“Nervous Nancy” Pelosi Slams Trump’s “Temper Tantrum” Tariff Win With Mexico

The President’s resolution to the impromptu Mexican tariff war that “popped up” last week was ridiculed and slammed by Nancy Pelosi on Saturday morning. The House Speaker put out a statement claiming that President Trump had “undermined America’s preeminent leadership role in the world” by threatening Mexico. 

She continued: “We are deeply disappointed by the Administration’s expansion of its failed Remain-in-Mexico policy, which violates the rights of asylum seekers under U.S. law and fails to address the root causes of Central American migration. Threats and temper tantrums are no way to negotiate foreign policy.”

It’s the first anyone has heard from Pelosi since President Trump called her “a disgrace to herself and her family” after she reportedly told Democrats earlier in the week that Trump should be “in prison”.

Trump also referred to her as a “disaster” and a “nasty, vindictive” person while at a D-Day memorial event in Normandy, France. Pelosi was also in France to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day but declined to respond to Trump while there, telling reporters it was “on principle”. 

We reported yesterday that Trump’s tariff threat to Mexico appeared to work exactly as he wanted it to. 

“I am pleased to inform you that The United States of America has reached a signed agreement with Mexico,” President Trump tweeted Friday. “The Tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the U.S. on Monday, against Mexico, are hereby indefinitely suspended.”

Trump had announced the tariff threat in response to a surge in illegal migration to the U.S. through Mexico this year. More than 144,000 people were apprehended after illegally crossing the southern border in May or were refused entry to the U.S.  Mexico has agreed to “strong measures to stem the tide of Migration through Mexico, and to our Southern Border,” Trump wrote, although is subsequent announcement that Mexico had agreed to “immediately begin buying large quantities of agricultural product from our great patriot farmers” has prompted much confusion from Mexico, which Bloomberg reported today never agreed to that.

Rates, Time, & Gold – The Last Thing Central Bankers Want To See

Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com,

The interest rate fallacy

There is a widespread assumption that interest rates represent the cost of borrowing money. In the narrow sense that it is a rate paid by a borrower, this is true. Monetary policy planners enquire no further. Central bankers then posit that if you reduce the cost of borrowing, that is to say the interest rate, demand for credit increases, and the deployment of that credit in the economy naturally leads to an increase in GDP. Every central planner dreams of consistent growth in GDP and they seek to achieve it by lowering the cost of borrowing money.

The origin of this approach is mathematical. William Stanley Jevons in his The Theory of Political Economy, first published in 1871, was one of the three discoverers of the theory of marginal utility and became convinced that mathematics was the key to linking the diverse elements of political science into a unified subject. It was therefore natural for him to treat interest rates as the symptom of supply and demand for money when it passes from one hand to another with the promise of future repayment.

Another of the discoverers of the theory of marginal utility was the Austrian, Carl Menger, who explained that prices were subjective in the minds of those involved in an exchange. He argued it was fundamentally a human choice and therefore could not be predicted mathematically. This undermines the assumption that interest is simply the cost of money, suggesting that some sort of human element is involved, separate from pure cost. Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, who followed in Menger’s footsteps saw it from a more capitalistic point of view, that a saver’s money, which was otherwise lifeless, was able to earn a saver a supply of goods through interest earned upon it.

Böhm-Bawerk confirmed interest produced an income for the capitalist and was a cost to the borrowing entrepreneur, but agreed with his mentor there was also a time preference element, the difference in the value of possessing money today compared with the promise of possessing it at a future date. The easiest way to understand it is that savers are driven mainly by time-preference, while borrowers mainly by cost. This was why borrowers had to bid up interest rates to attract savers into lending, the explanation for Gibson’s paradox.

In those days, money was gold, and currencies were gold substitutes, that is to say they circulated backed by and freely exchangeable into gold. Gold was the agency by which producers turned the fruits of their labour into the goods and services they needed and desired. Its role was purely temporary. Temporal men valued gold as a good with the special function of being money, but as a good, its actual possession was worth more than just a claim on it in the future. But do they ascribe the same time preference to fiat currency? To find out we must explore the nature of time preference as a concept.

