“No Nation Building” ==> “Let’s Build Democracies!” Rinse. Repeat.

From George W. Bush to Barack Obama to Donald Trump, we have seen candidate after candidate attest that we should not wade into the affairs of other countries only to argue as president why we must and then do it whether the argument compels or not.

In reviewing some old notes, I found in a May 2017 document a “What to Watch Out For” (#WTWOF) to myself:

Read more“No Nation Building” ==> “Let’s Build Democracies!” Rinse. Repeat.

They're Coming To Get You!!!! Podcast of December 19, 2015 Show

chris-christie-claims-weight-problem-caused-by-global-warming-e1384283274661Hour 1

Hour 2

I wasn’t the only one who picked up on the insane fear-mongering of Chris Christie! Here’s the SNL cold open aired a few hours after my show…

Conan O’Brien media prank
Operation Mockingbird
Hugh Hewitt asks Ben Carson to promise to kill thousands of innocent children
The Remnant
Crazy picture of dead San Bernardino suspect w/ raw wrists under handcuffs–CAUTION, EXTREMELY GRAPHIC! EXTREMELY!!

They’re Coming To Get You!!!! Podcast of December 19, 2015 Show

chris-christie-claims-weight-problem-caused-by-global-warming-e1384283274661Hour 1

Hour 2

I wasn’t the only one who picked up on the insane fear-mongering of Chris Christie! Here’s the SNL cold open aired a few hours after my show…

Conan O’Brien media prank

Operation Mockingbird

Hugh Hewitt asks Ben Carson to promise to kill thousands of innocent children

The Remnant

Crazy picture of dead San Bernardino suspect w/ raw wrists under handcuffs–CAUTION, EXTREMELY GRAPHIC! EXTREMELY!!

Attn Hugh Hewitt: Here are the principles of a Just War….

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNm-TL30OeM

Ben Carson should have given Ron Paul’s answer …

Hewitt should hold up Churchill’s fire bombing of Dresden, the very term “carpet-bombing,” and Truman’s use of nuclear weapons for an unconditional surrender he did not get (the Japanese Emperor is STILL in place), against the tenets of a just war:

Principles of the Just War

A just war can only be waged as a last resort. All non-violent options must be exhausted before the use of force can be justified.

A war is just only if it is waged by a legitimate authority. Even just causes cannot be served by actions taken by individuals or groups who do not constitute an authority sanctioned by whatever the society and outsiders to the society deem legitimate.

A just war can only be fought to redress a wrong suffered. For example, self-defense against an armed attack is always considered to be a just cause (although the justice of the cause is not sufficient–see point #4). Further, a just war can only be fought with “right” intentions: the only permissible objective of a just war is to redress the injury.

A war can only be just if it is fought with a reasonable chance of success. Deaths and injury incurred in a hopeless cause are not morally justifiable.

The ultimate goal of a just war is to re-establish peace. More specifically, the peace established after the war must be preferable to the peace that would have prevailed if the war had not been fought.

The violence used in the war must be proportional to the injury suffered. States are prohibited from using force not necessary to attain the limited objective of addressing the injury suffered.

The weapons used in war must discriminate between combatants and non-combatants. Civilians are never permissible targets of war, and every effort must be taken to avoid killing civilians. The deaths of civilians are justified only if they are unavoidable victims of a deliberate attack on a military target.

Update (4/5/2016): Even this theory isn’t enough for some libertarians…I just saw this at https://www.lewrockwell.com/

Captive Institutions

earth-in-chains

Yesterday I posted a great video in which an Irish writer, Gearoid O Colmain, reporting from France, explained beautifully what is happening in the world today. He really nails it and puts it succinctly, so I didn’t want to put a caveat on my endorsement of his report, but there is one thing that’s been rankling me.

Colmain explains that what’s happening today is the work of a power elite whose goal is total dominance of all the people and places of the world. He further states that this is the inevitable result of “financial capitalism.” I understand what he means by that term…it’s really an extension of (or the core of) the military-industrial complex, which I have clunkily defined as the financial-defense-energy corporate-governmental continuum.

Colmain is right that the financial side of the M-I-C is becoming (or has been since its inception) the main power in the world. My objection is to using the term “capitalism” in this context. I was really on the verge of giving up on trying to salvage the term capitalism because it feels like a losing battle, but I can’t. I think it’s just too important to distinguish between the economic concept of capitalism, which includes free enterprise, free markets, mom & pop entrepreneurship, competition, the pricing mechanism and property rights and is the source of all surplus in the world, from the crony-centered fascistic capture of institutions, governments, quasi-government entities, think-tanks, academia, the media, central banks, etc., which is the source of much of the suffering in the world today.

As a sincere libertarian, I think it’s critical to distinguish between capitalism and fascism and I believe sincere socialists should do the same, that way we can discuss ideology separate from abuse of power. We are most certainly on the same side in recognizing and fighting the deceitful and criminal actions at the top, differing ideologies notwithstanding.

Ideologically, libertarians and socialists disagree fundamentally on the basic morals of society. It’s the classic choice between Platonic collectivism and Aristotelian individualism. What is the basic social unit, the individual or society itself? I believe human nature dictates that the individual, from whom all action originates, must be recognized as the central figure or incentives for action would not align with the best outcomes. This equates with what I recognize as morality. The alternative moral ideology, on the other hand, holds that social health is a goal that can be realized collectively through central planning which can ensure the greatest good for the most people.

I simply disagree. Ron Paul said it best in his farewell speech to Congress:

I have come to one firm conviction after these many years of trying to figure out “the plain truth of things:” the best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people world-wide, is to pursue the cause of LIBERTY.

