News for progressives

Donald Trump, The Democrat Squad And Failed Impeachment

Oriental Review - 10 hours 56 min ago
Twitter has become policy. It is platform, direction and determination.  It has served one particular person well, a hazy mechanism to fog up the lenses of law makers.  When President Donald Trump needs an air-wave filling distraction, a bilious splurge of interest in the blogosphere, he is always happy to […]

Multibillion-pound investment in schools ‘desperately’ needed, say MPs

Canary, The Other - 11 hours 46 min ago

Schools “desperately need” a multibillion-pound cash injection and the Government should draw up a 10-year funding plan, a cross-party group of MPs has said.

A report by the Education Select Committee found that funding for schools and colleges had failed to keep pace with the extra demands being placed on institutions, such as providing mental health support and disabilities provision.

This, coupled with growing pupil numbers and rising costs, meant the sector had been put under “significant strain” over the past 10 years, the MPs found.

Robert Halfon, chairman of the committee, called for a “bottom-up national assessment” of what it costs to ensure the education system is “fit for the 21st century”.

Robert Halfon is chairman of the Education Select Committee (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

“Education is crucial to our nation’s future,” he said. “It is the driver of future prosperity and provides the ladder of opportunity to transform the life chances of millions of our young people.

The report noted that the Institute for Fiscal Studies had estimated £3.8 billion would be needed to fill the 8% funding gap.

Halfon, Conservative MP for Harlow, added: “There is a crisis of confidence in the ability of mainstream schools to provide adequate SEND (special educational needs and disability) support.

“This needs to be tackled through increased school funding to support better early intervention.

“The Government must also spend an extra £1 billion to address the projected high needs deficit.

“Given the march of the robots and the rise of automation, it is extraordinary that further education has for so long been starved of cash. Funding further education properly must sit at the heart of a 10-year plan.”

The committee made a number of recommendations to the Government, including improvements to the pupil premium, a grant given to schools to improve the attainment of disadvantaged children.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Education said: “We welcome this detailed and considered report from the Education Select Committee and will respond in full in due course.

“While it is accurate to say that school funding is at its highest level, we do recognise that there are budgeting challenges. This Government is investing more than ever before in early education and childcare, and since 2010 the overall core schools budget for five to 16-year-olds has been protected in real terms.

“We have also protected the base rate of funding for 16 to 19-year-olds until 2020 and are providing additional funding for the delivery of the new gold standard T Levels, rising to an additional £500 million every year once they are fully rolled out.

“We are glad to see that school and further education funding is being highlighted as an important issue ahead of the next Spending Review, where the Education Secretary will back the sector to have the resources they need to deliver world-class standards across the board.”

But Halfron said:

“If it is right that the NHS can have a 10-year plan and a five-year funding settlement, then surely education, perhaps the most important public service, should also have a 10-year plan and a long-term funding settlement.”

Total school spending per pupil fell by 8% in real terms between 2009 and 2018, the MPs found, with further education the hardest hit as per-student funding for post-16 provision dropped by 16% over the past decade.

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By The Canary

Australia Conducts It's "Largest Amphibious Assult Since WWII"

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - 11 hours 52 min ago

A joint Australian-U.S. military exercise, called Talisman Sabre 2019, will continue through early August following this week's Australian-led amphibious landing at Langham Beach, Queensland, Australia, reported Naval Today.

Forces from around the world (the U.S., New Zealand, United Kingdom, and Japan) practiced one of the most massive beach assault since World War II off the eastern coast of Queensland. 

Maj. Gen. Roger Noble, deputy chief of joint operations for the Australian Defence Force, noted the beach assault was the critical portion of the monthlong exercise.

"The relationship between the Australian and the United States is the cornerstone of our regional stability. Practicing [working together] builds our flexibility to achieve our shared aims," he said.

"A credible amphibious capability significantly broadens the options for Australia and the United States to fulfill these requirements," Noble said in a statement Wednesday.

Stripes said the Australian military lacks a dedicated amphibious force. Rather, the Australian army rotates soldiers through land and sea postings, and the Australian navy is in command of sailing them close to the beach for attacks.

"This is completely foreign to almost all of us," said Capt. Matthew Stevens of the Royal Australian Army's 7th Infantry Regiment, who led the group of soldiers on the amphibious landing craft earlier this week.

The amphibious assault included more than 34,000 personnel, 30 ships, and 200 aircraft, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported Thursday.

Marines started aboard the USS Wasp, USS Green Bay, Royal Australian Navy ships, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force vessels. The marines then used landing craft air cushion, amphibious assault vehicles, and combat rubber raiding crafts for the beach assault.

As the first wave of Americans and Japanese landed on the beach, a smokescreen was deployed to disorient the imagined enemy. 

WATCH || Our amphibious landing was significant because it was done with partner nations. This amazing feat demonstrates our preparedness for future amphibious assaults.

The Muslim Brotherhood as members of the National Security Council of the White House, by Thierry Meyssan

Voltaire dotnet - 12 hours 24 min ago
We are continuing the publication of Thierry Meyssan's new book, « Right Before Our Eyes, Fake Wars and Big Lies ». In this episode, he takes us back to the first semester of 2011, during which, supported by the United States and the United Kingdom, the Muslim Brotherhood approached or won power in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

Hazony Baloney

Lew Rockwell - 12 hours 51 min ago

Given my credentials as a widely published and widely translated scholar on European and American political movements, some of my readers thought that I would be invited to this month’s conference in Washington on conservative nationalism. That I was not asked to speak came as no surprise. The conference’s organizer and star attraction, an Israeli advocate of nationalism, Yoram Hazoni, is like his predecessor Yuval Levin, a neocon client; and from what I’ve seen of the program, most of the participants are the usual suspects. West Coast Straussians, lackeys of conservatism, inc. and professional Zionists like Daniel Pipes are all well represented at Hazony’s conference. Although other scheduled speakers are less easily classified, it certainly doesn’t require an advanced degree in research techniques to know who was providing the money and direction for this event.

Hazony, who seems to be more of a neocon point man than a serious historian, produced a book on nationalism that makes obvious points about European nationalism. I was amused to find paleoconservatives who took offense at Hazony’s sound contention that Protestantism was more useful than the Catholic Church in launching national movement. Neither the Holy Roman Empire nor its pagan predecessor nor the Church of Rome did as much to lay the groundwork for modern nations as vernacular bibles provided by Reformers like Luther and Huss. Those who prepared the Reformation also typically played up their ethnic identities. Nationalist movements went through several phases in nineteenth century Europe, and the Baltic German J.G. Herder (1744-1804) was a major influence on the development of cultural-linguistic nationalism. Hazony also presents nationalism as a more democratic force (in that word’s original but not current sense) than distant administrative bodies controlling local populations. Citizenship has more meaning in traditional nation states than it does for those who are subject to international political administration.

Of course we don’t need Hazony to provide such widely available information, but the neocons do need him to argue that Zionism is the quintessential version of the nationalism that he sets out to defend.  This brings me to the matter of why I feel free to post this diatribe. If the unlikely had occurred and I had been asked to come as a speaker to the conference held this week in Washington, I would have held my tongues and treated the other guests deferentially. But since my enemies didn’t bother to invite me, I shall be less restrained in my comments. Hazony and his fake meeting of minds are needed in order to allow the neoconservatives to go on controlling the Right, including those who are not as docile as Rich Lowry and other familiar types at National Review.   The neocons colonized the zombie-like conservative movement in the 1970s and 1980s, after they reached the conclusion that their fanatical Zionism plus moderate left-of-center politics no longer gave them a winning hand on the Left. Starting with George McGovern’s presidential campaign in 1972, Democrats moved slowly but perceptibly in the direction of the Palestinian cause, and so the neocons took over what became conservatism, inc. and reshaped it in certain predictable ways. In American politics, the captive or seduced conservatives would veer leftward and embrace an expanded centralized welfare state and all the civil rights and immigration legislation of the 1960s. In Middle Eastern affairs, however, “conservatives” would be unswervingly Zionistic and attack all critics of Israel as anti-Semites while hurling them off the bus of conservatism. Neocon and Jaffaite language about the US as a propositional nation would prevent any confusion between Israeli ethnic nationalism (which is supposedly a good thing) and America’s pluralistic, immigration-friendly identity.

This double standard worked for a time, especially since the movement’s leaders unceremoniously blacklisted those who made trouble. But then more and more skeptics started asking edgy questions about why American nationalism should be different from the Israeli kind. It finally became necessary to produce someone like Hazony who could set forth the new party line: All nationalism (properly understood and certified by his sponsors) is OK, providing that we recognize certain guidelines. Whatever the Israelis have achieved is truly admirable nationalism and exemplifies what the conference should be praising. Right-wing European thinkers like Carl Schmitt and Martin Heidegger were not really nationalists but (well!) Germans; and Americans are allowed to be intensely nationalistic, as long as Jaffaites from the American Greatness website define this term for us. National Review-Online may have provided the most infantile reason for why this conservative nationalism conference is taking place. The Left, it seems, is moving us toward “neo-segregation” because it has abandoned its onetime integration imperative. American nationalism, not just patriotism, is therefore needed to get us “to love all our fellow-citizens.” One must stagger in disbelief when reading such poppycock about nationalism. Presumably the average age of those writing this filler has fallen from ten to about six.

Allow me in my nonage after being professionally marginalized and ruined by Hazony’s sponsors to reveal a truth that I dared not express until now. My now deceased friends (like Murray Rothbard) who kept insisting that Zionism is an essentially leftist movement were right. Zionists have traditionally viewed the Western Christian world as the enemy of the Jewish people and as dangerously and even irrevocably anti-Semitic. Although Revisionist Zionists like Zev Jabotinsky, tried to form alliances with the revolutionary Right in the interwar period, most famously with fascist Italy, such moves were not typical of the Zionist spirit.  Most active Zionists for at least several generations were quasi-Marxist socialists and as long as it was possible, tried to build bridges to the anti-colonial Third World. They were forced to form other friendships when adverse developments intervened. The anticolonial Left came to regard the Israelis as Western colonizers, who had expelled the Palestinians or reduced them to second-class citizens. The fact that most of the Jewish settlers came to a land that the Palestinians were already occupying also made their national claims seem less credible.

In the US Jewish opponents of Zionism into the post-world War Two years came mostly from the Right, not the Left. The long settled Sephardic and German Jewish communities, particularly in the South, viewed the Zionists as an alien presence, which they associated with Eastern European ghetto life and socialism. Clearly neither Zionism nor Israeli life is what it was in 1948, when the Israeli union movement, Histadruth, still dripped with affection for Communist Russia. Nor am I stating that Israel does not have a right to exist because Zionism is an ideology that seems more attuned to the Left than the Right. Finally I’m not denying that the Israeli economy is less socialist now than when the country came into existence or that I’d much rather live in a Jewish Israel than a Palestinian one. What I am underlining is that the elevation of Zionism to the quintessential “conservative nationalist” movement is a bit of a stretch. Or so it might seem to someone who was not invited to Hazony’s conference.

