Tribune Content Agency Submission @Mark Luedtke
To Tribune Content Agency submissions editor:
My name is Mark Luedtke, and for four years I have written a weekly column in the Dayton City Paper titled Conspiracy Theorist. Paul Noah, the publisher of the DCP, believes Conspiracy Theorist is the most widely read column in the paper. It is by far the most commented-on column. In the nine years I’ve written columns, features and covers for the DCP, I have never missed a deadline.
With only six percent of Americans trusting the mainstream media, my articles are more valuable than ever because they are unlike anything in the mainstream media. I focus on economics and politics from a libertarian populist viewpoint, not the superficial divide between left and right. Gallup reports only 19 percent of the American people trust the government in Washington. Writers targeting that divide engage only those 19 percent. My subject matter engages people of all ages and from all walks of life because I write about the growing economic and political gulf between America’s rulers and the people. I explain complex issues in terms everybody can understand, and I challenge conventional dogma with a brash and concise style designed to entertain and make people think.
While the Internet is a factor in the decline of newspapers, poor content is the bigger problem. In contrast, my articles have helped the DCP grow. Because my articles resonate with common people, whether they agree or disagree, they will boost the number of readers for any newspaper. They are edited by a professional editor before submission, and I am flexible on word count, scheduling and other considerations.
Please consider syndicating my articles. All articles have been published by the Dayton City Paper and can be found at http://www.daytoncitypaper.com/author/mark-luedtke/
Feel free to contact me through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone me at (937)985-1249. Contact the Dayton City Paper publisher at email@example.com and editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Call either or both at (937)222-8855.
Thank you for your consideration.
Bankers Gone Wild
The downward spiral from ZIRP to NIRP
by Mark Luedtke
publication date: 031516
After nearly a decade of ZIRP [zero interest rate policy], Janet Yellon’s Federal Reserve [Fed] is considering NIRP [negative interest rate policy]. This literal downward spiral orchestrated by our rulers is the major cause of the world economy’s downward spiral.
Interest rates are a price like any other. In a free market, sellers and buyers negotiate prices to match supply to demand. If a price is too high, surpluses result, and since producers don’t want product sitting idle, they lower prices to clear their inventory. If a price is too low, shortages result, signaling producers to raise prices until supply and demand match.
The natural interest rate is the price of borrowing savings. It matches the supply of savings to the demand of people wanting to borrow saved money for projects like expanding production. If an entrepreneur wants to start or expand a business, he must first save his money to do so or borrow someone else’s saved money. Savings is the fuel that powers economic growth, and entrepreneurs are the engines of economic growth.
Enter the Fed. Some people think the Fed is a capitalist institution. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Fed was created by Congress, and its board is dominated by presidential appointees. Our banking system is thoroughly fascist, controlled by government.
The function of central banks is to pervert interest rates to benefit our rulers. They do this by printing money, which pushes down interest rates. Artificially low interest rates, like all price controls, cause shortages, in this case a shortage of savings. Borrowing exceeds savings, creating the unprecedented debt and anemic savings that threaten civilization today.
ZIRP means the big banks can borrow money at zero interest then turn around and loan it at higher interest rates, making a killing while the rest of us drown in debt. They use the free money to buy government bonds to satisfy their government masters and enable runaway government spending.
But, surprise, surprise, this outrageous counterfeiting scheme hasn’t improved our economy. It’s made our economy worse. A crash much bigger than in 2008 has already started, and the bankers know it. They’re panicking. The Japanese central bank first implemented NIRP, and the European Central Bank quickly followed. NIRP means the central banks are charging savers, eating up their savings, trying to pressure them to spend their money instead of saving it. Yellon is preparing to do same here.
But the bankers have a problem: saving makes people richer while spending makes them poorer, so savers are hoarding - another word for saving - cash instead of spending. Rulers are demonizing savers and waging war on cash in response. The Wall Street Journal informs, “Are Japan and Switzerland havens for terrorists and drug lords? High-denomination bills are in high demand in both places, a trend that some politicians claim is a sign of nefarious behavior. Yet the two countries boast some of the lowest crime rates in the world. The cash hoarders are ordinary citizens responding rationally to monetary policy.”
