en Privatize The Public Monuments <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,</em></a></p> <div class="body-content body-content embedded-media clearfix"> <p>When I was a student at the University of Colorado, I regularly walked by the Dalton&nbsp;Trumbo&nbsp;memorial fountain which&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">was named after</a>&nbsp;the communist&nbsp;Stalin-sympathizing novelist and screenwriter.&nbsp;</p> <p>Once upon a time, the fountain had been simply known as &quot;the&nbsp;fountain,&quot; but around 25 years ago, it was unnecessarily renamed after a controversial person.&nbsp;</p> <p>The reason for the renaming&nbsp;was the same as with any memorial or monument designed to honor a person or idea&nbsp;&mdash; to create an emotional connection and familiarity with the person or idea connected to the place; to communicate a certain view of history.&nbsp;</p> <p>The renaming of the fountain followed an&nbsp;earlier renaming controversy. One of the University&#39;s dorms,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Nichols Hall</a>, was named after a participant in the infamous Sand Creek Massacre.&nbsp;Even in its own time, the massacre had been denounced,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">earning condemnation from Indian fighters like Kit Carson</a>. Not surprisingly, the dorm that bore Nichols&#39;s name&nbsp;was eventually renamed &quot;Cheyenne Arapahoe&quot; in honor of the Indian tribes whose members Nichols had helped attack.</p> <p>As with the&nbsp;Trumbo&nbsp;fountain, the dorm&#39;s name was&nbsp;changed in order to send subtle messages &mdash; messages about what is valued, what is good, and what is bad.&nbsp;</p> <p>There&#39;s nothing inherently wrong with this, of course. The problem only arises when we&nbsp;begin&nbsp;to use taxpayer funded facilities and institutions to carry out these attempts at education.&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>Thus, in a sense, when approaching the problem of government monuments and memorials, we &nbsp;encounter the same problem we have with public schools. Whose values are going to be pushed, preserved, and exalted? And, who&#39;s going to be forced to pay for it?&nbsp;</strong></em></p> <h4><u>Ideology Changes Over Time&nbsp;</u></h4> <p><strong>This problem is further complicated by the fact that these views change over time.</strong></p> <p>Over time, the &quot;good guys&quot;&nbsp;can change&nbsp;as majority views&nbsp;shift, as new groups take over the machinery of government institutions, and as ideologies change.&nbsp;</p> <p>In 1961, when&nbsp;Nichols Hall was named, few people apparently cared much about the Sand Creek Massacre. 25 years later, however, views had changed considerably among both students and administrators.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>For a very&nbsp;obvious illustration of how these changes takes place, we need look no further than the schools.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>In the early days of public schooling &mdash; an institution&nbsp;founded by Christian&nbsp;nationalists to push their message &mdash;&nbsp;students were forced to read the King James Bible.&nbsp;Catholics were forced to pay taxes so schools could instruct students on how awful and dangerous Catholicism was. Immigrant families from Southern and Eastern Europe&nbsp;were forced to pay for schools that instructed their children on the inferiority of their non-Anglo ethnic groups.</p> <p>A century later, things have changed considerably.&nbsp;Today, Anglo-Saxons are taught to hate themselves, and while Catholics are still despised (but for different reasons), they now are joined in their pariah status&nbsp;by most&nbsp;other Christian groups as well. Italians and Eastern Europeans who were once treated in public schools as subhuman&nbsp;are <a href="">now reviled as members of the white oppressor class</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>Similar changes have taken place in art and in public monuments and memorials.&nbsp;</p> <h4><u>Public Memorials Serve the Same Function as Public Schools&nbsp;</u></h4> <p><strong>But the principle remains the same, whether we&#39;re talking about public schools or public&nbsp;monuments: we&#39;re using&nbsp;public funds&nbsp;and facilities to &quot;educate&quot; the public about what&#39;s good and what&#39;s not.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>This has long been known by both the people who first erected today&#39;s aging monuments, and by the people who now want to tear them down.&nbsp;The leftist who support scrapping certain monuments&nbsp;actively seek to change public monuments and memorials to back up their own worldview because they recognize that it can make a difference in the public imagination. They&#39;re fine with forcing the taxpayers to support their own worldview, of course, and actively seek to use public lands, public spaces, public roads, and public buildings to subsidize their efforts. They already succeeded in doing this with public schools decades ago.&nbsp;</p> <h4><u>The Answer:&nbsp;Privatize the Monuments</u></h4> <p>In a way, the combined effect of public memorials, monuments, streets, and buildings function to turn public spaces into a type of large open-air social studies class, reinforcing some views, while ignoring others.&nbsp;</p> <p>Libertarians have long noted the problem of public education: <strong><em>it&#39;s impossible to teach history in a value-neutral way, and thus public schools are likely to teach values that support the state and its agendas. Even some conservatives have finally caught on.&nbsp;</em></strong></p> <p>To combat this problem, those who object to these elements within public schooling support homeschooling, private schooling, and private-sector alternatives that diminish the role of public institutions.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Governmental public spaces offer the same problem&nbsp;as public schools.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><em><strong>In both cases the answer is the same:&nbsp;minimize the role of government institutions in shaping public ideology, public attitudes, and the public&#39;s view of history.&nbsp;</strong></em></p> <p>Rather than using publicly funded thoroughfares, parks, and buildings as a means of reinforcing public &quot;education&quot; and &quot;shared history&quot; as we do now, these government facilities should be stripped down to their most basic functions. Providing office space for administrative offices, providing streets for transport, and providing parks for recreation. (The last thing we need is a history lesson from the semi-illiterates on a typical&nbsp;city council.)</p> <p>Some might argue that all these properties and facilities should be privatized themselves. That&#39;s fair enough, but as long as we&#39;re forced to live with these facilities, we need not also use them to &quot;honor&quot; politicians or whatever persons the current ruling class happens to find worthy of praise.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The nostalgia lobby&nbsp;will react with horror to this proposition. &quot;Why, you can&#39;t do that!&quot; they&#39;ll complain. &quot;We&#39;ll be robbed of our heritage and history.&quot; Even&nbsp;assuming&nbsp;these people could precisely define exactly who &quot;we&quot; is they still need to explain why public property is necessary to preserve this alleged heritage.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>After all, by this way of thinking, the preservation of one&#39;s culture and heritage relies on a subsidy from the taxpayers, and a nod of assent from&nbsp;government agencies.&nbsp;</p> <h4><u>Preserving and Promoting Culture Through Private Action&nbsp;</u></h4> <p><strong>Once upon a time, however, people who actually valued their heritage did not sit around begging the government to protect it for them. Many were willing to actually take action and spend their own money on preserving the heritage that many&nbsp;now rather unconvincingly&nbsp;claim is so important to them.</strong></p> <p>A good example of the key role of private property in cases such as this can be seen in the work of the Catholic&nbsp;Church&nbsp;in the US &mdash; which has never enjoyed majority support from the population or from government institutions. If Catholics were to get their symbols and memorials in front of the public, they were going to have to build them on private property, and that&#39;s exactly what they did.</p> <p>In Denver, for example, the Catholics of the early&nbsp;20th&nbsp;century knew (correctly) that no public park or government building was going to erect any Catholic-themed art or&nbsp;memorials&nbsp;on their property. So, the Catholics proceeded to erect an enormous cathedral on a hilltop one block from the state capitol. The new cathedral was highly visible and&nbsp;provided easy access to religious ceremonies for the few Catholic politicians and officials who worked at the capitol. It provided meeting space. It contained <a href="" target="_blank">stained-glass art created by German masters</a>. Moreover, the new building served as a huge symbolic&nbsp;middle finger to the anti-Catholic Ku Klux Klan which was growing in importance in Denver at the time.