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Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Normal’

The Road to Totalitarianism (Revisited) – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on November 18, 2022

At this point, it isn’t the mask and “vaccination” mandates themselves that are important. They are simply the symbols and rituals of the new official ideology, an ideology that has divided societies into two irreconcilable categories of people: (1) those who are prepared to conform their beliefs to the official narrative of the day, no matter how blatantly ridiculous it is, and otherwise click heels and follow the orders of the global-capitalist ruling establishment, no matter how destructive and fascistic they may be; and (2) those who are not prepared to do that.

The global-capitalist ruling establishment couldn’t care less whether you are a “progressive,” or a “conservative,” or a “libertarian,” or an “anarchist,” or whatever you call yourself. What they care about is whether you’re a Normal or a Deviant.

CJ Hopkins

It feels like it’s finally over, doesn’t it, the whole “apocalyptic pandemic” thing? I mean, really, really over this time. Not like all those other times when you thought it was over, but it wasn’t over, and was like the end of those Alien movies, where it seems like Ripley has finally escaped, but the alien is hiding out in the shuttle, or the escape pod, or Ripley’s intestinal tract.

But this time doesn’t feel like that. This time it feels like it’s really, really over. Go out and take a look around. Hardly anyone is wearing masks anymore (except where masks are mandatory) or being coerced into submitting to “vaccinations” (except where “vaccination” is mandatory), and the hordes of hate-drunk New Normal fanatics who demanded that “the Unvaccinated” be segregated, censored, fired from their jobs, and otherwise demonized and persecuted, have all fallen silent (except for those who haven’t).

Everything is back to normal, right?

Wrong. Everything is not back to normal. Everything is absolutely New Normal. What is over is the “shock-and-awe” phase, which was never meant to go on forever. It was always only meant to get us here.

Where, you’re probably asking, is “here”? “Here” is a place where the new official ideology has been firmly established as our new “reality,” woven into the fabric of normal everyday life. No, not everywhere, just everywhere that matters. (Do you really think the global-capitalist ruling classes care what people in Lakeland, Florida, Elk River, Idaho, or some village in Sicily believe about “reality”?) Yes, most government restrictions have been lifted, mainly because they are no longer necessary, but in centers of power throughout the West, in political, corporate, and cultural spheres, in academia, the mainstream media, and so on, the New Normal has become “reality,” or, in other words, “just the way it is,” which is the ultimate goal of every ideology.

For example, I just happened upon this “important COVID-19 information,” which you need to be aware of (and strictly adhere to) if you want to attend a performance at this Off-Broadway theater in New York City, where “everything is back to normal.”

I could pull up countless further examples, but I don’t want to waste your time. At this point, it isn’t the mask and “vaccination” mandates themselves that are important. They are simply the symbols and rituals of the new official ideology, an ideology that has divided societies into two irreconcilable categories of people: (1) those who are prepared to conform their beliefs to the official narrative of the day, no matter how blatantly ridiculous it is, and otherwise click heels and follow the orders of the global-capitalist ruling establishment, no matter how destructive and fascistic they may be; and (2) those who are not prepared to do that.

Let’s go ahead and call them “Normals” and “Deviants.” I think you know which one you are.

See the rest here

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Left’s Post-Election Agenda: More Riots, ‘Truth Commissions,’ Other Punishment For Their Foes — That Means You – Issues & Insights

Posted by M. C. on October 30, 2020

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, now working a gig in — where else? — far-left academia, proposes a re-education program if Biden is elected.

“When this nightmare is over, we need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It would erase Trump’s lies, comfort those who have been harmed by his hatefulness, and name every official, politician, executive, and media mogul whose greed and cowardice enabled this catastrophe,” Reich tweeted on Oct. 17.

Understand: Such panels have been used around the world in at least 42 countries, mostly by leftist regimes, to humiliate and devalue the political opposition by accusing them of “crimes” and forcing them to admit their “offenses” publicly.

https://issuesinsights.com/2020/10/27/lefts-post-election-agenda-more-riots-truth-commissions-other-punishment-for-their-foes-that-means-you/

By I & I Editorial Board

You hear it every day. Someone says, “I just want the election to be over,” hoping out loud that things will somehow “return to normal” once the 2020 vote ends. But it won’t. The left already has plans to ensure that.

