argument shouldn’t be over whether MMT will “work” or not. The argument should be about whether it’s moral and proper for people in the government – whether elected or appointed – to print money to change the economy into something that suits them better.

Justin: It’s obvious that you find MMT, like other interventionist economic theories, to be immoral. Why is that?

Doug: Money represents the hours of your life that you spent earning it. That’s the basic principle here. It represents concentrated life – all the things you want to have and do for yourself, and provide for others in the future. When these people destroy the value of money, they’re destroying part of your life.

“Inflation” isn’t caused by greedy butchers, bakers, and gasoline makers. It’s caused by an excess of purchasing media. MMT will give the State total control of its quantity and quality. If the government increases the money supply by, say, 10 times, general prices will go up by 10 times. The value of your dollar savings will drop 90% – perhaps most Americans won’t care, because they have no savings, just debt.

In any event, some people will get hold of a lot more of that 10x increase than others. And they’ll get hold of it earlier, before prices really take off. Who? Inevitably cronies.

Look, absolutely every government intrusion into the economy – whether it’s taxes or regulations or inflation – always benefits the people in and around the government. And damages society as a whole.

But they’re sold to the voters, to the hoi polloi, to the “head count,” as something that will put them on easy street. Which is a lie, of course.

But that’s not what the argument should be about. The average guy doesn’t understand economics; he doesn’t think, he feels. Furthermore, nobody talks about whether cockamamie ideas like MMT are morally right or wrong. Instead, they have pointless and ridiculous arguments about whether it works or not. Well, it doesn’t work. But that’s a distraction.

This matter is essentially a moral question, not a technical question. Does somebody in government have a right to determine your economic destiny? Or not?

The fact that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez [AOC] – an ambitious, terminally ignorant, morally crippled 29-year-old Puerto Rican bartender – is setting the tone for this whole discussion tells you how degraded the U.S. has become. It’s well on its way to turning into a giant welfare and police state.

But, as you know, I always look on the bright side. Which is that – if you give yourself a little psychological distance – this is all a comedy. AOC, The Donald, Bolton, Bernie Sanders, Pocahontas, Hillary, Kamala, etc., etc. They’re all dangerous megalomaniacs. But the chimpanzees listen to them, choose teams, hang on to their every word, support them, and are easily incited to hoot and pant at each other. The American public is going to get exactly what it deserves. I have no sympathy for them. Or about as much as I would have had for the Romans in the fifth century, when the empire was collapsing.

Justin: Doug, you’re correct to point out that AOC has endorsed MMT. Stephanie Kelton, Bernie Sanders’ economic advisor during his last presidential run, is also a proponent of MMT. So this idea is gaining traction with Democrats.

Of course, neither the White House nor Congress dictates monetary policy. That’s the Fed’s job. And current Fed Chair Jerome Powell has already come out and called MMT “wrong.” Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers also recently called MMT “grotesque.”

That said, what are the chances MMT or some version of it gets implemented?

Doug: Interesting. It may be the first thing Summers has ever been right about in his whole life. As for Powell, he’s a non-entity, a lifelong bureaucrat plucked from obscurity – for God knows what reason – by The Donald. Trump has bizarrely bad judgment in the people he surrounds himself with. From that silly woman who was on The Apprenticewith him, to his lawyer Cohen, to Jared and Ivanka, Bolton… it’s like he goes out to the highways and the byways to round up the lame, the halt, and the philosophically blind. Regardless of his rhetoric, he’s very partial to warmongers and Deep State types.

But back to MMT. The chances of MMT being implemented are extremely high. It will almost certainly happen, at least after the next election, for several reasons.

One, the government is now running a deficit of roughly $100 billion a month; that will soon be $200 billion. They’ll be desperate for more revenue, which MMT will give them. Second, with demographics – the youth and non-white voters – as they are, the Democrats will get a lot more traction in 2020. Third, the U.S. will be in the midst of a gigantic crisis; it will be blamed on Trump, regardless of how much of it’s his fault. There are a number of other reasons the Democrats will win. But that’s a subject for another conversation.

They’re going to try every cockamamie idea they can to keep the ball rolling. Lots more controls of all types. More debt. More inflation. MMT is just going to be part of it. I don’t doubt they’ll try for a Constitutional Convention. It’s going to be a desperate situation, ending in a catastrophe. Not in the distant future but the near future. We’re on the cusp of the Greater Depression.

I know I’ve been saying this for years. But the idea of America has gradually degraded since about the time of Teddy Roosevelt, and the original Progressives. Then faster with World War I, faster yet with the New Deal, faster yet with World War II, the Great Society, the Nixon devaluation, the Reagan deficits, the War on Drugs, the War on Terror.

The only good news – and it’s super good news – is that science and technology have advanced as well. That’s maintained the general standard of living. Unfortunately, the State always gets first dibs on tech developments, and uses them against society. This long-term trend is now going hyperbolic. 

The next big example of this is the Social Credit System being implemented in China. And soon everywhere else. It’s a pity that philosophy and morality have meanwhile only advanced at a snail’s pace. In fact, they’ve been going backward. It’s a very dangerous situation when we’re talking about nuclear, and even more advanced, weapons.

The bottom line? You can practically plan your life around their grasping the straw of MMT.

Justin: Doug, I know you object to MMT on moral grounds. But let’s face it. Most people don’t see monetary policy this way. They believe the Fed should play a role in guiding the economy, whether it’s through setting interest rates or adjusting the money supply.

Could you tell me why MMT would be better or worse than the current economic framework that the Fed employs?

Doug: Yes. Abolish the Fed, and the system of fractional reserve banking. Reduce the size of the U.S. government by about 90%. Default on the national debt, so that future generations of Americans aren’t made into serfs… there are a number of things.

But the chances of a change in the long-term trend at this point are approximately zero. Put it this way: The chances are slim and none. And Slim’s out of town.

Justin: Doug, proponents of MMT say it would work because of the U.S. dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency. Basically, they argue that the U.S. borrows in its own currency. Therefore, it can’t go bankrupt because it can just print more dollars when it needs to. What’s wrong with this thinking?

Doug: The U.S. dollar isn’t going to remain king forever. It’s in the process of being dethroned as we speak.

The Chinese, the Russians, and basically every other major economic power on the planet want to get rid of dollars. They realize dollars are the unbacked liability of a bankrupt government, even at this point. They don’t like having to use the dollar every time that they want to transfer assets. They don’t like the fact that everything they buy and sell in dollars has to be cleared through New York and is monitored by the U.S. government – their enemy. They understand how foolish it is to keep sending real goods to the U.S. in return for paper dollars, printed in unlimited amounts.

I suspect the rest of the world – believe it or not – is going back to gold. Simply because a trustworthy money is needed. They don’t trust each other’s currencies any more than the dollar.

At this point, the question from a practical point of view is, “What should you do with your money?”

You should own a lot of physical gold and silver. Keep a lot of it outside your home country. At some point within the lifetime of most people reading this right now, the dollar will lose all its value. It’s really serious.

Of course, I’ve been predicting gloom and doom for many years. It’s happened in slow motion, not an instantaneous catastrophe.

We’ll see what happens as we enter the trailing edge of the storm. Likely later this year.

Justin: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today, Doug.

Doug: You’re welcome.

