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The Fundamental Ideological Question at Stake in Ukraine

Posted by M. C. on September 26, 2022

It is fascinating, to say the least, to see a Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell joined at the hip—no daylight between them—to a Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, as one, zealously advocating a rapid escalation in American involvement in Ukraine, no matter whether such offensive actions (e.g., no fly zones, US troops on the ground) might bring on nuclear Armageddon.

https://boydcatheyreviewofbooks.blogspot.com/

Friends,

Since the Russian incursion into Ukraine on February 24, the American and Western European media have been almost unanimous in pushing the template which they wish us to believe and the agenda which they wish us to follow. In the US Congress, as in most deliberative bodies in Western Europe and in such international entities as the United Nations (UN) and the World Economic Forum (WEF), the refrain has been almost identically the same: that President Volodymyr Zelensky’s heroic and noble “liberal democratic” Ukrainian government stands for and defends “our liberal democratic values,” and that it has been brutally attacked in an unprovoked assault by the evil Russians under their evil president—the new “reincarnation of Hitler”—Vladimir Putin, who, of course, wishes to re-establish the old Soviet Empire which expired thirty-one years ago.

It’s as if nothing has changed since 1991—thirty-one years ago—when Russian Communism perished in an ignominious death, scorned and despised by the Russian people. It’s as if no history has elapsed since then, and that somehow the spectre of Soviet Communism, or some newfangled form thereof, still critically threatens “the West.” And thus, we must engage in a new and very dangerous “cold war,” which now in Ukraine turns increasingly “hot.”

Among establishment “conservatives”—in particular, those we denominate Neo-conservatives—this refrain finds strong resonance, as well as among Republican members of the US Congress. It is fascinating, to say the least, to see a Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell joined at the hip—no daylight between them—to a Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, as one, zealously advocating a rapid escalation in American involvement in Ukraine, no matter whether such offensive actions (e.g., no fly zones, US troops on the ground) might bring on nuclear Armageddon. Graham and other political leaders seem to welcome such tactical nuclear exchanges with “acceptable levels of civilian and combat casualties,” oblivious to what actually would happen.

Most recently this position, intellectually, was presented by a denizen of Claremont McKenna College (a western outpost of Neoconservatism), who proceeded to repeat once more all the standard interventionist arguments about a “democratic Ukraine,” “Russian world aggression (neo-Communism?),” and the “American mission” as global guardian (and enforcer) of “liberal democracy.”

While there has been some dissent from this perspective in the West (e.g., Tucker Carlson. Colonel Douglas MacGregor, Professor John Mearsheimer, Jacques Baud, Scott Ritter), the fact remains that almost the entirety of major news reporting on the Ukrainian conflict comes from reporters who hang on—and then repeat as undoubted and non-debatable—every word telegraphed by the Ukrainian government and military information services. While dozens of Western reporters are embedded with the Ukrainian military, no representatives of major media facilitate similar reporting from the Russian perspective. Indeed, both the US and Western European countries have attempted to stifle or interdict opposing perspectives. Only through either non-Western media or smaller independent services can any balance usually be obtained.

Thus, in the United States and Western Europe we are bombarded ceaselessly by lurid tales of “Russian war crimes” and now of “Russian terrorism,” such that Republican Senator Graham is pushing for Russia to be labeled a “terror state,” assuredly with “consequences” to follow. Yet, a closer and deeper investigation into those charges and accusations should cause concerned Americans to question not only the accounts but the bona fides of those reporting such purported events.

I have written about the so-called “Russian war crimes” in MariupolBucha, and Kramatorsk earlier this year, and I urge readers to go back and read those articles and check, again, the sources. Most recently (August 3), Amnesty International, in a revealing and perhaps surprising moment of truthful reporting, designated Ukraine and the Ukrainian military as responsible for war crimes and terror, using civilians as human shields, including forcing civilians to become specific targets of the Russian military, something which they did at the steel plant in Mariupol, although most Western media sources ignore the truth and still blame the Russians. With a pliant and enthusiastic Western press corps, the continual flow of Ukrainian propaganda inundates American households at all hours of the day…and that includes the news branch of Fox News, which may well be the worst offender.

