Alberta Floods 2013: Putting Fresh Perspective on Foreign Aid

The Premier Redford and Prime Minister Harper have pledged “full support” to victims of the devastating Alberta floods.

What they do not mention is that both Alberta and Ottawa are broke. There is no special fund for disaster relief. They can only provide help by taking more of other people’s money — either through taxation or borrowing. They will probably borrow money from countries like China.

At a time like this, giving money to corrupt foreign governments seems even worse than it does normally.

Last year, Canada gave almost $6 billion away in foreign aid (MS Excel). That might seem small, but it is a very significant amount of money for Canada’s small population. That money would definitely be useful to help Canadians during times of disaster.

The biggest recipient of our foreign aid was Ethiopia —  an American puppet state that takes money from the West to fight brutal wars against the Somalis. Another big recipient of Canadian aid is Afghanistan — where we help NATO inflict man-made disasters with missiles, then we pay up to rebuild what we destroyed.

Southern Alberta is underwater, thousands are homeless, and our governments have no money. But aren’t you glad the Canadian governments gives millions to evil regimes in Jordan, Burma, and North Korea?

Mini-Review: CBC Documentary “The Secret World of Gold”

On April 18, CBC aired a documentary called “The Secret World of Gold.” Though flawed, the program was interesting and covered many issues.

Here are some things talked about in the documentary:

  • The Bank of Canada has sold almost all our country’s gold over the last 30 years.
  • Underwater treasure hunts for gold.
  • Secret government deals to control gold.
  • Futures market manipulation (this was by far the weakest part of the show — the futures market is not explained and the case made for manipulation is very thin).
  • Buildings with gold windows.
  • Wars for gold.
  • How Chavez got all Venezuela’s gold back from the US and Europe
  • Gold shifting to the East from the West
  • Death gold from Nazi extermination camps (some of which was used to fill Hitler’s teeth — WTF).
  • Allocation of central bank gold holdings — who owns the gold? Is the gold even there?

Think about taking 45 minutes out of your weekend to check it out. You can watch it here for free, the only drawback is there are a few dumb CBC ads.

UPDATE: You no longer need to watch it at CBC. The copyright police got to “The Secret World of Gold” on YouTube, so it looks like you have to watch on CBC…

Ron Paul in Calgary

Last Friday, I attended the Ron Paul speech at the “Making Alberta Safe for Capitalism” summit.  This was at the Westin Ballroom in downtown Calgary. I was among approximately 300 attendees, which included financial professionals, publishers, IT nerds, engineers, students, neocons, and more.

I would like to note how this attracted virtually NO media attention. I do not think there is any “conspiracy” here — rather, it is simply due to Ralph Klein’s memorial service being held at the same time. We all know how the media loves to fill its time with the glorification dead politicians whenever the opportunity presents itself. This week, they’ve got Thatcher.

Besides, Ron Paul’s ideas make Canadians uncomfortable. Most people don’t want to talk about such things.

Ron Paul’s speech was basically what you would expect if you’ve been following him for the last few years. I’ve been watching Ron Paul’s political career since 1998, so I was very familiar with all the themes: personal responsibility, free markets, small government, anti-war, and anti-central banking. Still, it was great to pay respects to someone who is more than just an honorable statesman (a contradiction in terms when applied to anyone else), but a man whose efforts have done more for the liberty movement than anyone else in the modern era.

Having retired from politics, this was Ron Paul without any filter that might have previously been imposed by the realities of being in political office. Yet since his message has always been fundamentally radical, there was no difference with post-politics Ron Paul. The message is just as unfavorable to economic, social, and imperial intervention as ever.

At various points throughout the speech, I would look around to gauge the response to certain statements. How delightful to see various attending neocons squirm uneasily when Paul declared there should be no income tax. Some folks scowled at the suggestion to replace government welfare entirely with private charity. Otherwise, the ideas of less spending, less tax, less regulation, and more civil liberties were received favorably. Paul age and manner makes is a kind, wise grandfatherly figure — part of his great success is due to his ability to convey radical arguments in favor of liberty while making them seem completely non-controversial.