Published:3/17/2019 7:46:34 PM
[Markets] Doug Casey On The Climate-Change Hoax, Part 2

Via CaseyResearch.com,

Today, I continue my conversation with Doug Casey and Strategic Investoreditor E.B. Tucker on the great climate change hoax. If you missed part one, click here to catch up.

Below, the guys take a closer look at what’s really going on… and why all of the hysteria is actually a big threat…

Justin: Why peddle this idea that the Earth is warming rapidly? What’s the motive?

E.B.: Bigger government.

I mean, climate change has become a pop culture drumbeat. If you watch the Oscars, somebody is going to say, “We’ve got to do something about the climate.”

But no one, of course, knows what to do. All they know is that we should give the government more money to do something about this. And that money is obviously going to come from the developed world. I mean you’re not going to get any money if you implement a carbon tax in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

So it’s basically just a giant tax scheme. I mean carbon taxes brought in $82 billion last year. That’s a big number. And no one even knows where this money goes. You can’t question it because everybody has the best of intentions.

Justin: It’s just one big money grab?

E.B.: It’s about more than just money. Carbon taxes give government much more control over commerce. When you buy an airline ticket to fly over Kansas, you’ve got to pay a bunch of money to a U.N. organization to mitigate the effect you have on the lower atmosphere or whatever as you fly through it in an airplane.

It’s stupid, but people go for it. I was in Mexico two weeks ago and took a domestic Aeroméxico flight. When I bought the ticket there was an option to “fly green” for an extra fee. The airline takes the money and buys carbon offset credits. It’s very popular actually. But no one really knows where that money goes.

And it’s only just the beginning. Now, you have Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez [AOC] saying the world will end in 12 years if we don’t do something about climate change. She’s proposing that we build trains across the ocean and rebuild every building in America to prevent this from happening. Somebody clearly benefits from all of this.

And it’s only going to get worse. You’ve got to put yourself in the mind of government bureaucrats, who are just businesspeople in government. Think of them as a government version of businesspeople.

They want their business to get as big as possible. And the U.S. government has never really collected more than roughly 18% to 20% of gross domestic product in taxes. But that’s not enough.

Let’s say that carbon taxes reach just 2% of economic output. For the developed world alone, that would mean around $1 trillion. It’s a serious amount of money.

So I think that climate change is a cover for big government. And it’s a great one. People will go for it. That’s why they’re pushing it so hard.

Justin: It’s clear neither of you thinks AOC’s Green New Deal is the answer. So what should be done about climate change? Anything?

Doug: Absolutely nothing should be done about it. As I’ve tried to indicate, the climate has a life of its own. If it’s affected at all by humans, our effect may be dwarfed by that of ants and termites – but that’s a whole other can of worms, as it were.

That’s not to say man can’t have a major effect on the Earth. Humans have wiped out a number of major species, from passenger pigeons to the buffalo. Both of those species once practically covered North America. And yes, we could probably pave the planet, and wipe out most life. But the exact opposite of that is more likely to happen.

The fact is that as technology improves – which is happening at the rate of Moore’s Law practically across the board – things become vastly more efficient, with much less waste. Not to mention the human population of the developed world is in an accelerating downtrend. CO2, which should be viewed as no more than necessary plant food, is a complete non-problem.

So, sure. Humans can have an effect on the planet, but not as major as the sun, volcanism, and other natural processes. The big danger isn’t climate change, it’s hysteria. And government, and the types who manipulate it, destroying the economy. I’m afraid that many scientists on the global warming bandwagon are there for purely selfish economic reasons. Unfortunately most science funding today is done directly and indirectly through the government. It’s a political process.

And if you’re a scientist who’s considered politically unreliable, who believes politically incorrect things, you’re not going to get the funding. You’re not going to get journals to publish your articles. You’re not going to get positions in universities, which are universally controlled by leftists. It’s interesting that the people who believe in AGW [anthropogenic global warming] are almost all leftists, and the people who don’t believe in it tend to be non-leftists.

Climate science has been turned from a legitimate branch of knowledge into a new age religion, where heretics are persecuted. It’s become a means to centralize even more power in the State. After all, the fate of the Earth is at stake!

So, it’s very advantageous to join the crowd if you’re a scientist, or at least not fight against it. It’s evidence of the corruption of science itself, which is really serious.

That’s another argument for getting the U.S. government 100% out of science of all types. The will, and the capital, to fund scientific projects will still exist. It just shouldn’t be allocated by the political process of government.

Justin: What threat does climate change pose to capitalism?

Doug: Climate change itself poses zero threat to capitalism. But the hysteria about it is a big threat. Why? Because the only way to alter something as major as the climate is through the government. You have to force people to do certain things and forbid them from doing other things. Power-hungry statists are using the hysteria as an excuse to do that.

Climate change has got an aura of moral righteousness about it. Marxists, socialists, and leftists are making Greenism into a new religion. Of course, it’s not designated as such; but these things are actually secular religions. They’re sold on the basis of being morally correct. They have dogmas, sins, saints, devils, clergy, heretics, crusades – the whole nine yards.

That’s a major reason why Greenism and global warmism are so popular. People always want to feel morally righteous, and that God is on their side. These things appeal to emotion, not reason. It’s all about psychology, not science.

Some of these people are actually saying it’s going to be the end of life on Earth – so you even have the religious idea of apocalypse. If there’s ever been any excuse for the people that hold these views to take control of everybody else, this is it.

It’s just further proof that there are two kinds of people in the world: people who like to control physical reality, and people who like to control other people.

It’s very clever on the part of these people to have harnessed pseudoscience and herded many scientists – although I don’t think it’s only a tiny but vocal minority – into the belief we’re all going to die because the oceans are going to drown us as the Earth turns into a giant steam bath.

How much warmer can things get than they’ve been since the last ice age ended 11,000 years ago? I don’t know and neither do they. How much longer is it going to be before we go into another ice age? I don’t know – and neither do they.

The real argument isn’t about earth science. It’s about political science.

And it’s very clever on the part of the people who are pushing it.

Justin: Great stuff. Thanks for speaking with me today, guys.

Doug: You’re welcome.

E.B.: No problem. It was a great conversation.

Published:3/4/2019 10:56:22 PM
[Right Column] Dems wrestle over how to vote on ‘Green New Deal’

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who once famously filmed a campaign ad in which he shot then-President Obama’s cap-and-trade climate proposal with a hunting rifle, said Wednesday he’s likely to vote “no.” “I got to work with reality. I got to make sure we have the benefit of affordable energy,” Manchin said. Asked about his colleague’s plan to vote present on the Green New Deal, Manchin responded, “They can do what they want to do. I’m not a present-type guy.” Other Democrats from coal-producing states, such as Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.) and Jon Tester (Mont.), said Wednesday they’re still reviewing the Green New Deal.

Published:2/28/2019 5:59:44 PM
[Markets] White House economist says forecasts of recession don't make sense It is puzzling that so many private-sector economists are forecasting a recession in 2020, Casey Mulligan, chief economist of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said Thursday. A survey released by the National Association for Business Economics on Monday ahead of a conference showed that 42% of the economists expect the economy will sink into a recession in 2020 and 25% predicted the downturn would start in 2021."I'm pretty surprised by that sort of assessment," Mulligan told reporters after a speech at the NABE conference. Growth has been in the 2%-3% range over the past year, he noted. "What is it that is going to bump us off 2 points to get into the negative territory?" he asked. It would make more sense if growth had been around a tepid 1% rate, he said. Mulligan said he didn't think there was "that much uncertainty" in the outlook. He predicted economic growth would expand at "something around" a 3% annual rate this year, inline with prior White House forecasts. "I don't really see fundamental reasons why that would change," Mulligan said. The White House's new economic outlook will be included in the fiscal-year 2020 budget proposal to be released March 11. Published:2/28/2019 10:58:45 AM
[Entertainment] HBO will soon have far more shows, but just one potential ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel In an interview, HBO programming chief Casey Bloys outlined a big increase in series for the premium-cable network, including a potential prequel for 'Game of Thrones,' its biggest-ever hit.
     
 
 
Published:2/9/2019 4:06:13 PM
[Markets] Doug Casey On Toxic Masculinity And White Privilege

Via InternationalMan.com,

Gillette thinks men can do better.

The razor company made this clear in a controversial ad that came out on January 13. If you haven’t seen it yet, I suggest you take a couple minutes to watch it. As you’ll see, it’s a clear response to the #MeToo movement and the ongoing war on “toxic masculinity.”

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that there were a lot of strong opinions regarding it. Some people love it. Others despise it. But I wanted to hear what Doug Casey thought… So I called him up last week.

Below, Doug shares his thoughts on the ad… toxic masculinity… as well as white privilege.

Just a forewarning, this is one of the most controversial Conversations With Casey we’ve ever published. You might want to skip reading this one if you’re easily offended.

*  *  *

Justin: Doug, what did you think of that Gillette ad?

Doug: The first thing that came to mind was that, when I was a kid in the ’50s, Schick razors used to sponsor boxing on television. Boxing, ritualized unarmed combat, is about the height of masculinity. It was, logically, sponsored by a razor company.

Now, we have a razor company that’s saying that almost any kind of masculinity is toxic. It’s a complete turnaround, an inversion. And, just as an FYI, Schick has run ads making the same point. As have Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s – both of which are owned by major corporations. I never previously cared what kind of razor I used – never even noticed the brand. But I’m simply not going to buy their stuff from now on, simply because I refuse to support these despicable people even on the tiniest level. I suppose I’ll give Porter Stansberry’s OneBlade razor a second shot. It’s a great shave, just rather retro.

Anyway, the Gillette ad basically says you should be ashamed to be a man, particularly if you’re a white man. The ad – which happens to have been directed by a woman I’ll describe as borderline psychotic – portrays men as horrible human beings. I haven’t done a count, but the only men even trying to do the right thing and moderate so-called toxic masculinity, are black men. So it’s not just that being a man is bad, but being a white man is particularly bad. No wonder 60,000 American white men commit suicide with opioids every year.

This is just one of many signs of the accelerating collapse of Western civilization and everything it stands for.

The whole politically correct [PC] culture has spread from universities, legislatures, entertainers, and the media into mainstream culture. Now, it’s reached the top of major corporations; it seems they all have “diversity officers” to ensure whites are put in their proper place. And if a corporation is involved in anything that impresses the morality police as even mildly non-PC, they don’t just abjectly apologize. They roll over on their backs like whipped dogs and wet themselves. It makes you sympathetic with Vanderbilt, when he said, “The public be damned.”

I don’t know how this is going to end, but trends in motion tend to stay in motion until they reach a crisis. And we’re heading for one at absolutely every level. Economically? That’s completely obvious. Politically? That’s completely obvious, too. It’s also clear that a psychological – spiritual, if you like – crisis is definitely in the making, too. A cultural crisis. This ad is indicative of that.

Justin: Yeah, the whole political correctness movement has taken on a life of its own. But I couldn’t help but wonder if the PC and outrage culture is about to peak. I mean how much worse can it get?

Doug: Well, the first time that I ever heard the term “politically correct” was on Saturday Night Live back in the early ’80s. I thought it was a spoof, part of a comedy gig. Maybe a riff on “politically unreliable,” a term the Soviets used to use. But it wasn’t. It was an opening shot for the whole movement. That movement has been gaining momentum, like an avalanche, for at least the last 40 years. It’s still gaining momentum.

Eventually there’s going to be some backlash. Probably a violent one. The popularity – no, celebrity status – of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a person with about as much worth as Venezuela’s Maduro – tells us that this thing hasn’t nearly peaked. All manner of Millennials are now “woke,” and emerging from the “safe space” in their parent’s basements.

Let me draw your attention to the fact there is no limit to how far out of control stupidity can get. Einstein was right. After hydrogen, it’s the most common thing in the universe.

We’ve already undergone a gradual revolution in economic thinking. It seems most people are now at least sympathetic, if not active supporters, of socialism and the welfare state.

We’ve had a slow-motion political revolution, with a gigantic and irreversible concentration of power in the State.

The next step seems inevitable. Cultural revolution.

As evidence for that assertion, let me point to China’s “Great Cultural Revolution” from about 1966 to 1976. The Red Guards, mostly teenagers and people in their twenties, took over the country. The idea was to destroy the “Four Olds” – old customs, old culture, old habits, and old ideas. China had already undergone a serious economic and political revolution since Mao took over after World War II. Now it was time to destroy what was left of traditional Chinese civilization.

Most people are unaware of how violent and completely out of control it became. Book burnings of pre-Mao literature. Red Guards – and everybody else if they were smart – waved Mao’s Little Red Book as “virtue signaling.” There was wholesale destruction of artwork, furniture, and clothing. Everyone, everywhere, wore “Mao suits” – your choice of grey, brown, or blue. Public shaming and beating. Millions were sent to the countryside for sessions of self and mutual criticism after 12 hours in the fields.

Is the U.S. Cultural Revolution going to be like the one in China? Not in its particulars, of course. This is 50 years later, and the U.S. isn’t full of starving workers and peasants. But something like it is underway. Social movements like Antifa, #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, and many others want major changes. They all want to be rid of old customs, old culture, old ideas, and old habits.

Everything associated with the old America is being discredited. Big things like free speech, the free market, individualism, limited government. Old religious traditions are debunked. The work ethic is laughed at, to be replaced by a guaranteed annual income. Little things from the car culture, to fast food, to houses in the suburbs are derided as toxic.

Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of things – in America and everywhere else – I’d like to see improved. And what constitutes improvement is a matter of opinion, open to discussion. But a wholesale overturning of the culture is vastly more serious than degradations in economics and politics. What’s happening is an attempt at cultural revolution.

The average American doesn’t realize what’s going on. Just like the average Chinese in the ’60s, he’s got his hands full just keeping his head above water. He doesn’t like the cultural revolution on a gut level. But he doesn’t understand it. Or think about it.

Soon, however, there’s going to be reaction, a backlash. It’s likely to be much more serious and violent than what we saw in the U.S. in the ’60s. Why? In those days, college students were a small minority. And not all their professors were hard-core leftists. Now almost everybody goes to college, and the indoctrination and peer pressure are overwhelming. That’s compounded by the pervasive influence of the entertainment business and the media.

