All major political parties want poverty for the US

by Don Hank

The below-linked report shows that of all factors studied, the one most strongly correlated with GDP, or national wealth, is strength of the rule of law.

Quote: …he mentioned that he had done a study based on analysis by an institution that looks at all sorts of “fuzzy” data, like how easy it is to start a business in a country, corporate taxes and business structures, levels of free trade and free markets, and the legal system. It turned out that the trait that was most positively correlated with GDP growth was strength of the rule of law. It is also one of the major factors that Niall Ferguson cites in his book Civilization as a reason for the ascendency of the West in the last 500 years, and a factor that helps explain why China is rising again as it emerges from chaos.

Amazingly, despite this strong correlation, not ONE of the 2 main parties supports the rule of law. Bush and his GOP cronies famously supported rewarding lawbreakers with amnesty. Obama has gone further, refusing to allow ICE to deport many alien felons (only the most egregious) and even suing Arizona for trying to protect itself from the invasion — even though Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution says the federal government is supposed to protect the states from invasion, literally.

Last but not least is the Libertarian party, which basically thinks borders are bad for liberty and is not much in favor of laws at all. Like the early communists, they think the state will melt away if we can just teach enough people how to behave in a lawless society (anarchy). I’m not making it up: If you go to the Von Mises Institute site you can see a proud invitation to sign up for a course in “Anarcho-Capitalism,” the favorite ideology of site founder Lew Rockwell, who is a mentor of Ron Paul.

America has given up on law, instead falling all over itself to protect the “rights” of minority criminals, like the black panthers who violated election law by intimidating voters and siding with petty thugs like Trayvon Martin while seeking to jail law and order activists like George Zimmerman. And suspending ICE agents for arresting illegal aliens ( This is a reflection of the back seat that science has taken in the public discussion, in the media and politics. We prefer catchy pandering slogans to facts. Slogans and pandering ensure poll success.

But as the law goes, so does GDP. It looks like our main political parties have all chosen poverty for us all.

Funny, none of them asked us either.

Ye shall be deceived and deceit shall make ye free?


by Don Hank

The Chinese Daoguang emperor in 1838 tried to oppose the British in their attempt to force opium on the Chinese people. One could say that, in doing so, the emperor was an anti-democratic despot, but he saw that the opium dens were destroying lives and families and turning productive Chinese into blobs of useless humanity — slaves to addiction.

One could also see the British as liberators, but they were anything but: they wanted to force the drug on the Chinese.

This story presents a dilemma for the libertarian because, while they can see the emperor as a despot who should have been overthrown, they can hardly see the British as bearers of the torch of liberty, since they were using force to drug another nation.

Incredibly, today, we have a similar situation. The libertarians have marshaled their forces and vast amounts of money to deceive unsuspecting people into accepting drugs.

The use of deceit is no less undemocratic and despotic than the use of other kinds of force. In fact libertarians decry the use of deceit by the media and major political parties, and they are right to do so. For example, there was a general perception in America after 9-11 that the Iraqis had attacked us. The press had not actually said that, but they implied it by focusing on WMDs and Saddam’s brutality. Libertarians and other thinking citizens cried foul. War based on deceit has left us with a mess in the Middle East.

Yet libertarians use the same deceitful tactics when pushing their pro-drug agenda.

As soon as Holland loosened up its drug laws, libertarians like Gov. Gary Johnson declared Holland to be a model for us all. Yet the truth was that many Dutch were dismayed at the aftermath of this great experiment. Their school kids started to drug themselves and the experiment got out of hand.

So much so that libertarian leaders backed away from the Dutch model and looked for another. They settled on Portugal, and the libertarian Cato Institute precipitously seized upon a dubious “study” by the Portuguese government that was published a few years into the experiment, claiming that all had worked out fine as planned and drug use was down. Gullible Cato jumped on this without a trace of critical analysis or further research and the world “learned” that drug legalization solves all our drug problems.

It was a lie, and if Cato had wanted to be honest with us, it would have listened to the Portuguese medical doctors who published a study of their own.

When any group pretends to be for liberty, but deceives people in order to accomplish its goals, it is doing what the Left and the neocons have always done. Deceit is no substitute for the truth and none of our political parties are actually for freedom.

You, Fellow Citizen, are on your own.

Be careful out there!

Further on drugs:

Breakthrough study suggests not smoking pot or drinking alcohol correlated with better college grades

by Don Hank

 No, actually no such study has made headlines lately. But there is a new study on pot that mediocre students will love.

According to UAB News, Associate professor Stefan Kertesz of the University of Alabama has discovered, in a longitudinal study of over 5000 marijuana smokers aged 18-30 years, that “marijuana smoke is not as damaging to lungs as cigarette smoke.” In fact, the research also supposedly showed that occasionally inhaling small amounts of the combustion products of this dried weed can even enhance lung capacity.