To combat this, the ECB just banned €500 notes. Former Clinton Treasury Secretary Larry Summers called to ban bills over $50. Even Monopoly has gone cashless as part of the propaganda campaign.
But this attack on cash and interest rates undermines the function of interest rates. Interest rates provide the incentive for people to invest. The goal of investing is to produce greater wealth in the future than what you have at present.
ZIRP was bad enough. Nobody invested in the future to obtain zero return. That wouldn’t be rational. That’s why real economic growth halted and all we experienced was price inflation for the last eight years.
NIRP is worse. Nobody in their right mind would invest to obtain less in the future than he had in the present. NIRP will worsen the impending crash as people hoard cash, gold and silver to protect themselves. Home safes recently sold out in Japan.
Charles Hughes Smith explains why NIRP will backfire on bankers. “If banks start charging savers interest on their cash, savers will have to save even more income to offset the additional costs imposed by central banks on their savings,” he wrote.
Smith also explains the real motive behind NIRP. “What exactly are we saving by destroying savings and capital? Isn't capital the foundation of capitalism? The answer is we are saving nothing but a rotten-to-the-core, parasitic, predatory banking system, coddled and enabled by corrupt central banks and states.”
NIRP and banning cash are the final steps to universal, modern serfdom.
From Venezuela to the US
Socialist rulers party on
By Mark Luedtke
Publication date: 071316
Self-serving leftists point to Sweden and Norway as examples where socialism supposedly works while conveniently ignoring places like Cuba and Venezuela where it obviously doesn’t. This is a false argument. Socialism doesn’t work in Sweden or Norway. Sweden and Norway are fascist welfare states much like the modern US. They’re wealthy because of capital accumulation in the past when their economies were more free and because fascism allows the price and profit mechanisms, although warped, to work. Also like in the US, the more the government taxes, regulates, and centrally plans the economies of Sweden and Norway, the worse those economies become.
Venezuelans endure a purer form of socialism. Ludwig von Mises explained, “A man who chooses between drinking a glass of milk and a glass of a solution of potassium cyanide does not choose between two beverages; he chooses between life and death. A society that chooses between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration of society. Socialism is not an alternative to capitalism; it is an alternative to any system under which men can live as human beings.”
Venezuelans are experiencing the socialist disintegration of society right now. The Washington Post reports, “The fight for food has begun in Venezuela. On any day, in cities across this increasingly desperate nation, crowds form to sack supermarkets. Protesters take to the streets to decry the skyrocketing prices and dwindling supplies of basic goods. The wealthy improvise, some shopping online for food that arrives from Miami. Middle-class families make do with less: coffee without milk, sardines instead of beef, two daily meals instead of three. The poor are stripping mangoes off the trees and struggling to survive.
“‘This is savagery,’ said Pedro Zaraza, a car-oil salesman who watched a mob mass on Friday outside a supermarket, where it was eventually dispersed by the army. ‘The authorities are losing their grip.’”
Socialism is barbarism, producing starvation and savagery for the masses, but that’s not the whole story. Income inequality is bad in fascist economies, but it’s worse in purer socialist economies like Venezuela. Historian Thomas DiLorenzo explains, “A defining characteristic of socialism in all its forms in all places and at all times is a relatively small political elite (and its ‘private sector’ cronies) that lives lavishly by plundering its population, destroying its economy, imposing a regime of equality of poverty and misery; and turning almost everyone into a dependent on the state for survival. Joseph Stalin was the wealthiest man in the world during his time, not the Rockefellers, Morgans, or anyone else, as the de facto ‘owner’ of the entire Soviet Union. African and Latin American socialist political thugs in the ‘post-colonial era’ have long been notorious for becoming millionaires or billionaires, with Swiss bank accounts galore, while their people starved and begged them for subsistence. Socialism’s one percenters make today’s Wall Street plutocrats seem impoverished by comparison.”
The Daily Mail highlights how socialist rulers behave. “'Why shouldn't we enjoy ourselves just because the country is burning?' Super-rich Socialists quaff champagne in Venezuela country club while middle class mothers scavenge for scraps in the gutter... and even the DOGS are starving,” it headlined.
