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[Judicial Confirmations] [Orin Kerr] Sen. Casey returns a blue slip for Stephanos Bibas I blogged a while back on the good news that University of Pennsylvania Law School professor Stephanos Bibas was nominated to fill a judgeship on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. Having flagged the nomination before, I thought I would add the good news that Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) reportedly has returned a […] Published:9/22/2017 9:51:42 AM
[Business] "You're Going To See A Rush For Gold" - Katusa Warns De-Dollarization Is Accelerating

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

Global strategist Marin Katusa is the New York Times best selling author of The Colder War, which details the geo-political power shift that threatens the global dominance of the United States. He’s also a well known resource hedge fund manager who legendary investor Doug Casey has called one of the best market analysts he’s ever worked with.

His prior forecasts noted that countries around the world would soon stop trading commodities like oil in the U.S. dollar, something we’re already seeing with China, Russia, Iran, and Venezuela, all of which are preparing non-dollar, gold-backed mechanisms of exchange.

This trend, according to Katusa in a must see interview with Future Money Trends, will only continue to weaken the U.S. dollar going forward and the result will be a massive capital flight to gold in coming years:

I think we’ll have a near term bounce on the U.S. dollar… then it’s going to be very weak… and then it’s going to go much, much lower… With China and Russia working together to de-dollarize the U.S. dollar starting with oil, which is the biggest market… and then all the other commodities.

 

You’re going to start seeing a massive unwind of these U.S. dollars in the emerging markets.

 

...

 

When that money comes back… which it will… and the world starts cluing in that the emerging markets need gold to convert the Yuan and the Ruble and all these different factors, you’re going to see a massive rush for gold.

Watch the full interview:

Katusa notes that he is preparing to “load up” on gold-based assets as the dollar strengthens and puts additional pressure on gold prices, but says that by next year major fund managers will start moving capital back into precious metals in response to dollar weakness, global de-dollarization and economic crisis:

Everybody wants to rush in when something’s exciting… but you take your position before the massive flow of money…

 

I think we have a near term dead cat bounce for the U.S. dollar… which will mean we’re going to have a little bit of weakness here in gold in the near term… the next six months is my time to load up.

 

…And when the funds flow come in… it’s going to be the equivalent of Niagra Falls coming through your garden hose.

The geo-political realignment taking place now stands to upend the financial and economic systems as we know them. This shift will not come without crisis and panic. The time to position yourself in gold-based assets is now.

Published:9/22/2017 1:51:59 AM
[Central Intelligence Agency] Ex-CIA Head Proposed Law That Would Make Reading Leaked Material A Crime

By Emma Best of Muckrock

     "We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

     - William Casey, 13th CIA Director   

Just months before the government’s first successful use of the Espionage Act against someone for leaking to the media, a declassified report written by then-CIA Director William Casey argued that just such an act would be irresponsible.

In the formerly SECRET paper, the Director stated that using the Espionage Act against media leakers was like “driving tacks with a sledge hammer” - grossly excessive. Months later, the government did just that, setting a precedent which is still used today. Two years later, Reagan’s war against leakers had pushed Casey into the even more aggressive position of threatening not just leakers with prosecution - but the Washington Post, the Washington Times, the New York Times, Time and Newsweek as well.

Far from minimizing the potential harm of national security leaks, Casey emphasized the damage that they could do. However, none of the five examples provided by Casey in his report resulted in any actual harm. Two examples “could have” resulted in adversary adjusting their techniques, though the language implies that hadn’t happened. A third and fourth example resulted in potential damage which forced the Agency to cut off contact with a human source lest that danger be amplified. While endangering human sources is never a good thing and disrupting HUMINT operations was unlikely to have been the intention, the report again indicates that no actual harm came to anyone. A fifth example placed someone in danger of being discovered, again a possibility which hadn’t come to pass, though it “could possibly have an adverse effect on U.S. relations” with an unknown group.

Casey took the time to point out that aside from a lack of discipline and professionalism, some leakers had specific motives, such as pushing a particular program or policy over another one.

Far from painting the media as the enemies of the public, Casey acknowledged that they were conflicted between their duties. Nevertheless, he conceded that it’s the job of the media to inform the public.

This concession didn’t stop him from also arguing that journalists be prosecuted and held in contempt if they refused to divulge their sources.

Casey also cited a legal argument that journalists do not have any legal protections for privileged communications, unlike doctors, lawyers and members of the clergy. As a result, they felt that a journalist could be “brought before a grand jury, given immunity from prosecution and can be compelled to identify the source of classified information.” However, care would need to be taken “to avoid making a journalist [into] a martyr.” To this end, a daily fine should be levied against the publisher until the questions were answered, rather than the journalist themself, which Casey felt was “legally feasible.” Casey also proposed a special prosecutor, an idea which was being explored by CIA elsewhere.

Curiously, Casey felt that this would not be “directed at the media, but at requiring the cleared government employee or contractor to live up to [their obligations].” How a measure that would directly fine publishers would impact the leaker would remain entirely unaffected, Casey failed to explain.

Casey also proposed legislation that would make the mere unauthorized possession of classified material a crime. At the time, this would put at risk anyone reading a New York Times article that reprinted classified material. Today, it would put anyone reading The Intercept or WikiLeaks at risk of potential prosecution, to say nothing of those involved in the outlets’ administration or distribution.

Despite his desire to see new legislation created that would specifically target media leaks (an all around better solution than bending preexisting laws to fill a role unintended by Congress), Casey argued against using the Espionage Act to prosecute leakers. Unlike specifically tailored and debated legislation, using the Espionage Act to target media leakers was excessive the same way that “driving tacks with a sledge hammer” was.

Ideally, Casey felt that the new law should not require they demonstrate that a leak caused any actual damage to the United States. Instead, the question should be whether or not the information was passed to someone not authorized to receive it.

Despite his desire to see the media prosecuted for their role in publishing leaks, Casey was not of the opinion that journalists are less patriotic than other Americans, though he added that “a few are less responsible than they should be.”

A memo to CIA’s General Counsel from the Chairman of the CIA Director’s Security Committee, written just months before Casey’s report, argued explicitly that while a “narrow legal standpoint” could potentially justify prosecuting media leakers under the Espionage Act, specific legislation was needed to properly deal with the problem.

Another memo written a few months before for the Director of the Intelligence Community Staff flatly stated that “no matter how one views it, this is a different crime from espionage.” It adds that “we should not drive tacks with a sledge hammer.”

Nevertheless, it would not be long before the Intelligence Community was doing just that.

Despite the misgivings in Casey’s edited paper about using the Espionage Act to target leakers, along with those expressed in the memo to CIA’s General Counsel, it was only a few months later that the government did just that by targeting Samuel Morison. This successful prosecution turned into a precedent used for decades, resulting in what Senator Moynihan called an “erratic application” the Espionage Act, which has since been used to target leakers and whistleblowers alike - and used to threaten media publishers themselves. To date, however, no such legislative solution has been passed. Instead, Reality Winner is charged under the Espionage Act for leaking a document to The Intercept.

You can read Casey’s full report on Unauthorized Disclosures to the Media below.

Published:9/17/2017 8:50:09 AM
[Academic freedom] How Does Your State Measure Up On Student Free Speech?

Authored by Casey Mattox via Alliance Defending Freedom,

More than four decades ago, the Supreme Court made it clear that public college students do not sacrifice their constitutional rights when they arrive on campus, finding “no room for the view that … First Amendment protections should apply with less force on college campuses than in the community at large.”

Yet the reality of most students does not reflect the promise of the “marketplace of ideas.” Universities are regulating what students may say, when and where they can say it, and even who will speak for them. Increasingly, state legislatures are responding by enacting laws to protect student free speech.

We are pleased to release today a review of these state laws – highlighting the states that have protected free speech on their state-funded campuses … and those that have a lot of work to do.

The Problem

For decades, universities have enacted “speech codes” to regulate student expression. These policies limit what students may say and often take the form of “harassment,” “civility,” or similar policies that lump constitutionally protected speech in with true threats, harassment, and other unprotected speech. For instance, just last year, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) successfully challenged an Iowa State policy that deemed speech “harassment” if other students thought it was not “legitimate” or “necessary” or “lacked a constructive purpose.” Despite these policies being clearly unconstitutional, they are very common.

In addition to restricting what students may say, many universities have also strictly limited when and where students may speak – often combining these limits with requirements that administrators approve student speech or literature distribution in advance. North Carolina State required students to notify the administration five days in advance of any oral or written communication anywhere on campus until we sued and a federal court ordered the policy changed. And one school has even arrested Young Americans for Liberty members for distributing the Constitution on their campus.

Finally, free speech is only free if students decide who speaks for them. Students regularly join together with like-minded students to advocate for any number of religious, political, or other causes, building community with one another and enriching the campus environment through their advocacy. Like all student groups, they seek to elect leaders who actually share the views that the group intends to promote. But some universities have tried to prevent religious and political student organizations from having that choice.

Why It Matters

Free speech on campus affects all of us. Today’s college students are tomorrow’s legislators, judges, teachers, and voters.

The lessons they are learning about how the First Amendment works will impact our future because what happens on campus will not stay on campus.

Indeed, the Supreme Court has even warned that if we do not protect free speech on campus, “our civilization will stagnate and die.” As dramatic as that sounds, when two-thirds of all Americans now attend college it is only natural that our broader culture will be shaped by what we learn about the value of free speech and religious freedom in those formative years.

How States Are Responding

While the First Amendment protects free speech, universities continue to violate these core constitutional freedoms. The ADF Center for Academic Freedom has litigated federal lawsuits against over a dozen colleges and universities in the last year alone. And we have a 90 percent success rate in challenging these violations of students’ First Amendment rights. If you’re a student, you should know your rights, exercise them, and ensure that your campus is respecting the First Amendment.

Appalled that their public institutions are suppressing rather than supporting free speech and association, states are increasingly enacting legislation to ensure that public universities affirm and protect those values. There are a number of model bills – all of which have their merits. But the American Legislative Exchange Council’s new “FORUM Act” would address all three of these threats to student free speech: ending speech codes, speech zones, and violations of students’ freedom of association. The legislation would also allow students to pursue legal action in state or federal court when their rights are violated.

As state legislatures consider ways to address the threats to free speech on their tax-funded campuses, we are pleased to provide this guide to current state laws protecting the rights of free speech and association on public university campuses. It is our hope that we will have to update this information frequently as more states join the fight to defend the First Amendment on our campuses, teaching students to know their own constitutional rights and respect the constitutional rights of others.

Published:9/16/2017 9:15:29 PM
[Air Force] High-Ranking CIA Agent Blows Whistle On The Deep State And Shadow Government

Authored by Aaron Kesel via ActivistPost.com,

A CIA whistleblower, Kevin Shipp, has emerged from the wolves den to expose the deep state and the shadow government which he calls two entirely separate entities.

“The shadow government controls the deep state and manipulates our elected government behind the scenes,” Shipp warned in a recent talk at a Geoengineeringwatch.org conference.

Shipp had a series of slides explaining how the deep state and shadow government functions as well as the horrific crimes they are committing against U.S. citizens.

Some of the revelations the former CIA anti-terrorism counter intelligence officer revealed included that “Google Earth was set up through the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and InQtel.” Indeed he is correct, the CIA and NGA owned the company Google acquired, Keyhole Inc., paying an undisclosed sum for the company to turn its tech into what we now know as Google Earth. Another curious investor in Keyhole Inc. was none other than the venture capital firm In-Q-Tel run by the CIA according to a press release at the time.

Shipp also disclosed that the agency known as the Joint Special Ops Command (JSOC) is the “president’s secret army” which he can use for secret assassinations, overturning governments and things the American people don’t know about.

FBI warrantless searches violate the Fourth Amendment with national security letters, which Shipp noted enables them to walk into your employer’s office and demand all your financial records and if he or she says anything about them being there they can put your supervisor in jail or drop a case against themselves using the “State’s Secret Privilege law.”

“The top of the shadow government is the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency,” Shipp said.

Shipp expressed that the CIA was created through the Council on Foreign relations with no congressional approval, and historically the CFR is also tied into the mainstream media (MSM.) He elaborated that the CIA was the “central node” of the shadow government and controlled all of other 16 intelligence agencies despite the existence of the DNI. The agency also controls defense and intelligence contractors, can manipulate the president and political decisions, has the power to start wars, torture, initiate coups, and commit false flag attacks he said.

As Shipp stated, the CIA was created through executive order by then President Harry Truman by the signing of the National Security Act of 1947.

According to Shipp, the deep state is comprised of the military industrial complex, intelligence contractors, defense contractors, MIC lobbyist, Wall St (offshore accounts), Federal Reserve, IMF/World Bank, Treasury, Foreign lobbyists, and Central Banks.

In the shocking, explosive presentation, Shipp went on to express that there are “over 10,000 secret sites in the U.S.” that formed after 9/11. There are “1,291 secret government agencies, 1,931 large private corporations and over 4,800,000 Americans that he knows of who have a secrecy clearance, and 854,000 who have Top Secret clearance, explaining they signed their lives away bound by an agreement.

He also detailed how Congress is owned by the Military Industrial Complex through the Congressional Armed Services Committee (48 senior members of Congress) giving those members money in return for a vote on the spending bill for the military and intelligence budget.

He even touched on what he called the “secret intelligence industrial complex,” which he called the center of the shadow government including the CIA, NSA, NRO, and NGA.

Shipp further stated that around the “secret intelligence industrial complex” you have the big five conglomerate of intelligence contractors – Leidos Holdings, CSRA, CACI, SAIC, and Booz Allen Hamilton. He noted that the work they do is “top secret and unreported.”

The whistleblower remarked that these intelligence contractors are accountable to no one including Congress, echoing the words of Senator Daniel Inouye when he himself blew the whistle on the shadow government during the Iran-Contra hearings in 1987.

At the time Inouye expressed that the “shadow government had its own funding mechanism, shadowy Navy, and Air Force freedom to pursue its own goals free from all checks and balances and free from the law itself.”

Shipp further added that the shadow government and elected government were in the midst of a visible cold war.

So who is Shipp and is he credible as a whistleblower, does he have credentials for the CIA? Aim.org wrote:

Shipp held several high-level positions in the CIA. He was assigned as a protective agent for the Director of Central Intelligence, a counterintelligence investigator, a Counter Terrorism Center officer, a team leader protecting sensitive CIA assets from assassination, a manager of high-risk protective operations, a lead instructor for members of allied governments, an internal staff security investigator, and a polygraph examiner. He was tasked with protecting the CIA from foreign agent penetration and the chief of training for the CIA federal police force.  Mr. Shipp functioned as program manager for the Department of State, Diplomatic Security, and Anti Terrorism Assistance global police training program.  He is the recipient of two CIA Meritorious Unit Citations, three Exceptional Performance Awards and a Medallion for overseas covert operations.  He is the author of From the Company of Shadows–CIA Operations and the War on Terrorism.

Shipp noted he was working with former NSA whistleblower William Binney but didn’t state what the two were working on together. Shipp is highly credible and may just be the highest level whistleblower. This leak is huge. He has been previously mentioned in the New York Times for blowing the whistle on the mistreatment of him and his family when they were put in a mold-contaminated home. He is also mentioned in a WikiLeaks cable during the GiFiles that I was able to dig up. Is this the beginning of whistleblowers coming forward to end the shadow government and deep state? You can watch Shipp’s full explosive presentation below.

Published:9/15/2017 8:09:09 PM
[8403e2a7-a2a6-4651-bacb-ef1a32f43a8d] 'Game of Thrones' to film multiple series finale endings to avoid leaks, HBO exec says HBO’s programming president Casey Bloys said “Game of Thrones” executives would film several different endings to avoid leaks. Published:9/14/2017 9:05:13 AM
[Afghanistan] It's Time To Take Out "Freedom Insurance"

Authored by Nick Giambruno via InternationalMan.com,

Only a fool tries to survive by acting like a vegetable, staying rooted in one place, when the political and economic climate changes for the worse.

—Doug Casey

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that America is in turmoil. That was on full display recently in Charlottesville, Virginia.

But it’s not just Charlottesville. There have been deadly clashes in Ferguson, Charleston, Dallas, St. Paul, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, and Alexandria.

America is headed for a new kind of civil war.

And when it erupts, you and your family will want “freedom insurance” - the ability to get out fast and set up comfortably in a more stable country.

I recently spoke with my friend and colleague Chris Lowe about this, and I knew I had to pass along our discussion to International Man readers. Chris is the editor of Bonner & Partners’ Inner Circle. His publication shares insights from Bill Bonner’s personal global network of analysts and investment experts.

*  *  *

Chris Lowe: You’ve been urging folks to diversify internationally. Why is that message so important now?

Nick Giambruno: The US is becoming more and more fragmented, as I’m sure our readers have noticed. I’ve never seen it more polarized.

In fact, I’ve only seen this degree of polarization in countries that have gone through civil wars. It all feels eerily familiar.

I was born in the US, and grew up there. But I used to live in Lebanon, which went through a nasty 15-year civil war. More than 120,000 died. Thousands more lost their homes.

And I currently live in Colombia part of the year. The country has a 50-year history of civil conflict.

Chris Lowe: What’s to blame for this situation?

Nick Giambruno: Identity politics are a big factor.

That’s when your religion, race, ethnic background, and so forth are the most important thing in politics. You’re no longer an individual American. You’re part of some group, undoubtedly being victimized by another group.

This naturally leads to collectivism, tensions… and eventually violence between the groups.

Identity politics were a big factor in Lebanon’s civil war. And they’re a big factor in the US right now. This poisonous trend is growing, and it’s probably unstoppable.

The media is another big factor. Most Americans live in a partisan information bubble with these 24-hour news networks and partisan websites. That accelerates the divide.

I lived in Beirut, Lebanon’s capital city, for about three years. It reminds me of the media there. About 6 million people live in Lebanon, but it has about a dozen 24-hour news channels. Each one caters to a different political/sectarian/ethnic group. This allows each group to live in its own media bubble.

Lebanon’s bloody civil war happened in the 1970s and 1980s. But it’s still an extremely divided country. It wouldn’t take much for its civil war to start up again.

The media in Lebanon helps incubate tensions there. Today, the same thing is happening in the US.

I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but Americans hate each other right now. And it’s getting worse. We’re just a market crash… a recession… or some other extreme event away from more widespread violence. A new form of civil war is even possible.

Chris Lowe: We’re not talking a return to 1861—to pitched battles between armies and hundreds of thousands dead. But if you define “civil war” as a situation where you have widespread violence, a rejection of political authority, and the National Guard on the street, it’s easy to see how America gets there.

Nick Giambruno: I agree. I can’t say exactly what it is. But something does seem to be brewing. And it’s not good. That’s why Doug Casey and I urge our readers to internationalize their lifestyles.

Call it what you want, but American society is cracking. Like you say, it’s not necessarily just the political system, but society itself. And that’s probably more worrisome.

Doug and I have talked about this a lot lately. Doug is older than I am. He’s in his 70s. And he says he hasn’t seen anything like this in his lifetime.

This is why I urge readers to diversify outside of the US. The fracturing of society will create a lot of political risk. And that’s on top of the risks from money printing, higher taxes, and increasing regulations.

Chris Lowe: What do you say to folks who see the idea of an America at war with itself as farfetched?

Nick Giambruno: We’ve seen this movie before. As Doug has been warning his readers for years, it happened in Bosnia in the 1990s. It happened in Afghanistan in the 1980s. It happened in Rhodesia—now Zimbabwe—in the 1970s. It happened in the Belgian Congo in the 1960s… in Cuba in the 1950s… in China in the 1940s… in Germany in the 1930s… and in Russia in the 1920s.

It also happened recently in Ukraine, where Doug and I visited last year. There, it started with the downfall of a Russian-backed thug who was replaced by a US-backed thug. The country lost itself in identity politics—people who identified with Russia versus those who didn’t.

From there, it descended into armed conflict. So far, more than 10,000 are dead and many thousands more are wounded.