The biggest opportunity that was missed in Dr Paul’s speech was HEALTHCARE. If there is a sacred cow in Canadian politics, it’s definitely government healthcare. Without a doubt, government healthcare is a disaster, and Canadians need to learn why it will always be awful regardless of the huge piles of money thrown at it. Unfortunately, healthcare was not covered at all in Dr Paul’s remarks. Too bad. Huge missed opportunity, I think.

He is a medical doctor and an economist who can speak with authority on the failings of public healthcare. He is also old enough to speak about American healthcare system before the government became heavily involved. Before Medicaid, Medicare, the HMO Act of ’73, and so on, there was relatively little government intervention with the provision of healthcare. Basic medical services were cheap and plentiful, and a greater portion of the population had health insurance compared with now. The audience would have greatly benefited from hearing his insights on this subject. He has effectively explained the necessity of free markets in medical care — it is a message Canadians desperately need to hear from somewhere. Virtually no one will touch the issue of public healthcare in this country. We will all be worse off as long as this condition persists.

I would have also liked to hear more war-related remarks. Essentially, anything that applies to the US wasting lives and money on Afghanistan applies to Canada as well. Paul spoke about Iraq more than Afghanistan — which is fine in and of itself, but Canada was not seriously involved in Iraq. Our participation in Afghanistan is another story. Sadly, Afghanistan is an issue that people barely seem to care much about. If they do, it’s because they are dumb enough to think we have Canadian forces there “fighting for our freedom.” Yuck. The lack of interest is even more critical now, because Obama has declared he is “bringing the troops home” in 2014. This is typical government strategy: declare “victory!” and suddenly no one cares anymore. Just like Iraq, where there was never any “victory”, and as I write this the country continues tearing itself apart.

Ron Paul’s speech included a few “fanservice” parts for the Calgarian audience:

He said, “Ralph Klein sounds like a guy I might have liked.” Fair enough, given the memorial was that day, and Klein actually did cut spending at one point.  So that’s cool, whether or not Klein was a principled friend of liberty.

He also gave his support to the Keystone XL — with the important qualification that one can get the permission of property owners, the government should not stand in the way of pipeline construction. This is an rather critical proviso, because in reality pipeline construction does involve government takings/expropriations. Remember: in Canada, the Crown owns all the land as a matter of law.

Anyone who attended this event specifically for Ron Paul could be described as “cutting-edge.” Canadians are not generally ready for the radical Paulian message. For many Americans, there is the emotional connection to ideas of independence, revolution and decentralization, even these are not embraced in practice. The Paulian message can get its hooks in that. For Canadians, the state is endlessly glorified in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. There is no element within our culture that reinforces skepticism about state power. The closest thing to this is Albertans’ memories of the NEP, but that is a regional sentiment and it is being gradually overwhelmed with the pleas for more government.

I hope that the mere fact that Ron Paul has visited Canada to give pro-capitalism speeches indicates that there is a growing audience for the message of liberty in this country. Just as the 20th century demonstrated communism was a lie, the 21st century will show us that democracy is a lie. Democracy’s death throes will be earth-shattering. Liberty’s natural elite must spread and shine the light through dark times, so that a better age may yet emerge.

Foreign Aid and First Nations

As always, the ongoing controversy between First Nations and the Canadian government will produce no solutions, because no one seems to understand the problem.

Before we consider this matter, consider a basic principle. By their very nature, governments expropriate wealth from their subjects. Agents of the government allocate this wealth for all kinds of purposes that suits them or it. One of purposes available to wealthier governments is foreign aid.

Foreign aid has been called, “Stealing money from poor people in rich countries, and giving the money to rich people in poor countries.” Essentially, the aid is given to a corrupt foreign governments in backwards nations which are then expected to somehow help the common man in their countries. Usually the aid package involves the stipulation that the aid receiver must purchase stuff from the aid-giver.

The aid-receiver then uses this aid the same way it uses all its resources — reward political interests. This actually displaces real economic activity — i.e. activity that is determined by market participants and not politics. Naturally, the government and its friends benefit. The common man is worse off because their overlords have more wealth at the expense of others.

This also describes how First Nations Reserves work. These reserves are like third-world countries, with the role of crooked dictator and his cronies occupied by the chief, the band council, and their friends. The Indian Band is a legal entity under the Indian Act, and you could say it operates like a corporation that depends on government subsidies to exist. Hence, it is characterized by bad products and capital depreciation. Never forget this: the Indian Band receives its revenue via wealth expropriated from others. The “band” collectively receives aid from the government, but the aid must be administered by the reserve’s own governing body. These folks inevitably enrich themselves, and maybe leave a few crumbs for the decrepit Indians beneath them. The poverty on most Indian Reserves is truly horrifying, and completely expected given the system’s nature.

What of the common First Nations people who qualify as “Indians” under the Indian Act, who do not get to administer the loot? They suffer severe restrictions to their property rights, much more so than Canadians on the “outside”. For instance, they cannot use their land as security in a credit transaction. They cannot transfer their land to other members of the band without the Crown’s approval. They are gravely restricted in how they can appropriate the proceeds of selling or renting their property. This is like Communist Russia. It is incredibly more dysfunctional than the rest of Canada, which is already screwed up to a great degree.

What else do Indian Reserves have in common with Communist Russia? Extremely high rates of suicide, self-incapacitation, family breakups, promiscuity, “illegitimate” births, birth defects, sexually transmitted disease, abortion, alcoholism, and dull or brutish behavior. They have tragically low life-expectancies and their healthcare standards are far below the rest of Canada. See here and here.

People who understand how wealth is created must understand the Reserve system can never be fixed, because it is based not on private property, but on bureaucratic management and political decision-making. No one proposes doing anything about this. Furthermore, theory and experience tells us that people who understand that the groups who receive the most government “aid” are usually those who suffer the most. Therefore, it is critical to apply this to the First Nations issue as well. The more government “aid” received by Indians, the more this group must ultimately suffer.

From Libya to Uganda! The battle for Africa’s resources.

The resource rush is on for Africa. China was ahead of the American Empire in Libya, and look what happened there (even though Obama was buddies with him two years ago).  China’s commercial deals with Libya are toast. The next imperialist target in Africa is clearly Uganda. Pepe Escobar writes:

 

That brings us to Uganda as a new land of opportunity. Ah, the sheer scale of humanitarian warmongering possibilities. For a semblance of success, the initial steps of Obama’s African surge would have to include a military base with a long runway attached, and a mini-Guantanamo to imprison the “terrorists”. If that sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is; think of the Pentagon’s Africom headquarters soon entertaining the possibility of time-traveling from Stuttgart, Germany, to somewhere in Uganda.
Any student of realpolitik knows the US doesn’t do “humanitarian” interventions per se. Africom’s surge parallels the real name of the game; precious minerals – and mining. Uganda – and nearby eastern Congo – happens to hold fabulous quantities of, among others, diamonds, gold, platinum, copper, cobalt, tin, phosphates, tantalite, magnetite, uranium, iron ore, gypsum, beryllium, bismuth, chromium, lead, lithium, niobium and nickel. Many among these are ultra-precious rare earth – of which China exercises a virtual monopoly.

The mineral rush in Africa is already one of the great resource wars of the 21st century. China is ahead, followed by companies from India, Australia, South Africa and Russia (which, for instance, has set up a fresh gold refinery in Kampala). The West is lagging behind. The name of the game for the US and the Europeans is to pull no punches to undermine China’s myriad commercial deals all across Africa.

Then there’s the inescapable Pipelineistan angle. Uganda may hold “several billion barrels of oil”, according to Heritage Oil’s Paul Atherton, part of a recent, largest-ever on-shore oil discovery in sub-Saharan Africa. That implies the construction of a $1.5 billion, 1,200 kilometer long pipeline to Kampala and the coast of Kenya. Then there’s another pipeline from “liberated” South Sudan. Washington wants to make sure that all this oil will be exclusively available for the US and Europe.

 

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