To ‘commemorate’ the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution in Russian, I’ve been sharing a series of columns on the evil of communism. On October 30, I looked at the death toll resulting from communist tyranny. On November 5, I discussed the shameful actions of communist apologists. On November 7, I shared some amusing mockery of totalitarian communism. Today, I’m going to target my profession. But I’m going to bend over backwards to be fair. I’m not going to condemn the economists back in the 1920s and 1930s who were sympathetic to central planning. They were horribly wrong, but that was before economists from the Austrian School prevailed in the ‘Socialist Calculation Debate.’ So we’ll give them an undeserved pass. And we’ll even excuse the wrongheaded thinking of economists who sympathized with communism in the first couple of decades after World War II. After all, maybe they were just naive when they blindly accepted and regurgitated statistics from the Soviet Union (just as I think some people today are being somewhat gulliblewhen they accept stats today from Beijing). But there’s no excuse for any sentient being – especially an economist – to have praised the decrepit communist economic model by the time we got to the 1980s. Yet some very prominent economists were guilty of whitewashing the sins of communism. I condemned Paul Samuelson two years ago (albeit only in a postscript) for his Pollyannish assessment of the Soviet economy. There was absolutely no excuse for him to write that, ‘…the Soviet economy is proof that…a socialist command economy can function and even thrive.’ Especially since he made that claim shortly before the Berlin Wall collapsed. That takes a special type of ignorance. But Samuelson wasn’t the only academic economist to disseminate nonsense. Alex Tabarrok of Marginal Revolution shares some additional examples of mal-education.
Communism: An Unmitigated Disaster This October marks the centennial anniversary of the Bolshevik takeover of Russia and the establishment of Soviet-style Communism which tragically, for the Russian people, would last for some seventy interminable years. Not only did the Soviet regime liquidate and imprison millions, but its idiotic system of central planning impoverished the country, turning it into an economic basket case, the effects of which reverberate to this day. Just as bad, the Bolsheviks murdered the last Czar, Nicholas II and his family, brutally ending nearly five hundred years of monarchical rule of Russia. Within a year of the demise of the Russian aristocracy, two other of Europe’s venerable royal houses – Germany and Austria – met the same fate, all three casualties of their insane decision to participate in World War I. The end of the German Court and especially that of Austria came at the vengeful insistence of then President Woodrow Wilson, who brought the US into the conflict on the pledge to make the ‘world safe for democracy.’
This post was published at Acting-Man on October 26, 2017.
Austria just became a *new* flashpoint of European politics that can be best described as a slow steady slide into reappraisal of the decades-long love affair with liberalism. In summary: the People’s Party (OVP) has 31.4 percent of the vote, a gain of more than 7 percentage points from the 2013 election; the Freedom Party had 27.4 percent (a jump on 20.51 percent in 2013), and the Social Democratic Party, which governed in coalition with People’s Party until today, had 26.7 percent (virtually unchanged on 26.82 percent in 2013). The People’s Party is best described as Centre-Right with a leaning Right when it comes to issues of immigration. Current Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, the leader of the People’s Party is a charismatic 31-year old populist. He has driven his party further toward the Right position in recent months, as elections neared, and away from his post-2013 governing coalition partners, the Social Democrats. Kurz is, broadly-speaking a pro-EU candidate, with strong preference for more autonomy to member states. He is clearly not a Brussels-style Federalist.
This post was published at True Economics on Monday, October 16, 2017.
As discussed earlier, Austria’s young conservative star, Sebastian Kurz, is now assured of becoming the country’s next leader, projections of Sunday’s parliamentary election result showed, but his party is far short of a majority and is likely to seek a coalition with the resurgent far right. To his supporters, Kurz is Austria’s Macron: a one-man political phenomenon who is the only thing standing between the country’s resurgent nationalists and power. But to his detractors he is the Austrian Trump, who has hijacked one of the country’s two main parties and refashioned it in his own image. His critics say he is only holding the populists back by adopting their anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies. By taking a hard line on immigration that commingled his campaign with that of the Freedom Party (FPO), 31-year old Foreign Minister Kurz managed to propel his People’s Party to first place and draw some support away from an FPO buoyed by Europe’s migration crisis. Both parties increased their share of the vote from the last parliamentary election in 2013, marking a sharp shift to the right. Chancellor Christian Kern’s Social Democrats were in a close race with the FPO for second place.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 15, 2017.