</p> <p>So, did Church officials sit around whining about how there was no crucifix on the front lawn of the State Capitol? Did they demand that the taxpayers pay to maintain a central town plaza featuring a statue of Saint Peter?&nbsp;<em>Some&nbsp;</em>probably did. Those who made a difference, though, took action&nbsp;and acquired real estate in prominent places&nbsp;throughout&nbsp;the city. They put universities on that land, and&nbsp;cemeteries, and convents, and friaries, and&nbsp;schools, and even some memorials and statues. Today, next to the cathedral, on a busy&nbsp;street corner, is a large statue of a Catholic pope: John Paul II. It&#39;s on private property. It&#39;s seen by thousands every day.&nbsp;</p> <div class="ds-1col file file-image file-image-jpeg view-mode-wide_player clearfix"> <div class="img img-responsive"><img alt="5755374557_271075ae66_z.jpg" height="640" src="" width="408" /></div> </div> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em>Source.&nbsp;</em></a></p> <p><strong>And why should the self-appointed protectors of American&nbsp;&quot;traditional&quot; values think they deserve anything different?</strong> Indeed, we&#39;d all have been saved a lot of trouble if the organizations that demanded statues of Confederate generals everywhere had put them on private land instead of in public parks. We&#39;d all be better off if the private owners of the Stone Mountain monument hadn&#39;t sold it to the State of Georgia because they were too cheap to maintain it themselves.&nbsp;</p> <p>In the past, had the purveyors of publicly-funded culture instead taken a principled and successful stand against using public lands and funds&nbsp;to push a certain view of history,&nbsp;no one would have to now waste his time sitting through city&nbsp;council&nbsp;meetings where politicians decide who&nbsp;deserves a statue, and who is&nbsp;to be thrown in the dustbin of history. Were we&nbsp;to quit using public parks as showcases for public&nbsp;indoctrination,&nbsp;we wouldn&#39;t have to worry about the Church of Satan erecting a monument in the &quot;free speech area&quot; of a public park &mdash;&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">as they recently did</a>&nbsp;near Minneapolis.&nbsp;</p> <p><u><em><strong>The next time someone wants a statue of some politician, artist, or intellectual &mdash; whether they be <a href="" target="_blank">communists</a>, Confederates, or satanists &mdash;&nbsp;they ought to be told to buy a&nbsp;nice little plot of land somewhere &mdash; perhaps along a busy street or next to an important street corner in town &mdash; and put their statue there.&nbsp;</strong></em></u></p> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="236" height="129" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Anti-Catholicism Catholic Church Church of Satan Cultural studies Eastern Europe Eastern Europe Ku Klux Klan Mises Institute Mises Institute Persecution of Catholics Private school Real estate Religion Religion Southern Europe State school Structure University of Colorado Fri, 18 Aug 2017 03:05:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 601881 at "It Is A Battle Between Data And Theory" - Fed PhDs Second-Guess Inflation Model After 5 Years Of Failure <p>Federal Reserve officials are finally waking up to the fact that there&rsquo;s something wrong with their inflation models. <strong>It only took them five years.</strong></p> <p>As <a href="">Bloomberg</a> points out, the minutes from the Fed&rsquo;s July policy meeting, released yesterday, included a debate about whether the models that help the central bank set its inflation target are no longer functioning properly.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;Federal Reserve officials are looking under the hood of their most basic inflation models and starting to ask if something is wrong.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Minutes from the July 25-26 Federal Open Market Committee meeting <strong>showed a revealing debate over why the economy isn&rsquo;t producing more inflation in a time of easy financial conditions, tight labor markets and solid economic growth.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The central bank has missed its 2 percent price goal for most of the past five years.</strong> Still, a majority of FOMC participants favor further rate increases. The July minutes showed an intensifying debate over whether that is the right policy response.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p><iframe allowscriptaccess="always" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>Some economists worry that if the Fed begins to publicly question their methods, <strong>it could ruin what little credibility the central bank has left.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;These minutes to me were troubling,&rdquo;</strong> said Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies LLC in New York. <strong>&ldquo;They don&rsquo;t have their confidence in their policy decisions; and they don&rsquo;t have confidence that they can provide the right kind of guidance.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Of course, Fed officials did everything in their power to communicate that these questions were being raised by a small minority on the FOMC, and didn&rsquo;t represent anything resembling an official opinion.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;In several passages, the minutes asserted that &ldquo;most&rdquo; officials were sticking with a forecast that higher inflation would eventually show up. <strong>However, the debate over resource slack models and whether standard data sources were telling them the whole story also showed convictions about their forecast are fraying.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>As <a href="">Bloomberg </a>explains, prices have been resistant to any upward movement even as the US unemployment rate has fell to a 16-year low of 4.3 percent in July. The U.S. consumer price index rose 1.7 percent for the 12 months ending July, while the PCE price index, the Fed&rsquo;s preferred measure, which is tied to consumption, rose 1.4 percent in June. <strong>Another gauge calculated by the Dallas Fed, which trims index outliers to highlight the underlying price trend, rose 1.7 percent for the 12 months ending June. That was the same as May, which was down from 1.74 percent in April.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><strong><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 282px;" /></strong></a></p> <p>A few officials pointed out what many investors have believed for years: <strong>That the Fed&#39;s inflation forecasting model is totally useless. </strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;The minutes said &ldquo;a few&rdquo; officials described resource slack models as &ldquo;not particularly useful&rdquo; while &ldquo;most&rdquo; thought the framework was valid.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Members also questioned whether there&rsquo;s another theory that might better explain the inertia in prices.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The committee also pondered a number of theories as to why inflation wasn&rsquo;t responding to tightening labor resources, <strong>such as &ldquo;the possibility that slack may be better measured by labor market indicators other than unemployment.&rdquo; </strong></p> </blockquote> <p>One notable economist described it as &ldquo;a battle between data and theory.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;It is a battle between data and theory,&rdquo; said Ethan Harris, head of global economic research at Bank of America Corp. in New York.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>But it almost doesn&rsquo;t matter that the Fed&rsquo;s vaunted inflation models no longer make any sense, because, the Fed is going to keep hiking no matter what now that the risks have struck the &ldquo;appropriate balance&rdquo; &ndash; at least that&rsquo;s what one member of the leadership (probably Chairwoman Yellen) believes.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;The minutes also included an unusual signal that someone - <strong>possibly a member of the committee&rsquo;s leadership</strong> - saw additional rate increases as striking the &ldquo;appropriate balance&rdquo; on policy goals, dedicating two sentences to the views of &ldquo;one participant.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;That seems like an awful lot of air time as well as a very definitive answer coming from a mere &lsquo;one participant&rsquo; - unless that single person happened to be someone really important - <strong>like, I don&rsquo;t know, maybe the Chair?,&rdquo; Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities in New York, wrote in a note to clients, referring to Janet Yellen.