Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Cannabis Cronies

Cannabis Cronies
Strike it rich in Ohio
Conspiracy Theorist
By Mark Luedtke
Publication date: 041817

People literally kill to become part of the exclusive marijuana producers’ cartel. That’s because marijuana producers rapidly become obscenely rich. Of course there’s a risk because marijuana is banned. Drug kingpins risk being murdered by competing producers. They risk being murdered by cops, and cops are often competitors. Drug kingpins also risk being thrown in jail.
Except for a few. Out of 11.6 million Ohioans, twelve cronies will win the Ohio medical marijuana lottery. Ohio rulers have created their own marijuana cartel and bestowed kingpin status on them. They bestowed minor kingpin status on twelve other smaller producers.  Marijuana Times reports, “The larger growers (Level 1) will need a total of $200,000 to get a license under the proposed rules, while the smaller growers (Level 2) will only need $20,000. Besides the money, potential licensed growers will also need to prove they have enough capital funding, quality assurance and security plans, and that they test their product through a qualified lab.”
Large growers can utilize up to 25,000 square feet, small growers only up to 3,000. Because Ohio legalized medical marijuana as long as it’s produced by these cartel members, these kingpins don’t have to worry about being murdered or arrested for producing drugs. It’s hard to imagine a sweeter deal, and all you have to do to get it is pay the right rulers enough money, legally and probably not so legally, year after year. If you’re not rich and politically connected, you need not apply.
This marijuana production is supposed to be for medicinal use, but rulers heavily restrict access to it. “The Ohio medical marijuana program itself is rather restrictive, with only 21 qualifying conditions, no legal smoking and no home growing allowed, which means only a small percentage of those who could benefit from medical cannabis will be able to get it legally when the program is finally up and running,” the Times continues.
And the rules don’t stop with growers. Columbus’s News-Herald notes, “Officials from three state offices charged with developing the program are still finalizing rules for cultivators, processors, testing labs, dispensaries, patients, caregivers and doctors.”
That’s a lot of regulations to ensure pot money ends up in rulers’ wallets.
Despite the regulations, legalizing marijuana is a baby step in the right direction, but the failure to legalize home growers and smoking is a major problem. This law can’t be confused with allowing freedom. Cincinnati.com explains, “Here's the big sticking point for many marijuana advocates: Under this law, it's still illegal to smoke marijuana – even if you buy it out of state. Vaporizers, edibles and oils are OK. It goes without saying: Recreational use of marijuana also is still illegal under this law.”
No enjoyment allowed, and every Ohioan but rulers and cronies is denied the opportunity to profit.
Government’s coercive control of the marijuana market guarantees corruption will still run rampant. The Washington Post reports the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) continues to target marijuana users. “... marijuana remains illegal for all purposes under federal law, a policy the DEA emphatically reiterated this past summer. To that end, the DEA devoted 22 pages of its Drug Threat Assessment to pot — considerably more real estate than it devoted to, say, prescription painkillers (16 pages), which kill more than 14,000 people per year.”
But the Post also reports some good news. “However, the DEA makes the interesting claim, not present in last year's Threat Assessment, that ‘media attention’ to marijuana issues is making it more difficult to enforce marijuana laws and prosecute people who violate them. The agency also appears to blame the media for spreading inaccurate information about the legality and effects of marijuana use,” the Post wrote.
Anything that makes it harder for the DEA to prey on Americans is a good thing. But regardless of the DEA’s complaints, state rulers want the new revenue stream, so partial legalization and looting will continue.
Legalized marijuana draws rich, crony investors. Cannabiz.media reports, “In Maryland, 144 companies submitted applications for 15 marijuana cultivator licenses earlier this year, and the long list of diverse investors behind those applications might surprise you. In total, more than 950 people were listed as working for or investing in the companies that applied for these licenses. The list includes business executives, politicians, lawyers, lobbyists, government leaders, law enforcement professionals, and military leaders.”
And bankers. No surprise at all.

Originally published in the Dayton City Paper.