The following is an interview with ANDRE VLTCHEK by ALESSANDRO BIANCCHI, Chief Editor of the Italian political magazine Anti-Diplomatico: ALESSANDRO BIANCHI: Self-determination of peoples and respect for the borders and sovereignty of a country. This is of the most complicated issue for international law. How can it be articulated for the case of Catalonia? ANDRE VLTCHEK: Personally, I’m not very enthusiastic about smaller nations forming their own states, particularly those in the West, where they would, after gaining ‘independence’, remain in the alliances that are oppressing and plundering the entire world: like NATO or the European Union. Clearly, the breaking of the great country of Yugoslavia into small pieces was a hostile, evil design by the West, and particularly of Germany and Austria. The dissolution of Czechoslovakia after the so-called ‘Velvet Revolution’ was a total idiocy. But Catalonia (or Basque Country), if it became independent, would become one of the richest parts of Europe. I don’t think it would have any great positive or negative impact on the rest of the world. As an internationalist, I don’t really care if they are separate from Spain or not, or whether they are even richer than they already are, as I care much more about what is happening in places such as Afghanistan, Venezuela or North Korea. READ MORE
The front runner in Austria’s Sunday election ended his campaign with a familiar message : Sebastian Kurz pledged to make Austria great again. He is set to become the world’s youngest leader, ahead of France’s Emmanuel Macron, who is 39… oh and North Korea’s 34-year-old Kim Jong-un, of course. ‘I want to put Austria back on top,’ he told an adoring crowd in Wiener Neustadt according to the Telegraph. ‘I want to provide security and order, because the Austrian people deserve it.’ *** Austrians are voting Sunday in the country’s National Council elections, where according to recent polls the country’s 6.4 million voters are likely to ditch the current coalition in favor of a new government backed by anti-immigration nationalists and headed by a 31-year-old Millennial.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 15, 2017.
A man dressed as a shark was arrested in Austria and officials cited the countries Burka ban. The man was working as a mascot for a McShark electronics store in Vienna when the arrest occurred. New restrictions came into effect in Austria at the beginning of the month banning the wearing of the full Islamic veil and other items concealing the face in public places and buildings. This ban extends to medical masks and scarves as well, making the shark costume an obvious ‘no-go.’ The restrictions are aimed at ‘ensuring the cohesion of society in an open society,’ according to officials, and violations will be punished with a fine of up to 150. Even though the wording of the law was meant to be religiously-neutral, there is still a grey area in which Austrians appear to be exploiting in order to make a point. When the police saw the young man in the shark costume, he was asked to remove it. The employee protested saying he was ‘just doing his job,’ so the police arrested him and slapped him with a fine. Apparently, the man in the shark suit was reported to police by a member of the public who wanted to make a point of the new piece of legislation. The McShark electronics company is now reviewing its policy on using mascots to ensure they comply with the new law.
This post was published at shtfplan on October 9th, 2017.
Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org, If a U. S. president calls an adversary ‘Rocket Man … on a mission to suicide,’ and warns his nation may be ‘totally destroyed,’ other ideas in his speech will tend to get lost. Which is unfortunate. For buried in Donald Trump’s address is a clarion call to reject transnationalism and to re-embrace a world of sovereign nation-states that cherish their independence and unique identities. Western man has engaged in this great quarrel since Woodrow Wilson declared America would fight in the Great War, not for any selfish interests, but ‘to make the world safe for democracy.’ Our imperialist allies, Britain, France, Russia, Japan, regarded this as self-righteous claptrap and proceeded to rip apart Germany, Austria, Hungary and the Ottoman Empire and to feast on their colonies. After World War II, Jean Monnet, father of the EU, wanted Europe’s nations to yield up their sovereignty and form a federal union like the USA. Europe’s nations would slowly sink and dissolve in a single polity that would mark a giant leap forward toward world government – Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s ‘Parliament of man, the Federation of the world.’ Charles De Gaulle lead the resistance, calling for ‘a Europe of nation-states from the Atlantic to the Urals.’ For 50 years, the Gaullists were in constant retreat. The Germans especially, given their past, seemed desirous of losing their national identity and disappearing inside the new Europe.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 22, 2017.
