LRC Blog

“I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.”

General Wesley Clark in 2007.

“We’ve got a good military and we can take down governments.” And he said, “I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.

…This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.”

6:56 am on April 14, 2018

Expediency, Not Principle, in the Rogue U.S. Empire

The bottom line here is this. The U.S. doesn’t abide by fixed principles or laws relating to statehood, new or established states, their independence, or their sovereignty. It also doesn’t abide by fixed principles relating to rebellions and revolutions within a given territory. Since its inception, the U.S. acts on its interests, conceived or misconceived. When convenient, it upholds law; when inconvenient, it breaks law. The resulting behavior it exhibits is inconsistent with respect to principle, but it does consistently serve one main goal: the expedient preservation and expansion of its Empire. The U.S. is often a lawbreaker; but because it invariably poses as the upholder of law, it also is a hypocrite.

Before mentioning a few specific cases, consider how new, independent and sovereign states are formed. The key four elements are a People, a Declaration, a territory, and a system of government. All four are present in our 1776 Declaration. “One people” is mentioned at the outset and people, 9 more times. The territories involved were the Colonies, and all had established governments with stated procedures for voting. The American Declaration of Independence near its conclusion reads

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.”

The states within the Confederate States of America met these four conditions and announced them, among other reasons for secession. The South Carolina declaration is here. The North or the Union didn’t recognize the new southern states and launched an aggression to keep them from becoming independent sovereign states, even though its own history was based upon the Declaration of Independence. The maintenance of an Empire was the prime consideration.
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2:52 pm on April 13, 2018

Former Head of Secret Police . . .

. . . who has just written a book is described as kind of a “bitchy” little princess by Chris Wallace of FOX News.

1:33 pm on April 13, 2018

Contracts

From: G
Sent: Tuesday, April 03, 2018 5:21 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: contracts and consent
Hello, I have noticed that you write a lot about contracts, and what sort of contracts you think should be enforced, and which should not.
But one thing I do not see a clear answer to is, do you consider the presence of a written contract to be adequate proof of consent? Your writing seems to imply that you do, but, I do not see a definitive answer.

Dear G: I favor the enforcement of all contracts compatible with the non-aggression principle (NAP). Specific performance contracts, voluntary slavery contracts, contracts for used human body parts, host mother contracts, etc. I don’t favor the enforcement of contracts incompatible with the NAP, such as hit those calling for murder, rape, theft, kidnapping, etc. I think the presumption is that written, signed contracts are valid. However, this can be overcome. In the movie “The Godfather, one of the criminals told a movie producer “Either your signature or your brains will be on that contract.” He signed, but this was under duress, and thus invalid. Other than that sort of thing, a signed written contract is licit. But so are verbal contracts, given that there is a meeting of the minds of both parties. I hope and trust this is responsive.

10:27 pm on April 12, 2018

Cooler Heads Prevailing On Syria? Let’s Hope!

12:30 pm on April 12, 2018

War Correspondent, Lenka Klicperova, Enlightens Us on Syria and Chlorine

Our thanks to David Marshall for a link to an interview with Czech war correspondent, Lenka Klicperova, who has on-the-ground experience and knowledge of Syria. I’ve translated some of her remarks using Google Translate, which I have always found works quite well.

“The point is to first investigate who has committed the attack. If it was committed. Because so far all evidence has been brought only by one side of the conflict, the rescuers being linked to jihadists who control enclaves such as East Ghuda and Dúma or Idlíb. And this is not an impartial organization. There was no one in the city of Dúma who could independently verify what actually happened and what the situation looks like now.

“If the attack was done with chlorine, there is no problem at all for this chlorine to be used as a weapon of combat by any organization operating in the area. Chlorine is nothing complicated for storage and production. I myself have seen huge chemical stores in Syria or Iraq on many occasions, such as the Islamic State, and because of how these weapons are traded in the Middle East, I can see no problem at all that any other Islamist organization [would possess them].