For this reason, I continue to defend all liberties–economic, personal and civil–that contribute to personal fulfillment and success, and most important, to a just society, bearing in mind, however, that many times these principles are abused by left and right to promote unjust policies or bestow privilege.

Unfortunately, I believe the collectivist ideology and its requisite faith in the state blinds its adherents to the fact that these unjust policies and privileges would not be possible if they were perpetrated on an unwilling public without the force of government to back them up. Could McDonnell-Douglas send F-15s to bomb Syria without Assad’s permission if it did not have the endorsement and funding of the US government? Could JP Morgan Chase have cleaned out your bank account to help bail them out if TARP had not been passed to do the same thing though the IRS? (Even Jon Corzine, who did exactly that, got away with it only because of his government connections.)

Killing and stealing without consequence is strictly the prerogative of institutions that enjoy legitimacy in the eyes of the public. The evils of so-called “financial capitalism” could not exist without captive institutions.

We Should Be the Safest Nation that Ever Existed…

Top_ten_military_expenditures_in_US$_Bn._in_2014,_according_to_the_International_Institute_for_Strategic_Studies

As a libertarian, I believe that one of the very few legitimate functions of the federal government is national defense. Basically, almost the entire federal budget should be military. That’s not to say we should spend trillions on defense, just that the feds should not pool all the states money then hand it back out to them – they should only take what they need to do what can only be done on the national level. That said, look at this chart from wikipedia…half of the world’s military dollars are spent by the US.

I did a little math with these numbers…The fifteen countries that spend the most on defense are listed. Of the fifteen, nine are solid US allies. In order of military spending, they are: Saudi Arabia, the UK, France, Japan, Germany, South Korea, Italy, Israel and Australia. The other five, I’ll consider non-allies, even though Brazil, India and Iraq could go either way or remain neutral when the fighting starts — I’m trying to be as conservative as possible…the other two of the five potential adversaries are China and Russia. (These numbers seem a little light – US govt spending on defense is probably more than $581 billion, but assuming the measure is apples to apples across countries, this will do for purposes of comparison.)

At $581 billion in 2014 defense spending, the US spent more than it’s nine militarily largest allies, whose spending totaled $392 billion, and the US spent more than double it’s five largest potential military opponents, whose spending totaled $295 billion. Together with our allies, we spend more than triple what all our potential adversaries combined spend annually on defense. Given that the US was on the winning side of both world wars by ramping up from zero to sixty on a dime,

Screen-Shot-2015-07-17-at-3.25.15-PM

and given that the invention of nuclear weapons greatly decreased the likelihood of another all-out war (for more on this click here), it stands to reason that the US spending on defense as much as the rest of the world combined, allies and enemies alike, has got some cronyism baked in…call me crazy! So when I hear the GOP candidates in the debate arguing that we have a weak military or that the sequester is strangling our soldiers, I gotta wonder if anyone is actually looking at the numbers and using a little common sense.

The Strip: ISIS militants skimming hundreds of millions of dollars of US funds: "A Dilemma for US & Bagdhad"

The only two installments of my “weekly column” The Strip appeared almost a year ago! I guess I’ll call it an annual column and consider myself ahead of the game! In any case, The Strip is about getting to the meat of the matter and stripping out the propaganda from a particularly egregious mainstream media story. Yesterday, such an article appeared in The Wall Street Journal, begging me to give it The Strip. Here it is…

The Propaganda

The article titled, Militants in Iraq Siphon State Pay: Islamic State skims funds headed for government employees in occupied areas, creating a dilemma for U.S. and Baghdad, reports that the US is giving hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Iraq government and one of the things the Iraq government is spending its money on is cash payments to government employees operating in captive ISIS territory. One or two thousand ISIS militants holding the city of Mosul in Iraq are forcing government workers there to remit 30% of their pay to the Islamic State. The White House is not comfortable directing the Iraq government to stop this flow of funds because “people can’t starve.”

Read moreThe Strip: ISIS militants skimming hundreds of millions of dollars of US funds: "A Dilemma for US & Bagdhad"

The Strip: ISIS militants skimming hundreds of millions of dollars of US funds: “A Dilemma for US & Bagdhad”

The only two installments of my “weekly column” The Strip appeared almost a year ago! I guess I’ll call it an annual column and consider myself ahead of the game! In any case, The Strip is about getting to the meat of the matter and stripping out the propaganda from a particularly egregious mainstream media story. Yesterday, such an article appeared in The Wall Street Journal, begging me to give it The Strip. Here it is…

The Propaganda

The article titled, Militants in Iraq Siphon State Pay: Islamic State skims funds headed for government employees in occupied areas, creating a dilemma for U.S. and Baghdad, reports that the US is giving hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Iraq government and one of the things the Iraq government is spending its money on is cash payments to government employees operating in captive ISIS territory. One or two thousand ISIS militants holding the city of Mosul in Iraq are forcing government workers there to remit 30% of their pay to the Islamic State. The White House is not comfortable directing the Iraq government to stop this flow of funds because “people can’t starve.”

Read moreThe Strip: ISIS militants skimming hundreds of millions of dollars of US funds: “A Dilemma for US & Bagdhad”

Self-Defense Is the Only Right

Or perhaps I should say, self-defense is the only operative right.

Every year on January 22 my mother used to take me on the bus to Washington DC to march for the Right to Life. Thomas Jefferson famously wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Even looking beyond the glaring hypocrisy of a slave-owner penning these words (and I love Thomas Jefferson, don’t get me wrong, but I can’t read the Declaration of Independence without thinking of that every time!), I have to say I’m not quite sure my mother or TJ got it right exactly–powerful and poetic though their claims are.

Read moreSelf-Defense Is the Only Right