Time-preference in classical economics

Time-preference is simply the desire to own goods at an earlier date rather than later. This is because everyone prefers immediate ownership to the promise of future ownership. Therefore, the future value of possessing a good must stand at a discount compared with actual possession, and the further into the future actual ownership materialises, the greater the discount. This is time preference. But instead of pricing time preference as if it were a zero-coupon bond, we turn it into an annualised interest equivalent.

Obviously, time-preference applies primarily to lending to finance production, which requires time between commencement and output. Borrowed money must cover partly or in whole the commodities and all the costs required to make a finished article and the time taken to deliver it to an end-user. An entrepreneur must forgo some of his current consumption if he is to invest in his own production, and the allocation he makes of his current resources to that end is governed partly by time-preference and by the profit he anticipates. If his production process requires a long time between investment and the sale of a finished product his sacrifice of current consumption will be for proportionately longer, so it has to be worthwhile.

The easiest way to isolate time-preference is to assume our entrepreneur has to borrow some or all the resources necessary. We now have to consider the position of the lender, who is asked to join in with the sacrifice of current consumption in favour of the future. The lender’s motivation is that he has a surplus of money to his immediate needs and instead of just sitting on it, is prepared to use it profitably. His reward for doing so by providing the utility of his excess to a businessman must exceed his personal time-preference.

The medium for matching investment and savings is obviously money, because it would be very difficult to coordinate them in a barter economy. It is this function above all else which money facilitates. We take this obvious function so much for granted that we forget that interest rates are actually the expression of time-preference, which has its origin in deferring ownership of consumer goods. Intermediation by banks and other financial institutions conceal from us the link between interest and time-preference, on the saver’s false assumption he is not parting with his money by depositing it in a bank.

The bank appears to be giving the depositor something for nothing in its role as financial intermediator, but it is effectively cutting the link between savers and borrowers. Both parties in a modern economy end up dealing with a bank instead of each other. However, despite a bank’s intermediation, the basic relationship between saver and entrepreneur through a bank is the possession of the former’s capital for a period of time. It may conceal it, but it cannot get rid of time-preference.

When a saver saves and an entrepreneur invests, the transaction always involves a lender’s savings being turned into the production of goods and services with the element of time. For the lender, the time preference will always equate to the loss of possession of his capital for a stated period.

Time preference and fiat money

Today’s economists do not recognise time-preference. For them, economics is about Jevon’s mathematics, state-issued currencies and the exclusion of human interest. They say we have moved on from the household economics of yester-year, and they despise classical stick-in-the-muds. But we can see from their repeated failure to tame human action in order to conform to their economic models that modern economists do not have the answers either. All they have done is cover up their failures through monetary inflation.

The ubiquity of unbacked state currencies certainly introduces new dimensions into prices and deferred settlement. Not only is the saver isolated from borrowers through bank intermediation and the belief his deposits are still his property, but his savings are debased through monetary inflation without his knowledge. The interest he expects is treated as an inconvenient cost of production, to be minimised. Interest earned is taxed as if it were the profit from a capitalist trade, and not compensation for a temporary loss of possession.

Consequently, the saver has been driven to speculate well beyond the possibility of not being repaid by a borrower by buying equities instead. He swaps credit risk for entrepreneurial risk. And because the expansion of bank credit out of thin air favours the entrepreneur over the saver, the theory goes that over time he is compensated for the loss of interest. The whole system has changed, and even consumers, who under the classical economic model would defer some of their consumption, have become unsecured borrowers themselves.

It is this evolution away from the strictures of time preference that has taken us to zero and negative interest rates. Yet, if the cost of money was simply its interest rate, the economy would be permanently mended and there would be no credit cycle. Why on earth it took the planners so long to understand the benefits of free money, and to even pay borrowers to borrow, would have been a mystery. Yet, experience and an understanding that economics is a human science tells us otherwise. Despite handing out free money, the Eurozone is in a worse economic and systemic condition than it was before the Lehman crisis ten years ago, with major bank share prices languishing at all-time lows. And all zero interest rates have achieved, together with aggressive monetary debasement, was the deferment of a banking and systemic crisis.

