LRC Blog

Mueller’s Investigation

While not up to Stalin’s purges and show trials, it’s getting there in terms of being a total miscarriage of justice. It’s senseless for the Mueller gang to be calling in and interviewing everyone in the Trump gang that had anything to do with the campaign. What possible sense can be made out of all sorts of conversations attended by all sorts of people, who all are afraid now, who all could be hung out to dry now for trivial misstatements and who all have varied recollections of events? What sense can be made out of young and ambitious campaign workers falling all over themselves to look good and get close to the center of power in Trump? Many were and are clowns. On this the book “Fire and Fury” provides accurate insight.

The whole Russian collusion scenario has been a farce engineered by Trump opponents from day one. It has zero credibility. It’s all a politically-motivated witchhunt in the tradition of the worst dictatorial governments. It’s a charade parading around under the cover of a legitimate government process, which it is not. Sessions should have scotched this thing long, long ago; but he was looking out for his own skin. Comey and his FBI fellow gang members should be the ones under investigation as should Hillary Clinton. The whole affair illustrates just how bad the justice system is in this country. The Bundy affair is not an outlier.

As for money laundering through financing, I won’t believe anything that Mueller and his cronies come up with. The world is awash in banks, hedge funds, offshore accounts, investment managers and a myriad of ways to transfer money. Money itself is replaceable by its own type indefinitely through multiple holders, that is, it is fungible. A company cannot control the composition of all its ultimate lenders because funds can pass through so many hands. If Mueller attempts to prove money laundering of criminally-obtained gains or through entities that have been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury, I won’t believe a word of it. That means I’m extremely skeptical.

What I do believe is that Trump ran a loose ship or ran no ship at all, and if that’s the way he runs his business empire, it being a family concern, almost anything is possible that can look bad.

I’m uninterested in defending Trump or any of his cohort in political terms, but no matter how reputable or disreputable, smart or stupid, tight-lipped or loose-mouthed, kempt or unkempt, any of them are, I do not think it’s at all right for Mueller to have the power to delve into every nook and cranny of their lives, conversations and activities in order to concoct or discover “crimes” that are really not crimes. The zeal of the Mueller gang reminds me too much of Robespierre’s prosecutor, Antoine-Quentin Fouquier-Tinville. “His zeal in prosecution earned him the nickname Purveyor to the Guillotine. His activity during this time earned him the reputation of one of the most sinister figures of the Revolution.”

8:39 pm on January 17, 2018

Marijuana Arrests

According to a new report issued by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch, “Police arrest more people for marijuana use than for all violent crimes — combined.” On any given day in the United States, “at least 137,000 people sit behind bars on simple drug-possession charges.” This in spite of the fact that medical marijuana is legal in 29 states, recreational marijuana is legal in 8 states, and the possession of small amounts of marijuana has been decriminalized in 21 states. As I recently stated: “No one should ever be arrested, fined, or imprisoned for possessing a plant the government doesn’t approve of. Not in the land of the free.” Want to eliminate half of the cops in the United States? End the war on drugs. It is, after all, a war on freedom.

6:58 pm on January 17, 2018

Humility From a Politician?

Here are two enjoyable examples of that great rarity: a humble political speech.

Exhibit A is Calvin Coolidge addressing an American Legion convention in 1925, peppering his talk with humble homespun language and his own vision of what “America First” should mean. It’s a tour de force of peace over war (marred only by Cal’s approving depiction of growing US military power and expenditures), idealism over pettiness, charity over welfare, and civilization over statist destruction. He is particularly good at avoiding the Broken Window Fallacy with respect to the then-recent Great War:

In a conflict with engaged all the major nations of the earth and lasted for a period exceeding four years, there could be no expectation of material gains. War in its very essence means destruction. Never before were contending peoples so well equipped with every kind of infernal engine calculated to spread desolation on land and over the face of the deep. Our country is only but now righting itself and beginning a moderate but steady recovery from the great economic loss which it sustained. That tremendous debt must be liquidated through the laborious toil of our people. Modern warfare becomes more and more to mean utter loss, destruction, and desolation of the best that there is of any people, its valiant youth and its accumulated treasure.