That will be good news for our sons and daughters struggling against the ignorance and superstition of our benighted generation in their efforts to supplement their alcohol intake this semester and do so without guilt.

But for me, after reading through the hype and comparing it with the actual abstract of the study, it looks like just another example of research methodology on campus used to achieve a desired result. I am not necessarily impugning the researcher as much as those who seized upon the report with enthusiasm and an uncanny display of uncritical thought. As I have shown here and here, the scientific method (that is, actually looking at data objectively for the sole purpose of finding out the truth, no matter what that may be) has long been out of favor with the media. But as evidenced by the “Climategate” scandal at the University of East Anglia, it is none too popular even among a surprising percentage of scientists.

With this realization in mind, and also having read, translated and published (here, for example) a report by Portuguese doctors debunking that government’s study fueling a Cato report “demonstrating” that drug decriminalization “works,” and further, having had a pot-smoking friend – who did not use tobacco – die of lung cancer, I immediately smelled a rat.

Now, let me tell you a little about the profession of foreign language translation, which I have plied successfully full-time for over 40 years. In that time, I have translated medical and scientific texts for about 200 clients, including the American Cancer Society (translating reports from various countries in Europe on smoking and its effects in the induction of cancer, emphysema, “smoker’s leg” and other maladies) and a fair number of drug companies (series of reports on assorted drugs). One of my clients was also the NIH (National Institutes of Health). If you guessed that that agency’s assignments were predominantly medical in nature, you are correct. For a few years of my career, reports on medical studies were the main topic. Caution: I cannot operate on your brain or prescribe liver pills for you. But I will tell you with full confidence: I know the methodology of medical studies. And I know when a research report is pulling my leg.

I can tell you with all sincerity that the media reports on Stefan Kertesz’ studies on marijuana are misleading, and that is being overly generous. Sadly, the report on these studies in UAB News, a publication generally touting successes of persons affiliated with the University of Alabama, is also misleading to say the least. (Which is not necessarily to say that the researcher himself is at fault in this regard).

The headline proclaims: “Marijuana Smoke not as Damaging to Lungs as Cigarette Smoke.” Now, did you immediately assume that the study shows equal amounts of marijuana smoke to be less damaging than equal amounts of tobacco smoke?

I did. Well, I didn’t, but I would have if I had trusted such studies on illegal drugs since I read the Cato report and its thorough rebuttal by the Portuguese MDs who have studied the issue hands-on and met the actual patients (drug users). I have yet to see such a pro-drug study that is not a wide-eyed attempt to justify a bad habit generally endorsed by libertarians and political leftists – who righteously declare drug use of any kind to be a human right that is trampled by most governments generally recognized as legitimate (they think banning anything they like to do is unconstitutional).

So I decided to get a scientific report on the study. Not being a member of AMA, I am not privileged to download articles from JAMA.

However, I was able to obtain for free an abstract of the study from their site.

And lo and behold, what did I find that did not surprise me in the least?

It seems the author has come up with a creative new concept for measuring marijuana smoke exposure. He calls it the “joint year,” and he defines a joint year as 365 joints or filled pipe bowls. He calls this a “moderately high use level.”

Now, of course, in the course of his study, Kertesz no doubt encountered a few subjects who smoked more than these 365 joints per year. But you can see from this definition of a “joint year” that the assumption was for many subjects to have smoked about one joint a day, give or take a few.

One media report quoted the Associated Press as saying that the study:

“…has concluded that smoking cannabis once a week or even more does not harm the lungs.”

The term “even more” is not defined and is therefore meaningless, except as propaganda. But aside from that, if only smoking cannabis once a week is to be compared with what smokers ordinarily do, then the conclusion trumpeted in UAB News (“marijuana smoke is not as damaging to lungs as cigarette smoke”) does not fly. (Most cigarette smokers smoke more than one cigarette a day. You probably knew that).

Of course, there is an outside chance that Kertesz actually did compare the results of smoking 1 joint a day for year-long periods with the results of smoking 1 cigarette a day for year-long periods, but I found no evidence of that. And I can’t imagine where he would have gotten those one-a-day smokers as test subjects.

But here is the most serious flaw in the report that cannabis is less harmful than cigarette smoke: What do we fear most about smoking? Why, cancer, right? Now, the most convincing studies done by cancer researchers are longitudinal studies done on people over a period long enough to induce cancer. Most are seniors when they are stricken–not in the range of 18-30 as used in the Alabama study. In the papers I translated from the Cancer Society, the most feared carcinogen (cancer causing agent) in cigarette smoke was always said to be benzo(a)pyrene.  Mice whose shaved backs were painted with the stuff got cancer. So if marijuana smoke contains benzo(a)pyrene, then it is carcinogenic, right? Well, to find out, I did a search. One of the sites I brought up was run by people who liked to experiment with drugs. It showed a study by the Institute of Medicine and Health.