Trump Threatens the CIA

Trump Threatens the CIA
The Deep State threatens worse
Conspiracy Theorist
By Mark Luedtke
Publication date: 013117

It’s no secret the fake news campaign against then-candidate Trump was the most outrageous in modern politics, but the lengths to which the establishment is going to discredit him after his victory are more outrageous. Rulers first deployed the fake story about Russia hacking the election. While news stories talked about supposed Russian hackers hacking the DNC - we’ve since learned an insider leaked the Podesta emails, not Russian hackers - but the headlines were designed to make many believe Russia hacked voting machines. Bloggers like Christopher Keelty keep that myth alive by bloviating “There is no evidence that Russia hacked American voting machines, but reporters and experts overstep when they claim it definitely did not happen.”
Then rulers made up the bizarre story about Trump and Russian prostitutes. They’re panicked.
These actions beg the question of why the establishment fears President Trump so much. Antiwar.com explains, “Deals on the exact nature of the changes are still being sorted out, but President-elect Donald Trump reportedly plans to revamp multiple US intelligence agencies, particularly the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, with a primary goal of shrinking them considerably.”
Uh-oh. The last president who threatened to clean house at the CIA was assassinated in Dallas, making it clear who really rules the US. Top bureaucrats at the CIA, NSA, FBI, the Pentagon and other agencies along with corporate contractors, bankers, CEOs make up what’s called the deep state, national security state, or shadow government. They really rule the US, not the constitutional government government schools teach us about.
The mainstream media is their propaganda tool. Since Operation Mockingbird, which officially lasted from the 1940s to the 1970s, the CIA has pulled the strings of the media in the US and other countries. It has long, strong ties with The Washington Post which have strengthened since Jeff Bezos bought the paper because he has a $600 million contract to provide cloud services to the CIA. When the media attacks Trump, especially WaPo, think CIA.
Rulers have become so brazen, CNN openly discussed assassinating Trump. Breitbart recently reported, “On the Wednesday, January 18 broadcast of CNN’s The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer aired a segment with a chyron featuring the headline ‘Developing Now.’ During that ‘developing’ segment, Blitzer and correspondent Brian Todd discussed what would happen if the unthinkable occurred on January 20. Blitzer introduced the segment, saying, ‘What if an incoming president and his immediate successors were wiped out on day one?’ and from there, CNN contributor Brian Todd took over to outline the line of succession if an attack blew up the inaugural dais, killing both Trump and Pence.”
If he had run a similar segment before President Obama was first inaugurated, it would have been bye-bye Blitzer.
Senator Chuck Schumer recently acknowledged the deep state’s intimidating rule. “'Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday to get back at you,' he told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. 'So, even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he is being really dumb to do this,'” wrote The Daily Mail. “Schumer said he didn't know what agents would or could do to Trump. 'But from what I am told, they are very upset with how he has treated them and talked about them,' he said.”
Economist William Anderson wonders if this is Schumer’s dog-whistle calling for the deep state to assassinate Trump. This isn’t as preposterous as it might sound. One of Trump’s advisors was recently poisoned with polonium.
Furthermore, the New York Post reports, “Intelligence officials told the Journal that they are ultimately disgusted with the President-elect’s social media behavior and disapproval of the CIA. ‘It’s appalling,’ one official said. ‘No president has ever taken on the CIA and come out looking good.’”
That sounds like a threat.
And since US rulers ultimately strive to rule the world, it’s no surprise foreigners participate. Justin Raimondo informs, “Oh, the irony! Amid all the accusations of foreign interference in the election, the first solid indication of it showed up with the publication of a slanderous unsourced memo written by a ‘former’ British intelligence agent accusing Donald Trump of various ‘perversions’ and claiming he’s vulnerable to blackmail by those evil Russkies.”
So far these attacks have backfired, but they were hastily arranged and amateurish. With time and resources, future attacks will improve. Trump is smart to maintain his private security, but they’ll be blamed if he gets assassinated.