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Maybe in whatever model they concoct to replace this one, the Fed should include a metric probably more relevant today than economists realize: <a href="">The amount of time</a> Americans&rsquo; spend on Instagram per day.<br />&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1078" height="608" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bank of America Bank of America Business Dallas Fed Dallas Fed Economics Economy Ethan Harris Federal Open Market Committee Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System Fellows of the Econometric Society Inflation Inflation targeting Janet Yellen Janet Yellen Macroeconomics Monetary policy Open Market Committee Unemployment Unemployment Unemployment in the United States US Federal Reserve Fri, 18 Aug 2017 02:40:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 601840 at "Let's Blow Up Mount Rushmore" Says Vice <p>We may have hit peak media crazy here. A prominent online news publication says, &ldquo;Let&#39;s blow up Mt. Rushmore.&rdquo;&nbsp;No, this is not al-Qaeda&#39;s &quot;Inspire&quot; magazine or the Islamic State&#39;s &quot;Dabiq&quot; propaganda publication - it&#39;s Brooklyn based Vice News.</p> <p>On the same day a <a href="" target="_blank">barbaric terror attack</a> takes place in Barcelona, resulting in 13 deaths and 100 people injured, the popular liberal news org known for its edgy investigative approach and stylistic &quot;cooler than thou&quot; appeal to millennials tweeted out an article which <strong>advocates for blowing up Mount Rushmore.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Vice initially titled the article, authored by Vice Senior Editor Wilbert L. Cooper, as follows:</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 460px;" /></a></p> <p>After fierce online push back on a day there was a literal terror attack unfolding across the Atlantic, Vice hastily deleted the tweet and changed the article title to the toned down, <a href="" target="_blank">Let&#39;s Get Rid of Mt. Rushmore</a> - this time with an editor&#39;s note at the bottom of the page attempting to explain the change:&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>Editor&#39;s note: The headline and URL of this story have been updated. We do not condone violence in any shape or form, and the use of &quot;blow up&quot; in the original headline as a rhetorical device was misguided and insensitive. We apologize for the error.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Rhetorical device? The content of the article still supports destroying America&#39;s most celebrated and iconic historic monument dedicated to American presidents. The author literally states he is &quot;onboard&quot; should there ever be &quot;a serious push to blow up Rushmore&quot;:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>With the president of the United States basically justifying neo-Nazism, it seems unthinkable that we will ever see a day <strong>when there is a serious push to blow up Rushmore and other monuments like it</strong>. But if that moment ever arrives, I suspect I&#39;d be onboard.</p> </blockquote> <p>Cooper further (not so) eloquently calls for leveling the whole place, and presumably all monuments devoted to past US &quot;cults of personality&quot; (as he calls them):</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Demystifying the historical figures of the past, pulling them off the great mountain top back down to Earth where they shat, farted, spit, pissed, fucked, raped, murdered, died, and rotted seems like important business for this country. As long as we allow those men to be cults of personality who exist beyond reproach, we&#39;re never going to be able to see them for all of their good and all of their evil.&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p>Disturbingly, the call for leveling such monuments is contained in the conclusion of an article with <strong>repeat references equating President Trump with neo-Nazis</strong>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Trump and his white supremacist cohorts believe the reverence some Americans have for these statues is simply respect for history, and that tearing them down is tantamount to ripping pages out of a textbook.</p> </blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Timestamps. I should probably just take the rest of the day off. <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) <a href="">August 17, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Ironically, the article does acknowledge the truthfulness of Trump&#39;s recent words that we are headed towards a dangerously iconoclastic slippery slope set to end in the demolishing of American history. But the Vice article at the outset essentially says... yes! Let&#39;s do just that:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Donald Trump says removing confederate statues is a slippery slope that could get out of control. Maybe he&#39;s right&mdash;would that be such a bad thing?</p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 457px;" /></a></p> <p>And if a private citizen said &quot;let&#39;s blow up Mount Rushmore&quot; and published an article which seriously explored destroying the site - an article which was clearly &quot;pro&quot; dynamiting the monument? It doesn&#39;t take much imagination to know who would come knocking if this were anything but a <a href="" target="_blank">$5.7 billion news organization</a>.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1013" height="728" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> al-Qaeda Black Hills Donald Trump Donald Trump Films Great Sioux War Rushmore South Dakota Twitter Twitter United States Fri, 18 Aug 2017 02:23:45 +0000 Tyler Durden 601888 at Krieger Warns "Nazi Fears & 'Hate Speech' Hysteria Are Being Amplified To Attack Civil Liberties" <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,</em></a></p> <p><strong>It doesn&rsquo;t take courage to denounce Nazism. Moreover, it appears many of the people incessantly proclaiming how anti-Nazi they are, happen to be the same folks who have the most to answer for when it comes to all sorts of transgressions against the world over the past couple of decades</strong>.</p> <p>That said, I&rsquo;ll give my my quick two cents on the Nazi, white supremacist hysteria currently being amplified by the corporate media.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 579px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>The general proclivity to obsess about how one&rsquo;s group, whether it be a nation, political tribe, or race/religion is superior to all others represents such a immature and unconscious way of seeing the world, it&rsquo;s really is hard for me to believe so many people still see reality through such a lens. </strong>This type of thinking tends to attract very insecure people. People who cannot look at themselves individually and be proud of the person they see. As such, they scurry around looking for a group with an established superiority myth which they can then latch themselves onto in order to feel better about themselves.</p> <p>The good news when it comes to Nazism/white supremacy, at least here in the U.S., is that most people appear to be at least conscious enough not to fall for the most basic and primal type of tribalism &mdash; i.e., finding a race-based superiority cult attractive. In contrast, the more nuanced superiority cults, such as those based on mindless nationalism or political identity, are far more entrenched here at home, and present a much greater danger to our future.</p> <p>Before some of you lose it, I wrote &ldquo;mindless&rdquo; nationalism for a reason. <strong>I think it&rsquo;s completely normal and healthy for everyone to love and appreciate their own national/regional culture, this is not what I&rsquo;m referring to. I&rsquo;m talking about the hordes of mindless automatons who simply fly the American flag and constantly profess their super-sized patriotism, while being completely unaware of the multitude of evil and anti-American actions being done both at home and abroad in their names. </strong>It doesn&rsquo;t seem to matter to these type that their government is acting in total opposition to the Constitution they ostensibly claim to uphold. These people might be less shallow than an self-professed Nazi, but they are far more dangerous to decent, ethical Americans at home, and billions of innocent people abroad. Political party tribalists represent a similar threat, as I&rsquo;ve discussed on many occasions.</p> <p><strong>To summarize, Nazism has become almost as discredited as slavery within the minds of most humans. Meaning, it&rsquo;s such a patently grotesque, childish and unconscious ideology, it can and will only attract very small pockets of people.