Exhibit B is Jimmy Carter’s “Law Day” speech before the Georgia State Bar in 1974, a talk made famous by Hunter S. Thompson. It gave Thompson his first inkling that Carter might be formidable enough to defeat the more popular Ted Kennedy in a Democratic presidential primary two years later. Carter is his now-familiar nagging and scolding self, but only behalf of causes like (real) civil liberties, Nixonian corruption, and local cronyism preying on the destitute and illiterate:

I was down on the coast this weekend. I was approached by a woman who asked me to come by her home. And I went by and she showed me documents that indicated that her illiterate mother, who had a son in jail, had gone to the County Surveyor in that region and had borrowed 225 dollars to get her son out of prison. She had a letter from the Justice of the Peace that showed that her mother had made a mark on a blank sheet of paper. They paid off the 225 dollars and she has the receipts to show it. And then they started a five year program trying to get back the paper she signed, without success. They went to court. And the lawyer that had originally advised her to sign the paper showed up as the attorney for the surveyor. She had put up 50 — 50 acres of land near the county seat as security. And when she got to court she found that instead of signing a security deed that she had signed a warranty deed. That case has already been appealed to the Supreme Court and she lost.

Both are good reads!

4:33 pm on January 17, 2018

Who Made the Afghanistan Mess?

For the U.S. government and America, Afghanistan is a hideous blunder that was created by America’s leaders in September of 2001. The objectives have not been achieved and there is no prospect that they will be achieved. At the time, the attack on Afghanistan garnered a 90% approval rating from Americans, which is all the more reason to keep investigating this war from all possible angles to shed light on a dark and dreadful, not to mention totally wrong, decision, a decision that Trump continues to implement.

For whom has this war been a disaster? Losers include 31,000 documented civilian deaths. The estimated Afghan civilians, soldiers and militants killed number 111,000. An additional 360,000 lives have been lost indirectly due to the war. Those dead in Pakistan are excluded. 29,000 civilians have been wounded. U.S. military fatalities in Afghanistan number at least 2,297. As of October 2015, the coalition forces that entered the war suffered 1,137 deaths.

These estimates exclude those American and coalition forces who have been injured, often severely. It’s an utter disgrace that our government does not provide clear tallies. In 2012, it was reported that the American wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan together exceeded 50,000.

The money cost of the resources America has devoted to pursuing the Afghanistan war is near $1 trillion. It is estimated to be $2 trillion if all costs past, present and future are included.

This war is a long-running disaster, still occurring, that was made solely by Bush and his war cabinet. Who were the people responsible for the decision to invade Afghanistan and topple its government in what was a clear act of aggression, illegal and immoral by all standards?

“To plan the administration’s response to the terrorist attacks, President Bush assembled his ‘War Cabinet,’ which included Cheney, Rice, Powell, Rumsfeld, Card, and Director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet.” (Pfiffner, 2003). The people who created the war were headed by President George W. Bush. Richard Bruce Cheney was the Vice-President. Condoleezza Rice was the assistant to the president for national security affairs. Colin Powell was Secretary of State. Andrew Card was White House chief of staff. George Tenet was Director of Central Intelligence. Donald Rumsfeld was Secretary of Defense.

According to Pfiffner, “The president decided that it was important to have U.S. soldiers committed to battle in order to demonstrate U.S. resolve and commitment.” Also “During October President Bush was impatient to get U.S. troops into Afghanistan.” Bush is responsible primarily for this war, and he is the man who conceived of and promoted the fundamental idea of turning action against terrorism into warfare.

