The Yield Curve Is Now in the Deepest Inversion Since 1981

The Yield Curve Is Now in the Deepest Inversion Since 1981

07/20/2023Ryan McMaken

In today's episode of Radio Rothbard, Mark Thornton and I both mentioned the yield curve's inversion as an alarming indicator of a significant recession in the not-too-distant future. 

For more on why an inversion of the yield curve predicts recession can be found here and here

Thornton mentioned that the most recent inversion of the yield curve is no small or minor inversion, but is an inversion deep into negative territory. This, Thornton notes, gives us good reason to expect a serious economic event, whether a recession or even a full-blown economic crisis. 

How big is big when it comes to the latest inversion? To measure the magnitude of the inversion, a time series of the gap between the yields on a long-term and a short-term is calculated. The most common-used measure of this is the gap between the 10-year Treasury and the 3-month Treasury.  If we graph this difference between the 10-year and the 3-month, we can see that we're now experiencing the largest inversion in more than 40 years:  

yield

In June, the average gap was -1.67. That's far deeper into negative territory than anything we've seen since 1981, 42 years ago. As we noted on the podcast, these sorts of inversions have reliably preceded recessions for several decades. As we can see in this graph that takes a longer time frame going back 50 years, the recession of the 1970s and the 1980 recession and the severe 1981-1982 recession were all preceded by a yield curve inversion. Moreover, to find an inversion deeper as the current one, we have to go back to 1980. 

50 year

The only period showing a larger inversion that what we saw during the 1970s was in the lead up to the Great Depression in 1928 and 1929. 

gdyield

In response to this, some people might say "if the yield curve is so inverted, where is the mass unemployment and recession?" Well, there is a generally a sizable lag between the yield curve inverting and the onset of recession. For example, the yield curve inverted in 1989, but the 1990 recession did not begin until 13 months later. Similarly, the yield curve inverted in August 2006, but the Great Recession did not begin until December 2007, 16 months later. The yield curve again inverted in May 2019, and it is extremely likely there would have been a recession in late 2020 had the Federal Reserve not engaged in massive amounts of monetary pumping throughout the year to blow a series of bubbles designed to cover up the economic effects of forced lockdowns on the economy. 

Now, the yield curve has been inverted since November 2022, but only seven months have passed since then. Experience suggests we could be looking at at least another six months before the effects are clear. 

EU-China Leadership Summit: Protectionism on the Agenda

11 hours agoChristian Monson

On December 7, the European Union and China are having their first in-person summit in four years, with the presidents of the European Commission and European Council, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel respectively, flying to China for the event. Playing the role of trapped-in-the-middle in the US-China trade war, EU rhetoric has these gallant diplomats riding off to Beijing to restructure the bilateral trade relationship. However, their statements have made it clear that they don't care about European prosperity at all and that Europe's biggest threat is far from China's "unfair trade practices," but the protectionism pushed by EU officials themselves.

Protectionism and Mercantilism from Brussels

Von der Leyen and Michel are going to China with a heap of demands utterly at odds with good economic policy, not to mention the free-trade spirit and philosophy of the European Union. Here are some of the demands:

· Ending Chinese "Overcapacity"

Aggregate domestic demand has decreased in China in the last few years, but Chinese factories haven't decreased production accordingly, instead exporting to Europe at prices that EU firms can't compete with. If China does not stop overproducing, the EU will be forced to institute tariffs to preserve "a level playing field."

This point is horrific for two reasons. Not only do European officials want to deprive their citizenry of more affordable products in order to support non-competitive firms, but apparently, they're willing to take advantage of China's command economy to control global production. The EU presumes to have a "market economy," but evidently that only applies within European borders. Getting a foreign government to control the production of goods based on bureaucratic whims rather than market demand is no problem.

· Reducing the Trade Deficit

EU diplomats are going to go to Beijing and demand that Xi Jinping himself decrease the European trade deficit with China, specifically by increasing the purchase of European exports. Here we see that despite several centuries of evidence against it, EU officials are still pushing mercantilism.

· Raising Electric Vehicle Prices

In an utterly baffling move, von der Leyen and Michel plan to propose "price undertaking" to Xi Jinping and Li Qiang. In other words, they'll ask that Chinese firms raise the prices of electric vehicles exported to Europe to bring them in line with domestic prices. This is in the same summit during which the very same diplomats will be pressuring China for more participation in "multilateral efforts against climate change."

The top three nations for EV purchase subsidies are all in the EU: France with 5,000€, Germany with 4,500€ and the Netherlands with 2,950€. [5] In other words, the EU massively distorts the prices for EVs under market value yet will now simultaneously distort it in the other direction by statutorily increasing EV imports by 20 percent.

And again, this is European indirect price control. EU politicians mostly avoid controlling prices within the EU, but they apparently have no problem getting a communist dictatorship to do it for them by setting prices on exports.

Motivation for These Demands

Of course, you can guess the official reason for this protectionism: jobs. The diplomats in question have been pretty candid, too. They need to save jobs in the face of Chinese competition in the EU market ahead of the June 2024 European Parliament election.

Economists know this reasoning rings hollow. There isn't a finite number of jobs. If a Chinese firm outcompetes a European EV manufacturer, a handful of jobs are lost. For example, let's say that lower prices on Chinese EVs managed to drive Volkswagen, the EU's largest manufacturer of EVs, completely out of business, laying off its roughly 500,000 European workers. That would still be less than 0.2 percent of the entire EU working population.