As Doug puts it, if you stay put in one place… and you don’t have options when one of these extreme events happens… you’re going to wind up a victim.

No matter where you live, international diversification can greatly reduce the threat your home government poses to your personal and financial wellbeing.

Chris Lowe: How does it work?

Nick Giambruno: You know the benefits of diversifying your investment portfolio. If you put all of your asset “eggs” in one basket, you could lose your entire portfolio if that basket breaks.

The same idea applies to political risk. If your home country fractures—and suffers the kind of civil unrest and violence we’ve been talking about—you could lose everything.

Most people have medical, life, fire, and car insurance policies. You hope you never have to use these policies. But you have them anyway. They give you peace of mind and protection if the worst comes to pass.

International diversification is the ultimate insurance policy. Think of it as “freedom insurance.” It frees you from dependence on any one country. Achieve that freedom, and it becomes extremely difficult for any one group of bureaucrats to control you. The results can be life changing.

Everyone in the world should aim for political diversification. But it’s especially critical for those who live under a government that’s sinking hopelessly deeper into financial trouble. That means most Western governments… and the US in particular, given what’s going on right now.

*  *  *

We recently released a memo that reveals the underlying source of all this political polarization and social unrest in America… and a troubling truth about America that no one else will tell you. Click here to read it now.

Published:9/13/2017 8:01:56 PM
[Community] Size Matters

Authored by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

Recently, Doug Casey commented, in an essay, on the senselessness of giving to organized charities. I take a similar view. So, are we both heartless, having no concern for the well-being of others? Not at all.

Personal generosity is a laudable quality, but giving to a large organized charity is just plain foolish. At best, three-quarters of your donation will be gobbled up by the administration of the charity. If you genuinely wish to be of value to others, your generosity would be more effective on a local level, where you give directly to those who will benefit from it, and you’re more certain of the outcome. The larger the charity organization, the greater the certainty that much, if not all, of your donation will fail to reach those you hoped would benefit.

Similarly, the concept of community is that we surround ourselves with others, as this provides us with a better life. The concept originated before mankind even existed—lions hunting in a pride, monkeys shrieking at the approach of a predator, etc. Humans originally formed tribes for similar reasons. Then, the idea of community expanded as some individuals proved to be better at different tasks. One might have been a more proficient hunter, whilst another constructed a better shelter or made better tools.

This, in turn, developed into the idea of a fixed community, with some buildings being used as dwellings and others as places of business. The more people, the greater the diversity of skills and the greater the choice of whom to seek out, to fulfill tasks.

Hence, we develop the assumption that “bigger is better.” But, at some point, as a community grows larger, we find that depersonalisation occurs. We find that we have little personal relationship with the folks on the other side of town and our willingness to help them diminishes, as we come to realise that the favour is unlikely to be returned.

The effectiveness of “community” is based on the level of voluntary give-and-take.

This concept is reinforced in a situation where we live our entire lives in the same location, increasing the likelihood that we’ll be surrounded by family members, including in-laws and friends and associates with whom we develop symbiotic relationships over a period of years. The longer those relationships exist, the less immediacy we require on a return within the give-and-take.

The logical conclusion of “bigger is better” is city life, in which people come and go frequently and each individual becomes more solitary in his view as to what type of behaviour is most useful to him. The larger the population, the more the sense of “community” dries up.

Although a high-population community can function effectively, it tends to come apart in times of strife. If a riot occurs, your car is more likely to be senselessly burned by someone you don’t know and have never harmed. Likewise, during a food crisis, your neighbour is more likely to shoot you to gain the loaf of bread you’re taking home.  

So, somewhere between city living and “going it alone,” there’s an ideal size for a community, where neighbours are likely to help one another as needed, because they recognise the likelihood of a return on their “social investment.”

In the US, the Amish have arguably been more successful at this than anyone else. Whenever a community exceeds forty or so families, they begin the formation of another church district (community). This assures that each person benefits personally from the assistance of the others, even to the extent that the entire community gets together to raise a barn for a young married couple, without charging them. (At some point in everyone’s life, the favour has either been returned, or will be.)

The English country village has my personal endorsement as the most civilised form of community man has ever created, as it has one of every service that’s needed, but little more. But, although I’m British, I choose not to live in an English village, because they all fall under the aegis of a controlling and impersonal national government, within which I have no meaningful voice. Worse, at least for the present, that national government falls under the control of an even more dictatorial uber-government—the EU.

For a community to have an effective government, it would never grow beyond the level of the town hall—a meeting place in which each resident’s voice has a similar weight. (Even then, it would stand the risk of being more a democracy than a republic.)

But, as soon as a community grows beyond that size, the individual has an ever-decreasing say in managing his own affairs. In addition, he faces decreasing interplay between himself and his fellow citizens, leaving him ever more greatly exposed in those times when mutual respect and assistance may be essential.

Today, we’re approaching a period that will include the greatest level of social, economic and political change that we’ll ever face in our lifetimes. Whilst it will impact us all, the primary objective should be to minimize its impact on us so that we can come out the other side of it as undamaged as possible. (If we prepare ourselves well enough, we may even exit this period in a better position than we now have.)

In such a time, it would be wise to have the option to live in a small community, where we’re known and our involvement is respected. As conditions become more difficult, our voluntary participation in the survival and/or betterment of the community would be the glue that keeps its function ongoing. (And, here, I cannot stress the word, “voluntary” strongly enough. A community that has laws and regulations that demand contribution is a poor choice, regardless of its size.)  

For someone living in the UK, the odds of surviving well in, say, Winchcombe (population 4,500) are far better than in Manchester, a large, entitlement-conscious mill town of 2.6 million.

In the US, quiet, largely self-sufficient Jackson County, Florida (population 48,600) is a much better bet than Miami-Dade (population 2.7 million), a location that has considerable strife in the best of times and is only likely to worsen in a crisis.

But even a community that’s known to be peaceable may come under the control of a larger government. Central governments routinely regard small communities as being milk cows in the best of times and expendable in the worst of times.

In order to minimise such risk, there are two options.

The first is to find a small community in a country where the central government, however large it may be, is ineffectual—a community that largely ignores edicts delivered from the Capitol.

 

The second choice is to find a small country—a country too small to have a military and that has an appropriately small central government where the individual voice is easily heard.

Lastly, it’s important to note that, in the event of a global crisis, it will do little good to arrive in such a community after the crisis has already begun. This earns you a reputation as a refugee, running from a problem elsewhere.

Instead, it’s necessary to put down roots in such a community, even if it’s only part of each year; to gain acceptance during better times and to develop a genuine interplay between yourself and your community.

In choosing a community, size matters—especially during a crisis. A viable size dictates the opportunity of a good life during difficult times. The achievement of that good life is determined by how well you become a part of that community.

*  *  *

Doug Casey has spent more time and traveled to more countries than perhaps anyone else looking for the ideal place to live peacefully among like-minded individuals. Find out where your best chance at the good life is in Doug’s exclusive special report, Getting Out of Dodge. Click here to download your free PDF copy now.

Published:9/5/2017 6:38:27 PM
[Alternative currencies] The Three Faces Of Bitcoin

After plunging 20% in the last few days from its $5000 highs - following China's ICO ban, Bitcoin has bounced back to $440 today amid global turmoil...

As SHTFplan.com reported earlier, Rick Rule, the billionaire Chief Executive Officer of Sprott Global Resources, noted in his recent interview with Crush The Street:

Bitcoin to me is all positive… I’m a consumer of currencies and currencies are a medium of exchange… and the more competing currencies there are the better it is for consumers of currencies… I use U.S. dollars, I use Canadian dollars, I use gold, I use silver, and from time-to-time I use BitCoin.

 

The more competing currencies, the better the currency has to perform for the consumer.

But, Rule warns, just as we’ve seen historically with stocks, there will be bull markets, bear markets, bubbles and bursts. But astute investors who position themselves in the right blockchains or companies that operate them could see incredible gains. At the same time, however, he cautions that, at least for now, much of the market is based on speculation:

I don’t know [if it can go to $500,000 or $1 million per Bitcoin]… But I also think it’s possible for the market cap to go to zero if people lose faith in the algorithm… What happens in a market that goes from $450 where it was two years ago to $4500 is people only look in the future to directions gone in the past…

It’s an instrument of faith… Could it go to $10,000? Yes. Could it go to $100,000. I guess. Could it go to $0? Yes. Keep both numbers in mind.

Which brings us to the three faces of Bitcoin. As InternationalMan.com's Jeff Thomas explains, one of them is likely to prove to be the correct one and the reader should consider them all, as each has a valid argument in its favour.

Whenever we see an image of bitcoin, it’s not presented as a blockchain, as it should be, but as a gold coin, which it is clearly not.

Why should this be? Well, many of bitcoin’s staunchest supporters are libertarians, who revile fiat currencies as being of no intrinsic value. And they’re correct. Fiat currencies do not pass the Aristotle test of being durable, divisible, portable and intrinsically valuable. They, unfortunately, fail badly on the last requirement.

Unfortunately, so does bitcoin (and in describing bitcoin here, the same comments apply to other cryptocurrencies); hence the tendency to present it as a gold coin, something that does satisfy all of Aristotle’s requirements.

So, why are libertarians, who, one would think would be just as suspicious of electronic fiat currency as they would be about paper fiat currency, its greatest supporters?

Well, bitcoin has been presented as a currency that’s not produced by governments. It’s a blockchain, created by an unknown person or agency and is promised to be limited in its total production (as are precious metals.)  

Of course, libertarians, by their very nature, tend to be suspicious of such claims. Doug Casey has for years, quite rightly described the dollar as an “I owe you nothing,” a mere promise from a government that it will pay the bearer if it sees fit to do so. He has also quite rightly described the euro as a “who owes you nothing,” as it’s a mere promise from an uber government that controls individual governments that it will pay the bearer.

Following this line of reasoning, bitcoin is, (please forgive the double-negative) “no one owes you nothing.” There is zero evidence of who created bitcoin or whether there is any validity whatever as to the promise of limited production.

So, why on earth are many intelligent people so in favour of bitcoin? Well, if it  proves to be legitimate, it’s by far the most useful form of currency in an age when banks and governments are clamping down on the transfer of currencies and, in fact, are likely to confiscate the deposits now held in banks. Further, it might rival gold as a store of wealth. Therefore, if it proves to be legitimate, it is unquestionably the currency of the future for all those who value the freedom to do as they please with their own money.

Unfortunately, there is that nagging, “if .” And then there’s the recurrent argument that it has no intrinsic value, due to its intangibility. It cannot be physically possessed. Its existence is subject to the vagaries of the internet, without which it can instantly go to zero and remain there, as have all the other fiat currencies over history.

In my view, there are three faces to bitcoin. (Yes, a coin cannot have three faces but, again, bitcoin is not really a coin.) One of them is likely to prove to be the correct one and the reader should consider them all, as each has a valid argument in its favour.

Face #1: Bitcoin Is the Future 

Bitcoin is the currency of the Internet. It’s not produced by any government and is therefore a decentralised worldwide digital currency. It can be used to make purchases and other monetary transfers anonymously. It’s easy and cheap to use as, currently, no country regulates it. As other fiat currencies (paper currencies) become less trustworthy, bitcoin is likely to increase in value. As Governments around the world increase capital controls, it promises freedom from governmental control.

 

The IMF describes digital currency as the way of the future and has declared their intention of getting a digital currency in place by 2018 in what they describe as the “global economic reset.” Most international banks are establishing blockchain tech and cryptocurrencies into their business models. One, Goldman Sachs, describes blockchain technology as the “new technology of trust,” citing the fact that every single transaction remains within the blockchain “ledger.”

Face #2: Bitcoin Will Fail

The most important objective of those who control the world economic system is the coming re-set of the monetary system. The intention is to eliminate paper currencies and any other form of currency other than their own digital world currency. By so-doing, every monetary transaction, no matter how small, would be on record. Additionally, banks could disallow any type of transaction which governments did not endorse. Further, they would have the power to refuse access to and even confiscate deposits.

 

Bitcoin is the very enemy of that reset, as it would allow the world to simply opt-out of the world’s banking system. But, in retaliation, banks could disallow the conversion of bitcoin to world currency and could count on governments to classify bitcoin as “the currency of terrorists,” making the use of bitcoin a crime.

 

Governments have already been able to track bitcoin use and have arrested individuals who have made transactions that they disapprove of, but, for whatever reason, they’ve not pursued this tracking ability broadly as yet.

 

If the €500 note can successfully be eliminated under the pretense that it’s favoured by terrorists, there can be little doubt that bitcoin could be tarred with the same brush and made illegal internationally. If it became illegal to accept bitcoin as payment, bitcoin would quickly lose its perceived value and soon decline to its intrinsic value of zero.

Face 3: Bitcoin Is a Trap and Will Succeed

Globalists support the concept of electronic blockchain currency 100%. So much so, that that the world’s leading banks, have touted it as the way of the future.

 

Most people will accept the change to the new world digital currency easily, as it will be so easy to use. They’re unlikely to worry overly about the loss of control over their own money or their freedom to privacy when making transactions.

 

But the flies in this ointment are the contrarians, the libertarians who will do all they can to remain outside this system. Many hope to escape the coming world digital blockchain currency by using … a digital blockchain currency - bitcoin.

 

Bitcoin was created by the fictitious Satoshi Nakamoto, an admitted nom de plume that could be a cover for the Mises Institute or the CATO Institute, but just as easily could be a cover for the Federal Reserve or the IMF.

 

Neither of these latter entities is actively opposing the use of bitcoin. In fact, if it were their own system, they would have access to the record of all transactions that are presently assumed to be disappearing into the ozone.

 

Rather than fight those who oppose currency control, they would be wise to co-opt those who lead it and redirect them to lead the charge into world blockchain currency.

Each of the above is a valid argument and should be considered by the reader. To be sure, the concept of currency is about to change more dramatically than ever before in history.The jury is still out and more information is needed prior to coming to a conclusion as to where this is all headed. At the present time, bitcoin is highly useful for quick transactions and may be worth the risk as a short-term investment. As a store of wealth it remains a gamble. The best move might be to neither love nor hate bitcoin, but to wait and see.

But back to Rule to conclude:

"The truth is, a situation where six pimply faced 21-year olds in a garage can invent an algorithm and call it a currency, then paint that algorithm with a narrative and then turn it into money means that there will be an enormous proliferation of scams, just like there are in the penny stock business. Billions of dollars will be lost to unsupported narratives.

 

That does not change the fact that crypto currencies, and more importantly the distributed ledger, are an extremely important factor for our time and a factor that is absolutely for the good in aggregate."

Published:9/5/2017 5:06:21 PM
[World] Donald Trump Ends DACA Illegal Immigration Democrat Blasts POTUS

At a Labor Day event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) blasted President Trump on his plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Published:9/4/2017 12:28:20 PM
[American police] The Growing Threat Of The Police State

Authored by Nick Giambruno via InternationalMan.com,

 

Doug Casey, Jeff Thomas, and Nick Giambruno recently discussed a critical topic - the rise of a police state in the former “free” world.

Nick Giambruno: In my experience, the US has some of the most aggressive police in the world. I first noticed this when I started traveling many years ago.

I’ve also noticed that law-abiding citizens are more likely to encounter the police in the US. Both of these trends are accelerating.

What happened to “the boys in blue”—the friendly cop on the beat that everyone knew personally and trusted?

Doug Casey: The fact is that police forces throughout the US have been militarized. Every little town has a SWAT team, sometimes with armored personnel carriers. All of the Praetorian style agencies on the federal level—the FBI, CIA, NSA, and over a dozen others like them—have become very aggressive. Every single day in the US, there are scores of confiscations of people’s bank accounts, and dozens having their doors broken down in the wee hours of the night. The ethos in the US really seems to be changing right before our very eyes, and I think it’s quite disturbing. It’s a harbinger, I’m afraid, of what’s to come.

Jeff Thomas: Yes, this change has certainly been more prevalent in the US than elsewhere. And I don’t doubt that the black combat uniforms are intentional. Psychologically, combat gear is very threatening. It serves only one purpose—aggression. And blue is the color of officialdom, whilst black is the color of death. This, to me, was a very conscious change—maximum intimidation.

Nick Giambruno: Police training has also changed. The War on (some) Drugs and the so-called War on Terror have turbocharged police militarization. What are your thoughts?

Doug Casey: As a general rule, police are no longer trained as “peace officers.” They’re trained to be, and view themselves, as “law enforcement officers.” This is a very different thing. The police are a bigger threat to your property and your liberty, not to mention your life, than actual criminals. 

I started writing about the militarization of American police back in the 1990s, when it started happening in earnest. And it’s very disturbing, because the way a solider deals with the enemy is necessarily quite different from the way the police are supposed to deal with citizens.

The US has these numerous continuing wars around the world, so they wind up with lots of spare military equipment. And what to do with it? They bring it home and give it to the police because they think it might be helpful. And then, driving APCs and wearing body armor, the police get the wrong idea.

Furthermore, all the military vets—many of whom have extra Y chromosomes, as do most police generally—like the idea of wearing a uniform and like the idea of carrying a gun and giving and taking orders. They’re preferred hires for police forces. But they shouldn’t be, because you inevitably pick up bad habits, and inappropriate skills, hanging out in a war zone.

Jeff Thomas: Yes, this is very clear. Not long ago, I saw a training video where recruits were lined up, being drilled—punching their fists in the air, shouting in unison, “I have the power! I have the power,” over and over. This is the antithesis of the helpful neighborhood cop. It’s unquestionably Gestapo training and it’s borne out on the street. Police in the US, especially younger, recently-trained police, see the public as a threatening enemy and behave accordingly.

Nick Giambruno: So, what comes next?

Doug Casey: All these things compound upon the other. It’s a very bad trend. I see no reason why that trend is going to turn around. In fact, I expect it to accelerate, especially as the economy turns downhill and people become more restless and the Deep State feels that the plebs have to be kept under control. So, yeah, it’s a trend that’s been accelerating for several decades. And it’s going to keep accelerating until some type of a crisis blows it all up.

Jeff Thomas: The US government has consciously created a police state. Historically, whenever governments have done this, it was because they planned increased controls that they thought might incite rebellion. So the police state is created in advance to demonstrate that opposition to greater controls would be futile. We can therefore surmise that the controls that are on the way in the US are likely to be far more oppressive than at present.

Nick Giambruno: We’ve all travelled extensively. In fact, each of us currently lives abroad.

In your experience, do other countries have the same ultra-aggressive police?

Jeff Thomas: Certainly, every country now has riot police, but in many countries, they’re only trotted out in an emergency. I tend to rate countries based upon the ongoing presence of police in riot gear. The more prevalent they are, the less likely I am to want to spend a lot of time there. In the two countries where I spend most of my time, the cop on the beat doesn’t even wear a side arm.

Doug Casey: Here in Argentina, as blowback to the excesses of the military government 30 years back, the police and military are reviled or simply ignored by the public, relegated to a far more appropriate role as night watchmen. There is a very limited and nonthreatening police presence.

The average Argentine despises both the army and the police. This is a very good thing compared to, say, a country like Chile, where they actually love their army and police.

Jeff Thomas: Here’s an interesting point—I’ve spent a fair bit of time in Cuba over the years. This is a country that’s been characterized by the US government as oppressive in the extreme. But, even back in the early 90’s, I found the police there were, generally speaking, quite peaceable and even helpful. They carried pistols, but they could be talked to like anyone else. That’s still true today. It’s possible that, even today, if you yelled, “Kill Raul,” you might be escorted off to the hoosegow, but otherwise, you feel safe around the police. I can’t say the same about New York, Paris, or London. There, you feel… unease in the presence of police.

Nick Giambruno: The US has many vague, overly broad laws criminalizing mundane activities. It’s impossible for anyone to comply 100% of the time.

Many people think only major crimes like robbery and murder are felonies. But that isn’t true. Politicians have criminalized many ordinary activities through an ever-expanding mountain of laws and regulations.

It’s not that hard to commit a felony. Many victimless “crimes” are felonies.

A study by civil liberty lawyer Harvey Silverglate found that the average American inadvertently commits three felonies a day.