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Beneath Contempt

Lew Rockwell - 12 hours 51 min ago

I suspect not many libertarians follow the cable channel CNN, whose initials evidently are becoming an acronym for Contemptible Neoconservative Network, and I don’t make the claim lightly. Of course the millions who follow Tucker Carlson’s program on Fox News would have seen his report on CNN’s broadcasting Kamau Bell’s support of Antifa and its use of violence (see the video below).

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Facebook’s Fake Money

Lew Rockwell - 12 hours 51 min ago

Starting in 2020, Facebook wants to offer its customers a global high-tech currency and infrastructure. The US IT giant says that this will provide many people around the world with easy and cost-effective access to the monetary and financial system. The new blockchain-based money is called “Libra.” Technically, it is something akin to a crypto-money-banknote covered by a basket of official fiat currencies (such as US dollars, euros, and the like). The heart of the Libra project is the “Libra Association” (LA). The non-governmental association, based in Geneva, Switzerland, is supported by founding members such as eBay, Facebook, Mastercard, PayPal, Spotify, Uber, Visa, as well as other renowned firms, and will be responsible for the operation and further development of Libra.

Libra will be created by participants depositing fiat currencies such as US dollars or euros with the LA, and the LA will then grant the depositors a corresponding Libra amount in a digital wallet, which can be used for payments via the Internet, smartphone, credit card or WhatsApp and messengers, i.e., Facebook’s chat services. The chances of success seem to be pretty good for the Libra: Electronic payment is a world-wide mega-trend. People seem to have become increasingly open to new technological ways of making payments. And if money can be sent to and fro via social media, many potential customers will presumably like it very much.

Traditional banks have good reasons to worry. The Libra is about to siphon transactions out of bank accounts and put them into the LA’s hands. Not banks, but the LA will collect the fees and will receive precious data on who pays what, when, and where. The banks will be left even more in the cold should customers begin to use the Libra for savings purposes as well. Because then they would also lose the time and savings deposits with which they refinance their balance sheets at low costs. Or think of the credit business: The LA may at some point also provide its customers with short-term consumer loans.

In any case, from a customers’ perspective it is a good thing if and when the competitive pressure in the banking business gains momentum; as is well known, competition stimulates the search for better products and lower prices, which benefits the customers. The now heightened competition from the fin-tech industry is undoubtedly quite a challenge for many banks. Not least because for decades state regulation has kept unwelcome outside competition from their backs, thereby, however, weakening their innovative strength. But our sympathies have to be first and foremost with the people demanding banking and financial services, not with the banks delivering them.

The critical question, however, is this: Is the Libra really good — or sound — money? Unfortunately, this question cannot be answered in the affirmative. The reason is this: The quality of the Libra depends on the quality of the underlying fiat currencies — and fiat currencies do not make for good money, as should be well known by now. Fiat currencies are inflationary; they enrich some at the expense of many others. The issuance of fiat currencies causes distortions in the credit markets, which provokes speculative bubbles and triggers booms and busts, and last but not least, fiat currencies lead the economies into over-indebtedness.

Against this backdrop, it becomes evident that the Libra will suffer from all the economic and ethical deficiencies that come with its underlying fiat currencies. For instance, the Libra will be inflationary money to the extent that the US dollar, the euro, and all the other underlying fiat currencies are subject to inflationary measures by central banks, resulting in the Libra losing its purchasing power in step with the fiat currencies. In extreme cases, if the official currencies were to go under, the Libra would follow suit. The Libra is, therefore, not a real alternative to official fiat currencies, but rather a more straightforward and more cost-efficient way to use them.

The LA is supposed to keep the fiat monies paid-in by customers as a “reserve.” This should make sure that the Libra can, at any given point in time, be exchanged back into national fiat currencies at its equivalent value. To this end, the LA wants to hold the reserve in fiat currencies-denominated bank deposits as well as in high-quality interest-bearing securities. To the extent that the LA decides to keep debt securities, the result would be a kind of “fractional reserve.” In this case the Libra would even carry a payment default risk — which would strike if and when the LA could not, due to market stress, for example, exchange its bond holdings into fiat currencies at face value.

With the investment of the reserve, the LA hopes to earn interest income. But this is likely to be difficult. After all, central banks have slashed interest rates to extremely low levels, and there is no sign of a move away from this kind of monetary policy. Should monetary authorities impose negative interest rates on bank deposits, this would affect Libra holders directly: Because if the LA is forced to pay for its bank deposits, the owners of the Libra will have to pay the bill. So anyone who thinks that the Libra might offer an escape from the bad fiat currencies is mistaken. The Libra is a fiat money clone; just like fiat currencies the Libra is fake money.

Unfortunately, the Libra project does not appear to be driven by the desire to provide the people in this world with better money. The fact that the Libra will be run on a private (“permissioned”) blockchain does not change anything. The Libra is just the upshot of an entrepreneurial attempt to profit from the global market for payment services (and later perhaps also from the credit markets), and, of course, to collect as much precious transaction data as possible. If Facebook and the others wanted to offer the world a better, actual good money, the choice is obvious: It would be a 100 percent gold-backed Libra. But who knows: Maybe this will be the next step, initiated by Facebook, Amazon, or any other company because there sure is a vast market for sound money out there.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.

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Togo’s Silence

Lew Rockwell - 12 hours 51 min ago

Doug Casey’s Note: Few people travel to Africa. If they do, it’s with a guided tour to Morocco or Egypt. But those hardly count, in part because those countries aren’t African as much as Arabic.

To others, “Africa” is a guided safari in Botswana or Kenya to see the animals. Nice, but that’s the sanitized Disneyland version of the real Africa… more like seeing a big zoo than Africa itself. And the Africans you’ll see will be highly atypical.

My friend Francois just returned from several months in Togo, one of the continent’s more obscure places. I was going to join him there if we could have arranged a meeting with the president. That fell through, however.

This article will give you a flavor of the real Africa. As well as why the continent is accurately characterized as a shithole, why millions of its residents are trying to leave, and why the place is going nowhere. Let me hasten to add, however, that Africa remains my top choice for an opportunity-seeking entrepreneur. But that’s a different subject.

There’s much more that Francois can say about Togo in particular and we can say about Africa in general. But this will give you a flavor of what it’s really all about.

“There is no peace in Togo, just silence,” says the Swiss man on my left in the back seat of the cab.

I turn and look at him. He’s gazing out the window and has fallen silent again. I add nothing, but his sentence gets etched in my mind.

I’ve just arrived in Togo after a seven-hour flight from Paris plus a day of travel in Europe from the day before. I’m tired. The Swiss man was seated next to me on the plane and also happened to be booked one night in my same hotel. He was good flight company so the joint cab ride from the airport to the hotel seemed logical. Tomorrow he’s going to the north of the country on a project with his NGO colleagues. I wish I was so altruistic. I’m here for business and given that Togo needs just about everything, I’m reasonably optimistic with my plans. But first, I need a good night’s sleep.

Togo is amongst the most indebted countries on earth. About fifty percent of its people live below the poverty line and the word on the street is that many eat only one meal a day. Nevertheless, the country shows steady growth. There is a large new seaport, a new airport, and major new roads connecting the country to the landlocked north, east to Benin and west to Ghana. Sixty percent of its economy relies on agriculture, on fishing, on phosphate mining, and especially on loans. Even if direct foreign investment has slowed down in recent years, the country still posted a 4.4 percent growth in 2018, down from seven percent in 2017.

I look out the window of my hotel room in downtown Lome, the capital. Since early morning I’ve been hearing the sounds of cars and motorcycles. Out on the streets one has the impression that everybody has something to do and somewhere to go. The last thing that comes to mind is that this is a sleepy, quiet country. While most neighborhood streets are unpaved dirt roads with potholes knee deep, the main city arteries are all paved. Cars are many, but motorbikes own the road. They are everywhere, often carrying entire families.

Today is the day before the parliamentary elections and various people I meet during the day mention it. I have no care and try to change the subject. Politics and voting are the same all over the world because the house—the Deep State in other words—always wins. Togo has been run by the same family and the same tribe, the Kabye from the north of the country, for about fifty years. The current president, son of the former, who ran the country for almost forty years till his death, has proposed constitutional reforms that would allow him to run for president in 2020 and 2025. A common African tale that we have read before. I am told that the opposition parties are urging the population to boycott the elections but again, its none of my concern and I manage to steer the conversation back to business.

Two days have gone by quickly. Mostly, just daily meetings, laps in the pool and then early to sleep because social life does not exist. I stumble out of bed and head for the shower. I comb my hair back and leave it wet, something I could never do in December in my native Montreal. I walk downstairs looking for a cup of coffee but the lobby is dark. Behind the counter, nobody in sight. I head for the hotel restaurant. Empty. The tables are not set, some of them still not cleared from the night before. Something’s not right. I walk back to the lobby and step out of the hotel. The grounds are deserted. I scan around myself: not a car, not a motorcycle, not a pedestrian, not a sound. Just silence.

I go back inside the hotel and dial the hotel owner on my cell. She’s an elderly French lady who has been in the country for ages.

“It’s election day. People are afraid to get shot, nobody is going out this morning. Just wait a while; around 11 or 12 someone will probably come around.”

She hangs up. Coffee was existing in a dream and I have been abruptly awakened.

It’s 12 pm. The hotel lobby is still untenanted, like an amusement park on a Monday morning. I’ve had enough. I call my driver and ask him to come to pick me up.

“C’est dangereux, monsieur!”

“I want to go out, come and pick me up!” I insist.

There is silence on the other end and I’m not so sure he’s coming but fifteen minutes later he shows up. His is only the second moving vehicle I have seen all morning long.

We drive slowly from the center of town towards the ocean and I look around. It’s 12:30 pm on a Thursday afternoon and not a single shop is open. Bank doors and gates are shut, lights off. No street vendors; no kids playing by the side of the road. We proceed down the road and I finally see someone: a huddle of young men, idling near their motorbikes in front of a one-story house. They don’t have the appearance of conscientious citizens just back from voting, but I may be wrong.

Straight ahead down the road something catches my immediate attention. A machine gun-mounted pickup truck with a dozen soldiers sitting, legs dangling, on its sides, rides up the street towards us. My driver accelerates. They slow down. As we pass by side by side I catch the stare of a few of the soldiers. On their scowling faces I think I read, “Where are you going, white man?”

We get to the ocean boulevard, a wide avenue that flanks the sandy beaches. It’s always refreshing to see the palm trees swaying in the wind and the ocean blue in the distance. Normally, it’s packed with people and cars.

“It can get very dangerous from here onwards, monsieur.”

Fine, I have seen enough.

“Let’s go back,” I tell the driver.

He slams on the brakes and turns the car as quickly and as carelessly as if we were driving in a desert.

Someone is quietly sweeping the floor of the hotel lobby as I go upstairs to my room. The internet connection on my cell hasn’t been working all morning and the hotel wifi isn’t either. I turn on the TV. All channels are off. There’s a media blackout in the entire country.

Around 8 pm my internet cell connection seems to be working. I turn on the TV. I flick the channels on the remote and stop at France 24, the French CNN. I wait and after ten minutes of news loop there is finally something on the election. They show a polling station in a farming village in the middle of nowhere. They show a queue of villagers, waiting to vote. One man gets interviewed. He says he is happy to be able to vote. I change channels and look for something else on the election but find nothing.