Meanwhile, Chinese firms, state-run or not, cannot sell EVs to Europe for free. They will trade for something, and new industries will form providing new jobs.

The numbers tell the whole story. According to economist Thomas Sowell, all the EU's protectionism saves the bloc around 200,000 jobs at a cost of $43 billion per year, or some $250,000 per job. [6] Considering the average EU job barely pays a 10th of that, the consequences of protectionism are quite palpable.

It's clear that von der Leyen and Michel aren't trying to save jobs, they're trying to save companies. In other words, they're trying to prop up wealthy businessmen who have failed on the market.

What About Market Fairness?

Europeans are generally well enough educated to know that free trade benefits them and the jobs argument is bogus. Therefore, modern politicians like von der Leyen and Michel must tack on the myth that trade must be "fair." Presumably, Chinese firms do not provide goods at lower prices because they have any kind of comparative or absolute advantage but rather because the Chinese government conducts "unfair trade practices," such as:

  • Subsidizing Chinese firms;
  • Failing to protect European intellectual property;
  • Purposefully weakening the Yuan to promote exports;
  • Providing barriers to foreign investment, leading to a trade surplus.

The Chinese government does do all of these things, but they are only "unfair" to the Chinese people—and a handful of European business owners. In some cases, a Chinese firm may outcompete a domestic European firm not due to a real advantage, and that is unfortunate for the owners. However, they still represent a very small constituency compared to the hundreds of millions of Europeans who benefit from lower prices paid for by Chinese citizens whose taxes go to subsidization and who cannot use their weak currency to buy superior imports.

In the end, this justification falls as flat as "jobs." In reality, EU diplomats are transparently working at the behest of European corporations, not European consumers.

Results of These Initiatives

What will happen if von der Leyen and Michel get their demands? In short, Europe will become slightly more impoverished. Prices will rise and prices will be distorted, leading to a misallocation of resources. The real purchasing power of every European will drop.

If that sounds severe, it only goes to show that it isn't China's so-called unfair trade practices that are harming Europeans. It's our government.

The Real Problem With Our Foreign Policy

12/05/2023Ron Paul

Over the weekend Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin explained to the American people what’s really wrong with US foreign policy. Some might find his conclusions surprising.

The US standing in the world is damaged not because we spent 20 years fighting an Afghan government that had nothing to do with the attacks on 9/11. The problem has nothing to do with neocon lies about Iraq’s WMDs that led untold civilian deaths in another failed “democratization” mission. It’s not because over the past nearly two years Washington has taken more than $150 billion from the American people to fight a proxy war with Russia through Ukraine.

It’s not the military-industrial complex or its massive lobbying power that extends throughout Congress, the think tanks, and the media.

Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in California’s Simi Valley, Austin finally explained the real danger to the US global military empire.

It’s us.

According to Secretary Austin, non-interventionists who advocate “an American retreat from responsibility” are the ones destabilizing the world, not endless neocon wars.

Austin said the US must continue to play the role of global military hegemon – policeman of the world – because “the world will only become more dangerous if tyrants and terrorists believe that they can get away with wholesale aggression and mass slaughter.”

How’s that for reason and logic? Austin and the interventionist elites have fact-checked 30 years of foreign policy failures and concluded, “well it would have been far worse if the non-interventionists were in charge.”

This is one of the biggest problems with the neocons. They are incapable of self-reflection. Each time the US government follows their advice into another catastrophe, it’s always someone else’s fault. In this case, as Austin tells us, those at fault for US foreign policy misadventures are the people who say, “don’t do it.”

What would have happened if the people who said “don’t do it” were in charge of President Obama’s decision to prop-up al-Qaeda to overthrow Syria’s secular leader Assad? How about if the “don’t do it” people were in charge when the neocons manufactured a “human rights” justification to destroy Libya? What if the “don’t do it” people were in charge when Obama’s neocons thought it would be a great idea to overthrow Ukraine’s democratically-elected government?

Would tyrants and terrorists have gained power if Washington did NOT get involved? No. Tyrants and terrorists got the upper hand BECAUSE Washington intervened in these crises.

As Austin further explained, part of the problem with the US is democracy itself. “Our competitors don’t have to operate under continuing resolutions,” he complained. What a burden it is for him that the people, through their representatives, are in charge of war spending.

In Congress, “America first” foreign policy sentiment is on the rise among conservatives and that infuriates Austin and his ilk. He wants more billions for wars in Ukraine and Israel and he wants it now!

And our economic problems? That is our fault too. Those who “try to pull up the drawbridge,” Austin said, undermine the security that has led to decades of prosperity. Prosperity? Has he looked at the national debt? Inflation? Destruction of the dollar?

There is a silver lining here. The fact that Austin and the neocons are attacking us non-interventionists means that we are gaining ground. They are worried about us. This is our chance to really raise our voices!

Originally published by the Ron Paul Institute. 

Abraham Lincoln—War Criminal

We frequently read today about war crimes, such as bombing hospitals. In World War II Britain bombed civilians in Dresden and the US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In war, we are told, “anything goes.” Abraham Lincoln followed this barbaric policy, and those who treat him as a “hero” have much to answer for.

In his definitive book War Crimes Against Southern Civilians (Pelican 2007), the historian Walter Brian Cisco blames Lincoln for a brutal campaign of Terror against the South:

“A Review of War Crimes Against Southern Civilians by Walter Brian Cisco (Pelican, 2007).

Walter Brian Cisco is a lifelong scholar of American Civil War history, a professional writer, and researcher with many respected publications on the subject including States Rights Gist: A South Carolina General of the Civil WarTaking a Stand: Portraits from the Southern Secession MovementHenry Timrod: A Biography, and Wade Hampton: Confederate Warrior, Conservative Statesman. In his latest book War Crimes Against Southern Civilians, Cisco writes on a subject that many historians have avoided, war crimes committed by the Union forces on the civilian population of the South beginning in the early years of the Civil War.

In his book, Cisco does a commendable job of uncovering historical records from the time period in citing from sources that include accounts from enlisted Union soldiers that were involved in the events, official reports, letters, diaries, and various other testimonials from civilians that tell of the monstrosities committed against Southern population throughout the Civil War. Early in his book, Cisco clearly states Lincoln had adopted the “black flag” policy and this policy was executed by several Union commanders in dates far preceding the better known Sherman’s March to the Sea. “Warring against noncombatants came to be the stated policy and deliberate practice in its subjugation of the Confederacy. Abraham Lincoln, the commander in chief with a reputation as a micromanager, well knew what was going on and approved” (pg. 16). Several pieces cited support this claim and are presented throughout the book.

The evidence offered supporting the “black flag” policy adopted by the Lincoln administration is done in numerous ways. A few examples presented are incidents such as the 1861 St. Louis massacre in which twenty-eight civilians lay dead in the streets of St. Louis and seventy-five others were wounded by the hands of a force of between six and seven thousand Union regulars and German volunteers commanded by Capt. Nathanial Lyon (pg. 22 and 23). The 1862 occupation of New Orleans in which Maj. General Benjamin Butler, establishes martial law whose “decrees were worthy of a czar” and in one infamous order, commanding Union soldiers to treat the ladies of the town as prostitutes which could be “construed as a license for rape” (pg. 65). Other accounts are crimes committed against non-combatants were the attacks on Southern pacifist religious refugees, in which Sheridan’s army robbed, plundered, poisoned wells with dead animal carcasses, and burned their houses to the ground during the Shenandoah Valley campaign of 1864 (pg. 124). Cisco cites several instances in which slaves and free blacks were robbed, raped, and killed by the hands of Union soldiers. Cisco’s book is filled with damning evidence of the war crimes committed by the Union forces on the South. Any reader of this book has to question how a soldier in the U.S. military could justify the inhumane actions that were taken against a civilian population which included the elderly, women, children and slaves. The accounts of Union aggression stated seems surreal and brings forth a question of fallacy that has been planted in the minds of generations of Americans far from what the Union cause truly was about.

War Crimes Against Southern Civilians chapters are organized by engagements recorded from 1861-1865 and follows the timeline very closely. The organization of the chapters is done in a manner that it is easy for a reader to follow and creates a clear account of how these events progressed throughout the war. The author also does a good job citing sources in the book and those that are used are accurate, but the format used in citing the information are not very user friendly. The pages within the text are void of footnotes and somewhat of a nuisance for readers who want quick access to citations presented on the page they are reading. Cisco does not include any footnotes in the book or endnotes at the end of each chapter, but instead lists all notes at the end of the book. Even though the book is well written, improvements could be made through the way notes are arranged and should do so if an updated version of the book is ever released.

Without question, the author writes from a Southern perspective in presenting the atrocities Southern citizens were subjected to by Union forces. Many historians might discount Cisco’s work for representing only the Southern viewpoint of the war in this book. However, through writing in a Southern viewpoint, Cisco has brought forth a piece of history that is unknown to many readers of Civil War history. The majority of books written about the Civil War give a very limited account of the events that took place with the intent of glorifying the actions of the Lincoln administration and the Union army. Cisco’s contribution of the historical accounts of the Civil War is commendable and he meets a difficult subject matter head-on that other authors have purposely neglected. The facts Cisco presents, instills his readers with facts that contribute a more complete understanding of events that forever changed the course of a nation.

Read the full article at LewRockwell.com.

Can Libertarians Win in Georgia? (The Country, Not the State)

12/04/2023Ucha Goshadze

While much of the attention is now focused on Argentina and Javier Milei's electoral triumph, we can also discover some success stories in other parts of the world, most notably in the republic of Georgia, where a libertarian party called "Girchi" has been fighting for freedom since 2015.

Georgia has harsh drug laws, and in many situations, the penalties are harsher than those for crimes like theft, rape, and robbery. Girchi, as a party pushing for individual autonomy and personal freedom, has been lobbying for more liberal drug laws. This campaign culminated in a civil disobedience act on New Year's Eve in 2016, when Girchi leaders and supporters openly planted the cannabis seed at the Girchi office premises.

Their efforts in 2017 ended in the Georgian Constitutional Court ruling in Girchi's favor, stating that the criminal punishment for cannabis use is unconstitutional, essentially decriminalizing cannabis use in Georgia. Later, on the same grounds and in favor of Girchi, the Constitutional Court abolished all administrative fines for personal consumption of marijuana, making Georgia the first country in Europe and the ex-Soviet area to achieve such an expansion of personal freedoms.

Girchi is opposed to most private-sector regulations and has spoken out against them on numerous occasions. In 2019 Girchi established Shmaxi, a ride-sharing firm, as an act of civil disobedience in response to enacted regulations for taxicabs to be exclusively painted white. Up to 500 people joined the campaign and registered to drive their cars through Shmaxi. Despite the fact that the company was registered as an academic institution on wheels, teaching passengers libertarian ideology, numerous drivers still got fined for breaking the taxi regulations.

Georgia still maintains mandatory military service, which limits thousands of people's autonomy and forces them to serve the government against their will. However, Georgian legislation exempts clergy from mandatory military duty. To utilize this loophole, Girchi's church, the Christian Evangelical Protestant Church - 'Biblical Freedom', was officially registered in 2017. The loophole was employed by 'Biblical Freedom' to assist young men who did not want to serve in the army.

Those who do not intend to join the army are given certificates indicating that they are “priests” of the Church. It effectively exempts individuals from compelled military service, allowing them to spend their lives according to their own free will. Ordination takes only a few minutes and costs $17; after that, individuals are exempt from the draft until the following year, when they can be ordinated again. The government also offers the 1-year postponement, but it is for $675 and now to be increased to $1685. Since its inception, the church has managed to rescue around 50,000 people from this sort of modern slavery.

Girchi won four seats in the parliament in the 2020 parliamentary elections, and while four deputies may not seem like much, they have managed to expose hundreds of wicked regulations to the public while the media's attention was drawn to other nonsense and absurd mainstream narratives. Three unjustly imprisoned inmates were also liberated because of Girchi's involvement and activity in parliament.

Libertarian MPs have also been embroiled in heated parliamentary debates over an immoral conscription law that aimed to eliminate Biblical Freedom. After many hours of filibuster attempts and even brawls with government MPs, the legislation was only passed after 9 months (ordinarily, the government passes laws in a matter of weeks).

And even then, it proved ineffective because Biblical Freedom continued to exempt individuals from the army, as priests are allowed to demand alternative non-military service. Since there were no vacant positions for hundreds of people who now demanded alternative service, the government was left helpless, and they are now once again planning to amend the law to close this loophole.

Girchi, like Milei, calls for the abolition of the central bank and the adoption of a multi-currency system that allows people to use the currency that they deem to be the best. Girchi also believes in free banking and the gold standard. Girchi's politicians openly declare that taxation is robbery and inflation is theft, so they intend to implement a single tax system and reduce plundering to the biblical 10 percent.

Georgia, as a post-Soviet country, has yet to transform into a Western capitalist-style country in terms of property. As much as 80 percent of all land and resources remain in public property and thus are kept outside of all economic activities. Girchi is in favor of privatizing and restituting all state assets, including public companies, public lands, forests, and natural resources.

Girchi's Internet platform is unique in that it promotes self-nominated political candidates interested in becoming politicians and spreading libertarian values. Candidates compete on the site, and users vote and rank them to create the final party list for the elections, which will be arranged with Girchi's digital currency, the Georgian Dollar (GED). Members can also use the platform to finance the party, its candidates, and its projects for which they receive GED.

Girchi's current funding comes from its projects and voluntary contributions from members via the platform, making it unique among Georgian political parties. Girchi prefers a meritocracy system over democracy, so the party's structure and ruling are based on the merit each user has brought to the party, which is indicated by the number of GED they own.

Girchi is a fiscally conservative party that consistently supports spending cuts and tax cuts. It advocates for the abolition of all income and corporate taxes, as well as import duties. Girchi is a vocal critic of budget deficits and national debt. The party also advocates for complete deregulation of private education and parental freedom to homeschool their children. Girchi also supports the legalization of gun ownership, describing it as "the acknowledgment that all people are free and have the complete right to protect themselves and their property."

The party is also a vocal opponent of the present woke agenda and gender identity politics. Girchi even sought a Constitutional Court ruling against gender-based election quotas and introduced a bill to replace all references to "gender" in all legislation with "male and female".

Girchi also argues that government bureaucracy is not only financially costly, but it also imposes economically harmful policies. As a result, Girchi has promised to make the transition of 250,000 individuals employed in the public sector to the market economy as fast as possible by firing government officials on the condition that they preserve their pay for three years.

Georgia will hold pivotal parliamentary elections next year, and Girchi's approval rating is rising month by month. Following Milei's success, we hope to achieve similar results and expand libertarian representation in parliament and the government.

Grade Inflation at Harvard and Yale: 80% of Students Get As

12/04/2023Jonathan Newman

Reports from Harvard and Yale reveal that about 80% of students at both institutions receive As, with mean GPAs reaching 3.7 at Yale and 3.8 at Harvard.

This is a trend that has stretched across decades and across higher education in general. While there was a large jump in the proportion of A grades in 2020, grade inflation has been occurring for a long time. In the 1960s, average GPAs were around 2.5 and most students earned Cs. The incentives of the military draft for the Vietnam War led to dramatic increases in GPA in the 1970s, but the trend has continued since then.

Figure 1: Average GPA in U.S. four-year schools

Source: Rojstaczer and Healy (2010), “Grading in American Colleges and Universities,” Teachers College Record, figure 1.

While the above data ends in 2010, The Yale Daily News article contains a chart of the proportion of letter grades at Yale since then.