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DIANA JOHNSTONE: The Specter of Germany Is Rising

Posted by M. C. on September 26, 2022

To meet this imaginary threat, Germany will lead an expanded, militarized EU. First, Scholz told his European audience in the Czech capital, “I am committed to the enlargement of the European Union to include the states of the Western Balkans, Ukraine, Moldova and, in the long term, Georgia”. Worrying about Russia moving the dividing line West is a bit odd while planning to incorporate three former Soviet States, one of which (Georgia) is geographically and culturally very remote from Europe but on Russia’s doorstep.

Consortium News

By Diana Johnstone
in Paris 
Special to Consortium News

The European Union is girding for a long war against Russia that appears clearly contrary to European economic interests and social stability. A war that is apparently irrational – as many are – has deep emotional roots and claims ideological justification. Such wars are hard to end because they extend outside the range of rationality.

For decades after the Soviet Union entered Berlin and decisively defeated the Third Reich, Soviet leaders worried about the threat of “German revanchism.” Since World War II could be seen as German revenge for being deprived of victory in World War I, couldn’t aggressive German Drang nach Osten berevived, especially if it enjoyed Anglo-American support? There had always been a minority in U.S. and U.K. power circles that would have liked to complete Hitler’s war against the Soviet Union.

It was not the desire to spread communism, but the need for a buffer zone to stand in the way of such dangers that was the primary motivation for the ongoing Soviet political and military clampdown on the tier of countries from Poland to Bulgaria that the Red Army had wrested from Nazi occupation.

This concern waned considerably in the early 1980s as a young German generation took to the streets in peace demonstrations against the stationing of nuclear “Euromissiles” which could increase the risk of nuclear war on German soil. The movement created the image of a new peaceful Germany. I believe that Mikhail Gorbachev took this transformation seriously.

On June 15, 1989, Gorbachev came to Bonn, which was then the modest capital of a deceptively modest West Germany. Apparently delighted with the warm and friendly welcome, Gorbachev stopped to shake hands with people along the way in that peaceful university town that had been the scene of large peace demonstrations.

I was there and experienced his unusually warm, firm handshake and eager smile. I have no doubt that Gorbachev sincerely believed in a “common European home” where East and West Europe could live happily side by side united by some sort of democratic socialism.

Gorbachev on June 13, 1989 in the market-square in Bonn. (Jüppsche/Wikimedia Commons)

Gorbachev died at age 91 two weeks ago, on Aug. 30. His dream of Russia and Germany living happily in their “common European home” had soon been fatally undermined by the Clinton administration’s go-ahead to eastward expansion of NATO. But the day before Gorbachev’s death, leading German politicians in Prague wiped out any hope of such a happy end by proclaiming their leadership of a Europe dedicated to combating the Russian enemy.

These were politicians from the very parties – the SPD (Social Democratic Party) and the Greens – that took the lead in the 1980s peace movement.

German Europe Must Expand Eastward

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is a colorless SPD politician, but his Aug. 29 speech in Prague was inflammatory in its implications. Scholz called for an expanded, militarized European Union under German leadership. He claimed that the Russian operation in Ukraine raised the question of “where the dividing line will be in the future between this free Europe and a neo-imperial autocracy.” We cannot simply watch, he said, “as free countries are wiped off the map and disappear behind walls or iron curtains.”

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Blain: The UK’s Monumental Policy Mistake – How Bad Will It Get?

Posted by M. C. on September 26, 2022

Tyler Durden's Photo

BY TYLER DURDEN

MONDAY, SEP 26, 2022 – 08:25 AM

Authored by Bill Blain via MorningPorridge.com,

Kwarteng’s response to the mayhem? “I don’t comment on market movements.”