Today, there are thousands of federal crimes. The number is constantly increasing.

It brings to mind the words of the great Roman historian Tacitus: “The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.”

On that note, civil asset forfeiture is one of the most corrupting practices. It allows government agencies to grab private property without warning… then dare you to prove they’ve made a mistake.

What are your thoughts?

Doug Casey: You can be accused of almost anything by the government and have your assets seized without due process. Every year there are billions of dollars that are seized by various government entities, including local police departments, who get to keep a percentage of the proceeds, so this is a very corrupting thing.

People forget that when the US was founded there were only three federal crimes, and they are listed in the Constitution: treason, counterfeiting, and piracy. Now it’s estimated there are over 5,000 federal crimes, and that number is constantly increasing. This is very disturbing. It’s becoming Kafkaesque.

All the repressive aspects of government—civil forfeitures are just one—have been growing and compounding for years. It’s not a conspiracy; it’s the natural progression of all living organisms. They all want to grow, exert more control on their environments, and become more powerful. The problem is that government has unusual powers, and no longer seems to have many limits. So you can expect this trend to accelerate.

I saw the other day the government steals more from the American people through confiscations than is lost outright to robberies and muggings. It’s been reported that in 2015 civil forfeitures exceeded the amount stolen by all robbers. It’s quite amazing and disturbing.

Whenever a police department confiscates things under these laws, they get to keep some percentage. It varies but can be 10, 20, 30, 50 percent of what's confiscated, and they love it because the money goes to the local police department in question. They can use it for buying fun cop toys, or for buying further educational benefits, or whatever, for themselves. So, they're profiting from this stuff as directly as the criminals do that steal things from citizens. It's a total disaster.

Jeff Thomas: Yes, the US police now have the legal authority to become the modern version of the highwayman of old. But, today, it’s done with the assistance of a badge. Any authority can seize all your possessions, including the contents of your bank account, and simply absorb the proceeds into the department—legally. Although it can theoretically be contested, no one who’s just had all his money confiscated is going to be able to hire a lawyer. And this is no small-time scam. The take nationwide for civil asset forfeiture annually exceeds the total amount taken in burglaries by badgeless criminals.

Nick Giambruno: That brings us to the big question. Where will things go from here?

I doubt the police will tone down their current policies and practices. So, what will the police state look like in a few years?

Doug Casey: As I said earlier, the trend is accelerating. And the entire country is now polarized. Even more than it was in the late 60’s and early 70’s. It’s not just a difference of opinion; it’s a clash of worldviews. It’s increasingly impossible, even dangerous, for leftists and rightists, Trumpers and anti-Trumpers, to discuss politics. It’s—as hard as it may be to confront—the kind of atmosphere that precedes a civil war. I expect lots of violent confrontations between antagonistic groups in the years to come. The State will necessarily increase its police powers to deal with the problem. Perhaps they’ll even set up some new agency to deal with civil disturbances. And—like the TSA and every other national agency—it will become part of the firmament. And will find reasons for getting more money and power.

Jeff Thomas: I believe that, at some point, they’ll stage a series of false-flag events in which multiple killings will take place in public places in several states at roughly the same time. Maybe a church social in North Carolina, a daycare center in Chicago, a hospital in Nevada, and so on. The theme would be ordinary gathering places that everyone takes for granted as being safe. The attacks would be blamed on “domestic terrorists” and would be diverse enough to convince Americans that nowhere is safe from domestic terrorism and the government “has to do something.” After that, authorities will take action nationwide “to protect the public.” They’ll be above the law, and invasions will be considered unfortunate but necessary by the populace. It will be introduced as a “temporary emergency measure” but will become permanent. The US will be the leader in this policy, but the trend will be echoed in the EU and possibly elsewhere.

Nick Giambruno: Of course, someone living in the US or EU should plan to leave before that happens.

Jeff Thomas: Yes, that word, “before,” is the key word—one that many, many people overlook. Countless people have said, “Well, if it gets really bad, I’ll leave my home country for greener pastures.” Historically, this has proven to be a grave mistake. Once conditions are getting really serious, it often becomes illegal to exit without written permission. Additionally, if an exodus does begin, those countries that previously accepted expatriates suddenly pull in the welcome mat and lock the immigration doors. The time to implement an exit plan is prior to the implementation of intolerable controls. As to the US, that warning bell has already been rung.

Doug Casey: The most important first step is to get out of the danger zone.

Let's list the steps, in order of importance.

  1. Establish a financial account in a second country and transfer assets to it, immediately.

  2. Purchase a crib in a suitable third country, somewhere you might enjoy whether in good times or bad.

  3. Get moving toward an alternative citizenship in a fourth country; you don't want to be stuck geographically, and you don't want to live like a refugee.

  4. Keep your eyes open for business and investment opportunities in those four countries, plus the other 225; you'll greatly increase your perspective and your chances of success.

Where to go? In general, I would suggest you look most seriously at countries whose governments aren't overly cozy with the US and whose people maintain an inbred suspicion of the police, the military, and the fiscal authorities. These criteria tilt the scales against past favorites like Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the UK.

And one more piece of sage advice: stop thinking like your neighbors, which is to say stop thinking and acting like a serf. Most people—although they can be perfectly affable and even seem sensible—have the attitudes of medieval peasants that objected to going further than a day's round-trip from their hut, for fear the stories of dragons that live over the hill might be true. 

I'm not saying that you'll make your fortune and find happiness by venturing out. But you'll greatly increase your odds of doing so, greatly increase your security, and, I suspect, have a much more interesting time.

Let me end by reminding you what Rick Blaine, Bogart's character in Casablanca, had to say in only a slightly different context. Appropriately, Rick was an early but also an archetypical international man. Let's just imagine he's talking about what will happen if you don't effectively internationalize yourself, now. He said: “You may not regret it now, but you'll regret it soon. And for the rest of your life.”

Published:9/1/2017 6:52:09 PM
[Science] Chuck Todd stokes Twitter debate over whether he called MSNBC colleague 'hon' "Hey, Casey. Nice work, hon. Good stuff." Published:8/30/2017 7:29:07 PM
[Science] Lou Barletta will challenge Bob Casey for Pennsylvania Senate seat Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., announced Tuesday he would challenge incumbent Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., for his Senate seat next year. "Af... Published:8/29/2017 9:25:53 AM
[Capitalism] Capitalism - A New Idea

Authored by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

Capitalism, whether praised or derided, is an economic system and ideology based on private ownership of the means of production and operation for profit.

Classical economics recognises capitalism as the most effective means by which an economy can thrive. Certainly, in 1776, Adam Smith made one of the best cases for capitalism in his book, An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (known more commonly as The Wealth of Nations). But the term “capitalism” actually was first used to deride the ideology, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in The Communist Manifesto, in 1848.

Of course, whether Mister Marx was correct in his criticisms or not, he lived in an age when capitalism and a free market were essentially one and the same. Today, this is not the case. The capitalist system has been under attack for roughly 100 years, particularly in North America and the EU.

A tenet of capitalism is that, if it’s left alone, it will sort itself out and will serve virtually everyone well. Conversely, every effort to make the free market less free diminishes the very existence of capitalism, making it less able to function.

Today, we’re continually reminded that we live under a capitalist system and that it hasn’t worked. The middle class is disappearing, and the cost of goods has become too high to be affordable. There are far more losers than winners, and the greed of big business is destroying the economy.

This is what we repeatedly hear from left-leaning people and, in fact, they are correct. They then go on to label these troubles as byproducts of capitalism and use this assumption to argue that capitalism should give way to socialism.

In this, however, they are decidedly wrong. These are the byproducts of an increasing level of collectivism and fascism in the economy. In actual fact, few, if any, of these people have ever lived in a capitalist (free-market) society, as it has been legislated out of existence in the former “free” world over the last century.

So, let’s have a look at those primary sore spots that are raised by suggesting that collectivism will correct the “evils” of capitalism.

Prices Are Driven From the Top Down

This is unquestionably the case in the aforementioned countries, however, it is not so under capitalism. Under capitalism, each producer tries to get as much as he can for his product, but, as others are also creating the same product, those with the lowest price are the ones who will succeed. Therefore, the consumers effectively set the prices, based upon what they’re willing to pay.

But in any country where cronyism exists between big business and government, regulations can squeeze out the competition, allowing a monopoly for a given product. The definition of this marriage between business and government is “fascism.” The government makes it increasingly difficult, through regulation, for the small producer to compete with the larger producer (who gives kickbacks to the government).

Capitalism Only Benefits Those at the Top

Capitalism benefits those who produce the most, but it also benefits all others, as they have a free choice to purchase whatever products they wish, at a price they’re prepared to pay. If the producer demands too high a price, consumers instead buy his competitor’s product, putting him out of business. The consumer is therefore in charge of the price of goods. A producer only rises to the top if he produces the most affordable product (as did Henry Ford, 100 years ago, with his Model T. Through the free market, he lowered his price repeatedly and, in so doing, put America on wheels).

Capitalism Impoverishes the Masses

The free market offers more goods to more people at lower prices, which enriches the lives of all consumers, no matter how rich or poor. In so doing, it raises up the masses over time, providing them with more and better goods, education, health care, etc., enabling them to rise out of poverty. By contrast, overregulation and entitlements enslave those same people to poverty.

Capitalism Can Only Work if It’s Heavily Regulated

The whole idea of the free market is that it’s free from interference by others—most importantly, governments. If left alone, the free market will produce the goods the public are most willing to pay for, which results in an ever-self-levelling of products and prices. As soon as regulation enters the picture, the free market is compromised. What exists today is not a free market, as Adam Smith would have recognised it, but a bloated, dysfunctional socialist/fascist/capitalist mongrel of a system. Of course it doesn’t work.

Fascism is capitalism in decay.

—Vladimir Lenin

Quite so. Regulation is a cancer that slowly eats capitalism until it morphs into fascism.

Do not their leaders deprive the rich of their estates and distribute them among the people; at the same time taking care to preserve the larger part for themselves?

—Socrates to Adeimantus

What was true ca. 400 BC in Athens is true today. Fascism (or corporatist cronyism) results in 99% of the population coming under the diktat of the 1%, which is made up of government leaders and corporate leaders, working in concert, to the exclusion of all others. This is, in fact, the opposite of a free market.

The creation of new wealth is the only functional weapon against poverty.

—Doug Casey

New wealth comes from the bottom up - it’s as simple as someone building a better mousetrap, or building the old one more cheaply. In such a market, both the producer and the consumer benefit.

In a fascist system, the wealth gravitates to the top, eventually choking out the middle class and expanding the poorer class, and that’s just what we’re witnessing today. The solution is not to go further in this direction, but rather to try something new… or at least new to anyone living under the fascist system. Although it still retains some capitalist overtones, it is unquestionably not capitalism.

A last word—capitalism does exist today, but it lives in select countries that have not yet given in to overregulation. In those countries, the average person thrives and has opportunities far beyond what’s allowed in the former “free” world. Should the reader conclude that his present country is unlikely to go in the direction of capitalism, he may choose to vote with his feet in order to prosper the way his ancestors did 100 years ago.

*  *  *

Today, Washington’s dangerous fascist policies have pushed the US economy to the tipping point. Years of overregulation, corporate bail outs, manic money printing, and artificially low interest rates, have bloated and warped the economy. Now it’s about to unravel… That’s why New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and his team just released an urgent video. Click here to access it now.

Published:8/28/2017 7:22:59 PM
[Entertainment] Casey Wilson Gives Birth to Baby No. 2 Casey WilsonOh, baby! Casey Wilson has given birth to her and husband David Caspe's second child, a son they named Henry Caspe. The exciting news was announced Thursday on her podcast, Bitch...
Published:8/24/2017 6:21:29 PM
[Bond] They're Using Bernie Madoff Math To Hide A Crisis

Authored by Nick Giambruno via InternationalMan.com,

Politicians are always generous with other people’s money… until it runs out.

Near the peak of the late-’90s tech bubble, California’s legislature passed the largest pension increase in its history.

Today, with as much as $750 billion in unfunded public pension debt, California has one of the worst pension situations in the country. But it’s far from alone.

Illinois has a staggering $250 billion in unfunded pension obligations. State pension plans in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and many other states are taking on water, too.

Unfunded public pension liabilities in the US have surpassed $5 trillion.

Taxpayers Are Stuck With the Bill

There used to be a simple formula for a secure retirement. American workers would work for a big company for decades. Then, at a certain age, they were eligible for a monthly pension check… for life.

Once common, pensions have virtually disappeared from the private sector. Today, less than 4% of companies offer them. It’s another vector in the devalued standard of living of the average American.

Essentially, only government employees get pensions now.

The government isn’t subject to the same constraints as the private sector. So it has no problem promising benefits it can’t afford to pay.

That’s because government revenue doesn’t come from the voluntary exchange of goods or services. It comes from taxes, which it extracts via coercion.

Politicians only care about the next election. So there’s no way to hold them accountable in the long term.

They automatically do the most expedient thing in the short term, like promising extravagant pension benefits. In the long term, their successors have to deal with the consequences.

Naturally, not one of the politicians who voted for California’s record pension increase is still in office.

It’s bad enough that politicians give themselves and other state employees extravagant retirement benefits and stick the taxpayers with the bill.

But the story gets worse…

Government pension plans use all sorts of accounting wizardry that would land someone in the private sector in prison.

Bernie Madoff Math

The single most important number for a pension plan is its assumed rate of return. This is the rate the plan’s investments are expected to make.

As in other areas of life, the government takes special privileges here. It uses accounting practices that the private sector can’t—not legally, anyway.

Essentially, government pension plans choose whatever rate of return they’d like.

Lawrence McQuillan—a senior fellow at the Independent Institute—says that government pension plans “work on the assumption that they’re going to generate returns 25% higher than Warren Buffett every single year into perpetuity.”

These assumptions are totally disconnected from reality.

Government pension plans overestimate investment returns using unrealistically high rates of return. They routinely pull numbers out of thin air.

The results they come up with are insane.

In effect, this artificially shrinks a pension fund’s liabilities, making it look more solvent than it really is.

In other words, the government is using Bernie Madoff math.

This lets politicians contribute less money than the fund needs to be truly solvent. That, in turn, frees up money to bribe constituents for votes, or do whatever else the politicians want.

On average, government pension plans assume about a 7–8% rate of return (even after years of underperformance).

False Assumptions

 

A recent study found that the average 2016 return for a public pension was an awful 0.6%, compared to an average assumed return of 7.6%.At those assumed rates, a dollar invested today would double in around nine years. This rosy assumption allows a pension plan to say, for example, that $25,000 in the fund today will cover a $50,000 obligation in 2026.

California’s public employee pension plan is the largest pension plan in the US. It recently voted to reduce its assumed rate of return from 7.5 to 7% over three years.

The move—which doesn’t go nearly far enough—generated enormous political controversy.

Lowering the rate of return to a more realistic number, if even slightly, means politicians would need to contribute more to a pension fund. That means drastic spending cuts or higher taxes elsewhere.

This is why, in most cases, it’s politically impossible for a government pension plan to stick with anything close to realistic assumptions.

The Biggest Financial Bubble in World History… and Pensions Are Still Broke

In the ’50s and ’60s, government pension funds were, on average, over 90% invested in bonds and cash.

Most importantly, they were structured so that assets matched future liabilities. It was conservative, and it made sense.

That’s not how public pensions look today.

Matching liabilities with safe fixed income investments has become impractical, thanks to the Federal Reserve and the historic bubble it’s created in the bond market.

The economy has been on life support since the 2008 financial crisis. The Fed has pumped it up with unprecedented amounts of “stimulus.” This has created enormous distortions and misallocations of capital, especially in the bond market.

Think of the trillions of dollars in money printing programs—euphemistically called quantitative easing (QE) 1, 2, and 3. In short, the Fed created trillions of dollars out of thin air and used them to buy up bonds, creating an epic bubble.

Meanwhile, with zero and even negative interest rates in many countries, rates are the lowest they’ve been in 5,000 years of recorded human history.

What’s happening in the bond market could not happen in a free market. It’s only possible in the current “Alice in Wonderland” economy created by central bankers.

This is not hyperbole. We’re really in uncharted territory. (Interest rates were never lower than 6% in ancient Greece and ranged from 4 to over 12% in ancient Rome.)

Allegedly, the Fed has done all of this to save the economy.

In truth, it’s warped the economy and turned the bond market into the largest financial bubble in human history.

This, of course, affects pensions.

First, today’s artificially low interest rates make it very difficult to match future liabilities with income from bonds at a reasonable cost. So pensions have had to turn to riskier assets like stocks, real estate, and alternative investments.

With interest rates near all-time lows, bond prices are at an all-time high. That benefits pension plans because it pumps up asset values and makes the funds look more solvent.

But, even with the bond market in a historic bubble…

Even with the stock market at all-time highs and more overvalued than almost ever…

And even with the Bernie Madoff math…

Public pensions are still insolvent.

Despite the eye-watering returns in the bond and stock markets over the past 10 years, pension liabilities have still gone up.

According to Moody’s:

The optimistic "best case" of cumulative 25% investment return would reduce net pension liabilities by just 1% through 2019 year-end because of past bad investment returns and weak contributions. Meanwhile, the "base case" scenario of 19% returns would see net pension liabilities rise by 15%.

This is an unsolvable problem.

Many public pensions are hopelessly insolvent. It will all be apparent in the next market downturn, which probably isn’t far off.

I think we’re headed into an enormous crisis.

Unfortunately, most people have no idea how to prepare.

I think everyone should own some physical gold. Gold is the ultimate form of wealth insurance. It’s preserved wealth through every kind of crisis imaginable. It will preserve wealth during the next crisis, too.

But if you want to be truly “crisis-proof,” there's more to do…

How will you protect yourself when this crisis explodes? New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and I just released a PDF guide that will show you exactly how. Click here to download it now.

Published:8/23/2017 3:55:16 PM
[Entertainment] 5 Biggest Jaw-Droppers at the 2017 Teen Choice Awards Lili Reinhart, Casey Cott, Camila Mendes, Ashleigh MurrayIt was a night for dropping jaws! With performances by PrettyMuch, Louis Tomlinson, Bebe Rexha and Clean Bandit, as well as slew of celebrity attendees, we were pretty pumped about the...
Published:8/14/2017 12:14:50 AM
[18th century in the United States] Doug Casey On The End Of The Nation-State

Authored by Doug Casey via InternationalMan.com,

There have been a fair number of references to the subject of “phyles” in Casey Research publications over the years. This essay will discuss the topic in detail. Especially how phyles are likely to replace the nation-state, one of mankind’s worst inventions.

Now might be a good time to discuss the subject. We’ll have an almost unremitting stream of bad news, on multiple fronts, for years to come. So it might be good to keep a hopeful prospect in mind.

Let’s start by looking at where we’ve been. I trust you’ll excuse my skating over all of human political history in a few paragraphs, but my object is to provide a framework for where we’re going, rather than an anthropological monograph.

Mankind has, so far, gone through three main stages of political organization since Day One, say 200,000 years ago, when anatomically modern men started appearing. We can call them Tribes, Kingdoms, and Nation-States.

Karl Marx had a lot of things wrong, especially his moral philosophy. But one of the acute observations he made was that the means of production are perhaps the most important determinant of how a society is structured. Based on that, so far in history, only two really important things have happened: the Agricultural Revolution and the Industrial Revolution. Everything else is just a footnote.

Let’s see how these things relate.

The Agricultural Revolution and the End of Tribes

In prehistoric times, the largest political/economic group was the tribe. In that man is a social creature, it was natural enough to be loyal to the tribe. It made sense. Almost everyone in the tribe was genetically related, and the group was essential for mutual survival in the wilderness. That made them the totality of people that counted in a person’s life—except for “others” from alien tribes, who were in competition for scarce resources and might want to kill you for good measure.