“…the escalation of the conflict will have a huge impact on the part of the population who still lives in Syria normally. Although the word does not normally mean our normality – but in the context of Syria in the regime’s lands many people have so far led a relatively normal life.

“If the conflict escalates and the US enters into a war, they begin to bomb regime positions, so we can assume that there will be more deaths there, the number of displaced people who will have to leave their homes will grow. We will have to resolve another wave of migration that will try to leave Syria.”

10:17 am on April 12, 2018

World War III Is Not Imminent

Russia doesn’t have to respond in force to American bombs, and it doesn’t have to engage the U.S. forces directly. All it has to do is outlast the Americans. That’s all that Assad or a successor to him have to do.

The Taliban has shown in Afghanistan that Americans can be defeated, just as Ho Chi Minh showed in Vietnam. Before that, both China and North Korea showed that American forces can be neutralized.

America’s leaders are living on myths of American superiority. Trump’s shiny new and smart missiles are a graphic example of this kind of thinking, as is Obama’s “American exceptionalism” and Rumsfeld’s “shock and awe”. They’re all living in a dream world.

America is committing suicide by degrees. Russia need only exercise patience as we kill ourselves. What are thought to be nickel and dime wars and engagements turn out to be long lasting sponges that soak up enormous resources. Russia and China need only wait.

The U.S. government has outmoded second generation military forces that are incapable of conducting 4GW (fourth generation warfare). The U.S. leadership is poor. It doesn’t think ahead. It focuses on unimportant side issues. It acts emotionally. It’s motivated at times by moral considerations that are irrelevant, and then at other times it ignores moral issues that are of great importance. To top it off, the U.S. makes huge strategic blunders, as in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere. American taxpayers are stretched thin paying for expensive military hardware that cannot deal with foes who are prepared to fight the Americans for 100 years if they have to. Americans are losing the spirit, morale and trust to maintain a far-flung empire.

Russia doesn’t have to engage the U.S. to the point where World War III starts. If it understands America’s weaknesses, it can wait while we self-destruct.

9:58 am on April 12, 2018

Explaining Stock Market Prices by Laura Davidson

Letter 1:

From: N
Sent: Tuesday, April 03, 2018 2:13 AM
To: Walter Block ;
Subject: Stock Prices

Why do stock prices systemically go up? The S and P 500 has been going up slowly but steadily for many decades. What determines stock price is either dividend payments or reinvestment for the purpose of increasing future dividend payments – in other words, the profit margin. Now, you wouldn’t necessarily think that profit margins would go up over time, just as some businesses become more successful over time, other businesses fail. You might expect them to counterbalance each other. Stock market growth doesn’t logically necessarily have any connection to economic growth.

Now I looked at the statistics and profit margins have steadily been going up over time. This suggests to me that the economy has been steadily becoming less competitive over time. A few examples would be the expansion of newish natural digital monopolies or oligopolies like Google for search engines, Apple with iMessage, and Uber for rides. Before Uber I’m sure there must have been thousands of more taxi companies around the country (even with taxi licensing). I looked at the data and it is indeed true that the plurality of the economic growth in the economy is from these newish digital technologies. Now, there may be other reasons for the lack of competitiveness such as increased trade restrictions in the form of tariffs or occupational licensure. Do any of ya’ll know if either of those have been trending up or down over time? If I’m right about this it would suggest that if other people haven’t figured this out as well that if we start to see the amount of economic growth going to digital technology natural monopolies go down or we see trade restrictions being lifted we could theoretically predict a ceteris paribus decrease in economic growth. Thanks, N

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7:17 pm on April 11, 2018

Trump’s Madness In His March To War

6:29 pm on April 11, 2018

The Great Debate

For hundreds of years a great debate between “conservative” traditionalist communitarians versus “classical liberal” (or libertarian) pluralist individualists has raged on and on. I personally have closely followed it for going on fifty years. Perhaps the person who best captured the essence of the serious issues involved was the conservative sociologist Robert Nisbet (one of my favorite authors).

Conservative Michael Hendrix, at National Review, has contributed a very well written piece in this centuries old ongoing debate.