Fair enough. When you know nothing and people suspect you are an idiot it’s best to stay quiet so as not to confirm it.

But is he aware of the consequences of what he’s done? 

https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/blain-uks-monumental-policy-mistake-how-bad-will-it-get

This is the man who bet it all on Red and it came up Black…”

What a mess. Kwasi Kwarteng’s Special Fiscal Operation failed to stabilise UK markets and has zero prospect of driving growth. The new government stumbled at the first jump. How bad will it get? What are the implications? Who is next for the Chancellor’s job?

There are policy mistakes, and there are Policy Mistakes, but few compare to the market Judder on Friday morning…. In terms of screaming, all-in POLICY MISTAKES new UK Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s not-a-budget, his “Special Fiscal Operation”, went down about as well as a battalion of Russian chocolate tea-pots on the road to Kyiv. It was moment confidence in the UK’s Virtuous Sovereign Trinity snapped. Sterling Crashed. Gilt yields capped wider.

It ain’t over yet, this morning Sterling traded below 1.03 for the first time ever during an Asian flash crash. I will post regular updates on the comments page and Twitter as this crisis unfolds. The working assumption is even if Gilts and Sterling stabilise – the damage is already done. Expect… volatile politics and markets.

This is going to be a critical week for sterling. There are calls for the Bank of England to jump in with a 100 bp rate hike and currency intervention to stem the crippling currency losses. There are even rumours of yet another internal Tory coup being scoped in Westminster. Ministers trying to talk up export prospects on the back of the currency collapse knew they were defending the indefensible – the UK is a re-exporter and is importing further inflation at speed.

I warned three weeks ago that new UK Premier Liz Truss and Kwarteng had “5 days to Avert a Confidence Crisis in the UK”. She got a time extension because of the Royal Funeral. Turns out I was right to worry about markets. On Friday morning it happened – a 0.7% jump in Gilt Yields and the 3% tumble in Sterling. The response to the not-a-budget confirmed just how badly market confidence in the UK’s political competence, sterling stability and gilt market sustainability has been shaken.

Kwarteng’s response to the mayhem? “I don’t comment on market movements.”

Fair enough. When you know nothing and people suspect you are an idiot it’s best to stay quiet so as not to confirm it.

But is he aware of the consequences of what he’s done? The UK’s reputation for fiscal prudence has been sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. This is going to hurt. The weekend analysis was harshly critical – it was right to be so. Dr Doom, Nouriel Roubini, tweeted “Truss and her cabinet at clueless.” Former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said the UK will be remembered for the “worst macro-economic policies of any major country in a long-time..” He called the policies naïve, and the UK was an emerging market turning into a submerging market. I could fill the rest of this morning’s Porridge with similar negative punditry and doomster soundbites from analysts presenting variations on the same thing.

If there is a single positive economic comment written by someone not called Patrick Minford or Gerald Lyons – please post it in the comments section, because I can’t find it.

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Does Central Economic Planning Work? From Gosplan to Market-regulation — Which Would You Choose?

Posted by M. C. on September 26, 2022

By L. Reichard White

In the years after the 1917 revolution, the Soviets lacked capital to build all the steel mills, dams and auto plants they needed. Soviet leaders seized on the theory of “socialist primitive accumulation” formulated by the economist E. A. Preobrazhensky. This theory held that the necessary capital could be squeezed out of the peasants by forcing their standard of living down to an emaciating minimum and skimming off their surpluses. 