The article continued, “Venezuela's super-rich are enjoying lavish parties and gourmet cuisine, while middle-class people are forced to scavenge for food as the Socialist country's economy collapses.
“In the opulent Caracas Country Club, where membership costs an astonishing £77,000 – 458 times the average Venezuelan salary – glamorous women in cocktail dresses were seen relishing a banquet of beef and lobster, followed by a colourful selection of puddings.
“Meanwhile, in the Petare slum a few miles away, home to 370,000 Venezuelans, ordinary middle-class people were rummaging in stinking piles of rubbish for rotten cabbage leaves, desiccated limes and scraps of fetid meat.”
We can’t afford to ignore the consequences of socialism in Venezuela because leftists are advancing socialism in America today, and they’re backed by mainstream economists funded by our tax dollars. Tho Bishop notes, “While it is not surprising to see [socialist] policies supported by Marxist politicians, what is deeply troubling is the amount of support the Venezuelan model has received from prominent economists over the years. During a visit in 2007, Joseph Stiglitz, who received the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics, praised what he called ‘positive policies’ of the Chavez administration.”
The New York Times calls Stiglitz an “influential advisor to Hillary Clinton.”
Socialism can never work anywhere.
Victory for the Forgotten Man
Britons vote to exit European Union
By Mark Luedtke
Publication date: 070516
One of the laws of economics can be stated as “If something is unsustainable, it will end.” That’s true of the political economy as well as the productive economy.
Since the beginning of the progressive, 20th century, western progressive rulers have relentlessly amassed power into central governments and their few hands. The most obvious example was the creation of the European Union (EU) which was 70 years in the making. A product of bankers and their CIA agents designed to complement NATO, the EU forces uniform regulations onto culturally distinct European people.
Amassing coercive power into the hands of a few always concentrates wealth into the hands of a few, creating massive income inequality and a two-tiered society. Giant welfare states are built on the backs of the forgotten man who is looted by rulers to pay for their opulence.
The defining characteristic of the forgotten man is he works hard for a living. He has no time to organize political resistance or go into the streets to protest the ever increasing burden placed on him. He doesn’t even have time to break the brainwashing government schools perform on his children.
That gives rulers and their useful idiot allies political advantage which grows over time.
Until June 23, 2016. That’s the day the forgotten man in the United Kingdom (UK), who I’ll call Britons, voted to exit the EU, called Brexit, breaking the trend of ever increasing power and wealth for rulers at the expense of the people.
Rulers were shocked. After months of threats against Britons if they voted to leave, politicians, their accomplices in the media, the polls, the prediction markets, and the stock markets all predicted the UK would remain in the EU. Rulers were so sure of the outcome, they didn’t make arrangements to steal the election if they lost, so they’re stuck with the result. From the top of the human pyramid, rulers can’t see the serfs whose backs they’re breaking. To rulers, the forgotten man is not only forgotten, he’s invisible.
But even change for the better is painful at first. Rulers will punish those uppity Britons who rejected them, not only to teach a lesson to other countries which might consider leaving, but out of spite.
The UK’s Express reports, “France, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland and Hungary could leave.
Front National leader Marine Le Pen has pledged to hold a French referendum if she emerges victorious in next year's presidential elections. While for the past two months a Nexit has been on the cards after Dutch voters overwhelmingly rejected a Ukraine-European Union treaty. ... Angela Merkel's country [Germany] faces having to pay an extra £2.44billion a year to the annual EU budget once Britain has left.”
The Guardian highlights the spite. “A senior EU leader has confirmed the bloc wants Britain out as soon as possible, warning that David Cameron’s decision to delay the start of Brexit negotiations until his successor is in place may not be fast enough,” it wrote. Another ruler declared the EU will stop speaking English.
The EU is on the verge of disintegrating unless something drastic, like NATO starting a war with Russia, scares Europeans into staying.
This is the biggest and best political upheaval since the fall of the Soviet Union, and it’s just the start. People around the world have been itching to cast off distant rulers, but have been unable to do so. Quebec, Scotland, Venice and Catalonia all failed to secede, but they’ll try again with renewed vigor.
It’s ironic that Americans, whose Founding Fathers executed the first major succession in history, now watch passively as Britons lead the way. But not all Americans watch passively. Support for Texas independence surged after Brexit.
