Thanksgiving: Celebrating the Birth of American Free Enterprise

This time of the year, whether in good economic times or bad, is when Americans gather with their families and friends and enjoy a Thanksgiving meal together. It marks a remembrance of those early Pilgrim Fathers who crossed the uncharted ocean from Europe to make a new start in Plymouth, Massachusetts. What is less appreciated is that Thanksgiving also is a celebration of the birth of free enterprise in America.
The English Puritans, who left Great Britain and sailed across the Atlantic on the Mayflower in 1620, were not only escaping from religious persecution in their homeland. They also wanted to turn their back on what they viewed as the materialistic and greedy corruption of the Old World.
Plymouth Colony Planned as Collectivist Utopia In the New World, they wanted to erect a New Jerusalem that would not only be religiously devout, but be built on a new foundation of communal sharing and social altruism. Their goal was the communism of Plato’s Republic, in which all would work and share in common, knowing neither private property nor self-interested acquisitiveness.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Nov 20, 2017.

FREEDOM IS A MYTH: WE ARE ALL PRISONERS OF THE POLICE STATE’S PANOPTICON VILLAGE

‘We’re run by the Pentagon, we’re run by Madison Avenue, we’re run by television, and as long as we accept those things and don’t revolt we’ll have to go along with the stream to the eventual avalanche…. As long as we go out and buy stuff, we’re at their mercy… We all live in a little Village. Your Village may be different from other people’s Villages, but we are all prisoners.’ – Patrick McGoohan
First broadcast in Great Britain 50 years ago, The Prisoner – a dystopian television series described as ‘James Bond meets George Orwell filtered through Franz Kafka’ – confronted societal themes that are still relevant today: the rise of a police state, the freedom of the individual, round-the-clock surveillance, the corruption of government, totalitarianism, weaponization, group think, mass marketing, and the tendency of humankind to meekly accept their lot in life as a prisoner in a prison of their own making.
Perhaps the best visual debate ever on individuality and freedom, The Prisoner (17 episodes in all) centers around a British secret agent who abruptly resigns only to find himself imprisoned, monitored by militarized drones, and interrogated in a mysterious, self-contained, cosmopolitan, seemingly tranquil retirement community known only as the Village. The Village is an idyllic setting with parks and green fields, recreational activities and even a butler.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on SEPTEMBER 19, 2017.

Eastern Europe & World War III

Europe could become the site of a new global war in the East as tensions build there against refugees and the economic decline fosters old wounds. The EU is deeply divided over the refugee issue and thus it is fueling its own demise and has failed to be a stabilizing force. After five days of demonstrations, Romania’s month-old government backed down and withdrew a decree that had decriminalized some corruption offenses. They were still acting like typical politicians and looking to line their pockets. After one month, the people have rising up saying ‘We can’t trust this new government.’
On the eastern border of the EU, only a few hundred kilometers from Berlin as well as Vienna, there is a growing danger that the world will stumble into a global war primarily from through the incompetence of the politicians in the EU as well as in the East. The EU is more concerned about punishing Britain and trying to hold on to overpaid political jobs that to address the real issues facing Europe.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Feb 8, 2017.

Is Soros On The Ropes?

Although multi-billionaire hedge fund tycoon and international political pot-stirrer George Soros lost big with the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States and the victory of the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom, he stands to lose further ground, politically and financially, as the winds of political change sweep across the globe.
Soros, who fancies himself as the master of placing short put options on stocks, often cleaning up to the tune of billions of dollars in the process when the stock values collapse, has been dealt a few financial body blows. Recently, the Dutch securities market regulator AFM accidentally revealed on line all of Soros’s short trades since 2012. Soros’s trades were revealed on AFM’s website and were removed after the regulator realized the error. However, the Soros data had already been captured by automatic data capturing software programs operated by intelligence agencies and brokerage firms that routinely scour the Internet looking for such mistakes.
Among the bank shares targeted by Soros was the Ing Groep NV, a major institution and important element of the Dutch economy. After campaigning against Brexit, Soros bet against the stock of Deutsche Bank AG, which he believed would fall in value after Britain voted to leave the EU. Deutsche Bank stock fell 14 percent and Soros cleaned up. But Soros’s celebration was temporary. With Trump’s election, Soros lost a whopping $1 billion in stock speculation. Surrounded by his fellow financial manipulators, Soros explained his recent losses while attending the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Soros’s mega-wealthy cronies placed their own bets against smaller Dutch firms. Those firms included Ordina, an information technology firm; Advanced Metallurgical Group; and the real estate group Wereldhave N. V.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 29, 2017.

