RT piece on Georgism from 2014

Scott Baker, president of Common Ground NYC is interviewed by RT’s Abby Martin about Georgism. Baker cites Michael Hudson, Gaffney, and Fred Harrison behind the movement, saying that all these men agree that LVT would bring in about 1/3 of GDP in revenue, leaving enough room for a decently-sized Government.
But Abby Martin is so lame in this interview, asking Backer to “respond” to a dead person [Karl Marx]. What the hell? She starts the show criticizing black and white views on the economy [capitalists vs communists], and then presses the guest to argue based on the aforementioned framing. Rubbish journalism. Kudos to Scott Backer for nailing it, though.

Robert Epstein on Google’s Manipulation

Tech monopoly is not a partisan matter; and everyone should understand why it’s a threat to democracy and freedom, including peace – for war can be sold via sufficient deception too.

Dr. Robert Epstein is an American psychologist, professor, author, and journalist. He earned his Ph.D. in psychology at Harvard University in 1981, was editor in chief of Psychology Today, a visiting scholar at the University of California, San Diego, and the founder and director emeritus of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies in Concord, MA. He’s a Senior Research Psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research & Technology.

Robert Epstein is not a Republican, and in the last election, he openly supported Hillary Clinton [his voting choice]. So we can’t suspect him of being biased on the issue of Google’s actions of censorship and manipulation.

The arguments he invokes are: de facto monopoly, downgrading positive news search results for one candidate or one issue, upgrading negative news search results for one candidate or one issue, manipulating the user from the very first letter typed in the search field, statistical measurements on Google’s [biased] algorithms from 2016 and the impact on voter preference. Robert Epstein also makes the case for breaking up tech monopolies, given the immense threat they pose to the republic. The man’s a patriot.

Feudalist Libertarians want Nature Preserves

by Serban V.C. Enache

A recent article on Mises dot org, written by one Gor Mkrtchian makes the case for the privatization of public lands and elimination of the property tax. The article claims this “will further boost the voluntary stewardship of natural preserves.”

“The question is, what mechanism should decide how much and which land should be kept wild, and how much and which land should not for the sake of development, balancing the demand for wildlife preserves with the demand for all other goods? […]
The market has assigned to nature an enormous, multifaceted lot. Privatizing public lands while removing taxes on property and outdoor recreation will further boost the voluntary stewardship of natural preserves. Meanwhile, market freedom will also grant the flexibility to utilize portions of these parks to serve the consumers’ most pressing economic needs outside of nature preservation.”

The article argues under the false premise of ‘the free market’ that private agents will better manage productive land and land destined for conservation than state agents, be they federal or local. While the article notes the existence and work of land conservation trusts, it makes no mention of land-value taxation. More so, the article doesn’t mention the word “rent” at all!

So in fact, it’s arguing for a scenario in which landlords would be able to capture 100 percent the value of location [it was less than 100 under the property tax]. The article is arguing for a 100 percent private toll booth on the real economy [on labor and capital], a rentier excess charge slapped onto the cost of production.

Do you think the libertarians behind Mises dot org are the last bastion of Classical economics? Think again! They’re neoliberal as it gets.

The property tax has indeed regressive effects on the economy. But the solution isn’t to simply eliminate it, but to replace it, alongside taxes on labor, sales, and enterprise, with a land-value tax [also called the site value tax, the tax on the unimproved value of land]. Every value of location left untaxed by the Government is free to be pledged to landlords as rent, or to money lenders as interest.

All landowners, be they firms or individuals, capture economic rent through the simple fact of ownership. A landowner who didn’t sell or doesn’t rent the land to others for a profit is ‘paying’ the imputed value of the ground rent [aka value of location] to himself or herself. A community land trust – and I fully support CLTs – pays the imputed value of the ground rent to the home owners it serves, minus operation fees. This means the ground rent is retained locally and is not appropriated by the financial sector. Still, this doesn’t guarantee that the land owned by the trust is allocated and developed efficiently – nor does it guarantee that the imputed value of the ground rent, captured by the trust, is divided equally among the residents who generate it. While a trust can capture ground rent for itself, an example to the contrary is one that doesn’t charge any rent, instead it keeps out speculators using regulation. Such trusts [who don’t collect rent] are very poor and dependent on Government subsidies. But even in this case, the ground rent could still be said to have been captured by the individual members of the land trust, who have obtained housing through it, even if it doesn’t charge them any moneys deposited in a shared fund. The ground rent within such a trust is captured by private residents, not by the trust itself, hence, few improvements if any.