Tribes tend to be natural meritocracies, with the smartest and the strongest assuming leadership. But they’re also natural democracies, small enough that everyone can have a say on important issues. Tribes are small enough that everybody knows everyone else, and knows what their weak and strong points are. Everyone falls into a niche of marginal advantage, doing what they do best, simply because that’s necessary to survive. Bad actors are ostracized or fail to wake up, in a pool of their own blood, some morning. Tribes are socially constraining but, considering the many faults of human nature, a natural and useful form of organization in a society with primitive technology.

As people built their pool of capital and technology over many generations, however, populations grew. At the end of the last Ice Age, around 12,000 years ago, all over the world, there was a population explosion. People started living in towns and relying on agriculture as opposed to hunting and gathering. Large groups of people living together formed hierarchies, with a king of some description on top of the heap.

Those who adapted to the new agricultural technology and the new political structure accumulated the excess resources necessary for waging extended warfare against tribes still living at a subsistence level. The more evolved societies had the numbers and the weapons to completely triumph over the laggards. If you wanted to stay tribal, you’d better live in the middle of nowhere, someplace devoid of the resources others might want. Otherwise it was a sure thing that a nearby kingdom would enslave you and steal your property.

The Industrial Revolution and the End of Kingdoms

From around 12,000 B.C. to roughly the mid-1600s, the world’s cultures were organized under strong men, ranging from petty lords to kings, pharaohs, or emperors.

It’s odd, to me at least, how much the human animal seems to like the idea of monarchy. It’s mythologized, especially in a medieval context, as a system with noble kings, fair princesses, and brave knights riding out of castles on a hill to right injustices. As my friend Rick Maybury likes to point out, quite accurately, the reality differs quite a bit from the myth. The king is rarely more than a successful thug, a Tony Soprano at best, or perhaps a little Stalin. The princess was an unbathed hag in a chastity belt, the knight a hired killer, and the shining castle on the hill the headquarters of a concentration camp, with plenty of dungeons for the politically incorrect.

With kingdoms, loyalties weren’t so much to the “country”—a nebulous and arbitrary concept—but to the ruler. You were the subject of a king, first and foremost. Your linguistic, ethnic, religious, and other affiliations were secondary. It’s strange how, when people think of the kingdom period of history, they think only in terms of what the ruling classes did and had. Even though, if you were born then, the chances were 98% you’d be a simple peasant who owned nothing, knew nothing beyond what his betters told him, and sent most of his surplus production to his rulers. But, again, the gradual accumulation of capital and knowledge made the next step possible: the Industrial Revolution.

The Industrial Revolution and the End of the Nation-State

As the means of production changed, with the substitution of machines for muscle, the amount of wealth took a huge leap forward. The average man still might not have had much, but the possibility to do something other than beat the earth with a stick for his whole life opened up, largely as a result of the Renaissance.

Then the game changed totally with the American and French Revolutions. People no longer felt they were owned by some ruler; instead they now gave their loyalty to a new institution, the nation-state. Some innate atavism, probably dating back to before humans branched from the chimpanzees about 3 million years ago, seems to dictate the Naked Ape to give his loyalty to something bigger than himself. Which has delivered us to today’s prevailing norm, the nation-state, a group of people who tend to share language, religion, and ethnicity. The idea of the nation-state is especially effective when it’s organized as a “democracy,” where the average person is given the illusion he has some measure of control over where the leviathan is headed.

On the plus side, by the end of the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution had provided the common man with the personal freedom, as well as the capital and technology, to improve things at a rapidly accelerating pace.

What caused the sea change?

I’ll speculate it was largely due to an intellectual factor, the invention of the printing press; and a physical factor, the widespread use of gunpowder. The printing press destroyed the monopoly the elites had on knowledge; the average man could now see that they were no smarter or “better” than he was. If he was going to fight them (conflict is, after all, what politics is all about), it didn’t have to be just because he was told to, but because he was motivated by an idea. And now, with gunpowder, he was on an equal footing with the ruler’s knights and professional soldiers.

Right now I believe we’re at the cusp of another change, at least as important as the ones that took place around 12,000 years ago and several hundred years ago. Even though things are starting to look truly grim for the individual, with collapsing economic structures and increasingly virulent governments, I suspect help is on the way from historical evolution. Just as the agricultural revolution put an end to tribalism and the industrial revolution killed the kingdom, I think we’re heading for another multipronged revolution that’s going to make the nation-state an anachronism. It won’t happen next month, or next year. But I’ll bet the pattern will start becoming clear within the lifetime of many now reading this.

What pattern am I talking about? Once again, a reference to the evil genius Karl Marx, with his concept of the “withering away of the State.” By the end of this century, I suspect the US and most other nation-states will have, for all practical purposes, ceased to exist.

The Problem with the State—And Your Nation-State

Of course, while I suspect that many of you are sympathetic to that sentiment, you also think the concept is too far out, and that I’m guilty of wishful thinking. People believe the state is necessary and—generally—good. They never even question whether the institution is permanent.

My view is that the institution of the state itself is a bad thing. It’s not a question of getting the right people into the government; the institution itself is hopelessly flawed and necessarily corrupts the people that compose it, as well as the people it rules. This statement invariably shocks people, who believe that government is both a necessary and permanent part of the cosmic firmament.

The problem is that government is based on coercion, and it is, at a minimum, suboptimal to base a social structure on institutionalized coercion. Let me urge you to read the Tannehills’ superb The Market for Liberty, which is available for free, download here.

One of the huge changes brought by the printing press and advanced exponentially by the Internet is that people are able to readily pursue different interests and points of view. As a result, they have less and less in common: living within the same political borders is no longer enough to make them countrymen. That’s a big change from pre-agricultural times when members of the same tribe had quite a bit—almost everything—in common. But this has been increasingly diluted in the times of the kingdom and the nation-state. If you’re honest, you may find you have very little in common with most of your countrymen besides superficialities and trivialities.

Ponder that point for a minute. What do you have in common with your fellow countrymen? A mode of living, (perhaps) a common language, possibly some shared experiences and myths, and a common ruler. But very little of any real meaning or importance. To start with, they’re more likely to be an active danger to you than the citizens of a presumed “enemy” country, say, like Iran. If you earn a good living, certainly if you own a business and have assets, your fellow Americans are the ones who actually present the clear and present danger. The average American (about 50% of them now) pays no income tax. Even if he’s not actually a direct or indirect employee of the government, he’s a net recipient of its largesse, which is to say your wealth, through Social Security and other welfare programs.

Over the years, I’ve found I have much more in common with people of my own social or economic station or occupation in France, Argentina, or Hong Kong, than with an American union worker in Detroit or a resident of the LA barrios. I suspect many of you would agree with that observation. What’s actually important in relationships is shared values, principles, interests, and philosophy. Geographical proximity, and a common nationality, is meaningless—no more than an accident of birth. I have much more loyalty to a friend in the Congo—although we’re different colors, have different cultures, different native languages, and different life experiences—than I do to the Americans who live down the highway in the trailer park. I see the world the same way my Congolese friend does; he’s an asset to my life. I’m necessarily at odds with many of “my fellow Americans”; they’re an active and growing liability.

Some might read this and find a disturbing lack of loyalty to the state. It sounds seditious. Professional jingoists like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, or almost anyone around the Washington Beltway go white with rage when they hear talk like this. The fact is that loyalty to a state, just because you happen to have been born in its bailiwick, is simply stupid.

As far as I can tell, there are only two federal crimes specified in the US Constitution: counterfeiting and treason. That’s a far cry from today’s world, where almost every real and imagined crime has been federalized, underscoring that the whole document is a meaningless dead letter, little more than a historical artifact. Even so, that also confirms that the Constitution was quite imperfect, even in its original form. Counterfeiting is simple fraud. Why should it be singled out especially as a crime? (Okay, that opens up a whole new can of worms… but not one I’ll go into here.) Treason is usually defined as an attempt to overthrow a government or withdraw loyalty from a sovereign. A rather odd proviso to have when the framers of the Constitution had done just that only a few years before, one would think.

The way I see it, Thomas Paine had it right when he said: “My country is wherever liberty lives.”

But where does liberty live today? Actually, it no longer has a home. It’s become a true refugee since America, which was an excellent idea that grew roots in a country of that name, degenerated into the United States. Which is just another unfortunate nation-state. And it’s on the slippery slope.

Published:8/5/2017 10:02:56 PM
[Entertainment] Brothers FTW: How Ben Affleck and Casey Affleck Have Always Supported Each Other in the Toughest of Times Casey Affleck, Ben AffleckBen Affleck and Casey Affleck have been there for each other as they've reached great heights in Hollywood, Ben triumphing as a triple-threat filmmaker and Casey now the reigning Best Actor...
Published:8/1/2017 3:32:15 PM
[Entertainment] Summer Phoenix Files for Divorce From Casey Affleck Summer Phoenix, Casey AffleckIt's officially over for Casey Affleck and Summer Phoenix. The actress and youngest sibling of the famous Phoenix dynasty has filed for divorce from the Manchester By the Sea star,...
Published:7/31/2017 7:12:14 PM
[Economic collapse] The Race Against Time

Authored by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

For decades, in discussing the ever-increasing hegemony of the world’s principal governments (US, EU, et al.), I’ve been asked repeatedly, “When will the governments understand that this obsession they have to become all-powerful is not in the interests of the people?”

The answer to this question has also remained the same for decades: never.

Although most all thinking people will readily admit that they regard their government (and governments in general) to be both overreaching and corrupt, they somehow attribute political leaders with a desire to serve the people. This is almost never true.

In my own experience in working with (and against) political leaders in multiple jurisdictions, I’ve found them to be remarkably similar to each other in their tendency to be shortsighted, self-aggrandising, and almost totally indifferent to the well-being of their constituents. Indeed, it’s a real rarity to encounter a political leader who does not fit this description.

Therefore, we should take as a given that all political leaders will continue to pursue their own power and wealth, at the expense of their citizenries.

This, then, begs the question: “If they won’t stop themselves in this progression, is there no other outcome than eventual total slavery to the government?”

Well, here, history informs us that this is not the case. All governments will tax the people as much as they can, regulate them as much as they can, socially dominate them as much as they can, and remove as many rights as they can. However, they rarely totally succeed and, even when they do, the clock is ticking against them.

In 1999, I began to warn that the US military would steadily increase its warfare against other nations and would only cease their military expansion if and when economic collapse made it impossible to continue the expansion.

In 2008, I began to warn that the US, EU, and other jurisdictions would eventually attempt to eliminate the use of paper currency, or “cash,” and force all people to rely almost totally on electronic transfers of money. (I had pictured plastic credit cards being used—I hadn’t imagined at that time that smartphones would make such transactions even easier.)

In addition to the above abuses, I projected that these jurisdictions would become more collectivist, would increase legislation to dominate their citizens socially, and would eventually come to resemble police states.

But, at the same time, I projected that, although I believed that all these developments would increase steadily, both in magnitude and frequency, they would reach a peak point, then begin to unravel—and would do so more quickly than they had been implemented.

This would happen for two reasons, and neither of these reasons come from some crystal ball. They come from history.

As has always occurred, for millennia, such rapidly expanding excesses cannot be created by governments without creating debt. The more rapid the level of change, the greater the debt necessary.

Today, we’re witnessing the greatest level of debt the world has ever seen. As always in history, this is a ticking time bomb.

The second reason is that such rapidly-expanding excesses cannot be created by governments without creating resentment. The more rapid the level of change, the greater the resentment.

Taken as a whole, what this means is that all of the increased hegemony, of every type, rises to a peak, then collapses—often all at the same time.

We can see the economic warning signs as the financial institutions have run out of new measures and are now relying on band-aid measures. This tells us that we’re entering the final years (or possibly months) of the debt mania. Consequently, the only remaining measures will come under the heading of abuse to the consumer within the system.

Militarily, we see the end nearing, as the world becomes ever more resentful of the US as the self-imposed world policeman. (This is particularly acute outside of the US, as those who live outside the reach of the US media understand that the US has, for years, been inventing its excuses for warfare where there was no real justification.)

For many years, I’ve said that we’ll know that the unravelling will be very near when the creators of the abuse begin to realise that the hegemony is nearing its end and is due for a reversal.

Recently, two events have occurred that suggest that this part of the process has begun.

First, the EU has launched public consultation to get the pulse of the people of Europe on their War on Cash programme (which they term, “de-cashing”).

The findings, even though the questions were phrased to make it difficult to oppose the concept, indicate that more than 99% of respondents see no benefit in de-cashing. Further, 87% regard the use of cash as an essential personal freedom.

Although the people of Europe have tolerated one hit after another from Brussels, de-cashing may well prove to be their Waterloo.

As this was occurring, across the pond in the US, the military performed a study to learn how much further they can push the world with their present level of aggression and have determined that “the status quo that was hatched and nurtured by U.S. strategists after World War II,” and has been dramatically expanded in recent decades, “is not merely fraying but may, in fact, be collapsing.”

It’s often assumed that empires tend to expand until a point at which they subside, but this is not the case. Very much like a market bubble, they tend to reach a dramatic peak just before they collapse. Almost invariably, those who are the last to understand that the end is near are those who are at the very apex of power. Therefore, rather than back off their programme of hegemony, they expand it right until economic collapse destroys it. Like heroin addiction, greater amounts of the drug are injected, right until the fatal overdose takes its toll.

What this means to the reader is that, although he may either live in or in some way be under the control of one of the current empires, his lot is far from hopeless, but he must be wise enough to keep his powder dry until the collapse is under way.

From the present day until the collapse, the empires will increase taxation, increase regulation, increase warfare, increase social dominance, and remove the rights of their people in ever more dramatic ways.

Those who seek to sidestep this process might well pursue international diversification as a bridge to freedom. In this race against time, nations will make it increasingly difficult to escape, and freedom will only be realized after the collapse. The greater the preparedness today, the greater the likelihood of coming out the other side in several years with wealth and freedom intact.

*  *  *

Doug Casey can show you how to protect and increase your wealth and freedom during the coming collapse. You’ll find all the critical details in our Guide to Surviving and Thriving During and Economic Collapse. Click here to download your complimentary copy.

Published:7/31/2017 7:12:14 PM
[Culture] Confederate: More Left-Wing Propaganda (John Hinderaker) HBO has announced that the team that produces Game of Thrones will, when that series concludes next year, take on a new project: a series called Confederate. The premise of Confederate is that the South prevailed in the Civil War, and now, in the 21st century, slavery still exists there. HBO’s initial publicity for the new program drew some criticism, so the network’s programming president, Casey Bloys, met with the Published:7/27/2017 9:33:13 PM
[Afghanistan] The Dynamics Of A Riot

Authored by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

In my lifetime, I’ve had the misfortune of being present in two major natural disasters and one violent social crisis. Each taught me valuable lessons.

In the aftermath of a natural disaster, there’s the danger of the loss of shelter, services, and food. In most cases, people who experience the loss of shelter and services realise that “things are bad all around” and they tend to do the best they can, accepting that life will be hard for a period of time.

Food is a different matter. People, no matter how civilized, tend to panic if they become uncertain as to when they will next be able to eat. And, not surprisingly, this panic is exacerbated if they have dependents, particularly children who are saying, fearfully, “Daddy, I’m hungry.” As Henry Lewis said in 1906, “There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy.” Quite so.

Intelligent, educated, otherwise peaceful people can be driven to violence and even murder if the likelihood of future meals becomes uncertain. This has been the cause of spontaneous riots throughout history.

But this is not the only cause of riots. In the post-1960 period in the West, a new phenomenon has occurred that has steadily grown: Governments and the halls of higher education have increasingly taught people that they are “entitled.” Governments have been guilty of this for millennia, beginning at least as early as the “bread and circuses” of ancient Rome. It’s a way for governments to get people to be dependent upon them and thereby to do their bidding. But, since the 1960s, it’s become a systemic norm.

And it always ends in the same way. The false economy of “free stuff” eventually devolves into overtaxation and economic collapse. When it does, people are more likely to riot, as the entitlements are “owed” to them. In today’s world, however, this condition has peaked far beyond what the world has ever seen before.

Increasingly, those who are angry that the free stuff they are receiving is not enough to placate them take to the streets. Typically, they throw rocks and Molotov cocktails, burn cars at random, destroy buildings, and loot stores. All of this activity, of course, does not make it more likely that they will receive more free stuff from the authorities who presumably owe it to them. Instead, it victimizes those who have lived lawfully and with less dependence upon the state.

Riots occur for a great variety of reasons.

The trigger can be something as absurd as in the 2011 Vancouver, Canada riot, in which locals became infuriated over the loss of a hockey game. Over 140 people were injured and over 5 million dollars in damage was done in a five-hour period. That last bit of information should be emphasized, as the fans had plenty of time to calm down after their team’s loss, but the rage, once ignited, became self-regenerating. This is one of the important dynamics of a riot that’s often overlooked. The riot, which may begin as a reaction to an event, becomes the event and is continued for its own sake.

In the same year, thousands of people rioted in London. The trigger was more serious this time: the shooting of a local man by a policeman. (Although the man had fired on police prior to being shot himself, this fact failed to deter rioters.) The riots, like most irrational retaliations, only served to cause more deaths and injuries. The riots lasted a full five days over a dozen London boroughs, then ignited further in a dozen other cities. Over £200 million in damages occurred, and over 3,400 crimes were logged.

There’s another dynamic that’s not revealed as it’s seen from the safety of our television screens, and that is the spontaneity of a riot. For anyone who has lived through a riot, as I have, the lesson is an indelible one.

Riots, on occasion, are planned and, once they begin, there are occasions in which individuals capitalize on them (such as the riots in Ferguson, Missouri, where hired rioters were bussed in). But, in most cases, they’re spontaneous. They begin as a reaction to pent-up anger. (In the Vancouver incident, the anger was building even before the hockey game had ended, but many riots, especially socially related riots, are often the result of many years of pent-up anger.)

The riot itself is generally a small spark that’s added to the existing anger and is often related to a specific event, such as the riots in US cities the night Martin Luther King Jr. was shot in 1968.

Once started, riots, for the most part, are entirely unplanned and rely on random acts of violence. Within minutes of the first violent act, entire neighbourhoods spontaneously ignite. As in the London riots, the same incident can spark off multiple riots, miles from each other.

A third often misunderstood dynamic is uncontrollability. Police can race to the centre of a riot and, in some cases, quell the rioters, but, as the riot is not “organized,” the rioters have merely to stop whatever they’re doing and, for the moment, they cease to be participants. If police move on to other riot locations, the rioters who had been temporarily inactive could begin to riot again. Even if police are successful in quelling all violent activity in a neighbourhood, they could receive a radio call directing them to a new riot location, just blocks away.

In my own experience, new locations of violence erupting seemed to be going off all around the city, like popcorn. Before one could be quelled, others would pop up. The incidents were therefore unstoppable by authorities.

Warfare has traditionally been approached from the standpoint that one army faces another and they fight until one surrenders. Guerilla warfare, however, has always proven unwinnable, as long as the guerillas are fighting on their home turf. Rioters have the same advantage as, say, an armed sheepherder in Afghanistan or a rice farmer in Vietnam. The violence only ends when all rioters have decided they’ve had enough.

Of course we’d hope that rioters would learn from their crimes, but this is rarely the case. In the London riots of 2011, rioters burned down the local Sainsbury’s in their own neighbourhood. The next day, the same people were on the streets, in front of the television cameras, angrily stating that their grocery store was now gone and their children needed food. They demanded that the government truck in free food as an emergency measure and, not surprisingly, that’s what they got.

This is exemplary of the fact that, in every case, reason is abandoned and anger rules the day. No lessons are learned by the rioters. In fact, months later, rioters have often been quoted as saying, “We showed ’em.”

So, what can we take away here? First, and most importantly, that riots are by their very nature spontaneous, mindless, and, for the most part, uncontrollable. Second, if an individual lives in or near a location where sociopolitical tension is on the increase, he is living in danger. The spontaneity of a riot means that he cannot prepare for it. If it arrives on his doorstep, or if he’s on the street at the time when it occurs, he may lose everything, including his life.