By “return to normal,” of course, we refer to an America not so riven by politics that families and neighbors no longer talk to each other because of the deep political divide. An America where people again become friendly and human, politics recede in importance, the economy and schools reopen, and suspicion of others’ political motives fade into the deep background.

Sounds great, the fabled tolerant America of yore. But, sorry, whether Donald Trump wins or loses, the left has other plans.

And “normal” isn’t part of them. In fact, even if Trump wins in a landslide and Republicans win both chambers of Congress on his coattails, the left already has plans for “Trump II: The Disruption.”

No, this isn’t some dystopic fantasy. After four years of non-stop interference with Trump’s presidency by the Democrats, we know it’s a hard reality.

Here’s more evidence: A group called “Shutdown DC” vows street action, regardless of the outcome:

We can’t anticipate exactly how Trump and his enablers will try to attack democracy (although we have been gaming out a number of different scenarios), but we know that the stakes are too high to sit on the sidelines and wait. That’s why we’re making plans to be in the streets before the polls even close, ready to adapt and respond to whatever comes our way.

Get that? “In the streets before the polls even close,” means mass intimidation and instilling public fear. The left’s imagined bogeyman? A Trump “coup,” which, of course, in their fevered imaginations means any Trump victory at all.

“Trump has shown that he will stop at nothing to maintain his grip on power. Trump will not leave office without mass mobilization and direct action,” the group says. Expect riots.

The plans are very specific, sketching out activities even by date. Using online organization tools, the idea is to forge loose “affinity groups” that will be free to take more “high risk action.”

As the Federalist’s Joy Pullmann, who dug up all this, noted: “What kinds of actions these might be are stated in a ‘Strategic framework for action following the 2020 election’ that sketches out their plans for rioting and attacking American institutions and life until Joe Biden is installed as president. It claims if Trump declares victory that will mark ‘the start of the coup.’ “

In other words, a Trump victory will be a “coup.” So much for your right to vote.

William L. Gensert in the American Thinker gives a colorful, but sadly accurate, preview of the chaos to come:

After the polls close, they will conduct a mass mobilization in the streets to prevent Trump from declaring victory and to prosecute ‘will of the people’ riots as a supposed organic reaction to Trump having stolen the election under the auspices of Vladimir Putin and white supremacists.  Their ululations of ‘COUP’ will be shrill and frequent — projection lives loudly within the left.

Their deployment will be open-ended as Twitter and Facebook shut down all opposition on their platforms and Google tweaks algorithms to give only results approved by the rebellion.

Riots. No matter what.

Lest you think this is will happen at the fringes, think again. Even the supposed “mainstream” Democrats have plans to make Republicans miserable, especially if the GOP wins.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, now working a gig in — where else? — far-left academia, proposes a re-education program if Biden is elected.

“When this nightmare is over, we need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It would erase Trump’s lies, comfort those who have been harmed by his hatefulness, and name every official, politician, executive, and media mogul whose greed and cowardice enabled this catastrophe,” Reich tweeted on Oct. 17.

Understand: Such panels have been used around the world in at least 42 countries, mostly by leftist regimes, to humiliate and devalue the political opposition by accusing them of “crimes” and forcing them to admit their “offenses” publicly.

“You may recall that after Barack Obama became president, some Democrats wanted prosecutions of his predecessor and Bush administration officials for alleged ‘war crimes,’ the CIA’s rendition programs, etc.,” noted Jim Geraghty, writing in the National Review.

And Reich’s not alone in his hunger for political retribution. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes actually beat him to the punch, suggesting a “truth and reconciliation” commission earlier this month.

“The most humane and reasonable way to deal with all these people, if we survive this, is some kind of truth and reconciliation commission,” commissar Hayes tweeted.

Once a few high-level politicians admit to sinning, such as opposing the New Green Deal or Medicare for All, how many average people will choose to just shut up and accept what’s shoved down their throats? That would mark the de facto end of free speech, free religion and any number of other sacred American rights.