Like Klaus Schwab says – you will own nothing and be happy

Maybe you could start your next email with a list (or even just one) counterexample [to modern China] of a functioning “unregulated” [economic] paradise? –Bill, Re: [Politics] self-regulating systems

OK, What You Asked For Bill – – –

I thought since you were in Hong Kong when I started writing this, it might be a good example (but it’s Jake who believes in Paradise; I only claim “markets aren’t perfect, just better“) – – –

…”miracles” first gained currency three years ago in a remarkable book published by the World Bank. Called The East Asian Miracle, its topic was the relationship between government, the private sector, and the market. And no doubt about it, the growth had been phenomenal: since 1960 the eight countries in question — Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, and Taiwan — had collectively experienced more than twice as much growth as the rest of East Asia, roughly three times as much as Latin America and South Asia, and five times as much as Sub-Saharan Africa…. In my experience everyone wanted to hear about Korea, even though its income per capita was the lowest of the four tigers’ (Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea); at $8,260, it still remains less than half that of Hong Kong…. the bias is entirely understandable. In Hong Kong, bureaucrats and planners had almost no role. — …and Wrong, William McGurn, National Review

73% of Hong Kong businesses employ nine or less; only 1% employ 200 or more. Hong Kong has had more than a 7% annual growth rate since 1948 [46 years]. –Briefing on Mind Extension Univesity, 3 Mar 1994

Hong Kong rated most free by Heritage Foundation study. Hong Kong has had the longest, steadiest growth of any country over the last 50 years. –Investor’s Business Daily, ~11 January, 1995

The Economic Gradient

First let’s take a look at that favorite of all Tigers, South Korea and how it got that way (which, remember, achieved only about half the per capita income of Hong Kong) – – –

…the Korean model operates on a completely different set of principles. …Like most technocrats, Park associated wealth with heavy industry…There would be none of this trusting the marketplace to sort out winners and losers. The government knew what industries were needed, and those that were favored received credit while those that were deemed frivolous withered on the vine.
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Like the Japanese model, the Korean model rested on three pillars. First, a bias toward the bigness that bureaucrats thought would guarantee economies of scale. Second, the idea that banks would not evaluate risk and credit as their counterparts did in the West but would rather serve as policy arms of the government. Third, that growth would be paid for by the public, by suppressing consumption. “Guided capitalism,” they called it, and though …it came with huge opportunity costs, it did work in the sense that the countries based on this model did develop— …and Wrong, William McGurn, National Review

So, S. Korea did well — but only about half as well as Hong Kong.

And doesn’t that notion that “growth would be paid for by the public, by suppressing consumption” ring a bell somewhere – – –

In the years after the 1917 revolution, the Soviets lacked capital to build all the steel mills, dams and auto plants they needed. Soviet leaders seized on the theory of “socialist primitive accumulation” formulated by the economist E. A. Preobrazhensky. This theory held that the necessary capital could be squeezed out of the peasants by forcing their standard of living down to an emaciating minimum and skimming off their surpluses. These would then be used to capitalize heavy industry and subsidize the workers. –Alvin and Heidi Toffler, Creating A New Civilization, pp. 69 & 70

The results of centrally planned “socialist primitive accumulation” would probably even shock Jake. Remember, in the old U.S.S.R., somewhere between 16 and 20 million men, women and children were “emaciated” to death by “skimming off their surpluses.” And somewhere north of 38 million were similarly emaciated to death in central planner Mao’s “Great Leap Forward.” And once again, Keynes has something relevant to say – – –

The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. –John Maynard Keynes

In these cases, it was defunct economist E. A. Preobrazhensky and his theory of “socialist primative accumulation.”

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We Might Be Spared Nuclear War For Now But The Threat Of Home-Grown Tyranny Remains

Posted by M. C. on September 26, 2022

Tyler Durden's Photo

BY TYLER DURDEN

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

If you want to comprehend the collapse of the West, compare, for example, Liz Truss and her UK government with the British government around the middle of the 19th century. James Grant in his biography of Walter Bagehot reports, for example, that Prime Minister Gladstone translated Horace and Homer, published substantial works on religion and Neapolitan politics, and addressed the Ionian assembly in classical Greek. Parliamentarian Robert Lowe was fluent in Sanskrit. Sir George Lewis was the author of Survey of the Astronomy of the Ancients. The House of Lords had its own learned members. Henry Herbert, 4th Earl of Carnarvon, was a Fellow of the Royal Society, Britain’s National Academy of Sciences. Today we have presidents and prime ministers who can’t speak English.