Since riots are mindless, rioters cannot be reasoned with. There’s no talking your way out of the danger, once it has reached you. Finally, as riots cannot effectively be controlled, the one and only defense against them is to conclude that, if one lives in an area where socioeconomic conditions indicate that the location (whether it be a neighbourhood or even an entire country) is unsafe, it may be time to move.

The key here is that the move occur before violence erupts. Once it has, it’s too late.

*  *  *

For months, we’ve been warning readers about the unprecedented global financial crisis that looms ahead. This inevitable crisis will catch the American masses unprepared… making riots a virtual certainty. Investors should expect chaos all around. New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and his team can show you how to protect yourself. Click here for the details.

Published:7/24/2017 9:20:59 PM
[Politics] Dem Senator Won’t State Position on Single-Payer Health Care: ‘There May Be a Bill’

The post Dem Senator Won’t State Position on Single-Payer Health Care: ‘There May Be a Bill’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:7/19/2017 3:42:09 PM
[Asset forfeiture] Confiscation - The Second Half Of The Government's Pincer

Authord by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

“Welcome to America, where your assets are literally the government’s business, and freedom is anything but free.”Claire Bernish, The Free Thought Project

For some time, I’ve been forewarning readers that, as the governments of the former “free” world unravel, they’ll introduce capital controls, both to continue to fund their failing policies and to limit the freedom of their citizenries.

I’ve envisioned this as a “pincer” of sorts.

First, it would be necessary to institute laws that allow authorities to confiscate the assets of anyone whom they “suspected” of a crime. (It’s essential to understand that an actual arrest is unnecessary, as that would allow the individual the opportunity to prove his innocence in a trial. No trial means he can never regain the confiscated assets.)

 

The second half of the pincer would be a law requiring the reporting of assets - a detailed declaration of all monetary holdings. (Of course, it would not be possible to keep such reporting thoroughly up to date, as it would be ever-changing. This would ensure virtually continual guilt through the failure to report.)

Civil Asset Forfeiture

In observing the US, we’re witnessing the completion of the pincer. The first half has been in place for some time, under civil asset forfeiture laws. It’s been described as a process in which law enforcement officers take assets from persons suspected of involvement with crime or illegal activity without necessarily charging the owners with wrongdoing.

That concept may seem odd to the reader, as, surely, if someone had committed a crime, the authorities would wish to charge him, then see to it that he was tried in court, so that he could be punished for his transgressions.

But what if the individual in question was not, in the traditional sense, a criminal; that a law had been written that would effectively define virtually all citizens as criminals? And what if the objective were not to prosecute offenders, but simply to rob them of their possessions?

In this light, civil asset forfeiture makes complete sense. First, the authorities decide that they want to take what they desire from others. Then they target an individual who possesses desired assets (i.e., home, car, business, bank accounts, wealth in a safe deposit box, etc.). They then detain the individual, state that he’s suspected of a crime (suspected drug dealer? Terrorist sympathiser? Possible tax cheat?) and seize his assets.

In this scenario, the authorities are actually advantaged by not charging the individual. He has no recourse, as he can’t demand his day in court for a charge that hasn’t been laid against him. Therefore, he can’t regain his assets, and they become the property of the authorities.

Although civil asset forfeiture never seems to appear on the evening news, it’s not because it’s a minor operation. Indeed, the total annual take now exceeds that of the annual total for burglaries by traditional criminals (those who rob others without a badge).

Declaration of Assets

Considering the severity of the above, it would be difficult to imagine that civil asset forfeiture laws are only half of the pincer, yet that’s exactly the case.

The other half is Senate Bill 1241, which is intended “to improve the prohibitions on money laundering, and for other purposes.” It requires that anyone travelling beyond US borders declare his assets in writing and in detail, plus provide ongoing access to all accounts held by the individual. In essence, it’s providing the government with a license to track your cash, cryptocurrencies, and other assets in perpetuity. Should, at any point, your declaration come into question as to its accuracy, the entirety of those assets could be seized, not just those that were unreported. In addition, you could face a prison sentence of up to five years.

The bill also seeks to curtail the individual’s right to travel outside the US. Whilst this may seem to be a less significant loss, as compared to the above, it serves the purpose of making it impossible for the individual to escape the clutches of his government by relocating to another country. He is, in effect, a trapped rat.

In addition, he’s a trapped rat who, having lost his assets to arbitrary confiscation, has been crippled economically. He can no longer defend himself, as he no longer has the means to pay an attorney.

How This Is Likely to Play Out

At present, asset confiscation is undertaken largely at a local level. Police go after many people at random. However, they also have the ability to target specific individuals that they know of, either for personal reasons or because they feel the haul would be substantial. Senate Bill 1241 places the robberies on a national level. It provides a database by which authorities can review possible targets, based upon their assets. It also allows the authorities the opportunity to go after those people who behaved in a manner deemed unacceptable to authorities.

For example, a national repository of information would allow authorities to target specific individuals who questioned the government or sought to live independently of governmental controls. Both Aldous Huxley and George Orwell described this concept as being central to the assurance that all citizens would be fully compliant with their rulers’ edicts, 100% of the time. One deviation from acceptable behaviour could result in a total loss of assets and freedom.

It would work like this: Like the FATCA legislation in the US, the premise is:

  1. An individual is required to provide a detailed report of his wealth (however small).

  2. The regulatory body chooses to regard the report as “in error,” or “incomplete.”

  3. The law then allows all the assets to be confiscated, including those portions that were correctly reported.

Of course, we’d like to think that no reasonable government would abuse power in this way. Unfortunately, history shows that any government that issues a license to itself to rob its citizenry, invariably uses (and abuses) that license.

The beauty of such a system is that it need not be enforced often. Once people understand that, at any moment, they could lose everything and have no recourse whatsoever, they learn to keep their heads down and be compliant.

From that point on, fear of government is a constant, and the population is effectively under house arrest.

In the late eighteenth century, American founding father Thomas Jefferson reportedly stated, “When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”

When a country degrades to the point that the government can grip its people in the pincers of arbitrary loss of assets, with no chance of recompense through the justice system, it’s safe to say that people can plan on henceforth living in fear.

*  *  *

The pincer’s grip grows tighter by the day... Unfortunately, the coming global economic crisis will only make the bankrupt US government a more aggressive thief. If you haven’t taken steps to protect your money, it’s almost too late. This is a frightening truth. But if you act now, you can still do something about it. New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and his team can show you concrete ways to protect your financial freedom. Click here for the details.

Published:7/10/2017 10:54:13 PM
[Central Intelligence Agency] Have You a Positive Personal Practice?

Have You a Positive Personal Practice?

By

Cognitive Dissonance

 

 

Those who dive deeply into unmasking the Deep State Matrix (also known by many other names) and its various methods, operatives, sycophants and agents think they are enlightening themselves. And in some ways they are, if enlightening their lives is strictly interpreted as exposing the multiple layers of Imperial lies and deceit.

Rather than constructing a truth, arguably a somewhat more positive experience, what we are in fact doing is deconstructing a lie. Therefore by extension we are deconstructing our self, since our self is seamlessly intertwined and interchangeable with our worldview. We are taught, conditioned really, to identify ourselves in relation to how we perceive the world and our place within it.

Our family. Our community. Our work. Our company. Our town. Our government. Our leaders. Our nation. Our world. Our enemy. Our national debt. Our money. Our social problems.

We are conditioned from birth to closely identify with those people, places and things which we do not own, but in fact own us. Our actual personal problems are our own problems. No one outside our tiny personal circle takes any responsibility for them. But problems created by all those other entities are automatically our problems because we have chosen to align our self with external entities who care nothing for our own well being.

In fact, ‘they’ use our conditioned alignment to entrap and control us; though in reality we are willingly entrapping and controlling our selves. I am quite certain many people will choke on my use of the term ‘willingly’.

When we ask someone ‘What do you do?” what we are really asking is WHO are you? Our culture informs us the answer will be derived from our occupation, socioeconomic status, education and tribal ties all the way down to the clothes we wear and the words we speak. In turn, all these indicators are themselves derivatives of our overall cultural immersion…with millions of minor and major variations.

An integral component of our culture is the rules, and the rulers, who encompass it. Therefore when we begin to deconstruct (formerly) firmly believed ‘truths’ about ‘our’ cultural and socioeconomic systems, we are in effect deconstructing ourselves collectively and our ‘self’ individually.

External events which change our world view are treated quite differently than if we prompt the change ourselves though our own actions and inquiries, particularly if we can easily dismiss the external changes as entirely unforeseen or out of our control.

Let me give you an example. It would be extremely unusual for you to walk out the front door of your apartment building in Manhattan and find a black bear sitting on the sidewalk eating out of the garbage can.

But up here in the mountains of Southwestern VA, an occurrence such as this would not be unusual at all. And you would have been a fool in the first place to leave your garbage out to attract the bear.

Failure to adjust my worldview to account for the bears, bobcats, panthers, coyotes, copperhead and rattlesnakes we live amongst is sheer stupidity. We are short termers renting the place from an extremely long term Mother Nature who unquestionably rules the roost around here. But to consider these same creatures a serious and viable threat on the streets of NYC would also be stupidity, though a rabid dog is a definite possibility.     

We willingly moved up here, therefore we made the changes to our lifestyle which resulted in bears and bobcats. So while we might be startled to find Teddy munching on Mrs. Cog’s petunias one morning or digging out a bee hive, it would not necessarily be shocking. Thus our worldview would not be rocked to its core. But find bears on the streets of Manhattan and suddenly we are questioning the previously unquestionable.

 

Teddy

More than anything else, context determines whether something is shocking or not. And we determine the context.

Remember that when unfolding the lie.

 

Now suppose you’ve been told all your life there are no bears in Manhattan, only to discover via your own personal research (because an unknown stench originating from nearby was becoming unbearable) that the city keeps hungry bears in a poorly secured building next door and it’s only a matter of time before you become dinner for the bears.

Discovering this, one might at least begin to seriously question the local government concerning what else they’ve been lying about. While your overall worldview would change slightly, the portion focused locally would significantly diverge from previously accepted known knowns.

But then you unearth evidence of state and national political involvement in this seemingly local ‘scandal’. However, the city and national newspapers want nothing to do with the story and you suspect systemic corruption, or at the very least a conspiracy, is afoot.

Plus your apartment building neighbors, who are just as likely to be mauled by a hungry bear, just bow their heads and trudge forward, not wanting to cause trouble by ‘knowing’ the ugly details of this previously unknown fact.

Ignorance is bliss in all its ugly splendor.

Going several steps further, you eventually realize stinky bears are just the tip of the scat pile and all kinds of lies fester just below the surface. Very little of what you thought you knew about how the world works, especially the so called rules and regulations, is actually correct.

This is all quite unsettling, especially when those around us wish to remain deaf, dumb and blind and we are beginning to feel like the odd (wo)man out. Actual reality, meaning the facts as unearthed by us, remains not only unconfirmed, but disavowed by so-called ‘authority’ figures. And they are precisely the individuals and institutions we have been conditioned from birth to believe are the primary arbiters and qualifiers of truth.

Don’t believe me? Then why do the vast majority of ‘We the People” wait until authorities confirm what we already know, or at least strongly suspect, to be fact? I’ve witnessed this psychological phenomenon, both up close and from afar, too many times to dismiss it as anything but real and predicable.

Short of being swept away by the tsunami or run over by a Mack truck, meaning reality can no longer be successfully ignored or denied, it only becomes real when an acknowledged and official authority figure tells us it is real. By extension, if not acknowledged by an authority, something we know to be real remains not real in the hive mind of the collective.

Do not dismiss off hand the corrosive psychological damage wrought when one remains un-affirmed by the collective. While we may tell ourselves it is the price we pay for going it alone, unless we compensate for the damaging effects, it still takes its toll.

While we may intellectually know this journey of deconstruction is debilitating, knowing something doesn’t necessarily mean we fully comprehend all its ramifications. Based upon my own personal experience, as well as observations of others, it has become glaringly obvious to me we severely underestimate the damage done both to our psychological and physical systems.

And I haven’t even mentioned our severe spiritual wounding.

I rarely see any discussion in the alternative media of this debilitating phenomenon, so it isn’t surprising at all it’s rarely talked about even in the peanut gallery aka the comment section of the articles. We’re all just supposed to grin and bear it, brave little soldiers marching forever forward.

But even professional soldiers are psychologically and physically prepared for what they encounter and most certainly are affirmed and supported when they return, if only by each other. We, on the other hand, are isolated soul mates connected only by bits and bytes via some impersonal interwebby conversation. While this most definitely is a soothing balm, it is not a cure by any definition of the word.

So, have you a positive personal practice? Something you do on a daily or weekly basis that not just recharges, but replaces what has been dismantled and lost? Because as mentioned at the beginning, this is a deconstruction process of our self, of all we have believed in and constructed our lives around. One simply cannot remove this many bricks from the wall and expect it to remain stable for long.

Ultimately this is why so many collapse by the wayside, exhausted from the process and unwilling, or unable, to go any further. This inevitable attrition, this slow accumulation of casualties, is often hidden from view because new awakenings quickly take their place on the front lines, fresh fodder for the cognitive meat grinder.

 

The Face of the Fallen

So many fractured minds. It does not have to be this way.

 

And few talk about those left behind or why they fall in the first place. I’ve taken a few stabs at this subject and my meager contribution is listed below.

Collapse Fatigue

Waking Up Is Hard To Do

Where Have All The Zero Hedge Veterans Gone?

Dispatches from Occupied Territory – The Awakening

Seeking Calm in the Middle of Chaos

The Death of Hope and Belief

While some attempt to re-enter the Matrix and forget what they know, an impossible task in my view, most simply compartmentalize the information off to the side or under the surface and attempt to pick up the pieces of their lives.

“Yes, I know it’s all a lie. But I need to put bread on the table, salvage my marriage and work towards my retirement. I’ll do some long term prepping, adjust my investment portfolio to reflect what I know, patch things up with the spouse and kids and move on with my life. But I simply can’t do this anymore.”

I’ve witnessed people do this, so I know it can be accomplished. What I don’t know, and I suspect neither do they, is the extent of the short and long term damage done to their body, mind and spirit.

Some of us are simply more resilient than others are, capable of resisting, at least for a while, the debilitating psychological effects of a self disavowed truth that contradicts the officially sanctioned lie. I suspect some of it has to do with how deeply we believed the myth and how rigidly we structured our lives around the lie.

Many are devastated and never recover, while a surprisingly large contingent become addicted to continuously unfolding the big lie, convinced if they could just learn ‘the’ truth it will all finally make sense and the scoundrels will be jailed.

The truly Big Lie is there is no absolute ‘truth’ per se, just varying shades of gray. Beauty, and truth, is in the eye of the beholder and is determined almost entirely upon our perspective and belief system. A belief system, I might add, presently undergoing extensive renovations.

There could be a dozen sides to a conflict and all will brandish their ‘truth’ as the one and only God given truth. See, it was certified by God (the ultimate authority) so it must be the truth. Too often truth is conflated with carefully selected facts.

Just because I recognize a lie doesn’t immediately qualify the alternative as the truth. Ex CIA Director William Casey was quoted as saying “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” While the quote itself may be called into question, the process described cannot. This is how domestic ‘statecraft’ has been practiced for millennium and anyone who believes otherwise demonstrates the totality of their cultural conditioning.

Please do not be insulted by what I just said. Our conditioning has little to do with intelligence and everything to do with our early environment. A blank slate wrestled from the womb and filled to the brim with cultural beliefs and state mandated education is defenseless against the disinformation onslaught.

What makes the most effective disinformation campaign is the genuine sincerity of those conducting the actual conditioning. Initially this comes in the guise of family and friends, followed closely by trusted educators. Ultimately, when asked to accept something at face value, oftentimes the depth of our belief in the person promoting the information determines the depth of our belief in the information itself.

To one extent or another, we all suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. Only the coercion is more subtle than a pistol held to the back of the head. Then again, maybe not.

Critical thinking need not be applied. And often it is actively discouraged from being considered because we no longer understand what actual critical thinking entails. Unless (of course) we’re talking about ‘hard’ science. Since ‘science’ itself has been proven (by high priests in white coats) to be ‘truth’, science, and therefore by extension the scientists, has become its own authority.

See how that works?

A lie is only a lie if the person spreading it knows it is not the truth. Otherwise ‘it’ qualifies as a belief, albeit firmly held and quite persistent, requiring no critical testing and certainly no critical thinking to verify. All it takes is unquestioned faith and belief the presenter would never knowingly tell you a lie.

If it ain’t a lie it must be the truth, the ultimate in binary thinking.

When I closely, critically and continuously examine what I hold dear to me as fundamental truth, I discover much of it was passed on to me by parents, siblings, close friends and trusted associates. And, of course, the nanny state, along with its busy beehive of well intentioned, sincere and kindhearted disinformation disseminators.

At first I had no choice but to believe what I was told, since I was entirely dependent upon those close to me for nurturing. But the constant stream of uncomfortable, awkward and embarrassing questions spouted from the mouth of babes is the clearest indicator that much of our culture is at best nonsensical and at worst insane.

Once indoctrinated into the hive mind, there is little choice but to go along to get along. Basic survival instinct dictates we go with the flow or we go hungry. It’s usually all downhill from there. The tyranny of the hive is all encompassing and easily manipulated.

 

Hive Mind

One cannot fight the hive mind. But one CAN choose not to materially participate.

 

The net results can be deep wounds and scaring for life if we dare to tear at the bindings of the lies that tie our worldview, and therefore our self, together. And while we should never be admonished, nor dissuaded, from seeking to understand the lie, and therefore our self, only the unaware begins such strenuous labor unprepared and malnourished. 

There seems to be no widely disseminated information on how to proceed when digging through the lie, since the collective silence (heads bowed, eyes averted, lips zipped as a good slave citizen should) precludes even acknowledging the obvious truth about the bald faced lies. This only serves to further exaggerate the sense of isolation and abandonment felt by those brave enough to push through the initial layers of filth.

Ultimately the responsibility for our health and well being under any circumstances resides solely with us and our self. To obligate or expect any other person or entity to accept that responsibility is an abrogation of our own personal sovereignty. Of course, decades of conditioning tells us we are all victims and not responsible for our self, especially when we have just been…wait for it…victimized.

There are distinct benefits to being a slave. All you need to actually do is be helpless…and productive of course.

After reading this article, many will claim they are doing just fine; they suffer no ill effects from their journey through the foul sewerage of the big lie. And while it’s senseless to dispute their assertion since I do not know the individual making the claim, nor should they be challenged simply because they claim health and peace of mind, many who believe themselves OK are in fact not.

What I often see occurring, and I have done this as well, is a steeling of the self, a mental and emotional hunkering down to endure the long haul through the muck. Resigned to great drudgery for a long duration, one foot is placed in front of the next while great will is applied to the daily task of living in this self imposed hell.

I say self imposed simply because how we approach this, the manner in which we perceive the lie and our place within it, often contributes greatly to our distress. It does not need to be this way.

In fact, in a mistaken belief this is the only way to maintain our resolve, a near constant state of low level anger and righteous indignation is maintained, interspersed with brief flare-ups of rage when particularly vile or outrageous examples of the Imperial lie are uncovered.

This fight or flight posture is particularly debilitating if maintained for a long time. A constant low level infusion of stress hormones will slowly eat you alive.

Or a general state of apathy and resignation sets in when the full realization takes hold that one person cannot defeat the big lie, nor awaken a population who wishes to remain fast asleep.

There are a zillion variations upon the two general states of mind outlined above, including major derivations not even discussed. It doesn’t really matter if I have not described a specific state of mind, only that there is recognition they are abnormal and unhealthy.

In fact, this situation, this holding pattern, is far from OK and speaks of a terrible quality of life and a near hopelessly deflated spirit. And yet so many who choose to continue down the path of discovery know of no other way to continue.

So, have you a positive personal practice? Something you do on a daily or weekly basis that not just recharges, but replaces what has been lost.

In Chapter Two I shall discuss just what this might be.

 

07/09/2017

Cognitive Dissonance

BALANCE IS EVERYTHING!

