Category Archives: Opinion

Commonsense firearm regulation

Source: Independent Institute
by Randall Holcombe

“Since the tragic school shooting in Florida (my home state) last week, I’ve read countless articles arguing that now is the time to enact commonsense firearm regulation. At the same time, those who argue for increased regulation do not suggest any specific regulations. My response is: Give me an example of a commonsense firearm regulation that will actually reduce the illegal use of firearms. It’s easy at a time like this to appeal to emotions and say we have to do something to stop these shootings. It is more difficult to suggest regulatory changes that will actually reduce those shootings.” (02/20/18)

Israel and Iran: A long-running rivalry moves to center stage

Source: Christian Science Monitor
by Ned Temko

“It was, as intended, a moment of high drama at last weekend’s international security conference in Munich. Holding up a fragment from an Iranian military drone shot down by his air force, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looked out at Iran’s foreign minister and warned: ‘Do not test Israel’s resolve.’ The conflict between these rival powers is not new — with roots going back to the 1979 Islamic revolution that toppled the Shah of Iran, a key United States ally and the only Middle East leader at the time with close ties to the Israelis. But it is taking on new importance, with new potential perils, as a result of the war across Israel’s border in Syria, and the web of international tensions now surrounding that country’s future. Perhaps the most surprising thing about the military clash that followed the drone incident of a week ago was that it took so long to happen.” (02/20/18)

Stop inflating the Russia threat

Source: The New Republic
by Jeet Heer

“Special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of thirteen Russians last week for meddling in the 2016 election has incited hysterical threat inflation among many pundits and foreign policy experts. For Washington Post columnist Max Boot, the unfolding Russiagate story is ‘the second-worst foreign attack on America in the past two decades,’ after 9/11. … Interviewed by Politico, Ash Carter, who served as secretary of defense under President Barack Obama, called for a new ‘Cold War containment’ policy to deal with Russia. But Russia’s interference in the election, at least what’s known thus far, is hardly enough to justify a global struggle comparable to the Cold War or the war on terror. These earlier conflicts consumed trillions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives. The details in the Mueller indictment are troubling, but not an existential threat worth losing a single life over.” [editor’s note: Fascinating to see this from someone who was once calling for Trump’s head for “collusion” with these same “Russians;” I guess he must have realized the only “collusion” was between Hillary and the DNC – SAT] (02/20/18)

Laws are irrelevant

Source: A Geek With Guns
by Christopher Burg

“Whenever an act of violence makes it to the front pages of news sites, a lot of people start demanding laws be passed to protect people. When I see such demands being made in comment sections on the websites I frequent, I like to point out that laws are just words on pieces of paper and have no power to protect anybody. The believers in law then point out, as if I was unaware, that my argument should apply to all laws. They mistakenly believe that I’m only talking about whatever law they’re proposing but their rebuttal is correct, as I point out, I am talking about all laws. After that the believers in law tend to have a psychological breakdown and start screaming about how laws are what makes society possible. Laws are not what make society possible.” (02/20/18)

Munich did nothing to appease Cold War 2.0 fears

Source: OpEdNews
by Pepe Escobar

“The Munich Security Conference is supposed to be an annual lofty gathering of global politicians, and military and intelligence experts. Theoretically, they discuss serious security matters under a cool professional eye in an informed setting. Yet, in these times of doom and gloom, what the 54th conference yielded was another Russophobia show — a direct connection to the ‘Russiagate’ soap opera in Washington In fact, the 2018 Munich Security Report was entitled, To The Brink — And Back? In it, the Conference Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger did not mince his words. ‘The world has gotten closer — much too close! — to the brink of a significant conflict,’ he said. That was not a particularly subtle code for Cold War 2.0, which could fast develop into a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia.” (02/20/18)