Originally published in the Dayton City Paper.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Learn to Love Obamacare

Learn to Love Obamacare
Republicans never wanted to repeal it
Conspiracy Theorist
By Mark Luedtke
Publication date: 030717

Just as rulers planned, Obamacare forced insurance rates to skyrocket, and insurance companies are pulling out to avoid going bankrupt. The plan gets more unpopular by the day. That’s why, although voters gave Republicans more than one job, for the last six years repealing Obamacare was job #1.
The only problem is Republicans secretly love Obamacare. The horrendous and horrendously expensive program animated Republican voters, won them both houses, and finally helped win them the presidency.
The only thing Republicans ever wanted to do with Obamacare was to tinker around the edges to share in the looting. Sure, during the six years after Obamacare was passed while President Obama was still in office, Republicans voted to repeal it several times, but those votes were political theater. They knew Obama would veto any repeal.
The plan was, following a Clinton victory, Democrats would blame the market for Obamacare’s failure and Republicans would fake outrage. Then Democrats would force full-blown socialized medicine down our throats with the handful of Republican votes necessary to get it passed from pretend turncoats who could survive it.
That plan fell apart when Trump beat Clinton because any attempt to repeal Obamacare became real.
Repeal will not happen. It goes against the philosophy of government takeover of everything supported by both parties. It’s so obvious, Republicans can barely hide their lies. While they still mince words, senior Republicans can’t hide it.
Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, speaking at a recent Town Hall sponsored by CNN, promised to repeal and replace Obamacare “definitely within these first 100 days” of President’s Trump’s term. Ryan claimed Republicans are “working on this as fast as possible.” However, he hedged by claiming it will take “a little bit of time.”
Baloney. Obamacare was passed in March of 2010. If Republicans wanted to repeal and replace Obamacare, they had six years and eleven months to develop a plan. They didn’t because they didn’t want to. Unable to come up with a plan in that amount of time, they surely won’t come up with one in the next two months.
Other Republicans admit that. Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Rep. Mike Burgess, chairman of the health subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee made a different, equally worthless promise. He promised to repeal Obamacare, but the Washington Examiner reports, “... Burgess didn't have an answer when pressed on when Congress will vote to repeal and replace the healthcare law — although he did say it will happen before the next CPAC.”
A year from now. That’s also baloney. Ryan and Burgess are playing voters for fools. They have no intention of repealing Obamacare. They’re running out the clock by making promises they never intend to fulfill.
That’s because Republicans hate President Trump and Obamacare has become a tool they can wield against him. While the Democrats and the one world government faction of our rulers are overtly attacking, funding howling astroturf protesters, and trying to discredit Trump daily, Republicans are quietly doing the same. They won’t repeal Obamacare and will blame Trump for lack of leadership. Failing to deliver on his promises then blaming him will help neuter him. Republicans expect Trump to have lost his popular support by next CPAC.
I love it when politicians retire and become more honest like former Speaker John Boehner, the architect of those phony votes to repeal Obamacare. Politico reports the former speaker told healthcare conference attendees “They’ll fix Obamacare, and I shouldn’t have called it repeal and replace because that’s not what’s going to happen. They’re basically going to fix the flaws and put a more conservative box around it.”
I like how he uses the word fix as code for tinkering to enrich Republican cronies, not just Democrat cronies.
Thanks to Republican support, the destruction of our health insurance system by Obamacare will continue. Prices will continue to skyrocket. Obamacare taxes will continue to climb. Companies will continue to drop out or go bankrupt. Rulers will blame the private sector until the government, supposedly for our benefit, takes over and implements full-blown socialized medicine. It’ll just take a little longer than rulers hoped.
Repealing Obamacare was never going to happen. Anybody who believed Republicans would obey the will of the voters and repeal it misunderstands the nature of government and rulers. Fortunately, every day more people realize coercive government exists to steal our money and enrich rulers at our expense. Nothing else. The scales are falling from people’s eyes.

Originally published in the Dayton City Paper.