But credit cycles still exist. At their root is the issuance of money and credit on terms that do not reflect time preference. The value of ownership compared with the promise of future ownership has to be respected. It is not something a monetary planner can decide, because it is wholly a market phenomenon. No one but individual consumers can contribute to the collective judgments that say this any species of bird is worth more than two of them in the bush.

Ignoring time preference is the fundamental error behind monetary planning. It is why in a successful economy, monetary intervention by the state is kept to a bare minimum, or preferably banished altogether. Instead, it builds on the error of Jevon’s mathematical approach and the banishment of the people’s choice of money, which throughout history has been metallic.

Gold

The question now arises over the relationship between time-preference and gold. We should consider this in the light of historical experience; fiat currency has always died and been replaced by metallic money. Gold and likely silver as well will return to circulate as money.

When gold is used as money, time-preference obviously applies, given our rule that money is earned and saved on the one hand, and on the other savings are deployed in the production of goods and services. A saver lending his gold will expect it to be returned at the end of the loan period with an additional amount to reflect at a minimum his time-preference, usually in the form of interest.

Apart from isolated times of monetary debasement, this held true for millennia until the last century, when gold was gradually replaced as money in today’s currency system. As long as currency acted as a freely convertible gold substitute, interest earned and paid on that currency was tied to the rate on gold. However, if we can imagine a system with both gold and fiat currency in circulation as money at the same time, the time-preference for physical gold, all other things being equal, should be more than that for the fiat currency due to its relative scarcity.

Evidence of this difference is reflected in Gresham’s law. Most of the human population spends state-issued currency more readily than gold coin. The argument about today’s traders not accepting gold coin does not hold water, because gold coin is easily converted into fiat money in order to spend it. Those who own gold or gold coin see its disposal for fiat money not as a first, but as a last resort. Furthermore, if someone wanted to borrow your gold for a period of time, you would almost certainly place a greater value on the temporary loss of ownership than that reflected in the interest rate for fiat currency.

But this supposition ignores monetary inflation. Over history, the expansion in above-ground gold stocks has roughly kept pace with the growth in human population. Fiat currency expands without limitation, and the loss of purchasing power should be taken into account in any calculation of time preference. The fact that this is not reflected in interest rates is a function of central bank suppression of markets and the concealment of time-preference through bank intermediation.

The last thing central bankers would like to see is value given to time preference. Most of them are probably unaware of its existence, being immersed in the mathematical economics of Jevons and his successors. And when the general public wake up to the suppression of time-preference and therefore the mispricing of all future goods and services, the consequences will almost certainly be astonishing.

Visualizing How Different Generations Approach Work

The first representatives of Generation Z have started to trickle into the workplace – and like generations before them, they are bringing a different perspective to things.

Did you know that there are now up to five generations now working under any given roof, ranging all the way from the Silent Generation (born Pre-WWII) to the aforementioned Gen Z?

Visual Capitalist’s Jeff Desjardins shows how these generational groups differ in their approaches to communication, career priorities, and company loyalty.

Generational Differences at Work

Today’s infographic comes to us from Raconteur, and it breaks down some key differences in how generational groups are thinking about the workplace.

Let’s dive deeper into the data for each category.

Communication

How people prefer to communicate is one major and obvious difference that manifests itself between generations.

While many in older generations have dabbled in new technologies and trends around communications, it’s less likely that they will internalize those methods as habits. Meanwhile, for younger folks, these newer methods (chat, texting, etc.) are what they grew up with.

Top three communication methods by generation:

  • Baby Boomers:
    40% of communication is in person, 35% by email, and 13% by phone

  • Gen X:
    34% of communication is in person, 34% by email, and 13% by phone

  • Millennials:
    33% of communication is by email, 31% is in person, and 12% by chat

  • Gen Z:
    31% of communication is by chat, 26% is in person, and 16% by emails

Motivators

Meanwhile, the generations are divided on what motivates them in the workplace. Boomers place health insurance as an important decision factor, while younger groups view salary and pursuing a passion as being key elements to a successful career.

Three most important work motivators by generation (in order):

  • Baby Boomers:
    Health insurance, a boss worthy of respect, and salary

  • Gen X:
    Salary, job security, and job challenges/excitement

  • Millennials:
    Salary, job challenges/excitement, and ability to pursue passion

  • Gen Z:
    Salary, ability to pursue passion, and job security

Loyalty

Finally, generational groups have varying perspectives on how long they would be willing to stay in any one role.