The financial and political monopoly of France in West Africa is no longer what it used to be, due to various factors, not the least, the arrival of Chinese investment, but it’s still strong. The French print the currency used in Togo; the CFA (the Communauté Financière Africaine, formerly called the Colonies of French Afrique) provide aid in various forms, including military cooperation; and many French companies are successful in winning tenders.

I turn off the TV because the thought of a decent dinner takes sudden precedence over the damn election.

I’m relieved to see someone behind the bar.

“Bonsoir, monsieur” says the Togolese man in his early thirties.

I sit, happy to see a breathing human who might be willing to finally serve me a meal and a drink. He takes my order. Rice, fish, a large glass of Merlot. I appreciate that he’s fast in pouring and I don’t hesitate to swallow a very long sip. The man looks at me a second longer than normally polite but notices I noticed.

“How was your day, monsieur?” he asks timidly.

Savoring this glass of Merlot is, this evening, much more important than any question. I put the glass down and look at him a quiet beat. I smile thinly.

“Very silent, but not peaceful,” I answer.

The bartender drops his head, looks down into the sink, and resumes washing glasses.

Reprinted with permission from International Man.

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Tempus Fugit

Lew Rockwell - 12 hours 51 min ago

The other day, I found myself behind what – to me – is a relatively new and certainly modern Mustang GT from the mid-’90s wearing “antique” tags. Holy tempus fugit!

Was 1994 really 25 years ago?

Yup. It was.

And this ’94 Mustang  GT is now  . . . an antique. Which means I am, too.

Both of us began our careers at the dawn of the Modern Car Era. Port fuel injection was just then replacing Throttle Body Injection – which was basically an electronic carburetor – often mounted on an intake manifold the same as the ones that actually had carbs underneath them since the era of the Model T.

They were “wet flow” – air and fuel – just like a carb except more accurate and finely sprayed.

No more choke. And no more “warming up,” either. You just got in – and went. The switchover to TBI – and the overdrive transmission – changed everything and ushered in the era of the Modern Car.

Overdrive gave the best of both worlds. Leverage down low, for good acceleration – and gearing reduction once rolling, which made it possible for a car like the Mustang GT in this short video to cruise-control for hours at 90 with its engine turning the same RPM as a pre-modern car with a non-overdrive transmission would have at 60.

High speed legs – and great gas mileage.

I drove a brand-new same-year Mustang GT press car from the DC ‘burbs to my sister’s wedding in Tahoe – almost all the way across the country. It averaged 28 MPG on the open road. With a V8 under its hood.

Have cake – and eat, too.

This was a glorious time for cars. They were just modern enough to be vastly better as cars than all the cars which preceded them, in terms of ease of use, ease of starting, absence of stalling and long-haul running . . . but without the suffocating, nudging, nannying electronic effrontery which afflicts current cars.

Read the Whole Article

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Dunce’s Cap for Russiagate Coverage

Lew Rockwell - 12 hours 51 min ago

If there was a dunce’s cap awarded to the most gullible – or worse, complicit – news outfit in the whole ‘Russiagate’ affair, it would surely go to CNN.

The small consolation is that its ratings have plummeted in direct proportion to its fake news agenda. Unless trapped in a hotel room in Ulan Bator and having already read the Gideon’s Bible, nobody in their right mind goes looking for CNN.

However, other media do, of course, amplify their prevailing narrative. This is that the Democratic Party didn’t lose because they chose the only person in America who could possibly lose to Donald Trump, but because a bearded man with snow on his boots smelling of vodka and speaking with a thick Russian accent fooled everyone into voting for the GOP. And where no such man can be identified, then a Western cipher can be demonized as his proxy.

So unhinged has CNN – the last hold-out of the Russiagaters – become that they have now piled new levels of ordure on the political prisoner Julian Assange in a much touted “Special,” heaping speculation upon speculation on what they hope is the coffin of a man they once lionized.

Because, dear readers, in a now-forgotten coincidence, it was CNN that in a way brought Julian Assange into the public limelight. They interviewed him a number of times, including once in 2010, when they sent their team to showcase the then-pale-blonde ascetic wonderkid of the whistleblowing business. That was way before RT had aired Assange’s show ‘The World Tomorrow’ – because that suited CNN’s agenda then, in the way that burying him does now.

Full disclosure: Julian Assange is a friend of mine and so opportunists seeking his crucifixion to serve an anti-Trump agenda cut no ice with me. Furthermore, I work for RT, and know personally the fine broadcasting professionals traduced in a disgraceful way by the CNN “Special.”

Julian Assange was hiding in plain sight by having his own show on RT. That’s how espionage works nowadays in the fevered minds of CNN. And he appeared on news shows throughout the world – any one of which could have “passed him a USB drive” when they went into the Ecuador Embassy to film him. He even appeared on my show on TalkRadio, whose proprietor could of course be a (deep) undercover Russian agent.

The fatal flaw in all of this, of course, is that the DNC computers were never hacked in the first place, not by a “master-hacker” or even a schoolboy in his bedroom. That’s why their servers were never examined by the FBI, Mueller or anybody else wearing any kind of official badge.

The scandalous behavior – including CNN’s own (now Fox) contributor Donna Brazile – through which the Democratic Party rigged their own Primary process to defeat Bernie Sanders and procure the coronation of the aforementioned Mrs Clinton was not hacked but leaked. Not by Russians but by Americans. Not by RT but by Democratic Party insiders, disgusted as they should have been at the shameless Tammany Hall shenanigans going on in their party.

The real target of fading, failing, flailing CNN was not Julian Assange but Donald Trump. His administration is currently trying to incarcerate Assange in the gulags of the US injustice system for the crime of publishing the truth. That’s the real scandal.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Reprinted from RT News.

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The Three Ds of Doom

Lew Rockwell - 12 hours 51 min ago

“Borrowing our way out of debt” generates the three Ds of Doom: debt leads to default which ushers in Depression.

Let’s start by defining Economic Depression: a Depression is a Recession that isn’t fixed by conventional fiscal and monetary stimulus. In other words, when a recession drags on despite massive fiscal and monetary stimulus being thrown into the economy, then the stimulus-resistant stagnation is called a Depression.

Here’s why we’re heading into a Depression: debt exhaustion. As the charts below illustrate, the U.S. (and global) economy has only “grown” in the 21st century by expanding debt roughly four times faster than GDP or earned income.

Costs for big-ticket essentials such as housing, healthcare and government services are soaring while wages stagnate or decline in purchasing power.What’s purchasing power? Rather than get caught in the endless thicket of defining inflation, ask yourself this: how much of X does one hour of labor buy now compared to 20 years ago? For example, how much healthcare does an hour of labor buy now? How many days of rent does an hour of labor buy now compared to 1999? How many hours of labor are required to pay a parking ticket now compared to 1999?

Our earnings are buying less of every big-ticket expense that’s essential, and we’ve covered the gigantic hole in our budget with debt. The only way the status quo could continue conjuring an illusion of “prosperity” is by borrowing fantastic sums of money, all to be paid with future earnings and taxes.

At some point, the borrower is unable to borrow more. Even at 0.1% rate of interest, borrowers can’t borrow more because they can’t even manage the principal payment, never mind the interest. That’s debt exhaustion: borrowers can’t borrow more without ramping up the risk of default.

When wages are stagnant and big-ticket items are soaring in cost, that leaves less available to service more debt. We can cover expenses by borrowing more for a while, but there’s an endgame to this trick: even at zero interest, servicing the debt exceeds income.

Marginal borrowers default, and the resulting losses collapse marginal lenders.Recall that every debt is somebody else’s asset and income stream. When a student defaults on a student loan, that erases the asset and income stream of a mutual fund, pension fund, etc.

In other words, defaults are not cost free. They wipe out assets and income streams, never to return.

For the past 20 years, the trick to escaping recessions has been to lower interest rates and flood the financial system with new credit. If everyone would just borrow more and spend every cent of the new money, the economy will start “growing” again.

But we’ve reached the point where most wage earners can’t borrow more, corporations shouldn’t borrow more and the top tier of earners no longer want to borrow more. Governments can always borrow more, but eventually servicing the ballooning debt starts crowding out other spending, and the solution–borrowing more to cover the interest payments–spirals out of control.

Lowering interest rates and giving banks and financiers “free money” doesn’t increase wages or household incomes or corporate profits. Nor do these monetary tricks magically turn marginal borrowers into creditworthy risks.

Borrowing more to fill the hole left by declining purchasing power only works in the short-term. We’ve burned the 20 years that this trickery can work, and now we face the endgame: borrowing more only increases defaults, which trigger losses in wealth and income that will be measured in the trillions.

Read the Whole Article

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Robert Mueller Should Be Arrested

Lew Rockwell - 12 hours 51 min ago

The Mueller report, which had no choice as there was no evidence, but to clear Donald Trump of conspiring with Russian President Putin to steal the last US presidential election from Hillary Clinton, nevertheless managed to keep an aspect of the manufactured hoax known as “Russiagate” alive by indicting some Russian intelligence officers and a Russian Internet clickbait operation for attempting to discredit Hillary with Internet postings.   

At the time I noticed that Muller’s indictments were based only on his assertion and not on any evidence.  As there was no prospect whatsoever of the fake indictments coming to trial, I did not comment on them.  I focused instead on Mueller’s statement that Trump might have obstructed justice although he lacked evidence  to support the charge.  I noted how corrupt American law has become when it is possible to obstruct justice in the absence of a crime.  

Democrats and presstitutes were determined to get Trump by any means and remain uninterested in how justice is obstructed when there is no crime.

In retrospect, not picking up on Mueller’s indictment-by-hearsay of Russians was a mistake.  Not only have the Democrats continued their Russiagate campaign on the basis of the unsubstantiated indictments, but, more importantly, the indictments-by-assertion-alone show Mueller’s total lack of moral character.  A prosecutor, indeed a former Director of the FBI, who confuses his unsubstantiated allegation with evidence, is not only a person devoid of any respect for law, but also an extremely dangerous person to have been vetted for the high government positions that he has held.  

How did a person as corrupt as Robert Mueller get confirmed in his appointments as US Attorney, US Assistant Attorney General, US Deputy Attorney General, and Director of the FBI?  That a person as ethically-challenged as Robert Mueller could breeze through so many confirmations by the US Senate proves how utterly corrupt the US government is. 

How does an American patriot respond to a government filled with corrupt individuals serving their private careers by serving not the American people, but the powerful private interests that control their careers or the interest of a foreign country that purchases their loyalty.  Many of these permanent Washington fixtures, such as Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton, serve Israel’s interest at the expense of America’s interest. An American nationalist who attempts to serve American interests has little chance against a powerful lobby. Every year Congress hands over to Israel enough billions of dollars for Israel to purchase every federal election and many state ones.