Figure 2: Letter grade distribution at Yale, 2010-2023

Source: Ray Fair, “Grade Report Update: 2022-2023,” table 1. Retrieved from Gorelick, “Faculty report reveals average Yale College GPA, grade distributions by subject,” Yale Daily News, November 30, 2023.

Grade inflation makes it difficult for employers to hire based on academic performance. Students are learning this and so are using other methods to stand out among job market competitors. Straight As at institutions like Harvard and Yale aren’t enough to signal productivity to prospective employers.

However, there are big disparities across fields. The Yale report shows that subjects like “Women’s Gender & Sexuality Studies” (92.06 percent As) and “Ethnicity, Race, & Migration” (85.43 percent As) are giving top grades to a much greater extent than subjects like economics (52.39 percent) and math (55.18 percent As).

Read the Yale Daily News article here and the Harvard Crimson article here.

Chinese Nationals Own a Mere 0.03% of American Agricultural Land

12/01/2023Ryan McMaken

American protectionists have yet again come up with some new reasons to push more government regulations and more government control of private property.  This time, the new regulations come in the form of restriction as to whom Americans can sell their own property. Specifically, a number of US states have passed—or are seriously considering passing—new laws prohibiting foreign nationals and foreign entities from owning land within the states in question. 

At least 16 states have done so this year: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Virginia. Not all of these new regulations are equally robust. Some restrict the sale only of farmland, some restrict sales on all real property. Some of these restrict sales to nationals of certain disfavored countries, while at least one state—i.e., Oklahoma—bans sales of all non-citizens except under certain circumstances. 

The rationale behind nearly all of this is a moral panic over Chinese ownership of land. The meme has gone about among many conservative nationalists that the Chinese regime is buying up American land and so both states and the federal government must create new regulations and prohibition to protect "freedom." An example of this can be found in a recent post on Twitter by South Dakota governor Kristi Noem which states that "China's holdings"—by which she presumably means holdings of Chinese nationals—increased 5,300%. That's a lot of growth, but one wonders why she didn't mention any actual numbers of acreage. (It is reminiscent of how the Soviets used to report crime statistics only as percentage changes. The USSR data workers kept "forgetting" to publish any totals of actual crime incidents.) 

noem

 So, just how much land do Chinese nationals (and other foreigners) own? It turns out the Federal government already keeps track of this thanks to the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act of 1978 (AFIDA). The act requires "foreign investors who acquire, transfer, or hold an interest in U.S. agricultural land to report such holdings and transactions to the Secretary of Agriculture on an AFIDA Report Form FSA-153." Prior to that, the Federal government did not systematically track foreign ownership of land. The act itself, of course, is not constitutional. One will look in vain for anything among the enumerated federal powers in the US constitution authorizing such activities. Nevertheless, since the report exists, we'll have a look. 

According to the most recent AFIDA report, China holds a little under 1 percent of all foreign-owned ag land. But that just foreign-owned ag land. If we look at all privately held ag land overall, China owns 0.03 percent. 

foreign

In contrast, the country with the most citizens who hold US ag land is Canada. Canadian investors hold 12.8 million acres, which is 31 percent of all foreign-held land. Canadian nationals hold 0.97 percent of ag land overall. 

It is Europeans, however, who dominate among foreign holders of US ag land. After Canada, the next-largest group of foreign nationals holding ag land is the Dutch, followed by Italians, and then the British. China isn't even in the top ten, however, and comes in behind Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Switzerland, and others. 

foreign

All taken together, foreigners own approximately 40.8 million acres. 383,935 of that is held by Chinese nationals. 

Some advocates for more laws against foreign ownership contend that the AFIDA report is missing data, yet critics of the report only offer conjecture about what the "real" numbers are. If AFIDA is wrong, well, people like Kristi Noem don't actually have any better numbers.  In any case it's a safe bet that Chinese nationals don't control even 5 percent of ag land in America.  Moreover, it's rather odd that some Americans wring their hands over the role of Chinese nationals in land ownership when there is no demonstrated threat, whatsoever. 

Rather, if Americans are looking for a large, distant corporate entity that it immensely wealthy and unresponsive to the wishes and needs of Americans, we might be better off looking at the United States government and its immense land holdings. Compared to Chinese nationals' paltry 384,000 acres, the US government owns 640 million acres of non-seabed land—or 16 times more land than the land of all foreign nationals combined. For perspective, the total number of acres in all farmland in America totals 895 million acres. Federal lands comprise 28 percent of all land in America—agricultural or otherwise. 

fed

These federal lands are off-limits to any private ownership—essentially forever. Federal lands have been used for nuclear experiments that have poisoned nearby populations. Federal workers on federal lands have caused a variety of environmental disasters such as the Gold King Mine spill in 2015. The Feds are looking to lock down these lands even more from the general public with initiatives like "wilderness" areas and roadless areas. These lands are controlled primarily by interest groups with influential lobbies in Washington. Yet, it is Chinese ownership we are supposed to be deeply concerned about. 

To get perspective on how much of a threat is Beijing's power versus American federal power we might ask: how much do Americans pay to Beijing in taxes? How much does Beijing regulate American businesses or pollute American waterways and lands? How many Americans has Beijing imprisoned or fined for violating Beijing's rules?  The answers to these questions highlight how fears are generally misplaced about which government does the most damage on a daily basis to Americans private property, American freedom, and American well-being in general. 