Land is NOT capital. Ownership of land automatically implies excluding someone else from it. The owner should pay for this privilege [of ownership], because he did not make the land, Nature/God made it.

The best policy combination is land-value taxation + CLTs. Very important observations: Under fully phased in land-value taxation, gaining access to land in most cases will occur without any upfront cost. And land taken out of production would no longer be considered productive land, and would be exempt from the tax. Also, modern Georgists have incorporated pigovian taxation into the original Single Tax philosophy; so if someone tries to environmentally degrade [pollute] the land, in the hope that the State assessors will shrink the assessed land value figure, are going to pay the pigovian tax, for causing adverse side effects. Water and air [including the broadcast spectrum] are also categorized as land under the Georgist philosophy, because they make up the Natural Commons. And in cases of outright ecocide, in my opinion, perpetrators should face harsh sentences in jail, for a mere money fine, even large ones, are not enough to fit their crimes… Site value capture is morally just and has negative deadweight – it brings efficiency to the economy.

What the Mises institute through Gor Mkrtchian is arguing for in its article, with all the sweet, euphemistic and perfidious talk of voluntarism, is in truth a mega free lunch for usurers and rent-seekers! Wealth extraction! As if they’ve not been given enough free lunches in the recent past under Obama and Trump. The article also claims that the State is just horrible at managing assets. Oh, really? How do you square the fact that these vital inventions were birthed in the Government sector? For more info on successful Public Sector enterprises, I recommend this book by Mariana Mazzucato.

I’m so tired of the constant demonization of states and nationhood practiced by snake-oil-salesmen libertarians, who are so nostalgic over the feudal age, they work incessantly [alongside other globalist factions] to bring it about in the present as neo-feudalism. Just recently I heard a smug, libertarian from the US on RT’s Crosstalk, saying ‘let’s have open borders and no welfare.’ Utterly insane, satanically so. Satanists love social-darwinism. How about you have secure borders, regulated immigration, and welfare, and full employment, like in the golden age of industrial capitalism? An epoch over which even Noam Chomsky is nostalgic. Here’s what Carl Menger, the founder of the Austrian School of Economics had to say about the State’s role within the economy:

Government thus has to intervene in economic life for the benefit of all not only to redress grievances, but also to establish enterprises that promote economic efforts but, because of their size, are beyond the means of individuals and even private corporations. These are not paternalistic measures to restrain the citizens’ activities; on the contrary, they furnish the means for promoting such activities; furthermore, they are of some importance for those great ends of the whole state that make it appear civilized and cultured.

Important roads, railways and canals that improve the general well-being by improving traffic and communication are special examples of this kind of enterprise and lasting evidence of the concern of the state for the well-being of its parts and thereby its own power; at the same time, they are/constitute major prerequisites for the prosperity of a modern state. 

The building of schools, too, is a suitable field for government to prove its concern with the success of its citizens’ economic efforts.”

The Duran: Discussing AOC+3

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss the ANTIFA terrorist who was killed Saturday by Washington state police as he attacked a local Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center. He was seen in a recent CNN program that critics say glorified a radical, left-wing movement. Willem Van Spronsen, 69, sent a manifesto to friends the day before the assault in which he wrote, “I am Antifa,” and now he has now been ‘martyred’ by ANTIFA members, while CNN aired and promoted a program that glorified the radical ANTIFA member. Van Spronsen appears to have been part of a May 5 episode of CNN’s “United Shades of America” with W. Kamau Bell.

My comment: What we’re seeing with contemporary liberalism and the so-called progressives is a consequence of decades-long efforts by the Western Establishment to erode working class politics, working class conscience, and effectively demoralize the vast majority of the population.

The secret services [via proxies] spent trillions of dollars across the decades, during and after the Cold War, to fragment the Left and any inclusive narrative that puts class and class issues above anything else. Under the mass insanity of ID politics, a woman “of color” that’s rich is ‘more oppressed’ than a white person that’s poor; and the former individual, of course, cannot be privileged. Indeed, this ideology of insanity insists that only whites are capable of racism, while “people of color” aren’t and cannot be. Dialog and debate are seen as heresy. It is not only immoral, according to their beliefs, to “give a platform” to someone who expresses divergent views, but dangerous too. So shaming, censorship, and [inevitably] violence are seen as lawful and justifiable methods to achieve the “proud social justice warrior’s” goals. Again, I encourage readers to pick up The Cultural Cold War, by Frances Stonor Saunders.