In the US merit has been redefined as racist, and educational standards have been so lowered that the large grocery store chains do not trust their checkout clerks to give change.

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/we-might-be-spared-nuclear-war-now-threat-home-grown-tyranny-remains

As readers know, I am convinced that Putin’s toleration of insults and provocations has had the effect of encouraging more and worse provocations and not, as he intended, to downplay conflict.  As you also know, I am convinced that his “limited military operation” in Donbass designed to protect the Donbass Russians, formerly a part of Russia, from horrible abuse by Ukrainian forces and the neo-Nazi militias, was a mistake.  It is a mistake because the West characterized a limited operation as an “invasion of Ukraine,” and used its slow progress as evidence of Russian failure.  It is a mistake because the go-slow nature of the Russian offensive in order to minimize the impact on civilian lives and infrastructure gave the West plenty of time to convince itself to get more and more involved with diplomatic support, money, armaments and ammunition, training, and now with satellite  information for targeting the Russian forces.

As I see it, Putin has been behaving as British Prime Minister Chamberlain is alleged to have behaved, thus encouraging more aggressive actions.  Wanting peace at all costs brings war.

As it is no longer possible for the Kremlin to speak of  “our Western partners” or to deny that the West is at war with Russia, the Kremlin, trying to avoid a war that it knows would be nuclear, has reached my conclusion of eight years ago that if the areas in today’s artificial borders of Ukraine that require Russian protection were reincorporated into Russia, the conflict would have to cease or become direct Western military aggression against Russia.  As Biden says he has no stomach for a war with Russia and will not permit one, and as NATO is incapable of such war, the referendums that begin today in the liberated areas of Ukraine, which without question will succeed, promise to reduce the threat of Armageddon.  Although in my opinion the leadership everywhere in the Western world is Satanic and insane, I do not think the Western governing elites are ready to commit suicide by attacking Russian territory. The West can say it doesn’t recognize the rights of people to self-determination, but if Russia says it is Russian territory, it is.

So that you understand, the referendums are Putin’s way of ending the conflict before it widens into nuclear war.  Putin’s rescue of the world from nuclear war will not be acknowledged by the Western presstitutes, Washington’s puppet EU and UK governments, or by the puppet who serves as NATO secretary general.  

But what they think does not matter. Putin, belatedly, is doing his best to save us all from nuclear war.  Pray that he succeeds.

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Don’t take this personally

Posted by M. C. on September 25, 2022

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Reasons to buy CDs.

Posted by M. C. on September 25, 2022

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Jean-Pierre Clarifies That Official White House Policy Is The Opposite Of Whatever Biden Says In Interviews

Posted by M. C. on September 24, 2022

https://babylonbee.com/news/jean-pierre-clarifies-that-official-white-house-policy-is-the-opposite-of-whatever-biden-says-in-interviews

WASHINGTON, D.C. — During a White House press conference focused on clarifying every statement Biden has ever made, Press Secretary Jean-Pierre clarified that the official White House policy was the opposite of whatever President Biden says in interviews.

This official policy comes on the tail of the White House clarifying and contradicting nearly every statement Biden has made regarding the pandemic, Taiwan, illegal immigrants, Russia, inflation, and unborn babies. Curiously, there has been no correction from the White House after Biden called half of U.S. citizens an existential threat to democracy.

“This policy is to stem confusion and reduce the number of questions asking for clarification and context,” said Jean-Pierre to journalists suffering dizzy spells from the flurry of claims, counterclaims, statements, clarifications, and contexts.

“She said what? That’s a bunch of goat honky; I’m the President of the United States of America,” said Biden in response to the White House’s new policy.

At publishing time, the White House clarified that Biden actually said, “She’s exactly right, and Trump is a terrorist.”

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Do People Accept Money Because Government Endorses It?

Posted by M. C. on September 24, 2022

Money must emerge as a commodity because something can be demanded as a medium of exchange only if it has a pre-existing barter demand.

https://mises.org/wire/do-people-accept-money-because-government-endorses-it

Frank Shostak

Demand for goods arises because of perceived benefits. For instance, individuals demand food because it nourishes them. This is not so, however, about pieces of paper we call money, so why do we accept them?

According to Plato and Aristotle, the acceptance of money is a historical fact endorsed by government decree. It is government decree, so it is argued, that makes a particular thing accepted as the general medium of the exchange. Carl Menger, however, doubted the soundness of that view, writing:

An event of such high and universal significance and of notoriety so inevitable, as the establishment by law or convention of a universal medium of exchange, would certainly have been retained in the memory of man, the more certainly inasmuch as it would have had to be performed in a great number of places. Yet no historical monument gives us trustworthy tidings of any transactions either conferring distinct recognition on media of exchange already in use, or referring to their adoption by peoples of comparatively recent culture, much less testifying to an initiation of the earliest ages of economic civilization in the use of money.

Why Conventional Demand—Supply Analysis Fails to Explain the Price of Money

How does something the government proclaims become the medium of the exchange, acquiring value? We know that the price of a good is the result of the interaction between demand and supply. From this, we could reach a conclusion that the price of money is also set by the laws of demand and supply.

While demand for goods emerges because of perceived benefits, people demand money because of its purchasing power with respect to various goods. The demand for money depends upon the purchasing power of money while the purchasing power of money depends on the demand for money.

We are caught in a circular trap. (The demand for money is dependent on its purchasing power while the purchasing power is dependent for a given supply on the demand for money). The circularity seems to vindicate the view that the acceptance of money is the result of the government decree.

Mises Supports Menger’s Insight

Ludwig von Mises’s regression theorem supports Menger’s insights. Mises not only solved the money circularity problem, but he also confirmed Carl Menger’s view that money didn’t come from a government decree.

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I Know What I’d Do in Putin’s Shoes – Jordan Peterson

Posted by M. C. on September 24, 2022

The popular commentator said he’d cut off energy supplies to the EU if he were the president of Russia

“We can’t win against Vladimir Putin in any way because you cannot win against someone you cannot say ‘no’ to. Period. And we can’t say ‘no’ to Putin because we sold our soul for his oil and gas,” he said.

“And we did that to elevate our moral stature in relation to ‘saving the planet.’ And here we are, facing a very dire winter, hoisted on the petard of our very own foolishness and moral presumption,” he added.

https://www.rt.com/news/563389-jordan-peterson-putin-ukraine/

Popular conservative political commentator Jordan Peterson has tried to get into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s head and predict how Russia’s conflict with the West in Ukraine will unfold. Peterson said that if he were the Russian president he would leave the EU without energy supplies in the winter.

“I know what I’d do in his shoes,” he said on the Piers Morgan Uncensored show on Thursday. “I’d wait till the first cold snap and shut off the taps.”

Peterson was referring to supplies of Russian natural gas to EU nations. He argued that Moscow indirectly warned that a full shutdown would happen when Russian gas giant Gazprom started curtailing deliveries through the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany, citing maintenance issues.

The political commentator declined to endorse a notion popular in the West that Putin resembles Adolf Hitler or Josef Stalin in his thinking, calling the claim “foolish” and not backed by any actual evidence.

Putin “is a lot more like everybody else than anyone thinks,” Peterson argued. He added that “there is a bit of Hitler and Stalin in everyone,” before going into an explanation of how accepting government-imposed lies under pressure was part of human nature.

“The totalitarian state is actually the grip of the lie. And people would certainly go along with that. We’ve seen this emerge with [the] cancel culture. It’s like ‘Lie! Or else!’,” he said.

He mocked the idea that Ukraine and its Western backers could “win” against Russia as “naïve.”

“I just don’t understand that. What do you mean we are going to win? What are we going to win exactly?” he demanded.

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