It is not possible today for anyone who is not “a friend of Israel” to serve in a presidential appointment that requires confirmation by the US Senate. As Admiral Tom Moorer, Chief of Naval Operatons and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff said, “no American president can stand up to Israel.” No truer words have ever been spoken. Before any American president can attend to America’s interests, he must first attend to Israel’s interest.  Generally speaking, the Israel Lobby stresses that American interests conform to Israel’s interest. Therefore, Israel’s interests are America’s interests. If you disagree with this, you will not go far in the US government.

That Mueller’s indictment of Russians for attempting to throw the presidential election to Trump is unsubstantiated has been highlighted by US Federal District Judge Dabney Friedrich.  The judge just ruled that Mueller’s assertion of Russian “sweeping and systematic” interference in the presidential election does not constitute proof of the charge. It is nothing but an unsubstantiated indictment based on nothing but an assertion by the special prosecutor. Mueller provides no evidence in his report to support his claim.  Mueller is so corrupt that he uses his unsubstantiated indictment as evidence for the indictment!

In other words, the Federal Judge has ruled that Mueller has made a false indictment.

If that is not a felony, it should be.  

The corrupt Mueller covers up his absence of evidence for his indictments by using language such as “widely reported,” “confirmed,” “established.”  He is referring to the words used by his stable of presstitutes, media whores who paved the way for his false accusation.  

A country without a media is a Police State.  The only media the West has is the English language Russian media and the alternative media on Internet sites, such as this site, Information Clearing House, Global Research, Lew Rockwell, Unz Review. 

The Russian media was banned from the  conference on press freedom, because the Russian media is free and the UK and US media are not.  The People Really In Charge—PRICs—are at work shutting down the rest of us as fast as they can.

Before long, the only words you will hear willl be those used to control you.  The word freedom will be redefined as per George Orwell’s 1984 or be prohibited.  It will die as a word whose meaning is unknown.

In the 21st century, the US government has destroyed civil liberty, free speech, and accountable government.  There is no longer any reason for people who want to be free to support any Western government or political party that is in power. The Western World has no greater enemies than its own governments and the private interests governments represent.

While you await the final cutting out of tongues, say a prayer for Judge Friedrich.  Americans don’t know that a federal judge, indeed any judge, can be arrested by police on false charges and prosecuted by prosecutors based on fake evidence.  The judiciary no longer has the independence that the separation of powers provides.  Judges can be punished if they rule against the interests of those in whom the predominance of power resides.

Those with the predominance of power rule, not the law, the Constitution, or the people.

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240 Cubic Miles of Magma Was Just Discovered

Lew Rockwell - 12 hours 51 min ago

One of the largest supervolcanoes in the world sits underneath California, lying dormant for the past 100,000 years. Now, researchers have gotten a clearer glimpse into what lies below the Long Valley supervolcano, uncovering 240 cubic miles of magma sitting beneath California.

It’s important to start off by saying this absolutely doesn’t mean there is any imminent danger. Experts at the United States Geological Society (USGS) are actively monitoring the supervolcano, and while there has been an uptick in activity over the past four decades, there are no signs of an eruption.

What Is the Long Valley supervolcano?

While you may have heard quite a bit about the supervolcano sitting beneath Yellowstone National Park, you may be unfamiliar with another major supervolcano in the United States, the Long Valley Caldera. The Long Valley Caldera sits in eastern California adjacent to Mammoth Mountain and measures 20 miles long by 11 miles wide.

caldera is basically a depression formed after the eruption of magma to the surface. As magma fills up the magma chamber below a volcano it expands the crust and the volcano grows. After an eruption, there is a tremendous amount of volume that has suddenly been displaced, which causes the ground above to sink into a bowl-shaped depression, which we call a caldera.

The Long Valley Caldera is the depression formed from the supervolcano eruption 760,000 years ago, which ejected hot ash, lava and toxic gas. The eruption 760,000 years ago erupted 140 cubic miles of material from the supervolcano. To put this into perspective, the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens erupted 0.29 cubic miles of material, meaning the Long Valley eruption ejected nearly 500 times that amount of material.

If all of the 240 cubic miles of magma found beneath the Long Valley supervolcano were ever to erupt, it would eject over 800 times the volume of material as the 1980 Mount St. Helen’s eruption. This is the reason geologists with the USGS continuously monitor the supervolcanoes that lie dormant beneath America. If and when one does erupt, it will trigger catastrophic destruction and loss of life. Fortunately, there is an extremely low likelihood of any supervolcano eruption occurring in any of our lifetimes. These eruptions happen very infrequently, but when they do happen, the world notices.

Read the Whole Article

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Move Over, Millennials

Lew Rockwell - 12 hours 51 min ago

Everyone picks on Millennials these days but a new study by Lending Tree shows that out of all the generations, Gen X is the one dealing with the deepest financial problems.

First, some definitions.

  • Gen Z or Centennials: Born 1996 – current day
  • Millennials: Born 1977 – 1995.
  • Gen X: Born 1965 – 1976.
  • Baby Boomers: Born 1946 – 1964.
  • The Silent Generation: Born 1945 or before

We all know that two major financial mistakes are getting into debt and failing to have an emergency fund. A recent study looked into the debt levels of each generation.

The study

Lending Tree, an online lending marketplace, did a study on the 3-year changes in each generation’s debt.

As each generation moves into different stages of their personal and economic lives, the amounts and types of debt they carry shifts, too. We compared the debts of members of the four adult generations — millennials, Gen Xers, baby boomers and silents — between March 2016 and March 2019 to see what’s changed.

Specifically, we calculated the changes in the average balance of each major debt category — personal loans, credit cards, auto loans, student loans and mortgages — and the change in the percentage of each generation that carries each type of debt. (source)

Here were the key findings:

  • Millennials saw the greatest spike in overall debt. Their total balances rose by an average of $16,714 — almost 29% — between 2016 and 2019.
  • Gen Xers now have the highest average debt burden of any generation. They increased their average debt burdens by about 10%, or $11,898, between 2016 and 2019, thanks to steady dollar increases across all debt categories.
  • Older generations — boomers and silents — are winding down their debt, thanks to decreases in average mortgage balances. However, they’ve increased their average debt across all other categories.
  • Boomers decreased their debt burdens by 7%, or $10,424. Members of the silent generation dropped their overall debt by $9,486, or 8%. (source)

But what about Gen X? Why are they in so much trouble?

Gen X has financial problems in many ways.

Marketwatch did an analysis on that the ways that Gen X is financially wrecked and it’s not pretty. This is my generation so I was especially interested in their analysis.

They’ve got the most credit card debt of anyone — yet still spend more than anyone on non-essentials…Despite their sky high credit card debt, Gen X spends big on non-essentials, according to data released in 2018 from finance site Bankrate.com. Indeed, “Gen Xers (ages 38-53) spend $3,473 annually on restaurant food, prepared beverages and lottery tickets, the most of any generation,” the report reveals.

They’re woefully under-saved for retirement…Median retirement savings for Gen X is only $35,000, the same median amount as millennials, despite Gen Xers being much closer to retirement,” according to a study of 3,000 Americans by Allianz Life. Having just $35,000 in retirement savings — especially when you’re a Gen Xer ages 37- 51 — is not even close to enough. Fidelity recommends that by age 40 you have three times your salary saved for retirement. Gen Xers may be so under-saved thanks to the competing financial demands of children… and caring for aging parents.

Their average debt now tops $150,000. Not only is their credit card debt high, the total amount of debt they have is. Those in the 35-44 age group have “the highest debt levels of any age bracket,” SmartAsset notes, citing Federal Reserve data. 

They’re more likely than other generations to say they can’t meet their financial goals. All of this debt and the lack of savings may explain why fewer than 1 in 3 members of Gen X says they think they can reach their long-term financial goals, according to a survey released in 2017 by FICO.  (source)

That’s not a pretty picture for people between the ages of 37 and 51.

Some of the reasons for this financial mess

Reading over the data, the thing that jumps out at me is that people of my generation are at the point where they’re taking care of everyone. Some still have kids at home, while others have adult kids who have returned home.  We are often lending a helping hand to our adult children who are in college or trying to get their feet on the ground. Some of this generation are taking care of aging parents.

It’s pretty tough to save for retirement when you have all these people depending on you.

Regarding the credit card debt, that one is kind of a mystery to me. While I have used credit cards to fund medical care I couldn’t fully pay for with my emergency fund, I rarely use them otherwise. It seems to me that it is essential to get this high-interest debt under control immediately. (If this is a problem for you, check out this article about paying down debt fast.

Spending on non-essentials seems to be a problem too. A lot of folks think that being on a budget means you can never have any fun, you can’t travel, you can’t go out to eat. So instead of creating a budget, they throw caution to the wind, spend while they have money, and complain when they don’t. I’d never say that you cannot travel, dine out, or do fun things. I do all of these and on a fairly tight budget. But I work it into my budget, I fund it with cash, and this comes after savings and all my other bills.

The biggest concern I see is that the money we Gen X-ers are paying into social security right now is going to fund the retirements of the Baby Boomers. The social security system is at a near-breaking point right now and most folks believe it may not even be there by the time we get to retirement age, much less for millennials. All that money that has been taking from our paychecks our entire working life…and none left when we need it. And if you think times are tight now, just wait until you’re too old to work and there’s no social security.

Reprinted with permission from The Organic Prepper.

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Light Deficiency as a Cause of Cancer

Lew Rockwell - 12 hours 51 min ago

If a lack of light is a cause of cancer it means that light and vitamin D can be used to treat cancer. We all know that too much sun can cause cancer, we cannot bake and burn ourselves to a crisp without consequences. However, a lack of sunlight can also cause cancer. Vitamin D deficiencies (lack of light) can lead to the development of prostate and breast cancer, memory loss, and an increased risk for developing dementia and schizophrenia. That’s the short list. Vitamin D deficiency and a lack of sun exposure takes its toll in most pathology in an insidious way, not only because of the lack of D, a crucial hormone, (it really is not a vitamin), but because of a lack of several important aspects of sunlight.

Plants love to turn toward the light, they stretch for it, and so do we. Light, heat, color, warmth, energy, electrons, electricity, electromagnetism all interact with the water that is in us bringing increased energy and ATP production. Light literally animates us because we are light. We need light.

All living cells of plants, animals and human beings emit bio-photons, which cannot be seen by the naked eye, but can be measured by special equipment. This light emission is an expression of the functional state of the living organism and its measurement therefore can be used to assess this state. Cancer cells and healthy cells of the same type can be discriminated by differences in bio-photon emission.

Light is essential, it is the backbone of life and as such can be used as a potent medicine. Though most research about sunlight’s beneficial effects and its relationship to cancer is centered on vitamin D levels that is only the beginning of light as a medicine story. In my new book Conquering Cancer, I will focus on the D3, the mitochondria and light story and other things about light that are important for cancer patients to know and understand. For now it should be understood that vitamin D levels in the blood are a direct effect of sun exposure unless one is supplementing with D3.

”It seems clear that light is the most important environmental input, after food, in controlling bodily function,” reported Dr. Richard J. Wurtman, a nutritionist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Sometimes I get the impression my dermatologist colleagues would be happiest if we lived in caves,” continues Wurtman, who recommends daily 20-minute walks at noon to get the sunlight we need.