Of course, many Americans—thanks to relentless propaganda and gaslighting from the media and public schools—will insist that the US government only has the peoples' best interests at heart. Many have convinced themselves that a few hundred millionaires in Congress somehow represent the interests of 330 million Americans. So, it's not the feds we must fear, with their IRS agents, ATF goons, and FBI secret police—all armed to the teeth. Rather, it's a distant foreign government with virtually no power over us that we should really be worrying about. So, that 640 million acres of federal land is all for the "public good," you see, while a few million acres of foreign-held land is a grave threat.

Image source:

Jesús Huerta de Soto on Milei

Professor Jesús Huerta de Soto responds to one of his students about Javier Milei. He talks about him as an economist, as an academic, as a person, as a politician and as a media effect as a propagandist of anarcho-capitalism. He also analyzes the first steps that he should take as president of Argentina.

 

Jesús Huerta de Soto responds in class about Javier Milei - translated to English

Henry Kissinger and the First Gulf War

Editors Note: Much of Murray Rothbard's historical work was grounded upon power elite analysis. Justin Raimondo noted the value of this work, "Theoreticians of the Left and Right are constantly referring to abstract "forces" when they examine and attempt to explain historical patterns. Applying the principle of methodological individualism — which attributes all human action to individual actors — and the economic principles of the Austrian School, Rothbard formulated a trenchant overview of the American elite and the history of the modern era. The following is an example of this work: a 1991 article originally published in the Rothbard Rockwell Report titled "Why the War? The Kuwait Connection", identifying the various factors leading into the first Gulf War, in particular Henry Kissinger's role in the matter.

For more on Rothbard's views on Henry Kissinger and another example of his power elite analysis, read Wall Street, Banks, and American Foreign Policy.

Why the War? The Kuwait Connection

Why, exactly, did we go to war in the Gulf? The answer remains murky, but perhaps we can find one explanation by examining the strong and ominous Kuwait Connection in our government. (I am indebted to an excellent article in an obscure New York tabloid, Downtown, by Bob Feldman, “The Kissinger Affair,” March 27.) The Sabahklatura that runs the Kuwait government is immensely wealthy, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, derived from tax/”royalty” loot extracted from oil producers simply because the Sabah tribe claims “sovereignty” over that valuable chunk of desert real estate. The Sabah tribe has no legitimate claim to the oil revenue; it did nothing to homestead or mix its labor or any other resource with the crude oil.

It is reasonable to assume that the Sabah family stands ready to use a modest portion of that ill-gotten wealth to purchase defenders and advocates in the powerful United States. We now focus our attention on the sinister but almost universally Beloved figure of Dr. Henry Kissinger, a lifelong spokesman, counselor, and servitor of the Rockefeller World Empire. Kissinger is so Beloved, in fact, that whenever he appears on Nightline or Crossfire he appears alone, since it seems to be lese majest (or even blasphemy) for anyone to contradict the Great One’s banal and ponderous Teutonic pronouncements. Only a handful of grumblers and malcontents on the extreme right and extreme left disturb this cozy consensus.

In 1954, the 31-year-old Kissinger, a Harvard political scientist and admirer of Metternich, was plucked out of his academic obscurity to become lifelong foreign policy advisor to New York Governor Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller. Doctor K continued in that august role until he assumed the mastery of foreign policy throughout the Nixon and Ford administrations. In that role, Kissinger played a major part in prolonging and extending the Vietnam War, and in the mass murder of civilians entailed by the terror bombings of Vietnam, the secret bombing of Cambodia, and the invasion of Laos.

Since leaving office in 1977, Dr. Kissinger has continued to play a highly influential role in U.S. politics, in the U.S. media, and in the Rockefeller world empire. It was Kissinger, along with David Rockefeller, who was decisive in the disastrous decision of President Carter to admit the recently toppled Shah of Iran, old friend and ally of the Rockefellers, into the United States, a decision that led directly to the Iranian hostage crisis and to Carter’s downfall. Today, Kissinger still continues to serve as a trustee of the powerful Rockefeller Brothers Fund, as a counselor to Rockefellers’ Chase Manhattan Bank, and as a member of Chase’s International Advisory Committee. Kissinger’s media influence is evident from his having served on the board of CBS, Inc., and having been a paid consultant to both NBC News and ABC News. That takes care of all three networks.

But Kissinger’s major, and most lucrative role, has come as head of Kissinger Associates in New York City, founded on a loan obtained in 1982 from the international banking firm of E.M. Warburg, Pincus and Company. Nominally, Kissinger Associates (KA) is an “international consulting firm” but “consultant” covers many sins, and in KA’s case, this means international political influence-peddling for its two dozen or so important corporate clients. In the fullest report on KA, Leslie Gelb in the New York Times Magazine for April 20, 1986, reveals that, in that year, 25 to 30 corporations paid KA between $150,000 and $420,000 each per annum for political influence and access. As Gelb blandly puts it: “The superstar international consultants [at KA] were certainly people who would get their telephone calls returned from high American government officials and who would also be able to get executives in to see foreign leaders.” I dare say a lot more than mere access could be gained thereby. KA’s offices in New York and Washington are small, but they pack a powerful punch. (Is it mere coincidence that KA’s Park Avenue headquarters is in the same building as the local office of Chase Manhattan Bank’s subsidiary, the Commercial Bank of Kuwait?)