Balance

Published:7/9/2017 9:16:28 AM
[International] New Details on the Plot to Kill Pope John Paul II

On May 16, 1985, President Ronald Reagan met with CIA director William J. Casey in the Oval Office. What did Reagan and Casey talk about? The official... Read More

The post New Details on the Plot to Kill Pope John Paul II appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:7/6/2017 3:55:44 PM
[A GHOST STORY] Imagined Dialogue For: ‘A Ghost Story’ “Imagined Dialogue For” is our series by the hilarious and talented Chris Scott—of Reviews of Movies I Haven’t Seen fame. Next up? Chris takes a stab at guessing what happens when the deceased get bored in the Casey Affleck/ Rooney Mara vehicle, A Ghost Story. Published:7/6/2017 12:25:18 PM
[Graphic novels] New graphic novel ‘Boundless’ illustrates the perils of seeking transcendence in a wired world
New graphic novel 'Boundless' illustrates the perils of seeking transcendence in a wired world

FOR DECADES, Casey Kasem, the disc jockey and “Scooby-Doo” voice actor who died three years ago this month, would end his “American Top 40” franchise radio shows with a sign-off that seemed to suit both the long reach and relative impermanence of communication that floated along the airwaves. His 12 simple pseudo-inspiring words: “Keep your […]
Published:6/27/2017 3:10:49 PM
[Bond] When Will The European Super-Bubble Pop?

Authored by Nick Giambruno via The Mises Institute,

France’s new president can’t keep the European Union together.

In early May, France elected globalist darling Emmanuel Macron. His victory gave the EU a short-term boost. However, it did not change the fundamental problems with Europe’s artificial mega-state.

Doug Casey agrees:

The EU was built upon a foundation of sand, doomed to failure from the very start. The idea was ill-fated because the Swedes and the Sicilians are as different from each other as the Poles and the Irish. There are linguistic, religious, and cultural differences, and big differences in the standard of living.

 

Artificial political constructs never last. The EU is great for the “elites” in Brussels; not so much for the average citizen.

 

Meanwhile, there’s a centrifugal force even within these European countries. In Spain, the Basques and the Catalans want to split off, and in the UK, the Scots want to make the United Kingdom quite a bit less united.

 

You’ve got to remember that before Garibaldi, Italy was scores of little dukedoms and principalities that all spoke their own variations of the Italian language. And the same was true in what’s now Germany before Bismarck in 1871.

 

The chances are better in the future that the remaining countries in Europe are going to fall apart as opposed to being compressed together artificially.

I think it’s unlikely the Europe of tomorrow will look anything like the picture below.

fools-europe.jpg

A Fool’s Vision of Europe’s Future

Europe is far more likely to splinter and eventually resemble the map below. It shows what Europe would look like if all its current separatist movements were to succeed.

europe-separate.png

Europe—If All Its Current Separatist Movements Succeed

Right Now, Italy is Europe’s Weakest Link

Italy has one of the most indebted governments in the world. It’s borrowed over $2.4 trillion. Its debt-to-GDP ratio is north of 130%. (For comparison, the US debt-to-GDP ratio is 104%.)

But the situation is actually much worse.

GDP measures a country’s economic output. However, it’s highly misleading. Mainstream economists count government spending as a positive when calculating GDP. A more honest approach would count it as a big negative.

In Italy, government spending accounts for a whopping 50%-plus of GDP. Remove that from the calculation, and I suspect we’d see how hopelessly insolvent the Italian government truly is.

In other words, Italy is flat broke.

I don’t see how the Italian government could possibly extract enough in taxes from the productive part of the economy to ever pay back what it’s borrowed.

Meanwhile, Italian Government Bonds Are in a Super Bubble

They’re currently trading near record-low yields. (When bond prices go up, bond yields do down.)

Over $1 trillion worth of Italian bonds actually have negative yields.

It’s a bizarre and perverse situation.

Lending money to the bankrupt Italian government carries huge risks. So the yields on Italian government bonds should be near record highs, not record lows.

Negative yields could not exist in a free market. They’re only possible in the current “Alice in Wonderland” economy created by central bankers.

You see, the European Central Bank (ECB) has been printing money to buy Italian government bonds hand over fist. Since 2008, the ECB and Italian banks have bought over 88% of Italian government debt, according to a recent study.

This is stunning. It means that Italy’s financial system depends completely on ECB money printing.

Italian government bonds are, without a doubt, in super-bubble territory. It won’t be long before a pin pricks this bubble and… pop.

That could happen soon.

Earlier this month, the credit rating agency Fitch downgraded Italy’s credit rating from BBB+ to BBB.

And Mario Draghi, the head of the ECB, recently announced that after five years of manic money printing, he’s finally achieved his wrongheaded goal of 2% inflation.

Casey continues: 

Inflation is one of the most misused words; few even think about its actual meaning. What is inflation? “Well, that’s prices going up.” No, it’s not. To say that is to confuse cause and effect. Inflation is an increase in the money supply. You inflate when the money supply is increased by more than real wealth increases.

 

Prices go up as a result. People have forgotten about that. Today, inflation seems to come from out of nowhere, like a freak storm. No cause. Unless it’s blamed on the butcher, or the baker, or an evil oil company. Nobody ever thinks it’s a central bank—the Fed in the US—that actually creates more money, and causes inflation.

 

You’ve heard that central banks are trying to create a little bit of inflation because, they say, “A little bit of inflation is good.” No, even a little bit of inflation is deadly poisonous. For two reasons: It creates the business cycle. And it destroys the value of savings. Saving is the basis of capital creation.

 

People who say that a little inflation is a good thing are dangerous fools.

Now that the ECB has reached its 2% inflation target, Germany and other EU countries are pushing the central bank to stop printing so much money.

This is the last thing the Italian government wants. Remember, the ECB buys a lot of Italian government bonds with those freshly printed euros.

If the ECB stops buying Italian government bonds, who will step up? The answer is nobody.  Italian banks are already completely saturated with government bonds.

Germany wants the money printing to stop. Italy wants it to continue.

But, since the ECB has reached its stated inflation target and Germany has crucial elections later this year, I think Germany will get its way. This is very bad news for Italy’s government and banking system.

Once the ECB—the only large buyer—steps away, Italian government bonds will crash and rates will soar.

Soon it will be impossible for the Italian government to finance itself.

Italian banks—which are already insolvent—will be decimated. They hold an estimated €235 billion worth of Italian government bonds. So the coming bond crash will pummel their balance sheets.

It’s shaping up to be a lovely train wreck.

I think we’ll see a full-blown crisis in Europe soon.

So, why should Americans or anyone outside of Europe care?

It’s simple.

The EU is the world’s largest economy.

The euro currency is the second most widely held currency in the world.

Financial chaos in Europe means financial chaos worldwide.

The Financial Times commented on what would happen if the EU were to collapse: "It would probably lead to the most violent economic shock in history, dwarfing the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008 and the 1929 Wall Street crash."

A crisis in Europe would send a lethal lightning rod through the world’s currency and stock markets. Unparalleled economic turmoil — far worse than 2008 — could follow.

Published:6/10/2017 5:34:19 PM
[Americas] Actions Have Consequences! Ask Venezuela

Authored by Bill Bonner via InternationalMan.com,

Let’s turn to an economy getting doomier by the day: Venezuela.

Actions have consequences. In public policy, it is impossible to say what the consequences will be. There are too many delusions and too much smoke.

Take a policy said to eradicate city rats. Its real purpose is to reward a large political donor who owns a pest control firm. It ends up killing the pigeons.

Often, policies with clear and obvious purposes end up producing outcomes completely at odds with the stated objectives.

Prohibition, for example, increased the number of drunks. The War on Drugs fattened drug dealers’ profits.

The War on Poverty has made poverty respectable… even attractive… to poor people.

The War on Terror has probably made a million otherwise sane and sensible Muslims yearn to blow up something with a U.S. flag on it.

Most often, these outcomes are not exactly surprises. Look more closely and you will often find, hidden behind the promises… a pest control firm!

News reports, for example, tell us that U.S. arms dealers are about to get a $110 billion payday. President Trump announced a weapons deal with the Saudis – the biggest in history.

Into the Abyss

Although the exact consequences of public policies are obscure, the patterns are familiar.

Win-lose deals always reduce total human satisfaction.

Win-lose deals – unless they are imposed by petty criminals or local bullies – require government insistence. Otherwise, no one would take the losing side.

So the more government there is… the more active, ambitious, and overbearing it is… the more win-lose deals subtract from the sum of human happiness.

A month ago, as many as a million of these disappointed people demonstrated against the government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela. It was the “Mother of All Protests,” they said.

What was their beef?

Inflation is running at about 700% a year. Last year, GDP plunged 19%. Food staples – beans, rice, bread – are disappearing. Families cross the border into Colombia to buy toilet paper.

Hospitals have no medicine, no equipment, not even rubber gloves and disinfectants. Sometimes, they have no electricity. Deaths of premature babies have increased 10,000% in the last five years.

How did a country make such a mess of itself?

Win-Lose

In a sense, the country was a victim of its own good luck… and then a victim of its own bad judgment.

The good luck happened in 1914 when the first oilfield was drilled. The money followed.

By the 1950s, with a basically market-oriented government, Venezuela rose to become the world’s fourth-richest country in terms of GDP per capita.

Today, the country has the largest proven oil reserves in the world – 297 billion barrels of the stuff compared to 267 billion barrels in Saudi Arabia.

But good luck allows you to make bad judgments. With the oil wealth flowing, Hugo Chávez – who described himself as a Trotskyist two days before his inauguration as president in 2007 – could impose win-lose deals on the whole economy.

Key industries were nationalized. Price controls were put in place. Wealth was redistributed.

Win-lose deals can redistribute wealth but only to the extent win-win deals create it. Take away the win-win deals, and the wealth soon runs out… as it did in Cuba and the Soviet Union.

Now the tank is about empty in Venezuela, too.

Banana Republic

It doesn’t matter what you call it – government is always a means for the few to exploit the many.

The few use every resource available to them to keep the hustle going, with special attention given to manipulating the gullible mob.

The typical citizen rarely has any idea of what is going on… and doesn’t have much curiosity about it. As long as he has credit for a new pickup and a champion who promises to smite his enemies, the common man will go along with almost anything.

But the Venezuelan auto industry has been ruined. And there’s no credit available. So there are few new pickups on the streets, and much of the public has turned against the government.

Not surprisingly, the policies that destroyed Venezuela delighted U.S. economists and politicians – who were eager to impose win-lose deals of their own.

In 2007, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz praised the “positive policies” in health and education of the Chávez government.

And in 2011, Bernie Sanders wrote:

These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger. Who’s the banana republic now?

Sanders had no idea what was really going on in Venezuela. But he was right about what was going on in the U.S. It was on its way to becoming a banana republic.

Only without the bananas. Or the republic.

Published:6/9/2017 8:25:50 PM
[African/ Black Student Alliance] For Every Action, There Is An Equal And Opposite Reaction

Authored by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

Newton’s third law of motion has proven the test of time, since he first stated it in 1686. If we were to apply the same concept to political history, we might say,

A nation that rises to a great height will fall to an equally great depth.

At first glance, that seems to be merely clever wordsmithing. However, historically, it does seem to play out exactly that way. Most countries tend to ebb and flow as to their prosperity, but those that rise to great heights, particularly those that rise to become empires, tend to crash with a weight equal to their strength at the height of their power.

If we consider that point when we observe the present dominant empire, the US, we would expect that, at the point that the empire is teetering on the edge of collapse, we would see signs of rot within the government, the economy, and even within many of the people. The closer we get to the tipping point, the more this would be borne out by lunacy in the media, the courts, even the hallowed halls of education.

So, let’s have a peek into present events – events that may not be the most crucial in the state of the union but are indicators that the system is self-destructing.

The following are three briefs on articles that recently appeared in the same publication on the same day (they have not been edited by me):

“Mike Adams Reports the Boston Herald to the FBI for Recommending That Those who Oppose Vaccines Should Be Executed by Hanging”:

Mike Adams, the owner of the Natural News website, is filing a complaint with the Boston FBI against the Boston Herald for publishing a violence-inciting editorial attributed to the Boston Herald. The editorial claims that vaccines don't cause autism and that it ought to be a "hanging offense" for anyone who opposes this conventional theory.

 

“Black Student Group at UC Santa Cruz Threatens Takeover”:

The African/ Black Student Alliance (A/BSA) physically occupied a building on the UC Santa Cruz campus and was granted all of its demands, which includes mandatory ‘diversity training’ for all incoming students. Now they are threatening more civil disruption if their new demands are not met.

 

“Tim Allen’s TV Sitcom Cancelled After He Said Being a Conservative in Hollywood Was Like Living in Nazi Germany”:

Tim Allen starred as a positive conservative character in the ABC sitcom, Last Man Standing, which was cancelled despite high ratings. The cancellation comes two months after he made a comment on a talk show comparing living as a conservative in Hollywood to Nazi Germany.

No need to go into the entire articles. You get the point. The fact that these articles appeared on the same day in the same publication exemplifies the fact that these are not isolated incidents. They are a part of an overall social/legal/cultural trend that we see not only in the US, where these incidents occurred, but in much of what was once known as “the free world.”

These incidents represent the antithesis of freedom. They are the acts of individuals and small groups taking the position that they should be afforded the authority to determine the behavior of all others. They represent power without accountability and have the support of the rulers, media, and courts.

But, how is it that they have become so pervasive? How are they even acceptable points of view? The answer lies in one word: education.

This danger was predicted by a young Thomas Jefferson, when he stated, "A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine."

Mister Jefferson was, to my mind, the greatest visionary of his time. He was eminently educated. He entered the prestigious College of William & Mary in 1760 and, upon graduation, rounded out his education under the great George Wythe in Williamsburg, Virginia. In Mister Jefferson’s day, education was the key to higher understanding.

He studied architecture, which led to his creation of several iconic buildings, whose designs are still studied today. He studied ancient history and improved upon the Athenian Republic when creating an outline for what would become the United States. He studied economics and successfully knocked down the ideas of a central bank and income taxes, as proposed by Alexander Hamilton, his nemesis in George Washington’s cabinet. These accomplishments were inspired by his education

A half-century ago, I was sent to school in Boston, which had long been regarded as the centre of higher education in the Western Hemisphere. In my final years there, I spent endless hours discussing higher concepts with others in and around the lawns of Harvard University, expanding my outlook. At that time, the emphasis in higher learning was on the expansion of the powers of reason—the ability of each individual to make use of existing knowledge in order to expand upon it. This was seen as essential, as those who were learning there were being prepared to lead the next generation in politics, economics, manufacturing, invention, and most every other endeavor.

And, yet, what was considered the very best in America has become, in many ways, the worst. Today, the nation’s universities, from Berkeley in California to Columbia in New York, have become the exact opposite of what they were created to be. Instead of cultivating the powers of reason in order to expand upon previous achievements, universities in America have become bastions of oppression, decrying and even punishing any thought that’s not strictly politically correct. And nowhere is this more true than at Harvard. It’s become a centre for collectivist thinking and a factory for the oppressors of the next generation.

To be sure, the students themselves did not create this atmosphere. But huge grants to both professors and schools have assured that the mindset of the instructors and the goals of the schools themselves have become the indoctrination of a future generation of leaders to a collectivist way of thinking.

The result of years of such indoctrination is that the US is today a culture in which the collectivist agenda is being pushed by those who are the most educated and respected. Not surprising then, that the media, the courts, and the public themselves now see collectivism as high-minded and fail to grasp what the American Founding Fathers knew: that a successful and progressive society is built upon freedom, not Orwellian domination.

Unfortunately, it’s ever-true that we’re the product of what we learn. More importantly, a country that’s successful in indoctrinating its youth to believe in oppression will bear fruit and become an oppressive nation.

The US rose to an unprecedented height in its developing years. In its decline, that hasn’t merely been diminished - it’s been reversed. Although some Americans do still grasp the Jeffersonian concept of freedom, the overall thrust of the nation is the opposite. The US still exists, but America has departed.

*  *  *

Freedom isn’t the only thing dying in the US. The country’s entire economic fabric is rapidly unraveling. Right now, we’re moving quickly toward a widespread financial collapse of historic proportions. And your hard-earned wealth is at far greater risk than you realize. This week, New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey is sharing straightforward strategies for protecting your money and profiting from the coming economic meltdown in an urgent video. Click here to watch it.

Published:5/30/2017 8:53:49 PM
[jurisprudence] Trump resisters in robes, Part Two (Paul Mirengoff) The Fourth Circuit’s decision in the temporary travel ban broke new ground when it comes to judicial activism. I wrote about the decision in a post called “Trump Resisters in Robes.” John wrote about it in a post called “An Affront to the Rule of Law.” For additional criticism of the decision, I recommend this piece by Hans von Spakovsky and this one by David Rivkin and Lee Casey. Von Published:5/30/2017 11:52:30 AM
[Asset forfeiture] Has The Drug War Incentivized Police To Treat Citizens Like Terrorists?

Authored by Duane Norman via Free Market Shooter blog,

A video of a Florida Sheriff making a promo video to scare has been making the rounds recently.  Casey Research recently covered the affair, noting the following quote from Sheriff Grinnell:

“Enjoy looking over your shoulder, constantly wondering if today’s the day we come for you. Enjoy trying to sleep tonight, wondering if tonight’s the night our SWAT team blows your front door off the hinges. We are coming for you.”

The video (reproduced below, with commentary from Casey Research) is as surreal as the above picture implies…

Sheriff Grinnell delivered this message last month while flanked by four combat-ready officers wearing ski masks. It looks like someone from ISIS directed it.

 

Grinnell’s message was aimed at local drug dealers. You see, Lake County has a serious opioid problem. And like many other places in the US, it’s fighting its drug problem as if it were a war.

…but this is hardly the first time a video like this has been produced, and it likely won’t be the last.  Last year, former Sheriff Clay Higgins, known as the “Cajun John Wayne” in Louisiana, released the below video calling out the “Gremlins” gang, and before his resignation, was known for making many similar videos:

Some notable quotes from Sheriff Higgins:

  • You won’t walk away.  Look at you. Men like us, son, we do Dumbbell presses with weights bigger than you.
  • Young man, I’ll meet you on solid ground, anytime, anywhere. Light or heavy, it makes no difference to me.
  • You will be hunted, you will be tracked. And if you raise your weapon to a man like me, we’ll return fire with superior fire.
  • You don’t like the things I’ve told you tonight?  I’ve got one thing to say – I’m easy to find.

This guy certainly has enough one-liners to be worthy of the “Cajun John Wayne” moniker, but it seems none of the police or community leaders behind him bothered to ask why criminals engage in such violent behavior; they are trying to profit from the obscenely high price of illegal drugs.  And when it comes to profit, the criminals are hardly alone.

Free Market Shooter has covered the problems with Civil Asset Forfeiture in the past…

Martin Armstrong of Armstrong Economics explains how police have every reason to seize assets, largely because these civil asset forfeitures are literally funding police departments:

 

Between 1989 and 2010, U.S. attorneys seized an estimated $12.6 billion in asset forfeiture cases. The growth rate during that time averaged +19.4% annually. In 2010 alone, the value of assets seized grew by +52.8% from 2009 and was six times greater than the total for 1989. Then by 2014, that number had ballooned to roughly $4.5 billion for the year, making this 35% of the entire number of assets collected from 1989 to 2010 in a single year. According to the FBI, the total amount of goods stolen by criminals in 2014 burglary offenses suffered an estimated $3.9 billion in property losses. This means that the police are now taking more assets than the criminals.

…but if you take a closer look at the forfeitures themselves, you’ll realize just how many of them are related to the war on drugs:

“Thirty-six percent of all local police departments received money, property, or goods from a drug asset forfeiture program during 2002 (table 32). These departments employed 78% of all local police officers. At least 80% of the departments in each population category of 25,000 or more had drug asset forfeiture receipts.”