Of course, if you were to suggest doing the same thing to Democrats and their deep-state allies, who clearly have been lying volubly and profiting off their “public service,” you’d be called a “fascist,” “Nazi” or worse. It shows just how far left that party and its media allies have drifted.

All this is what the left has in store for you, America. Witch hunts and judicial revenge against political foes. Dissent becomes a crime.

Regardless, it’s clear the left’s plans don’t include peace of mind for America’s voters on Nov. 4, the day after the election. Or “bringing the country together.” Rather, they see unending turmoil, political anger and rage, street protests, riots, litigation, and, if they win, retribution for those who dare to disagree.

The Claremont Institute and Texas Public Policy Foundation recently gamed the various outcomes for the election and concluded two big things: One, we’ll not know the outcome “due to millions of uncounted mail-in ballots in six battleground states.”

Two, we’ll likely see “intense court fights” and litigation all the way up to Jan. 6. It might even end up in the Supreme Court, amid a backdrop of riots and violent threats.

What’s at stake? Our friends at the Wall Street Journal put it this way:

If Democrats win up and down the ballot, progressives will control the commanding heights of nearly every American elite institution: Congress, the administrative state, Hollywood and the arts, the universities, nonprofits, Silicon Valley and nearly all of the media.

Is that a healthy republic? By any reasonable measure, the answer is no.

If you’re now among the “undecided,” you might want to rethink that. In this election more than perhaps any other in history, your rights as a free American are at stake.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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Even if COVID-19 Goes Away, the Economy Isn’t Going Back to “Normal” | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on June 18, 2020

When the pandemic is over, it will not mean a reset of fundamental equity and credit values to the market price levels on the eve of pandemic levels. The period was already the late afternoon if not twilight of a long and virulent asset inflation. All the malinvestment which is now coming to light during the pandemic—whether in shale oil, the aircraft industry, auto industry, international supply chains, China and emerging markets, European export sectors, or commercial real estate—is surely worth some serious downgrade in aggregate valuations from the peak of the last cycle. This further write-off is highly relevant to credit paper.

https://mises.org/wire/even-if-covid-19-goes-away-economy-isnt-going-back-normal?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=ea219ce0fc-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-ea219ce0fc-228343965

Speculative frenzy in the midst of recession is not a new phenomenon. Yet the extent of the “madness” this time might well beat records in the small sample size available from the history laboratory. The combination of extreme monetary radicalism and a receding supply shock has proved to be a potent toxic, impairing mental processes in ways described by the behavioral finance theorists. The pandemic stock “bubble” and resumed hectic demand for risky credit paper provide illustrations.

Speculative narratives which would normally encounter much rational skepticism are now riveting investors. Perhaps the most fantastic of these is that the Fed’s credit paper purchase programs amount to a gift to the US corporate sector even larger than the business tax cuts of 2018. A sister narrative concerns European Central Bank (ECB) gifts to Italy. In fact, the gift element is much smaller than at first sight—this is not manna from heaven, but a transfer which imposes burdens on donors and recipients. These programs distort market signals in ways (especially stimulating even higher leverage ratios in the meanwhile) which will worsen the global credit and banking crisis likely to erupt before full economic expansion resumes.

Past Speculative Frenzies

Two notorious past market frenzies during recessions came to an end with the eruption of credit and banking crisis. First was the US stock market frenzy of winter 1930. The Dow Jones index rose 50 percent from November 29 to April 30 and was back to within 20 percent of that level on the eve of the Wall Street Crash. Then there was the oil (and wider commodity) market bubble of spring and summer 2008 (though US recession had already started in November 2007). The oil price peaked at $145 per barrel, followed by a collapse to below $40 the following year. The 1930 frenzy succumbed to the grim news of emerging credit (especially bank) defaults in the US and then, crucially, in Germany; the 2008 frenzy yielded to the subprime mortgage crisis coupled with the European banking crisis.

Is the present frenzy in recession different?

