Libertarian Republic On Steve Bannon’s Art Of The “New Deal”

Libertarian Republic gets it right:

Taking Bannon at his own word, and in the context of 1930s, it sounds a lot like the rhetoric coming from Germany pre-World War II. His rhetoric matches the anger, scapegoating, and emotional ploys spoken in the early days of Adolf Hitler‘s rise.

While this may seem pejorative, or hyperbolic, let us look at how the Mises Institute, an Austrian Economic think tank, explains 1930 Germany’s economic situation.

In the 1930s, Hitler was widely viewed as just another protectionist central planner who recognized the supposed failure of the free market and the need for nationally guided economic development. Proto-Keynesian socialist economist Joan Robinson wrote that “Hitler found a cure against unemployment before Keynes was finished explaining it.”

What were those economic policies? He suspended the gold standard, embarked on huge public-works programs like autobahns, protected industry from foreign competition, expanded credit, instituted jobs programs, bullied the private sector on prices and production decisions, vastly expanded the military, enforced capital controls, instituted family planning, penalized smoking, brought about national healthcare and unemployment insurance, imposed education standards, and eventually ran huge deficits. The Nazi interventionist program was essential to the regime’s rejection of the market economy and its embrace of socialism in one country.

Now compare that to how Bannon and Trump have described their plans and vision for having won the White House.

  1. 1 Trillion Dollar Infrastructure matches the huge public works programs
  2. “The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia,”  along with Trumps promises to coerce business back into the US, matches protection of industry from foreign competition,
  3. “With negative interest rates throughout the world, it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything,” added to Trumps call to continue borrowing, matches expanding credit and the continuance of large deficits
  4. “Rebuild everything. Shipyards, iron works, get them all jacked up,” matches the instituted jobs programs
  5. Trumps possible control of capital through protectionist trade.
  6. The comment by Bannon about being in power for the next “50 years” sounds awfully similar to the how Nazi’s described the Third Reich. “It is our will that this state shall endure for a thousand years. We are happy to know that the future is ours entirely!” – Triumph of Will (1935)

This not to say that Bannon or Trump should be compared to Nazis or that they have come close to committing the acts against humanity that occurred in that period of history. Rather it is a simple question which compares the rhetoric being used by the two administrations in their rise to power. After all, this perspective is a simple look back at history, so as to learn from it and utilize it to spot potential issues in the future. If we willfully ignore details, even if just as a safety measure, then we leave ourselves at risk of missing what could’ve been right under our nose. Famed philosopher George Santayana once said, “Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”

The Sandy Foundation Of Tamil Politics

From Scroll.in, a fascinating look into the sand mafia that rules Tamil Nadu (and many other Indian states) and its impact on politics and the environment there:

However, people in villages see this money [Lila: from the sale of sand from dried up river beds] circulating. A part of it, they say, goes to local party workers. A farmer from a village near Karur claimed that “about Rs 1,000 from each unit is shared amongst the local party workers: Rs 25 to the person in the village, Rs 150 to the taluka head, Rs 350 to the district members, and so on.” This is echoed by both researchers and politicians like K Kaliyan of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Abhijit Sen, a former member of the erstwhile Planning Commission, said India’s political parties “maintain their party cadres predominantly through the construction sector”. In Punjab, people close to the ruling Akali Dal control both sand mining and stone crushing. In West Bengal, syndicates control urban infrastructure projects. Another part of this money, said the researcher, goes into fighting elections. Be it for campaigning or for paying voters in cash.

These questions – about money flowing from sand mining to AIADMK’s cadre and being used in elections – were listed in the questionnaires sent to Jayalalithaa, Venkataramanan and Arumugasamy. This article will be updated when they respond.

For now, Sen’s observation triggers a fresh question. If a ruling party depends on the mining of a mineral resource to maintain itself, what is the fallout?