The U.S. is an empire that has incredible commitments to all sorts of allies across the world. Its power and dominance among its allies depend upon the validity of these commitments. The U.S. has constantly to be showing that the commitments are binding and that it will uphold them. Otherwise, cracks in the power structure and dominance of the U.S. open up if allies begin to doubt the word of the U.S. These commitments are at once a source of strength for the empire and a potential source of weakness. They tie the U.S. down and force the empire to maintain bases and roving armed forces worldwide. Any president who is committed to the U.S. as an empire is hooked, trapped or captured by this chain of commitments. He or she is practically forced by those who are behind the empire and benefit from it to reinforce the image of America as a staunch upholder of its interests, commitments, treaties, and allies. They do not want to go down in history as the person who oversaw the shrinkage and death of the U.S. empire. This helps explain why Bush wanted “to demonstrate U.S. resolve and commitment”.

But as much as this analysis may help comprehend why a president makes irrational decisions in an effort to hold the empire together, there is more to it. Each person in that room bears some responsibility for the decision to attack Afghanistan with American ground troops and topple the Taliban. Each had reasons, and each was wrong. The room was filled with the crème de la crème of the American political system, and they still went wrong. They failed to grasp the countervailing forces that would render this American show of resolve not only meaningless but a show of weakness. They failed to understand the situation. They failed to understand Afghanistan, its people, its nature, its government and the role of corruption. They failed to understand the role of Pakistan. They failed to understand the weaknesses on the American side. They failed to understand the resolve of their opponents.

We cannot trust the political crème de la crème. We cannot trust instantaneous public opinion, which was also wildly wrong. At this moment in time, we cannot trust Trump and his crew, not because of his personality or his unorthodox style, but because he is just as prone to be captured by the idea of empire as any past president. At best, Trump made some anti-empire noises; but his actions speak louder than his words and his words are more and more bellicose. His anti-empire words, really mere suspicions and uncoordinated verbal sallies against empire, were enough to rouse the proponents of empire into a coalition against him. The crème de la crème are blind partisans of the system that has made them the political crème de la crème, but equally partisan in favor of empire are all sorts of other American forces.

3:35 pm on January 17, 2018

More US Bases In Syria…Why Not Come Home?

12:57 pm on January 17, 2018

VA Surgeon Left Scalpel in Patient

where it was discovered four years later.  The plaintiff’s attorney filing suit last week described the VA as “an incomprehensible level of incompetence.”  So why doesn’t the “patriotic” GOP, to protect veterans which it supposedly loves, move to abolish it?

2:45 pm on January 16, 2018

Trump To Embrace Nuclear First Strike

1:32 pm on January 16, 2018

U.S. Brews Trouble inside Syria

Some clearheaded Russian reaction to the U.S. plan to create an army inside Syria is cited here. This article presents the U.S. aims as some Russian analysts see them.

Erdogan’s reaction was strong: “A country we call an ally is insisting on forming a terror army on our bordersWhat can that terror army target but Turkey? Our mission is to strangle it before it’s even born.” Assad also reacted negatively: “The Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad responded on Monday by vowing to crush the new force and drive U.S. troops from the country. Assad’s ally Russia called the plans a plot to dismember Syria and place part of it under U.S. control.”

The U.S. under Trump continues its primary foreign policy of empire, which entails U.S. hegemony far and wide. Hegemony means dominance, superiority, control and power over a region or country. It requires meddling, intervention and interference in the affairs of other countries. This produces a constant stream of trouble spots of our own making and participation, like Vietnam, Korea, Lebanon and Iran in earlier times and Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Niger, and Syria in later times. We buy into these spots, making trouble for ourselves, because of the attempts at hegemony.