From the time of Edmund Burke the original “conservatives” were anti-individualist, anti-capitalist, reactionary, militaristic racists who valued throne and altar, rigid hierarchy, caste and fixed social status over the free and open society evolving under classical liberalism. “Conservatives” defended the monarchy and landed gentry, and scorned and demeaned the servile peasantry and emerging middle classes.

These horrific ideas were explicitly formulated and conceived against those of classical liberalism — individualism, freedom of the press, freedom of association, the rule of law, separation of church and state, free trade and free market (laissez-faire) capitalism as opposed to mercantilism and elitist state privilege — economic or ecclesiastical.

Later collectivists of all sorts, from Marx to Mussolini, from Hegel to Hitler, devised their totalitarian utopias and hatred of the free society and capitalism from ideas they borrowed or stole from these “conservatives.” (See my article, Ideas Have Consequences, below).

When this melange talk about defending “tradition and community” what are they talking about? Defending traditional French cuisine? Performing classical music such as grand opera? Defending traditional ethnic folk dancing, clogging, or square dancing? No, they are talking about defending the state, that hegemonic and parasitic entity which, from the time of ancient Sumer, has been the source of  the greatest criminal conspiracy ever perpetuated upon humanity. All States originate in conquest and exploitation, and as elite oligarchies, continue to exercise this monopoly of crime over their subject peoples through war, taxation, conscription, and indoctrination. All statists would be totalitarians if they could get away with it.

Here are some very cogent thoughts on these issues from the late Ralph Raico, one of the great historians of classical liberalism and from my mentor, Murray N. Rothbard. Their articles remain a great influence on how I see how this ongoing debate is framed.

Finally here are some of my own contributions to the debate: Ideas Have ConsequencesConservatism: Roots and EssenceLiberalism: Origins and Corruption“I’m Convinced That The Whole National Review Is A CIA Operation” — Murray Rothbard; How the CIA Bamboozled The Public For 70 Years; and The Libertarian Temperament.

5:22 pm on April 11, 2018

Why Is Washington United Behind a War in Syria?

The most important arguments being made by warmongers for the U.S. to make war in Syria are (a) appeasement, (b) morality, and (c) America as exceptional world leader.

The appeasement idea is that if the U.S. doesn’t exert force against some evil, it will grow worse and eventually become a very difficult problem to solve. This is a pragmatic argument.

The morality idea is that the U.S. is good, that it can identify evils, and that it has a moral obligation to fight them. This idea applies both domestically and internationally.

The American leadership idea singles out America as the leader of the world, asserts that it is exceptional, and concludes that it therefore has an obligation to lead. It is only right, this idea says, for the U.S. to act as policeman of the world and make war against the evils it identifies. Arguments (b) and (c) overlap in their idea that the U.S. has moral obligations to fight evils.

None of these rationales holds water, but I’ve argued that many times in the past, so let’s move on.

The real reason why Washington often finds war a convenient tool is not the same as these arguments or rationales. Appeasement, morality and policing the world do not explain actual U.S. behavior. The actual reason is the drive to become the world’s sovereign, that is, to become the empire that rules the world. This is an age-old ambition of empires that arises under the same Hobbesian conditions that give rise to states.

Hobbes proposed that without a central ruler everyone would fight one another, or that taking would dominate making. People would then rationally and willingly give up rights to a sovereign in order to obtain peace and a regime that allowed making, not taking, to predominate.

In the international context, states replace people. The states fight one another in Hobbesian pre-sovereign style. As recently as World War I and II, this was surely the case on an immense scale, and nothing has happened to change it. Do not be fooled by temporary peace here and there. There is therefore a powerful incentive for states to cede their “rights” to a central sovereign, which then is an empire that enforces the peace within its realm. Such an empire has the incentive to conquer or at least subdue peripheral states in one way or another.