‘They Got In There And Totally Took It Over’ – The Tea Party, Black Lives Matter and the 99% Protesters Have All Been Absorbed By The Establishment

If there’s one thing that the rise of Donald Trump and Britain’s Brexit has proven, it’s that the people have had it with the establishment. No matter what side of the aisle you’re on, you are likely sick and tired of the outright corruption prevalent in every aspect of the system.
Over the last decade we have seen several movements try to take the initiative to create real, lasting change by upending the business-as-usual behavior of entrenched politicians, corporate lobbyists and mainstream media. All have thus far failed and were eventually absorbed by the power structure.

This post was published at shtfplan on October 28th, 2016.

Trade deals – a global issue

The annual Conservative Party conference commenced last Sunday, and the media focus was mostly about the Government’s stance on Brexit.
This is hardly surprising, because Mrs May is being secretive, avoiding stoking a public spat with the EU by negotiating in public. The only hard news to emerge was that Article 50, formally giving notice of Britain leaving the EU, would be triggered by the end of March, in other words before the end of this tax year.
Brexit is mostly about trade deals, which is why big business is lobbying furiously, and EU functionaries are winding up their punitive rhetoric. In the US, Donald Trump has also wound up the rhetoric over trade, threatening to tear up NAFTA and refuse to ratify the trans-Pacific partnership. He also attacked China, accusing her of stealing American production and jobs. We should never believe anything a politician says on the stump to gain votes, but if nothing else Trump does seem to have identified electoral resentment on the trade issue.
This article looks at the theory behind trade, and finds that free trade, not the promotion of vested interests, should be the clear economic objective. But it also concludes that differing approaches to this thorny subject could accentuate the split between world trade into two separate streams, between fast-growing emerging economies and an increasingly sluggish old order.
Corn laws and Smoot-Hawley
Free trade first became a political issue in Britain when the 1815 Importation Act, which imposed tariffs on imported grain, led to artificially high grain prices, benefiting landlords at the expense of the poor. This was repealed by the Importation Act 1846. These Acts were known as the corn law and its repeal respectively.
The debate prior to the 1815 Act is echoed today, with producers always seeking to disadvantage foreign competition to the detriment of the consumer. However, there’s every reason to believe that the abolition of trade barriers and tariffs would be similarly beneficial to contemporary economies as the Importation Act 1846 was to both Britain and the global economy then. Equally, if this is true, then trade restrictions and tariffs hinder economic progress, and any country embarking on greater trade restrictions is therefore pursuing a deliberate policy of unemployment. For evidence that it is indeed true, we need look no further than the catastrophic introduction of the Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930 in the US.

This post was published at GoldMoney on OCTOBER 06, 2016.

Apple Tax-Travesty Is a reminder why Britain must leave the lawless EU

Europe’s Competition Directorate commands the shock troops of the EU power structure. Ensconced in its fortress at Place Madou, it can dispatch swat teams on corporate dawn raids across Europe without a search warrant.
It operates outside the normal judicial control that we take for granted in a developed democracy. The US Justice Department could never dream of acting in such a fashion.
Known as ‘DG Comp’, it acts as judge, jury, and executioner, and can in effect impose fines large enough to constitute criminal sanctions, but without the due process protection of criminal law. It misused evidence so badly in pursuit of the US chipmaker Intel that the company alleged a violation of human rights.
Apple is just the latest of the great US digital companies to face this Star Chamber. It has vowed to appeal the monster 13bn fine handed down from Brussels this week for violation of EU state aid rules, but the only recourse is the European Court of Justice. This is usually a forlorn ritual. The ECJ is a political body, the enforcer of the EU’s teleological doctrines. It ratifies executive power.
We can mostly agree that Apple, Google, Starbucks, and others have gamed the international system, finding legal loopholes to whittle down their tax liabilities and enrich shareholders at the expense of society. It is such moral conduct that has driven wealth inequality to alarming levels, and provoked a potent backlash against globalisation.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner By AMBROSE EVANS-PRITCHARD, The Telegraph ‘ September 1, 2016.

