The ruthless jostling for power ... the spiraling of government debt & deficits ... the cascade of failed (yet still endless) wars ... the Fed's money printing ... the promises of FREE everything ... None of it will save the Empire. Liberty is the only way out!
By Liberty Report Staff
By Liberty Report Staff
While the country is being dragged through the three ring impeachment circus - which is all about politics and nothing about policy, President Trump's secret wars and interventions across the globe continue. Venezuela, Middle East, Lithuania...the intervention is on overdrive. But Congress has no interest in its Constitutional obligations when it comes to war. Political theater is far more exciting...
By Eric Barajas
For almost a century, all U.S. states have enforced compulsory education laws that permit the State to extort parents at gunpoint, taking their money and children away from them to fund and fill indoctrination camps for a third of the day, 5 days a week, 9 months a year, and 12 to 13 years of their children’s formal development. The layperson or the pseudo-intellectual may believe that calling schools “indoctrination camps” seems quite farfetched, and it does until you realize the inherent nature of what schools are. Most schooling options look very similar to each other regardless of whether they are public district schools, public charter schools, or traditional private schools. They all are very reminiscent of the Prussian schooling system, which inspired the U.S. Education System to follow its course in developing a top-down “learning environment” where teachers teach subject matter and content that is predetermined and chosen for them by politicians and higher-up district or network administrators. In this setting, students do not have a say in what they learn about, how they learn it, how they express the understanding of their learning, who they learn with, where they learn, why they learn, and to what extent they learn. Schools create an illusion that the learning of information and concepts is taking place, but that is far from the reality. Within a short period of time, students, on average, tend to forget most of what was covered and “learned”, so what is actually being learned? As the late John Taylor Gatto, an award-winning NY public school teacher, describes in his book “Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling”, the inherent nature of compulsory schooling teaches the following seven lessons: confusion, class position, indifference, emotional dependency, intellectual dependency, provisional self-esteem, and the idea that one cannot hide, which all serve to develop compliance and conformity in students.
In schools, confusion takes place in the classroom whereby teachers cover too many different subjects without making any explicit connections between any of them. Gatto states,
“I teach the un-relating of everything. I teach disconnections. I teach too much: the orbiting of planets, the law of large numbers, slavery, adjectives, architectural drawing, dance, gymnasium, choral singing, assemblies, surprise guests, fire drills, pull-out programs, guidance with strangers my students may never see again, standardized tests, age-segregation unlike anything seen in the outside world…What do any of these things have to do with each other?”
Beyond not explicitly making connections between seemingly different topics, students rarely come to understand the value and utility in learning because nothing ever makes any sense. One does not ever know why they are learning anything, and for this reason, students do not make much meaning of the information or facts they recall. Students do not know why any of it is relevant or important. At best, they remember isolated facts and are able to regurgitate information or vocabulary without having a deep and profound understanding of concepts or ideas. These experiences of confusion suggest to students that “it is better to leave school with a tool kit of superficial jargon derived from economics, sociology, natural science, and so on than with one genuine enthusiasm.” Schools breed, on average, a mediocre jack of all trades, reinforcing compliance and conformity.
Throughout students’ educational experience, they also come to understand where they stand in the social and intellectual hierarchy. Gatto describes this lesson as class position wherein a teacher’s job is to
“…make them like being locked together with children who bear numbers like their own. Or at least endure it like good sports. If I do my job well, the kids can’t even imagine themselves somewhere else because I’ve shown them how to envy and fear the better classes and how to have contempt for the dumb classes. Under this efficient discipline, the class mostly polices itself into good marching order. That’s the real lesson of any rigged competition like school. You come to know your place.”
Here, Gatto touches on two components of class position. The first one is authority. Over the years in school, students recognize their position relative to that of their teacher. The students are submissive to the authoritarian in the classroom, the teacher, who commands the classroom. They learn to behave and accept the commands of the teacher. The other component is archetypes. Over the years, students ascribe themselves to a specific archetype: the smart kid, the average kid, the dumb kid, and others due to the grades and scores they get on assignments and standardized tests, the classes they are put in (e.g., remedial, general education, honors, etc.), and the type of feedback they get. There is never a genuine focus on individual student progress or strengths and abilities. Students learn where they stand in the educational hierarchy and eventually accept their perceived fate, coming to believe that they are not capable of critical thinking. The more students lack confidence in their intellectual capability, the easier it is to have them conform and comply.