</strong> In fact, given the rampant corruption, wealth inequality and societal decay we&rsquo;re experiencing in these United States, I&rsquo;m somewhat encouraged that the movement is as small and insignificant as it is. Of course, I could be wrong about all of this (we&rsquo;ll have to see how things unfold if the empire collapses chaotically), but that&rsquo;s how I see it at the moment. Should that ever change, of course I will fight Nazism, or anything similar with all my energy. In contrast, I think other forms of mindless tribalism, political and nationalistic, are far more likely to cause major disasters in the years ahead.</p> <p>If I&rsquo;m right about what I wrote above, <strong><em>why is the corporate media acting so hysterically in response to this small collection of hateful misfits?</em></strong> Let me share a few tweets I wrote yesterday to start the conversations.</p> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone wp-image-46863" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 329px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Two things corporate media consistently does.<br />1) Scare people<br />2) Convince them to give up liberties to fight the enemy du jour.</p> <p>&mdash; Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) <a href="">August 16, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p><strong>You can probably tell where I&rsquo;m going with this. Namely, a&nbsp;lot of really terrible people are trying to reinvent themselves by hyping up the Nazi threat.</strong> I&rsquo;ve discussed this dangerous phenomenon in recent posts, but it&rsquo;s important enough to keep hammering home. The examples are pretty much everywhere you look. Here&rsquo;s a particularly shameless example I came across earlier today:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-46886" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 188px;" /></a></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 1rem;">Sarah&rsquo;s not exaggerating. Here&rsquo;s the </span><a href="" rel="noopener" style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 1rem; background-color: #ffffff;" target="_blank">exact quote</a><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 1rem;"> Madeline Albright made on 60 Minutes:</span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq:</strong> We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that&rsquo;s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>Secretary of State Madeleine Albright:</strong> I think this is a very hard choice, but the price&mdash;we think the price is worth it.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&mdash;<span class="media_outlet">60 Minutes</span> (5/12/96)</em></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Lesson number one. Don&rsquo;t let terrible people get away with moral preening about some relatively insignificant Nazi threat when these are the very same people who have run this country and much of the world into the toilet bowl. </strong></p> <p><strong>Lesson number two. Don&rsquo;t allow authoritarians to manipulate your emotions about white supremacy (or any other threat for that matter) as an excuse to take away cherished civil liberties</strong>. These types have been selling us on giving away our rights since 9/11, and they continue to use any threat they can to take away those that remain. Free speech is the holy grail for tyrants, and anyone who suggests we give up speech to protect ourselves presents a threat to us all. I came across two examples of this today in the normal course of my reading.</p> <p>First, an attorney who works for UCLA named&nbsp;K-Sue Park, wrote an op-ed published in <em>The New York Times</em> titled,&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">The A.C.L.U. Needs to Rethink Free Speech</a>. It&rsquo;s one of the most incoherent, authoritarian pieces I&rsquo;ve read in a while and, although a painful read, you should definitely check it out. It doesn&rsquo;t take much logic to recognize that her call for the government to decide which speech is acceptable and which is not, is actually far more dangerous to society than a few hundred Nazis getting together in Virginia, irrespective of the terrible loss of life.</p> <p>Another example of this authoritarian impulse was penned by&nbsp;Leonid Bershidsky in his <em>Bloomberg</em> article,&nbsp;<span class="lede-text-only__highlight"><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Facebook and Twitter Are Too Big to Allow Fake Users</a>. To be fair, this article was written before the Charlottesville attack, so I would not characterize him as using the attack to push this narrative, but it&rsquo;s a wildly dangerous view nonetheless. He writes:</span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>Social networks should be obliged&nbsp;to&nbsp;ban anonymous accounts. If they refuse to do so voluntarily, government regulators should&nbsp;force the issue.</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>This is a completely unhinged response to the problems of &ldquo;trolling, fake news and cyberbullying,&rdquo; which he identifies. It&rsquo;s the equivalent of taking a nuclear bomb to a knife fight. As someone who spends a great deal of time on Twitter, I can tell you that some of the most insightful and humorous accounts I follow are anonymous. This makes total sense because most people have jobs, and people with jobs can be easily fired or ostracized. Not because they&rsquo;re writing pro-Nazi tweets, but because everything is essentially political these days, and if your boss happens to be a member of a different political tribe, it could affect your career. Did we already forget what happened to James Damore?</p> <p><strong>If social media companies suddenly banned anonymous accounts, the entire internet and discourse on it would instantly become 90% less interesting, creative and dynamic.</strong> Much of the promise of the web would be crippled by such a policy, and humanity would be far worse off for it.</p> <p><strong>Such a policy would crush political speech online, and limit it largely to those who create political content professionally. </strong>I could see why people in power would want to do this, but I can&rsquo;t grasp how anyone else could be so naive to support such a agenda.</p> <p>As<strong>&nbsp;</strong><span class="FullNameGroup">Patrick Chovanec (who lived and worked in China), so insightfully tweeted:</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">I think internet anonymity has big downsides. But forcing &quot;real name registration&quot; is something China&#39;s government does to suppress dissent. <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; Patrick Chovanec (@prchovanec) <a href="">August 17, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Ultimately, <strong>we need to recognize that fear is our biggest enemy. The corporate media tries to keep us in a constant state of fear, because it&rsquo;s in a state of fear where we are most vulnerable and hence easily manipulated. Don&rsquo;t succumb to fear. </strong>Stand strong, be courageous and don&rsquo;t every give up liberties because some pundit tells you it&rsquo;s what you need to do to fight whatever enemy they happen to be hyping at the moment.</p> <p>Finally, let&rsquo;s finish with a classic clip from the late Bill Hicks, who I consider to be an American prophet. He said it much better than I ever could.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="291" height="146" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> China's government Corruption Economics Economy Nationalism Oral literature Over Patrick Chovanec Reality Television in China Today UCLA Fri, 18 Aug 2017 02:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 601885 at Millennials Are Using Financing To Pay For $450 Blenders <p>Low wages, mounting student debt and rising rents in the trendy urban centers where millennials prefer to live leave young people with little to spend on luxuries like an iPhone, or tickets to Fyre Festival pt. II. So, since millennials can&rsquo;t seem to buy anything outright, payment companies are partnering with businesses to offer financing options for goods that, in the past, would&rsquo;ve gone straight on the credit card, according to <a href="">MarketWatch</a>.</p> <p><strong>With interest rates ranging from 0% to 30%, compared with the average rate of 17% on credit cards, millennials are increasingly financing purchases from airplane tickets to luxury bedsheets with loans from payment companies like PayPal and Affirm. Indeed, millennials&#39; seeming inability to pay for anything outright has caused revolving debt in the US to balloon past $1 trillion. </strong></p> <p><a href=""><strong><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 298px;" /></strong></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;<strong>Millennials want luxury sheets, Peloton exercise bikes and music festival tickets, but they don&rsquo;t always have enough cash or a desire to put them on a credit card. </strong>So they are turning to an even more expensive method of payment: financing. In recent years, payment companies including PayPal, Affirm and Bread have created installment plans for retailers that give consumers the option to finance the weirdest purchases over time.