Who’s The Barbarian Or Why Harvard’s N. Gregory Mankiw’s Arrogance Is The Pits

Very few people are against the concept of free trade, and those who are aren’t worth listening to. As a matter of economics (small ‘e’), free trade was established as a universal good that benefits all sides in one of the first scholarly debates that in the early 19th century helped turn political economics into a separate study meriting its own discipline. Trade has marked the upward surge of humanity out of the dark ages and feudalism toward republican democracy and dignity.
What people all over the world are objecting to today is the economic criminality that has masqueraded as the supposed benefits of free trade. The open borders for the flow of goods has been turned on its ear; it is now just open borders for the flow of finance. This is not in any way associated with free trade, though the reality of it has yet to reach the economics profession.
On Sunday in the New York Times, Harvard economist N. Gregory Mankiw wrote what is truly a remarkable piece of self-denial, extraordinary in that his contempt for anyone not an (elite) economist is scarcely cloaked in favor of his own self-regard. He writes:
Voters clearly aren’t listening to economists. In a recent poll, an overwhelming number of leading economists agreed that Brexit would most likely lower incomes both in Britain and in the rest of the European Union.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on August 2, 2016.

Why The Donald Might Be Good For Peace

Donald Trump is erratic. We all know that. It is insulting to assert, in the words of Britain’s new Foreign Secretary, the erratic Boris Johnson, that he is frankly unfit to hold the office of President of the United States, but he’s certainly unpredictable and says some things that are, to put it mildly, intriguing. The fact remains that he could be next president of the United States, which makes it important to look at what he might do if that comes about, especially in the light of America’s military catastrophes so far this century.
Obama followed his predecessors in expanding America’s iron fist as self-appointed global policeman. He vastly increased the US military presence around the world and intensified the Pentagon’s aggressive confrontations with China and Russia.
In China’s case this was effected by sending US Naval E-P3 electronic surveillance aircraft on missions close to the mainland, deploying EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft to Clark Air Base in the Philippines, ordering B-52 nuclear bombers to overfly the South China Sea where the US Navy also carried out extended manoeuvres by massive strike groups of nuclear-armed aircraft carriers and guided missile cruisers. All this in a region where the US has not the slightest territorial interest or claim. China’s Sea is 12,000 kilometres, 7,000 miles, from the American mainland, yet Washington considers it the sacred right and duty of the United States to act as a global gendarme and give orders to China about its posture in its own back yard, where there has not been one instance of interference with commercial shipping passing through that region.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on July 26, 2016.

To The Mattress: Fund Manager Cash Levels Highest In 15 Years

Despite the post-Brexit market rally, fund managers have gotten even more wary of taking risks.
The S&P 500 has jumped about 8.5 percent since the lows hit in the days after Britain’s move to leave the European Union, but that hasn’t assuaged professional investors. Cash levels are now at 5.8 percent of portfolios, up a notch from June and at the highest levels since November 2001, according to the latest Bank of America Merrill Lynch Fund Manager Survey.
In addition to putting money under the mattress, investors also are looking for protection, with equity hedging at its highest level in the survey’s history.
Tail risk hedging

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on July 20, 2016.

