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International Liberty

More than four years ago, as part of my efforts to promote and protect tax competition, fiscal sovereignty, and financial privacy, I narrated this video explaining the economic benefits of so-called tax havens.

Pay close attention at the 1:07 mark.

Yes, you heard right. A former bureaucrat from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development actually called for the forcible annexation of low-tax jurisdictions, writing in the Financial Times that, “Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man should simply be absorbed lock, stock and barrel into the UK…Andorra, Monaco and Liechtenstein should be given the choice of ending bank secrecy or facing annexation.”

He wasn’t quite so belligerent about Switzerland, perhaps because all able-bodied male citizens have fully automatic assault weapons in their homes. But he did urge financial protectionism against the land of chocolate, yodeling, and watches.

What a bizarre attitude. It’s apparently okay for certain countries to…

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2012 Election Results and Pan-Secessionism 2

2012 election results color coded by state. Blue states for Obama, red states for Romney.

2012 election results by state, redrawn to visually represent the size of state by population.

2012 election results by county. Blue indicates a county that voted for Obama, red for Romney.

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The Lull Before the Social Storm 1

By Jack D. Douglas

Lew Rockwell

Vast social revolutions and wars are often preceded by periods of giving up on reforms, despairing withdrawal from public life by the best and brightest, and even peacefulness which seems to have become the normal condition in spite of deep conflicts and growing crises beneath the surfaces of public life. Often, earlier periods of intense conflicts and crises have been overcome and resolved, so it comes to look like that is the normal in life. This lulls most people into assuming their worse fears cannot happen, but this leads them to lowering their guards against growing conflicts and crises, so small ones can more easily cascade down into massive ones. If people expected they could become vast wars or revolutions or implosions, they would take more precautions to prevent that. But when lulled in expecting the worst cannot happen, the worst than they could ever imagine often explodes suddenly.

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Fascism Under the Cloak of Liberalism Reply

By Norman Pollack

I use “fascism” here not as a cliché, but as an historical-structural formation principally rooted in the mature stage of capitalism, in which business-government interpenetration (what the Japanese political scientist Masao Maryuma called the “close-embrace” system) has created hierarchical social classes of wide differences in wealth and power, the militarization of social values and geopolitical strategy, and a faux ideology of classlessness to instill loyalty for the social order among working people.  In fact, each of these factors is already present to a high degree in America–superbly disguised however by the rhetoric of liberalism, as in Mr. Obama’s presidency.

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IMF study: Peak oil could do serious damage to the global economy Reply

The world isn’t going to run out of oil anytime soon. But there’s still concern among various geologists and analysts that our oil supply won’t grow as quickly or as easily as it used to. We’ll have to resort to harder-to-drill oil to satisfy our crude habits. More expensive oil. That would push prices up. And high oil prices could act as a drag on growth. More…

Occupy Sandy Relief NYC Reply

We are not only bringing in relief to areas that are not experiencing government aid, but also working with existing organizations to build strong community centers. We are building a relief effort that will still give communities access to necessary resources 5 yrs from now. People who’s homes were lost and businesses destroyed may not have the resources to rebuild their lives. These are the people who are forgotten by short-term shelters and Red Cross tents, because they require a sustainable, local, long-term approach. More…

The progressive case against Obama Reply

By Matt Stoller

The progressive case against ObamaPresident Barack Obama (Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas)

A few days ago, I participated in a debate with the legendary antiwar dissident Daniel Ellsberg on Huffington Post live on the merits of the Obama administration, and what progressives should do on Election Day. Ellsberg had written a blog post arguing that, though Obama deserves tremendous criticism, voters in swing states ought to vote for him, lest they operate as dupes for a far more malevolent Republican Party. This attitude is relatively pervasive among Democrats, and it deserves a genuine response. As the election is fast approaching, this piece is an attempt at laying out the progressive case for why one should not vote for Barack Obama for reelection, even if you are in a swing state.

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Are Widening Class Divisions Overshadowing the Culture Wars? Reply

By Charles Babington

Some hot-button issues in previous presidential campaigns have hardly surfaced in the 2012 race, which is all about the jobs and the economy.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. presidential campaign has focused heavily on jobs, pushing other once high-profile issues to the side. It dismays activists who have spent decades promoting environmental issues, gay rights, gun control and other topics to the center of national attention.

Topics suffering downgrades in campaign attention include these:

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Peak Oil and the Challenging Years Ahead Reply

Without substitutes at a price that the economy can afford, economies will adapt to lower amounts of oil they can afford by worsening recession, debt defaults, and reduced international trade. There may be tendency for international alliances (such as the Euro) to fall apart, for countries to break into smaller units (Catalonia secede from Spain, or countries break up the way the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia did).
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The Economic and Cultural Polarization of America 2

By Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Coming Apart: the State of White America 1960-2010, a recently published book by scholar and author Charles Murray, has generated some very interesting and important discussions about America’s increasingly polarizated society.  In a January NY Times Op-Ed, David Brooks wrote that Coming Apart will prove to be one of the most important books of 2012 because it “so compellingly describes the most important trends in American society.”

The key premise of the book, as described by Murray in this Wall Street Journal column, is that “America is coming apart. For most of our nation’s history, whatever the inequality in wealth between the richest and poorest citizens, we maintained a cultural equality known nowhere else in the world – for whites, anyway.”  For most of its history, a major hallmark of American democracy has been the comfortable mingling of the social classes.  “Americans love to see themselves this way,” writes Murray.  “But there’s a problem: It’s not true anymore, and it has been progressively less true since the 1960s.”