  • Baby Boomers: 8 years

  • Gen X: 7 years

  • Millennials: 5 years

  • Gen Z: 3 years

Given the above differences, employers will have to think clearly about how to attract and retain talent across a wide scope of generations. Further, employers will have to learn what motivates each group, as well as what makes them each feel the most comfortable in the workplace.

The Los Angeles Disease Renaissance: Typhoid & Typhus Make A Comeback

Authored by Sarah Cowgill via LibertyNation.com,

As the homeless population in Los Angeles grows, so does the unfortunate revival of many third world diseases…

Despite hundreds of millions of dollars flowing through Los Angeles to stem the rising tide of homelessness, a resurgence of medieval diseases has the city – and neighboring states – on edge. Typhoid fever and typhus, borne by fleas, body lice, and feces, are turning the once glitzy and glamorous city into a third-world worthy environment.

Yes, Typhoid Mary is back, in a sense, living on the streets and wreaking havoc on unsuspecting people in the Golden State.

These diseases, along with an uptick in tuberculosis, hepatitis A, and staph, are easily and rapidly spread and have wide-reaching consequences. They’re highly contagious and can infect anyone through casual contact.

Typhoid fever

An LAPD officer was recently diagnosed with typhoid, and several other city employees are exhibiting the classic symptoms of high fever, muscle pain, and weakness.  Left untreated, the disease can be fatal – and let’s face it: The malady wiped out entire populations during the Dark Ages and took a heavy toll on American Civil War soldiers and early American settlers.  Some historians blame the malaise for obliterating the Jamestown settlement.

Where The Heck Did They Come From?

Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority recently released a report showing 59,000 people living on the streets in Los Angeles County – a 12% increase since 2018 – with 36,300 of them within the city limits of Los Angeles.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), reports that “California accounted for 30% of all people experiencing homelessness as individuals” throughout the United States.

The progress of these once eradicated and near eradicated diseases is so alarming that the politicians who once spent copious amounts of time covering up the warts and putrid pustules in their liberally run cities and state are now showing disbelief and disgust.

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) broke his silence during his state of the state speech in February: “Our homeless crisis is increasingly becoming a public-health crisis. Typhus, a medieval disease. In California. In 2019.”

Los Angeles Mayor Gil Garcetti (D), who many believed would be a 2020 presidential contender, calls the crisis, “the biggest heartbreak for me and my city.”  Garcetti campaigned extensively for the initiative known as Proposition HHH, which designated $1.2 billion over the next ten years to build homeless housing.  But now residents are howling about the pricey plan’s abject failure.  One local L.A. news outlet polled residents and found that “Forty-five percent said it’s failing, with 18 percent saying it’s a complete failure.”

Voters passed Propositions 47 (2014) and 57 (2016), downgrading theft and drug offenses to misdemeanors and redefining many felonies from violent to nonviolent to release a horde of inmates – some addicted to drugs and suffering from now untreated mental illness.

And they wonder why there are so many people on the streets living, sleeping, and breathing surrounded by urine-soaked sidewalks and piles of human feces?  And, of course, they don’t have to show symptoms to carry and transfer these diseases – simple casual contact from a carrier will do just fine.

Asymptomatic Mary Mallon was presumed to have infected over 50 people between 1907 and 1915, yet never experienced a day of sickness.  She died under quarantine – from complications of a stroke, not typhoid.  Her body was cremated and her ashes interred, but her legacy as Typhoid Mary lives on.

What’s The Plan?

Garcetti is doubling down on his homeless housing project, but his highest hurdle is his choice for building sites.  It seems no Angeleno wants drugs, typhus, and hepatitis bubbling and festering on their own block.  A short story made long, aside from Proposition HHH, there is no solid plan to curb the worsening rotting of Los Angeles.

There is a long-held belief that two American presidents succumbed to Typhoid.  The ninth Commander in Chief, William Henry Harrison, is remembered to have died of pneumonia after only 31 days in office, but recent studies suggest he likely died from typhoid.  Number 12, President Zachary Taylor, was most likely felled from the disease as well – due to the unsanitary conditions in the Swamp in the mid-19th century.