The first two lessons of schooling cause students to become indifferent about learning and intellectual stimulation. Gatto states that teachers support the lesson of indifference by,
“…demanding that [students] become totally involved in my lessons, jumping up and down in their seats with anticipation, competing vigorously with each other for my favor…But when the bell rings, I insist they drop whatever it is we have been doing and proceed quickly to the next work station. They must turn on and off like a light switch. Nothing important is ever finished in my class nor in any class I know of. Students never have a complete experience.”
Throughout their schooling experience, students over time start to believe that if what they were doing or learning at school was all that important, they would continue indefinitely until the task or lesson was complete as opposed to ceasing all activities when a bell rings at an arbitrary time. This inevitably creates indifference in students, which breeds nihilism and a sentiment that things in general lack importance or meaning. Students come to an understanding that these things they are learning do not actually matter; students especially believe this when teachers cut lessons short, have students read only parts of a book, or have them skip chapters in a textbook because they are “running out of time”. Gatto also adds that “Years of bells will condition all but the strongest to a world that can no longer offer important work to do. Bells are the secret logic of school time…Bells destroy the past and future, rendering every interval the same as any other.” Bells serve to instill the sentiment of indifference. Just like you train animals with bells through the process of classical conditioning, schools do the same with our children. We are being trained to not truly care for knowledge and learning. We are being trained to be indifferent, which reinforces compliance and conformity.
In the classroom, students are not free to make decisions for themselves; all actions must be permitted by the teacher, which serves to develop emotional dependency, the fourth lesson of compulsory schooling. Gatto notes,
“By stars and red checks, smiles and frowns, prizes, honors, and disgraces, I teach kids to surrender their will to the predestinated chain of command. Rights may be granted or withheld by any authority without appeal, because rights do not exist inside a school – not even the right of free speech, as the Supreme Court has ruled – unless school authorities say they do. As a schoolteacher, I intervene in many personal decisions, issuing a pass for those I deem legitimate and initiating a disciplinary confrontation for behavior that threatens my control. Individuality is constantly trying to assert itself among children and teenagers, so my judgments come thick and fast. Individuality is a contradiction of class theory, a curse all systems of classification.”
Students are subjected to the will of the teacher. Every aspect of each individual’s personhood has to go through the teacher – to get out of their desk, to get a resource, to go to the restroom, to do anything. There is no trust. Students are emotionally dependent on their teacher. The teacher commands the classroom to behave in a uniform fashion and whenever students are out of line, they are reprimanded. The teacher instills fear in the students by threatening them with consequences, driving them to conform and comply to avoid being punished by their parents.
Read the rest of this article at The Libertarian Institute.
Just as the Democratic Party was gearing up for a good, old-fashioned impeachment - something they've been desperate for since Trump was elected - the release of the transcript of the phone call between Trump and the Ukraine president has fizzled their hopes. Again. There is no "there" there and again the Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media are left looking foolish.
By Chris Rossini
While President Trump's actions all-too-often go against his words, he did say something quite admirable yesterday at the UN General Assembly. The president said: "the future does not belong to globalists. The future belongs to patriots."
It's a nice touch for President Trump to say these words in front of people who literally believe that they can "run the world," or "plan for the world," or "save the world," or any other delusion that they've fastened onto themselves.
The world doesn't need "saving," and it surely is not, and will not be "run" by anyone.
The world is the natural home for individual human beings, who have the ability to "run" only one thing --- their own individual human lives.
This has always been the only reality.
But individuals have imaginations. We can imagine that which is not real. We can even believe it. People can envision themselves as high and mighty architects, with blueprints and plans for the entire world. Others can (and do) reinforce the delusions by believing it themselves and by cheering it on.
None of it has (or can) ever come to pass. Reality always smacks it down.
It doesn't matter if they call themselves "globalists". That only shows how overzealous their imaginations really are.
And why stop there?
Why not go for the whole galaxy or universe? They can easily call themselves "universalists" with "plans," "legislation," and "resolutions" to organize the whole universe.