Psychologically, the intent of expanding hegemony is always to show strength. Our government policy is built upon the fear that not showing strength by extending dominance shows weakness and invites enemies to extend their control. We do not walk softly and carry a big stick. We are not confident in our defensive strength, even after building enough nuclear bombs to obliterate the planet 10 times over. We insist on using the stick in foreign countries to show our strength. We do not believe in ourselves enough to let foreign nations create and live with the consequences of their own errant policies. We had such little confidence in our market order that we over-estimated the capacities of the communist parts of the world and instituted parts of their program in our country. The U.S. is so fearful that doing nothing shows weakness that it consistently looks for a response to any event that remotely seems to question its dominance. Trump’s missile salvo launched against a Syrian airbase after a chemical incident is in this tradition.

Trump is following up on Pentagon, State and Obama administration plans that arose well before he became president. He is creating a new trouble spot and predicament inside Syria, designed to serve the empire’s hegemonic aims in that region. Trump now owns the resulting problems and complications that are bound to arise.

10:03 am on January 16, 2018

How Your Brain Is Getting Hacked: Facebook, Tinder, Slot Machines | Tristan Harris


This is the best short clip on flat screen addiction and all the big apps that are intentionally designed for addiction that I’ve seen from Tristan Harris, former Google apps designer.

Intentional delays and other techniques in apps to hook people to little dopamine hits in the brain. Harris calls it the “race to the bottom of the brain stem.”

These apps and video game design features are designed to keep you using it etc. There are courses at places like Stanford University on this “persuasive design” and they talk about “stickiness.” These are euphemisms for really smart people studying the human brain and figuring out ways to addict us so that we spend more time on their app / game etc, for their profit – – and rob us of our time and lives in the process.

The unfortunate results of this global phenomenon surely hit the young whose brains are still developing much harder since their brains literally wire around their “smart” phone.  I, and my high school teacher colleagues, see the disastrous consequences of this everyday at work.   (more…)

5:14 pm on January 15, 2018

Higher Inflation Ahead

The price movements in financial markets are often difficult to interpret, but recently they are acting as if higher inflation lies ahead. It’s the uniformity of reactions in several markets that suggest this.

The key event that launched these moves is the tax cut that passed in early December in the Senate and Dec. 20 in the House.

Gold began a strong upward move starting on Dec. 12. The dollar as measured by UUP fell against other currencies starting on the same date.

The stock market, which already had been making new highs, waited until 10 days ago and then launched an upward move to daily new highs that was even stronger than earlier.

Twenty-year treasuries made a local high on Dec. 15 (128.59 on TLT) and then sold off to its current 124.52.

The implied 10-year breakeven inflation rate as measured by TIPS shows a recent rise too. Its pattern shows a long-term basing pattern that began 3 years ago. This rate appears poised to break out to higher levels.

Hence, all the markets are saying the same thing. Not only will federal deficits rise, but so will inflation.

4:03 pm on January 15, 2018

Who Killed Martin Luther King…And Why?

12:28 pm on January 15, 2018

Did Trump Say It?

People at the meeting have conflicting recollections. So far, Graham and Durbin say he said it. Cotton and Purdue say he didn’t say it. Nielsen said he didn’t use “that exact phrase”. Three other attendees have said nothing.

Is it possible to hear something vulgar that someone else didn’t say? Yes, it is, definitely. I assert this from personal experience.

I once had a one-on-one meeting with a dean who was against me because I disagreed with his program. People in business specialties like finance, marketing, and accounting were in demand. Their salaries had risen relative to economists. The dean, an economist, wanted to hire economists in these specialties. I thought then and still think that economists didn’t know these fields and would propound useless theories. I didn’t think you could build a business school with economists.

Some time after this meeting, a few months, at some occasion in which I again talked with this fellow, he angrily recollected that I had sworn at him using a 4-letter word that begins with the letter “f”. This definitely did not happen. He told me that this happened when I pointed my finger at him. I had used my forefinger or index finger in natural body language to make a point. He was so mad at any sign of independence that he translated this into a memory of a vulgar epithet hurled at him. That thought never even crossed my mind.