Sky High Condo Markets Go Stone Cold

New York City’s ultraluxury real estate frenzy – with its sky-piercing condominium towers and $100 million price tags – has finally come to an end.
Even with every conceivable amenity, the eight- and nine-digit prices attached to trophy homes with helicopter views and high-end finishes never bore much relation to actual value. Rather, a class of superrich investors primarily drove the market, choosing high-priced real estate as their asset of choice, because it was less volatile than other investments and they could use shell companies to hide their identities.
But today a four-year construction boom aimed at buyers willing to spend $10 million or more has flooded the top of the market just as global market turmoil has caused wealthy investors to pull back and the federal government has moved to scrutinize some all-cash transactions.
It’s not just the volatility of financial markets that has big spenders sitting on their wallets. Other global trends that have put the lid on high-end spending include China’s tightened restrictions on capital outflows, uncertainty surrounding Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, lower oil prices curbing wealth in the Middle East, and tax increases and other measures that have driven up property transaction costs in some countries.
As the volume of sales at the uppermost level has dwindled, some sellers have made drastic price cuts and some projects have been delayed.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner By Michelle Higgins, New York Times ‘ July 12, 2016.

The Next Referendum Casualty – – The Italian PM And Its Bloated, Insolvent Banking System

It’s now a familiar refrain: A European prime minister calls a referendum, his job could be on the line and markets are getting worried.
This time it’s not Britain’s David Cameron but Italy’s Matteo Renzi, who has called a vote on an ambitious overhaul of the political system aimed at ending the country’s unstable governments. If he loses, Renzi has promised to quit, an outcome that Citigroup Inc. called probably the biggest risk in European politics this year outside the U. K.
The vote is expected in October, though it is already spooking investors and Italian bonds are once more under-performing their Spanish peers. The yield on 10-year Italian securities overtook those on similar-maturity Spanish debt for the first time in almost a year on June 27, a day after Spain’s Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy defied opinion polls to consolidate his position in a general election.
A public opinion poll by Euromedia Research said that 34 percent of Italians would vote against Renzi’s plan, with 28.9 percent in favor, 19.4 percent undecided on which way to vote and 17.7 percent undecided on whether to vote. The poll based on 1,000 interviews was conducted on July 1. No exact date for the referendum has been set.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on July 6, 2016.

The Revolt Against Globalism

There was William Galston at the European Council on Foreign Relations, listening to his fellow elitists and foreign policy honchos caviling about the rise of Donald Trump and bemoaning the fate of the European Union (EU) at the hand’s of Britain’s Euro-skeptics. As the assembled luminaries had a collective sad in their five-star hotel, wondering how the proles could’ve gotten so far out of hand, Galtson – longtime Democratic party hack, former domestic advisor to Bill Clinton, and a senior fellow at the ‘centrist’ Brookings Institution – heard a call to arms. It was almost as if Cecil Rhodes, the British imperialist and original founder and financier of the Council on Foreign Relations, had spoken to him from on high – or, rather, from below – and commanded him to spread the Word far and wide:
‘I realized that the stakes in the U. S. presidential election are even higher than I had thought. The fate of the entire postwar order hangs in the balance, and with it the prospects for democracy world-wide. Without vigorous American leadership, the prospects are not bright.’
Oh, yes, those shortsighted Little People are ‘turning inward,’ and ‘this is understandable,’ but, hey, ‘liberal internationalism is back on its heels’ and the dreaded ‘ethno-nationalist populism’ – i.e. resistance to the One World ‘global governance’ schemes of Galston and his comrades – ‘is on the march.’ What’s a globalist to do?

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Justin Raimondo ‘ July 4, 2016.

On July 4th Demand Freedom, Don’t Celebrate The State

As we gather with family and friends to celebrate the July 4th holiday we should remember that we are not celebrating the state, but rather commemorating an act of secession from an oppressive government. We are celebrating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain – a daring move by the Founders inspired by a desire for liberty.
Thomas Jefferson famously said, ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.’ That does not only mean that we should be prepared to defend against foreign invaders. Perhaps more importantly it means that we must retain the lessons from the original American revolt and guard against a government that views the people as the enemy.
We are familiar with the great observation from essayist Randolph Bourne that ‘War is the health of the state.’ But Bourne further explained that, ‘if the State’s chief function is war, then the State must suck out of the nation a large part of its energy for its purely sterile purposes of defense and aggression. It devotes to waste or to actual destruction as much as it can of the vitality of the nation.’