What it all means

Some years ago, farmers from 12 villages in Ettayapuram Taluk of Tuticorin district decided to stop sand mining. Among other things, they seized earthmovers and trucks. In response, said an article by R Seenivasan, a PhD Candidate with the University of Westminster, the farmers “were slapped with criminal charges and branded as ‘extremists’ who take ‘law into their hands’. Many farmers were sent to jail for days and charged for ‘unlawful assembly, rioting, obstructing government work and officers,’ under various penal sections of the Indian penal code.”

This is a common refrain. The police similarly slapped cases on the women of Kalathur, a village on the Palar, when they protested last year against sand mining. When this reporter met V Chandrasekhar, who has been agitating against sand mining in Villupuram and Pondicherry, it was shortly after Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Kanhaiya Kumar was beaten up in the Patiala House complex. “That happens every day here. The police is an instrument of the state. No one would dare go to the police here,” said Chandrasekhar.

This pattern, of siding with the miners and not with the locals, shows up in poor supervision of sand mining. As the PUCL study found, sand was being mined till almost a 10 metre depth in the Palar. It also shows in the state government’s support for sand mining over, say, environmental concerns.

Responding to a petition filed in the Madras High Court by the Cauvery Neervala Athara Pathukappu Sangam, a non-profit in Erode, the state government argued that sand mining doesn’t need an environment clearance since quarrying operations were carried out by the PWD scientifically.

When the court insisted on an environmental impact assessment, a lawyer in the Madurai court who fought against sand mining, told Scroll on the condition of anonymity, the state government rushed through an environmental clearance in just three months.

Scroll asked Jayalalitha, Rama Mohana Rao, Venkataramanan and Arumugasamy for their comment on the charges that the state government and the ruling party have acted in a manner which benefits sand miners and not local communities. There was no response.

The combined fallout of all this has not been pretty. As these quarries scour their way along Tamil Nadu’s rivers, the state’s water crisis is worsening. Groundwater levels, for instance, are collapsing across the state. That said, the ravages of sand mining go beyond ecological damage. The state’s villages and politics have been damaged as well.”

Infosys Foundation Chair Joins Tirumala Temple Trust

The chairman of the Infosys Foundation has joined the board of the largest and richest temple trust in India and the second-richest in the world.

From The Hindu:

The appointment of Infosys Foundation chairperson Sudha Narayana Murthy as a member of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams Trust Board is being seen as an initiative that will bolster the image of the board.

The nomination of Ms. Murthy, a prolific writer, philanthropist, and member of public health care initiatives of the Gates Foundation, meets the long-standing demand that only iconic personalities with a religious bent of mind be nominated to the board.”

The Hindu piece doesn’t tell you exactly who Mrs. Narayana Murthy is. She is the wife of the Infosys co-founder, and Infosys is one of the leading business consulting and outsourcing companies in India.

Narayana Murthy, often regarded as the father of Indian IT, figured prominently in Thomas Friedman’s “The World Is Flat” (which I have trounced on several occasions). Murthy, a Kannada Madhwa Brahmin, may be an entrepreneur but he is a self-proclaimed socialist.

He, like fellow-globalist Nandan Nilakeni, the other co-founder of Infosys,  is also an ardent promoter of the digitilization and e-surveillance of India.

Nilekani heads the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) which, along with the RBI, is the driving force between the imposition of the national biometric ID card, Aadhar. His former boss, Narayan Murthy, formerly headed the National Payments Corporation (NPC), the umbrella outfit that covers all retail payment systems like merchant cards, ATMs, etc.

Nilekani is a Konkani Brahmin and second-generation Fabian Socialist:

His father worked as a general manager of Mysore and Minerva Mills and subscribed to Fabian Socialist ideals that influenced Nilekani in his early years.”

The Hindu article also doesn’t mention the significance of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD).

They oversee the work of the second richest and most visited religious center in the world, taking in some 130 million rupees a month (about 13 crore rupees or nearly 2 million dollars). The trust earned 2600 crore rupees (26 billion dollars) last year.

The trust oversees not only the Tirumala temple in Andhra Pradesh, but Hindu temples all over the world. Besides this, it is involved in numberless charitable works and in the propagation and preservation of Hindu and Sanskrit classics.