It doesn't change one iota of truth.
Individuals have power to run one life, and one life only -- their own.
Discovering the truth, conditioning yourself to live by it, and then reaping the beneficent results is more than sufficient to keep us occupied.
The delusion begins when a person convinces himself that he's in charge of even a single life other than his own.
The mental disease can then spread from there .... leading all the way to referring to yourself as a "globalist."
The past ... The present ... The future ...
It always belongs to the individual.
The US House is said to have pushed impeachment of President Trump to the front burner after it has been revealed that he discussed a corruption investigation of Joe Biden's son with the president of Ukraine. Earlier, Biden bragged that he got the prosecutor fired and the investigation was put on ice. Was there a quid pro quo for US military aid? Who was the "whistleblower"? Who is guilty? Both? And what about the foreign aid in the first place?
By Jeff Deist
Do central bankers really think negative interest rates are rational?
Calculation Error,” which Bloomberg terminals sometimes display(1), is an apt metaphor for the current state of central bank policy. Both Europe and Asia are now awash in $13 trillion worth of negative-yielding sovereign and corporate bonds, and Alan Greenspan suggests negative interest rates soon will arrive in the US. Despite claims by both Mr. Trump and Fed Chair Jerome Powell concerning the health of the American economy, the Fed’s Open Market Committee moved closer to negative territory today — with another quarter-point cut in the Fed Funds rate, below even a measly 2%.
Negative interest rates are just the latest front in the post-2008 era of “extraordinary” monetary policy. They represent a Hail Mary pass from central bankers to stimulate more borrowing and more debt, though there is far more global debt today than in 2007. Stimulus is the assumed goal of all economic policy, both fiscal and monetary. Demand-side stimulus is the mania bequeathed to us by Keynes, or more accurately by his followers. It is the absurd idea, that an economy prospers by consuming and borrowing instead of producing and saving. Negative interest rates turn everything we know about economics upside down.
Under what scenario would anyone lend $1,000 to receive $900 in return at some point in the future? Only when the alternative is to receive $800 back instead, due to the predicted interventions of central banks and governments. Only then would locking in a set rate of capital loss make sense. By “capital loss” I mean just that; when there is no positive interest paid, the principal itself must be consumed. There is no “market” for negative rates. The future is uncertain, and there is always counterparty risk. The borrower might abscond, or default, or declare bankruptcy. Market conditions might change during the course of the loan, driving interest rates higher to the lender’s detriment. Inflation could rise higher and faster than the agreed-upon nominal interest rate. The lender might even die prior to repayment.
Positive interest rates compensate lenders for all of this risk and uncertainty. Interest, like all economics, ultimately can be explained by human nature and human action.
If in fact negative interest rates can occur naturally, without central bank or state interventions, then economics textbooks need to be revised on the quick. Every theory of interest contemplates positive interest paid on borrowed capital. Classical economists and their “Real” theory say interest represents a “return” on capital, not a penalty. Capital available for lending, like any other good, is subject to real forces of supply and demand. But nobody would “sell” their capital by giving the buyer interest payments as well, they would simply hold onto it and avoid the risk of lending.
Marxists think interest payments represent exploitation by capital owners lending to needful workers. The amount of interest paid in addition to the capital returned was stolen from the debtor, because the lender did not work for it (ignoring, of course, the capitalist lender’s risk). But how could a borrower be exploited by receiving interest payments for borrowing, i.e., repaying less than they borrowed? I suppose Marxists may in fact cheer the development of negative rates, and perversely see them as a transfer of wealth from lenders to borrowers (when, in fact, we know cheap money and credit overwhelmingly benefit wealthy elites, per the Cantillon Effect). So negative rates require Marxists to drastically rethink their theory of interest.
Austrians stress the time element of interest rates, comparing the lender’s willingness to forego present consumption against the borrower’s desire to pay a premium for present consumption. In Austrian theory interest rates represent the price at which the relative time preferences of lenders and borrowers meet. But once again, negative interest rates cannot explain how or why anyone would ever defer consumption without payment — or in fact pay to do so!
It should be noted that rational purchasers of negative-yield bonds hope to sell them before maturity, i.e., they hope bond prices rise as interest rates drop even lower. They hope to sell their bonds to a greater fool and generate a capital gain. They are not “buying” the obligation to pay interest, but the chance of reselling for a profit. So purchasing a negative-yield bond might make sense as an investment (vs.institutional and central bank bond buyers, which frequently hold bonds to maturity and thereby literally pay to lend money). But if and when interest rates rise, the losses to those left holding those $13 trillion of bonds could be staggering.
In the meantime, a huge artificial market for at least nominally positive US Treasury debt grows, strengthening the dollar and suppressing interest rates here at home. Once again, the dollar represents the least dirty shirt in the laundry. Congress loves this, of course, because even 5% rates would blow the federal budget to smithereens. Rising rates would cause debt service to be the largest annual line item in that budget, ahead of Social Security, Medicare, and defense. So we might say Congress and the Fed are in a symbiotic relationship at this point. The rest of the world might call it America’s “exorbitant privilege.”
Negative interest rates are the price we pay for central banks. The destruction of capital, economic and otherwise, is contrary to every human impulse. Civilization requires accumulation and production; de-civilization happens when too many people in a society borrow, spend, and consume more than they produce. No society in human history previously entertained the idea of negative interest rates, so like central bankers we are all in uncharted territory now.
Our job, among many, is to bring the insights of Austrian economics on money and banking to widespread attention before something truly calamitous happens.
(1)An earlier version of this article indicated that Bloomberg terminals were unable to calculate negative interest rates for callable bonds. This was not correct.
This article was originally published at The Mises Institute.
By Ron Paul
President Trump deserves credit for resisting the war cries from neocons like Sen. Lindsey Graham and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after last week’s attack on two Saudi oil facilities. Pompeo was eager to blame Iran because he wants war with Iran and anything that can trigger such a war is fine with him. So he put the president in a difficult spot by declaring Iran the culprit: suddenly the president’s options in the media and in Washington were limited to “how to punish Iran.”
A week has now passed since the attack and Pompeo’s rush to judgement has been shown for what it was: war propaganda. That is because there has still been no determination of who launched the attack. Yemen’s Houthis took responsibility right away and Iran denied any involvement. We have seen nothing to this point that contradicts this.
President Trump likely understands that a US war on Iran will be his undoing as president. Who knows, maybe that’s what his closest advisors want. But according to a Gallup poll just last month, only 18 percent of Americans were in favor of military action against Iran. Seventy-eight percent of Americans – including 72 percent of Republicans – want the president to pursue diplomatic efforts over war. Iran has made clear that any attack on its territory will trigger a total war. The Middle East would be engulfed in flames and the US economy would be in the tank. Suddenly we’d see Democrat challengers pretending to be antiwar!
The message to Trump is pretty clear – war with Iran would be deeply unpopular - and it seems clear he understands the message. Just hours after his Secretary of State put the US on war footing with Iran, President Trump was forced to walk back Pompeo’s aggression. When asked about going to war with Iran, President Trump said, "Do I want war? I don't want war with anybody."
Unfortunately, with pressure on President Trump to “do something” even as Iran has not been found to have been behind the attack, the president has settled on two measures - one pointless and the other dangerous. On Friday Trump announced yet even more sanctions on Iran, leaving many of us to wonder what is possibly left to sanction. He also announced a deployment of US military forces to Saudi Arabia of a “defensive nature.” Why should the military be sent to “defend” one of the wealthiest and most repressive countries on earth? It is hard to see how putting US servicemembers into harm’s way – into a war zone – to defend Saudi Arabia can in any way make America great again. I believe most Americans would agree.
President Trump should immediately cancel the order to send US troops to Saudi Arabia and should immediately remove what troops are already on Saudi soil. Then the Saudis would understand that they must end their aggression against Yemen.
Attempting to placate the neocons is a fool’s errand, because they are never satisfied even up to and including war. The tide is turning in America – and even in Washington – against Saudi Arabia. After the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and a catastrophic four-year Saudi war on Yemen, no American politician is any longer in the mood to stick his or her neck out to defend Saudi Arabia. President Trump would be wise to use caution: it’s always dangerous sticking one’s neck out when the Saudi government is around.