Ironically, the only thing that seems to have changed in Washington D.C. is that the deadly infections are in the heart and soul and not the body of the toadies on the Hill.

Here we are in the throes of the 21st century with running water, inoculations for just about every known malady of the last millennia, and welfare programs to heal the poorest of our citizens.  Yet Los Angeles remains a hot, malodorous, infectious mess – and it could be spreading toward a city near you.

Boston Dynamics To Start Selling Creepy Robot Dogs

Boston Dynamics will begin selling its creepy robot dogs to the public “within months,” according to CEO Marc Raibert, who told The Verge “We’re just doing some final tweaks to the design” after “testing them relentlessly” – hopefully to obey the three laws of robotics

Spot is currently being tested in a number of “proof-of-concept” environments, Boston Dynamics’ CEO Marc Raibert told The Verge, including package delivery and surveying work. And although there’s no firm launch date for the commercial version of Spot, it should be available within months, said Raibert, and certainly before the end of the year. –The Verge

Raibert brought the company’s ‘Spot’ dogs to Amazon’s Re:MARS conference in Las Vegas this week, an event focused on machine learning, advanced robotics and space exploration. On the first day of the event, two Boston Dynamics employees trotted out a pair of Spots to dazzle the crowd, and freak out a police dog (until a toy offering was deemed sufficient for friendship). (photos via The Verge)

One Spot robot mounted with 3D cameras can map their environment and perform tasks such as track worker progress or identify hazards at construction sites. Models equipped with a robot arm can also open doors and manipulate objects. 

Despite minor technical difficulties, the event went well for Boston Dynamics – owned by Japan’s SoftBank. One thing was clear; these dogs are really easy to control

Using a D-pad, you can steer the robot as you would any RC car or mechanical toy. A quick tap on the video feed streamed live from the robot’s front-facing camera lets you select a destination for it to walk to, and another tap lets you assume control of a robot arm mounted on top of the chassis. It all feels very intuitive. –The Verge

According to Raibert, Boston Dynamics will be selling “athletic intelligence” through its robots. 

Think of it like Amazon’s AWS business, but instead of offering computing power on tap, its robotic mobility.

The vast majority of bots in use in warehouses and factories today are only able to perform rote tasks, planned in advance down to the millimeter. But if robots are going to work alongside humans in more dynamic environments, they need to be able to react to hazards and changing conditions. These are eminently humans skills: tasks we complete without thinking — like catching a ball — but that stump all but the most advanced bots.

Onstage, Raibert demonstrated these skills by showing a video of Spot robot being frustrated in its attempts to open a door. The robot grapples at the door handle only to be shoved away by an engineer with a hockey stick. “We think this is one of the most important things we do,” said Raibert. “The [robots] can tolerate deviance around expected behavior.” –The Verge

At present, several construction companies in Japan are testing Spot to oversee the work progress on sites. “There’s a remarkable number of construction companies we’re talking to,” said Raibert, adding “But we have some other applications that are very promising — [including] in hostile environments where the cost of having people there is high.”

Doug Casey On What Happens After The Next War

Via InternationalMan.com,

International Man: The US government is actively at war in about half a dozen countries. It’s eyeing new conflicts all the time.

On the topic of getting involved in another war… President Trump was reported to have said this about his National Security Advisor John Bolton: “If it was up to John, we’d be in four wars now.”

What do you make of all this?

Doug Casey: Where to start?

Well, first of all, things are out of control. The US Government has become so big, so dysfunctional, and with its fingers in so many pies that anything can happen, unpredictably. Secondly, it’s extremely dangerous. Prodding lots of hornet’s nests guarantees you’ll be stung—perhaps enough to put you in the hospital. Third, it’s extraordinarily expensive. And the US Government is already bankrupt.

As you pointed out, the US is actively at war in right now in who knows how many countries – including at least a half a dozen in Africa that nobody can find on a map. There are combat troops in probably 100 countries around the world. There are probably 800 bases around the world. These things are all just trip wires waiting for an accident or an incident to draw the country into a real war. So far—at least since the misadventure in Vietnam – the US has just engaged in trouble-making exercises and sport wars. But the big thing on the horizon right now is Iran. This is hunting big game.