Sadly, Congress has absolutely no controls on the willing to spend money and promise entitlements to borrowers. Spending is a runaway trend in Washington DC. Much of this spending is entitlement spending, such as Medicaid and Medicare.
With all the turmoil in the last few weeks over websites, censorship, free speech, and leftist tech corporations banning sites they don’t like, I thought it would be a good time to clarify my vision and purpose for The Burning Platform. First, TBP is not an alt-right, white supremacist or pro-nazi website. I also don’t consider it a pro-Republican website. It’s been built by being anti lots of stuff. I don’t want to be part of any group that would have me as a member. My philosophy is practical libertarian. I want to be left alone to live my life as I choose. I don’t care how others live their lives. The less government, the better. The purpose of our military is to protect our country from invasion, not policing the world. The Austrian School of economics makes the most sense to me. Keynesian economists are either liars or brain damaged. I’m a strict Constitutionalist. I despise Wall Street bankers, the Federal Reserve, liberal politicians, GOP establishment politicians, neo-cons, fake news corporate media, the military industrial complex, government apparatchiks, the surveillance state, and the Deep State oligarchs.
It should come as no surprise that the Merkel government has been trying to hide the extent of the ongoing refugee crisis in Germany. The Merkel government appears to be trying to keep police surveillance of border controls top secret. Despite the fact that Merkel did close the Balkan route into Germany, the federal police continue to report there is a ‘high number of migrants’ entering Germany through the border with Austria. The migration to Germany is continuing. Back in 2015, Merkel boldly said Germany could accommodate 500,000 migrants annually for the next several years, and that $6.6 billion had been set aside for costs related to processing and accommodating them. Germany and Sweden give the refugees the most money for just coming there. Refugees in Germany receive up to 346 per month from the state, in Sweden, the monthly allowance is up to 224. In Britain, the equivalent sum is 217. This is why Germany is the number one destination. This is money to them that was often a one-year’s wage in a single month plus room and board.
Two weeks after Italy reacted with anger to Austria’s deployment of troops and armored vehicles to the border between the two nations, while reactivating border controls at the Brenner Pass over concerns that Italy will be unable to handle the roughly 85,000 migrants and refugees who have entered the country so far in 2017, the Italian government has threatened to retaliate in way that assures an imminent migrant crisis as well as an escalation of tensions between the two EU nations. According to The Times, an Italian minister and a senator have threatened to issue temporary EU visas to thousands of migrants in an effort to “resolve” Italy’s escalating migrant and refugee crisis, which would then allow the refugees to travel north. The move, which has been described as a ‘nuclear option,’ would allow the nearly 200,000 migrants currently stranded in Italy, to travel across Europe using a Brussels directive loophole. Paolo Gentiloni, the prime minister, is livid that the rest of Europe has refused to take its fair share of migrants and that they have closed ports to rescue ships as the number of refugees attempting the treacherous crossing from Libya to the Continent has surged.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 15, 2017.
The vast wave of economic migrants claiming to be refugees that include many countries, not simply Syria, is tearing Europe apart. These people are given everything for free, nothing like any immigrant who came to the USA. This has had a tendency to reduce the incentive to work. They need not find a job to survive. They survive on the state alone and at levels of 80%+ of what they would earn in wages.
Authored by Pepe Escobar via Counterpunch.org, The Russia sanctions bill that passed the US Senate by 98:2 on June 15 is a bombshell; it directly demonizes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, under the Baltic Sea, which is bound to double Gazprom’s energy capacity to supply gas to Europe. The 9.5 billion euro pipeline is being financed by five companies; Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall; Austria’s OMV; France’s Engie; and Anglo-Dutch Shell. All these majors operate in Russia, and have, or will establish, pipeline contracts with Gazprom. In a joint statement, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern stressed that, ‘Europe’s energy supply is a matter for Europe, not the United States of America’; ‘instruments for political sanctions should not be tied to economic interests’; and the whole thing heralds a ‘new and very negative quality in European-American relations’. An oil trader in the Gulf bluntly told me, ‘the new sanctions against Russia basically amount to telling the EU to buy expensive US gas instead of cheap Russian gas. So the Germans and the Austrians basically told the Americans to buzz off.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 7, 2017.