President Obama bears some responsibility for Brexit. After he threatened Britons if they left, support for Brexit surged. Clinton rode his coattails, and both were trampled in history’s dust. Only Trump was smart enough to support Brexit and be on the right side of history.
Highlighting another difference between British and US rulers, British Prime Minister David Cameron, champion of remaining in the EU, immediately announced his resignation after the vote while, from inside his narcissistic bubble, Obama denied any responsibility.
Short-term pain will give way to long-term gain as Britons cast off the burden of EU taxes and regulations. The same for all people who follow the UK’s lead. States rights and succession reduce the burden of government and benefit all forgotten men.
War for the Dollar
WWIII has already started
by Mark Luedtke
publication date: 05/07/16
Pat Buchanan is confused by US foreign aggression. “And America is beginning to buckle under the weight of its global obligations,” he wrote. “And as we have no claim to rocks or reefs in the South China Sea – Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines do – why is this our quarrel?”
The dollar is the vital interest, and the status of the dollar is the real reason for all recent US wars. The dollar is the world’s reserve currency. That means all international trade can be settled in dollars. If a South African imports a product from Malaysia, he doesn’t have to acquire Malaysian currency first. He can pay with US dollars. In order to facilitate trade, every country in the world keeps a huge stash of dollars in reserve. Thus the term world’s reserve currency. The dollar, which used to be considered as good as gold, replaced gold in that role.
This system has tremendous benefits for Americans. The Federal Reserve (Fed) can print money like crazy, and most of it ends up in foreign treasuries and central banks. This mitigates the rapid price inflation that would normally result. This allows Americans to buy foreign goods without paying full price. Foreign countries, by accumulating devalued dollars, pay part of the price. This enables Americans to live beyond their means.
But this system cannot last. It’s doomed by its very nature. Because the Fed prints money like crazy, the dollar is nowhere near as good as gold, and foreign governments know it. Over time, they will divest themselves of dollars, and those dollars will come back to America, creating inflation. It’s not a question of if, but when.
Oil is the most traded commodity in the world and is sold in dollars. The reason the US remains allies with the Saudis is the Saudis long ago agreed to sell all their oil in dollars in return for US protection. Saudi oil is the foundation of the oil-dollar linkage, called the petro-dollar, and is necessary for the dollar to remain the world’s reserve currency. That’s why Saudi interests often drive US foreign policy.
Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qaddafi and Bashar Assad tried to sever the oil-dollar link, selling oil using other currencies. The US invaded, toppled, and killed the first two, and it’s doing the same to Assad in Syria. The Saudi’s ancient enemies in Iran have done so as well. That’s why the US has surrounded Iran and constantly threatens to attack.
After oil and arms, illegal drugs are the third most traded commodity in the world, and they’re also traded in dollars. That’s where the term narco-dollar comes from. Before the Taliban took over Afghanistan, Afghanistan's opium trade was a major prop for the dollar. The Taliban wiped out the opium trade, threatening the dollar’s status. That’s why instead of just wiping out the few hundred al Qaeda fighters after 9/11, the US invaded, toppled the Taliban, and reinstated Afghanistan’s opium trade, which is now at record highs. The War on Drugs is about raising the price, not eradicating drugs. Protecting the narco-dollar is the reason for the heroin epidemic in the US and elsewhere.
Former Assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts explains US aggression against China and Russia is also about protecting the dollar. “The Third World War is currently being fought. How long before it moves into its hot stage?” he asks. “Washington is currently conducting economic and propaganda warfare against four members of the five block group of countries known as BRICS—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Brazil and South Africa are being destabilized with fabricated political scandals. Both countries are rife with Washington-financed politicians and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Washington concocts a scandal, sends its political agents into action demanding action against the government and its NGOs into the streets in protests.”
China is amassing gold in preparation for taking its currency international. Russia and Brazil are rich in oil. Russia exports oil to Europe through Ukraine and is building a new pipeline through Syria, sites of covert US wars. China and India represent 2.5 billion people. A landlocked Chinese, Russian, Indian, and European trading consortium couldn’t be controlled by the US. A successful BRICS trading block using China’s renminbi currency would spell the end of dollar hegemony, so the US is trying to destroy it before it can succeed.