When it comes to eyewitness or ear-witness recollections of meetings, in which issues are at stake and emotional reactions run high, it is quite possible that people will remember things being said that were never said.

12:13 pm on January 15, 2018

Jordan Peterson: Truth in the Time of Chaos

10:14 am on January 15, 2018

$72k Car for the Middle Class

Congratulations Detroit auto industry! Once again, you’ve managed to make total fools of yourselves with the boorishness and ludicrousness of your North American International Auto Show fetish.

Lincoln managed to buy its way to having the ugly, bulbous, pathetically-aggressive Lincoln Navigator named the North American Truck of the Year. All over the tube and the news, media bobbleheads and car execs are tripping all over themselves to delight in the glorious news this morning. Not one media talking head has questioned the inanity of selecting a truck-of-the-year with a base price of $72,000, which is far more than the *median household income* in America across all jobs.

Short memories regarding the 2008 economic meltdown and auto bubble fallout persevere once again. The upper middle class can’t afford these cars, and the upper/luxury class will not be buying this American-made SUV. This vehicle is designed for and targeted at middle class demographics. This vehicle appeals to the broad class of middle-to-upper middle class debtors living beyond their means who cannot financially bear the cost of the vehicle without incurring significant debt. As gas prices continue to ramp up (almost $3/gallon here in Michigan), the debtor class will continue to put their gas expenses on their personal credit cards, along with their meals out, household expenses, vacations/trips, and all the other nice stuff for which they can’t financially bear the cost on a cash basis.

9:48 am on January 15, 2018

“Pitch Perfect” Propaganda

Lew, from ubiquitous NFL Football halftime events, to hundreds of motion pictures and television programs, the insidious warfare state has thrust its intrusive and heavy hand into covertly manipulating American popular culture and economy. Caitlin Johnstone’s first hand account, “I Paid To See A Movie About Singing. I Got Ninety Minutes Of Pentagon Propaganda,” is disturbing. Successful propaganda is so subtle or subliminal that it is unnoticed by the vast target audience. Only a marginal few have a “red pill” awareness to discern its deleterious effects. Johnstone is one of these awoken ones.

9:40 am on January 15, 2018

U.S. Builds Forces inside Syria

“On Sunday, the U.S.-led coalition said it was working with its Syrian militia allies, the mainly Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), to set up a new 30,000-strong border force. The force would operate along the borders with Turkey and Iraq, as well as within Syria along the Euphrates River, which separates most SDF territory from that held by the government.”

For further specific details, see this article. The American-led coalition is described here. See also here for history of the latest U.S. intervention in Syria.

We’ve heard the 30,000 number before. When ISIS was a larger and more formidable fighting force that controlled far more territory inside Syria, two years ago, candidate Trump said it would take “20,000 to 30,000” U.S. troops. The relevant article in the Military Times reads

“Frontrunner Donald Trump, who throughout the campaign has avoided specifics on military manpower and spending, said he’d hear out his generals but believes it could require ‘20,000 to 30,000’ U.S. troops to defeat the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, declaring that the small American footprint in the region — currently fewer than 4,000 American ground troops are deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve — isn’t enough to defend the nation.”

One year ago, the position shifted.

“Trump said he would heed the advice of senior military officers to decide how many troops would be required, saying, ‘I’m hearing numbers of 20,000 to 30,000.’ He later backed off those numbers but has kept up pledges to defeat the Islamic State ‘soundly and quickly.'”

There is obviously no national security need for the U.S. to lead a coalition of Syrian rebels and Kurds to form an army that takes up positions and holds territory along much of Syria’s border lands. This is an invasion of Syria for purposes of empire and countering Russia and Iran, none of which makes America more secure. ISIS is now being used as a thin excuse for this force, but the plan aims to salvage some of Washington’s earlier plans at chopping up Syria into pieces.

