“No Nation Building” ==> “Let’s Build Democracies!” Rinse. Repeat.

From George W. Bush to Barack Obama to Donald Trump, we have seen candidate after candidate attest that we should not wade into the affairs of other countries only to argue as president why we must and then do it whether the argument compels or not.

In reviewing some old notes, I found in a May 2017 document a “What to Watch Out For” (#WTWOF) to myself:

Read more“No Nation Building” ==> “Let’s Build Democracies!” Rinse. Repeat.

Heroin Rising On Cue

In my notes from February 2015, I wrote this under the heading Drug War 2.0:

If they legalize pot but still want to fund black ops they need to ramp up opium.

Then on my January 2016 show, The Year Ahead, the first prediction I made was this (starting at around 5:00 in hour 1):

I began to suspect that we might have a shift towards emphasizing heroin when I saw that George Soros was behind the legal pot movement…Obviously the establishment is sanctioning this trend in the different states for pot to be legal and that got me puzzling, because I read somewhere that 70% of the illegal drug trade is pot. (Now it’s hard to get the real stats.) And at the same time I have read plenty about how the illegal drug trade does fund black ops—CIA operations that can’t get Congressional funding–the most famous example of which is Iran-Contra…I thought the pot being legal has to be replaced by something else like heroin, which by the way has grown tremendously more now in Afghanistan since we took over from the Taliban than before…Or if the black ops money doesn’t get replaced then maybe the funding structure will be different, so the CIA will take a back seat and the NSA will do some of that stuff because the NSA gets funded directly. So I just feel like the heroin thing has a much bigger backstory than you’re gonna think, and it will be in the news more–kind of like free advertising…I think we will hear more of that [story] as the year progresses.

As I’ve noted before (see The Ferguson Effect), I’m not saying predicting an outcome is proof of causation, but it certainly supports the proposed thesis. My thesis in all these cases is the same: these are not unintended consequences, but foreseeable consequences that are either inevitable or intentional. So forgive me if I differ with Don Winslow, who, in one of this week’s WSJ Notable & Quotable, offers a “free market” explanation for the reported rise of heroin coinciding with the legalization of pot…

Notable & Quotable: How Marijuana Begat Heroin
‘Looking at the American drug market as it existed, Guzmán and his partners saw an opportunity.’

The article starts:

Okay, I’m going to say it: The heroin epidemic was caused by the legalization of marijuana.

Not too far off–I would say, “The heroin epidemic was caused by the same people who arranged for the legalization of marijuana.”

Weed was a major profit center for [the dominant cartel in Mexico, the Sinaloa], but suddenly they couldn’t compete against a superior American product that also had drastically lower transportation and security costs.

In a single year, the cartel suffered a 40 percent drop in marijuana sales, representing billions of dollars. Mexican marijuana became an almost worthless product. . . . Once-vast fields in Durango now lie fallow.

According to Winslow, in a move of “classic market economics,” Sinaloa decided to undercut pharmaceutical pricing on opiods by leveraging “some of the best poppy fields in the world.” But it was US government policy that provided the underserved market Sinaloa needed to make up lost pot revenue:

Read moreHeroin Rising On Cue

How Regulations Help Big Business: A Case Study in Pot

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I recently commented how some corporate-sponsored libertarians focus on regulatory burdens on big business but never focus on the much more insidious phenomenon of regulatory barriers to entry which help big business keep competition at bay and were probably the true intent behind the regulatory era ushered in a century ago. The details around the legalization of pot are providing a great example of this in real time.

From the very beginning of the pot legalization movement, like the uber craze, I wondered why all of a sudden, government was getting out of the way of products and services that had long been in high demand but had been highly controlled. Pot legalization movements have been going on since pot was first criminalized decades ago, yet all of a sudden they started gaining traction. I am for ending the drug war, so I don’t object, but I did wonder why now–and why would George Soros be funding it?

I could think of several reasons:

  • The NSA is replacing the CIA in black ops (the NSA gets a virtual blank check while the CIA notoriously uses drug money)
    • Given the diminishing need for black ops money, the profit and tax money of pot might on balance benefit the powers that be
  • The thinkers behind social stability long ago recommended warehousing the “unemployable” and instituting a “euphemized form of slavery” – even more widespread pot use might fit the bill nicely
  • Registering pot users might come in handy for the total surveillance state to use against some future activist
  • Dumbing down the voting public is an essential element of tyranny-by-democracy

For all of these reasons, I try to make a few important points whenever the discussion of legalizing pot comes up, specifically:

  • Don’t tax pot – drug use goes up when the government has a profit motive to promote its use
  • The welfare state eliminates the natural feedback mechanism that gets drug users to stop getting high and start working once in awhile…it’s a “moral hazard
  • Beware settling for “medical marijuana” in your state no matter how easy they make it – it is simply a registration system for pot users (by all means, have pot for anyone who wants it, sick or well, just question the need to register for it)
  • Most important: don’t regulate it or limit homegrown in any way…regulating it means that only big producers will be able to meet the requirements (these are called regulatory barriers to entry); homegrown will be the safest, healthiest stuff out there–pot is a weed, it grows easily & is practically free–there might not be any industry of corporate pushers at all if the production and exchange of homegrown are unrestricted