 

“There can be few components of law enforcement programmes which actually cost nothing. The asset forfeiture provision of the federal law for crop suppression (relating mainly to cannabis in the State of Kentucky), proved to be such a case, costing the United States Government $13.7 million, but yielding a return of $53 million in 1991, or almost $4 in assets seized for every $1 invested by the Drug Enforcement Administration.”

 

“The advent of a now common police tactic, called the “reverse sting,” illustrates the shift in priorities from crime control to funding raids. In a reverse sting, an officer attempts to sell drugs to an unsuspecting buyer. The method permits the police to seize the buyer’s cash rather than a seller’s drugs, which have no value to the agency.

 

“During the past decade, law enforcement agencies increasingly have turned to asset seizures and drug enforcement grants to compensate for budgetary shortfalls, at the expense of other criminal justice goals. We believe the strange shape of the criminal justice system today—the law enforcement agenda that targets assets rather than crime, the 80 percent of seizures that are unaccompanied by any criminal prosecution, the plea bargains that favor drug kingpins and penalize the “mules” without assets to trade, the reverse stings that target drug buyers rather than drug sellers, the overkill in agencies involved even in minor arrests, the massive shift towards federal jurisdiction over local law enforcement - is largely the unplanned by-product of this economic incentive structure.”

So the drug war has created a massive financial incentive for police to seize property from individuals, one that many departments could require to stay afloat.  What do you think happens next?

As Free Market Shooter has covered previously for Single Dude Travel, raids from SWAT teams have become commonplace, with police becoming better armed by the day:

Our nation’s policing system has become profit-driven instead of crime-driven, largely due to the failure of the war on drugs, and the fact that cops have been given surplus military hardware from the armed forces at bargain basement prices. SWAT team raids have gone from a few hundred per year in the 1970s to 50,000 annually, largely because they call SWAT in when “Special Weapons And Tactics” aren’t really needed, such as when apprehending a credit card scammer or raiding an organic farm for the filmiest of reasons. When a SWAT team nearly kills a 19-month old baby with a flashbang grenade, in a raid without the suspect present, how are there no charges filed?

And now that police are all armed to the teeth looking for property to seize, what happens next?  The practice is applied everywhere.  If you look at a report on the “most outlandish SWAT team raids” across the country, you’ll see just how common it is to have a SWAT team called in:

  • Armed agents raid animal shelter in search of baby deer—and kill it.
  • Girl’s home wrongfully raided with flashbangs despite door being open.
  • SWAT team raids DJ’s studio to enforce copyright law.
  • SWAT squad invades private poker game.
  • SWAT team raids man’s home in search of stolen koi fish.
  • Sex toys, condoms and pajamas seized in drug/prostitution SWAT team raid.
  • Peaceful monks arrested in SWAT team action.
  • Feds raid Amish dairy farm—twice—for selling unpasteurized milk.
  • Police unlawfully invade a series of barbershops without warrants.
  • Police forcibly search and detain 19 patrons in gay bar.
  • SWAT team confiscates wood used to make instruments during illegal raid.

So, how do you stop police from treating civilians like they would treat terrorists?  The best place to start is removing the incentive structure that has been created by the war on drugs, which brings us back to Casey Research’s commentary:

Illegalizing something does nothing but create a black market and give people a reason to induce other people to get high. I mean, people have been drinking alcohol for about the last 10,000 years. But it didn’t become a real problem until the Eighteenth Amendment and the Volstead Act passed in 1920. At that point, it financed the mafia.

 

Laws turn simple bad habits into massive and profitable criminal enterprises.

 

The government learned absolutely nothing from the failure of alcohol prohibition. What they’re doing with drugs makes an occasional, trivial problem into a national catastrophe…

However, do not expect that to happen anytime soon; again, as Free Market Shooter has covered in the past, new Attorney General Jeff Sessions is adamant about expanding the war on drugs:

And, in case you weren’t aware, this is the same Jeff Sessions who is on the record as being not only against medicinal marijuana, it is the same Jeff Sessions that has stated that marijuana is only slightly less awful than heroin:

 

     And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana – so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful.

Then again… it’s not like the prior ten attorney generals did anything but continue the war on drugs.  Remember what Casey said about “massive profitable criminal enterprises”?

Published:5/25/2017 11:24:42 PM
[Intelligence] Breaking: Today’s Trumpocalypse Story (Steven Hayward) Back in March I noted in a short item about how Herbert Meyer, Bill Casey’s right hand man at the CIA back during the Reagan years, warned that the intelligence community had ways of making a president’s life miserable, and that Trump had taken a huge risk in alienating the intelligence community, even if they deserve Trump’s opprobrium. We may be seeing an example of the intelligence community taking it out Published:5/15/2017 5:57:36 PM
[Addiction] Doug Casey On The Opioid Crisis

Via CaseyResearch.com,

“Enjoy looking over your shoulder, constantly wondering if today’s the day we come for you. Enjoy trying to sleep tonight, wondering if tonight’s the night our SWAT team blows your front door off the hinges. We are coming for you.”

This sounds like something from an ‘80s action movie. But that’s an actual quote from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office in Tavares, Florida.

Sheriff Grinnell delivered this message last month while flanked by four combat-ready officers wearing ski masks. It looks like someone from ISIS directed it. You can watch the bizarre video here...

Grinnel's message was aimed at local drug dealers. You see, Lake County has a serious opioid problem. And like many other places in the US, it's fighting its drug problem as if it were a war.

After I watched it, I called up Casey Research founder Doug Casey to get his take on the opioid crisis. Below is a transcript of our conversation. We hope you enjoy it.

*  *  *

Justin: Doug, what do you make of the opioid crisis?

Doug: The news cycle seems to be emphasizing the use of opioids at the moment. Now, these are almost all legal prescription drugs, not illegally smuggled heroin and morphine, as was the case in The French Connection. People get their doctors to prescribe opioids for pain. Of course, pain is not something that you can prove. So it’s legitimate for doctors to prescribe these things. After a while the patient may develop a chemical dependency.

This gets into why people become addicted. I’m of the opinion that all kinds of addictions, not just the opioids in question, but addictions to cocaine, meth, other kinds of narcotics, alcohol, or anything else are basically because of pain.

But it’s not necessarily physical pain. It’s psychological pain, which may be even more important. And psychological pain means that people want to check out of reality. So as the economy gets worse—and I think it will get much, much worse in the near future—you can expect levels of addiction to skyrocket, not to go down.

Addiction is a bad habit, but it’s nobody else’s business. From an ethical point of view, your primary possession is your own body. If you don’t own it, and have a right to do whatever you want with it, then you in fact have no rights at all. That’s why the drug war itself is criminal, and morally insane.

The efforts of dangerous idiots like Sheriff Grinnell are counterproductive. If they confiscate a ton of drugs, that just drives up the market price for those that remain. And increases the profits of dealers, drawing more dealers into the business. And encouraging addicts who can’t afford the higher prices to turn to crime in order to support their habit. That’s entirely apart from increasing the level of violence in society, corrupting the police, and lots of other negative fallout.

I’m always amazed by the immense hypocrisy and stupidity of the drug warriors, as well.

For instance, Rush Limbaugh has always been a major drug warrior. He’s actually said on his show that junkies should be executed because they’re such a danger. And then, what do you know? Turns out that he was an oxycodone junkie. Just like the major crusaders against homosexuality—mirabile dictu—turn out to be closet queers themselves half the time. Like Larry Craig, the Republican Senator who claimed he just had a “wide stance” in a public men’s room.

These people seem driven to make laws against the very things they most fear in themselves.

Justin: What’s fueling this crisis?

Doug: Well, many of these opioids are being paid for by Medicaid and Medicare. So the government’s actually paying for the drug boom.

And it’s especially perverse because drugs were a non-problem before the Harrison Act, which was passed in 1914. The act basically made all opium and coca derivatives illegal in the US. Before that there were very few people that were addicted to narcotics, even though narcotics were available to anybody at the local corner drugstore. Addicts were looked down on as suffering from a moral failure, but there was no more profit in heroin than in aspirin. So there were no cartels or drug gangs.

What we’re dealing with isn’t a medical problem, it’s a psychological, even a spiritual, problem. And a legal problem, because self-righteous busybodies keep passing laws—with very severe penalties—regulating what people can or can’t do with their own bodies. It’s part of the general degradation of civilization that I’ve been putting my finger on over the last few years.

The government is the problem behind addiction, on all levels. It’s a major cause for people feeling psychological pain. And they’re the sole reason these medicines are illegal and unavailable. On the subject of addiction, people can become addicted to most anything—food, sugar, alcohol, gambling, sleep, sex—you name it. It’s not good when you do too much of absolutely anything. But so what?

Justin: So, I take it prohibition isn’t the answer?

Doug: Illegalizing something does nothing but create a black market and give people a reason to induce other people to get high. I mean, people have been drinking alcohol for about the last 10,000 years. But it didn’t become a real problem until the Eighteenth Amendment and the Volstead Act passed in 1920. At that point, it financed the mafia. Laws turn simple bad habits into massive and profitable criminal enterprises.

The government learned absolutely nothing from the failure of alcohol prohibition. What they’re doing with drugs makes an occasional, trivial problem into a national catastrophe…

Justin: Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Doug.

Doug: My pleasure.

Published:5/12/2017 6:48:21 PM
[World] FBI Director James Comey Fired Judge Andrew Napolitano Responds Donald Trump

Judge Andrew Napolitano reacted to President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, saying his departure was a long time coming.

Napolitano said Comey's behavior during the Hillary Clinton email probe violated respected regulatory levers of the bureau.


'This Is Nixonian': Democrats Blast Trump For Firing FBI Director Comey

Published:5/9/2017 7:01:38 PM
[Business] "This Is Nixonian" - Democrats Demand "Immediate Emergency Hearings" Over Comey Termination

In a desperate bid to ensure their flip-flopping over Comey is not misunderstood, and the focus of the narrative remains on the "Russia-Trump collusion hoax," Democrats are demanding they get their say over President Trump's termination of FBI Director Comey. Chuck Schumer has called the firing a "big mistake," Elizabeth Warren has called for a special prosecutor "who Trump can't fire" in the Russian election interference probe, and Elijah Cummings has issued a statement demanding "immediate emergency hearings."

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) says he told President Trump that his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey was a "big mistake."

"Earlier this afternoon President Trump called me and informed me he was firing Director Comey," Schumer told reporters on Tuesday. "I told the president, 'Mr. President, with all due respect, you are making a big mistake.’

 

 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) hit President Trump for his bombshell decision to fire FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday, calling on Congress to "get their heads out of the sand" and use a special prosecutor to investigate Trump.

As The Hill reports, Warren responded to the news, saying, "we need a real, independent prosecutor who [Trump] can't fire, Sessions can't intimidate and Congress can't muzzle."

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) on Tuesday demanded “immediate emergency hearings” over President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey. As The Hill reports, Cummings said in a statement.

“Congress needs to have immediate emergency hearings to obtain testimony directly from Attorney General [Jeff] Sessions, the deputy attorney general and FBI Director Comey,”

 

“The White House was already covering up for [former national security adviser] Michael Flynn by refusing to provide a single document to Congress, and now the President fired the one independent person who was doing the most to investigate President Trump and his [2016] campaign over allegations of coordination with Russia.”

Cummings added that Sessions’s involvement in Comey’s ouster is “mindboggling,” noting that Sessions stated that he would recuse himself from investigations into any ties between Trump and Russia.

There is now a crisis of confidence at the Justice Department, and President Trump is not being held accountable because House Republicans refuse to work with us to do our job,” the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee added.

And the rest of The Senate Democrats appeared to be singing from the same hymn sheet, slamming President Trump's decision and drawing comparisons to former President Richard Nixon.

"This is Nixonian,” Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) said in a statement.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) echoed that language, noting that Trump fired Comey "in the midst of one of the most critical national security investigations in the history of our country — one that implicates senior officials in the Trump campaign and administration."

"This is nothing less than Nixonian," Leahy said.

Published:5/9/2017 7:01:36 PM
[World] James Comey Fired FBI Director Democrats Slam Trump Bob Casey Tim Kaine

Several top Democrats criticized President Trump for firing FBI Director James Comey.

Senator Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pennsylvania) compared Trump to President Richard Nixon in the way he terminated Comey in the midst of an investigation into Russian collusion.

Published:5/9/2017 6:00:53 PM
[Business cycle] When Might The Pillaging End?

Authored by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

Recently, I published the comment that, when the present debt bubble eventually pops, “governments will lose the economic power to continue their advance against economic freedom.”

The immediate reaction from one reader was, “What could we expect next?… The governments and Deep State aren’t going to ‘just go away.’”

An excellent question—one which deserves an answer.

We won’t need a crystal ball to find the answer; we can look at history. After all, this isn’t the first time a government has engaged in overreach. In fact, it’s the norm. Political leaders tend to expand countries if they can, then build them into empires, becoming increasingly oppressive along the way, then causing the collapse of the empire—generally through welfare and warfare.

The dominant empire of the world today could be said to be the US and its allies, but the hub of the wheel is the US itself, so that’s where we’ll focus. The US is so powerful that it can demand that its citizens pay tax, no matter where they may live in the world. The level of US debt has made the government so flushed with money that it could create a money-collection system that’s beyond any the world has seen.

At some point, however, debt always generates a major crash. What we can expect next will be that the governments will no longer be able to pay for all of their programmes, so they'll have to cut back. How much will they cut back? That will depend on the severity of the collapse. In my estimation, one of the first indicators will be a stock market collapse. Will it drop by 20%? If so, that will only be a correction, and nothing will change significantly. Will it drop 40%? That's an amount I consider very likely and would be an indicator that the economy in general will soon be taking a significant hit, with a knock-on effect as to government coffers. Will it drop 60%? That's quite possible and would be catastrophic. The economy would then go full-on into the Greater Depression.

Unlike the Depression of the 1930s, the country will not be the largely agrarian, highly-productive country of (generally) hard-working people. It will be a society of entitlement-conscious people, who will fail to rise to the occasion. An unproductive society contributes little to its government. In addition, the worldwide credit bubble will pop and the petrodollar will be no more. That will serve to eliminate the false income that the government now relies on. The heroin syringe will be removed suddenly and the government will find itself severely strapped for cash.

So, the government will cut back dramatically—because it has no choice.

So, here’s where you get to picture yourself as the government. What areas do you maintain as sacrosanct and what others do you cut back on? It would make sense to hang on to those programmes that bring in the most revenue and cut the others, but the big-ticket items are welfare and warfare. You no longer have enough money to maintain those in full. You’ll have to cut back on them, but they’re the programmes that allow you to continue in office. Without them, you not only won’t survive the next election, you might face revolts. So, you do what you have to. You dismantle every other department as much as is possible and hope for the best. After all, your primary concern is not the survival of your country’s economy. Your primary concern is your own retention of power.

Historically, what you end up with is fewer departments surviving the cut, with each of the surviving departments operating on a skeleton crew, resulting in all of them being less effective. A good example today is Argentina. It was once the tenth most productive country in the world, but, in the 1950s, the Peróns collapsed the economy through socialism. It’s never recovered. Argentina today passes laws as regularly as any other country, but they’re considered a joke by Argentines. Especially in the outer areas, the laws are largely ignored. Whatever little the government does do is extremely inefficient.

The US has, in recent years, gone way over the top with regard to the economic enslavement of its people, but it has funded the programme through massive heroin (debt) injections. When that debt collapses, the US government will drop dramatically in terms of its ability to control its people in every way, but its main focus will then be on riot and revolt control. That aspect will be fully funded—more so than at present.

At that point, the investor who has a bit of gold or an account in Switzerland will be too costly to go after. Political leaders will be scrambling to save themselves, and there will be far more important priorities to fund.

As a holder of wealth (no matter how small), your objective is to bridge the period from now until then. Diversify yourself as much as you can and then sit tight. The primary objective is to still have your skin on after the dust has settled.

*  *  *

Today, the US is driving itself straight into a debt-fueled economic crash. This historic financial meltdown will dwarf the Great Depression and 2008 financial crisis. It will wipe out countless investors, including many who thought they were prepared. Don’t let yourself be one of them… New York Times ­best-selling author Doug Casey and his team recently released a video with Doug’s strategy for what you can do to protect yourself. Click here to watch it.

Published:5/9/2017 1:26:20 AM
[Anthropology] Is This WalMart 'Free-For-All' A Taste Of Things To Come?

by Stefan Stanford via AllNewsPipeline.com,

In the new story over at Survival Dan called “During The Collapse: Where To Go And What Places To Avoid”, he reports that when IT hits the fan, America’s ‘population hubs’ will likely explode with violence, looting and the total breakdown of law and order as resources become next to impossible to get and the masses suddenly realize the government isn’t coming to save them.

Whether that be via total collapse, WW3 coming home to roost upon US soil or a ‘grid event’ that leaves tens to hundreds of millions either without power or access to the money in their bank accounts, the video directly below from a WalMart in Mexico gives us a very small taste of what that world without law and order can quickly devolve into.

Showing what happens when suddenly ‘lawless people’ realize that there aren’t enough security guards in a Wal Mart store to stop them, we witness the kind of all-out ‘free for all’ that we’ll likely see in a collapse event, though the smart people would be carrying out food, toilet paper and other necessities instead of flat screen TV’s. And in an all-out SHTF event, we’d expect that the people will likely be fighting with each other for the few remaining resources as they are now in Venezuela where children are literally starving to death.

Following Alt Market’s Brandon Smith warning that ‘a full spectrum crisis is about to take place’ a Wal Mart in Mexico gives us a small glimpse of what might happen here once it all comes crashing down amid more signs that what we’re witnessing in Venezuela may be coming to America.

As commenters on the live leak video clearly point out, we’ve already witnessed events in America similar to what happened in the video above with packs of roving gangs showing up in malls and convenience stores ‘en masse’, taking whatever they want and parading out as if laws don’t matter to them. Knowing such events are already taking place in 2017 America, how much worse might things get when SHTF? As Susan Duclos reported this morning on ANP, parts of America are already a boiling cauldron read to boil over. How many Americans are the frogs in the simmering water?

In this December 2016 story on ANP called “Map Shows Us Where We Don’t Want To Be When It All Turns Ugly”, we reported that nearly 50% of Americans live in very small geographical locations. According to this story from the Daily Mail, half of the US population live within 146 counties while the other 157 million are scattered across the other 3,000+.

The map seen directly below gives us a visual representation of what that looks like with the counties seen below in blue making up approx. 50% of the US population while the remaining 50% of Americans live across the rest of the country in counties seen in gray. When SHTF, does anyone want to be in the blue areas?

As we also reported back in December, the map seen above showing the US counties with the biggest populations coincides quite eerily with the map of US counties won by Hillary Clinton during the last election seen below.

The next map below from James Wesley Rawles’ Survival Blog shows US cities with approx. 100,000 population in yellow circles with the shaded areas surrounding them indicating the distances from those cities with each shaded increment representing approx 40 miles. Showing that most of the East coast and eastern half of the US are within 120 miles of big cities, it’s easy to understand why videographer The Prepared Mind selects some of the areas seen in the final video below as his ‘go to’ areas for when SHTF.

As M.D. Creekmore over at the Survivalist Blog has previously brought to the attention of preppers, getting out of the cities may not be possible for some who are tied to their jobs when SHTF and many of the same areas mentioned in that videohave such low populations for a very good reason – a major lack of jobs in areas long ago hit by the globalists economy that has decimated much of America.

According to Brandon Smith in this recent story over at Alt Market, “I continue to believe that a greater crisis is brewing that is economic and global in nature. With numerous financial bubbles artificially inflated over at least eight years of central bank stimulus, the question is not “if” but WHEN the system will enter the final stages of its ongoing collapse.

Smith’s warnings echo the warnings given by Doug Casey who recently stated “a civilization always collapses from within. World War 1, in 1914, signaled the start of the long collapse of Western Civilization. Of course, termites were already eating away at the foundations, with the writings of people like Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Karl Marx. It’s been on an accelerating downward path ever since….”