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Ambassador Lasse Birk Olesen at TEDx Copenhagen: Seasteading + Technology > Politics Reply

Seasteading ambassador Lasse Birk Olesen has been one of the most effective messengers of our vision, and probably the most effective messenger in all of Europe. He has spoken to dozens of groups in his native country of Denmark, and reached countless others through online forums and his volunteer work for the Institute and Blueseed.

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“Kick-a-Nigger” Politics 3

Welfare is back as the handiest weapon in the racist rhetorical arsenal. It’s back in the speeches of Republican candidates and surrogates, on right wing radio, and even in the language of those young “individualists” who see themselves as politically hip because of their perceived proximity to anarchist types. They believe the poor are poor because they want to be poor. Or are failed individuals. Or have grown so used to poverty that they are satisfied waiting for a check, that they like making the often humiliating trek to the local Department of Social Services office. ‘Welfare’ is back, which is to say ‘kick-a-nigger’ politics is in full swing. More…

Decisive Ecological Warfare Reply

At first the collapse will resemble a traditional recession or depression, with the poor being hit especially hard by the increasing costs of basic goods, particularly of electricity and heating in cold areas. After a few years, the financial limits will become physical ones; large-scale energy-intensive manufacturing will become not only uneconomical, but impossible.

A direct result of this will be the collapse of industrial agriculture. Dependent on vast amounts of energy for tractor fuel, synthesized pesticides and fertilizers, irrigation, greenhouse heating, packaging, and transportation, global industrial agriculture will run up against hard limits to production (driven at first by intense competition for energy from other sectors). This will be worsened by the depletion of groundwater and aquifers, a long history of soil erosion, and the early stages of climate change. At first this will cause a food and economic crisis mostly felt by the poor. Over time, the situation will worsen and industrial food production will fall below that required to sustain the population. More…

Forty Acres and a Mule 1

This Carson piece makes for an interesting comparison/contrast with this article from Walter Williams.

By Kevin Carson

When it comes to the “outrageous” remarks of the week, it usually takes me a while to get a handle on what all the fuss is about. (Update–the best commentary I’ve yet seen on the media reaction comes from Matt Taibbi.)  When the commentariat had their knickers in a twist back in the ’90s over Wayne LaPierre’s statements on guns and government tyranny, my reaction was, “Yeah, so?” It seemed pretty tame (not to mention self-evident) to me. And now, listening to Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s “God damn America” sermon, my reaction is pretty much the same: “Yeah, so?”

I’d take issue with his tendency to conflate “America” with the American government, and to confuse the American host organism with the glorified tapeworms in Washington and Wall Street who make foreign policy and run the corporate economy. I’d quibble over his AIDS howler, when his completely factual reference to the Tuskegee experiment was plenty by itself. And frankly, I don’t think Bill Clinton has ever been an “intelligent friend” to anyone but Bill Clinton.

But on the whole, my reaction is pretty much the same as Mark Brady’s:

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The Romney Lexicon: “Free Enterprise” = Corporate Welfare Reply

By Kevin Carson

As Thomas L. Knapp observes in a recent column (Election 2012: “Oil’s Well That End’s Welfarish,” October 17), Mitt Romney — famous for complaining about the 47% who expect to be taken care of — “whined that the Obama administration has been insufficiently charitable with ‘public’ land (and taxpayer money) toward the oil companies.”

He notes that “for every dollar a timber company paid in leasing fees, the US government spent $1.27 on road-building and other projects to enable the exploitation of those timber leases.” The same applies to oil drilling in places like the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve: “the next time a natural resources extraction company offers to cover the entire cost of its own operations on ‘public’ land, let alone deliver a net profit to the US government on the deal, will be the first time.”

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Enter At Your Own Risk: Police Union Says ‘War-Like’ Detroit Is Unsafe For Visitors Reply

“These are the men and women who we look to protect us… and police officers can’t protect you if they’re not there. Officers are leaving simply because they can’t afford to stay in Detroit and work 12 hour shifts for what they are getting paid… These police officers are beyond demoralized, these officers are leaving hand over fist because they can no longer afford to stay on the department and protect the public,” he said.

And that’s why Iorio cautions those who enter the city to be wary.

“The explosion in violent crime, the incredible spike in the number of homicides and for officers trying to work 12 hours in such deplorable, dangerous and war like conditions is simple untenable,” he said. More…

Obama or Romney: War and Economic Collapse Regardless Who Wins the Election Reply

By Kurt Nimmo

CNN is making a big deal out of Romney’s “right leaning” supporters. The corporate media branch of the Pentagon’s psyops program thinks there’s a good chance these “severely conservative” voters may push Romney over the top and get him installed in the White House as preeminent teleprompter reader for the global elite.

In August, Peter Schiff, economic adviser to Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign, said he thinks the economic implosion will occur during the next administration. He has no faith in Obama and little in Romney to turn things around.

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America R.I.P. Reply

By Paul Craig Roberts

During the second half of the 20th century the United States was an opportunity society. The ladders of upward mobility were plentiful, and the middle class expanded. Incomes rose, and ordinary people were able to achieve old-age security.

In the 21st century the opportunity society has disappeared. Middle class jobs are scarce. Indeed, jobs of any kind are scarce. To stay even with population growth from 2002 through 2011, the economy needed about 14 million new jobs. However, at the end of 2011 there were only 1 million more jobs than in 2002. http://www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cesbtab1.htm

Only 426,000 of these jobs are in the private sector. The bulk of the net new jobs consist of waitresses and bartenders and health care and social assistance. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over the 9 years, employment for waitresses and bartenders increased by 1,188,000. Employment in health care and social assistance increased 3,087,000. These two categories accounted for 1,000% of the net private sector job growth.

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