$6 Subs

$6 Subs
Inflation-fueled boom is turning to bust
Conspiracy Theorist
By Mark Luedtke
Publication date: 022817

As we left Walmart this morning, my girlfriend noticed Subway was advertising footlong subs for $6. Not long ago those subs cost $5. It’s getting harder and harder for government to deny the price inflation we all feel in our bank accounts.
Every day the Dayton Daily News writes about how great the economy is, but the authors of those articles can’t differentiate between wealth-destroying, inflation-fueled bubble activities and real, demand-driven economic growth. For example, the DDN reports on new restaurants popping up nearly every day. But it also reported this: “Restaurants in Ohio brought in almost $1 billion in sales last year, but consumers didn’t go out to eat as much in the first month of 2017,” it wrote. “A new survey by the Ohio Restaurant Association and the Cleveland Research Company found restaurant owners saw weaker consumer demand in January after a strong fourth quarter that ended in December. That increase was due in part to the mild winter weather.”
So while demand is falling, supply is increasing. The consequences are inevitable: falling prices and bankrupted businesses. This begs the question of why so many restaurants are being opened if they can’t be supported by demand. The answer is artificially low interest rates. When the Federal Reserve (Fed) artificially holds interest rates below market value - the Fed has held interest rates near zero since 2009 - it sends the wrong signal to entrepreneurs. The low interest rates prompt them to borrow money to create new businesses like restaurants. When interest rates inevitably rise, many of those businesses are exposed as being unprofitable and forced into bankruptcy.
The resources and labor expended on these doomed businesses are being squandered. These malinvestments wouldn’t have been made if interest rates were determined in the market instead of being set artificially low by central bank fiat. This is how central banks create boom-bust cycles which destroy wealth while making the bankers and the ultra-rich richer and the rest of us poorer.
The damage is done during the boom. The bust, painful as it is, is the healing correction.
The signs of impending bust are everywhere. The DDN recently reported, “A jump in traffic fatalities last year pushed deaths on U.S. roads to their highest level in nearly a decade even as Ohio bucked that trend, registering a decrease in fatal crashes in 2016,” it noted. “The last time there were more than 40,000 fatalities in a single year was in 2007, just before the economy tanked, the AP said. There were 41,000 deaths that year.”
The Fed’s bubble-money creates a wealth-effect - people feel wealthier although it’s only an illusion - so they travel more. More goods get shipped on the roads. That produces more fatalities.
The San Jose Mercury News offers another bad indicator. “The technology industry’s job growth in the [Silicon Valley] region has dramatically decelerated, according to this newspaper’s analysis of figures released by state labor officials and Beacon Economics. Tech’s annual job growth throttled back to 3.5 percent, or 26,700 new jobs, in 2016. That’s much slower than the 6 percent annual gain of 42,300 jobs in 2015, or the 6.4 percent gain in 2014,” it reported. “And while the industry’s 3.5 percent growth last year is still a sturdy annual pace, Bay Area technology companies have already disclosed plans to slash about 2,000 jobs in the first three months of 2017.”
Closer to home, the DDN coos, “Local home builders are enjoying a resurgence, hitting their highest number of permits pulled for single-family homes in a decade.”
While that sounds like good news, it’s a negative indicator. The DDN continues, “The 2016 single-family homes number is the association’s highest since 2007, when 2,159 permits were pulled.”
So the economy has reestablished the highest point of the housing bubble in 2007, right before it went bust. That’s not good.
On a related note, Dubai announced it will open a new, rotating skyscraper in 2020, setting a new bar for the skyscraper index, or as some call it, the skyscraper curse. Building the tallest skyscraper in a region is strongly correlated with an impending bust, let alone the excess of a rotating skyscraper.
I’m reminded of 2000 when President Clinton’s and Fed Chairman Greenspan’s economy was declining, but the crash didn’t happen until President Bush was in office, so he got blamed. President Trump will be blamed for President Obama’s and Fed Chairman Bernanke’s impending crash.