Published:5/7/2017 8:46:12 PM
[Business] Doug Casey On The End Of Western Civilization

Authored by Nick Giambruno via InternationalMan.com,

Nick Giambruno: The decline of Western Civilization is on a lot of people’s minds.

Let’s talk about this trend.

Doug Casey: Western Civilization has its origins in ancient Greece. It’s unique among the world’s civilizations in putting the individual—as opposed to the collective—in a central position. It enshrined logic and rational thought—as opposed to mysticism and superstition—as the way to deal with the world. It’s because of this that we have science, technology, great literature and art, capitalism, personal freedom, the concept of progress, and much, much more. In fact, almost everything worth having in the material world is due to Western Civilization.

Ayn Rand once said “East minus West equals zero.” I think she went a bit too far, as a rhetorical device, but she was essentially right. When you look at what the world’s other civilizations have brought to the party, at least over the last 2,500 years, it’s trivial.

I lived in the Orient for years. There are many things I love about it—martial arts, yoga, and the cuisine among them. But all the progress they’ve made is due to adopting the fruits of the West.

Nick Giambruno: There are so many things degrading Western Civilization. Where do we begin?

Doug Casey: It’s been said, correctly, that a civilization always collapses from within. World War 1, in 1914, signaled the start of the long collapse of Western Civilization. Of course, termites were already eating away at the foundations, with the writings of people like Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Karl Marx. It’s been on an accelerating downward path ever since, even though technology and science have been improving at a quantum pace. They are, however, like delayed action flywheels, operating on stored energy and accumulated capital. Without capital, intellectual freedom, and entrepreneurialism, science and technology will slow down. I’m optimistic we’ll make it to Kurzweil’s Singularity, but there are no guarantees.

Things also changed with the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. Before that, the US used gold coinage for money. “The dollar” was just a name for 1/20th of an ounce of gold. That is what the dollar was. Paper dollars were just receipts for gold on deposit in the Treasury. The income tax, enacted the same year, threw more sand in the gears of civilization. The world was much freer before the events of 1913 and 1914, which acted to put the State at the center of everything.

The Fed and the income tax are both disastrous and unnecessary things, enemies of the common man in every way. Unfortunately, people have come to believe they’re fixtures in the cosmic firmament. They’re the main reasons—there are many other reasons, though, unfortunately—why the average American’s standard of living has been dropping since the early 1970s. In fact, were it not for these things, and the immense amount of capital destroyed during the numerous wars of the last 100 years, I expect we’d have already colonized the moon and Mars. Among many other things…

But I want to re-emphasize that the science, the technology, and all the wonderful toys we have are not the essence of Western Civilization. They’re consequences of individualism, capitalism, rational thought, and personal freedom. It’s critical not to confuse cause and effect.

Nick Giambruno: You mentioned that the average American’s standard of living has dropped since the early 1970s. This is directly related to the US government abandoning the dollar’s last link to gold in 1971. Since then, the Federal Reserve has been able to debase the US dollar without limit.

I think the dollar’s transformation into a purely fiat currency has eroded the rule of law and morality in the US. It’s similar to what happened in the Roman Empire after it started debasing its currency.

What do you think, Doug?

Doug Casey: All the world’s governments and central banks share a common philosophy, which drives these policies. They believe that you create economic activity by stimulating demand, and you stimulate demand by printing money. And, of course, it’s true, in a way. Roughly the same way a counterfeiter can stimulate a local economy.

Unfortunately, they ignore that, and completely ignore that the way a person or a society becomes wealthy is by producing more than they consume and saving the difference. That difference, savings, is how you create capital. Without capital you’re reduced to subsistence, scratching at the earth with a stick. These people think that by inflating—which is to say destroying—the currency, they can create prosperity. But what they’re really doing, is destroying capital: When you destroy the value of the currency, that discourages people from saving it. And when people don’t save, they can’t build capital, and the vicious cycle goes on.

This is destructive for civilization itself, in both the long term and the short term. The more paper money, the more credit, they create, the more society focuses on finance, as opposed to production. It’s why there are many times more people studying finance than science. The focus is increasingly on speculation, not production. Financial engineering, not mechanical, electrical, or chemical engineering. And lots of laws and regulations to keep the unstable structure from collapsing.

What keeps a truly civil society together isn’t laws, regulations, and police. It's peer pressure, social opprobrium, moral approbation, and your reputation. These are the four elements that keep things together. Western Civilization is built on voluntarism. But, as the State grows, that’s being replaced by coercion in every aspect of society. There are regulations on the most obscure areas of life. As Harvey Silverglate pointed out in his book, the average American commits three felonies a day. Whether he’s caught and prosecuted is a subject of luck and the arbitrary will of some functionary. That’s antithetical to the core values of Western Civilization.

Nick Giambruno: Speaking of ancient civilizations like Rome, interest rates are about the lowest they’ve been in 5,000 years of recorded history. Trillions of dollars’ worth of government bonds trade at negative yields.

Of course, this couldn’t happen in a free market. It’s only possible because of central bank manipulation.

How will artificially low interest rates affect the collapse of Western Civilization?

Doug Casey: It’s really, really serious. I previously thought it was metaphysically impossible to have negative interest rates but, in the Bizarro World central banks have created, it’s happened.

Negative interest rates discourage saving. Once again, saving is what builds capital. Without capital you wind up as an empty shell—Rome in 450 A.D., or Detroit today—lots of wonderful but empty buildings and no economic activity. Worse, it forces people to desperately put their money in all manner of idiotic speculations in an effort to stay ahead of inflation. They wind up chasing the bubbles the funny money creates.

Let me re-emphasize something: in order for science and technology to advance you need capital. Where does capital come from? It comes from people producing more than they consume and saving the difference. Debt, on the other hand, means you’re living above your means. You’re either consuming the capital others have saved, or you’re mortgaging your future.

Zero and negative interest rate policies, and the creation of money out of nowhere, are actually destructive of civilization itself. It makes the average guy feel that he’s not in control of his own destiny. He starts believing that the State, or luck, or Allah will provide for him. That attitude is typical of people from backward parts of the world—not Western Civilization.

Nick Giambruno: What does it say about the economy and society that people work so hard to interpret what officials from the Federal Reserve and other central banks say?

Doug Casey: It’s a shameful waste of time. They remind me of primitives seeking the counsel of witch doctors. One hundred years ago, the richest people in the country—the Rockefellers, the Carnegies, and such—made their money creating industries that actually made stuff. Now, the richest people in the country just shuffle money around. They get rich because they’re close to the government and the hydrant of currency materialized by the Federal Reserve. I’d say it’s a sign that society in the US has become quite degraded.

The world revolves much less around actual production, but around guessing the direction of financial markets. Negative interest rates are creating bubbles, and will eventually result in an economic collapse.

Nick Giambruno: Negative interest rates are essentially a tax on savings. A lot of people would rather pull their money out of the bank and stuff it under a mattress than suffer that sting.

The economic central planners know this. It’s why they’re using negative interest rates to ramp up the War on Cash—the push to eliminate paper currency and create a cashless society.

The banking system is very fragile. Banks don’t hold much paper cash. It’s mostly digital bytes on a computer. If people start withdrawing paper money en masse, it won’t take much to bring the whole system down.

Their solution is to make accessing cash harder, and in some cases, illegal. That’s why the economic witch doctors at Harvard are pounding the table to get rid of the $100 bill.

Take France, for example. It’s now illegal to make cash transactions over €1,000 without documenting them properly.

Negative interest rates have turbocharged the War on Cash. If the central planners win this war, it would be the final deathblow to financial privacy.

How does this all relate to the collapse of Western Civilization?

Doug Casey: I believe the next step in their idiotic plan is to abolish cash. Decades ago they got rid of gold coinage, which used to circulate day to day in people’s pockets. Then they got rid of silver coinage. Now, they’re planning to get rid of cash altogether. So you won’t even have euros or dollars or pounds in your wallet anymore, or if you do, it will only be very small denominations. Everything else is going to have to be done through electronic payment processing.

This is a huge disaster for the average person: absolutely everything that you buy or sell, other than perhaps a candy bar or a hamburger, is going to have to go through the banking system. Thus, the government will be able to monitor every transaction and payment. Financial privacy, even what’s left of it today, will literally cease to exist.

Privacy is one of the big differences between a civilized society and a primitive society. In a primitive society, in your little dirt hut village, anybody can look through your window or pull back the flap on your tent. You have no privacy. Everybody can hear everything; see anything. This was one of the marvelous things about Western Civilization—privacy was valued, and respected. But that concept, like so many others, is on its way out…

Nick Giambruno: You’ve mentioned before that language and words provide important clues to the collapse of Western Civilization. How so?

Doug Casey: Many of the words you hear, especially on television and other media, are confused, conflated, or completely misused. Many recent changes in the way words are used are corrupting the language. As George Orwell liked to point out, to control language is to control thought. The corruption of language is adding to the corruption of civilization itself. This is not a trivial factor in the degradation of Western Civilization.

Words—their exact meanings, and how they’re used—are critically important. If you don’t mean what you say and say what you mean, then it’s impossible to communicate accurately. Forget about transmitting philosophical concepts.

Take for example shareholders and stakeholders. We all know that a shareholder actually owns a share in a company, but have you noticed that over the last generation shareholders have become less important than stakeholders? Even though stakeholders are just hangers-on, employees, or people who are looking to get in on a shakedown. But everybody slavishly acknowledges, “Yes, we’ve got to look out for the stakeholders.”

Where did that concept come from? It’s a recent creation, but Boobus americanus seems to think it was carved in stone at the country’s founding.

We’re told to protect them, as if they were a valuable and endangered species. I say, “A pox upon stakeholders.” If they want a vote in what a company does, then they ought to become shareholders. Stakeholders are a class of being created out of nothing by Cultural Marxists for the purpose of shaking down shareholders.

*  *  *

There’s major turmoil ahead for Western Civilization.  We expect the fallout to be far worse than 2008. Most investors can’t handle that sort of chaos. But Doug Casey and his team know how to turn it into huge profits. They’re sharing need-to-know information about the coming global economic meltdown in this time-sensitive video. Click here to watch it now.

Published:5/6/2017 8:13:58 PM
[Aircraft] Where Do You Go In A 'Hurricane'?

Submitted by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

As a West Indian, I’ve lived through quite a few hurricanes in my time. My level of responsibility in each varied quite a bit. I was eight years old in my first hurricane and I thought it was great fun, as it was so exciting during the hurricane and, afterward, the landscape had changed so much that I had lots of new places to play.

On the other end of the scale, in 2004, my country, the Cayman Islands, experienced a Category 5 hurricane, with winds up to 200 miles per hour that sat on us without moving for 36 hours. I was responsible for ensuring that safety be provided for scores of my employees prior to the hurricane. After the storm, one of my companies took on the complete rebuilding of the country’s wholesale and retail food distribution facilities in order to ensure that the country’s population would have the most essential commodities—food and water. (A big change in level of responsibility over the years.)

In addition to having spent decades planning for hurricane damage, I’ve also spent decades as an economist, planning for major economic storms. In 1999, I determined that the world would experience what Doug Casey has termed a Greater Depression that would be more devastating than any economic event the world had ever seen. I predicted that it would happen in stages and that the final stage would be the most devastating. I would have been quite pleased to have been incorrect, but unfortunately, my predictions have come to pass. I believe we’re now quite close to the final destruction stage, a period that will lead to the collapse of many of the world’s formerly strongest economies, coinciding with a period of devastating warfare. In both the economic and warfare cases, those who are the world’s major players will believe that they’ll be able to control the extent of devastation and even profit from it, but events will go beyond their control and take on a life of their own.

As in the image above, there will not be just one, but multiple epicentres. Europe and North America will be hit the hardest economically. Next in line will be those countries, such as Japan, Australia, etc., that are the most closely linked economically with these centres. The next tier down will be those countries that are dependent on the centres, but more peripherally, such as Panama or Mexico. Finally, there will be those countries that are the least linked to the major centres, such as Uruguay or Thailand.

All countries will be impacted by the coming economic hurricane, but the effects will vary. Those in the US and Europe will experience the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane. Those in Australia and Japan will experience a Category 4. Countries in the third tier will experience a Category 3, and those countries that are either distant from or the least economically dependent upon the epicentres will experience Category 2 or even Category 1 damage.

This is not mere speculation. In examining previous depressions and the last two world wars, we can see that those countries that were the least connected to events tended to fare well. This will hold true this time around as well.

When we turn on the television and the weatherman says that a hurricane is approaching, we have to make a decision. Do we trust in the hope that it might not pass directly over us? Do we question the severity of the storm as it’s being described to us? Should we plan to stay at home, as in a Category 1 or Category 2 storm, or should we plan to go to a local shelter as in a Category 3 or Category 4 storm? Or, do we believe we’ll be experiencing the devastation of a Category 5, in which case we’d pack our bags, wave goodbye to our home, and get as far away from the epicentre as possible?

Well, first, we’d better look at the categories, then, based on where we’re located, ask ourselves what we need to do. We’re presently already experiencing Category 1 conditions.

Category 1 Warfare: Minor civil disobedience and/or riots
Category 1 Economics: Increased mortgage foreclosures, some strip-shop and mall closings, decreased spending overall

 

Category 2 Warfare: Major civil disobedience, riots, and/or insurrection
Category 2 Economics: The above, plus tariff wars, stock and bond market crashes

 

Category 3 Warfare: Minor bombing and/or ground invasion
Category 3 Economics: The above, plus minor inability of governments to pay entitlements, significant inflation, credit collapse

 

Category 4 Warfare: Major bombing and/or ground invasion
Category 4 Economics: The above, plus the end of the dollar as a reserve currency/end of the petrodollar, considerable inflation, short-term bank closures

 

Category 5 Warfare: Nuclear destruction
Category 5 Economics: The above, plus major inability of governments to pay entitlements, permanent closure of the majority of banks, currency collapse, confiscation of deposits, major internal capital controls

The above descriptions are not by any means comprehensive. They represent basic categories, to which many details can and should be added.

So, what should your personal plan be? Well, if you’re located in one of the epicentres (the EU and US), you might devise a plan to head out to the country, if you have a destination that you either own or rent. Then, depending on the severity of the storm, you may survive the damage. (A rural area is the equivalent of a hurricane shelter.) However, if you’re dependent on your government for income, you may not be able to survive a Category 3 storm. Even if your income is independent of your government, you may not be able to survive a Category 4 or 5 storm, as you’ll still be under the control of a collapsing system.

The closer you are to an epicentre, the worse the damage promises to be to you personally. And the stronger the hurricane, the greater the damage. It’s important to remember that personal preparedness will help, but the worse the state your government, infrastructure, local businesses and neighbours will be in, the more you’ll be impacted by their condition, even if you’re personally prepared.

As an example, those who choose to sit out a Category 5 monetary and/or warfare hurricane in Uruguay would be likely to fare quite well, just as the Europeans who went there during the world wars. (Very few of them returned after the wars, having found a better life abroad.)

In a Category 4 hurricane, life would be likely to remain relatively stable in areas such as the southeastern provinces of Mexico. In a Category 3, New Zealand might just be manageable.

However, in order to assess your personal situation, it would be advisable to have another look at the categories above and decide for yourself what degree of damage is likely in the near future, then make a personal assessment as to whether you’re willing to chance experiencing that level of damage.

We’ve passed the point of whether there’ll be a hurricane; we just can’t be sure how severe it’ll be. The winds are already picking up and those who choose to make a move will need to do so soon.

*  *  *

If you live in the US or the EU, expect the coming financial hurricane to be a Category 5. Think major currency collapses, big bank closures, and capital controls. In other words, total financial mayhem. New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and his team share all the details in this urgent video. Click here to watch it now.

Published:5/1/2017 8:46:22 PM
[Anthropology] Doug Casey On Why Gold Is Money

Authored by Doug Casey via InternationalMan.com,

It’s an unfortunate historical anomaly that people think about the paper in their wallets as money. The dollar is, technically, a currency. A currency is a government substitute for money. But gold is money.

Now, why do I say that?

Historically, many things have been used as money. Cattle have been used as money in many societies, including Roman society. That’s where we get the word “pecuniary” from: the Latin word for a single head of cattle is pecus. Salt has been used as money, also in ancient Rome, and that’s where the word “salary” comes from; the Latin for salt is sal (or salis). The North American Indians used seashells. Cigarettes were used during WWII. So, money is simply a medium of exchange and a store of value.

By that definition, almost anything could be used as money, but obviously, some things work better than others; it’s hard to exchange things people don’t want, and some things don’t store value well. Over thousands of years, the precious metals have emerged as the best form of money. Gold and silver both, though primarily gold.

There’s nothing magical about gold. It’s just uniquely well suited among the 98 naturally occurring elements for use as money…in the same way aluminum is good for airplanes or uranium is good for nuclear power.

There are very good reasons for this, and they are not new reasons. Aristotle defined five reasons why gold is money in the 4th century BCE (which may only have been the first time it was put down on paper). Those five reasons are as valid today as they were then.

When I give a speech, I often offer a prize to the audience member who can tell me the five classical reasons gold is the best money. Quickly now—what are they? Can’t recall them? Read on, and this time, burn them into your memory.

Money

If you can’t define a word precisely, clearly, and quickly, that’s proof you don’t understand what you’re talking about as well as you might. The proper definition of money is as something that functions as a store of value and a medium of exchange.

Government fiat currencies can, and currently do, function as money. But they are far from ideal. What, then, are the characteristics of a good money? Aristotle listed them in the 4th century BCE. A good money must be all of the following:

  • Durable: A good money shouldn’t fall apart in your pocket nor evaporate when you aren’t looking. It should be indestructible. This is why we don’t use fruit for money. It can rot, be eaten by insects, and so on. It doesn’t last.

  • Divisible: A good money needs to be convertible into larger and smaller pieces without losing its value, to fit a transaction of any size. This is why we don’t use things like porcelain for money—half a Ming vase isn’t worth much.

  • Consistent: A good money is something that always looks the same, so that it’s easy to recognize, each piece identical to the next. This is why we don’t use things like oil paintings for money; each painting, even by the same artist, of the same size and composed of the same materials is unique. It’s also why we don’t use real estate as money. One piece is always different from another piece.

  • Convenient: A good money packs a lot of value into a small package and is highly portable. This is why we don’t use water for money, as essential as it is—just imagine how much you’d have to deliver to pay for a new house, not to mention all the problems you’d have with the escrow. It’s also why we don’t use other metals like lead, or even copper. The coins would have to be too huge to handle easily to be of sufficient value.

  • Intrinsically valuable: A good money is something many people want or can use. This is critical to money functioning as a means of exchange; even if I’m not a jeweler, I know that someone, somewhere wants gold and will take it in exchange for something else of value to me. This is why we don’t—or shouldn’t—use things like scraps of paper for money, no matter how impressive the inscriptions upon them might be.

Actually, there’s a sixth reason Aristotle should have mentioned, but it wasn’t relevant in his age, because nobody would have thought of it…it can’t be created out of thin air.

Not even the kings and emperors who clipped and diluted coins would have dared imagine that they could get away with trying to use something essentially worthless as money.

These are the reasons why gold is the best money. It’s not a gold bug religion, nor a barbaric superstition. It’s simply common sense. Gold is particularly good for use as money, just as aluminum is particularly good for making aircraft, steel is good for the structures of buildings, uranium is good for fueling nuclear power plants, and paper is good for making books. Not money. If you try to make airplanes out of lead, or money out of paper, you’re in for a crash.

That gold is money is simply the result of the market process, seeking optimum means of storing value and making exchanges.

*  *  *

Doug thinks the price of gold could hit $5,000 in the coming years. To help you take advantage of this rare opportunity, he’s sharing the specific method he’s used to make gains as large as 487%, 711%, and even 4,329% in previous gold bull markets. The “Casey Method” is unlike any other investing strategy. If used properly, it could make you HUGE gains over the next few years. Doug explains it all right here. You’ll also learn how to get instant access to a special report that names 9 gold stocks with huge upside. Each of these stocks could rise 100%, 200%, or more in the coming years. Click here to get started.

Published:5/1/2017 1:32:33 AM
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