On the other hand, the traditionalists are big on the internet, looking for their own interpretation of current events. Jordan Peterson is getting some traction, for instance. They’re also coalescing around various banners – much more than was possible in the ’60s. The country is dividing into traditionalists and antitraditionalists, like two heavy weights on the ends of a barbell.

The economics and politics of the U.S. have changed a lot over the last couple of generations – in the direction of the antitraditionalists. But the cultural battleground is the biggie. I see absolutely no indication that current trends are peaking – rather the contrary.

Justin: So the focus of the Gillette ad was mainly toxic masculinity. But PC types are also really concerned about “white privilege.”

What are your thoughts on this concept? Does white privilege exist in your eyes? I mean, most people would agree that many white people enjoy some privileges over minorities.

Doug: Well, Western civilization is the product of Europe and America. And Europe and America have historically been run by white people. This has been true since the founding of Western civilization in the days of the ancient Greeks, up through the Romans, through the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and Industrial Revolution. These are all exclusively products of Western civilization. Which, coincidentally, means the product of white males.

The so-called Social Justice Warriors, PC types, socialists, etc. and their numerous allies, hate Western civilization. Despite being – no, actually because it is – by far, by an order of magnitude, the freest, most accepting, most progress-oriented civilization ever. By an order of magnitude. And white males are inextricably associated with those values.

It’s very dangerous to talk about race these days because you’ll be accused of being either a racist or a Nazi – which are not the same things incidentally, but that’s a different discussion.

As I’ve explained before, everybody is a racist: blacks, whites, Chinese, you name it. We’re all racist. We tend to favor our own kind. Race is just the lowest common denominator. If there are no racial differences, people invent others – religious, political, cultural, what-have-you. You’ll recall Jonathan Swift talking about the Big Enders and the Little Enders – fighting over which end of a soft-boiled egg should be opened.

Religious groups are probably the worst offenders, after racial groups – which are just an accident of birth. Jews tend to favor Jews. Mormons tend to favor Mormons, Evangelicals prefer dealing with other Evangelicals.

I grew up with a lot of Irish Catholics, and if you weren’t an Irish Catholic you were suspect. This is not intellectually or morally admirable, but it’s genetically bred in human beings to favor your own kind.

At this point the U.S. has the makings of a race war. In the near future, whites will become a minority. They’ll represent less than 50% of the population. That plays nicely into the Identity Politics being promoted by the Left. They’re telling everyone that who you are as an individual isn’t nearly as important as what group you belong to.

Right now, it’s mostly a black/white divide. It’s incredibly stupid – but the Identity Politics agitators are encouraging blacks to see themselves first and foremost as blacks, not as individuals.

The fact is – and here’s a statement that many will find shocking – that the blacks who were stolen from Africa and enslaved were the lucky ones. As a libertarian, I’m opposed to slavery. That goes without saying. But blacks in the U.S. have it much better – about 30 times in economic terms – than blacks anywhere in Africa. Except the billionaire kleptocrats who control their governments.

Nobody can say with a straight face that blacks are held down by the whites in the U.S. It’s ridiculous. Black athletes are praised and worshiped by white people as much as white athletes. Black entertainers are paid tens of millions of dollars per year and idolized. There are plenty of very wealthy black businessmen. The black man in the U.S. can do absolutely anything that a white man can do.

However, this false meme that blacks are underprivileged has resulted in things like Affirmative Action. Which is totally counterproductive. If a black man graduates from a top university, everybody is suspicious of his credentials. Perhaps, they think, he got them through Affirmative Action.

Many people don’t want to have a black surgeon because he might be a product of Affirmative Action. Unlike having a Korean or a Chinese surgeon, who probably had to swim upstream, and be extra competent, to get to where he is.

The idea of “white privilege,” and blacks being held down as an underclass, is pernicious nonsense. Except, perversely, for the fact that white liberals are the ones who destroyed black culture by basically putting huge numbers of them on welfare, and essentially herding them into vertical ghettos in the inner city. White liberals, while claiming the moral high ground, are the ones who’ve turned the majority of blacks into an underclass, cemented to the bottom of society by the philosophy of Identity Politics, implemented by government programs.

Justin: What would you say are the objectives of these movements? Should we expect politicians to combat toxic masculinity and white privilege with legislation?

Doug: Of course. Having identified a non-problem, they’ll try to be heroes – with other people’s money – and use coercion to “solve” it. Now that the rabid left wing of the Demopublican Party controls the House, expect a flood of destructive proposals. There’s going to be more legislation that is pro-women, pro-colored people, pro-people with psychological or sexual aberrations, and pro-people of whatever the current meme is.

It’s only going to exacerbate the problem, which originated with legislation classifying people into groups according to their ethnic background or skin color. Sure, people tend to do that naturally. But when it’s solidified and concretized with laws, and they attempt to give privileges to the perceived underclass, that creates resentment, even hatred.

While, in the meantime, the trillions of dollars created by Central Banks has made the rich vastly richer while impoverishing the middle class. It’s building up to an explosion.

Legislation to solve a perceived problem usually makes it much worse. Almost everything government does winds up having the almost exact opposite effect that it’s intended to have.

The fact is that the average millennial is pro-socialism and pro-welfare. He accepts Neo-Marxist political and economic concepts as givens. And he buys into the idea of identity politics, where you’re viewed not as an individual but as black, a woman, or some other subdivision.

My main question is to what degree the cultural revolution will be violent. It may well be, especially since people seem to be self-segregating into red and blue areas. I can’t see that this is going to turn around and get better. When the economy collapses, which it will over the next couple of years, it’s likely to be a match to the social tinderbox these people have created over at least 50 years.

So, I’m not very optimistic about how this is going to sort out. If you want to be entertained, just turn off the audio on the news in the future and put The Rolling Stones’ “Street Fighting Man” on continuous loop. That’s all the audio you’re going to need.

I’m well aware that if this interview is widely circulated in Europe or Canada I could be banned from those places. But frankly I don’t give a damn.

Justin: Thanks for speaking with me today, Doug.

Doug: You’re welcome.

*  *  *

If you’re not offended by these discussions, you’ll definitely want to get your hands on Doug’s book: Totally Incorrect 2. It’s his most controversial book yet… as well as a vital guide for surviving the changes happening in America today. This book isn’t available anywhere else right now. Learn how to get your copy right here.

Published:2/2/2019 6:25:31 PM
[Markets] Crossing Borders With Gold And Silver Coins

Authored by Doug Casey via InternationalMan.com,

It’s well-known that you have to make a declaration if you physically transport $10,000 or more in cash or monetary instruments in or out of the US, or almost any other country; governments collude on these things, often informally.

Gold has always been in something of a twilight zone in that regard. It’s no longer officially considered money. So it’s usually regarded as just a commodity, like copper, lead, or zinc, for these purposes. The one-ounce Canadian Maple Leaf and US Eagle both say they’re worth $50 of currency.

But I’ve had some disturbing experiences over the past couple of years crossing borders with coins. Of course, crossing any national border is potentially disturbing at any time. You might find yourself interrogated, strip searched, or detained for any reason or no reason. But I suspect what happened to me crossing a few borders in recent times could be a straw in the wind.