One of the things that I most regret not having done in recent years was taking advantage of an all-expense paid junket, courtesy of the Iranian Ambassadors’ Polo Club, for the New Zealand Ambassadors’ Polo Club, of which I was member. It would have been wonderful to have seen three of the major Iranian cities and met some of the top people in the country while playing polo. I couldn’t do it though, because I was injured at the time.

The Iranian people have no negative animus towards the American people. The average Iranian likes the average American. He likes American cars, American music, American movies, American culture. He likes California girls. He likes everything about America.

The way to change that and turn the average Iranian into an enemy is to send uniformed American teenagers there to destroy property and kill people. That’s exactly what morons like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo are talking about. It could be a real catastrophe, because Iran is big game. It’s not like hunting small game, like Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria—which themselves were terrible catastrophes.

If this gets out of control – accidentally, or through a false flag incident, or simply because Bolton decides it’s a good idea – you could be looking at the start of World War III.

The “powers that be” think that war stimulates the economy. But the idea is complete nonsense. These fools actually believe turning lots of cities into smoking ruins would stimulate the economy.

International Man: The US government and mainstream media often justify these wars on the need to “spread democracy.” What do you make of that?

Doug Casey: The idea of spreading democracy is a snare and a delusion. Democracy has become the new societal god. In fact—and I know most readers will be appalled to hear this—democracy is a bad idea. At least for anything larger than a city-state with a small, cohesive population.

First of all, democracy is simply mob rule dressed up in a coat and tie. It’s where a bunch of people—who are marginally competent at running their own individual lives—go to a voting booth to have what H.L. Mencken termed “an advance auction on stolen goods.” Democracy usually winds up turning the State into a vehicle for theft, and making that seem like a good and moral thing…

Democracy—a gentler form of mob rule—is not a good thing. It politicizes the average person and distracts him from running his own life. It focuses his attention on trying to run other people’s lives through elected representatives. Worse, the elected representatives aren’t the best and the brightest. They’re generally sociopaths who are drawn to power. They’re the worst kind of people, the kind that want to rule other people by winning a popularity contest. This is true in the US and every other place where ballot boxes are used to determine the new ruler.

The winner of an election is typically the most skilled liar. Look at what president Wilson did by pointlessly drawing the US into WWI, while claiming to do the opposite. He said it was all about making the world safe for democracy. In fact, he initiated the long decline of Western Civilization. The French Revolution was based on democracy. It didn’t work out very well. It had a lot to do with democracy—but had nothing to do with freedom. Democracy and freedom are typically at odds with each other.

International Man: Aside from the claim of promoting democracy, the US government and mainstream media also use alleged human rights abuses as a justification for war. The term “human rights” seems to be vaguely defined and inconsistently applied. It seems like more sophistry. What’s really going on here?

Doug Casey: Let me first say, the most important “human right” is simply to be left alone by other people, to be left in peace. Whenever a government gets involved in people’s private affairs it makes things worse. The US government is actually the greatest danger to both world peace and human rights today. It’s quite Orwellian the way most Americans have been propagandized into believing the opposite, like the citizens of Oceania in 1984.

The best thing to do with foreign countries is leave them alone to work things out themselves. You cannot change a culture. When you try to change a culture, you generally wind up with chaos. That’s what the US government has created in Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, and everywhere else it sticks its nose.

International Man: So, do these wars provide a net benefit to the average American?

Doug Casey: No. There’s no benefit at all. The correct U.S. foreign policy is to withdraw all the troops from everywhere in the world. Foreigners don’t want to see American troops on their land any more than Americans would like to see Iranian, or African, or Korean troops parading through the streets and maybe breaking down doors at 3:00 AM. That’s the first thing. If you want to “support the troops” bring all the troops home.

The next step is to cut off all foreign aid, which is really just a transfer program of about $50 billion per year from poor people in the US to rich people in poor countries. It’s almost all skimmed by cronies.

People forget that Osama bin Laden said that he only wanted three things.

First, he wanted infidel soldiers out of the homeland of the prophet, a reasonable request.