“Sunlight dominates the chemistry of the blood. People who do not get sunlight do not have the same richness and redness of blood as do those who secure plenty of sunlight. There is not a tissue nor a function in the body that is not benefited by regular and judicious sun-bathing,” writes Herbert M. Shelton, author of Fasting and Sun Bathing.

In the 1900’s, research by Augusta Rollier led to the establishment of solaria buildings designed to optimize exposure to sunlight throughout Switzerland for the express purpose of sunbathing, which provided impressive results for fighting tuberculosis, smallpox, lupus, and even chronic diseases like arthritis.

Today cancer patients have options to harness the power of light to increase not only plasma D levels, but also other parameters of health and cellular function. Healthy sun exposure if possible (getting a little pink each day), high dosages of D3 supplementation and LED Red Light Therapy (Photobiomodulation) are the options we have to address light deficiencies as well as our cancer.

The Science of Light Therapy began to gain broader recognition in 2001, when NASA first discovered that red and near infrared light have strong cellular regenerating effects. (Whelan, 2001) Red and near infrared light are able to penetrate deeply into our tissues and cells and influence the activation of our mitochondria. Hundreds of studies sustain the idea that Photobiomodulation (PBM) is a dose dependent technology, when properly used, can deliver profound effects on a wide variety of conditions. This is different than far-infrared and Hyperthermic Oncology.

Medical scientists themselves are suggesting that now is the time to lose the fear of exacerbating cancer by shining light on cancer. PBM increases cell death in cancer cells in response to cytotoxic stimuli. It also can kill them by pumping up mitochondrial production of ADP in both cancer and healthy cells. PBM therapy is already being used to mitigate the side-effects of cancer therapy with research showing that light can directly damage tumors, can potentiate other cancer therapies, and can stimulate patients’ immune systems.

“Cancer is helped by sunbathing. Those who get more sunlight have less cancer. Sunbathing heals cancer by building up the immune system and increasing the oxygen in the tissues. Sunlight does not cause skin cancer unless one suffers through chronic sunburn,” writes Dr. Zane R. Kime, author of Sunlight could Save Your Life.

LED Red Light Therapy is a good answer because one can usually reach maximum exposure with these new types of light beds in ten minutes or less. In a short period of time they can deliver profound effects to our cells. There is no ultraviolet light to burn the skin. However best results for cancer patients would probably be a combination of high dose D3 supplementation with LED light therapy but one should never neglect real sun exposure to receive full spectrum light.

For a number of reasons, most of us find it challenging to spend hours in the sun—at the right time of day—on a regular basis. Either we live in an area with limited sunlight for large portions of the year, or our busy schedules just don’t allow for more time in the sun. In fact, it’s estimated that Americans spend 93% of their time indoors.

If one wants health or to recover from cancer and make sure it does not reoccur, make a religion of going out into the sun without sunscreen protectors. However, for fast results, see if there is a practitioner near you with a LED Red Light Therapy bed in your area. The two different companies that have machines have practitioner search pages here and here. For optimal high dose vitamin D supplementation see here.

The Sun – Magnesium – Vitamin D

Magnesium deficiency is often misdiagnosed because it does not show up
in blood tests – only 1% of the body’s magnesium is stored in the blood.

The body cannot use vitamin D in a magnesium deficient body. Magnesium facilitates the release of calcium from the bones in the presence of adequate amounts of vitamin D and parathormone. Standard textbooks state that the principal function of vitamin D is to promote calcium absorption in the gut and calcium transfer across cell membranes, thus contributing to strong bones and a calm, contented nervous system. It is also well recognized that vitamin D aids in the absorption of magnesium, iron and zinc, as well as calcium.

Magnesium is at the center of life’s ability to absorb light and
change its electromagnetic energy into organic chemical energy.

Cancer patients need light and they need magnesium.

Get Light and Vitamin D on your side.

Dr. Pamela Goodwin and colleagues retrospectively analyzed more than 500 women over a period of 11 years. Results: Women who had been deficient in vitamin D at the time of their breast cancer diagnosis were 73% more likely to die from breast cancer than those with sufficient vitamin D at the time of diagnosis, as well as being almost twice as likely to have recurrence over the 11-year period. What more evidence do doctors need for them to start recommending sunlight and or vitamin D to their patients? (See much more about this in a later chapter.)

Dr. Goodwin’s study and many others like it sustain the idea that both light itself and vitamin D should be included in every cancer patients protocol. Oncologists though would rather use the nastiest form of radiation in cancer treatment and diagnosis. They are like blind men who reject the healing healthy light in favor or near lethal dosages of nuclear radiation.

Conclusion

According to a scientific article in “Health & Diet Times” (June/July 1982 issue) written by Dr. Lee de Vries, MD, cancer cells self-destruct within minutes after exposure to strong intense light. What happens is that the cancerous PLANT cell changes its formaldehyde into a plant sugar molecule giving off oxygen-ozone in the process and it is this element combination of O2 and O3 which causes the disintegration of the cancer cell. There are many articles that suggest that light can directly damage tumors, can potentiate other cancer therapies, and can stimulate the host immune system.[1]

We are light, we need light, we love light so soak up the light. If you wait until all doctors agree on the value of light in cancer treatment it’s a good bet you’re be long dead from cancer or even from natural causes. Light is ‘bioactive,’ meaning light is absorbed by and affect the functioning of human cells. Light is an essential nutrient for cellular health.

Because we are the light of this world, as it says in the bible, we can use light to save our lives and live longer and prosper. Without the sun’s heat and light, the earth would be a lifeless ball of ice-coated rock. The sun warms our seas, stirs our atmosphere, generates our weather patterns, and gives energy to the growing green plants that provide the food and oxygen for life.

Light does the same to our cells so it is the basis of our health along with water, hydrogen, oxygen and CO2. So to ‘let your light shine before men’ one has to stand in the light and absorb that light.
The truth is that, the majority of Americans and their doctors have been tricked into believing that the sun is somehow toxic, a carcinogen, and an overall deadly health hazard that should be avoided at all costs. This is why most of us slather ourselves in toxic chemicals in sunscreen every time we plan to go outside. These chemicals get absorbed directly into our bloodstreams where they do not do us any good.

Photobiomodulation therapy (PBM) offers practitioners of all types a new way of helping their patients in a timely efficient manner. Good medicine does make good business. Any kind of practitioner can employ this technology and even beauty parlors could get in on this for it is excellent for the skin. Sports medicine is already employing PBM because it increases athletic performance and healing. Practitioners could top out at 40 sessions a day per light booth so the revenue can be quite high. Sports. This kind of technology certainly belongs in corporate health programs.

In searching for a practitioner near you both principle companies that make top end equipment were included. However, it seems that the TheraLight models are superior and certainly more economical. That said these light beds are extremely expensive unless one is going to expand one’s practice or make a business using them. TheraLight models start at 50,000 and go up to 75,000. NovaThor starts at 120,000 and reaches as high as 140,000.

Special Note to Oncologists

Twenty-five years ago Dr John Ott investigated the background to a report that children at a school in Illinois had five times the national rate of leukemia. He found that all the pupils who developed leukemia had been in two particular classrooms. In these two rooms the teachers always kept the large curtains completely drawn across the windows to reduce glare and distraction, and to keep the children’s attention on schoolwork.

The day will come when using cancer causing nuclear radiation at near fatal dosages to treat cancer will be considered barbaric. Using harmful radiation for diagnosis is also exposing patients to more cancer causing toxicity. When will mainstream oncologists see the light and begin to use healthy healing types of radiation for both diagnosis and treatment? The spirit in which my writings on light and the development of a powerful natural protocol for cancer is written with the hope of eventually seeing the end of toxic chemotherapy and radiation in the practice of medicine. Does anyone think humanity will actually miss these brutal therapies? Do oncologists think there will never be a better way and that we are stuck with these therapies for eternity?

Reprinted with permission from Dr.Sircus.com.

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Did the US Military Cause Lyme Disease?

Lew Rockwell - 12 hours 51 min ago

The Pentagon has been urged to investigate whether ticks were developed as ‘biological weapons’ amid a rise in Lyme disease cases in the US.

A bill passed in the House of Representatives by a vote last week has demanded a thorough investigation into the source of the illness.

Pentagon officials will determine whether ticks and other insects were ‘weaponised’ and used in experiments by the Department of Defense between 1950 and 1975.

Politicians also demanded they reveal whether any ticks or insects used in such experiments were released outside of any laboratory either by accident or on purpose.

The number of reported cases of Lyme disease in the US has more than doubled since the mid-1990s, according to official figures.

Lyme disease is uncommon but can have crippling and even deadly effects – it’s most often spread by the bites of ticks. 

US celebrities including Shania Twain, Avril Lavigne, Ben Stiller, and Alec Baldwin have all spoken about debilitating symptoms they battled after contracting the disease in the past.

New Jersey Republican representative Christopher Smith wrote the amendment to the 2020 defence authorisation bill.

Congressman Smith said: ‘We need answers and we need them now.’

Mr Smith demanded to know who ordered the potential programme and uncover if there was ever a release of diseased ticks.

The Defence Authorisation Bill must still pass in the Senate before it can be signed by President Trump.

Mr Smith said he was inspired to add the amendment to the defence bill after reading a number of books and articles.

These suggested that significant research had been done at US government facilities including Fort Detrick, Maryland and Plum Island, New York to turn ticks and other insects into bioweapons.’

A book released in May this year titled ‘BITTEN: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons’ brought to light a possible link between the rise of Lyme disease and U.S. germ warfare.

Read the Whole Article

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Bowling Alone: How Washington Has Helped Destroy American Civil Society And Family Life

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - 13 hours 7 min ago

Via Ammo.com,

Church attendance in the United States is at an all-time low, according to a Gallup poll released in April 2019. This decline has not been a steady one. Indeed, over the last 20 years, church attendance has fallen by 20 percent. This might not sound like cause for concern off the bat. And if you’re not a person of faith, you might rightly wonder why you would care about such a thing.

Church attendance is simply a measure of something deeper: social cohesion. It’s worth noting that the religions with the highest rate of attendance according to Pew Forum have almost notoriously high levels of social cohesion: Latter-Day Saints, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Evangelical Protestants, Mormons and historically black churches top the list.

There’s also the question of religious donations. Religious giving has declined by 50 percent since 1990, according to a 2016 article in the New York Times. This means people who previously used religious services to make ends meet now either have to go without or receive funding from the government. This, in turn, strengthens the central power of the state.

It is our position that civil society – those elements of society which exist independently of big government and big business – are essential to a functioning and free society. What’s more, these institutions are in rapid decline in the United States, and have been for over 50 years.

Such a breakdown is a prelude to tyranny, and has been facilitated in part (either wittingly or unwittingly) by government policies favoring deindustrialization, financialization and centralization of the economy as well as the welfare state. The historical roots of this breakdown are explored below, along with what concerned citizens can do to mitigate its impact on their loved ones.

What Is Bowling Alone?

The urtext of this topic is Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community by political scientist Robert D. Putnam. He uses the decline in league bowling as a sort of shorthand for the overall decline in American participation in social life.