Please note that enormous amounts of gold, silver, and other donations flow into the temple coffers regularly:

While gold alone is estimated to add up to one tonne a year in offerings, silver, diamond and other items also flow into the temple trust’s exchequer. “In the case of property deeds, due procedure is followed by the concerned department to transfer the title,” noted an official.”

and this:

The temple trust said in April that it had deposited 1,311 kg of gold with Punjab National Bank under India’s Gold Monetisation Scheme. The deposit apparently is under a three-year short-term programme that earns the trust an annual interest of 1.75 percent.

In a statement, the temple’s investment committee expressed satisfaction at the interest rates earned from its investment so far. Further, it sought a shorter investment time frame between one to three years for depositing its yearly turnout of gold. The temple trust may negotiate with banks that would offer higher interest rates.

The trust, which seeks gold, not cash, in interest on its gold deposits, has chosen the government’s monetisation scheme’s three year short-term programme primarily for that benefit. Evincing interest to plough in more gold as deposits, it has requested the Reserve Bank of India to extend the same for other gold monetisation programmes that range from medium to long terms.”

Sudha Narayana Murthy replaces mining baron Shekhar Reddy on the board. Reddy was arrested in December 2016, for allegedly laundering money.  A widely circulated picture showed him standing in front of the Tirupati temple with current chief minister O.P Paneerselvam.

 

 

CDC Plagiarizes Indian Scientist’s Litchi Diagnosis

Yet more evidence of the extent of brazen IP theft from non-Western, especially developing Asian countries,  in elite Western institutions, this time involving Western and Indian-origin scientists at the Center for Disease Control in the US, deploying the resources of the Indian government to poach from Indian scientists:

The story began in 2013 when, faced with recurrent deaths of children due to a mysterious brain disease in litchi-harvesting belts of Muzaffarpur, the Bihar government and the health ministry of the central government turned to veteran virologist Dr T Jacob John. They could not have got a better expert: Dr John, since his MBBS way back in 1958, followed by a PhD in 1976, has a long and distinguished career in public health. In a way, he was the brain behind the polio vaccination campaign.

What could be the cause of deaths? The prime suspect was some yet-to-be-identified virus. The next suspect was the fruit itself, that is, some substance in it – it could be a toxin in litchi or something in the pesticide used. Other suspects were bats which were eating litchis and hence probably passing on some disease to children who ate the bat-eaten litchis. The common factor to all deaths was that the children were dying in the litchi-belt during the litchi harvesting season of May and June, recalls Dr John.

He camped at Muzaffarpur, met villagers and began his work. He ruled out the virus angle and was zeroing in on a chemical within litchi. “A similar disease was caused by another fruit called ackee that belongs to the same plant family as litchi. This disease was metabolic and was called hypoglycaemic encephalopathy, or ‘Jamaican vomiting sickness’. So I was able to rule out virus in the very beginning,” he says.

His hunch was that it was worth looking for a toxin within the fruit. He suggested this in a report in May 2014 – in the leading journal of its kind in India, Current Science, published by the Current Science Association in collaboration with the Indian Academy of Sciences. He and his co-researcher, Mukul Das, wrote:
“In animal experiments, MCPA (the hypoglycin found in ackee) and MCPG (the hypoglycin in litchi) have been shown to induce encephalopathy and hypoglycaemia. Encephalopathy is explained by the mitochondrial inhibition of fatty acid-oxidation and accumulation of toxic metabolites. Our hypothesis is that the Muzaffarpur AES is caused by MCPG in lychee. However, we do not know if it is present only in the seed or also in the edible fruit flesh and if unripe lychee has more MCPG than ripe fruits.”
Their conclusion: “…tightly  restricted seasonality and geographic distribution as well as sparing of children below 2 years support the diagnosis of acute non-infectious encephalopathy as against viral encephalitis.”

In September 2014, doctors John, Das and Arun Shah published further findings on the toxin hypothesis in the same journal.
They, however, were in for a shock when they found the same findings reproduced in an American journal a few months later – without any credit, acknowledgement or reference to their research.