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>PayPal works with retailers to offer financing to consumers, who typically use it to pay for a range of goods, from guitars to luxury handbags. <strong>If borrowers don&rsquo;t pay down their balance within an agreed-upon timeframe, they could see interest rates on the purchase rise as high as 20% APR. </strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;PayPal offers two types of credit, both as part of a program called PayPal Credit. One option is to wait six months without paying anything, and no interest on purchases over $99 from select retailers. <strong>The other option is an installment payment plan called Easy Payments: Consumers pay interest at an APR of 19.99% if they don&rsquo;t first pay off their balance within the term they select.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Before shoppers are approved for either product, PayPal does a hard credit inquiry, which can result in a few points docked from consumers&rsquo; scores, temporarily. <strong>But once approved, PayPal doesn&rsquo;t need to do a second one for future products. Consumers finance luxury handbags, guitars from Dave&rsquo;s Guitars, pots and pans from Sur La Table and blenders from Vitamix, said Dana Warren, PayPal&rsquo;s senior director of merchant distribution for PayPal Credit.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Holly Hacker, Vitamix&rsquo;s director of direct sales and customer experience, told <a href="">MarketWatch</a> that <strong>if you can&rsquo;t afford one of their blenders, don&rsquo;t buy one. But would young single people buy a nearly $500 blender if they couldn&#39;t finance it? </strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;Vitamix blenders start at $450, an easier purchase for higher-income households, but &ldquo;out of range&rdquo; for some who are younger, said Holly Hacker, <strong>Vitamix&rsquo;s director of direct sales and customer experience.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Shoppers have also financed items including Cartier bracelets, worth $5,000 to $6,000 and Chanel wallets, worth about $1,700 to $1,900 from Linda&rsquo;s Stuff, a luxury consignment website run by Linda Lightman, the company&rsquo;s founder and CEO.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Of course, personal-finance experts say consumers <strong>should avoid financing &ldquo;discretionary&rdquo; purchases</strong> like the examples mentioned above.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;However, personal-finance experts typically warn against making purchases, even on a financing plan, that consumers can&rsquo;t afford. &ldquo;You want to avoid financing these types of discretionary purchases,&rdquo; said Nick Clements, the co-founder of personal-finance company MagnifyMoney, who previously worked in the credit-card industry. <strong>&ldquo;If you&rsquo;re looking for a way to finance discretionary purchases, look at your budget and ask yourself the hard question: Why.&rsquo;&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Affirm, another financing company, says the most common type of purchase they help finance is travel, followed by home wares and apparel. That fits with millennials&#39; penchant for valuing experiences like travel over physical goods. <strong>And what happens when a consumer doesn&rsquo;t pay? Affirm takes a writeoff and sells the debt to a collections agency, then disqualifies the borrower from their service. With millennials showing.</strong></p> <p>Most millennials came of age during a period when interest rates were at rock bottom. But now that interest rates are slowly moving higher, will young people stop relying on debt to fund everyday purchases? <strong>Or will they slowly see their balances creep higher as they find it increasingly difficult to pay down what they owe, causing aggregate debt levels to soar? </strong><br />&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="729" height="434" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Business Credit Credit card Debt E-commerce EBay Economy Electronic funds transfer Finance Hire purchase Money Online shopping Payment systems PayPal Fri, 18 Aug 2017 01:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 601871 at Caught On Tape: Spanish Police Kill Four Suicide Bombers In Separate Terrorist Plot <p>Spanish police have shot and killed four people while carrying out an operation in response to what was reportedly another terrorist attack in a town south of Barcelon . </p> <script src="//"></script><p>The regional police for the Catalonia region said on Twitter early on Friday that officers are in Cambrils, a seaside resort town about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Barcelona, where they are dealing with a "possible terror attack." </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="und">L'operatiu policial a <a href="">#Cambrils</a> provoca retencions a vies properes a a <a href="">#Tarragona</a> <a href="">#AP7</a> <br />DEMANEM PACIÈNCIA DAVANT SITUACIÓ EXCEPCIONAL</p> <p>— EmergènciesCatalunya (@emergenciescat) <a href="">August 18, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>Videos capturing the shooting and the immediate aftermath were distributed on twitter:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="es"><a href="">#Cambrils</a> terroristas abatidos. <a href=""></a></p> <p>— alejandro ruiz (@alexruiz300) <a href="">August 18, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="es"><a href="">#Cambrils</a> ni tranquilo puedes estar.. <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Nick LG (@NickLG13) <a href="">August 18, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>The military operation was announced around midnight local time, when the Catalonia emergency service tweeted: "IF YOU'RE NOW IN £Cambrils avoid going out. Stay home, stay safe. Police operation ongoing." </p> <p>The service urged people in the town not to go out on the streets.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">IF YOU'RE NOW IN <a href="">#Cambrils</a> avoid going out. Stay home, stay safe. Police operation ongoing</p> <p>— EmergènciesCatalunya (@emergenciescat) <a href="">August 17, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>As <a href=";utm_source=Twitter&amp;utm_medium=AP">AP reports </a>citing Spain's <a href="">RTVE</a>, regional police troopers killed four people and injured another seven. The broadcaster added that the police suspected they were planning an attack in Cambrils just hours after a van swerved onto a pedestrian promenade in Barcelona, killing 13.</p> <p>It also adds that <a href="">according to police sources</a>, <strong>"the terrorists carried explosives attached to the body</strong>." The broadcaster said the suspects tried to carry out a similar attack to the one in Barcelona.</p> <p>Which begs the question: has Spain become the focal point of another suicide bombing terrorist cell?</p> <p><em>Developing.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="450" height="271" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Cambrils LG Province of Tarragona regional police Spanish police Twitter Twitter Twitter War Fri, 18 Aug 2017 01:40:31 +0000 Tyler Durden 601889 at Democratic Missouri Senator: "I Hope Trump Is Assassinated!" <p>A Missouri state senator, Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D-University City), has landed herself in a bit of hot water with with the U.S. Secret Service today after <strong>posting, then deleting, a comment on Facebook which read, "I hope Trump is assassinated!"</strong>&nbsp; </p> <p>Unfortunately, as Chappelle-Nadal should have learned at this point in her life, the internet never forgets and the <a href="">St. Louis Post-Dispatch</a> managed to get their hands on the post:</p> <p><a href=" - Maria 1.JPG"><img src="" style="width: 450px; height: 625px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Asked about the comment, Chappelle-Nadal later told the Post-Dispatch that she was just "frustrated" and didn't really mean it. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"I didn't mean what I put up. Absolutely not.<strong> I was very frustrated.&nbsp; Things have got to change."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>That said, and again a lesson Chappelle-Nadal probably should have learned at this point in her life, the Secret Service tends to take threats on the life of the President seriously and has already confirmed they're investigating the situation.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The U.S. Secret Service is investigating a Facebook post from Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, in which she stated: "I hope Trump is assassinated!"</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The U.S. Secret Service's St. Louis field office "is looking into this," the office confirmed.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Kristina Schmidt, special agent in charge, told the Post-Dispatch that "hypothetically" in such investigations, agents try to "determine intent, to determine if there was a violation of federal law. If there is, then we refer it to the U.S. Attorney."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"Our primary goal is to determine if there is intent and meaning behind it,"</strong> Schmidt said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Meanwhile, Chappelle-Nadal told the Post-Dispatch that her comment was posted in response to "concerns that I am hearing from residents of St. Louis."</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>In an interview, Chappelle-Nadal said her comment stemmed from frustration over the events in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend, in which a white supremacist protester allegedly rammed his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"I put that up on my personal Facebook and I should not have," Chappelle-Nadal said. <strong>"It was in response to the concerns that I am hearing from residents of St. Louis.</strong> I have deleted it, and it should have been deleted, but there is something way more important that we should be talking about."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Chappelle-Nadal said that in the wake of Charlottesville, <strong>"there are people who are afraid of white supremacists, there are people who are having nightmares. there are people who are afraid of going out in the streets. It's worse than even Ferguson."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>So, if we understand the logic flow correctly, Chappelle-Nadal apparently figured that killing President Trump would rid the world of hate groups and simultaneously address all of the concerns of her constituents in St. Louis?</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="757" height="498" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Donald Trump Maria Chappelle-Nadal Nadal Politics of the United States Rafael Nadal Shooting of Michael Brown St. Louis Post-Dispatch Summer Olympic Games Tennis U.S. Secret Service Fri, 18 Aug 2017 01:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 601872 at Rickards Exposes The Elite's Plan To Freeze The Financial System <p><a href=""><em>Authored by James Rickards via The Daily Reckoning,</em></a></p> <p><strong>Today&rsquo;s complacent markets are faced with a number of potentially destabilizing shocks.</strong></p> <p>Any one of them could potentially lead to another financial crisis. And the next crisis <strong>could see draconian measures by governments that most people are not prepared for today.</strong></p> <p>You&rsquo;ll see what I mean in a moment.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 291px;" /></a></p> <p><u><strong>But first, what are the catalysts that possibly trigger the next financial crisis?</strong></u></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>First off, a debt ceiling crisis is just over a month away.</strong> If the ceiling isn&rsquo;t raised by Sept. 29, the federal government is likely to default on at least some of its bills.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If a deal isn&rsquo;t reached, it could rock markets and possibly trigger a major recession.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Given Washington&rsquo;s current political paralysis and intense partisan infighting surrounding President Trump, it&rsquo;s far from certain that a deal will be reached.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Second, despite some official comments over the weekend downplaying the odds of a war with North Korea, a shooting war remains a very real possibility.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>North Korea&rsquo;s Kim is determined to acquire nuclear weapons that can threaten the lower 48 U.S. states, and Trump is equally determined to prevent that from happening.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Third, a trade war between the U.S. and China seems imminent.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Trump has backed off his campaign pledges to label China a currency manipulator and an unequal trading partner.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But Trump (and Bannon most recently) have made it clear that they are in an &quot;economic war&quot; against China for who will be hegemon 25 years from now.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>China would likely retaliate, and that could ultimately result in a 10&ndash;20% &ldquo;maxi-devaluation&rdquo; of the yuan, perhaps by early next year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>That would likely cause a stock market rout. Since China devalued in August 2015, markets fell hundreds of points in single sessions. And that was a much smaller devaluation, less than 2%.</p> </blockquote> <p><u><strong>And if markets collapse from either of these scenarios &mdash; which is entirely possible &mdash; governments will move dramatically to contain the damage.</strong></u></p> <p>In my book <em>The Road to Ruin</em>, I discuss a phenomenon called &ldquo;ice-nine.&rdquo; The name is taken from a novel, <em>Cat&rsquo;s Cradle</em>, by Kurt Vonnegut.</p> <p>In the novel, a scientist invents a molecule he calls ice-nine, which is like water but with two differences. The melting temperature is 114.4 degrees Fahrenheit (meaning it&rsquo;s frozen at room temperature), and whenever ice-nine comes in contact with water, the water turns to ice-nine and freezes.</p> <p>The ice-nine is kept in three vials. The plot revolves around the potential release of ice-nine into water, which would eventually freeze the rivers and oceans and end all life on Earth. <em>Cat&rsquo;s Cradle </em>is darkly comedic, and I highly recommend it.</p> <p><strong>I used ice-nine in my book as a metaphor for financial contagion.</strong></p> <p>If regulators freeze money market funds in a crisis, depositors will take money from banks. The regulators will then close the banks, but investors will sell stocks and force the exchanges to close and so on.</p> <p><strong>Eventually, the entire financial system will be frozen solid and investors will have no access to their money.</strong></p> <p>Some of my readers were skeptical of this scenario. But I researched it carefully and provided solid evidence that this plan is already in place &mdash; it&rsquo;s just not well understood. But the ice-nine plan is now being put into practice.</p> <p>Consider a recent Reuters article that admitted elites would likely shut down the entire system when the next financial crisis strikes.</p> <p>The article claimed that the EU is considering actions that would temporarily prevent people from withdrawing money from banks to prevent bank runs.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>&ldquo;The desire is to prevent a bank run, so that when a bank is in a critical situation it is not pushed over the edge,&rdquo; said one source.</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>Very few people are aware of these developments. They get a brief mention in the media, if they get mentioned at all. But people could be in for a shock when they try to get their money out of the bank during the next financial crisis.</p> <p><strong>Think of it as a war on currency or a war on money. </strong>Even the skeptics can see how the entire financial system will be frozen solid in the next crisis.</p> <p><strong><em>The only solution is to have physical gold, silver and bank notes in private storage. The sooner you put your personal ice-nine protection plan in place, the safer you&rsquo;ll be.</em></strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="786" height="381" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bank Run Business China Debt Ceiling default Donald Trump Economic bubbles Economy European Union federal government Financial contagion Financial crises Financial crisis Financial crisis of 2007–2008 First 100 days of Donald Trump's presidency Great Recession KIM Money North Korea Recession Reuters Stock market crashes Systemic risk Trade War Yuan Fri, 18 Aug 2017 00:35:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 601880 at Wasserman Schultz IT Staffer Indicted By Grand Jury On 4 Counts <p>The walls may be closing in on Debbie Wasserman Schultz after her former IT aide, the one who was <a href="">arrested by the FBI at Dulles airport</a> last month while trying to flee the country to Pakistan via Qatar, <strong>has officially been indicted by a grand jury on four counts including bank fraud and making false statements.</strong></p> <p>As <a href="">Fox News</a> points out, the charges include Awan's wife Hina Alvi and are tied to allegations that the pair conspired to make false statements on applications for home equity lines of credit and then sent the proceeds of those loans to individuals in Pakistan.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Imran Awan, a former IT aide for Democratic Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was <strong>indicted Thursday on four counts including bank fraud and making false statements.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The grand jury decision in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia comes roughly a month after Awan was arrested at Dulles airport in Virginia trying to board a plane to Pakistan, where his family is from.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The indictment also includes his wife Hina Alvi.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The indictment itself, which merely represents formal charges and is not a finding of guilt, addresses separate allegations that Awan and his wife engaged in a <strong>conspiracy to obtain home equity lines of credit from the Congressional Federal Credit Union by giving false information about two properties – and then sending the proceeds to individuals in Pakistan.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>So why is the real estate angle important?&nbsp; As<a href=""> we noted previously</a>, <strong>title companies, unlike individuals, can wire large sums of money to international bank accounts without arousing the suspicions of federal investigators. <br /></strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Title companies can wire large sums abroad without attracting the suspicion Imran did at the bank, and with Hina — the nominal sole owner of each of the houses — residing in that country, it would be natural to send the proceeds to her.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In addition to the three houses sold or slated to be sold since June 20, Imran’s lawyer, Chris Gowen, told The New York Times that the $283,000 wire in January was preceded by other similar transfers to Pakistan. “Gowen said the transfer represented the latest payment by his client for a piece of property he was buying in the country,” The Times reported.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Gowen would not tell TheDCNF whether the proceeds of the $360,000 June 20 home sale were wired to Pakistan, nor where the income from the two upcoming sales would go. The office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia declined to comment on whether it would block the disbursements.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The value of the known homes that have been sold since November or are currently being sold is $1.8 million. </strong>There is also the $283,000 January wire transfer from the Congressional bank, in addition to previous wires of unknown amounts that Imran’s lawyer acknowledged.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Since Imran’s lawyer said the January wire of nearly $300,000 was the latest in a series of wires, the transfers may have been about moving money from the $4 million in House payments or other sources.</p> </blockquote> <p><img src="" alt="Debbie" width="600" height="335" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As background, Imran was first employed in 2004 by former Democrat Rep. Robert Wexler (FL) as an “information technology director”, before he began working in Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s office in 2005.</p> <p>The family was paid extremely well, with Imran Awan being paid nearly $2 million working as an IT support staffer for House Democrats since 2004. Abid Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, were each paid more than $1 million working for House Democrats. In total, since 2003, the family has collected nearly $5 million.</p> <p>In total, Imran's firm was employed by 31 Democrats in Congress, some of whom held extremely sensitive positions on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.</p> <p>Meanwhile, as <a href="">we noted before</a>, it is <strong>still unclear whether the bank fraud charges are just a placeholder for other charges that are yet to come.&nbsp; </strong></p> <p>While details are scarce, media reports have alleged that Awan and his brothers potentially ran a procurement scheme in which they bought equipment, then overcharged various House members that employed their IT firm.&nbsp; Meanwhile, <strong>some congressional technology aides have alleged that the Awan’s were blackmailing representatives based on the contents of their emails and files</strong>, due to the fact that these representatives have displayed unwavering and intense loyalty towards the former aides. </p> <p>Of course, one of the most intriguing parts of the Awan narrative has continued to be why former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz decided to keep him on her taxpayer-funded payroll right up until his arrest and whether that decision had anything to do with the whole DNC / Hillary email scandals that erupted last summer.</p> <p><strong>Perhaps we are finally getting closer to an answer...</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="562" height="295" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alavi American people of Pakistani descent Awan Congress Congressional Federal Credit Union credit union Debbie Wasserman Schultz FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Florida Florida Democrats Fox News Home Equity House Committee on Foreign Affairs Imran Awan Indian society Information Technology New York Times Permanent Select Committee Politics Real estate Surname U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia United States House of Representatives Fri, 18 Aug 2017 00:10:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 601883 at Decentralize The Gun Laws <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,</em></a></p> <div class="body-content clearfix"> <p><strong>With a Republican in the White House, the anti-gun-control lobby smells a bit of blood in the water. </strong>Now is the time, they suggest, to pass national gun-licensing reciprocity laws <strong>forcing gun-restrictive states to recognize permits issued by gun-permissive states.</strong></p> <p>Writing in The Hill,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Tim Schmidt sums it up</a>:</p> <div> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div> <p>It is time for there to be national reciprocity for concealed carry permits, instead of the patchwork of laws governing reciprocity that vary by state. Virginia, where the [recent shooting of Congressman Steve Scalise] happened, has reciprocity for some states&rsquo; concealed carry permits, but if members would have brought their guns back and forth from D.C., they would have been breaking the law. It should never be a crime to be responsibly prepared to defend yourself in any possible situation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sen.&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">John Cornyn</a>&nbsp;(R-Texas) and Rep.&nbsp;Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) have introduced the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which would allow legal gun owners and concealed carry permit holders nationwide to responsibly arm themselves no matter where they are.&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>The way this is phrased sounds nice and totally unobjectionable: this bill sounds like it&#39;s just saying people should be left alone.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>The problem, however, is that the drive for mandated reciprocity is<strong> essentially a drive to increase federal involvement and federal control in the realm of gun policy.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Schmidt is right in the sense that, of course it should never be a crime to defend one&#39;s self. The question remains however: should the federal government be the agency that guarantees that right? Should the feds have the power to overturn state and local laws that limit gun ownership?</p> <p><strong>This issue can be addressed from both a legal and Constitutional standpoint, and from a general philosophical decentralist view.&nbsp;</strong></p> <h4><u>The Constitutionalist View</u></h4> <p>Suzanne Sherman at the Tenth Amendment Center has already&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">weighed in</a>&nbsp;against the idea on Constitutional grounds, based on two main arguments:&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>1. Reciprocity laws are compacts made among the states, and are not imposed by the federal government.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>2. The Bill of Rights Doesn&#39;t apply to the states.&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>On the first matter, Sherman notes that the proposed legislation&nbsp;would&nbsp;<em>impose</em>&nbsp;reciprocity on the states.</strong> This, Sherman notes, is a departure from what we usually mean by reciprocity, which denotes compacts that two or more states have voluntarily entered into.