I’ve gradually accumulated about a dozen one-ounce silver rounds in my briefcase, some souvenirs issued by mining companies, plus others from Canada, Australia, China, and the US. But when I left Chile not long ago, the person monitoring the X-ray machine stopped me and insisted I take them out and show them to her. This had never happened before, but I wrote it off to chance. Then, when I was leaving Argentina a few weeks later, the same thing happened. What was really unusual was that the inspector looked at them, took them back to his supervisor, and then asked if I had any gold coins. I didn’t, he smiled, and I went on.

What really got my attention was a few weeks later when I was leaving Mauritania, one of the world’s more backward countries. Here, I was also questioned about the silver coins. A supervisor was again called over and asked me whether I had any gold coins. Clearly, something was up.

I haven’t seen any official statements about the movement of gold coins, but it seems probable that governments are spreading word to their minions. After all, $10,000 in $100 bills is a stack about an inch high; it’s hard to hide, and clearly a lot of money. But even at currently depressed prices, $10,000 is only nine Maple Leafs, a much smaller volume. Additionally, the coins are immune to currency-sniffing dogs, are much less likely to be counterfeit, and don’t have serial numbers. And if they’re set aside for a few years, they won’t be damaged by water, fire, insects, currency inflation, or the complete replacement of a currency. Gold coins are in many ways an excellent way to subvert capital controls. And I think they’ll become much more popular in that role.

That’s because, all over the world, paper cash is disappearing. People are moving away from paper cash. That’s partially because there are fewer and fewer bank branches where you can cash a check, and ATM machines are costly to use. And partially because everybody has a cell phone and they’re starting to use them for even trivial purchases, like a cup of coffee. Governments are encouraging this because if all purchases, sales, and payments are made electronically, they’ll know exactly what you’re doing with your money.

From their point of view, the elimination of cash will have several major benefits: It decreases the opportunity for tax evasion, it decreases the possibilities of “money laundering,” it eliminates the expense of printing currency, it obviates counterfeiting, and it gives the state instant access to all of any individual’s cash. From an individual’s point of view, however, the safety and freedom offered by a stack of paper cash will disappear.

Much of the safety and freedom offered by foreign banks and brokerage accounts has already disappeared. Few people seem aware of the fact that not so long ago, there was no limit to the amount of cash you could transfer in or out of the US without reporting. Or that you didn’t have to report the existence of offshore bank or brokerage accounts (although you did have to report taxable income from them).

That changed in 1970, first with the passage of USC 3156, and then the perversely-named Bank Secrecy Act. The 1986 Tax Reform Act made it highly inconvenient, and largely uneconomic, to invest in passive foreign investment companies (PFICs). In 2010, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) required every foreign financial institution in the world to report info on US persons to the US government. The enormous regulatory burdens and potential penalties it imposes now make it very hard to find a foreign institution that will even open an account for an American.

These are all de facto capital controls. In the US, banks are starting to notify customers that they’re not responsible for the storage of cash, or gold, in their safe deposit boxes. When I was in New Zealand a while back, I was surprised to see that the suburban branch of a major bank was closing down its substantial safe deposit box department.

When I inquired why, the manager only knew that it was a new policy and if I wanted a box, I’d have to go to the main branch. This seems to be another worldwide trend. If there isn’t a safe place to store paper cash or gold, then people will be less likely to possess them.

But it’s getting worse. In recent times, a bill was passed that allows the US to deny issuance, or cancel, the passport of anyone who is simply accused of owing $50,000 or more in taxes. After all, it clearly states on your passport that it’s government property and it must be turned in on request. People are actually the most valuable form of capital. Emigration has always been nearly impossible from authoritarian regimes.

So what’s next? I expect, as the subtle war on both cash and the transfer of capital across borders gains momentum, that gold coins are going to become the next focus of attention. So I suggest you act now to beat the last minute rush.

Have a meaningful percentage of your net worth in gold coins.

Have a significant number of those coins stored outside the country of your citizenship.

Concentrate your future purchases in small coins that are indistinguishable from loose change. Things like British sovereigns (.23 oz of gold) or their continental equivalents (French, Swiss, German, Danish, Russian, etc., pieces of generally .18 oz of gold). Not only is gold cheap now, but all of these are currently at only a few percent above melt. Happily, they have collectible value, and they resemble common pocket change to an X-ray machine.

Also, do this: Put a bunch of silver Eagles in your brief case the next time you travel internationally and let me know if your experience resembles my own.

*  *  *

Clearly, there are many strange things afoot in the world. Distortions of markets, distortions of culture. It’s wise to wonder what’s going to happen, and to take advantage of growth while also being prepared for crisis. How will you protect yourself in the next crisis? See our PDF guide that will show you exactly how. Click here to download it now.

Published:1/30/2019 4:04:18 AM
[Markets] 'Election-Meddler' Wasserman Schultz Now "Fixing Democracy" In Venezuela

Regime change and foreign interventions are things that the two US ruling parties agree on regardless of how much they exchange blows at home. Venezuela is the latest place where Republicans and Democrats have found common ground.

If you watch the US media, you know what is happening in Venezuela: Dictator Nicolas Maduro is brutally suppressing the people he has been robbing for years, and now they have revolted and elected a true representative of their interest, the one true legitimate acting president Juan Guaido.

And now, as RT's Alexandre Antonov reports below, it’s up to America to ‘fix’ democracy by whatever means necessary.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee has even offered a simple explanation on how a ‘dream team’ of Democrats have prepared a package of laws, which will ensure Venezuela’s transition into a better future.

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell will be bringing humanitarian aid, Donna Shalala will stop the arming of Maduro’s thugs with batons and tear gas, while Debbie Wasserman Schultz gets arguably the hardest task of them all – taking on Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

You know, the one who – according to the current dogma of the American left establishment – already denied the Democrats the presidency in 2016 and whose puppet Donald Trump is currently trying to topple the Venezuelan government for some reason that only a 5-dimensional-chess master can understand.

Wasserman Schultz may hold a personal grudge against Putin. She had to resign as the Chair of the Democratic National Committee after leaked documents revealed how it was playing on the side of Hillary Clinton and against Bernie Sanders in 2016. The leak is widely attributed to Russia by American politicians and media.

The irony of Wasserman Schultz now being on the frontline of bringing democracy to Venezuela didn’t go unnoticed by Jill Stein, the head of the Green Party.

Stein is one of a handful of American politicians, who has publicly rejected American interference in Venezuela, saying it would be a greed-motivated disaster similar to those the US brought to Libya, Syria, Yemen, Honduras and Ukraine.

But who cares? Americans were told already that Stein is just a Putin tool stealing votes from Clinton and working for RT. Those were smears, but ‘alternative facts’ are not an invention of the Trump administration.

Opposing Washington’s regime change is a dangerous cause. Say a word of doubt, and you’ll find yourself in a virtual concentration camp for Putin puppets, Assad apologists and Maduro mouthpieces.

Just let the people who know how to cook up real democracy do their good work, right?

Published:1/28/2019 4:14:13 AM
[Markets] Doug Casey On The Government Shutdown: "Nobody Is Looking At The Important Thing Here"

Via CaseyResearch.com,

The U.S. government is shut down.

It has been for 28 days now – making it the longest government shutdown in U.S. history by a wide margin. And there’s no telling when it will come to an end.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the media’s having a field day with this. But I can’t help but wonder if this is as big of a deal as people are making it out to be. So I got Doug Casey on the phone to see what he thinks...