Who were these “superstar international consultants?” One of them, who in 1986 was the vice chairman of KA, is none other than General Brent Scowcroft, former national security advisor under President Ford, and, playing the exact same role under George Bush, serving as the chief architect of the Gulf War. One of the General’s top clients was Kuwait’s government-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, who paid Scowcroft for his services at least from 1984 through 1986. In addition, Scowcroft became a director of Santa Fe International (SFI) in the early 1980s, not long after SFI was purchased by the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation in 1981. Joining Scowcroft on the SFI board was Scowcroft’s old boss, Gerald Ford. One of SFI’s activities is drilling oil wells in Kuwait, an operation which, of course, had to be suspended after the Iraq invasion.

Brent Scowcroft, it is clear, has enjoyed a long-standing and lucrative Kuwait connection. Is it a coincidence that it was Scowcroft’s National Security Council presentation on August 3, 1990, which according to the New York Times (February 21) “crystallized people’s thinking and galvanized support” for a “strong response” to the Iraq invasion of Kuwait?

Scowcroft, by the way, does not exhaust the Republican administrations’ revolving door among Kissinger Associates. Another top KA official, Lawrence Eagleburger, undersecretary of state under Reagan, has returned to high office after a stint at KA as deputy secretary of state under George Bush.

Also vitally important at KA are the members of its board of directors. One director is T. Jefferson Cunningham III, who is also a director of the Midland Bank of Britain, which has also been a KA client. The fascinating point here is that 10.5 percent of this $4 billion bank is owned by the Kuwait government. And Kissinger, as head of KA, is of course concerned to advance the interests of his clients – which include the Midland Bank and therefore the government of Kuwait. Does this connection have anything to do with Kissinger’s ultra-hawkish views on the Gulf War? In the meantime, Kissinger continues to serve on President Bush’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, which gives Kissinger not only a channel for giving advice but also gives him access to national security information which could prove useful to KA’s corporate clients.

Another KA client is the Fluor Corporation, which has a special interest in Saudi Arabia. Shortly before the August 2 invasion, Saudi Arabia decided to launch a $30 to $40 billion project to expand oil production, and granted two huge oil contracts to the Parson and Fluor corporations. (New York Times, August 21)

One member of KA’s board of directors is ARCO Chairman Robert O. Anderson; ARCO, also one of KA’s clients, is engaged in joint oil-exploration and oil-drilling in offshore China with Santa Fe International, the subsidiary of the Kuwait government.

Other KA board members are William D. Rogers, undersecretary of state in the Eisenhower administration, and long-time leading Dewey-Rockefeller Republican in New York; former Citibank (Rockefeller) Chairman Edward Palmer; and Eric Lord Roll, economist and chairman of the board of the London international banking house of S.F. Warburg.

Perhaps the most interesting KA board member is one of the most Beloved figures in the conservative movement, William E. Simon, secretary of treasury in the Nixon and Ford administrations. When Simon left office in 1977, he became a consultant to the Bechtel Corporation, which has had the major massive construction contracts to build oil refineries and cities in Saudi Arabia. In addition, Simon became a consultant to Suliman Olayan, one of the wealthiest and most powerful businessmen in Saudi Arabia. Long a close associate of the oil-rich Saudi royal family, Olayan had served Bechtel well by getting it the multi-billion contract to build the oil city of Jubail. In 1980, furthermore, Olayan hired William Simon to be chairman of two investment firms owned jointly by himself and the influential Saudi Prince Khaled al Saud.

Bechtel, the Rockefellers, and the Saudi royal family have long had an intimate connection. After the Saudis granted the Rockefeller-dominated Aramco oil consortium the monopoly of oil in Saudi Arabia, the Rockefellers brought their pals at Bechtel in on the construction contracts. The Bechtel Corporation, of course, has also contributed George Shultz and Cap Weinberger to high office in Republican administrations. To complete the circle, KA director Simon’s former boss Suliman Olayan was, in 1988, the largest shareholder in the Chase Manhattan Bank after David Rockefeller himself.

The pattern is clear. An old New Left slogan held that “you don’t need a weatherman to tell you how the wind is blowing.” In the same way, you don’t need to be a “conspiracy theorist” to see what’s going on here. All you have to do is be willing to use your eyes.

Separate Tech and State

11/29/2023Ron Paul

Some libertarians dismiss concerns over social media companies’ suppression of news and opinions that contradict select agendas by pointing out that these platforms are private companies, not part of the government. There are two problems with this argument. First, there is nothing unlibertarian about criticizing private businesses or using peaceful and voluntary means, such as boycotts, to persuade businesses to change their practices.

The second and most significant reason the “they are private companies” argument does not hold water is the tech companies’ censorship has often been done at the “request” of government officials. The extent of government involvement with online censorship was revealed in emails between government and employees of various tech companies. In these emails the government officials addressed employees of these “private companies” as though these employees were the government officials’ subordinates.

Government officials using their authority to silence American citizens is a blatant violation of the First Amendment. Yet some conservative elected officials and writers think the solution to the problem of big tech censorship is giving government more power over technology companies. These pro-regulation conservatives ignore the fact that it would be just as unconstitutional if a conservative administration was telling tech companies who they must allow to access their platforms as it is when progressives order social media companies to deplatform certain individuals. Furthermore, since the average government official’s political views are closer to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez than to Marjorie Taylor Greene, giving government more power over social media companies is likely to lead to more online censorship of conservatives.