The following video was published by X22Report on Jul 5, 2017 People around the country are now making fun of CNN and are creating memes. Kathy Griffin was questioned for over an hour by the secret service. Austria brings armored vehicles to the border to stop an influx of refugees. US and South Korea hold drills after NK fires a missile. Trump calls an emergency UN Security Council meeting. Nikki Haley says the US will use force if it needs to. China and Russia are now taking control of the situation, they have created and plan to deal with NK, this does not sit well with the deep state, they want war. The Syrian forces are moving into central Syria and eradicating the IS. China and Russia want an impartial investigation into the chemical weapons attack. Russia is getting ready to release the terminator in Syria.
1:53 PM An angry Italy summoned Austria’s ambassador after the government in Vienna announced it was ready to re-introduce border controls and deploy troops and armored vehicles along the border to block any migrant influx out of Italy. Austrian Defence Minister Hans Peter Doskozil told Kronen Zeitung daily that troops could go to the Brenner Pass and that four Pandur armoured personnel carriers had been sent to the Tyrol region with 750 troops were on standby. ‘We need to prepare for the migration development in Italy, and I expect very promptly that border controls will have to be activated and assistance requested,’ Hans Peter Doskozil told the online edition of the Krone daily, adding that a military deployment at the busy Alpine pass would be “indispensable if the influx into Italy [across the Mediterranean] does not diminish”. While Austria has border checks with Hungary and Slovenia, elsewhere – such as on the border with Italy – it adheres to the EU open borders system. Doskozil explained that ‘these are not battle tanks. These are armored vehicles without weapons which could block roads. These were already used during the refugee crisis 201/16 at the Spielfeld border crossing [with Slovenia],’ just in case Italy got the impression that its northern neighbor was preparing to invade.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 4, 2017.
The Russia sanctions bill that passed the U.S. Senate by 98:2 on June 15 is a bombshell; it directly demonizes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, under the Baltic Sea, which is bound to double Gazprom’s energy capacity to supply gas to Europe. The 9.5 billion pipeline is being financed by five companies; Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall; Austria’s OMV; France’s Engie; and Anglo-Dutch Shell. All these majors operate in Russia, and have, or will establish, pipeline contracts with Gazprom. In a joint statement, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern stressed that, ‘Europe’s energy supply is a matter for Europe, not the United States of America’; ‘instruments for political sanctions should not be tied to economic interests’; and the whole thing heralds a ‘new and very negative quality in European-American relations’. An oil trader in the Gulf bluntly told me, ‘the new sanctions against Russia basically amount to telling the E.U. to buy expensive U.S. gas instead of cheap Russian gas. So the Germans and the Austrians basically told the Americans to buzz off.’
The First and the Second World War were the culmination of rivalries that go as far back as over a thousand years, when Charlemagne subjugated the Saxon tribes inhabiting modern Germany, and creating the Carolingian Empire. The political successors of Franks, France, and Saxons, the latter morphing into the Holy Roman Empire, then Prussia, then Germany, would continue to fight border wars until the bloodiest of them all, World War 2, inflicted enough destruction to both to force them to give up military means for the reciprocal arrangements. The First World War was triggered by a regional episode, the assassination of the Archduke of Austria, Franz Ferdinand, by Serb nationalists that put in motion the alliance of the German world, Austria and Prussia against the British, French and Russian one. Just like the two world wars in Europe were triggered by a single event, so can long standing, unresolved rivalries for power and influence over the Middle East result in the mother of all wars. Qatar and Saudi Arabia have collaborated in the recent years to overthrow the Assad presidency in Syria and replace it with a Sunni Muslim leader that would allow the creation of a pipeline from Qatar to Europe, for the benefit of the Gulf countries.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 3, 2017.