Originally published in the Dayton City Paper.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Ohio Bans Plywood for Foreclosures

Ohio Bans Plywood for Foreclosures
Crony capitalist strikes it rich
Conspiracy Theorist
By Mark Luedtke
Publication date 021417

The Dayton Daily News recently published an article detailing how crony socialism enables rulers to strike it rich at the expense of everybody else. The article reads like an advertisement for Community Blight Solutions’ SecureView products.
“Clear boarding products are shatter- and tamper-proof, preventing vandalism, trespassing, squatting and other crimes in vacant properties, said [the founder and chairman of Community Blight Solutions Robert] Klein, who advocated for House Bill 463. Clear boards allow police and property owners to see inside buildings to make sure no intruders or other trouble is inside,” gushes the DDN. “Most notably, clear boards tend to be indistinguishable from windows and glass doors, meaning they don’t publicize that a property is empty as plywood does, Klein said.”
The DDN wants you to believe SecureView products are a panacea for blight, as if blight is caused by plywood, not a broken economy. Critics of the plan say… I don’t know what they say. As usual the DDN presents no counter to its propaganda.
But there’s a catch. “Clear boarding products are more expensive than plywood. A 48-by-96-inch SecureView window cover runs about $115 per sheet. A SecureView security door costs about $395.”
That’s over ten times the cost of plywood. It’s nearly 40 times the cost of a plywood sheet for a door. Klein and his partners struck the mother lode.
Of course he lobbied for this ban on plywood. We tend to speak of lobbying as if it was a legitimate, although often abused, activity. It isn’t legitimate. Lobbying is the purchase of government’s illegitimate power of coercion. Politicians sell that power to the highest bidder constrained by their ability to get re-elected. This is how politicians get rich fast and their rich cronies become super-rich faster.
Ohio is the first state to pass such a law. Klein must have successfully purchased a lot of votes.
But the DDN wants us to believe politicians care about taxpayers. “The law won’t affect Springfield or other municipalities that board up abandoned structures, Springfield Planning, Zoning and Code Administrator Stephen Thompson said. He believes the new requirements might improve blight in neighborhoods,” it wrote. “‘I would hope so but it’s hard to tell what the real impact of something like this will be,’ Thompson said.”
The law only applies to mortgage lenders. There’s not many of them so their votes aren’t important. They can be preyed upon to fund a plan advertised to fight blight.
But Thompson really knows what the impact of this law will be. While some mortgage lenders will pay the exorbitant additional cost to board up houses, making Klein super-rich, many will forego boarding up properties at all. More foreclosed houses will be used as crack houses and by squatters. Blight will increase. The additional costs will put marginal mortgage lenders out of business, hurting the economy, and they’ll be taken over by bigger companies, funneling more wealth into the hands of the few.
We’ll eventually read about these supposedly unintended consequences. They aren’t unintended. These consequences benefit rulers. They give them excuses to further interfere in the economy, making themselves and their cronies richer again.
The DDN inadvertently notes another way taxpayers are harmed by this legislation. “Fannie Mae, one of two massive U.S. government-backed agencies to buy and guarantee mortgages, was an early adopter of clear board alternatives,” it reported. “The housing finance giant started using polycarbonate coverings in 2013 to maintain its post-foreclosure properties in a handful of states, including Ohio. By the end of 2014, Fannie Mae had implemented clear boarding across all of its markets.”
Fannie Mae was created by Congress and is backed by taxpayers. Taxpayers bailed out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2008. Taxpayers will have to bail them and their clear board products out again soon.
But rulers declare the cost is worth it. Jake Williamson, vice president of Fannie Mae’s distressed assessment fulfillment division, told the DDN, “We feel the product is a bit safer and more secure than plywood.’”
A bit safer sounds worth paying ten times or 40 times more.
This article exposes the anatomy of legalized crony corruption that goes on every day in government halls in plain sight. Rulers think of taxpayers as an unlimited supply of wealth. They milk us like cows for every pet project that makes them and their cronies richer and us poorer, and like cows, we let it happen. Then we’re outraged when the negative consequences become obvious.