We do not have information on who made this decision. We know that Trump turned over military operations to his generals. The consequences are going to land on Trump’s desk, no matter what. There were immediate negative reactions against the planned army from Turkey, Syria and Russia from high levels that are sure to get Trump’s attention.

My opinion, expressed above, is that the U.S. has no business on behalf of Americans or American national security being in Syria in any way, shape or form. U.S. intervention in Syria has no clear purpose that’s sensible for Americans. The purposes include a long list of empire-related aims, such as global hegemony, Israel, resources, regime change in Syria, weakening Hezbollah and Iran, thwarting Russia and China, and pipeline politics. These all are imperial or empire matters. They are not anything that a peaceful republic stands for. They have nothing to do with minding our own business, which includes facing up to our own lives, our own challenges, and the numerous problems and evils that beset us in America. No one makes a better life by going around interfering unasked for in the lives of others. No country as a whole as represented by its state makes a better life for its citizens by going around interfering unasked for in the domestic affairs of other countries and their states.

9:14 am on January 15, 2018

Brain Hacking

12:28 am on January 15, 2018

Haiti, Favelas and Property Rights

A lot of people live in slums called favelas, places where you and I certainly do not want to live. Search Google to find photos. Haiti is one such place.

On a scale of 0 to 100, poorest to best scores, Haiti has a property rights score of 13, the lowest even of its peers. Cuba is 32 and Jamaica is 58. America is 81. We used to be 90 before 2009. In 2010 it fell to 85 and in 2014, to 80.

Haiti’s property rights problem is also a government problem, a legal problem, a political problem and an enforcement problem. It’s a problem that has resisted improvement for a long, long time. The cited article indicates specific legal problems.

The name-calling surrounding Trump’s remarks obscures the lesson that everyone needs to be taught, respect and know, which is that secure private property rights are essential for people to make something of their lives. Without security for the ownership of what one builds or produces, one loses the incentive to own and to produce in the first place. If property can be stolen, taxed or regulated away at the unstable whim of others or government, or if property cannot be clearly obtained and defended, what incentive is there to attain it in the first place?

Property rights have to be separated from racism. We in America cannot sustain strong property rights if we override them with government powers that supposedly are aiming to create progress against discrimination. Rental discrimination is not per se or automatically racism unless the force of law stands behind such discrimination; and that has happened in our country’s history. Private discrimination should not be outlawed at the price of eroding or destroying private property rights. That accomplishes nothing. Individuals or a whole society do not become more tolerant by passing a law outlawing intolerance.

It’s novel for a president’s opinions to be expressed bluntly and revealed so quickly. It’s not novel any longer for this president to be accused on one ground after another. In this case, the accusation is racism. Well before the current incident, the case was being made that Trump is racist, such as this article in Fortune. Most of this particular article dwells on Trump’s resistance to laws that infringed on the property rights of landlords. Anyone who opposes provisions of the U.S. Code that supposedly uphold civil rights and end discrimination, while simultaneously undermining property rights, can be and many have been accused of racism. How ironic it is that Trump attempted 50 years ago to defend his property rights, not a racist position, and now he is accused of being racist for a remark made about countries that have terrible property rights, such that they produce a large stream of people seeking to escape to other countries that have more secure property rights.

The storm of remarks critical of Trump’s comment may include people of sincere belief as well as people who are politically motivated. It doesn’t much matter. The point is the confusion of racism with the defense of property rights. The point is that terrible property rights are one major cause of favelas in many parts of the world. If America decimated its property rights, we’d have the same result here.

It just so happens that most of the world is not white, something like 70 percent. It also happens that property rights vary across the world, and a variety of legal and government enforcement systems prevail. Identifying a place as having poor property rights is likely simultaneously to pick out a place that has a nonwhite population or some other ethnic or religious character. This is because much of the world is nonwhite, much of the world doesn’t have legal and governing systems that result in secure property rights, and crucially because societies with governments tend to be somewhat homogeneous along some such lines as race, ethnicity, language, legal code and religion. The cause of poor government and property rights is not skin color, which is a superficial trait. What then are the causes of poor property rights? Or the opposite: What are the reasons why some countries enjoy superior property rights?

9:13 am on January 14, 2018

I Feel So Safe

In case of nuclear war, the Air Force has 247 women “missileers” who will help launch U.S. nukes. Said one of the, Capt. Erika Weitgenant: “If I’m being ordered to key turn, that means that there’s somebody else that is more than willing to destroy everything that we live for here in the United States. So I’m going to do everything that I can and I’m going to do my part, what I’ve been ordered to do.”

 

11:33 am on January 13, 2018

Trump Has Wrong Strategy on Iran

William S. Lind has it right (see here and here), and Trump has it wrong on Iran. Trump is imposing new sanctions on Iran. The goal, made clear by many statements by him and others in power and out, is regime change in Iran. Trump and others want to de-legitimize Iran’s government even more than is already occurring. This goal carries the risk of wrecking the state, causing Iran to become a center of instability like Libya and Somalia. It is not at all good for us to become embroiled or intimately enmeshed with unstable centers of disorder much less create them. It leads directly to nation-building and presiding in one way or another over very thorny problems of foreign countries. Let them stew in their own juices and withdraw from being involved with centers of disorder. That’s Lind’s recommendation, which I find makes a great deal of sense.

The dissolution of a state doesn’t automatically usher in anarcho-capitalism, not in this world, not at this time, and not in any broad region or place one can name. It ushers in 4th generation warfare, instability, and warfare of all sorts among rival groups divided along all sorts of lines, political, religious, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, historical, legal and other. America becomes a target of external hostile elements when it links itself to unstable regions of the world, as it is doing in Africa and elsewhere. Furthermore, the divisions within America magnify and this country itself becomes subject to greater instability and decline.

In 2004, Lind already recognized and understood that survival of a culture meant a change in U.S. strategy and thinking. “But as America learned on Sept. 11, a Fourth Generation world will be a place where our physical security will depend on our ability and willingness to isolate ourselves from certain forces.” There cannot be a market order without security of law and property; and the latter cannot occur if that order is undermined, which can happen in a number of ways.

“What isolation means will vary from case to case, but in some situations it will require actions that appear harsh by current standards. For example, we may find it necessary to prohibit people from certain places from entering the U.S. We may need to profile on a variety of bases, including religious belief and ethnic origin.”

“In general, isolation will mean minimizing contacts that involve flows of people, money, materials, and new primary loyalties, such as religions and ideologies, into the United States.”

When an anarcho-capitalist theorist like Hans-Hermann Hoppe supports immigration restrictions, which is a state-imposed measure, there is an implicit recognition that the market order depends upon a culture of law and order that encompasses a broad region with borders.

Any government is relatively slow and inept in adapting to changed conditions because of political divisions and capture by various self-interested groups. That is why we cannot, routinely or generally or automatically, expect our government to choose strategies that actually benefit us. It takes constant work to keep government on the proper rails.

We are fortunate that anarcho-capitalism operates side by side with government and penetrates our every day relations thoroughly, even if in imperfect forms that are threatened by government. Utopia is impossible, so it’s not about to happen. The best that we can hope for and work toward is constant effort to educate ourselves and our children in strategies that work to our benefit, while toning down and eliminating those that are destructive. We have to monitor government constantly and present sound advice while pointing out the welter of destructive paths. We have to control our internal rivalries and bickering. We have to work toward a constructive culture. These jobs are endless. There are huge challenges in clearing away the undergrowth of mistaken apprehensions and interpretations of history so that we can have clear visions of facts.

9:49 am on January 13, 2018

Emperor Trump

Sends 1,000 more of his subjects to the s***hole country of Afghanistan. Whatever Afghanistan is now, the United States made it that way.

