Category Archives: Opinion

George W. Bush doesn’t deserve the media’s efforts at rehabilitation

Source: The Hill
by James Bovard

“‘Our democracy is only as good as people trust the results,’ former President George W. Bush declared in a presumably well-paid speech last week in the United Arab Emirates, a notorious Arab dictatorship. Bush is being exalted as if he is the second coming of George Washington thanks to his implied slams against the Trump administration. But Bush’s actions during his eight year reign did far more to ravage democracy at home and abroad than most people realize. Thanks to gushing media coverage, Bush is enjoying one of the greatest comebacks in modern American history. In the summer of 2008, only 22 percent of Americans approved of Bush and 41 percent said he was the ‘worst president ever.’ Last month, a poll showed that 61 percent of Americans now approve of Bush, and his support among Democrats quintupled, from 11 percent in early 2009 to 54 percent now. If Americans want to understand current political challenges, they need to recall Bush’s forgotten debacles.” (02/15/18)

Syria could be Washington’s next big foreign policy failure

Source: Cato Institute
by Doug Bandow

“President Donald Trump criticized candidate Hillary Clinton for her interventionist tendencies. Now he plans to maintain U.S. forces amid battling Kurds, Turks, Russians, Iranians and contending Syrian factions. Washington’s policy is frankly mad. Having attained its primary objective, defeating the Islamic State, or ISIS, the Trump administration should wrap up American operations in Syria.” (02/16/18)

“Peace through strength” is a racket

Source: Libertarian Institute
by Sheldon Richman

“Donald Trump has embraced the popular ‘peace through strength’ doctrine (PTSD) with his characteristic panache …. will acknowledge that the PTSD has surface appeal. Why not show the world the United States is so awesomely powerful that no one in his right mind would even think to get on its wrong side? It seems to make sense in a practical sort of way. Once people believe that, of course, they are softened up to accept unlimited military spending and the concomitant deficits and debt.” (02/16/18)

Want to see gun control enacted? Support a movement to arm all black Americans

Source: Raw Story
by Kali Holloway

“The only greater certainty than another mass shooting in this country is the likelihood that it will be met with inaction. … The fatigue incurred from the whole circular spectacle makes it feel like it might just be easier to start labeling lawmakers either ‘pro-child murder’ or ‘anti-child murder.’ It’s impossible to reason with the disingenuous logic that mass slaughter is just the cost of freedom, and not a consequence of NRA-owned politicians, which is why even the mildest gun reform seems impossible. Ending mass shootings might seem like a hopeless cause in light of all this, but that kind of thinking ignores the historic infallibility of racism to move American political mountains. The shift in the public face of poverty from white to black helped take us from the New Deal to the destruction of the welfare state; conversely, as drug addiction has gone from being an ‘inner city’ (read: black) to a ‘suburban’ (read: white) problem, the state has transformed from carceral to compassionate. A movement (both visible and vocal) to arm black Americans en masse would fire up GOP political will toward gun control, and probably at speeds currently unimaginable.” (02/16/18)

The Trump-Russia collusion narrative is dead

Source: Fox News Forum
by Fred Fleitz

“Friday’s grand jury indictment in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election destroys Democratic claims that the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russia to win the race, and that the Russian interference cost Hillary Clinton the election. It is now time for Mueller to look into real election interference and collusion with the Russians by the Democrats. The grand jury indicted 13 Russians and three Russian entities for their alleged efforts to interfere with the 2016 election. The indictment says the Russians hid their involvement in this scheme and communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign. There was no allegation in the indictment that any American was a knowing participant in the scheme. Boom. The Democratic Trump-Russia collusion narrative is dead. But the left will continue to argue that Russia handed the presidency to Donald Trump. … Don’t be fooled. The indictment says the Russian election interference effort started in 2014. It says that the Russians staged rallies for and against Trump after the election and also promoted the Bernie Sanders campaign.” (02/16/18)

The Satoshi Revolution, chapter 6, part 1

by Wendy McElroy

“Privacy is the battleground upon which cryptocurrency will ultimately rise or fall. The engine of crypto, the blockchain, is founded on the premise of anonymity or pseudonymity. The blockchain was specifically designed to obsolete ‘trusted third parties,’ such as central banks, which act as data-collection centers for government. Wei Dai and [Steve] Mnuchin may seem to be polar opposites on privacy, but they are saying much the same thing, although their conclusions are antithetical. Privacy prevents violence. For Wei Dai, this is a good thing. Privacy is overwhelmingly positive for individuals because it empowers and protects them against government. … For Mnuchin, privacy’s role in preventing violence is a bad thing because he administers government coercion against peaceful individuals.” (02/17/18)

The Russiagate intelligence wars: What we do and don’t know

Source: The Nation
by Bob Dreyfuss

“Underneath the tug-of-war between Republicans and Democrats on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, there are probably reams of classified data pertaining to Russiagate (including sources and methods of the intelligence business) about which we, the public, know very little. The dueling HPSCI memos from each side of the aisle pertain to just one question in this investigation: Namely, what did the CIA and the FBI know about Carter Page (who served for several months as a foreign-policy adviser to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and who had multiple contacts with high-level Russians), and was it enough to secure a FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court warrant to surveil him? What the memo wars reveal is that it’s exceedingly difficult and often controversial, to release even bits and pieces of Top Secret data. That includes intelligence that might relate not just to possible Trump-Russia collusion but also to the broader question of what we know, what we don’t know, and what we might learn about the original question: What did Russia do in 2015–16 to affect the course of the vote?” (02/16/18)

Give protectionists the boot

Source: Cafe Hayek
by Don Boudreaux

“Note the sales pitch for this boot-maker in the banner ad: ‘Designed in America, Made in Italy.’ What a splendid example of globalization! American producers cooperate with Italian producers to their mutual advantage. The availability of workers in Italy actually to stitch materials together into boots raises the productivity of boot designers in America; the creativity and effort of boot designers in America raises the productivity of the workers in Italy who actually construct the boots. (Productivity, do note, is properly reckoned as value-added.) In other words, these American workers and Italian workers complement each other, each making the other more productive of value — and each, thus, helping the other’s wages to rise.” (02/18/18)

Five ways the Olympics are undermining democracy and exploiting workers

Source: In These Times
by Jonny Coleman

“We’re almost halfway through 17 frigid days of Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, and U.S. media coverage has been banal, predictable and full of holes. American press outlets, largely ignorant of Korean history and politics, have demonized North Korea and Russia while pumping out trivial stories about the number of condoms at the Olympic Village. What’s lost in most mainstream coverage is the true human and economic cost of these mega-events. The cartoonishly ruthless capitalists at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) shamelessly operate above the law, and their only goal is to extract a deep profit from athletes. The IOC’s practices are in direct opposition to democracy, yet sports pundits like Mike Tirico will have you believe the global competition is a magical event that can fix the world. Unfortunately, for adults out there who don’t believe in magic, the Olympics are rotten from every conceivable angle.” [editor’s note: I guess someone had to piss in the nationalistic chili eventually; well done! – SAT] (02/16/18)

The NRA myth

Source: Independent Country
by James Leroy Wilson

“This past week a shooting spree at Parkland, FL school reignited the gun control debate. Those who call for the prohibition of some or all guns have blamed the National Rifle Association’s campaign contributions to (mostly Republican) members of Congress for its failure to act. But the Gun Lobby isn’t like other lobbies. It’s a citizen’s group. It doesn’t represent corporate interests.” (02/17/18)