Picture of Frances Stoner Saunders

Below is a review by M. A. Krul to entice potential readers:

“Most people are probably aware that the CIA sponsored a lot of activities, legal and extralegal, in the war against the Communist bloc known as the Cold War. But it is perhaps less well-known to what extent the CIA was involved in sponsoring, bribing and suborning writers, musicians, actors and intellectuals to agitate against the Soviet Union and its allies, as well as communism and Marxism in general. In particular the CIA-run organization “Congress for Cultural Freedom” and its flagship intellectual journal ‘Encounter’ had a great influence in the West in terms of effective propagandizing for the US point of view.

Frances Stonor Saunders, an independent film producer and writer for the New Statesman, has now produced an authoritative modern history of the CIA and the Congress, as well as related organizations, focusing both on the global political dimension. She focuses on the global politics, but also on the individuals involved on all sides, the many prominent writers and intellectuals in the organizations, and what it looked like from the CIA’s perspective, for which she makes use of newly declassified documents. She shows convincingly that the “non-Communist Left” was by and large bribed or cajoled by the CIA, in so far as they didn’t enthusiastically volunteer, into joining their propaganda front. She also shows that later denials by people such as Stephen Spender and Melvin Lasky of their knowledge of CIA involvement is extremely unrealistic and most likely just another lie.

That is not to say that this work is a polemic; far from it, Saunders writes very matter-of-factly and evenhandedly, and has little interest in discussing the merits of various political positions, though she does not fail to comment on the context of the Cold War at times, when she contrasts high-minded phrasery with the rather brutal and cynical realities of Vietnam, CIA activity in Latin America, the Soviet purges, the repression of Hungary, etc. The book is very extensive, making use of various sorts of sources, including interviews with important participants, in which they reflect remarkably often in a rather cynical way on their past activities. It’s quite astounding how many famous writers, composers, intellectuals [George Orwell, Arthur Schlesinger Jr, Gloria Steinem, Jean-Paul Sartre], from Nabokov’s cousin to Stravinsky and from Russell to Stuart Hampshire, were involved in organized campaigns to attack and discredit their socialist colleagues. For that alone, this book is worth reading, that these crimes are not forgotten.

And to not forget, let’s compare what it meant to be politically progressive back in the 19th and early 20th centuries compared to the ‘sex, drugs, and rock’n roll’ period, up to the present.

The white working class was the cornerstone, the key part of the solution for a better tomorrow, and was indeed heavily responsible for obtaining the right to vote, the welfare state, public services, full employment, and civil rights. Nowadays, the so-called liberals and progressives hate working class whites with such a passion, they wish they didn’t exist.

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Fusion Energy, Top Priority for Russia

Separating himself from that cynical [Neo-Malthusian] worldview, Putin stated “it is impossible and pointless to try to stop human progress. The question is; which base can this progress realistically be built upon to achieve the millennium development goals set by the United Nations?” Answering his own question, Putin laid out the important role of fusion power as the foundation for a harmonization between the realm of nature (the biosphere) and the realm of creative reason (the technosphere): “super-efficient scientific, engineering and manufacturing solutions will help us establish a balance between the biosphere and the technosphere… fusion energy which in fact is similar to how heat and light are produced in our star, the sun, is an example of such nature-like technologies.”

Read the full piece by Matthew Ehret here.

A minor, but important correction to Mr. Ehret’s article. The Technosphere is that part of the environment made or modified by humans. The “realm of creative reason” is called the Noosphere [the realm of human thought]. Thought-objects are wholly distinct, but inseparable from the realm of matter. In the vision of Vladimir Vernadsky, one of the greatest scientists of the Soviet Union and indeed of the 20th century, humanity will be able to create its own resources via mastery over nuclear processes.

I must state my disagreement with the following paragraph. “The 1970s saw the west suffer a subtle coup d’état with the elimination of all nationalist leaders committed to defending their populations from the re-emergence of a financial oligarchy which had only recently failed to achieve world domination under Hitler and Mussolini.”

I am very familiar with the writings and narratives of Lyndon LaRouche and his organizations. Some things LaRouche got right, other things he didn’t. The Axis powers were not anti-science, were not anti-industry, nor were they Malthusians. Yes, the Nazis believed thoroughly in eugenics and applying eugenics to humans. But their goal was never to plummet the population to pre-industrial levels, as is the wet dream of contemporary eco-fascist-aristos. Also, Nazi German imperialism lacked the financialization ethos of other empires.

The same is true of Imperial Japan. Their type of imperialism was conquest and development, for them, not for anyone else. It’s a big [ahistorical] mistake to paint German National Socialist ideology and the Nazi regime itself as just another club of oligarchs, looking to extract interest and rents left and right, content with feudalism, like the rulers of the Roman Empire.