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on July 4, 2016.

The Italian Job – – Enough Is Enough!

‘You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!’
That one line, spoken on the big screen by Michael Caine was crowned, according to a 2003 Daily Telegraph survey, Britain’s favorite one-liner of film. That kind of staying power is remarkable considering The Italian Job, the original, that is, was released in 1969, two years before Mark Wahlberg, who portrayed Caine’s character, Charlie Croker, in the movie’s 2003 remake, made his 1971 debut.
As for the film’s American version and one-liners, the crown for favorite was won when Charlie’s 2003 on-screen nemesis Steve taunted: ‘You blew the best thing you had going for you. You blew the element of surprise.’ Charlie’s reaction? A knock-out punch followed seamlessly by the understated comeback, ‘Surprised?’
The element of surprise was on full display in the hours and days that followed Britain’s voters’ decisive move to Leave the EU. The Brexit referendum succeeded in blowing off a different set of doors, leaving taunting politicians and policymakers alike flat-footed, with a whole new fear, that of contagion, beginning to the south in Italy. Might the Italians pull of a Job of their own, following Great Britain’s lead in stealing back their own country?
The hope, stated diplomatically by Gluskin Sheff’s inimitable David Rosenberg, a dear friend, is that Brexit will prove to be a, ‘wakeup call for the long-awaited fundamental changes with regards to the EU – make it more democratic and make it less bureaucratic and embark on immigration rules that do not sacrifice regional security.’

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Danielle DiMartino Booth ‘ June 29, 2016.

Europeans Say Enough With Washington’s Anti-Russian Hysteria

A significant crack has been unexpectedly opened in the wall of Europe’s disciplined obedience to the United States. I’m not only referring to the possible long-term consequences for U. S.-European relations in the wake of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, but the unlikely blow against Washington’s information war on Moscow delivered by Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who a week ago shockingly accused the North Atlantic Treaty Organization of ‘war-mongering’ against Russia.
Since the Bush administration’s twisting of events in the 2008 Russia-Georgia war, which the E. U. blamed on Georgia, Western populations have been subjected to the steady message that Russia is a ‘threat’ to the West and is guilty of ‘aggression.’ This reached a peak with the false narrative of events in Ukraine, in which blatant evidence of the West’s complicity in a violent coups d’tat was omitted from corporate media accounts, while Russia’s assistance to eastern Ukrainians resisting thecoup has been framed as a Russian ‘invasion.’
The disinformation campaign has reached the depths of popular culture, including the EuroVision song contest and sports doping scandals, to ensure widespread popular support for U. S. hostile intentions against Russia.
The Russian ‘aggression’ narrative, based largely on lies of omission, has prepared the way for the U. S. to install a missile-shield in Romania with offensive capabilities and to stage significant NATO war games with 31,000 troops on Russia’s borders. For the first time in 75 years, German troops retraced the steps of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on July 1, 2016.

Brexit: The Case For Competition And Decentralized Political Authority

Is Brexit a move toward British independence? Some Leave and Remain partisans may believe so, differing only over whether that’s good or bad.
But, as usual, things are more complicated. We should hope that, in one respect, Britain’s exit from the EU will create a kind of dependence that did not exist while it was still a member of the union.
To see how, one must take note of the original (classical) liberal case for competing political jurisdictions rather than one unified authority: competition tends to generate liberty and prosperity by lowering the cost of ‘exit’ – that is, of voting with one’s feet to relocate from more-onerous to less-onerous jurisdictions.
Legal and political scholars have long understood that decentralization of power in Europe accounts in large measure for its unique achievements both in terms of individual autonomy and prosperity. During the Middle Ages, instead of one superstate united with a single religious authority, Europe consisted in many small jurisdictions and a transnational church, each of which jealously guarded its prerogatives. In England, when kings tried to consolidate their power, they met resistance from barons and others who expected to lose from the centralization of power.
Although the players in this drama did not intend to liberate the common people, to an important extent, that was the world-changing consequence of this struggle, aided by direct popular resistance to oppression when opportunities arose. When the Middle Ages ended, this proto-liberal tradition, though under assault, was invoked in defense of liberty and economic progress. The result, imperfect as it has been and constantly in jeopardy from those who favor power over freedom, is what we call the western liberal spirit.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Sheldon Richman ‘ June 29, 2016.

