Daily Archives: May 30, 2018

He Said That? 5/30/18

From Zig Ziglar (1926–2012), American author, salesman, and motivational speaker:

Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs

More evidence that the opioid epidemic is only getting worse, by Maria LaMagna

$5o0 billion per year is not chump change. That’s the all-in cost estimate of the opioid epidemic to the US. From Maria LaMagna at marketwatch.com:

The crisis is costing the U.S. more than $500 billion per year

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Medical care for those abusing opioids can cost $28 billion per year.

The opioid epidemic appears to be hurting white Americans more than any other group.

The rise in fatal drug overdoses is almost entirely responsible for the growth in mortality rates for white, non-Hispanic people between the ages of 22 and 56 in recent years, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Mortality rates for that population rose by 21.2 deaths per 100,000 people between 1999 and 2015, the study found. If drug mortality rates had stayed at 1999 levels, mortality rates would have actually declined for men in that population considerably and risen only slightly for women.

Recent analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that recent increases in drug overdose deaths “are driven by continued sharp increases in deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone, such as illicitly manufactured fentanyl.”

And all races have shown an increase in opioid-related deaths, the CDC found. “No area of the United States is exempt from this epidemic—we all know a friend, family member, or loved one devastated by opioids,” CDC principal deputy director Anne Schuchat said in a statement.

From 2015 to 2016, opioid-involved deaths increased among men, women, people above the age of 15, whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asian/Pacific Islanders, the CDC said. “The largest relative rate change occurred among blacks (56.1%),” it added.

Of the estimated 50,000 Americans who died of drug overdoses in 2015, some 63% involved opioids. That same year, more than 33,000 Americans died of drug overdoses involving opioids, according to a report from The Council of Economic Advisers, an agency that is part of the Executive Office of the President. That’s more than quadruple the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids in 1999, according to the CDC.

To continue reading: More evidence that the opioid epidemic is only getting worse

May You Live in Stupid, Corrupt and yet Fascinating Times, by Michael Krieger

Don’t feel sorry for washed up spies. Many of them are finding lucrative work with the media. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

In the old days, America’s top spies would complete their tenures at the CIA or one of the other Washington puzzle palaces and segue to more ordinary pursuits. Some wrote their memoirs. One ran for president. Another died a few months after surrendering his post. But today’s national-security establishment retiree has a different game plan. After so many years of brawling in the shadows, he yearns for a second, lucrative career in the public eye. He takes a crash course in speaking in soundbites, refreshes his wardrobe and signs a TV news contract. Then, several times a week, waits for a network limousine to shuttle him to the broadcast news studios where, after a light dusting of foundation and a spritz of hairspray, he takes a supporting role in the anchors’ nighttime shows.

PoliticoThe Spies Who Came in to the TV Studio

May you live in stupid, corrupt and yet fascinating times.

– Me, paraphrasing a Chinese curse

I’ve been away the past couple of weeks taking a break with my family. I paid attention to the news, but from a distance. As usual, there’s plenty to talk about.

In the last 24 hours alone, we’ve seen political chaos erupt in Italy and hordes of pundits simultaneously lose their minds over the murder of a prominent Russian journalist that never happened. Such is the world we live in. Stupid, corrupt, yet fascinating.

Of all the things I could’ve written about, you may be surprised by today’s selection. It’s a clip many of you probably saw where Richard Stengel (who was Time Magazine’s managing editor from 2006-2013) admits he approves of government propagandizing its own citizens during a Council on Foreign Relations forum. Here’s the clip.

It remains amusing how mainstream journalists continue to blame the public for not believing them, rather than admitting they themselves created this environment of deep distrust by acting as salespeople for the status quo versus challenging the powerful like they’re supposed to.

To continue reading: May You Live in Stupid, Corrupt and yet Fascinating Times

Affirmative Action and the American Mind: If Any, by Fred Reed

Pretend that knowing the cultural aspects of various medical regimes is the same thing as knowing medicine, and a lot of people will needlessly die. From Fred Reed at theburningplatform.com:

“Affirmative action” means hiring people because they can’t do the job well. Near-synonyms are “diversity,” meaning groups that cannot do the job well, and  “inclusiveness,” which means seeking people who you know cannot do the job well.  These underpin American society, and have ruined education. For some time the sciences seemed less susceptible to the prevailing enstupidation because mathematics would present an impenetrable barrier to the the insufficiently bright. This, astonishingly, is changing. The sciences are being dumbed down to–are you surprised?–spare the feelings of included affirmative diversity.

Which somewhat curiously brings us to international politics and an aspect of scientific schooling that does not appear in the mainstream press: Psychometrists, people who endeavor to measure intelligence, universally agree that the Chinese are more intelligent than Eurowhites. So are the Koreans and Japanese. Since for the most part psychometrists are themselves white, their conclusions presumably do not spring from racial chauvinism. The Chinese advantage is measured at around five IQ points. This is not great but makes a considerable difference at the high end of the distribution.

As a matter of observable–if, to many, unwelcome–fact, virtually all of the work in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)  in America is done by whites. Blacks contribute nothing and Hispanics, to date anyway, very little. For reasons of politics we must pretend not to notice. When a piano is falling toward one’s head, one may pretend that it is not, but not for long. The arrival of the piano will ensure this.

America’s prosperity and place in the world very much depend on invention and excellence in the STEM fields. Boeing sells airliners, and provides jobs to Americans, only because its airliners are technically equal to those of AirBus. A lowering of technical capacity will have unfortunate consequences for the country.

America’s whites number at about 200 million, the Han Chinese of China about a billion–five times as many.

To continue reading: Affirmative Action and the American Mind: If Any

Why the Eurozone and the Euro Are Both Doomed, by Charles Hugh Smith

One currency cannot serve nations with diametrically opposed economic goals. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

Papering over the structural imbalances in the Eurozone with endless bailouts will not resolve the fundamental asymmetries.

Beneath the permanent whatever it takes “rescue” by the European Central Bank (ECB) lie fundamental asymmetries that doom the euro, the joint currency that has been the centerpiece of European unity since its introduction in 1999.

The key imbalance is between export powerhouse Germany, which generates huge trade surpluses, and its trading partners, which run large trade and budget deficits, particularly Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain.

Those outside of Europe may be surprised to learn that Germany’s exports are roughly equal to those of China ($1.2 trillion), even though Germany’s population of 82 million is a mere 6% of China’s 1.3 billion. Germany and China are the world’s top exporters, while the U.S. trails as a distant third.

Germany’s emphasis on exports places it in the so-called mercantilist camp, countries that depend heavily on exports for their growth and profits. Other (nonoil-exporting) nations that routinely generate large trade surpluses include China, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and the Netherlands.

While Germany’s exports rose an astonishing 65% from 2000 to 2008, its domestic demand flatlined near zero. Without strong export growth, Germany’s economy would have been at a standstill. The Netherlands is also a big exporter (trade surplus of $33 billion) even though its population is relatively tiny, at only 16 million.

The “consumer” countries, on the other hand, run large current-account (trade) deficits and large government deficits. Italy, for instance, has a $55 billion trade deficit and a budget deficit of about $110 billion. Total public debt is a whopping 115.2% of GDP.

Spain, with about half the population of Germany, has a $69 billion annual trade deficit and a staggering $151 billion budget deficit. Fully 23% of the government’s budget is borrowed.

To continue reading: Why the Eurozone and the Euro Are Both Doomed

British Media: Lockstep Lies, by Bruce Bawer

It shouldn’t be called “British Media” anymore. The Ministry of Information is more accurate; what used to be the British media has become an arm of the government. From Bruce Bawer at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • Did the Daily Mail’s lawyers have to check with the British government, which had placed a gag order on reporting about the arrest, to make sure that it was permissible to report on the protest, if not directly on the arrest itself?
  • It seems fair to say that the incident has shocked, outraged, and scared people around the world who, until now, had thought of the United Kingdom as a free country.
  • “Britain used to be a bastion of free speech. Today its leaders are behaving like North Korea and Saudi Arabia.” – Geert Wilders, MP; The Netherlands
  • Meanwhile, Robinson remains in jail for daring to exercise his free speech, and what the mainstream media have won back is the right to resume repeating their lockstep lies about who he is and what he stands for.