The U.S. is the current world leader in this quest for world government. Many Americans benefit from the empire. That empire can be expected to press on Russia and China, and the pressures it applies will have nothing to do with the rationales of appeasement, morality and America as exceptional world leader. Poison gas won’t be its typical pretext, Skripal’s case being a convenient one, although the U.S. is actually trying to hang chlorine around Putin’s neck. The U.S. sanctions and pressures will find many other excuses like Ukraine, Crimea, authoritarianism, oligarchy, and theft of intellectual property.

Washington is united behind a war in Syria because Syria is the current pressure point of expansion of the empire, and it is deemed feasible to control it, at least by the proponents of empire who dominate Washington and wish to pressure Iran and Russia. Trump is not one of these, although it’s hard to be sure, for he has recently had the temerity to speak of withdrawing from Syria! This met with instant howls of protest, even before any chlorine gas incident, which shows that the rationales differ from the real reasons. At the moment, Trump looks like a figurehead who occasionally speaks his mind or gut, but quickly retreats when the real Washington powers put him in his place. Presidents come and go, but the Hobbesian incentives do not change, which means that the forces behind the empire keep at work no matter what.

4:08 pm on April 11, 2018

Truth in Douma

What happened in Douma? We do not know who perpetrated a chlorine gas attack. Who had the motive? Who had the means? Who had the opportunity? One of the possible suspects is the Syrian armed forces. Another is the anti-Assad forces in Douma, with or without the assistance of external state or non-state actors. It is also possible that uncontrolled or rogue elements in either of these organizations is responsible. Until there is clarification, we are in the position of a jury that awaits hearing evidence. We withhold judgment.

The truth in Douma may be challenging to figure out, but at least some sort of efforts are underway. Syria’s “…foreign ministry said it would help the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in a fact-finding mission…” A thorough investigation would require finding out the Syrian military movements, inspecting records and interviewing armed forces personnel. It would require tracing the movements of chlorine before its release.

The anti-Assad forces in Douma have agreed to a deal in which they are leaving Ghouta and going to a place near Aleppo. “As part of the surrender deal, the Jaish al-Islam group that controlled the town released scores of people it had been holding.”

Who were these hostages? According to Wikipedia “On 1 November 2015, an opposition media outlet, Shaam News Network, posted a video showing Jaysh al-Islam militants had locked people in cages and spread out 100 cages containing about 7 captives each through Eastern Ghouta, northeast of Damascus, to use them as human shields against Syrian government air raids. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the caged people being used as human shields were captured Alawite military officers and their families who had been kidnapped by Jaysh al-Islam two years ago outside Adra al-Ummaliyah, a government-held neighbourhood in Eastern Ghouta.” [Emphasis added].

If Jaish al-Islam was on the ropes in Douma and facing defeat in Syria, why would it not launch a false flag chemical attack, gambling, even counting, on a response from the West that would set Assad back or cripple his forces? If Assad was about to achieve the removal of anti-Assad forces from Ghouta, a project successfully underway for several weeks, why would he launch a chemical attack that would cause the West to inflict great damage on his forces?

Trump happens to have used the word “mindless” to describe the attack. In context of his other remarks, he meant this in personal terms in accusing Assad of an atrocity. He meant that it is mindless to kill innocent people including children, because they are not participants in the fighting. This is correct, but he said more than he realized he was saying, because while such an attack is senseless from Assad’s side, it is sensible from the side of Jaish al-Islam.

Detailed information about Jaish al-Islam appears in a Stanford University source. At one point, the leader of the group “… expressed a desire to cleanse Damascus of all Shiites and Alawis.” This provides another possible motive. In addition, this source states “The group also allegedly has access to chemical weapons.”

We do not know what happened in Douma. If our government has definitive information about this, it hasn’t released it. When politicians and other government officials immediately reach the conclusion that Assad did it, they are leaping to conclusions without the benefit of publicly available evidence.

Even if Assad’s forces launched a chlorine attack, it doesn’t force or require a response from U.S. military forces. Going into another war should not hinge on incidents. War means the multiplication of death, injury, displacement and destruction. It may not even achieve the tactical objective of stopping chemical attacks. It may even amplify them and other heinous crimes.