Justin: Doug, the U.S. government shutdown is now 28 days old. Are you surprised it’s lasted this long?

Doug: I’m not surprised, but I’m definitely pleased. There have been a number of shutdowns in the past. Sixteen days under Obama. Twenty-one days under Bill Clinton. Five separate shutdowns on Jimmy Carter’s watch. This one, like its antecedents, is no more than a tempest in a toilet bowl – just a nuisance for a small segment of the population. A proper shutdown would include the IRS [laughs].

In this case, the shutdown is because Trump isn’t getting the $5.7 billion he wants for his wall. But this begs the question… should there even be a wall? My answer is “no,” for a number of both practical and philosophical reasons. Keeping illegal aliens out is a good idea. But it would happen naturally if just two things were done.

Point number one, get rid of the welfare benefits that draw the wrong kind of people. During the 19th century, and up to the 1930s, there were absolutely no welfare benefits for immigrants – or anybody else, for that matter. As a result, you attracted opportunity seekers.

Point number two, all U.S. property should be privately owned. Including streets, sidewalks, and parks. That way if they can’t support themselves, or make an arrangement with somebody who will, they would simply have no place to sleep.

No welfare?! No unowned property where vagrants can loiter?! It sounds heartless. But I have no doubt that people like Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, New York’s Mayor DeBlasio, and thousands of other generous public servants would feed, clothe, and shelter them at their own expense.

But in today’s world, the public doesn’t want less government. They want much, much more. Polls show most Millennials favor socialism. So we can look forward to a paradise for the workers and peasants in the new future.

However I’m afraid nobody is looking at the important thing here.

Justin: And what would that be?

Doug: Some rather basic principles. Our topic is not why this shutdown occurred. It’s whether or not the shutdown is a good thing or a bad thing. To answer that question we have to decide to what extent the federal government is necessary. Everybody assumes that it’s always been there, and has always been the behemoth it now is. The average American not only confuses the government with the country – they’re actually two different things – but sees Washington, DC as a fixture in the cosmic firmament.

Let me make what some may feel is an outrageous statement: There’s nothing the government does that couldn’t and wouldn’t be done – vastly cheaper and better – by profit-seeking entrepreneurs. Further, a large part of what the government does is not just unnecessary, but destructive. And wouldn’t be done at all in a free market.

So, let’s look at a few departments that have been affected by this shutdown, and see how important they are to the conduct of life in the United States. Obviously this isn’t even scratching the surface. A proper discussion would take years. But it’s worth taking a few minutes here because the average American – forget about the average European – hasn’t even considered the concept.

My view is optimistic and hopeful. Basically, all the departments that have been shut down should actually be abolished wholesale. They serve no useful purpose. If they are useful, they should be privatized.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA] is an excellent example of this. Right now, 95% of its employees have been furloughed.

And I’m all for NASA in principle, or at least what it does. I’m a big fan of space exploration. But even though NASA is full of competent, high-IQ people, it’s run like the post office, or a DMV, or the military. It’s degenerated into a typical cost-plus government bureaucracy.

SpaceX, Blue Origin, and many other companies are proving that the private sector can do anything that NASA does – faster, cheaper, and better. Why? Because they’re not constrained by politics. They necessarily have to operate in a sustainable, efficient, innovative way. Because they’re doing it for profit. Which means they’re trying to create capital, not consume it.

Apart from that, the U.S. government is manifestly bankrupt. Soon enough, it won’t even be able to pay the interest on its debt, forget about science projects. That’s going to happen over the next couple of decades. NASA will be left high and dry – last in line for whatever funds there are.

NASA, and similar government enterprises, should be privatized. Either taken public in an IPO, perhaps with most shares distributed to all U.S. citizens, and its employees. Or sold to some company with an interest in space. That would turn it from a cash consuming liability into an asset.

Justin: What federal agencies would be better if taken over by the private sector?

Doug: The United States Department of Agriculture [USDA]. It has about 100,000 employees and spends about $140 billion a year. Those are amazing numbers, considering that only 1 to 2% of the U.S. population works in agriculture. Its useful functions – crop reporting, bio research and such – should be privatized. Of course all crop subsidies, price controls, planting limits, and the like should be abolished. They basically put farmers – especially politically well-connected ones – on welfare. And create distortions in the market.

The Department of Homeland Security should be abolished. In particular the Transportation Security Administration [TSA], one of their many divisions.

If airline security is necessary – if it actually makes sense to screen people before they get on planes – it should be the job of the airlines, not the government. Airlines shortsightedly offloaded the responsibility and cost of maintaining security to the taxpayer. But the costs should be reflected in the cost of flying. Air travelers who actually use this service – if that’s what it is – should pay for it. But it’s probably not necessary in today’s world of secured cabins.

What kind of middle-aged people – 60,000 of them – are willing to wear costumes and go through the dirty laundry of their fellow citizens, and interrogate them, for $15 an hour? It’s ridiculous and degrading theater.

Speaking of flying, the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] should be privatized. In particular its critical Air Traffic Control division, which is always a generation or two behind in its technology. That’s not going to improve, because funding from a bankrupt government will be increasingly sparse.

*  *  *

Tomorrow, we’ll share part 2 of our conversation, where Doug and I look at what the shutdown could mean for the National Park System as well as the Department of Defense. If you enjoy these discussions, you’ll definitely want to get your hands on our book: Totally Incorrect 2. It’s Doug’s most controversial book yet… as well as a vital guide for surviving the changes happening in America today. This book isn’t available anywhere else right now. Learn how to get your copy right here.

Published:1/20/2019 3:06:15 PM
[Markets] Pelosi Pummeled As Ocasio-Cortez Dominates Democratic Conversations On Social Media

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - freshman congresswoman who has held office for less than two weeks - is dominating the Democratic conversation on Twitter, generating more interactions - retweets plus likes - than the five most prolific news organizations combined over the last 30 days.

 Data: CrowdTangle; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

AOC remains far behind President Trump in the influence of her Twitter account, but he's the president - she's a 29-year-old new member of Congress who shot out of a cannon following the midterm elections. 

As Axios reports, among 2020 Democratic hopefuls, Sen. Kamala Harris (combining her Senate and personal accounts) had the highest Twitter engagement at 4.6 million interactions over the last 30 days - but that's still way behind Ocasio-Cortez - and even former President Barack Obama was lagging the socialist democrat, at 4.4 million interactions (but she's a lot more active on Twitter).

Ben Thompson, founder of Stratechery, points out that:

"In short, she is the first - but certainly not the last  of an entirely new archetype: a politician that is not only fueled by the Internet, but born of it."

But we thought that Trump using the internet and social media was unbecoming of a President?

However, not everyone is talking glowingly about AOC, as Doug Casey made clear yesterday, socialism is basically about the forceful control of other people’s lives and property.

I’m afraid Alexandria is evil on a basic level. I know that sounds silly. How can that be true of a cute young girl who says she wants just sunshine and unicorns for everybody? It’s too bad the word “evil” has been so compromised, so discredited, by the people who use it all the time – bible-thumpers, hysterics, and religious fanatics. Evil shouldn’t be associated with horned demons and eternal perdition. It just means something destructive, or recklessly injurious.

The world would be better off if she went back to waitressing and bartending...

