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Papal Delusions

The purported pope of the Catholic Church recently attacked “libertarianism.”  As a number of theologians have ably shown, Jorge Bergoglio, a.k.a Pope Francis, cannot be a legitimate pope, since he was neither ordained as a priest or consecrated as a bishop in the traditional Catholic rite of Holy Orders.  And since he is not a bishop, he cannot be “Bishop of Rome” – a prerequisite for being the head of the universal Church.

 

The collectivist pope Francis – what a contrast to the revered John Paul II, who not only tirelessly argued in support of individual liberty, but had a firm grasp of economic issues as well (we have contrasted their economic views in “A Tale of Two Popes”). John Paul II realized that the Church had to stand up in defense of the free market economy if it really wanted to help the poor – and when he spoke of these things, one had the distinct impression that he really knew what he was talking about (by contrast, Francis often pontificates on things he knows nothing about, see e.g. his infamous “climate change” encyclical). As an aside: during the Nazi occupation of Poland, the then 22 year old Karol Wojtyla, who would one day become Pope John Paul II, worked as an actor in a clandestine, subversive theater. He evidently held on to this subsersive streak as he grew older – those standing up for liberty have always been the “subversives”, as they must by the very nature of their calling be opposed to the State. [PT]

 

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India Reverts to its Irrational, Tribal Normal (Part XIII)

Over the three years in which Narendra Modi has been in power, his support base has continued to increase. Indian institutions — including the courts and the media — now toe his line.

The President, otherwise a ceremonial rubber-stamp post, but the last obstacle keeping Modi from implementing a police state, comes up for re-election by a vote of the legislative houses in July 2017.  No one should be surprised if a Hindu fanatic is made the next President. India is rapidly entering a new phase.

 

Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on the cover of an Indian magazine in 2002, when he was the Chief Minister of the Indian province of Gujarat. During his reign in Gujarat, a civil-war like situation erupted, which seriously segregated the province’s society. It brought Hindus into a state of trance and excitement and provided them with the fake-security of the collective. Alas, wealth and civilization are created by an intense focus on value-addition, not from the short-term escapist excitement of mobs expressed through riots and rape. Destructive endeavors are a major vulnerability of poor societies, given their irrationality and lack of foresight and planning, and their short-sighted focus on high time-preference, pleasure-centered activities.

 

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A Minor Derailment

GUALFIN, ARGENTINA – Yesterday, stocks fell.

And volatility shot up.

 

When too many people have too many knives out at once, accidental cubism may result

 

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Seeming Contradiction

CACHI, ARGENTINA – Here at the Diary we have fun ridiculing the pretensions, absurdities, and hypocrisies of the ruling classes. But there is a serious side to it, too. Mockery makes us laugh. And laughing helps us wiggle free from the kudzu of fake news.

 

Is it real? Is it real? Is it real? Above you can see what the problem with reality is, or potentially is, in a 6-phase research undertaking that has landed its protagonist in a very disagreeable situation (a corner of reality best avoided, so to speak). 1. he learns that something is amiss. 2. he has to measure reality, otherwise it doesn’t exist! He does so, and 3. strange people show up at his doorstep, giving him ominous messages. 4. At least reality is now real! Then he  learns about a philosopher, who asserts that while it may be real now, in a sense, it is nevertheless a computer simulation. Oh well, what does he know? Unfortunately, a bunch of serious-sounding German physicists calculate that he actually appears to be right. 5. By now our protagonist will believe anything, so when he hears about Dr. Schreber’s efforts to keep the universe from dissolving/imploding by thinking about it all the time, he is no longer even surprised. 6. He enters the Tearoom of Despair –  a “world of horror, futility and endless buttered scones” – click to enlarge.

 

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Jayant on Emerging Markets, Precious Metals and Mining Companies

Maurice Jackson of Proven & Probable has once again interviewed one of our friends, namely Jayant Bhandari, a frequent and highly valued contributor to Acting Man.  Jayant is probably best known to our readers for his strong criticism of the economic and nationalist policies implemented by prime minister Narendra Modi in India since he decreed the demonetization of the bulk of the cash currency circulating in the country (see his most recent article here).

 

Jayant Bhandari speaking at the 2016 Capitalism and Morality seminar.

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No Shouts of Joy from Kim Jong-Un

On April 28, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the U.N. that North Korea “must dismantle its nuclear missile programs” before the US “can even consider talks.”*

Sounds reasonable.

Why hasn’t the Kim Jong-Un regime responded with open arms and shouts of joy for this generous and fair-minded proposal from Uncle Sam?

 

One probably has to catch Kim on a good day. Here he is visiting North Korea’s new bread-roll auto-fac and evidently he’s enjoying himself. Presumably, he’s also feeling reasonable.

 

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Slightly Premature Victory Laps

The nightmare of nightmares of the globalist elites and France’s political establishment has been avoided: as the polls had indicated, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen are moving on to the run-off election; Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s late surge in popularity did not suffice to make him a contender – it did however push the established Socialist Party deeper into the dustbin of history. That was very Trotskyist of him (we can already picture a future Weekly World News headline: “French socialists discover giant alien dust mites”).

 

Lateral entrants to the business of avenging the disinherited, leavened by strawberry cake.

 

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Paycheck to Paycheck

GUALFIN, ARGENTINA – The Dow was down 118 points on Wednesday. It should have been down a lot more. Of course, markets know more than we do. And maybe this market knows something that makes sense of these high prices. What we see are reasons to sell, not reasons to buy.

 

DJIA daily (incl. Thursday)… it was just taking a rest – click to enlarge.

 

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Everything Gets Worse  (Part XII) –  Pakistan vs. India

After 70 years of so-called independence, one has to be a professional victim not to look within oneself for the reasons for starvation, unnatural deaths, utter backwardness, drudgery, disease, and misery in India.

Intellectual capital accumulated in the West over the last 2,500 years — available for free in real-time via the internet — can be downloaded by a passionate learner. In the age of modern technology, another mostly free gift from the West which has significantly leveled the playing field, societies that wanted economic convergence with the West, such as Japan, Korea, Singapore, HK, China, etc., have either achieved it rapidly, or have strongly trended toward it.

 

More than 28,000 children less than six years of age have died in just one province, Madhya Pradesh, over the past year. Because these deaths were due to diseases resulting from malnourishment, the government attributed every single death to disease rather than malnourishment.

Photo credit: Hemender Sharma, India Today

 

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The “Nightmare Option”

The French presidential election was temporarily relegated to the back-pages following the US strike on Syria, but a few days ago, the Economist Magazine returned to the topic, noting that a potential “nightmare option” has suddenly come into view. In recent months certainty had increased that once the election moved into its second round, it would be plain sailing for whichever establishment candidate Ms. Le Pen was going to face. That certainty has been shaken quite a bit lately.

 

The four front-runners in the first round election, from left to right: François Fillon, Emmanuel Macron,  Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Marine Le Pen. That’s right, Mr. Mélenchon, a.k.a. the “French Hugo Chavez” has actually become a serious contender. If you want to know how abysmally bad his economic program is, just consider that Thomas Piketty supports him.

Photo credit: Patrick Kovarik / AFP

 

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Conspiracy of the Few

GUALFIN, ARGENTINA – “U.S. stocks fall on Trump talk…” began a headline at Bloomberg. Or it may be Trump action. We had already counted six major campaign promises – including no O’care repeal and no “America First” foreign policy – already buried (some for the better).

 

A bunch of campaign promises get the MOAB treatment…  A great many  theories have been proposed to explain Trump’s recent series of u-turns: 1. he is in thrall to the Deep State because he always was, or because he is blackmailed; 2. he plays a deep, Machiavellian game, and the strike on Syria and other policy reversals are just temporary reversals to get the media and the people promoting the story that he is a pawn of Putin off his back; 3. he simply reacts impulsively to situations as they develop, without even considering whether his actions are in line with his promises. Perhaps he was replaced by an android?

Cartoon by Nate Beeler

 

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Ticks on a Dog

A brief comment on Fed chief Janet Yellen’s revealing speech at the University of Michigan. Bloomberg:

 

“Before, we had to press down on the gas pedal trying to give the economy all of the oomph that we possibly could,” Yellen said Monday in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Fed is now trying to “give it some gas, but not so much that we’re pushing down hard on the accelerator.” […]

“The appropriate stance of policy now is closer to, let me call it neutral,” Yellen said in response to questions during an event at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. Yellen said she expected the economy to continue to grow at a moderate pace and that gradual interest rate increases “can get us where we need to be.”

 

Central planners groping in the dark…

 

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