War should be entered into only to achieve strategic objectives that benefit our side. In this case, there are those in Washington who want to make war against Syria as a steppingstone to making war on Iran. Regime change in Iran is their strategic objective. It’s the wrong objective. Destruction of Iran’s government will create a new region that’s fertile ground for new insurgencies that take direct aim at mainland America. America’s debt bomb will explode along with the price of oil. The resulting depression will be severe because of the huge debt. Pakistan, adjacent to Iran, will be affected. The de-stabilization of Pakistan, an Islamic nuclear power, is certainly not in the strategic interest of the U.S.

We do not know the truth. There are other possibilities. It is possible that Assad used chlorine as an alternative to bombing the remaining rebel enclave relentlessly and killing even more people. It is possible he used it to break the rebels’ will. It is possible that what seems to be evidence of chlorine gassing has been staged. It is possible that Jaish al-Islam is dead set against using chemical weapons or last-minute ethnic cleansing. The truth is elusive.

But what is clear is that a Western attack led by the U.S. contravenes international law and escalates the U.S. presence in the war. This is true even if Trump manages to amass some international support from allies. Two British ex-ambassadors have spoken up against rash action. It’s also clear that such an attack will almost certainly elicit a direct Russian military response. “Moscow’s envoy to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, said that the Russian military reserves the right to shoot down missiles and destroy launch sites in the event of US aggression against Syria.”

7:57 am on April 11, 2018

“I Think Military Action in Syria is Justified”

So said a 25-ish-looking platinum blonde interviewed on FOX this evening.  Just in case our interviewee did not come off as credible, FOX then dragged out one of its television chickenhawk “retired” generals to advocate the bombing and destruction of all airplanes, helicopters, hot-air balloons, and anything else that can fly that is owned by the Syrian government.  Such things, you see, can “deliver chemical weapons.”   (They can also shoot at American invaders).

Our Little Miss Second-Runner-Up-in-the 2013-Miss-South-Dakota beauty contest from the first interview should be conscripted and sent to the home of the parents of the first American solider to die in Syria if the Bolton regime gets its new war to explain to them why their son or daughter had to die.  She should then be sent to Syria to participate in her “justified” military action (along with all the other FOX talking heads, male and female, who are beating war drums).

8:10 pm on April 10, 2018

Congress Yet Again Plants Its Flag Atop Mt. Hypocrisy

Is it me, or is there something obscenely ironic in Our Rulers’ condemnation of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook’s collecting and exploiting some users’ data, given the NSA’s collection and exploitation of all data?

I won’t even mention further exculpatory facts, such as Facebook’s wretched record on privacy, which should  scare away anyone who prizes confidentiality, or that joining its pages is entirely voluntary.

4:42 pm on April 10, 2018

Will Cohen Raid Lead Trump To Attack Syria?

1:07 pm on April 10, 2018

The Options of Syria-Iran-Russia-Hezbollah

Trump is quoted on Syria “We have a lot of options militarily, and we’ll be letting you know pretty soon. Probably after the fact.”

Trump’s “We” now includes John Bolton:

“Under President Bush, Bolton was among a number of chickenhawks feverishly pushing the lie that Saddam Hussein needed to be stopped right this minute, lest he use his non-existent nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction against us. Bolton was credibly accused of manipulating intelligence. And he told us the Iraqis would greet Americans as liberators, and would quickly exercise their newfound freedom and establish a functional democracy.”

Bolton was as far off base on Iraq as one can be. His position was criminal. He’s a warmonger. There is no reason to think that his foresight has improved or that he even has any skill in that department.

The Trump-Bolton duo continues the American uninvited military presence in Syria, and now promises to launch new aggression over a chemical, chlorine, that has not been explicitly outlawed by the Chemical Weapons Convention. It’s included in a general way as a toxic chemical if it’s weaponized.