As a reference point, on average US stocks in mid-June 2020 are back to their prerecession peak (the National Bureau of Economic Research [NBER] estimates February 2020 as the start of the recession). But a group of “pandemic stocks”—in businesses whose profits gain directly from pandemic, such as online retailing, cloud computing, pharmaceuticals, video conferencing and communication in cyberspace more generally, and computer games, and in businesses whose monopoly power is potentially enhanced in the long run by the knockout of financially crippled competitors—have experienced rises in their prices to far above the level at the cyclical peak. The nearest counterpart to this “bubble” in pandemic stocks is the boom in war stocks during the period of US neutrality in World War I.

Similar to the boom in war stocks, this pandemic stock boom is occurring in the context of rampant monetary inflation. A key difference is that inflation does not for now show up in goods markets.

In the case of war, competition from the military sector (munitions and armed forces) for scarce resources (most of all labor) means that prices rise immediately across a broad range; in a pandemic, labor exits the supply-crippled civilian economy, but mainly for the purpose of staying safe at home. Demand from the sectors mounting defences against COVID-19 (medical services, pharmaceuticals, constructors of safeguards for social distancing) is quite modest.

Even so, the prospect of high goods inflation in the aftermath of pandemic may already be triggering some demand for real assets including stocks, especially those earning a present or prospective stream of monopoly rents (several of these found among the pandemic stocks).

The optimists tell us that there is no frenzy. Markets are responding rationally to news that the recession is already over (the NBER may indeed date the end May 2020). A strong economic recovery is now in process, as COVID-19’s offensive has been “beaten back.” This should gain new momentum into the winter as the present lull or truce is followed by a victory peace, meaning the arrival of effective cures and vaccines.

What look like hot speculative conditions in the marketplace now could morph into a prolonged “bull market” (a euphemism for sustained asset inflation). Examples of this phenomenon in the small sample size of history include the great asset inflations of 1922–28 or 1962–66, which both started early in the recovery from serious recessions (but not right at the beginning).

This spin is all a tall order. Yes, the NBER may well determine that the recession is over. This, however, would be a case of meaningless measurement.

If one superimposes a massive supply shock and a subsequent rapid easing (of the supply constraints) on an already endogenously determined decline of business spending amid massive accumulation of malinvestment and financial excesses during the long preceding period of asset inflation (say, 2012–19), what will come into view? Most likely a fitful economic expansion, with an initial bounceback of private consumption from lockdowns but with business spending and international trade remaining depressed.

The emergence of sustained strong economic expansions such as accompanied the long asset inflations in the 1920s and 1960s will depend in part on victory over COVID-19. Also, however, there must be a victory for creative capitalism. Growing capital shortage amid the exposed obsolescence of much capital stock accumulated during the previous cycle should go along with high rates of return at the frontier of new investment opportunity.

The Pandemic Exposes the Bubbles

When the pandemic is over, it will not mean a reset of fundamental equity and credit values to the market price levels on the eve of pandemic levels. The period was already the late afternoon if not twilight of a long and virulent asset inflation. All the malinvestment which is now coming to light during the pandemic—whether in shale oil, the aircraft industry, auto industry, international supply chains, China and emerging markets, European export sectors, or commercial real estate—is surely worth some serious downgrade in aggregate valuations from the peak of the last cycle. This further write-off is highly relevant to credit paper.

The optimists retort that this time is different because of the extent to which the Fed and Uncle Sam are bailing out “the whole system.” But there is much fiction here.

Yes, the Fed under the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) can draw on up to $500 billion from the Treasury in compensation for aggregate losses on credit paper that it buys under its array of asset purchase programs. Such compensation, however, only covers a fraction of the total paper to be purchased, which is an even smaller fraction of the total high-risk credit in the US and global economy.

The Fed under these programs is essentially a price taker, not a price maker, even though the belief that the Fed is in there may be fueling the price of credit paper in the midst of frenzy. In the event of bankruptcy, the Fed will not be graciously renouncing its claims in favor of all other creditors. Nor will it be automatically rolling over all proceeds from credit paper together with interest in its portfolio into new paper from the same issuer.

Back to the laboratory of history: if we do hear an echo as the present episode of speculative frenzy in recession fades, it may well come from a big “credit event.” This would likely start in either the emerging markets (including China) or Europe (think of Italy). The edifice of the Mnuchin Treasury-Powell Fed credit market protection schemes would crack under the impact.

 

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