Seemingly unrelated US aggressions are designed to protect the dollar system a little longer before it blows up on us all.
The Stupidest War
It’s in Syria
by Mark Luedtke
publication date: 042616
At least so far, the Syrian war has to be our rulers’ stupidest war ever. Several recent reports highlight nobody knows who’s on whose side.
Aranews.net reports, “Local activists confirmed that a number of Islamist factions, backed by Turkish artillery shelling, were able to deter an SDF-led offensive on their positions and seize control of areas fell to the latter earlier on Tuesday.
“The SDF forces include the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), Arab and Christian fighters –mainly supported by the United States in the war on radical Islamists.”
So US-backed forces were defeated by Turkish-backed forces, but Turkey is a NATO ally. I use the word ally loosely. NATO is a giant welfare program that steals money from US taxpayers and funnels it to rich European countries and Turkey. Like all welfare programs, NATO is about control. US rulers control the welfare and therefore control the rulers of countries who receive it. As always, US rulers win, making themselves richer in the process, and everybody else loses, making taxpayers poorer.
But the stupidity in Syria isn’t limited to the US fighting its nominal allies.The Los Angeles Times recently admitted, “Syrian militias armed by different parts of the U.S. war machine have begun to fight each other on the plains between the besieged city of Aleppo and the Turkish border, highlighting how little control U.S. intelligence officers and military planners have over the groups they have financed and trained in the bitter five-year-old civil war.
“The fighting has intensified over the last two months, as CIA-armed units and Pentagon-armed ones have repeatedly shot at each other while maneuvering through contested territory on the northern outskirts of Aleppo, U.S. officials and rebel leaders have confirmed.”
As always, US rulers are funding all sides of a war with money stolen from taxpayers for the benefit of themselves and their war-profiteer cronies. They get richer, we get poorer, and the risk of terrorist attacks increases.
It would be outrageous enough if the stupidity ended there, but it doesn’t.Famed war correspondent Eric Margolis exposed the myth of the ISIS juggernaut. “The notion that a rabble of 20-something ISIS kids can stand up to highly trained, heavily armed western troops and their native auxiliaries is absurd,” he wrote. “ISIS is what the Ottomans used to call, ‘bashi-bazooks,’ armed street thugs used for looting and attacking civilians.”
Margolis stresses the fighters’ lack of training, supplies and arms and blames the incompetence of Iraqi defenders, who have been continually trained and led by US forces for well over a decade, for ISIS’s success.
Margolis continued, “The small Russian air contingent in Syria has proven far more effective than the US and its allies. The mighty US Air Force has continued pinprick attacks on ISIS positions in what has become a pantomime war. It’s almost as if the western powers are playing make-believe in Syria.”
That’s exactly what they’re doing. The real target of US forces and their surrogates in Syria is Syrian President Assad who is being protected by that small, effective contingent of Russians. ISIS is an ally, term not used loosely, in that fight.
So stupid is US policy in Syria that Seymour Hersh claims Pentagon and US intelligence agents shared intelligence with Russia and Syria through allies to undermine Obama's support for ISIS against Assad.
"The military’s resistance dates back to the summer of 2013, when a highly classified assessment, put together by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then led by General Martin Dempsey, forecast that the fall of the Assad regime would lead to chaos and, potentially, to Syria’s takeover by jihadi extremists, much as was then happening in Libya.
Blogger Bionic Mosquito makes a crucial point. "After a Russian commercial airliner was downed over Egypt’s Sinai last October, Western media reported that the Islamic State bombing was retaliation against Russian airstrikes in Syria,.” he wrote. “The killing of 224 people, mostly Russian tourists on holiday, was matter-of-factly treated as an act of war by a fanatical group without an air force resorting to terrorism as a way to strike back.
“Yet, Western militaries have killed infinitely more innocent civilians in the Middle East than Russia has. Then why won’t Western officials and media cite retaliation for that Western violence as a cause of terrorist attacks on New York, Paris, and Brussels?”
Because rulers and their war-profiteering cronies wouldn’t profit. That’s why the next US war will be even stupider.