While they consider their military “options”, the question is whether or not they are considering the options and thinking of those on the receiving end, the Syrian coalition: Syria, Iran, Russia and Hezbollah. Trump impetuously and emotionally launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at Syria a year ago, and he got away with it. American forces remain on the ground in Syria, without being hampered or attacked by the Syrian coalition. He is probably way too overconfident in his freedom of action because he views it on a personal basis as a just retaliation or punishment for a heinous crime. However, a military attack by the U.S. is the furthest thing from an act purporting to be an act of justice or enforcement of justice. The rules of international relations are again about to be openly breached by the U.S.

France is now in on this prospective aggression too. Great Britain is also planning to attack Syrian forces. “Britain’s Armed Forces are drawing up options for a joint strike with the US on Syrian forces.” Once again, the West is going full war criminal. They are using chlorine as a pretext for doing what they have wanted to do all along.

The Syrian coalition members have options to respond that they believe are within their “rights” as international state actors. They will choose the times, places and methods. The results may well be escalation against the American presence in Syria or elsewhere or against the interests of France. There is a limit to how much punishment the Syrian coalition will allow to go answered. They have many options covering a broad range. Bolton-Trump are almost surely going to provoke retaliation that will surprise them and cause them to consider further escalation of their own.

For Bolton-Trump to attack Syria again, this time perhaps aiming their missiles directly at the abodes of Assad, his generals, or their forces, is really to launch a new war in Syria. The other side has options too that the blind Bolton-Trump fail to see or understand, and they will be goaded to exercise them.

Regardless of what immediate response the West generates, the aggression of the western states is sure to divide the world further. It is sure to generate long-term splits, realignments, distrust, antagonism and hostility. This aggression is sure to be seen for what it is, a belated last-ditch attempt to prevent Assad from securing a battlefield victory, reuniting Syria and dislodging uninvited foreigners from that land. This aggression will be seen as immense weakness on the part of the West. It will be seen as a sign of the West’s moral bankruptcy and hypocrisy. It is impossible justly to enforce one’s idea of morality at the point of a gun or missiles. Bombing to create “good” out of what the West claims to be as “evil” on the other side is doomed to fail. The very act of force condemns the rationale. The use of violence as a means to enforce “good” becomes an end in itself, an evil end.

8:40 am on April 10, 2018

We Need Documentation!

We are told in a Wikipedia article that the dominant anti-Assad force in Douma has been Jaysh al-Islam: “Its primary base of operations has been the Damascus area, particularly the city of Douma and region of Eastern Ghouta. Jaysh al-Islam is the largest rebel faction in the area.”

The same article tells us that Jaysh al-Islam has used chlorine gas in the past: “On 7 April 2016, the Sheikh Maqsood neighborhood in Aleppo was shelled with mortars containing chemical agents. On 8 April, a spokesman for the rebel group admitted that ‘forbidden’ weapons had been used against Kurdish militia and civilians in Aleppo. He stated that ‘One of our commanders has unlawfully used a type of weapon that is not included in our list’. He did not specify what substances were used but, according to Red Crescent, the symptoms are consistent with the use of chlorine gas or other agents…”

These two facts together indicate a distinct possibility that anti-Assad forces are responsible for the alleged chlorine attack that the West alleges is Assad’s doing or even Russia’s responsibility.

On Nov. 21, 2016, the New York Times reported on an “assessment by the IHS Conflict Monitor, a London-based intelligence collection and analysis service.” It found that ISIS had used chemical weapons frequently: “The Islamic State has used chemical weapons, including chlorine and sulfur mustard agents, at least 52 times on the battlefield in Syria and Iraq since it swept to power in 2014, according to a new independent analysis.”

Other anti-Assad forces in Syria have used chemical weapons, according to the U.S. Department of State:

“Tactics of ISIS, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, and other violent extremist groups include the use of suicide bombers, kidnapping, small and heavy arms, improvised explosive devices, and chemical weapons.”

Upon the existing record, one can raise more than a reasonable doubt that Assad’s forces have bombarded Douma with chlorine gas.

In these circumstances, exactly as in the case of the Skripal’s poisoning, we cannot reasonably accept our government’s characterization of events in Douma at face value. We need proof. By the same token, if Russia has interviewed hospital doctors in the area who say that they’ve seen no chlorine victims, we need for Russia to provide us with the recorded interviews and documentation.

All of these matters require full and extensive documentation, not emotional outbursts followed up by accusations, expelling of diplomats, bombings, missile attacks and worse.

Syria’s Assad is not our enemy. Iran’s Ali Khamenei is not our enemy. Russia’s Putin is not our enemy. Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah is not our enemy. Our worst enemies are within this country, lodged within pro-Empire addicts who do not understand America’s true strengths and what has made this country great. We have to listen constantly to warmongers who think that our greatness comes from Tomahawk missiles, drones, continual warfare, and aircraft carriers. They will amplify and/or manufacture any pretexts they can in order to engage us in their wars.

Let us have truth first, and then let us decide openly, carefully, justly and wisely on the basis of that truth. There is no reason to rush into battles and wars. For truth, we need documentation.

8:02 pm on April 9, 2018

Retaliation?

How can the U.S. (that is, Trump) be considering an attack on Syria as a “retaliation” when Syria never did anything to us? This is like someone in Kansas striking his neighbor and someone in New York driving to Kansas to retaliate against the striker. In a word, it is madness.

3:00 pm on April 9, 2018

Donald Bush Obama Trump

The federal budget deficit is projected to top $1 trillion in 2020. Trump is a trillionaire just like Bush and Obama.

2:54 pm on April 9, 2018

Another False Flag – Will Trump Escalate In Syria?

12:25 pm on April 9, 2018

Gunboat Diplomacy and the Ghost of Captain Mahan

Gunboat Diplomacy and the Ghost of Captain Mahan:

 Or How China and the U.S. Are Spawning a New Great

Power Naval Rivalry, by Alfred W. McCoy.  McCoy is

amazing, his in-depth analysis and erudition never fails.

Please check out his authoritative landmark book, In the

Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline

of U.S. Global Power.

8:41 am on April 9, 2018

Do Gun-Control Laws Make Leftists Even Dumber and More Totalitarian than they Already Are?

The recent actions of the mayor of Londonistan (knife-control policies) would suggest so.

7:15 am on April 9, 2018

Well, It Finally Happened —

Peace, Please, Not War

Nuclear war is a bit of a paradox. It’s a real possibility, because many states now have nuclear weapons and act as if their use is possible. Yet nuclear war is also too undesirable to be considered a real possibility, and most of us ignore it, choosing not to live in constant fear. We have to stop ignoring it and settle on the fact of its being a real possibility. There have been many close calls.

Four countries have SLBMs, submarine launched ballistic missiles with nuclear tips: the U.S., Great Britain, Russia and China. They are stealthy, making them hard to locate. They are becoming more stealthy. We do not have to go into numbers and details to agree with the conclusion of experts: “What can be said for sure is that both the Russian and U.S. submarine groups may presently cause an irrecoverable damage to any opponent, thereby ensuring strategic deterrence.” China can now or within a handful of years be in the same category.

Each country is able to wipe out the other and destroy most of us anywhere on Earth in a nuclear war.

We have to worry about such things as human accidents, machine lapses and accidents, human and machine miscalculations, human misunderstandings, human error, human passions and human madness. We cannot rely on the abstract idea of rational deterrence.

The chances of nuclear war can’t be calculated, but the results are so bad that even very low chances can’t be ignored. If deterrence requires a willingness to destroy most human beings on Earth, it’s a bleak and dismal long-term strategy.

Nuclear war is unthinkable, but we have to think about it. Long-term security cannot be achieved under a nuclear deterrent because of the non-zero chances of war from any number of causes. What alternative is there except to make peace our firm and clear aim among all the nuclear states? How else can we create the conditions essential to taking all those steps that create peace and reduce the chances of nuclear war?

2:05 pm on April 8, 2018

The U.S. Government Lobbed More than 5,500 Artillery Shells on the CIVILIAN Population of Charleston . . .

. . . in a few days during the “Civil War.”  Will they do the same now that members of the South Carolina legislature have introduced a bill that would require them to begin discussing secession again?  Will the military/industrial/spying complex once again engage in an orgy of civilian murder, rape, and theft?  (Or will it keep that kind of behavior reserved for the Middle East?).

10:50 am on April 8, 2018

The Hayekian-Garrisonian Triangle

To: Professor Block

I am an economics student with an interest in Austrian economics and I have a few questions about the structure of production (Hayek triangle). In the model there are 5 broad categories for the stages of production 1. mining/resources 2. refining 3. manufacturing 4. distribution 5. retail. I was wondering when there is more saving/capital goods and thus a lengthening of the production structure and increase in number of stages does this all occur in the first category of mining/resources? Or can it occur in other categories (i.e refining and manufacturing) alone or together with mining/resources? If lengthening did occur just in refining and manufacturing would would this push back the mining/resource stages further back in time? If you could answer these questions it would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, D

Dear D: The Hayekian triangle has time, and stages on the vertical axis. Thanks to Roger Garrison, these variables have been transposed to the horizontal axis. I greatly approve of that. In my view, additional saving, more capital goods, affects all stages of production. Here is my article on the triangle. It is very critical of this triangle model, and also of Hayek and Garrison, but it answers your question in a myriad of ways:

Barnett, William II and Walter E. Block. 2006. “On Hayekian Triangles.” Procesos De Mercado: Revista Europea De Economia Politica; Vol. III, No. 2, Fall, pp. 39-141; http://mises.org/journals/scholar/block18.pdf; http://www.academia.edu/1359916/On_Hayekian_Triangles; http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1880543

To my great disappointment, no one has ever responded to what I regard as this breakthrough article of mine and my co authors’. The triangle is a basic element of Austrian economics, particularly of business cycle analysis and capital theory. We attack it root and branch in this article. Yet, the triangle is still widely used among Austrians. Go figure. I asked one economist, famous for his work on this model, to respond to this article. His response: “Triangles yesterday, triangles today, triangles tomorrow, triangles forever.” Very eloquent, very poetic, but, still, disappointing.

10:22 pm on April 7, 2018

The Successes of Public Edukayshun

Two years ago an opinion poll revealed that about 40% of millennials said they preferred socialism to capitalism.  A brand new poll says that one-third of millennials today believe that the earth is flat and not round.  These are the same children that the Lying Media Scum (LMS) are using as political pawns to lecture us about why we must abolish the Second Amendment to the Constitution (for starters).

UPDATE:  40% of millennials surveyed are unaware that some six million Jews died in the Holocaust.

12:37 pm on April 7, 2018

” . . . and you shall be as gods . . . “

3:11 pm on April 6, 2018

What John R. Bolton Is Really Saying: Uni-Polarity, Not Multi-Polarity

John R. Bolton becomes Trump’s new National Security Advisor as of April 9, 2018. He will urge and coax Trump and others to adopt his views and policies on North Korea and Iran. We can read those views in his recent writings.

Just 35 days ago, Bolton made “The Legal Case for Striking North Korea First“. He definitely wants the U.S. to attack North Korea if his other two preferred routes fail, which are either unification of the two Koreas or a coup in North Korea and new leadership that abandons nuclear ambitions. He wrote that “The threat is imminent…” He wrote that the threat from North Korea passes Daniel Webster’s “necessity” test: “…the necessity of self-defense was instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means, and no moment of deliberation.” He concluded that such a strike is legal: “It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current ‘necessity’ posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons by striking first.”

Rather than argue that the threat is not imminent and that a first strike is illegitimate; and rather than argue that Bolton ignores the consequences of such an attack, let’s assume that he is correct in his assessment of threat and ignore the first strike legitimacy issue. Then, what is Bolton really saying? What does this situation really mean?
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10:29 am on April 6, 2018

What a Horrible Day in History

On this day in 1917, the United States formally entered WWI. How many evils came from this decision God only knows. About 117,000 Americans died for no good reason.

9:07 am on April 6, 2018