Hundreds of supporters of Tommy Robinson filled the streets of London on Saturday in protest against his arrest in Leeds on Friday, but it was not until shortly after midnight on Monday that the Daily Mail posted a report about the protest on its website. The story, which was unsigned, was updated on early Monday afternoon. How to explain the delay? Did the Daily Mail’s lawyers have to check with the British government, which had placed a gag order on reporting about the arrest, to make sure that it was permissible to report on the protest, if not directly on the arrest itself?

The Mail made sure to describe the hundreds of protesters as “far-right.” How did the Mail ascertain their politics? Does it not occur to the Mail that even if Robinson were far-right, which he is not, a British subject would not have to be far right to want to take in a protest against his shockingly rapid-fire arrest, trial, conviction, and imprisonment for the sole offense of reporting from outside a courthouse?

To continue reading: British Media: Lockstep Lies

 

Press Meekly Accepts UK Judge’s Gag on Reporting Activist’s Arrest, Imprisonment, by Tom Blumer

The British press used to be one of the most aggressive and feisty in the world. Now it’s a docile lamb, thoroughly tamed by the British government. From Tom Blumer at newsbusters.org:

On Tuesday morning, UK and many international media outlets finally began reporting on the Friday arrest and imprisonment in England of anti-immigration activist and journalist Tommy Robinson.

The delay of over three days in covering the story was due to out-of-control statism combined with journalistic cowardice.

On Friday, the judge in the trial of a child “grooming” gang in Leeds issued a ban on “any report of these proceedings.” The judge’s justification, i.e., excuse, was to avoid “a substantial risk of prejudice to the administration of justice.” The judge even extended his order to include any reporting on Robinson’s arrest and sentencing.

After initially reporting Robinson’s arrest for broadcasting a livestream using his phone outside of the proceedings, UK and international outlets with UK bureaus took down their hours-old stories, apparently fearing that merely mentioning Robinson’s name, or even the existence of the judge’s order, in any report posted anywhere in the world would expose them to legal jeopardy.

In the U.S., Matt Drudge did not feel similarly constrained:

DrudgeOnTommyRobinson052818

Nor was Fox News, despite parent company News Corp.’s significant UK presence. Fox covered the story on Saturday:

FoxOnTommyRobinson052618

Robinson “was arrested, charged and sentenced within five hours.” On Tuesday, the judge lifted the press gag relating to “Robinson’s arrest and sentencing hearing.”

On Monday, Mark Steyn posted on Robinson (whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) and the trial’s subject:

… “grooming” (is) the useless euphemism for industrial-scale child gang rape and sex slavery by large numbers of Muslim men with the active connivance … of every organ of the state: social workers, police, politicians. Oh, and also the media.

You can say a lot of things about Tommy Robinson, but he’s one of the embarrassingly small number of Britons who recognizes the horror inflicted on those young and vulnerable girls on the receiving end of “diversity” and seeks to do something about it.

To continue reading: Press Meekly Accepts UK Judge’s Gag on Reporting Activist’s Arrest, Imprisonment

 

After pointlessly groping countless Americans, the TSA is keeping a secret watchlist of those who fight back, by James Bovard

The TSA and the IRS run neck and neck as to which is the most hated government bureaucracy. From James Bovard at latimes.com:

After pointlessly groping countless Americans, the TSA is keeping a secret watchlist of those who fight back
Security lanes at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco. (Eric Risberg / Associated Press)
“I need a witness!” exclaimed the security screener at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Because I had forgotten to remove my belt before going through a scanner, he explained, I must undergo an “enhanced patdown.” I told him that if he jammed his hand into my groin, I’d file a formal complaint. So he summoned his supervisor to keep an eye on the proceedings.


I thought of this exchange last week when the New York Times revealed that the Transportation Security Administration has created a secret watchlist for troublesome passengers. The TSA justified the list by saying that its screeners were assaulted 34 times last year, but did not release any details about the alleged assaults.

Naturally, the TSA’s official definition of troublemaking goes well beyond punching its officers. According to a confidential memo, any behavior that is “offensive and without legal justification” can land a traveler on the list, as can any “challenges to the safe and effective completion of screening.” Anyone who has ever “loitered” near a checkpoint could also make the list. So could any woman who pushes a screener’s hands away from her breasts.