Bad Actions Have Terrible Consequences

Bad Actions Have Terrible Consequences
Conspiracy Theorist
by Mark Luedtke
publication date: 012715

There’s no such thing as freedom from consequences of actions. If you poke a stick into a hornets’ nest, you can expect to get stung. If you poke a stick at a rabid dog, you can expect to get bitten. If you oppress and kill thousands of people every year for decades, both directly by dropping bombs on them and instigating coups and indirectly by supplying tyrants with weapons, tear gas and money to beat, torture and kill them, don’t act surprised when some of the survivors fly planes into your buildings.
Speech is also an action. If you ridicule people’s prophet and religion almost daily for years, you can expect radicals to respond violently. It’s not right. Everybody should live by the non-aggression principle. Everybody should live by the adage: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” But terrorists don’t. If you make it your mission to consistently insult, anger and incite all Muslims including terrorists, you can expect jihadists will respond with violence. That’s what happened in Paris.
Government propagandists are already trying to take advantage of the massacre. Economist Robert Wenzel observes, “I see where government opportunists are using the recent hack attack on Sony and the killings in Paris of Charlie Hebdo satirists, as an opportunity to raise national defiance against those who ‘hate our freedoms.’ Puhleeze. The fact of the matter is that both Sony employees and Charlie Hebdo employees pissed people off. This, in itself is not a good or bad thing. When you piss people off, they might come back at you. If you don't want to deal with blowback, then don't do the deed.”
Commentator Becky Akers adds, “Naturally, I do not condone murdering journalists and graphic artists. But let us be very clear that these killings have nothing to do with freedom of speech or expression, regardless of how much Our Rulers and France’s try to cast them that way. Governments are the only ones who can restrict either freedom, and so far reports of this atrocity have not implicated France’s administration regardless of its other crimes.”
It’s a sign of the decline of western civilization the boorish cartoons of Charlie Hebdo found enough audience to keep them in business. A healthy society would have shunned them, not defended them as free speech. Just because you can say something doesn’t mean you should.
Foreign policy expert Eric Margolis suggests blowback from perpetual war as another motive for the attack. “France has emerged as one of the most active interveners in the Muslim world, conducting military operations in Libya, Mali, Chad, Ivory Coast, Central African Republic, Djibouti, Abu Dhabi, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria,” he explained. “Critics accused France of a new era of Mideast and African colonialism.”
The French government is complicit in this massacre because it disarmed the victims. One of the most evil actions governments undertake is disarming the people by threatening them with violence for possessing the best tools of self defense. Gun control is an another sign of the decline of western civilization. Barbarians and brigands disarm their victims. Civilized people arm themselves and defend themselves and others.
The massacre in Paris is another spectacular example of government failure. The Sydney Herald writes, “Long before the French editor and cartoonist Stephane Charbonnier was gunned down by Islamic militants in Paris on Wednesday he had said in response to earlier threats: ‘I would rather die standing than live on my knees’.” That’s a heroic sentiment, but unbacked by effective action, it was reduced to empty bravado. Instead of taking action to keep himself and his co-workers safe, Charbonnier foolishly trusted the French government. The British Broadcasting Company reports, “Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier, 47, had received death threats in the past and was living under police protection.” Government’s police protection for Charbonnier was as effective as you would expect - not at all - for a person who is not a member of the ruling class. French police stopped watching these terrorists six months ago.
But these are exactly the kind of terrorists and the kind of attacks the National Security Agency (NSA) was created to stop. NSA spies on every communication in the world to stop attacks like these, but it failed. NSA ubiquitous spying has never stopped an attack. Republicans who support NSA spying on everyone including Americans used Charlie Hebdo to justify NSA tyranny.  Similarly, the head of Britain’s ineffective MI5 already exploited the attack to demand more power. Only government uses failure to justify its activities and demand more power.
The Sydney Herald continues with the propaganda, “[Charbonnier] died standing. He died for our freedom. Charbonnier and the others murdered on Wednesday died for the cause of freedom and enlightened scepticism. We must all stand up for that cause.”
Baloney. Charbonnier and his co-workers died because they intentionally, repeatedly, angered fanatical killers, supporting perpetual war against Muslims in the process. Government’s propagandists are painting Charbonnier and his co-workers as heroic martyrs for free speech rights for political gain. They’re not.

Originally published in the Dayton City Paper.