Instead of giving government more power over social media, defenders of free speech should work to separate tech and state. An excellent place to start is pushing for passage of the Free Speech Protection Act. Unlike other legislation, such as the PATRIOT Act and the Affordable Care Act, this bill is accurately named. Introduced by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, this bill makes it a crime for any federal employee or employee of a federal contractor to use his position to communicate with a social media company to interfere with any American’s exercise of First Amendment protected rights. Violators of this law would face fines of at least 10,000 dollars as well as suspension, demotion, or even termination and a lifetime ban from working with the federal government.

In addition to working to pass the Free Speech Protection Act, those who object to the big technology companies’ “content moderation” policies should abandon big tech for more free speech friendly platforms. Many of the newer social media companies were started to meet the demand for a “content moderation”-free alternative to the dominant companies. Senator Paul himself stopped posting videos on YouTube because of its suppression of free speech. While my Liberty Report still airs on YouTube, its main platform is Rumble. It is wonderful to do a show on any topic I choose without worrying about being canceled.

Big tech censorship is a problem created by big government. The solution lies not with giving government more power but with separating tech and state. Passing the Free Speech Protection Act and making big tech pay a price for cooperating with big government by leaving to use sites like Rumble are two excellent places to start.

Originally published by the Ron Paul Institute. 

The Truth About JFK’s Assassination

November 22 was the sixtieth anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination. It was obvious in 1963 that the “official” story that a ‘lone nut,“ Lee Harvey Oswald, had gunned down the president was a lie.

Here is what the great Murray Rothbard wrote about the assassination in 1992, in a review of Oliver Stone’s movie JFK:

“The most fascinating thing about JFK, as exciting and well-done as it is, is not the movie itself but the hysterical attempt to marginalize, if not to suppress it. How many movies can you remember where the entire Establishment, in serried ranks, from left (The Nation) through Center to Right, joined together as one in a frantic orgy of calumny and denunciation. Time and Newsweek actually doing so before the movie came out? Apparently, so fearful was the Establishment that the Oliver Stone movie might prove convincing that the public had to be thoroughly inoculated in advance. It was a remarkable performance by the media, and it demonstrates, as nothing else, the enormous and growing gap between Respectable Media opinion and what the public Knows in its Heart.

You would think from the shock of the Respectable Media, that Stone’s JFK was totally outlandish, off-the-wall, monstrous and fanciful in its accusations against the American power structure. And you would think that historical films never engaged in dramatic license, as if such solemnly hailed garbage as Wilson and Sunrise at Campobello had been models of scholarly precision. Hey, come off it guys! Despite the fuss and feathers, to veteran Kennedy Assassination buffs, there was nothing new in JFK. What Stone does is to summarize admirably the best of a veritable industry of assassination revisionism – of literally scores of books, articles, tapes, annual conventions, and archival research. Stone himself is quite knowledgeable in the area, as shown by his devastating answer in the Washington Post, to the smears of the last surviving Warren Commission member, Gerald Ford, and the old Commission hack, David W. Belin. Despite the smears in the press, there was nothing outlandish in the movie. Interestingly enough, JFK has been lambasted much more furiously than was the first revisionist movie, Don Freed’s Executive Action (1973), an exciting film with Robert Ryan and Will Geer, which actually did go way beyond the evidence, and beyond plausibility, by trying to make an H.L. Hunt figure the main conspirator.

The evidence is now overwhelming that the orthodox Warren legend, that Oswald did it and did it alone, is pure fabrication. It now seems clear that Kennedy died in a classic military triangulation hit, that, as Parkland Memorial autopsy pathologist Dr. Charles Crenshaw has very recently affirmed, the fatal shots were fired from in front, from the grassy knoll, and that the conspirators were, at the very least, the right-wing of the CIA, joined by its long-time associates and employees, the Mafia. It is less well established that President Johnson himself was in on the original hit, though he obviously conducted the coordinated cover-up, but certainly his involvement is highly plausible.

The last-ditch defenders of the Warren view cannot refute the details, so they always fall back on generalized vaporings, such as: “How could all the government be in on it?” But since Watergate, we have all become familiar with the basic fact: only a few key people need be in on the original crime, while lots of high and low government officials can be in on the subsequent cover-up, which can always be justified as “patriotic,” on “national security” grounds, or simply because the president ordered it. The fact that the highest levels of the U.S. government are all-too capable of lying to the public, should have been clear since Watergate and Iran-Contra. The final fallback argument, getting less plausible all the time is: if the Warren case isn’t true, why hasn’t the truth come out by this time? The fact is, however, that the truth has largely come out, in the assassination industry, from books – some of them best-sellers – by Mark Lane, David Lifton, Peter Dale ScottJim Marrs, and many others, but the Respectable Media pay no attention. With that sort of mindset, that stubborn refusal to face reality, no truth can ever come out. And yet, despite this blackout, because books, local TV and radio, magazine articles, supermarket tabloids, etc. can’t be suppressed – but only ignored – by the Respectable Media, we have the remarkable result that the great majority of the public, in all the polls, strongly disbelieve the Warren legend. Hence, the frantic attempts of the Establishment to suppress as gripping and convincing a film as Stone’s JFK.

Read the full article at LewRockwell.com.