The memo would be more accurate if it stated that anyone who fails to unquestioningly submit to all the TSA’s demands would be found guilty of insubordination. As an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, Hugh Handeyside, told the Washington Post, the policy gives the agency wide latitude to “blacklist people arbitrarily and essentially punish them for asserting their rights.” Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-New Jersey) expressed similar worry. “I am concerned about the civil-liberty implications of such a list,” she said.

To continue reading: After pointlessly groping countless Americans, the TSA is keeping a secret watchlist of those who fight back

US Sanctions on Iran: The Unraveling of Pax Americana, by Christopher Wood

Slowly but surely, US unipolarity is fading. Iran sanctions will probably hasten the fade. From Christopher Wood at grizzle.com:

Amid current news headlines about North Korea and related nuclear issues, it is important not to ignore the potential schism that could occur in the G7 world as a consequence of the practical fallout from Donald Trump’s decision on May 8 to exit the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO EUROPEAN INVESTMENTS IN IRAN?

One practical issue is what is going to happen to European investments in Iran. The most high profile example is French energy company Total’s investment in a giant Iran gasfield. Total said this month it would pull out of Iran and its development of the giant South Pars gasfield unless it is specifically protected from US penalties and related sanctions (see Financial Times article “Total threat to pull out of Iran dents EU hopes of saving accord”, May 17, 2018).

Obviously, some form of compromise may be negotiated. But if Washington takes a hard line, such as claiming US jurisdiction as regards dollar transfers between two sovereign countries as was the case in 2014 with the US$9 billion fine levied on French bank BNP, then a confrontation is seemingly inevitable and, as a result, a growing questioning of the US hegemony implied by the US dollar paper standard, a concern which has long been shared by both China and Russia.

QUESTIONING THE US’ ROLE AS THE “ECONOMIC POLICEMAN OF THE PLANET”

French finance minister Bruno Le Maire says it’s not acceptable for the US to be the “economic policeman of the planet”.

In this respect, the most interesting reaction to the Iran issue since Donald Trump made his announcement on May 8 was that of the French finance minister Bruno Le Maire when he said on May 9 that it was not acceptable for the US to be the “economic policeman of the planet”.

In this respect, France is the European country to watch since it has a history of being willing to stand up to Washington in the post-1945 world. That cannot really be said of Germany and certainly not of Britain.

To continue reading: US Sanctions on Iran: The Unraveling of Pax Americana

Italy and the euro cannot be saved by mass-immigration, by Gefira

In the fantasy world of Europe’s powers that be, declining birth rates would be offset by migration from the Middle East and Africa. It hasn’t worked out as planned. The migrants have few skills, don’t know the languages, and often prefer to live off European welfare states rather than contribute to them. From Gefira at gefira.org:

The ongoing euro crisis has never been and will never be solved. The native European populations are shrinking and this will have a consequence for the economy, production and public finance. The demographic decline is the single most important economic phenomenon. We do not doubt that the annual visitors to the Global Economic Forum in Davos are fully aware of it: they know that the European and East Asian populations are decreasing and that 18 of the 20 top economies will never experience sustainable growth again. The economic press and mainstream analysts somehow do not get it and still believe that countries that will see their native population shrinking by 30% in the next thirty years can increase their GDP.

Italy is the next epicenter of the demographic crisis. The ongoing euro problems and the orchestrated mass migration into Italy are closely related. Italian population began to dwindle last year, a situation that has never happened in modern history. Without immigration, the Italian working-age population will drop by at least 30% before the middle of the century. If the productivity does not change and even if the Italians are able to balance their budget, the consequences are unsolvable.

The Italian GDP will be smaller and smaller in proportion to the fall in the number of the working-age population. Every working-age person in Italy is burdened with a sixty-thousand-euro public debt and that amount will grow on average by nearly a thousand euros a year because more people are leaving the working force than entering. The debt to GDP ratio will be 200 percent by mid-century. We did not yet factor in the outflow of young people that are looking for employment in other European countries.

This scenario gives a good indication of the problem Italy faces. In the coming years it is expected that the productivity will go up, but the same holds good for the national debt which increased by 15 percent since 2012. All Western economies have arrived at the point where productivity has to compensate for the decline in their populations. Italy is the world’s ninth economy and is on a trajectory that in the long run will end in an economic implosion comparable to the 1998 financial crisis in Argentina, number 21 on the world GDP list.


To continue reading: Italy and the euro cannot be saved by mass-immigration