Christmas Column

Submitted by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts – Institute for Public Economy

Dear Readers, thank you for your support in 2014. Although you have kept me working yet another year past retirement age, I find it encouraging that there are some Americans who can think independently and who want to know. As Margaret Mead said, it only takes a few determined people to change the world. Perhaps some of you will be those people…..

My traditional Christmas column goes back to sometime in the 1990s when I was a newspaper columnist. It has been widely reprinted at home and abroad. Every year two or three readers write to educate me that religion is the source of wars and persecutions. These readers confuse religion with mankind’s abuse of institutions, religious or otherwise. The United States has democratic institutions and legal institutions to protect civil liberties. Nevertheless, we now have a police state. Shall I argue that democracy and civil liberty are the causes of police states?

Some readers also are confused about hypocrisy. There is a vast difference between proclaiming moral principles that one might fail to live up to and proclaiming immoral principles that are all too easy to keep.  Liberty is a human achievement. We have it, or had it, because those who believed in it fought to achieve it. As I explain in my Christmas column, people were able to fight for liberty because Christianity empowered the individual.

The other cornerstone of our culture is the Constitution. Indeed, the United States is the Constitution. Without the Constitution, the United States is a different country, and Americans a different people. This is why assaults on the Constitution and assaults on Christianity are assaults on all of us. There is not much that we can do about these assaults, but we should not through ignorance enable the assaults or believe the government’s claim that safety requires the curtailment of civil liberty. Continue reading

No GDP Resonance In New Home Sales Either

Submitted by Jeffrey Snider  –  Alhambra Investment Partners

Perhaps the BEA should have moved the GDP release up a few days to allow mainstream commentary its unbridled and unstained euphoria. Almost as soon as the GDP revisions were released, the upward appearance of economic growth was seriously undermined byincome results and the nature of spending “gains.” That was soon followed by a ratherdire look into business investment through capital goods. And the pre-holiday data dump took one more leg out of the fun with new home sales that continued the trend of the growing and prior real estate funk.

The decline in existing home sales released yesterday was matched by not just tepid new home sales in November but revisions that continue all in the “wrong” direction.

ABOOK Dec 2014 New Home Sales

Continue reading

Reuters Objectively See’s Russia’s Options as Losing or… Losing Badly

Submitted by Thad Beversdorf  –  The First Rebuttal Blog

“I’ve long thought that he has pursued a pre-World War Two course which could only end badly – a course in which his power is maximized by crushing internal opponents, expanding empire and using the military to frighten neighboring countries into submission.”, writes John Lloyd of Reuters.  I read this excerpt from his recent article and thought finally someone in mainstream media is honestly discussing the foreign policy of America, just to eventually find out he is actually talking about Putin.  However, Lloyd does go on to imply American foreign policy can be described much the same way.

Unfortunately the rest of the article is basically ‘informing’ the reader that Putin has two options;  1. he can lose or 2. he can lose badly.  John Lloyd’s coverage must be a bit disappointing to all those readers that purchased Lloyd’s 2004 book “What the Media are Doing to our Politics”.  It is clear that John Lloyd is nothing more than yet another mainstream media muppet of the neocon storyline.  The more they say it apparently the more true they believe it becomes.  In any case, I suppose I could overlook the obvious hypocrisy if it were well thought out.  However, Lloyd seems to miss the one most likely option, the China factor.

Russia has the capability and the wisdom to overcome the existing hardship in the economic situation,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi told journalists, China Daily reported Monday. “If the Russian side needs it, we will provide necessary assistance within our capacity.”  In a recent piece I published, I discuss the clear motivation of the Western Alliance to crush Russia is an attempt to contain the obvious new world dominating force, China.  You see China has just surpassed the US as the world’s top economy.  Its military is by far the largest military in the world though probably not the most sophisticated, yet.  But there is no rational mind that argues China will not be the world’s single superpower in a mere 20 years if not sooner.  The Western Alliance (which is the collective of Western leaders that have long controlled global policies), however, is not so rational.  The central banking cartel along with the Western Alliance are not going down without a fight.   Continue reading