Obama’s real debt and deficit legacy

Source: Town Hall
by Stephen Moore

“Congressional Republicans have been raked over the coals in the last two weeks for slamming through budget caps and inflating government spending and debt by another $300 billion. The criticisms are well-deserved. It’s a historical truism that Republicans are much more fiscally conscientious when they are in the minority than when they run Congress. And Republicans tend to be much bigger fiscal hawks when there is a Democratic president than a Republican president — as we are now witnessing. The only time in half a century that the budget has been balanced was in the late 1990s, when Bill Clinton was president and the Republicans ran Congress. It was a good combination. We ran four straight budget surpluses from 1998 to 2001, and government spending dropped gloriously, from about 20 percent of GDP to 17.6 percent. No wonder the economy boomed in those years. Government was less of a drag.” (02/20/18)

“Too controversial”: Polk State College rejects professor’s anti-Trump artwork

Source: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
by staff

“Free expression on campus isn’t childproofe d– except at Polk State College, where part-time faculty member Serhat Tanyolacar’s artwork was rejected from a faculty art exhibition for being ‘too controversial.’ In early January, Polk State encouraged all faculty members in its arts program, including Tanyolacar, to submit artwork to a faculty exhibition scheduled to begin on Feb. 12. Tanyolacar submitted a piece titled ‘Death of Innocence,’ which depicts several poets and writers juxtaposed with a number of pictures of President Donald Trump and other political figures engaging in sexual activity. Tanyolacar said the art is intended to highlight ‘moral corruption and moral dichotomy’ and provoke debate. In response to his submission, Polk State Program Coordinator Nancy Lozell informed Tanyolacar on Feb. 6 that his artwork would not be displayed.” (02/20/18)

A basic income need not reduce employment

Source: Cato Institute
by Ryan Bourne

“Suppose the government redistributed to every adult Briton a basic, unconditional income of £10,000 from tax revenues. Would aggregate employment levels a) rise, b) fall, or c) stay the same? This is the blue-sky policy question that former Labour leader Ed Miliband has been toying with. He’s not alone. Ideologically-diverse bedfellows from the neoliberal Adam Smith Institute through to the Green Party have weighed up the merits of giving everyone cold hard cash as insurance against fears of automation and lack of job security in the labour market. There are legion concerns, trade-offs, and practical difficulties with such a policy. Yet the employment question arguably resonates most, and both proponents and opponents seem confused about it.” (02/20/18)

Mueller’s potential investigation options are increasing, but they’re still “potential”

Source: USA Today
by Jonathan Turley

“The special counsel’s indictment of 13 Russian nationals was most notable for what it didn’t include: any allegations of knowing cooperation or collusion with Trump campaign officials. Despite the creative spins of President Trump’s critics, it is clearly a significant admission. After a year of investigation, multiple plea agreements and multiple indictments, there is still no direct evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian operation. The Russian investigation will continue, including the investigation of any collusion or conspiracy by Trump officials. Yet, absent new evidence, there is a growing chance that collusion theories will not pan out. For the Trump White House, however, there remain a number of live torpedoes in the water — any one of which could present a serious if not existential threat for this administration. Robert Mueller has not incorporated the infamous Trump Tower meeting as a form of collusion. The reason could be that it is not. Donald Trump Jr. was allegedly looking for evidence of illegal contributions to the Clinton Foundation.” (02/20/18)

Italian elections update

Source: EconLog
by Alberto Mingardi

“Italian elecions are fast approaching: they’ll be held on March 4. I think there is so far an unnatural/uncanny sense of composure surrounding the ballot. I think many assume that, since France ultimately didn’t vote for Marine Le Pen last year and stayed on the safe course with Emmanuel Macron, the same is going to happen in Italy: another big country (60 million people, the third largest economy in the Eurozone) whose stability is fundamental for the future of the European project. I am far more doubtful. The latest polls (for the rest of the campaign polls cannot be made public) tend to confirm the scenario which international observers prefer: due to the intricacies of the electoral law, nobody wins and the ‘moderates’ of the right and of the left end up in another grand coalition government that certainly won’t be able to profoundly reform the country, but neither will send it in the direction of Athens or Caracas. I think the very fact everybody is talking about this scenario makes it less likely to happen.” (02/20/18)