The local bowling alley was known as the blue-collar country club, and it was the invention of the automatic pinsetter that changed the game, making it faster and more accessible. The first million-dollar endorsement sports deal was Don Carter receiving a million dollars to bowl with an Ebonite signature ball designed for him in 1964.

Business was driven by league play. People would sign up to join a league, which had them in for 30 weeks of once-weekly play. In the course of doing this, they would rub elbows with teammates, opponents and whoever happened to be hanging out in the bowling alley at the time. Between 1940 and 1958, the United States Bowling Congress’ membership exploded from 700,000 to 2.3 million. The Women's International Bowling Congress’membership climbed from 82,000 to 866,000, with the American Junior Bowling Congress ballooning from 8,000 to 175,000. In their heyday, bowling leagues brought in a whopping 70 percent of all bowling alley income. Now they bring in a paltry 40 percent.

Again, the point here is not that there is something magical about bowling, which acts as a social glue in the United States. Rather, it is that the existence of bowling alleys as a third place in American life was the symptom of a vibrant and healthy civil society, not its cause. People preferred to socialize with others in a place outside of home or work. Putnam is quick to point out that the number of people who bowl in the United States has actually increased since the golden age of bowling – the problem is that they’re all doing it alone.

The decline in bowling league membership parallels the decline of memberships in a number of other civic organizations including the Knights of ColumbusB’Nai Brithlabor unionsthe Boy Scoutsthe Red Crossthe Lionsthe Elksthe Kiwanisthe Freemasonsparent-teacher organizationsthe League of Women Voters and the Junior Chamber of Commerce to name only a few examples other than bowling leagues and churches.

What this means is that there are significantly fewer connections between people and fewer civic-minded discussions going on now than there were in the past. It also means the loss of identity tied to something other than work and consumer goods (see the explosion of adults spending their money on Star Wars or Harry Potter knick-knacks).

Putnam lays the blame at the foot of technology. Television, and to a much greater extent, the Internet, individualized how people spend their spare time. Still, there is a solid case to be made that the decline of civil society and the resulting loss of social capital is not simply the result of new technologies. It is equally the result of government policies which, through design or through negligence, further erode civil society.

The Destruction of the Rust Belt

It is difficult to talk about the decline of civil society and social capital in the United States without looking at the destruction of the Rust Belt. The decline of the population in Rust Belt industrial cities over the last 50 years is worth a cursory glance before delving further into this topic:

  • In 1940, Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh were all among the 10 most populated cities in the United States.

  • By 1980, Cleveland and Pittsburgh had dropped off.

  • While Detroit hung around in the top 10 until the 2010 census, it was also the first city to have its population drop below one million.

Cities outside of the top 10 in 1940 paint an even starker picture:

  • Between 1960 and 2010, Buffalo lost over half of its population, plummeting from 532,000 (20) to 261,000 (71).

  • Cincinnati was hit about this hard during the same time period, with its population dropping from 502,000 (21) to 296,000 (63).

  • Gary, Indiana is perhaps the most extreme case of Rust Belt depopulation. It lost over half its population between 1960 and 2010, going from 178,000 (70) to 80,000 (unranked).

Most of these massive depopulations are tied closely to deindustrialization and the financialization of the economy. While other factors cannot be ignored, such as central air conditioning, which makes living in cities like Phoenix (439,000 in 1960 and the 29th largest city to 1.4 million and the 6th largest by 2010) much more palatable, a conscious set of policies contributed to the destruction of America’s manufacturing base.

If one sees the United States as nothing more than a group of consumers, there’s nothing to fret about here. If, however, one sees the United States as a nation with a value beyond its simple GDP, the replacement of civil society with the marketplace is a disastrous scenario.

The Destruction of Black Business Districts

Another place where this can be seen is the destruction of the black middle class. A frequently untold story of American life is that by the 1950s, the United States actually had a thriving black middle class. Black business ownership peaked during the years between the end of the Second World War and the Great Society. Every city with any significant black population hosted a black business district where a primarily black clientele spent their money within their own community. Black home ownership was likewise high at this point.

This is all very much a thing of the past.

The per capita number of black employers declined by 12 percent between the years 1997 and 2014. An article by Brian S. Feldman in Washington Monthly notes a significant decline in certain sectors of black business ownership as well, namely grocers, insurers and banks. Black-owned insurance agencies declined by 68 percent between 1989 and 1999 in what Black Enterprise magazine called “a bloodbath.”

The article in question lays this at the feet of not specific government policies, but at the doorstep of a more general trend toward market concentration.

It’s worth looking at the question of wealth and market concentration (separate from the question of so-called “wealth inequality”) from a freedom-minded perspective. The massive amounts of government handouts to big business, in the form of both direct subsidies as well as favorable legislation for regulations and taxes alike, creates an environment favoring those most capable of purchasing influence – namely, big business.

This is not the half-baked conspiracy theory of a college Marxist. No less an authority than the Foundation for Economic Education correctly identifies that the wealth concentration that made the destruction of black small business possible is choking the American economy at the expense of Main Street. Likewise, licensing regimes in a number of states choke the pipeline of small business competition by making it more difficult for people to enter fields, from nail tech to brain surgeon. The FEE likewise identifies health insurance requirements and increasingly rising minimum wage laws as government intervention raising the bar to entry into the market and crushing small business.

There is another, highly unlikely and ironic, culprit behind the decimation of black business and the black community – integration.

This is a position championed by Clay Middleton of the South Carolina House of Representatives. Basically, under segregation, black consumers were limited in their choices of business. They could not, in many cases, go to (for example) white hamburger joints. Instead, they had to patronize the equivalent business for black customers. In many cases, these businesses were owned and operated by fellow black Americans. Black hotels are another example of this phenomenon.

The point is not that Southern states should reintroduce segregation to prop up black businesses, but simply to give a broader and more complete picture of how and why black business districts have disappeared. It also offers some insight into the destruction of small business in America in general.

While cheap, imported widgets from Walmart benefit consumers with lower prices, they also create an intangible and difficult-to-quantify social problem. When big business replaces small business, wealth is not only centralized, it is also centralized outside of the communities that it serves.While larger businesses are arguably more “efficient” economically speaking, the loss of small business (most acutely seen in the black community) provides an illustrative example of how lost economic capital and lost social capital are often closely tied. Without black business, there is less of a “black community” than there is a “black marketplace.”

Strictly speaking, small business (black or otherwise) is business, not civil society proper. However, greater economic leverage of big business in the nation means an economically impoverished civil society.

Civil Society, the Welfare State, and Mutual Aid

While direct connections are difficult to establish, it is worth noting that there is a chicken-egg effect of the welfare state, which began during the New Deal, but accelerated under President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Great Society.

What did people do before the advent of social welfare programs? This is a question that even few libertarians can answer without stammering something about private charity. And indeed, private charity did play a role in meeting social needs for the less fortunate. However, there is a hidden story in how communities met social needs prior to the advent of the welfare state.

Mutual aid in the 21st century is largely a nonprofit form of insurance, particularly life insurance – a sort of analog to the credit union. However, in earlier days they oversaw a number of social welfare programs.

Mutual aid societies, also known as benefit societies (or friendly societies in the United Kingdom and Ireland) date back to the Middle Ages. Medieval guilds were effectively mutual aid societies organized within skilled trades. In the United States, they were popular with black Americans during post-revolutionary times: the Free African Society dates back to 1787.

One of the key differences between mutual aid and benefit societies and the welfare state is the role of civil society and accountability. Mutual aid societies presented a counterweight to both the state and big business. They offered services such as healthcare, unemployment benefits, disability insurance and other services now provided by big business or state and federal governments.

What’s more, the mutual aid societies generally had a set of values tied to their services. Social values were advanced and an ethos of moral character and self-improvement underpinned membership in a mutual aid society. For example, the Ancient Order of United Workmen forbade its members from selling liquor on penalty of forfeiting their death benefit.

Finally, it’s worth noting the primary difference between mutual aid societies and the welfare state. Members who wanted to collect had to look a peer in the eye and request aid. This had a twin psychological effect: First, it diminished spurious claims. Let’s say “Jim” needed some unemployment insurance. His neighbors are also members of his mutual aid society. They know if Jim actually needs help or if he’s just goldbricking. The flipside is that Jim is also receiving aid from his friends and neighbors. This inspires him to look for work so that he can pay everyone back in his own way, in addition to providing a source of social solidarity during his hardest times.

According to A Life of One's Own: Individual Rights and the Welfare State, in the year 1890, 112,000 Americans were living in housing provided by private charitable organizations. Compare this to 73,000 residing in publicly funded almshouses. What’s more, benefit societies were decentralized. The spirit was one of fraternity, not of paternalism. Reciprocity was a driving ethic, which in turn removed the stigma of receiving charity. People were not receiving handouts, they were receiving support from the very same people whom they had supported in the past.

Additionally, belonging to a mutual aid or benefit society was a lot cooler than receiving welfare. They had secret handshakes, among other secret symbols of membership. What’s more, the humble house-call doctor was a feature of mutual aid society membership. Society locals frequently hired a doctor to service a membership area. They have since been regulated to the point where they provide little in the way of services, except for life insurance and annuities, making them effectively non-profit financial organizations.

In addition to accountability, assistance beyond simple financial support and decentralization, private assistance carries other benefits. For example, philanthropic organizations tend to operate leaner and to be more innovative in how they tackle problems. Such organizations tend to tailor their assistance to the individual in need, rather than offering a one-size-fits-all approach. This is true of individuals and communities alike. Finally, philanthropic and mutual aid societies seek to treat the underlying cause, rather than just the symptom of need.

Such organizations are now limited by the federal tax code 501(c)(4), which greatly restricts the activities such organizations are allowed to participate in. Many of them, such as Mutual of Omaha, underwent demutualization and handed out stocks in place of membership. They are now for-profit financial organizations.

A Decline in Family Life

One of the main pillars of civil society is the nuclear family. Any discussion of the decline of civil society in the United States would be incomplete without a discussion of the decline of family life in the United States.

Perhaps the best numbers to look at with regard to the American family are from the 2010 Census. These are, admittedly, a bit old. However, there is no reason to suspect that the trend has reversed itself and that the nuclear family has experienced some kind of resurgence in the years since that census. If anything, the opposite is probably true. So what does the last United States Census say?

  • Non-college graduates are more than twice as likely to be single parents.

  • Affluent families are more common than poor ones.

Pew Research likewise has good data on the state of the American family:

  • Americans who have never been married reached an all-time high in 2012, with 25 percent of all adults over the age of 25 having never been married. In 1960, this figure stood at 9 percent.

  • Men were significantly less likely to have ever been married than women.

  • 24 percent of never-married adults were cohabiting with their partner.

  • For black Americans, the percentage over 25 who had never been married was 36 percent.

  • Pew Research indicates that it expects this trend to continue and that, while people are getting married later in life, it does not expect a significant increase in marriage as the population ages.

  • Financial security was cited as the main hurdle to marriage by one third of all those polled who wanted to get married.

  • 67 percent of Americans under 50 who are married are in their first marriage, compared to 83 percent in 1960.

  • 46 percent of children live with two parents in their first marriage. In 1980, this number was 61 percent. In 1960, it was 73 percent.

The above-cited figures point toward two conclusions: First, the nuclear family is in sharp decline. Second, it is far more common for educated and affluent Americans to form traditional families.

It’s difficult to assign direct blame to any one factor. The centralization of the economy cited above plays a role, as does the financialization and deindustrialization of the economy. In the 1960s, from where our earliest data comes, it was not difficult for a high school graduate or even a high school dropout to earn a living at a stable job that was effectively a career for life. With this job came a defined benefit pension, healthcare, etc. The wages and benefits made having and raising a family easier.

The welfare state is another significant driver of the decline of the nuclear family. Unsurprisingly, the black family is massively impacted. In 1965, 25 percent of all black children were born out of wedlock. In 2016, that rate had increased to 70 percent and even topped 80 percent in certain urban areas. In the 1940s, this number was five percent, which was comparable to that of white children. The Hispanic out-of-wedlock birth rate in 2016 was 52 percent, while for whites it was 30 percent.

The rise in children born out of wedlock cannot be separated from the massive expansion of the welfare state under Johnson’s Great Society. In a report from the Mises Institute, the basic argument is that welfare disincentivizes marriage. In times past, when women had children out of wedlock, it meant an incredibly difficult life balancing whatever work and charity they could get. It also carried a social stigma (from our old friend civil society), which further disincentivized single motherhood.

Today, however, there are a host of social programs specifically for single mothers. A partial list of programs assisting single motherhood includes:

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) commonly known as “food stamps”

  • Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC), another food assistance program

  • Child Care Assistance Program, Head Start and Early Head Start, all daycare assistance programs

  • Section 8 housing assistance

  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps single mothers pay their utilities

  • Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), health insurance assistance programs

  • Supplemental Security Income, often called “disability,” but accessible to those without bona fide physical disabilities

  • The Emergency Food Assistance Program and the National School Lunch Program, two more food assistance programs

These programs act as a disincentive toward family formation. Benefits are means tested, meaning that if one’s income is low enough, one qualifies. This means that it is advantageous in many cases for couples to remain unmarried so that only one income is counted for the purpose of benefits. Such programs, when coupled with a diminishing stigma against single motherhood, further incentivizes promiscuity and poor mate selection – why not have a child with a man who can’t support it when the welfare state is there to pick up the slack?

The impact of single-parent households is far further reaching than you probably think: In the most extensive study ever done on single parenthood (in permissive, tolerant and liberal Sweden), it was found that children in single-parent households were twice as likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders and addiction. This figure might be conservative, as it only includes hospitalizations. Some other striking statistics about fatherless households include:

  • 63 percent of youth suicides take place in fatherless homes.

  • 90 percent of all homeless youth and runaways are from fatherless homes, which is a whopping 32 times the national average.

  • 85 percent of all children with behavior issues come from fatherless homes, 20 times the national average.

  • 80 percent of rapists with established anger issues come from fatherless homes, 14 times the national average.

  • 71 percent of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes, nine times the national average.

  • 70 percent of those in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes, nine times the national average.

  • 85 percent of all juveniles in prison come from single-parent households, 20 times the national average.

  • 90 percent of adolescent repeat arson offenders are from fatherless homes.

  • Fatherless children are nearly twice as likely to be victims of abuse or neglect.

These striking statistics are a serious indictment of the decline of the nuclear family. If, as is common of behaviors, single parenthood is heritable, we have not yet begun to see a crisis.

The End of Civil Society in the United States

The big takeaway is that in the United States, civil society has declined. While the blame cannot entirely be laid at the feet of big government and big business (individual actors are involved), there is strong evidence to suggest that the crisis in American civil society is driven primarily by the welfare state and government policies favoring deindustrialization, financialization and centralization of the economy.

There is a reinforcing quality about the destruction of civil society. As the size of big government and big business increases, they become more capable of taking greater power. Smaller communities become increasingly reliant upon each, making it harder to resist further growth and greater disempowerment. It’s a vicious downward spiral.

So what’s the solution for a concerned individual or family? It’s not political. Instead, the best one can do to counteract these trends are to become as financially independent as possible, make durable local connections in the community, and learn to think critically in order to insulate oneself from the more pernicious effects of social decay and the power of the state.

The Race For The Moon Continues

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - 13 hours 27 min ago

On July 21, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first men to set foot on the moon. Ten more Apollo astronauts followed in their footsteps until 1972 but since then, no human has set foot on Earth’s closest companion in space.

Fifty years later, the race for the moon is starting anew with several countries and private companies announcing missions. As Statista's Katharina Buchholz notes, after the successful landings of Chinese probes Chang'e 3 in 2013 and Chang'e 4 in January 2019, who will be the next space agency or company succeeding in landing the next spacecraft or putting the next man (or first woman) on the moon?

Our graphic gives a rundown of the main lunar missions announced to date. Given the remaining uncertainties surrounding some programs, the dates may be subject to change.

You will find more infographics at Statista

After a failed mission by the Israeli private company SpaceIL in April, it is the Indian space agency ISRO that will be up next, with the launch of Chandrayaan-2 moon rover mission currently delayed but to commence in 2019.

Three U.S. companies - Astrobotic, OrbitBeyond and Intuitive Machines – are scheduled to carry out a series of missions in anticipation of astronauts returning to the lunar surface. This is an objective that U.S. President Donald Trump would like to achieve in 2024 and that is supposed to be carried out by NASA in the Artemis 3 and 4 missions.

Another independent private mission, "DearMoon", could see a Japanese billionaire accompanied by six artists making the first touristic flight around the moon in a SpaceX vessel as early as 2023.

Finally, it is interesting to note that the Moon Treaty has still not been ratified by most space-faring nations to date (except for three member countries of the European Space Agency). This treaty, adopted in 1979, stipulates that the moon may only be used for peaceful purposes and that any activity on the moon must comply with international laws.

Demonocracy: The Great Human Scourge!

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - 13 hours 47 min ago

Via AntoniusAquinas.com,

Introduction

One cannot speak too highly of Christophe Buffin de Chosal’s The End of Democracy.  In a fast paced, readable, yet scholarly fashion, Professor Buffin de Chosal* demolishes the ideological justification in which modern democracy rests while he describes the disastrous effects that democratic rule has had on Western societies.  He explodes the myth of Democracy as a protector of individual liberty, a prerequisite for economic progress, and a promoter of the higher arts.  Once Democracy is seen in this light, a far more accurate interpretation of modern history can be undertaken.  The book is a very suitable companion to Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s iconoclastic take down of democracy in Democracy: The God That Failed, released at the beginning of this century.  Buffin de Chosal has spoken of a follow up which will be eagerly awaited for.

Democratic Governance

The idea of rule by the people is a scam, one perpetuated by those who, in actuality, are in control of the government.  Through the “democratic process” of voting and elections, a small, determined minority can impose its will despite majority opposition:

We often hear it said that ‘in a democracy, it is the people who rule...’

Rule by the people is a myth which loses all substance once confronted with the real practice in democracy.  [13]

Quoting from a Russian philosopher, Buffin de Chosal continues his criticism:

The best definition [of democracy] was given by the Russian philosopher Vasily Rozanov.  ‘Democracy is the system by which an organized minority governs an unorganized majority.’ 

This ‘unorganized majority’ is the people, aggregated and individualistic, incapable of reaction because disjointed.  [28]

He expands upon Rozanov’s theme:

...[C]ontrary to what [democracy’s] principles proclaim: one can say that the majority almost never wins.  Democracy is not the system of the majority, but that of the most powerful minority, and it has this power not simply due to its numbers, but also and above all due to its organization. [31]

Power does not reside in “the people” and certainly not in the individual.  In democracy, the only way to express one’s preference or protect one’s rights is through the ballot box every so often. “Each voter,” writes Buffin de Chosal, “in a democracy, is the depositary of a tiny particle of sovereignty, in itself unusable. His sole power consists in dropping a ballot into a box, whereby he is immediately dispossessed of his particle of sovereignty at the profit of those who are going to represent him.”  [Ibid.]

Popular democracy has always been condemned and feared by most thinkers since the beginning of human societies.  It was not until intellectuals saw democracy as a way they could attain power that they began to advocate it as a system of social order.  Prior to the democratic age, most of the learned understood that democracy would result in mob rule and the displacement of natural authority with demagogues.  In short, the worst would rise to the top as the author describes the characteristics of a contemporary politician:

The ideal politician, on the other hand, is pliable, convincing, and a liar by instinct.  He is not attached to any platform and has no ideological objective.  The single thing to which he is truly committed is power.  He wants its prestige and advantages, and seeks above all to be personally enriched by it.  Any politician who presents this aspect is recognized as fit for power in a democracy...

It is therefore not surprising that democratically elected assemblies are almost exclusively comprised of these kinds of men and women.  Elected heads of state almost always fit this profile, and international institutions, such as the European Union, consider it the only acceptable profile....  [35]

Democracy and the State

Since the advent of modern democracy, the principle benefactor of its rule has been the State and the politically-connected financial elites who are in actuality the true rulers of societies.  Instead of putting an end to the supposedly despotic rule of the Ancien Régime, which Democracy’s proponents claim to have existed throughout the monarchial and aristocratic age, governance by the people, has instead witnessed an increase in state power and control of individual lives to an unprecedented level in human history. Few, if any, pope, emperor, king, prince, or duke have ever possessed such suzerainty.

In contrast to what has been taught in classrooms, on university campuses, and espoused throughout the media, individual rights and freedoms were far better guarded in the age prior to Democracy’s ascendancy.  Pre-revolutionary Europe had social structures which insulated individuals from State power far more effectively than under modern democracy:

The concept of an organic society was abolished at the time of the French Revolution.  The corps and orders were suppressed, the privileges were abolished, and everything which allowed the people to protect themselves from the power of the state was banished in the name of liberty.  [24]

And in return for giving up the order that protected them from state depredations, the people received “sovereignty:”

They were given the false promise that they would no longer need to defend themselves from the state since they themselves were the state.  But if a people organized into corps and orders are incapable of exercising sovereignty, how much more so a people comprising a formless mass of individuals!  [Ibid.] 

Historically, all of the democratic movements which supposedly stemmed from the people were, in fact, a falsehood, perpetuated largely by revolutionaries who sought to replace the established order with themselves.  While legislatures, congresses, and democratic bodies of all sorts have been interpreted as the fruition of the masses’ desire for representation, the reality was quite different:

Democracy is not, in its origin, a system of the people.  In England with the advent of the parliamentary system just as in France during the Revolution, it was not the people who were seen at work.  Even the Russian Revolution was not a phenomenon of the people.  To regard the people or what the communist elegantly call the ‘masses’ as the agent of change or political upheaval is purely a theoretical view, a historical myth, of which one sees no trace in reality.  The ‘people’ were the pretext, the dupes, and almost always the victims of the revolutions, not the engines.  [13]

Not only was propagation of the myth of popular support for democratic ideals propounded for the survival of the new social order, but putting these tenets into practice was accomplished, in large part, by the role of the “intellectual” an often neglected feature of standard historical analysis and the reason behind much social transformation:  

The ‘nation’ met the desires of the philosophers who wanted to transfer power from the monarch to an enlightened, philosophical, and philanthropic class who, moreover, ought to be financially comfortable.  The educated bourgeoisie of the time were the protagonists of this idea, and a portion of the nobility formed their audience.  [13-14]

The intellectuals promoted Democracy because it would open up for them considerable opportunities for position and income in the nation state.  It must be remembered that it was the intellectuals who justified the idea of Absolutism.  Later, the intellectuals turned on the monarchies and sided with the emerging republican classes rightly believing that democratic governance would give them greater opportunities for power in the emerging nation states.

Democracy and Modern History

While most historians see the advancement of democracy and the development of legislative bodies over the course of the last centuries as an advancement in the human condition and one that has emanated from the people’s desire for greater political representation, Buffin de Chosal presents a far different and more accurate interpretation.  “Democracy,” he asserts, “is not, in its origin a system of the people.” [13] All of the social movements which eventually led to the destruction of Christendom did not come from the people seeking a greater “voice” in their governance.

“The ‘people,’” he argues, “were the pretext, the dupes, and almost always the victims of the revolutions, not the engines.” [Ibid.]  Liberty, Equality and Fraternity was not a popular cry, but one coined and used by the “enlightened” classes to mobilize and justify their overthrow of the French monarchy and with it the destruction of the Church. 

The French Revolution was built on the idea of the ‘nation,’ which claimed to bring together the intellectual, social, and financial elite of the country.  It was on this foundation that democracy was established and that it functioned during almost all of the nineteenth century.  [Ibid.]

A similar historical narrative can be seen in England.

The rise and eventual triumph of representative democracy in England was not one that percolated from the masses itching for more freedom.  “The appearance of the parliamentary system in England,” Buffin de Chosal contends, “was tied to the great movement of Church property confiscation begun under Henry VIII and continuing until the coming of the Stuarts.” [14] 

After Henry gorged himself on the Church’s wealth, he sought to bribe as much of the nobility as possible with his ill-gotten gains to insure his power.  An envious Parliament, however, wanted its cut of the loot which led to the great internecine struggle between Crown and Parliament which eventually ended in the suzerainty of the latter with the Glorious Revolution of 1688.  The real power from then on rested with an oligarchical legislative branch:

The families who had thus helped themselves to the Church’s goods, morally justified by Protestant ethics, formed the gentry, the class of landowners who sat in Parliament.  Parliament was not then, as one might believe today, an organ of poplar representation.  It was an instrument in the hands of the gentry to defend its own class interests. [16-17]

That Parliament and the monarchy would become the two dominant ruling structures was the result of the breakdown of the feudal structure which was taking place not only in England, but across Europe.  European monarchs continued to gain more and more power at the expense of the feudal landed elite.  The gentry’s power and wealth was also on the wane with the rise of commercial centers which most of the time aligned themselves first with the kings and then later with Parliament.  The eventual triumph of Parliament, however, did not mean greater democracy for the people:

The financial incentives for England’s adoption of the Protestant Reformation are therefore intimately connected with the bolstering of Parliamentary power. The Parliament in England was used to put the monarchy in check and to replace it with an oligarchic class of wealthy Protestants to whom the kings were required to submit.  This is why the overthrow of James II in 1688 was a true revolution.  It was not a popular revolution or the overthrowing of a tyranny, but it was the rebellion of a class implementing the transfer of sovereign power for its own profit. [17]

The Market Economy

The author takes a refreshing look at the market economy that sets straight the inaccurate and often times hostile analysis of it that frequently comes from conservative circles.  He distinguishes and rightly points out that “pure capitalism” or the “unhampered market” is an “excellent thing” [123].  The free market is intimately tied with private property which is a prerequisite for a just society:

[Capitalism] proceeds from respect for private property. As capitalism is the reinvestment or saved money for the purpose of making new profits, it presupposes respect for property rights and free enterprise.   It has existed in Europe since the Middle Ages and has contributed significantly to the development of Western society.  [Ibid.]

He insightfully notes that “bad capitalism” often gets lumped in with its “good form” while the latter gets the blame for the baneful excesses of the former.  “Monopoly capitalism,” “corporatism,” “the mixed economy,” and “crony capitalism” are not the result of the market process, but stem from “intervention” brought about by the State in favor of its business favorites through participatory democracy.  In a truly free market, entrenched wealth is rarely maintained but is constantly subjected to challenges by competitors:

But what one ought to designate as bad capitalism is the concentration of wealth and power this wealth procures.  This danger does not stem from capitalism itself but rather from parliamentary democracy, for it is democracy that enables money powers to dominate the political realm.  [Ibid.]

The “monied interest” did not exist under “traditional monarchy,” but was a product of Democracy and the protection and extension of the “bad capitalistic” paradigm that came into being and was expanded by the rise of popular representative bodies.  Assemblies, legislatures, and congresses, which emerged, became aligned with the banking and financial interests to bring about the downfall of the monarchies. 

The concentration of political power could only be attained after the control of money and credit were centralized in the form of central banking and the gold standard was eliminated.  Central banks have been an instrumental part of the democratic age, funding the nation state’s initiatives and enriching the politically- tied financial elites at the expense of everyone else.   

Wealth concentration is not a by-product of the free market.  Rarely are firms able to maintain their dominance for long periods of time.  Many turn to the State to get protection and monopoly grants to ensure their position in the economy:

. . . capitalism only becomes harmful when it grants political power to the money powers. This was only made possible thanks to the advent of parliamentary democracy, which was an invention of liberalism.  It is therefore the foundational principles of political liberalism (equality before the law, suppression of privileges, centralization of political power, censitary suffrage, and the accountability of ministers to the legislative houses) which have enabled the rise of a wealthy class and its power over society.  [124]

Such sound economic analysis abounds throughout his tome.

Future Prospects

The author rightly sees that because of its nature and the type of personalities that it attracts, modern democracy cannot reform itself, but will eventually collapse from financial stress, war, and/or civil strife:

Parliamentary democracy rarely produces true statesmen, as its party system more often promotes ambitious and self-interested persons, demagogues, and even communication experts.  These are generally superficial and egocentric individuals with a very limited understanding of society and man.  These politicians do not have the makings of statesmen.  They are adventurers who use the state to satiate their hunger for power and money or to benefit their party.  [147]

Efforts to reform it, however, should not be totally dismissed since they could lead to more fundamental change and ultimately the creation of a new political paradigm for Western governance.  Populism and the various movements around the globe which fall into that category should be encouraged.  Populism, because of is lack of definite ideological underpinnings, has meant different things at different times to different people.  Most populists, however, do not want to get rid of democratic forms of government, but want the system to be more “responsive” of its constituents instead of favoring entrenched political elites.  Populism is a symptom of the growing failure of modern democracy’s inability to “deliver the goods” that it promises to a now growing dependency class. 

As a means of getting rid of totalitarian democracy, populist movements and themes should always be encouraged:

In Europe, the only political forces today which could, in the more extreme of circumstances assume this rescue role are found on the side of populism.  Conservative in its values, sometimes classically liberal when it is a matter of opposing the stifling interventionism of the state, and yet ready to defend social gains . . .  populism is the only political current which comes to the defense of those interests of the population denied or ignored by the parties in power. [148]

He adds:

Populist parties, from the simple fact that they can bring together voters from both the left and the right, have a chance of coming to power in the near enough future.  The deterioration of security conditions in Europe due to mass immigration plays in their favor.  [148-49]    

While he does not explicitly discuss it, a more concrete and ideological coherent idea and one of historical precedent, is that of secession.  For all those who oppose the democratic order, secession is the most justifiable, logical, and practical strategy for the dissolution of the nation state.  Secession movements, therefore, whether they do not outwardly condemn parliamentary democracy and only seek to establish a “better run” system, should always be supported. 

Conclusion

The most likely scenario if there is to be a change in Western democratic life will be from a world-wide economic crisis and collapse of the financial system which will render the nation states unable to meet their financial obligations to their citizens.  All economies are hopelessly indebted from their welfare state excesses and can never hope to meet their promises which now runs in the trillions.  What will emerge in the aftermath of a collapse is hard to predict, but some form of authoritarianism is likely which will be centered on a one-world state with a single, irredeemable currency.

While the financial demise of Western-styled democracy will be evident for all to see, its ideological underpinnings which have justified its existence needs to be extirpated.  Any hope of it being reconstituted to better serve “the people” needs to be shot down.  There is no better place to start the de-mystification of Democracy than with Christophe Buffin de Chosal’s magnificent, The End of Democracy.  

*  *  *

Christophe Buffin de Chosal, The End of Democracy, Translated by Ryan P. Plummer.  Printed in the U.S.A.: Tumblar House, 2017.

Black Homeownership Plunges To All-Time-Low Despite Record-Low Unemployment

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - 14 hours 7 min ago

One of President Trump's favorite talking points is promoting how his economic policies have lifted all Americans. He routinely cites the record low rate of black unemployment and how the economy is the "greatest ever."

— President Trump tweeted Jan. 2018

"African American unemployment has reached its lowest rate ever recorded — ever! Ever! Remember 'What do you have to lose?' What do you have to lose, right? 'What do you have to lose?' I said."

Trump wishes Jay-Z were a little more grateful for the low black unemployment rate. https://t.co/PeY2ZxCusO pic.twitter.com/SLJqER2XWs

— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) January 30, 2018

— Trump, at a campaign rally in Southaven, Miss., Oct. 2018

"You look at our economy. You look at jobs. You look at African American — the lowest in the history of our country, unemployment numbers — the best numbers they've ever had."

— Trump tweeted July 2019

"The best economy in our lifetime!" @IngrahamAngle

— Trump tweeted July 2019

"Lots of great things to tell you about, including the fact that our economy is the best it has ever been. Best Employment & Stock Market Numbers EVER. I'll talk also about people who love, and hate, our Country (mostly love)!" 

New census data, reported via The Wall Street Journal, tells an entirely different story in the African-American communities across the country, one where the black homeownership rate has plunged to the lowest on record.

The black homeownership rate increased for three decades and reached nearly 50% in 2004, but all those gains were wiped out in the last decade, hitting a new record low in 1Q19.

The rate stabilized from 1Q16 through 3Q18, has since dove under the 2.5-year range to 41.1%. The rate plunged 1.8% from 3Q18 to 1Q19, which was a period in the economy where the most recent industrial slowdown started.

1Q19 was the first time in 20 years that Hispanics and blacks, the two most significant ethnic minorities in the U.S., have seen a divergence in the path towards the American dream: homeownership.

Policy analyst told The Journal that black communities have developed an indisputable wealth gap that has kept homeownership out of reach. 

"We can see that discrimination is still there, although it has changed its form," said Michela Zonta, a senior policy analyst at the Center for American Progress.

The black unemployment rate being at ultra-low levels hasn't translated into a stronger middle class in inner cities, thus the increase in home buying. 

This could mean one of two things: either the jobs being provided are low skill and low wage, or the birth/death adjustment in the black unemployment rate highly overstated the number of employed so that the Trump administration can create enough propaganda in black communities that by the time 2020 comes around, inner cities would ditch Democrats for Republicans.

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