An article I read yesterday reminded me of how costly and counter-productive regulatory barriers to entry are going to shut out the little guy and create a massive industry for highly processed, high-priced pot instead of just allowing people to grow, share and sell this simple weed:

Colorado Pot Regulation Amendment Pulled By Its Own Supporters

Update (12/1/16): Different Sector, Same Principle…

Trump Treasury Pick Could Boost Small Banks
Mnuchin’s background suggests he could be an ally to small and midsize lenders

CIT is among the midsize lenders that critics say are most burdened by Dodd-Frank. With $66 billion of total assets, it is above the law’s $50 billion threshold for annual stress testing by the Federal Reserve. But without the scale of megabanks like J.P. Morgan Chase, it is burdened with significantly increased regulatory costs.

An Interesting Passage from Quigley’s Tragedy & Hope

On Saturday’s show I mentioned a concept I picked up from Carrol Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope: that culture changes when children’s values are disconnected from their parents;’ this can happen in any of a number of ways from technological progress to outside cultural influences. I believe this method is deliberately used in the United States to move us from our individualist past to the “collectivist future.” Specifically I believe childhood education (literally disconnecting us from our parents), higher education (indoctrinating us to the state), high taxes (causing both parents to work), welfare (breaking up families), the drug war (creating outlaw subcultures), immigration policy (deliberately

Read moreAn Interesting Passage from Quigley’s Tragedy & Hope

An Interesting Passage from Quigley's Tragedy & Hope

On Saturday’s show I mentioned a concept I picked up from Carrol Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope: that culture changes when children’s values are disconnected from their parents;’ this can happen in any of a number of ways from technological progress to outside cultural influences. I believe this method is deliberately used in the United States to move us from our individualist past to the “collectivist future.” Specifically I believe childhood education (literally disconnecting us from our parents), higher education (indoctrinating us to the state), high taxes (causing both parents to work), welfare (breaking up families), the drug war (creating outlaw subcultures), immigration policy (deliberately

Read moreAn Interesting Passage from Quigley's Tragedy & Hope

Dollars for Terror: A Review

In Dollars for Terror, Swiss journalist Richard Labévière lays out a convincing case that the United States, through its proxy, Saudi Arabia, guided the evolution of Islam, cultivating radical strains of Sunni Islamism to combat the modernizing and stabilizing trends of Arab nationalism which threaten US domination of the Middle East.
Written in 2000, Dollars for Terror predates 9/11 and calls into question the premise that Islamic terrorism against the United States is a spontaneous expression of Muslims “hating us for our freedoms.” Labévière instead sets out to demonstrate that radical, political Islam is a calculated tactic used to facilitate Saudi hegemony and American mastery over the oil-rich region stretching from North Africa through the Middle East and across Central Asia.

Read moreDollars for Terror: A Review

From Smallpox to Singapore: Why a Gun Ban Won't Work in the U.S.

I find it highly distasteful to engage in the debate about gun control at this time first because I think gun control advocates are using an incomprehensible tragedy for political gain and I don’t want to play into their hands; second, because I am still sick about what happened in Newtown–I cannot stop thinking about it and I really want to; and third, and most important, because the gun control debate detracts from the real issue in this case:  society and mental illness.*  Many rampage killings occur in the U.S., but also in countries with strict gun control and all over the world by means other than guns.  Why do people kill like this? And is there anything we can do about it?
Despite my personal preference to focus on other issues, the gun debate has been reignited once again and I do have some thoughts to share on the subject.
Gun control is a two-part debate: (1) will stricter gun control or more liberal gun rights result in greater day-to-day safety, and (2) regardless of the answer to the first question, isn’t it necessary to have an effectively armed citizenry in order to deter governmental tyranny?
I usually skip the first question because regardless of the answer to that one, the second one is decisive in my opinion. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Mussolini and Pol Pot among them killed over 100,000,000 of their own, mostly disarmed, citizens in the twentieth century. No matter how many

Read moreFrom Smallpox to Singapore: Why a Gun Ban Won't Work in the U.S.

Elite Squad: Movie Recommendation

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cb-rUfBTQ1g]
This is the first time I’ve recommended a movie to watch (I usually go for documentaries), but this is a must see.
Elite Squad, set in the slums of Rio in 1997, claims to be based on a true story and whether or not the details of the characters are true, the tale of corruption from police to politician depict a universal truth. This movie was actually recommended to me by the daughter of a Brazilian police officer who marveled at its accurate depiction of government corruption in Brazil, though of course I don’t think Brazil has an exclusive on mass corruption, especially during the current Drug War epoch. Continue reading…

Doomsday List From This Week's Show!

This week on the show we talked about a list I came upon:  Top Ten Global Risks we face over the next year.  Here’s the list:
10. Regime implosion in North Korea, on the basis that the surprisingly rapid acclamation of Kim Jong-un as ‘great successor’ to his father is a façade.
9. A deflationary trap in the United States similar to what Japan experienced in 1992-95, with dire consequences for global growth.
8. Cartels capture the Mexican state, wherein the essential functions and institutions of government are ceded to powerful drug lords.

Read moreDoomsday List From This Week's Show!