Akash Srivastava, who is with the National Centre for Disease Control of the health ministry, along with a team of researchers published this set of findings in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), a journal published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the US government. The March 2015 report arrived at the same conclusion, that the brain disease among children in Muzaffarpur was not caused by a virus but by some toxin within litchi seeds or fruit, and the condition was hence not a viral disease but a metabolic disorder called hypoglycaemic encephalopathy.

Dr John and his co-authors took up the matter in a letter published in Current Science in September 2015. It asked: “Publishing on hypoglycemic encephalopathy, borrowing information without giving credit: Is Current Science invisible?”

They noted, “Annual seasonal outbreaks of what was popularly called acute encephalitis syndrome in Muzaffarpur, Bihar were clinically diagnosed in 2013 by us as non-infectious, toxic, hypoglycemic encephalopathy… The toxin was pinpointed as methylenecyclopropylglycine (MCPG). Thus, our first publication in May 2014 in Current Science was a breakthrough after many groups of investigators had failed for many years to diagnose the disease or provide any plausible causative associations.

“In 2014, we confirmed with clinical evidences that the disease is indeed hypoglycemic encephalopathy and the patients could be saved with prompt correction of hypoglycemia. These results were published, again in Current Science, in August 2014.” But in January 2015, MMWR came out with a report by a large group of investigators, stating that the disease is acute hypoglycemic encephalopathy with putative association with litchi, as if they were the first to arrive at such a conclusion.”

“Our 2013 investigations which appeared in May 2014 in Current Science were a watershed. But the studies of Shrivastava et al published in January 2015 in MMWR have not cited our earlier contributions – one reason could be that Current Science is invisible in the usual biomedical literature surveys. However, when we conducted a simple literature search through a popular search engine, we found references to both our papers.”

When Governance Now contacted  MMWR, its executive editor Charlotte Kent replied promptly on December 2 saying that matter would be investigated. “We received your two emails from today about the MMWR report, “Outbreaks of Unexplained Neurologic Illness – Muzaffapur, India, 2013-14”. We are planning on investigating the concern you raised,” she said in an email. MMWR has not sent any further information on the matter since then. Srivastava, meanwhile, did not reply to the emailed queries.

Several questions are raised by this incident, especially since the parallel research published by CDC was also done with help of Indian government bodies.

Dr John also rues the fact that this episode pits Indian scientists against each other. He says that ultimately it proves that Indians can do their research and reach the truth without external help. However, he adds that distortion of truth does leave a bitter taste in the mouth and is just not done in science.

An ethical scientist would not claim credit for someone else’s work, says the veteran virologist.

 

No Cash Transactions Above 3 Lakhs ($4447)

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s 2017 budget proposes a ban on any cash transaction in a day over 3 lakhs rupees (about $4446.75).

This is far worse than any restriction in the US, where cash transactions above $10,000 are not banned, but simply reported by the bank to the IRS.

Like demonetization, the new ban is an unnecessarily coercive, intrusive, and punitive move, with entirely foreseeable and counterproductive results.

By completely banning cash transactions above 3 lakhs, the government is actually unraveling the last stitch of credibility holding its efforts together.

Large cash transactions are not going to disappear. All that will happen is that they will not pass through banks at all.

Instead, a new parallel economy will spring up.

Large purchases have hitherto involved a percentage of the price being reported and taxed (the white part) and the rest being paid under the table (the black part).

Now you can be assured that come April 1 there will be no “white” part at all.

It will be all black.

Just as the printing of new currency notes was the pretext whereby fake notes, excess currency, and chaos have been slyly injected into the system leaving no one sure of just how much cash is in circulation at all, so too the new tax will create a new layer of impenetrable fog under cover of which the enemies of India’s aam admi will operate with impunity.

Those enemies, let us be clear, operate not just from terrorist outposts in Bangladesh or Pakistan, but from the seat of the international cabal’s financial shock-and-awe machinery in India: that is, from the RBI, the finance ministry, and the Prime Minister’s Office.