 

When the economy collapses – likely in 2019 – everybody will blame capitalism, because Trump is somehow, incorrectly, associated with capitalism. The country – especially the young, the poor, and the non-white – will look to the government to do something. They see the government as a cornucopia, and socialism as a kind and gentle answer. Everyone will be able to drink lattes all day at Starbucks while they play with their iPhones.

The people that will control the government definitely won’t want to be seen as “do nothings.” Especially while the ship of state is sinking in The Greater Depression. They’ll want to be seen as forward thinkers and problem solvers.

So we’re going to see much higher taxes, among other things. There’s no other way to pay for these programs, except sell more debt to the Fed – which they’ll also do, by necessity.

The government is bankrupt. But like all living things from an amoeba to a person to a corporation, its prime directive is to survive. The only way a bankrupt government can survive is by higher tax revenue and money printing. Of course, don’t discount a war; these fools actually believe that would stimulate the economy – the way only turning lots of cities into smoking ruins can.

I don’t see any way out of this.

Published:1/14/2019 6:00:40 PM
[Markets] Doug Casey On Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: "Evil On A Basic Level"

Via CaseyResearch.com,

Justin’s note: America can’t stop talking about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC).

AOC, if you haven’t heard, is a 29-year-old democratic socialist. Earlier this month, she became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

And that concerns me. I say this because her platform is every socialist’s dream. She wants Medicare to be free. She wants college education to be free. She wants to cancel student debt. She wants to hike the minimum wage to $15. And she wants to replace oil and gas with green energy by 2030.

Now, I realize these ideas might sound good to some people. But none of this would come free. It would require massive tax hikes and a lot more national debt.

In short, she’s advocating for policies that often destroy entire economies.

Yet, she’s one of today’s most popular political figures.

I wanted to see what Casey Research founder Doug Casey thinks of AOC and her policies. So I got him on the phone to discuss his thoughts for this week’s Conversations With Casey...

Justin: Doug, AOC has been getting a lot of press lately. What are your thoughts on her? Specifically, what do you think of her platform and her idea for a Green New Deal?

Doug: Most likely she’s the future of the Democratic Party – and of the U.S. Why? She’s cute, vivacious, charming, different, outspoken, and has a plan to Make America Great Again. And she’s shrewd. She realized she could win by ringing doorbells in her district, where voter turnout was very low, and about 70% are non-white. There was zero motivation for residents to turn out for the tired, corrupt, old hack of a white man she ran against.

She’s certainly politically astute – but doesn’t seem very intelligent. In fact, she’s probably quite stupid. But let’s define the word stupid, otherwise, it’s just a meaningless pejorative – name-calling.

But in fact it doesn’t seem like she has a very high IQ. I suspect that if she took a standardized IQ test, she’d be someplace in the low end of the normal range. But that’s just conjecture on my part, entirely apart from the fact a high IQ doesn’t necessarily correlate with success. Besides, there are many kinds of intelligence – athletic, aesthetic, emotional, situational…

A high IQ can actually be a disadvantage in getting elected. Remember it’s a bell-shaped curve; the “average” person isn’t terribly smart, compounded by the fact half the population has an IQ of less than 100. And they’re suspicious of anyone who’s more than, say, 15 points smarter than they are.

However, there are better ways to define stupid than “a low score on an IQ test,” that apply to Alexandria. Stupid is the inability to not just predict the immediate and direct consequences of actions, but especially the indirect and delayed consequences of your actions.

She’s clearly unable to do that. She can predict the immediate and direct consequences of the policies she’s promoting – everybody getting excited about liberating all other people’s wealth that just seems to be sitting around. Power to the People, and Alexandria! But she’s unable to see the indirect and delayed consequences of her policies – which I hope I don’t have to explain to anyone now reading this.

If you promise people unicorns, lollipops, and free everything, they’re going to say, “Gee, I like that, let’s do it.” She’s clever on about a third grade level.

But there’s an even better definition of stupid. Namely, “an unwitting tendency to self-destruction.” All the economic ideas that she’s proposing are going to wind up absolutely destroying the country.

It’s as if she thinks that what’s happened recently in Venezuela, Zimbabwe – not to mention Mao’s China, the Soviet Union, and a hundred other places – was a good thing.

That’s my argument for her being stupid. And ignorant as well. But perhaps I’m missing something. After all, Karl Marx was both highly intelligent, and extremely knowledgeable; he was actually a polymath. The same can be said of many academics, left-wing economists, and socialist theoreticians.

So perhaps a desire for “socialism” isn’t just an intellectual failing. It’s actually a moral failing.

Justin: What do you mean?

Doug: Socialism is basically about the forceful control of other people’s lives and property.

I’m afraid Alexandria is evil on a basic level. I know that sounds silly. How can that be true of a cute young girl who says she wants just sunshine and unicorns for everybody? It’s too bad the word “evil” has been so compromised, so discredited, by the people who use it all the time – bible-thumpers, hysterics, and religious fanatics. Evil shouldn’t be associated with horned demons and eternal perdition. It just means something destructive, or recklessly injurious.

The world would be better off if she went back to waitressing and bartending.

Justin: Why do you think she’s resonating with so many people then? Is it because she represents something different from status quo, or is it because people actually like her ideas?

Doug: It really helps to be young, good looking, and have a nice smile. But there are immense problems in the U.S., at least just under the surface. Wouldn’t it be nice if everybody had a job paying at least $15 an hour, free schooling, housing was a basic human right, free medical, free food, and 100% green energy? I know it doesn’t sound evil – it just sounds stupid. But it’s actually both.

The problem isn’t just that she got elected on this platform in a benighted – but increasingly typical – district. The problem is that most young people in the U.S. have her beliefs and values.

The free market, individualism, personal liberty, personal responsibility, hard work, free speech – the values of western civilization – are being washed away, everywhere. But it’s hard to defend them, because the argument for them is intellectual, economic, and historical. While the mob, the capita censi, the “head count” as the Romans called them, is swayed by emotions. They feel, they don’t think. Arguments are limited to Twitter feeds. Or 30-second TV sound bites.

Justin: Can you elaborate?

Doug: When somebody says, for instance, “Why can’t we have free school for everybody? The university buildings are already built. The professors are already there. So why can’t everybody just go to class, and learn about gender studies?” The same arguments are made for food, shelter, clothing, entertainment, communication – everything in fact.

To counter that, you have to come up with specific reasons for why not. You end up sounding like a Negative Nelly because you’re telling people they can’t have something.

I guess I’ve given too much credit to the goodwill and the common sense of the average American. The proof of that is the success of AOC. The psychological aberrations of the average human are being brought to the fore.

It’s exactly the type of thing the Founders tried to guard against by restricting the vote to property owners over 21, going through the Electoral College. Now, welfare recipients who are only 18 can vote, and the Electoral College is toothless. Some want to totally abolish the College, and have even 16-year-olds and illegal aliens voting.

Justin: What are the chances that the U.S. adopts her Green New Deal plan or something similar? It seems increasingly likely that America will head in that direction in the coming years.

Doug: The U.S. will absolutely adopt something like that once Trump is out of office. They’ll do it for a half dozen cockamamie reasons that aren’t germane to this conversation. For the last couple of generations, everybody who’s gone to college has been indoctrinated with leftist ideas. Almost all of the professors hold these ideas. They place an intellectual patina on top of nonsensical emotion and fantasy-driven ideas.