Second, he wanted the US to stop replacing Middle Eastern leaders with quislings, and interfering with local politics. Another reasonable request. The US has no more right to interfere in the politics of Middle Eastern countries than Mohammedans would interfering in US politics.

Third, he wanted the US to stop supporting Israel. Once again, a very reasonable request. We should be friendly towards all, but shouldn’t get involved in other people’s local squabbles, regardless of who we think is the good guy or the bad guy at the moment.

Of course, my saying something Osama bin Laden said was reasonable is like saying something that Hitler said was reasonable. But it doesn’t matter who says something. The facts should speak for themselves. And—just to head off hysterics—no, I neither like nor support either Osama or Adolf.

International Man: US foreign policy has serious domestic consequences. After all, “War is the health of the State” as Randolph Bourne said.

Specifically, the rapid rise of the domestic surveillance apparatus, the curtailments of civil liberties, and the turbocharging of militarized local police forces… they’re all connected to US foreign policy.

Related to all this is the inane expression “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.” What do you make of all of this?

Doug Casey: Well, if that’s true then John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and the rest of the apparatchiks around the DC Beltway should be happy to post their tax returns on the internet, and have microphones and cameras in every room of their houses. They ought to be perfectly happy when they’re having a private conversation in their living room to have it available to anybody that wants to listen.

The ability to maintain privacy is one thing that separates civilized men from primitives living in mud huts. In a primitive society you have zero privacy, because your neighbors can see and hear absolutely everything that goes on through the paper-thin walls of your hut. Privacy is something that grows with civilization. These people have everything exactly backwards. They’re not just anti-freedom. They’re anti-civilization. They’re the same basic personality type as Stalin, or Ceausescu, or Pol Pot.

International Man: Another arena that has been drastically affected is the airports and the creation of a new federal bureaucracy, the TSA. Thanks to the TSA, everyone knows that “if you see something say something.” That saying is actually a registered trademark of the Department of Homeland Security.

Doug Casey: It’s Orwellian. It’s the type of thing Big Brother would advise you to do… to report your neighbors to the State for any real or imagined offense.

One time I was in a line that was snaking back and forth at immigration. My briefcase weighed about 25 pounds, so I put it down and left it for about 15 feet so I could pick it up when the line snaked back.

Not once, but twice, somebody looked around like a righteous busybody citizen and said, “Unattended baggage! Unattended baggage!”

These people are really just chimpanzees. They picked up this behavior from the government… monkey see, monkey do. I said to them sarcastically “See something, say something”, but they didn’t think I was kidding. They thought I approved of what they were doing.

International Man: Do you see this degraded behavior in other places?

Doug Casey: Of all the countries in the world that I’ve traveled to—including backwards hell holes in Africa, Russia, China, it doesn’t matter—going through the US immigration, customs, and TSA, probably provides the most degrading experience. None of these other countries ask you the kinds of questions or seem so anxious to go through your laundry. Although Canada and Australia in particular are closely following the US lead.

The average American has been propagandized into thinking that he lives in the land of the free. As a matter of fact, that’s no longer true.

The US has descended from being a shining beacon—that really was exceptional and different from every other country in the world—to being just another nation state. But, perversely, one that thinks it’s still exceptional. It’s paranoid. It thinks it’s under attack, when actually it’s the attacker.

The whole thing is upside-down, and the average American has absolutely no clue.

It’s really shameful that the US has turned into both a welfare state—with about 50% of the population reliant upon the government—and a warfare state. We’re getting the worst of both worlds.

The problem is that when the economy turns down—and it will before Trump leaves office—it’s going to go from being depressing to scary. And if they start a major war, it’s going to go all the way to terrifying, because at that point you won’t have any rights. The average American will approve of it, however. Your life and property are be

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Many people don’t realize that the US is on the precipice of a major war in the Middle East. It’s a conflict that could see oil prices skyrocket overnight… and the return of gas lines to America. It wouldn’t be the first or even second time an oil shock like this has happened. It would have profound economic consequences.

This is one reason why a financial crisis far greater than any crisis America has seen could soon strike. For some it could completely wipe out their savings… and for others it could be the fortune-building opportunity of a lifetime. Doug Casey and his team just released an urgent video on surviving and thriving during an economic collapse. Click here to watch it now.