8:49 am on January 13, 2018

Libertarians Against Tax Cuts

I expect to see a new Facebook group coming soon: Libertarians against tax cuts because we don’t like Trump.

The reality is that a lot of folks are so anti-Trump (whereas I am anti-all presidents) that they are dismissing the fact that any repeal of theft is a win for them. To the many odd libertarians who hate Trump to a point that blinds them to the reality of their existence as a political prisoner of a two-party oligarchy, please private-message me for my PayPal info so you can send your 2018 tax savings to me. I’ll take a Trump tax cut, just as I would have accepted the benefit (or any small element of theft repeal) of an Obama tax cut, even thought I despised that totalitarian tyrant.

#GoFundMeWithYourTaxSavings

8:11 am on January 13, 2018

Saudi Women Now Allowed to Watch Bad Soccer

Score another huge round of ‘freedom’ for women in this, er, “shithole.”

The move was the first of Saudi Arabia’s social reforms planned for this year to ease restrictions on women, spearheaded by the kingdom’s 32-year-old crown prince. The kingdom has also announced that starting in June women will be allowed to drive, lifting the world’s only ban on female drivers.

8:02 am on January 13, 2018

My Correspondence on Racial and Sexual Discrimination (Well, Sort Of) With Steve Pinker

I developed an acquaintance with him since he used my book Defending I in a course of his he taught at Harvard. He has not so far responded to my query (hence, the “sort of” since this is so far one way), but I’m always hopeful. (I slightly edited this letter of mine to him).

From: Walter Block [mailto:wblock@loyno.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, January 09, 2018 9:07 PM
To: ‘pinker@wjh.harvard.edu’ Subject: query

Dear Steve:

I watched with great interest this short presentation of yours on racism, sexism, and anarcho capitalism.

Steven Pinker: Political Correctness Might be Redpilling America

If I had to summarize your talk, you were saying that you can’t logically deduce an ought from an is. Fine. I have no problem with that.

However, I’m a racist and a sexist (as a libertarian, I believe we have a right to discriminate against blacks and females, and anyone else we want for that matter) and an anarcho capitalist (I believe this is the only moral and efficacious system; taxation, the sine qua non of government, is necessarily a rights violation). You oppose all three. But, nothing you said leads to that conclusion either. Do you agree (not that I expect you can defend your position on all three in a few minutes)?

(more…)

4:38 pm on January 12, 2018

Pope Francis’s Fellow Jesuit Sets Us Straight on Church’s priorities

(Hint: It isn’t politics!)

Excerpt:

“Christianity addressed itself primarily to the final destiny to which man, in his creation, had been ordered. The ultimate purpose of Christian revelation was not to improve the world but to explain the final destiny of each existing person. The purpose of human life is to decide whether a person will or will not accept the invitation to eternal life for which he was created.”

1:07 pm on January 12, 2018

House Approves More FISA Spying…Can The Senate Stop Them?

1:02 pm on January 11, 2018

There Is Something Wrong with the Military

People who leave the military have a hard time adjusting to civilian life and often turn to alcohol and drugs, and sometimes even worse: suicide and criminal activity. Why is that? When someone quits being an electrician, a salesman, or a teacher and gets a new career these things don’t happen. What is it about being in the military that ruins so many people? Could being sent somewhere that you have no business going and doing things that you have no business doing have anything to do with it?

5:49 pm on January 10, 2018

Expect More Suicides and Crimes

As reported by NPR, “President Trump has signed an executive order to help more military veterans get mental health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs.” This means that more veterans will be given drugs to take. This will surely result in more of them committing suicide and committing crimes. They should smoke pot. Legal drugs are too dangerous to take.

5:45 pm on January 10, 2018

987-46

People killed by cops vs. cops killed by people in 2017, according to an ongoing Washington Post database project.

5:42 pm on January 10, 2018

Trump To Embassies: Sell American Weapons!

1:12 pm on January 10, 2018