Revenge Of The Rubes – – Why They Days Of The Financial Elite’s Rule Are Numbered

Talk about not waiting for the body to get cold. The establishment oracles are out in force today proclaiming that Brexit has already been cancelled. Apparently, like in the case of the first negative vote on TARP, two days of currency and stock market turmoil have taught the rubes who voted for it the errors of their ways.
The argument is that the unwashed masses outside of Greater London have shot themselves in the foot economically based on some atavistic fears of immigrants and cultural globalization. Why, right soon they will demanding a second referendum in order to get back on the EU’s purported economic gravy train.
Thus, Gideon Rachman, one of the Financial Times’ numerous globalist scolds, professed that his depression about the Brexit vote has already given way to a worldly vision of relief:
But then, belatedly, I realised that I have seen this film before. I know how it ends. And it does not end with the UK leaving Europe.
Any long-term observer of the EU should be familiar with the shock referendum result. In 1992 the Danes voted to reject the Maastricht treaty. The Irish voted to reject both the Nice treaty in 2001 and the Lisbon treaty in 2008.
And what happened in each case? The EU rolled ever onwards. The Danes and the Irish were granted some concessions by their EU partners. They staged a second referendum. And the second time around they voted to accept the treaty. So why, knowing this history, should anyone believe that Britain’s referendum decision is definitive?

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on June 28, 2016.

Brussels Nomenklatura Responds To Brexit – – Unveiling Plan For Giant Superstate

The foreign ministers of France and Germany are due to reveal a blueprint to effectively do away with individual member states in what is being described as an ‘ultimatum’.
Under the radical proposals EU countries will lose the right to have their own army, criminal law, taxation system or central bank, with all those powers being transferred to Brussels.
Controversially member states would also lose what few controls they have left over their own borders, including the procedure for admitting and relocating refugees.
The plot has sparked fury and panic in Poland – a traditional ally of Britain in the fight against federalism – after being leaked to Polish news channel TVP Info.
The public broadcaster reports that the bombshell proposal will be presented to a meeting of the Visegrad group of countries – made up of Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia – by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier later today.
Excerpts of the nine-page report were published today as the leaders of Germany, France and Italy met in Berlin for Brexit crisis talks.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on June 28, 2016.

Italy Eyes 40bn Bank Rescue as first Brexit Domino Falls

Italy is preparing a 40bn rescue of its financial system as bank shares collapse on the Milan bourse and the powerful after-shocks of Brexit shake European markets.
An Italian government task force is watching events hour by hour, pledging all steps necessary to ensure the stability of the banks. ‘Italy will do everything necessary to reassure people,’ said premier Matteo Renzi.
‘This is the moment of truth we have all been waiting for a long time. We just didn’t know it would be Brexit that set the elephant loose,’ said a top Italian banker.
The share price of banks crashed for a second trading day, with Intesa Sanpaolo off 12.5pc, and falls of 12pc for Banka MPS, 10.4pc for Mediobana, and 8pc for Unicredit. These lenders have lost a third of their value since Britain’s referendum.
‘When Britain sneezes, Italy catches a cold. It is the weakest link in the European chain,’ said Lorenzo Codogno, former director-general of the Italian treasury and now at LC Macro Advisors.
The country is the first serious casualty of Brexit contagion and a reminder that the economic destinies of Britain and the rest of Europe are intimately entwined. Morgan Stanley warned in a new report that eurozone GDP would contract by almost as much as British GDP in a ‘high stress scenario’.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on June 28, 2016.