&nbsp;</p> <p>Sherman writes:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Many advocates of forced National Reciprocity point to the &ldquo;Full Faith and Credit Clause&rdquo; found in Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution. Such application is likewise problematic because it deviates from the original intent of the clause, lifted directly from the Articles of Confederation without any change to its meaning. This clause, as ratified, simply ensured citizens in one state could own land or property in another with the full rights of a citizen of that state. It in no way implied that one state had to recognize the institutions or licensing of another state. Driver&rsquo;s licenses are acceptable for passing through various states, but it is, like CCW licensing, by mutual assent of the states. In other words, there is no federal statute mandating that one state must honor another state&rsquo;s driver&rsquo;s licenses.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>In other words, the sort of &quot;reciprocity&quot; imagined by the backers of nationwide forced reciprocity is a&nbsp;<em>new&nbsp;</em>kind of reciprocity that substitutes federal policy for decentralized state-level policy.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>The enormous downside to this is that it federalizes what has long been recognized as largely the domain of state and local governments. Further federalizing gun policy may look like a fine idea right now, but as Sherman notes, it only takes a couple of new anti-gun appointments to the Supreme Court for the whole idea to blow up in the faces of pro-gun advocates. It&#39;s far more prudent, Sherman contends, to work against any increase in federal involvement in gun policy.&nbsp;</p> <h4><u>The Bill of Rights Was Never Meant to Apply to the States&nbsp;</u></h4> <p><strong>Sherman&#39;s second point is one that Constitutionalists and decentralists have made for years. Namely, that the Bill of Rights is properly understood as a document that limits the <em>federal</em> government, not state governments.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Sherman writes:&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>When he introduced the proposal for a Bill of Rights to Congress, Madison wanted some of the provisions to be made applicable against the states. He argued that was where liberty would be most likely threatened. Again, he was defeated unanimously. The Bill of Rights was never understood to be applicable against the states. There is absolutely no historical evidence of the Bill of Rights being made enforceable against the states. Even nationalist John Marshall, in the 1833 case&nbsp;<em>Barron v. Baltimore</em>, was forced to admit this when he said that the first ten &ldquo;amendments contain no expression indicating an intention to apply them to the state governments. This court cannot so apply them.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...It was not until 1925, in the case of&nbsp;<em>Gitlow vs New York</em>, that the Supreme Court magically &ldquo;found&rdquo; the authority to apply the Bill of Rights against the states supposedly hidden away in the 14th&nbsp;Amendment...&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>Sensing that things are going their way, it has become fashionable for some gun-freedom advocates to push for more federal control over state and local gun laws. One example is the&nbsp;recent&nbsp;case of&nbsp;<em>Mcdonald vs. the City of Chicago&nbsp;</em>which finally declared that the Second Amendment &mdash; like other portions of the Bill of Rights &mdash; applies to the states. Nevertheless, by pushing for more federal control in this case, gun-rights advocates are only pushing for more federal control over the states.</p> <p>Even those who have no particular affinity for the current American Constitution have noted this as well.&nbsp;</p> <p>Lew Rockwell writes:&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>[T]he purpose of the Bill of Rights was to state very clearly and plainly what the Federal Government&nbsp;<em>may not do</em>. That&#39;s why they were attached to the Constitution. The states, under the influence of&nbsp;skeptics of the Constitution&#39;s limits on the central power,&nbsp;insisted that the restrictions on the government be&nbsp;spelled out. The Bill of Rights did not provide a mandate for what the Federal Government&nbsp;<em>may&nbsp;</em>do. You can argue all you want about the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">14th&nbsp;amendment</a>&nbsp;and due process. But&nbsp;a reading that says it magically transforms the whole Bill of Rights to mean the exact opposite of its original intent is pure fantasy.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>In other words, appealing to the 2nd Amendment as a means of limiting state and local gun laws is based on newly invented federal powers that have no basis in legal or historical facts around the Constitution as written. Thus, it is ironic that many conservatives &mdash; who often&nbsp;fancy themselves to be &quot;strict constructionists&quot; and &quot;local control&quot; people &mdash;&nbsp;have suddenly made peace with the idea of using the Bill of Rights to boss state governments around.&nbsp;</strong></p> <h4><u>The Decentralist View</u></h4> <p>The Constitutional arguments are all well and good, but the US Constitution should never be viewed as the final word on any matter. The current constitution has always gone much too far in terms of centralizing political power in the United States, and the United States should&nbsp;<a href="">never have been anything more than a loose military alliance and customs union.</a>&nbsp;It&#39;s no more necessary that the federal government regulate gun laws than it is necessary to define marriage or prohibit prayer at school sporting events.</p> <p><strong>In fact, gun policy, like abortion policy, wage policy, land-use policy, and everything else, should be relentlessly decentralized.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>In his article &quot;<a href="">What We Mean by Decentralization</a>,&quot; Lew Rockwell explains the various reasons why decentralization is a mroe effective check on power than handing everything over to a Supreme Court or other federal &quot;protectors&quot; or rights.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Rockwell lists five&nbsp;reasons for this:</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>First, under decentralization, jurisdictions must compete for residents and capital, which provides some incentive for greater degrees of freedom...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Second, localism internalizes corruption so that it can be more easily spotted and uprooted....</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Third, tyranny on the local level minimizes damage to the same extent that macro-tyranny maximizes it....</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Fourth, no government can be trusted to use the power to intervene wisely...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Fifth, a plurality of governmental forms&mdash;a &quot;vertical separation of powers,&quot; ...&nbsp;prevents the central government from accumulating power. Lower governments are rightly jealous of their jurisdiction, and resist...&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p>Also key to this equation is the fact that decentralization<a href=""> offers a multitude of choices between different regimes in the face of government restrictions and persecution</a>. If only one huge government has been granted the power to protect rights, to where will one go when the government fails to do its prescribed task? On the other hand, when a wide variety of smaller governments are charged with protecting rights, the failure by one regime is not nearly as catastrophic since the offending regime can be far more easily avoided through emigration and boycott than can a large centralized regime.&nbsp;</p> <p><u><em><strong>Thus, it might sound nice to put the federal government in charge of protecting gun rights, but the potential downside is immense given that federal policy can change easily, and then be imposed nationwide.&nbsp;</strong></em></u></p> <p><strong>This isn&#39;t to say that small, decentralized government are a cure-all either. </strong>Ideology always plays an important role, and in a world where the majority wants all private citizens disarmed &mdash; well, that will happen regardless of what level of decentralization exists.</p> <p>However, if what we desire is a governmental landscape that offers more choices for residents and more limitations on state power,<strong> decentralization is the proper path, and handing over gun policy to federal &quot;protectors&quot; is a terrible idea. </strong></p> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="233" height="144" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Concealed carry Concealed carry in the United States Congress Corruption federal government Gun politics in the United States John Cornyn Law Licenses Mises Institute Mises Institute Politics Politics Proposed Legislation Reciprocity Self-defense Supreme Court Tenth Amendment Center United States firearms law White House White House Thu, 17 Aug 2017 23:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 601878 at