Nobody, except for a few libertarians and conservatives, are countering the ideas AOC represents. And they have a very limited audience. The spirit of the new century is overwhelming the values of the past.

When the economy collapses – likely in 2019 – everybody will blame capitalism, because Trump is somehow, incorrectly, associated with capitalism. The country – especially the young, the poor, and the non-white – will look to the government to do something. They see the government as a cornucopia, and socialism as a kind and gentle answer. Everyone will be able to drink lattes all day at Starbucks while they play with their iPhones.

The people that will control the government definitely won’t want to be seen as “do nothings.” Especially while the ship of state is sinking in The Greater Depression. They’ll want to be seen as forward thinkers and problem solvers.

So we’re going to see much higher taxes, among other things. There’s no other way to pay for these programs, except sell more debt to the Fed – which they’ll also do, by necessity.

The government is bankrupt. But like all living things from an amoeba to a person to a corporation, its prime directive is to survive. The only way a bankrupt government can survive is by higher tax revenue and money printing. Of course, don’t discount a war; these fools actually believe that would stimulate the economy – the way only turning lots of cities into smoking ruins can.

I don’t see any way out of this.

Justin: Doug, AOC is proposing a 70% marginal tax rate to finance the Green New Deal? Could something like that actually happen?

Doug: Of course, you’ve got to remember that as recently as the Eisenhower administration the top marginal tax rate was 91%. The average person didn’t pay that because it was a steeply progressive tax rate. Nobody did, frankly, because there were loads of tax shelters, which no longer exist, including hiding money offshore.

In Sweden during the 1970s, the marginal tax rate, including their wealth tax, was something like 102%. So, almost anything is possible in today’s world.

Of course they’ll raise taxes. It’s time to eat the rich. But, perversely, many of the rich will deserve it, since many made their money as cronies during the long inflationary boom.

But look at the bright side. Look at this from AOC’s point of view. She doesn’t just get $200,000 a year plus massive benefits. That’s chicken feed. But lucrative speaking fees, director’s fees, consulting fees, emoluments from the inevitable Ocasio-Cortez Foundation, multimillion-dollar book deals, and sweetheart investment deals. Not counting undisclosed bribes. She’ll be worth $100 million in no time, like Clinton and Obama.

That’s not even the best part. She’ll be idealized, lionized, and apotheosized by an adoring public. The media will hang on her every word. That’s pretty rich for a stupid, evil dingbat. Other young socialist idealists will try – and succeed – in replicating her success. Congress will increasingly be filled with her clones.

Frankly, at this point, resistance is futile.

Justin: Thanks for speaking with me today, Doug.

Doug: You’re welcome.

Published:1/13/2019 8:53:28 PM
[Markets] A Metaphor For America?

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

34-year-old Casey King is so obese that he can’t work, he has to bathe outside in a trough like a pig, and he has to rely on his father to constantly take care of him. 

He now weighs more than 700 pounds, but he just keeps on eating massive amounts of unhealthy food. 

Just like America as a whole, he has absolutely no self-discipline and absolutely no desire to turn his life around.  On some level he understands that he is literally killing himself with his destructive behavior, but he does not have a desire to change.  Instead, he told TLC that he “will just eat until I am dead”

Featuring in a TLC TV series called Family by the Ton, Casey said: “I will just eat until I am dead, probably.

“I wake up around 12, figure out something I’m going to eat immediately [then it’s] TV, video games, bed — it’s not a lot of activity.”

Because of the hot weather in Georgia he prefers to skip clothes, wearing only a headset through which he uses to chat to other gamers playing online.

It is easy to criticize Casey for his lack of activity, but he is really not too different from most other Americans.

As I have written about before, the average American spends approximately five hours a day watching television.  We are willingly plugging ourselves into “the propaganda matrix” for thousands upon thousands of hours, and of course that is going to greatly affect our outlook on life and how we see the world.

But of course most Americans don’t watch television and play video games while naked.  But for Casey, clothes have become too restricting and so he just sits on his bed naked all day long

‘It’s hot in Georgia, and all my clothing is restricting and tight, so I just sit there naked, free as can be and no one bothers me — door’s shut, we’re good,’ he explained.

The gaming community has become a safe space for him because it allows him to escape his everyday life.

‘I’m accepted in all those virtual reality worlds and the gaming world I’m in,’ he said. ‘No one sees me. That is my outside. That is my world that I can be the Casey I want to be, but not be judged on my weight.’

The only reason why Casey is able to live this kind of lifestyle is because his father takes care of him and pays all the bills.

And on a much grander scale, isn’t this what our country is turning into?  Young adults are flocking to socialist ideas because they want the nanny state to take care of them from the cradle to the grave and give them everything for free.

At 34 years of age, Casey should be in the prime of his life, but instead he is utterly dependent on his father as he waits around to die.  He needs a reason to live, and right now he doesn’t have one.  In the end, this is not how he anticipated his life would turn out

‘I never would’ve thought at 34 I’d be living with my father, and I’d have no job, have no real money, and just be playing video games all day and eating,’ he said.

It would be really easy to look down on Casey, but the truth is that our nation is just like him in so many ways.

At this point, we are a nation that completely lacks self-discipline.  Obesity is at an all-time high in the United States, millions of us are addicted to legal and illegal drugs, we have one of the highest rates of alcoholism on the planet, 37 percent of all Americans have eaten fast food within the last 24 hours, and the CDC says that 110 million Americans currently have a sexually-transmitted disease.

But when I first learned about Casey, I didn’t think about any of those things.

Instead, I thought about our exploding mountain of debt.  Like Casey, we just can’t stop ourselves from going back for more.  We have been on the greatest debt binge in the history of the world, but our hunger just keeps growing.

In just a matter of days, the U.S. national debt will hit the 22 trillion dollar mark, but nobody in Washington seems to care.  But if you were to sit down and talk with most of our politicians, they would ultimately admit that all of this debt is an existential threat to our nation.  It is just that they completely lack the willpower to do anything about it.

We know that what we are doing is definitely going to kill us, but we are not willing to change.

Meanwhile, state and local government debt levels are at record highs, public and private pensions are unfunded by trillions upon trillions of dollars, corporate debt has doubled since the last financial crisis, auto loan debt is at an all-time high, credit card debt is absolutely soaring, and student loan debt has roughly tripled over the last decade.

So please don’t be too critical of Casey, because the truth is that he would make a perfect poster boy for what we have become as a nation.

When people point to a modestly good short-term economic number as some sort of “victory”, I just laugh, because the truth is that all of those numbers are fueled by record amounts of debt.

During 2018, we added close to 1.4 trillion dollars to our national debt.  If all of that money was pulled out of the economy and we had only been spending what we had been bringing in, we would be in the worst depression in American history right now.

The only way we can maintain our economic facade is by endlessly gorging ourselves on debt, but in the process we are literally destroying the bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have.

In the final analysis, what we are doing to ourselves as a nation makes Casey King look like a sharp, disciplined, athletic young man in comparison.

If we keep doing this to ourselves, we have no future, and nobody can argue with that.

Published:1/6/2019 6:41:37 PM
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