It showed results of a chemical analysis of cigarette and marijuana smokes. You’ll never guess which smoke contained the most benzo(a)pyrene.

No, not cigarette smoke, which prompted the government to sue the cigarette industry for billions. It was the smoke that Bill Clinton said he never inhaled. Here are the results:


marijuana: 31 ng

tobacco: 22 ng

Gee, marijuana contains about a third more of the chief carcinogen than cigarettes and our University of Alabama news letter declares marijuana smoke to the “less damaging.”

I predict that sometime in the not-too-distant future, after all this hype about the harmlessness of marijuana has taken its toll, persuading legions of gullible young people to indulge in this “safe” habit, someone in medical science with high powers of observation and the courage to swim upstream will do a study on marijuana smokers and cancer and discover that the older heavier users are getting lung cancer right and left. 

At any rate, I will not be advising either of my kids to smoke a joint a day while in college. However, I may tell them to study as hard as they can in a down economy when an alarmingly high percentage of graduates are failing to find jobs in their professions and are saddled for years with college loan payments.

You’d think some researcher somewhere would find the time to study the correlation between not smoking anything at all and not drinking alcohol on student grade levels and chances of graduating from college, as contrasted with a control group of students who indulge in these practices.

I won’t hold my breath for such a breakthrough study. Nor will I expect much improvement in the academic performance of US students over the next few years. At least not judging by their role models on campus.

You can contact Dr. Stefan Kertesz, the author of the Alabama pot report and encourage him to do a study among elderly persons who have smoked pot most of their lives. Tell him you would expect to see a strong correlation between lung cancer and heavy pot use:

And you can contact the writer of the above mentioned article on marijuana at U. of Alabama and let her know your thoughts (or send her a link to this article):


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My email to the Cato Institute re. Cato study on “Portugal model”

The following email went out to several Cato Institute fellows and other associates at these addresses:
The first 4 are listed as experts in either medicine or insurance. I figured they would be interested in what the medical doctors in Portugal are saying about the Cato study purporting to show how decriminalizing drugs is reducing drug use. I will let readers know whether these Cato reps have responded and what they say in their own defense, if anything.
I also sent a brief email to Cato at their generic address for reader comments, providing a link to my article including a full translation of the MDs’ web site debunking the Cato study.
Here is my email:
Dear Cato Institute representative,
My own newsletter Laigle’s Forum is friendly to libertarian ideas on economics. Indeed, we were the first in the Anglo-Saxon world to publish a translation of a commentary by Vincent Bénard, President of the Hayek Institute in Brussels.
I learned of the “Portuguese model” for combatting drug use by reading an article on it on Mises Daily, to which I subscribe. You will forgive me for saying this, but something did not smell right about the “resoundingly successful” portrayal and the undisguised exuberance of your report.
I did some intensive investigation and indeed uncovered a major problem with this model.
Let me point out that first, libertarians had held up the “Dutch model” to prove their counterintuitive hypothesis that decriminalizing narcotics use actually reduces narcotic use. It turned out not to be true. When the Dutch themselves backed away, the libertarians were forced to do likewise. The exit strategy was the mantra “Holland never legalized drugs.”
Shortly thereafter, the Portuguese government issued amazing statistics demonstrating what the Dutch model was supposed to demonstrate.
Cato apparently forwarded the report to the world without much further-reaching investigation, whereupon others imitated. Scientific American followed suit, greatly boosting the credibility of your narrative.
As a technical translator, however, I am accustomed to doing online searches in various languages to verify facts and findings. I realized that there may well be some research in Portugal that discredited the “Portuguese model” and did an online search in Portuguese.
Indeed, I found, to my surprise, that medical doctors in Portugal consider the government report ‘pure disinformation.’
I am writing you to alert you to this because eventually you will be confronted by the statistics published by these doctors on their web site.
Here is my account of that, which I believe may be the first of its kind directed toward the Anglo-Saxon world:
I have seen that political groups often enthusiastically seize upon statistics like the Portuguese government’s in an effort to support their platform or ideology, and yours is no exception. There is, of course, an obvious risk inherent in this practice, and I am afraid this lack of caution may become an albatross for Cato. My report went out to my list of several thousand policy makers and activists around the world.
Nonetheless, I think you deserve a chance to respond to this rather serious disclosure and would be very happy to publish your response to this.
You may email me at the above address.
Best Regards,
Don Hank
PS: A friend recently said the CIA was the biggest drug runner in the world. It gave me pause. I don’t swallow stories like that easily. But yet, putting 2 and 2 together, it is obvious the US and the Western powers in general do not want to stop or slow the drug flow into their nations.
Here is a news item that strongly supports this and shows the depths of depravity into which we have fallen: