Campaign for Liberty

Happy Birthday Frederick Douglas
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

February 14 marks the 200th birthday of Frederick Douglas. Douglas was born a slave and went on to become one of the most eloquent opponents of slavery and champions of human liberty in American history. Last year, I wrote about  why Douglas is [...]

This Week in Congress Update
Posted on Thursday February 22, 2018

The House will vote tonight on legislation containing a Continuing Resolution with the $625 billion Defense Appropriations bill. If the bill passes the House, it is expected to go to the Senate where the increase in Defense spending is expected [...]

Budget Bill Fallout
Posted on Thursday February 22, 2018

A provision hidden in the bill makes seed cotton eligible for crop subsidies, which guarantees that this farm bill will increase spending. The bill also removes caps on crop insurance for livestock producers. Senator Rand Paul’s blocking the [...]

What Libertarians Owe Ron Paul
Posted on Wednesday February 21, 2018

Sigh. At times the Liberty movement resembles the People’s Front of Judaea from Monty Python’s Life of Brian (warning adult language in link) more concerned with petty infighting then advancing the cause. One of the favorite pastimes of [...]

Representative Thomas Massie: Champion of Safe Schools
Posted on Tuesday February 20, 2018

Representative Thomas Massie is not only a champion of Auditing the Fed, a non-interventionist foreign policy, and food freedom. He is also the leading champion of safe schools. In 2017, Representative Massie introduced the Safe Schools Act [...]

More Gun Violence: Let’s Look Beyond Politics
Posted on Monday February 19, 2018

Another terrible school shooting took place in Parkland, Florida last week and unfortunately many politicians and pundits have used the tragedy – as they often do – to push their own agenda. Many will use the tragedy to argue that Americans [...]

Liberty at the Movies: Detroit
Posted on Friday February 16, 2018

Another great movie to watch in Black History Month is Detroit, which focuses on the Aliers Hotel incident that took place during the riots of 1967. The riots started after Detroit police raided an unlicensed, after hours club on the office of a [...]

Trump’s Budget: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Posted on Thursday February 15, 2018

The Good Reduces spending by $48.4 billion, including $25.8 billion from eliminating programs. Increases the ability of Medicare Part D plans to negotiate for lower drug prices. Adopts a two-year penny plan to reduce [...]

Trump’s Transportation Plan: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Posted on Wednesday February 14, 2018

The Good Reduces red tape to speed up the permitting process for state and local government and private sector transportation projects. Gives the Veterans Administration flexibility to use vacant properties for commercial and [...]

This Week in Congress
Posted on Tuesday February 13, 2018

The Senate will be considering immigration reform. Senate Majority Leader McConnell filed cloture on the Immigration bill last Friday immediately after passage of the budget. McConnell is using a House-passed bill (H.R. 2579) as a shell and [...]

Newsbusters

Facebook Ad Exec Points to Russia's 2016 Election Irrelevance, Then Apologizes
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

<p>A week ago, Facebook's VP of Ads responded to Robert Mueller's indictment of 13 Russians by posting a series of tweets at his personal account contending "very definitively that swaying the (2016) election was *NOT* the main goal." Instead, Rob Goldman wrote, the Russians' goal is to "divide America by using our institutions, like free speech and social media, against us." A short time later, outside and inside pressure forced Goldman to apologize for his "uncleared thoughts."</p>

MSNBC's Hayes Mistakes All 'Semi-Automatic Rifles' for 'Assault Rifles'
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

<p>On Thursday's <em>All In</em> show, MSNBC host Chris Hayes tried to correct Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio's assertion that most Americans would oppose a general ban on semi-automatic rifles, but the self-described liberal caricature instead demonstrated that he is uninformed about guns as he assumed that the term "assault rifle," that is used by gun control advocates, refers to all semi-automatic rifles as if the two terms were interchangeable.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p>

Even CNN's Cillizza Thought Senator Bill Nelson Too Political at Town Hall
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

<p>Just how inappropriately political does a Democrat have to be to incur the wrath of even reliably liberal Chris Cillizza of CNN? About as self-serving as Florida Senator Bill Nelson who used Wednesday's CNN Town Hall meeting about the tragic Parkland, Florida shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to attack his likely campaign opponent later this year.</p> <p> </p>

CNN’s Van Jones: Young People View the NRA the Same as the KKK
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

<p>The fallout from the Valentine’s Day shooting in which 17 people were killed at the Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, continued on February 22, when Van Jones, a political commentator for the CNN, claimed that young people now see the National Rifle Association as an enemy -- like the Ku Klux Klan.</p>

MSNBC’s Velshi Slams ‘Cowardly’ Trump Presser: ‘The President Cheated’
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

<p>In an unhinged rant at the top of his 3:00 p.m. ET hour show on Friday, MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi blasted President Trump for taking questions from “two very friendly outlets” during a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the previous hour. The host went on to call Trump “cowardly” and claim that the President “cheated” by not calling on supposed “legitimate news sources.”</p>

Daily Caller

Coral Springs Police Officer Who Ran Toward Gunfire Shares Story
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

This is amazing.

Seattle Resident Mistakes Norwegian Flag For Confederate Flag
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

Of course...

MAGA: Ivanka Rocks Team USA Gear At Winter Olympics [PHOTOS]
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

Winning

Tucker Can’t Believe It — CNN ‘Questioning The Integrity Of A Survivor Because It Suits Them’
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

Double standard?

‘They Failed’ — Tucker Slams FBI For Failure To Act On Tip About Cruz
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

'The FBI failed you'

John Locke Foundation

A Government That North Carolina Can Afford
Posted on Thursday February 15, 2018

Each February, the State Treasurer’s Debt Affordability Advisory Committee preempts the hopefulness of Groundhog Day with the publication of the annual Debt Affordability Study, the committee’s reminder that state government resources are limited. The committee details how much debt state government has, whether it was approved by taxpayers, how it will be paid, how much […]

Cafe Hayek

A Protectionist is Someone Who…
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

(Don Boudreaux) Tweet… if technology were a country – say, Technologia – would warn his fellow citizens that unless they erect barriers against the goods and services that routinely are exported from Technologia, they will eventually be impoverished by the bounty that would otherwise “unfairly” and surely “flood” into their country.

Do Trade Deficits Have to Eventually be Repaid?
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

(Don Boudreaux) TweetScott Sumner thinks that trade deficits have eventually to be repaid.  I think he’s mistaken – at least on any meaningful definition of the word “repaid.” In practice some portion of a trade – or, current-account – deficit must be repaid.  For example, the $1,000,000 that Mr. Nonamerican lends to Uncle Sam when Mr. Nonamerican […]

A Protectionist is Someone Who…
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

(Don Boudreaux) Tweet… believes that if a man refuses to perform an unpleasant, arduous, and pointless task – say, using a small hand-held shovel to move a mountain of manure from point A to point B and then back again to point A – unless he is paid a great deal of money to do so, then […]

Some Links
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

(Don Boudreaux) TweetThe debut episode of Mark Levin’s show “Life, Liberty, & Levin” – which will air this Sunday evening – features an interview with my great colleague Walter Williams. My Mercatus Center colleague Christine McDaniel describes ten things that you should know about tariffs.  A slice: Tariffs Slow Economic Growth – Average American tariffs fell from […]

No Good Economist Has Ever Said that Material Possessions Matter Exclusively or Even Mostly
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

(Don Boudreaux) TweetHere’s a letter to a new correspondent: Ms. Elaine Dorman Ms. Dorman: You’re correct that my arguments about the increasing wealth of ordinary people – and about the disappearing observable differences between the super-rich and the rest of us – are chiefly arguments about material possessions and not about “our emotional well being and satisfaction.”  […]

A Protectionist is Someone Who…
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

(Don Boudreaux) Tweet… believes that Castro’s Cuba would have been even poorer had the United States government not done the people of that island the great good favor of enforcing an embargo against it.

Freeman Essay #95: “A Deficit of Understanding”
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

(Don Boudreaux) TweetThe April 2004 Freeman contains one of my many attempts to bust the myth that a trade deficit – or a current-account deficit – necessarily is something to lament.  In reality, such a “deficit” (It’s a deficit only by accounting definition, not in economic reality) is typically, in a market economy, evidence of relatively sound […]

Quotation of the Day…
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

(Don Boudreaux) Tweet… is from page 151-152 of the 1992 Liberty Fund edition of John Taylor‘s 1822 tract, Tyranny Unmasked: Monopoly is a word sufficiently indefinite, to enable ingenuity to obscure its malignity, by extending it to property acquired by industry and free exchanges; and though private property begets civilization, society, and happiness, it is made, by […]

Newsmax


Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969


Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969


Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969


Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969


Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Advocates for Self-Government

Gun Control Frenzy: National Homicide Rates Don’t Tell The Whole Story
Posted on Thursday February 22, 2018

In an October, 2017 article for The Washington Post, statistician and former writer at FiveThirtyEight Leah Libresco wrote that once upon a time, she was pro-gun control. She used to ...

The post Gun Control Frenzy: National Homicide Rates Don’t Tell The Whole Story appeared first on The Advocates.

Utah Moves Closer To Legalizing Milk
Posted on Monday February 19, 2018

Every real libertarian knows the reason the Feds ban raw milk is because it has special probiotics and enzymes that promote individual liberty and self-reliance, and reduces the Feds power ...

The post Utah Moves Closer To Legalizing Milk appeared first on The Advocates.

Idaho Could Help Break The Fed’s Monopoly On Money
Posted on Wednesday February 14, 2018

Money is the root of all of our problems, if by money you mean Federal Reserve notes. But the antidote to the problems caused by the easy manipulation of currency ...

The post Idaho Could Help Break The Fed’s Monopoly On Money appeared first on The Advocates.

Libertarianism.org

Conflicts among Peace Advocates during the Civil War
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

In 1838, after Garrison began devoting a substantial portion of each Liberator to the non-resistance cause, he was admonished by some of his friends that this might hurt the antislavery campaign. On October 1, 1838, George Bourne wrote to Garrison:

I am aware that there is no necessary and inseparable connection between the anti-slavery cause and any other, and that every individual has the right to engage in as many more warfares as he pleases; but I candidly confess that I see you the standard-bearer of the Non-Resistance Society with regret. I should equally regret to witness you occupying a prominent position in any other cause which is not a portion of the emancipation warfare.

Bourne noted that he had read the Liberator for years without disagreeing with its articles because it focused solely on “the sacred cause.” But things changed after Garrison began devoting its pages to crusades other than emancipation.

It is but candid to say that, during the whole of this summer, I have scarcely met a number in which there is not something which repels. Either it is irrelevant, or so ill-adapted to carry out our principles and designs, that I would rather have seen a blank spot than many paragraphs which I have read….I seriously believe that every square of the Liberator which is devoted to subjects which have not the smallest reference to the anti-slavery controversy is mischievous to the cause, and injurious to your influence in the momentous conflict.

A similar criticism by Anne Warren Weston cut to the heart of the problem. Unlike Bourne, Weston shared Garrison’s philosophy of nonresistance, but she feared that its radical “no-government” implications would alienate many potential abolitionists. In the Declaration of Sentiments, drafted by Garrison and adopted by the Non-Resistance Society in September, 1838, we find a clear affirmation of Christian anarchism.

We cannot acknowledge allegiance to any human government; neither can we oppose any such government by a resort to force. We recognize but one KING and LAWGIVER, one JUDGE and RULER. We are bound by the laws of a kingdom which is not of this world; the subjects of which are forbidden to fight…which has no state lines, no national partitions, no geographical boundaries; in which there is no distinction of rank, or division of caste, or inequality of sex….

In her cautionary letter to Garrison, Anne Warren Weston recommended that Garrison dedicate the Liberator solely to the cause of abolitionism. By combining abolition with nonresistance in the same paper, Garrison opened himself to “allegations that we are contending for the abolition of government rather than that of slavery”—a cause that even many abolitionists would not endorse. Moreover, the Liberator could not do justice to the pacifist cause. “The non-resistance people feel as though it were a sort of sufferance, only, by which they have a place in the Liberator, and do not therefore feel perfectly at liberty to bring forward their views there. This, at least, would be the case with myself.”

Weston recommended that Garrison begin a separate journal devoted to the cause of nonresistance, though she recognized that Garrison’s heavy workload would probably make him unable to edit the journal himself. “Very many, I think, who do not wish to have the cause introduced into the Liberator, would be anxious to take a paper wholly devoted to it.” Garrison took Weston’s advice; the first issue of the semi-monthly Non-Resistant (edited by Edmund Quincy) was published the following year. Both the journal and the Non-Resistance Society itself were short lived; in 1844, Garrison wrote that the “Society, I regret to say, has had only a nominal existence during the past year….It is without an organ, without funds, without publications.”

Garrison and other nonresistants split from the American Peace Society because they regarded its principles as too lax. Members of the Peace Society ranged from those who opposed all wars to those who condemned only offensive wars. Although virtually all activists in the peace movement condemned the war with Mexico in 1846—the United States, they claimed, was clearly the aggressor in that conflict—they disagreed substantially among themselves on other issues. For example, George Beckwith, an influential member of the Peace Society, argued for a crucial distinction between wars between states and domestic insurrections. Only international wars, according to Beckwith, were authentic wars, so only those conflicts should be condemned by peace advocates. Domestic insurrections were another matter; a government could legitimately suppress those uprisings with violence, since this was an essential part of a government’s duty to maintain peace. Beckwith applied this reasoning to the Civil War in his 1861 article, “The Enforcement of Law a Peace Measure.” Beckwith published his article in the Advocate, a leading peace journal.

For years Beckwith had opposed the anarchistic tendencies of Garrison’s pacifism, which condemned a government’s use of coercion against its own citizens. In his article Beckwith responded that the cure and control of many evils requires governmental force, not nonviolence. Among such evils was secession, which in Beckwith’s opinion was obviously criminal.  Nevertheless, Beckwith believed that the seceding states should be permitted to leave the Union without molestation. But, like thousands of Americans, his opinion changed after the bombardment of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. Beckwith insisted that no peace advocate could possibly tolerate a violent attack against the United States government. The Union was entirely within its rights to retaliate with violence. Indeed, the Union government had a duty to preserve law and order.  Beckwith wrote:

It is not possible for a peace man to be a rebel. We may dislike the government over us, and seek to change it, but never in the way of violent resistance to its authority. We cannot for a moment countenance or tolerate rebellion.

In 1861, after violence had erupted, the Peace Society laid down some principles that peace advocates should follow during the Civil War. After declaring that “We are in the midst of a rebellion the most gigantic perhaps that the world ever saw,” the Society insisted that peace advocates should support the North unreservedly. As historian Valerie H. Ziegler noted (The Advocates of Peace in Antebellum America, 1992, p. 156):

Convinced…that the South was involved in “the gigantic crime of attempting to overthrow the freest and best government on earth,” the society would spend the rest of the war vilifying the South and praising the virtues of the North. It was hard for the advocates of peace to be objective about the Union—when they were convinced that the North fought on behalf of the Lord. That very attitude, of course, also encouraged them to interpret Southern actions in the worst possible light.

The Peace Society also upheld the distinction between war between nations and domestic disputes. The Civil War was a criminal uprising, which the government had a duty to suppress. It was a police action, not a real war, so peace principles did not apply. Although this distinction was ridiculed by peace advocates in England, many American peace advocates continued to use it to justify their enthusiastic support of the Union.

The argument of Beckwith and his colleagues in the Peace Society, to the effect that the Civil War was a domestic police action, obviously depended on the belief that secession by the southern states was illegitimate. This was also the position taken by Abraham Lincoln, who declared that the Confederacy was not a separate nation in fact but merely consisted of renegade states that, legally considered, were still part of the Union. To maintain otherwise, to concede that the Confederacy qualified as an independent nation, would have undercut Beckwith’s contention that the Civil War was merely a legitimate police action by the U.S. government.

The right of secession was widely debated in the Civil War era. I shall discuss that controversy in a later essay, but for now I wish to recall Garrison’s position on secession. In calling for disunion in the years before the Civil War, Garrison appeared to defend the right of states to secede, but he later qualified his position. He stated that secession could be justified only for a just cause, and that the South, in seeking to preserve slavery, obviously could not plead justice in its own defense. A few abolitionists disagreed, however, and their position on secession is worth mentioning.

In A Northern Plea for the Right of Secession (1861), the veteran abolitionist George W. Bassett argued that the right to secede from an existing government is a logical corollary of the right of self-government. This right does not depend on the motives of those who choose to secede. As Bassett put it:

The specific question is, “Has any one of the United States a right to secede from the Union at her own option?”

This should not be confounded with other collateral or incidental questions, such as, whether there is sufficient cause for secession? or whether it is expedient for the seceding States? Or best for the other States?

Bassett went on the defend secession as an “absolute and unqualified right of the people of any State to dissolve their political connection with the General Government whenever they choose.” His major argument was as follows:

The right of secession implies, of course, the right of the people to be their own exclusive judges in this matter. By the very act of asking the consent or permission of the other States to secede, they relinquish the right to do so. So by granting them that permission, you would deny them the right.

Many abolitionists appealed to a “higher law” to determine when a particular act of secession was justified, but some defenders of slavery appealed to the same source. Bassett understood that the only way to resolve such disagreements is to respect the right of self-government and allow the people in each state to decide whether or not to secede, however questionable or tainted their reasons might be.

Cato Op Eds

Pakistan Is Back on Anti-Terrorism Financial Watchlist
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

Sahar Khan

After days of speculation, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which tracks countries suspected of engaging in terrorist financing and money laundering, added Pakistan to its terrorist financing watch list.

Why it matters: Adding Pakistan to the list is a more effective way of urging the state to change its policy of sponsoring terrorist groups than cutting off aid immediately. And Pakistan has until June to improve on its anti-money laundering activities.

After three years on the international watchdog’s list, Pakistan was taken off in 2015 for improving its standards, especially around financial transactions. Yet, Lashkar-e-Taiba and its affiliates remain at large in Pakistan, violating conditions laid out by the Obama administration for removing Pakistan from the list.

The Trump administration has now taken a hardline approach and lobbied for Pakistan’s reinclusion, with the support of the UK and Germany. The decision was made after China and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) withdrew their opposition. Turkey, however, remains opposed.

But, but, but: This still doesn’t address the bigger issue plaguing the region, which is the continued funding of terrorism by Saudi Arabia.

Sahar Khan is a visiting research fellow in the Cato Institute’s Defense and Foreign Policy Department.

NRO

Off the Shelf: In the Language of the Oppressor, from Ireland to Ukraine
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

About a year ago, Charles Cooke changed our occasional friendly lunches into recruiting sessions. He asked if I wanted to come write for National Review...

Gucci Shredded by Critics for Dressing White Models in Turbans
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

The stigma against cultural appropriation is alive and well, including in the world of fashion. Critics took to social media this week to criticize fashion...

What Can We Learn from the Fed’s Most Recent Meeting?
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

The Federal Reserve should consider an expansionary monetary policy. So say Ramesh Ponnuru and David Beckworth, who, in the current issue of National Review, argue...

Canadian Hospice Says No to Euthanasia
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

no hospice should participate in the killings or suicides of its patients.

Courage: The Greatest of Virtues
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

There's a lot of room on the right for different policy principles — as long as we operate in good faith and tell the truth, always.

Paid Family Leave and the Right
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

a recent proposal from Kristin Shapiro, a fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum, struck me as superior to previous proposals and worth considering.

Net Right Daily


Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Thomas Sowell

'Tax Cuts for the Rich'? for 05/01/2017
Posted on Monday May 01, 2017

One of the painful realities of our times is how long a political lie can survive, even after having been disproved years ago, or even generations ago.

A classic example is the phrase "tax cuts for the rich," which is loudly proclaimed by opponents, whenever there is a proposal to reduce tax rates. The current proposal to reduce federal tax rates has revived this phrase, which was disproved by facts, as far back as the 1920s — and by now should be called "tax lies for the gullible."

Updated: Mon May 01, 2017

The Real Lessons of Middlebury College for 03/13/2017
Posted on Monday March 13, 2017

Many people seem shocked at the recent savagery of a mob of students at Middlebury College, who rioted to prevent Charles Murray from addressing a student group who had invited him to speak. They also inflicted injuries requiring hospitalization on a woman from the faculty who was with him.

Where have all these shocked people been all these years? What happened at Middlebury College has been happening for decades, all across the country, from Berkeley to Harvard. Moreover, even critics of the Middlebury College rioters betray some of the same irresponsible mindset as that of the young rioters.

The moral dry rot in academia — and beyond — goes far deeper than student storm troopers at one college.

Updated: Mon Mar 13, 2017

Education at a Crossroads for 02/04/2017
Posted on Saturday February 04, 2017

In just a matter of days — perhaps next Monday — a decision will be made in Washington affecting the futures of millions of children in low-income communities, and in the very troubled area of race relations in America.

An opportunity has arisen — belatedly — that may not come again in this generation. That is an opportunity to greatly expand the kinds of schools that have successfully educated, to a high level, inner-city youngsters whom the great bulk of public schools fail to educate to even minimally adequate levels.

What may seem on the surface to be merely a matter of whether the U.S. Senate confirms or rejects the nomination of Betsy DeVos to be head of the U.S. Department of Education involves far bigger stakes.

Updated: Sat Feb 04, 2017

Education at a Crossroads: Part II for 02/04/2017
Posted on Saturday February 04, 2017

One of the painful realities of our time is that most public schools in most low-income, inner-city neighborhoods produce educational outcomes that are far below the outcomes in other neighborhoods, and especially in more affluent neighborhoods.

Attempts to assign blame are too numerous to name, much less explore. But as someone who has, for more than 40 years, been researching those particular minority schools that have been successful, I am struck both by their success and by how varied are the ways that success has been achieved.

In doing research for a 1976 article, "Patterns of Black Excellence," I discovered that the educational methods used to educate low-income, minority children in successful schools ranged from very traditional and strict methods in some parochial schools to very different approaches in other schools.

Updated: Sat Feb 04, 2017

American Thinker

I Thought America Hated Donald Trump
Posted on Thursday February 22, 2018

Ignoring reality, which is the modus operandi of big media, may again blow up in their faces.

The Contemptible American Left
Posted on Thursday February 22, 2018

The left and the Democratic Party of today are the most dangerous, unprincipled, and deceitful cabal in this nation's history.  They are capable of permanently tearing this nation asunder.

Parkland Blood on Biden's Hands
Posted on Thursday February 22, 2018

It is Joe Biden who is in a major way responsible for making our schools free-fire zones for armed predators. 

Getting Home Again
Posted on Thursday February 22, 2018

"Making American Great Again" is just another way of saying "Getting Home Again."  We can do it if we live right.

If Immigration Creates Wealth, Why Is California America's Poverty Capital?
Posted on Thursday February 22, 2018

The Golden State is peddling fool's gold lately.

The Yelling of the Lambs
Posted on Thursday February 22, 2018

Newly minted child-activists are not fit to lead the nation in a policy discussion on firearms.

Ending Gerrymandering Is a Good Thing
Posted on Thursday February 22, 2018

Republicans shouldn't do it.  Democrats shouldn't do it.  And ending the practice will benefit Republicans, anyway.

Black Panther, White Suckers
Posted on Wednesday February 21, 2018

Here's the thing about the new Black Panther movie.

What Constitutes Treason?
Posted on Wednesday February 21, 2018

As this collusion story plays out, "treason" is a word that needs to be brought back into discussion.

The Florida School Shooting: Typical Leftist Exploitation
Posted on Wednesday February 21, 2018

Leftists always try to make us throw our brains out the window and submit to their emotion-driven idiocy, always shrouded in bogus compassion. 

Michelle Malkin

Do not let the children lead
Posted on Wednesday February 21, 2018

Do not let the children lead by Michelle Malkin Creators Syndicate Copyright 2018 Where are all the grown-ups in times of crisis and grief? Don’t bother searching America’s prestigious law schools. Two adult men, occupying lofty perches as law professors, argued this week that the voting age in the U.S. should be lowered to 16 […]

The war on JROTC resurrected…by unhinged liberal media
Posted on Monday February 19, 2018

I’ve chronicled the radical Left’s war on JROTC and campus recruiters for years. Now, the war has been taken up by “mainstream” media journalists recklessly inciting hatred of one of the nation’s most effective youth leadership programs. Shame, shame, shame: Have the editors of the @NYDailyNews, @AP, & @NYTimes lost their minds and souls? Not […]

Science, secrecy, and lies in Oklahoma
Posted on Tuesday February 13, 2018

Science, secrecy, and lies in Oklahoma by Michelle Malkin Creators Syndicate Copyright 2018 As the Oklahoma attorney general’s office fights to keep hidden from public view the results of secret hearings on the DNA science flaws and falsehoods in former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw’s case, two prominent experts have stepped forward to shed […]

Holtzclaw update: Parole hearing, secret hearings, and conflicts galore
Posted on Wednesday February 07, 2018

On Jan. 22-24, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board held hearings related to one of 36 counts against wrongfully convicted former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw. Four members of the board–Robbie Fullerton, Kris Steele (more on him in a moment), Allen McCall, and Tom Gillert–voted to deny Daniel parole on the charge. Board member […]

Memo to Dan Rather: Shut up about memos
Posted on Wednesday February 07, 2018

Memo to Dan Rather: Shut up about memos by Michelle Malkin Creators Syndicate Copyright 2018 Old liberal media liars never fade away. They just rage, rage against the dying of their dinosaur industry’s light. I’m looking at you, Dan Rather. After years of trashing alternative media, which exposed the veteran CBS News reporter’s monumental Memogate […]

Colts player Edwin Jackson killed by suspected drunk unlicensed driver with ICE retainer
Posted on Monday February 05, 2018

Update: 11am Eastern. Indiana police report the suspect was here illegally from Guatemala and had been previously deported twice: NEWS: @IndStatePolice says the suspected drunk driver who killed Edwin Jackson & Jeffrey Monroe was here illegally. Manuel Orrego-Savala, of Guatemala, has previously been deported on two occasions, in 2007 and again in 2009. pic.twitter.com/vZI8Q4ZKHW — […]

“Dreamers” vs. demons
Posted on Wednesday January 31, 2018

“Dreamers” vs. demons by Michelle Malkin Creators Syndicate Copyright 2018 Xinran Ji, 24, had big dreams. But demons demolished them. The bright hopes of young Xinran Ji, a University of Southern California engineering student from Inner Mongolia, died in 2014 at the hands of a then-19-year-old “Dreamer” and his thug pals. Mexican illegal alien Jonathan […]

SOTU Live on CRTV
Posted on Tuesday January 30, 2018

You can catch me here tonight: TONIGHT!TONIGHT!TONIGHT!#CRTVSOTULIVE*LIVE*LIVE Hosted by:@MichelleMalkin @WilkowMajority Feat.@DBongino@DeneenBorelli@SteveDeaceShow@BrittMcHenry@Gavin_McInnes@ConservMillen Here's a sneak peak ===>https://t.co/n26Pgo8O7A Promo code SOTU saves you $20!! pic.twitter.com/V2KsOgTAIr — CRTV (@CRTV) January 30, 2018

Homeschooling is NOT a crime
Posted on Wednesday January 24, 2018

Homeschooling is NOT a crime by Michelle Malkin Creators Syndicate Copyright 2018 It’s elementary. Education control freaks will use any excuse to crack down on competition. With two million K-12 students now educated at home (including our 9th grade son), the temptation to exploit the most marginal cases of alleged child abuse by home-schoolers has […]

Littlest open-borders lobbyists vow to tear America’s walls down
Posted on Tuesday January 23, 2018

At the Denver women’s march this weekend, a little girl became the new hero of open-borders extremists. She posed defiantly with a homemade message on pink posterboard, no doubt dictated by a left-wing parent or teacher, which read: BUILD A WALL AND MY GENERATION WILL TEAR IT DOWN. Liberal actress Jamie Lee Curtis retweeted the […]

Twitchy

Conservatives tell @BrowardSheriff EXACTLY what they think with EPIC new hashtag
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

With all we’ve been telling you about the failures at the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the brand new #ResignSheriffIsrael had to be expected, right? As of this post, it’s the No. 1 trending topic nationally: #ResignSheriffIsrael is the number one trending topic on Twitter. https://t.co/8wZ8iPgLs2 — Matt Finn (@MattFinnFNC) February 24, 2018 And here are some […]

The post Conservatives tell @BrowardSheriff EXACTLY what they think with EPIC new hashtag appeared first on twitchy.com.

The South Korean media has given Ivanka Trump a nickname, and it sounds kind of dirty
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

According to the Washington Post’s Tokyo bureau chief, Anna Fifield, the South Korean media has nicknamed Ivanka Trump as “Bang-ka.” 😳 According to Fifield: Ivanka’s nickname in South Korea = “방카” or “Bang-ka.” In full, her name is “I-bang-ka” but because “I” is a Korean surname, they just call her “Bang-ka.” Ivanka’s nickname in South Korea […]

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‘ICE officers are armed, right?’: Dreamers make their presence at #CPAC2018 known in an unusual way
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

Apparently there is a projection being cast onto the Gaylord National Resort, where the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is taking place this weekend. Right now at #CPAC, a projection is being cast on the Gaylord hotel (event venue) that reads “Dreamers Deserve Protection.” Coming from a room across the street. pic.twitter.com/5rPWbIAPIk — Bradley Devlin […]

The post ‘ICE officers are armed, right?’: Dreamers make their presence at #CPAC2018 known in an unusual way appeared first on twitchy.com.

NARRATIVE BUSTED: A free CCW training session for teachers was so popular in Ohio that people were turned away
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

As the media endlessly debates the merits of arming teachers to fight back against maniacs, one county sheriff in Ohio took matters into his own hands and started CCW training for his teachers on Monday: Our teachers start training Monday in firearms ccw. While our gov still debates what 2 do we will have trained […]

The post NARRATIVE BUSTED: A free CCW training session for teachers was so popular in Ohio that people were turned away appeared first on twitchy.com.

Cato Weekly Video

Cato Institute Scholars Respond to Trump’s State of the Union Address
Posted on Wednesday January 31, 2018

Cato Institute‎ scholars respond to President Trump’s State of the Union Address on Twitter.

Human Freedom Index 2017
Posted on Thursday January 25, 2018

Watch the new Human Freedom Index video here to see which countries rank in the top and bottom, using data indicators that include personal, civil, and economic freedom.

Opioid Myths
Posted on Thursday November 09, 2017

Dr. Jeffrey A. Singer discusses the four myths of the ongoing opioid crisis. To learn more, please visit: https://www.cato.org/people/jeffrey-singer.

The Federalist

Full Transcript: Tipster Warns FBI Parkland Shooter ‘Is Going To Explode’
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

'I just know I have a clear conscience if he takes off and, and just starts shooting places up'

CNN’s Defense For Labeling A Shooting Survivor A Liar Over ‘Scripted’ Town Hall Is Pathetic
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

CNN is part of an army of media outlets eagerly exploiting the trauma of these kids for ratings and to push their political end of more gun control.

Podcast: Guns, Russia, Justin Trudeau, And Jersey Shore
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

Erielle Davidson is a Federalist contributor and an economic research assistant at the Hoover Institution. Davidson joins Mary Katharine Ham on the Federalist Radio Hour to Read More Read More

Could The Police Legally Do No Wrong In The Parkland Shooting?
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

The public duty doctrine is key to whether survivors outraged by the officer who stood outside the school while the shooting continued might be able to sue him, or the Sheriff's office.

Liberals Have A New Plan To Take Over The Health Care System. What You Need To Know.
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

The Center for American Progress plan would put Medicaid under total federal control, reinstate the individual mandate, and make middle-class families pay more for health insurance.

Parkland Officer’s Hesitation To Stop Shooting Fits A Pattern Of Police Cowardice
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

It’s a lot easier to police good people than bad ones. That’s why police wait around while shootings occur and want to take law-abiding citizens’ guns instead of to go after criminals.

An Armed Guard’s Inaction Makes The Parkland Tragedy Worse
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

The failure of an armed guard to even enter the school highlights the myriad law enforcement failures in Parkland.

The Gun Control Debate Isn’t Really About Guns. It’s About Human Rights
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

This isn’t just about my gun. It’s about every single individual’s fundamental right to liberty.

Why The Left Finds Wisdom In The Shrieks Of Parkland’s Traumatized Teens
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

Leftism’s cult of youth is coming out in glorious display by showcasing Stoneman Douglas High School students and their pending movement for severe gun control measures.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Pulls Off A Stunning Coup With Map Drawing Stunt
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

The court’s decision, which incredibly did not cite case law or a constitutional provision, was a show of legislative force.

Billy Graham Now Rides In A Chariot of Fire
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

This was a man who could fill a sports arena to get people to hear about the good news of Jesus Christ, a subject most of us would feel timidity about bringing up at the water cooler.

Let’s Get Real: There Are No ‘Moderates’ In Iran’s Government
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

That U.S. intelligence agencies’ latest threat assessment views Iran’s leadership according to the moderate-hardliner split. That defies logic.

Attempting Another Hit Job On Clarence Thomas Only Hurts #MeToo’s Credibility
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

The sexual harassment allegations against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas have been repeatedly undermined by their own creators. Reviving them is embarrassing.

JROTC Cadet Who Survived Shooting: CNN Producer Refused To Let Me Ask About Arming Teachers
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

A student survivor of the shooting says CNN told him he needed to stick to the script they wrote for him.

John B. Taylor

A Better Way to End Big Bank Bailouts
Posted on Thursday February 22, 2018

David Skeel and I wrote the following on an important report on bankruptcy reform just released by the U.S. Treasury: Yesterday the U.S. Treasury released its official response to President Trump’s memorandum of last April asking for a review of … Continue reading

Application Deadline Approaching for Free Public Policy Program
Posted on Thursday January 18, 2018

After a very successful launch last summer, Stanford’s Hoover Institution is again offering a one-week public policy boot camp this coming August 19-25. This “residential immersion program” is aimed at college students and recent graduates. It consists of lectures, workshops, informal … Continue reading

Unique Cooperative Research Effort
Posted on Wednesday January 17, 2018

This week marks the 20-year anniversary of a “notable conference” on monetary policy as Ed Nelson, who reminded me, puts it.  The conference took place at the Cheeca Lodge in the Florida Keys on January 15-17, 1998, and it resulted … Continue reading

The Fed’s Inflation Target and Policy Rules
Posted on Tuesday January 09, 2018

The Brookings Institution held an interesting conference yesterday organized by David Wessel on “Should the Fed Stick with the 2 Percent Inflation Target or Rethink It?” Olivier Blanchard and Larry Summers argued, as they have elsewhere, that the Fed should … Continue reading

Happy New Decade!
Posted on Sunday December 31, 2017

The Great Recession began exactly one decade ago this month, as later determined by the NBER business cycle dating committee chaired by my colleague, Bob Hall. There is still a great debate about the causes of the Great Recession, its … Continue reading

What’s Past is Prologue. Study the Past
Posted on Monday December 18, 2017

  Each year the Wall Street Journal asks friends for their favorite books of the year. Two years ago I chose Thomas Sowell’s history of income distribution in Wealth, Poverty, and Politics and Brian Kilmeade’s history on Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli … Continue reading

A Policy Rule Presented at a Conference 25 Years Ago Today
Posted on Tuesday November 21, 2017

Ed Nelson sent me a nice note today saying that the past two days (November 20-21) mark “the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Carnegie-Rochester Conference at which you laid out your rule.” I had forgotten about the specific dates, but his … Continue reading

New Results on International Monetary Policy Presented at the Swiss National Bank
Posted on Friday September 22, 2017

This week I gave the Swiss National Bank’s  Annual Karl Brunner Lecture in Zurich, and I thank Thomas Jordan who introduced me and the hundreds of central bankers, bankers, and academics who filled the big auditorium. Karl was a brilliant, … Continue reading

Outside The Beltway

A Photo for Friday: “Evening at the Golden Gate”

“Evening at the Golden Gate” September 3, 2015 San Francisco, CA

Trump Announces New Sanctions Against North Korea, But They’re Unlikely To Accomplish Much

President Trump has announced a new round of sanctions against North Korea, but they are unlikely to work given the unrealistic nature of the Administration's current policy toward North Korea.

Robert Mueller Tightens The Screws On Paul Manafort With New Charges And A Rick Gates Guilty Plea

The Mueller investigation moves forward.

How The Reaction Of One Sheriff’s Deputy Rebuts The Arguments For Arming School Teachers

If a law enforcement officer with 30 years of experience can't stop an active school shooter, what makes anyone think a teacher with a gun can?

The Difference Between AR-15 and Normal Gunshot Wounds

An emergency room physician explains why "assault rifle" wounds are much harder to treat than shots from a pistol.

Has Google Gone Gaga?

I've noticed in the last day or two that, suddenly, all of Google's search services have gotten ridiculously worse.

Are Laws Banning ‘Assault Weapons’ Unconstitutional? According To Four Federal Courts Of Appeal, They Aren’t.

Since the Supreme Court handed down its decision in District of Columbia v. Heller four separate Federal appellate courts have ruled that state and local laws banning "assault weapons" do not violate the Second Amendment.

Trump Administration Claims It Needs No Legal Authorization To Keep Troops In Syria

Continuing a long-standard tradition, the Trump Administration claims it doesn't need to get legal authorization to keep American troops in Syria.

National Security Adviser H.L. McMaster On His Way Out?

National Security Adviser H.L. McMaster is the latest person rumored to be considering moving on from the Trump Administration.

Trump Floats Idea Of Arming School Teachers

President Trump is pressing the idea of arming teachers to stop shootings in schools.

Security Force Assistance Brigade Deploys Amid Beret Controversy

The U.S. Army is once again embroiled in an internecine fight over hats.

Parkland Shooting Survivors Speak Out On Gun Control, And Some On The Right See A Conspiracy

The students who survived last week's mass shooting in Parkland, Florida are speaking out, and some on the right are responding by engaging in personal attacks and spreading conspiracy theories.

Republicans Risk Getting The Blame If DACA Fix Fails

A new poll suggests that Republicans would get the blame if Congress fails to pass a bill to protect DACA beneficiaries.

Foundation for Economic Education


Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Downsizing Government

Support Parental Leave by Saving Not Spending
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

  • Chris Edwards

Some conservative writers are proposing to raid Social Security for the costs of a new parental leave program. Proponents are selling it as a sort-of free lunch. The planwould be “self financing” says the IWF’s Kristin Shapiro because “new parents would agree to defer their collection of Social Security benefits upon retirement for the period of time necessary to offset the cost of their parental benefits.”

But Social Security is not a savings program with a pool of assets to draw on. If the government starts mailing checks to millions of new parents, the only “financing” would be more federal borrowing. What Shapiro calls $7 billion a year in “parental benefits” would be $7 billion more in government spending. What Shapiro calls “self financing” would be more government debt.

In theory, the government would delay retirement handouts for participating individuals three decades down to the road. But, if enacted, lobby groups and politicians would get to work undoing those future savings. And if this sort of accounting trick is used for spending on parental leave, then the flood gates would be opened for Social Security spending on home purchases, job training, and other trendy causes.

What ever happened to personal saving? Humans can look ahead and plan, and they have been doing so since the beginning of time. Personal saving is the most powerful financing tool. But the more the government hands out benefits—for retirement, health care, unemployment, parental leave, and many other things—the more it undermines the innate and responsible saving incentive. The more the nanny state spends, the more it sabotages a culture of savings and the practical ability to save as taxes rise.

Young people thinking about having children should start setting aside some of their paychecks. Young people should be taught that kids are expensive, and they should plan accordingly. Alas, personal responsibility and saving are not the starting points for most policy discussions these days.

Put aside parental leave, and think about farm programs. The government spends $20 billion a year to cushion farmers from fluctuations in prices and crop yields. It apparently never occurs to policymakers that farmers should be using their own savings to level out their consumption over time. When corn prices are high, they should be saving the extra profits. When corn prices are low, they can withdraw. Wouldn’t that be easier than writing thousands of pages of farm legislation and extracting $20 billion a year from taxpayers?

At the bottom of Shapiro’s piece, it says the IWF believes that women are “better served by greater economic freedom” than “big government.” Thus, for parental leave, the focus should be on personal responsibility and savings rather than big government spending.

Part of the solution is to cut taxes on saving and make saving simpler, as Ryan Bourne and I discuss in our study on Universal Savings Accounts (USAs). The tax code includes numerous savings vehicles for retirement, but all savings are beneficial. USAs would facilitate personal savings to cover health care, education, parental leave, and many other costs. If Americans had larger pools of savings, they would be more self-sufficient and less dependent on government.

When thinking about policy reforms, the first goal should be to increase the self-sufficiency of Americans and reduce today’s overreliance on government. USAs would not solve every problem, but they would allow Americans to better prepare for their own financial challenges.

Vanessa Brown Calder critiques the paid leave proposals here and here.

Econ Talk

Jordan Peterson on 12 Rules for Life
Posted on Monday February 19, 2018

Jordan Peterson, author of 12 Rules for Life, talks about the book with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Topics covered include parenting, conversation, the role of literature in everyday life, and the relationship between sacrificial rites and trade.

Cato Headlines

Has the Fed Been a Failure?
Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

As the one hundredth birthday of the Federal Reserve System approaches, it seems appropriate to once again take stock of our monetary system. In the latest issue of Cato Policy Report, economists George Selgin, William D. Lastrapes, and Lawrence H. White survey the relevant research and conclude that the Federal Reserve System has not lived up to its original promise. Also in this issue, new president John A. Allison shares his thoughts on joining the Cato Institute.

Liberty Unbound

Run for the (Sea)Wall
Posted on Sunday February 18, 2018

A ride into history.

Every Memorial Day for the past 30 years a now-grizzled convoy of Viet Nam vets astride choppers swarms the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. Groups of two, ten, twenty and more, hailing from every corner of the continent, converge at minor and major crossroads into a host of hundreds of thousands. This grassroots commemoration is known as the Run for the Wall. It was started in 1989 by two vets on Harleys. By last count the run numbers 350,000.

At the nation’s capital, Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force; enlistees and draftees; non-coms and warriors; enlisted men and officers, relatives and sympathizers; WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Granada, Afghanistan, Iraq, and, yes, Bay of Pigs vets (everyone is welcome) — all long in the tooth, mostly hirsute, amply girthed and outfitted in Harley Davidson garb — cry like spurned orphans as their fingers graze the black granite of remembrance searching for the names of long lost comrades. The tears are contagious. Onlookers mist up or avert their gaze in respect and abide the circumstance.

The men harbored much resentment and bad blood: against Castro for their inhumane treatment; against Kennedy for condemning the operation to defeat.

This past Christmas Eve, an entirely different group of vets commemorated its 55th anniversary of freedom. On Christmas Eve, 1962, the last of the 1,113 Bay of Pigs POWs of Brigade 2506 were released after nearly two years of incarceration in Fidel Castro’s prisons. My cousins Carlos “Cachorro” León Acosta and Armando “Armandito” Lastra Faget, both 19, were the first to taste liberty that day. For Carlos, that was the night he was born again.

The Brigade had signed up to liberate Cuba from Castro’s communist fist. For a variety of reasons, and in spite of inflicting nearly 5,000 casualties on the Castro troops and suffering only 67 combat deaths, the Brigade was unable to achieve its goal.

Contrary to the narrative Fidel Castro has popularized — that the Bay of Pigs operation was a US CIA invasion manned by mercenaries — the true nature of that debacle has seldom been put into words. This is mainly because the freed prisoners were sworn to press silence, to avoid offending either the Castro or the Kennedy government and imperiling nascent and fragile agreements between the two countries. The men harbored much resentment and bad blood: against Castro for their inhumane treatment; against Kennedy for condemning the operation to defeat.

Fidel knew this was a Cuban vs. Cuban affair, and that if his forces fired on the US, the behemoth would retaliate and taps would sound on his revolution.

In contrast to Castro’s narrative, the true version is that the Bay of Pigs invasion was part of a civil war in which one side was supplied with arms, money, and training by the USSR, East Germany, and Czechoslovakia, while the other side was supplied with the same kit by the US, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. If anyone doubts this version, let him examine the event’s rules of engagement, to which both sides scrupulously adhered: US forces never fired a shot at Castro’s combatants, and Castro’s forces never attacked offshore US support ships. Fidel knew this was a Cuban vs. Cuban affair, and that if his forces fired on the US, the behemoth would retaliate and taps would sound on his revolution.

The Bay of Pigs was the second climax in a Cuban civil war that began on March 10, 1952 when Fulgencio Batista wrested control of Cuba in a coup. Immediately, a variety of disparate groups declared resistance to the new regime, Fidel Castro’s 26th of July Movement being only one of many. The first climax in these civil wars was Castro’s triumph over Batista on December 31, 1958.

Within four days of Castro’s victory, a nascent resistance — reading the writing on the wall and unrelated to the Batista regime — declared against Castro. The Bay of Pigs invasion two and a half years later was the second climax in the ongoing civil war.

Whenever the next climax occurs and whatever it brings, it will be peaceful.

The Bay of Pigs veterans are dwindling in numbers, many having added their eternal energy toward Cuba’s liberation. Only 550 are left. My cousin Armandito died in 2010. The latest to pass away was Maximo “Ñato” Cruz just a short while ago, on November 26. Cruz was an exceptional hero, the leader of F Company, 2nd Battalion, who distinguished himself in combat during the Battle of the Rotonda to such a degree that he received the only battlefield promotion during the fight.

Whenever the next climax occurs and whatever it brings, it will be peaceful. All of the exile and resident anti-Castro groups have renounced violence in achieving their aim of a free and democratic Cuba.

To commemorate the 55th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs veterans’ release, a small group of vets and vets’ relatives — in sincere flattery and imitation of the Run for the Wall ride — participated in a real (pedal) bike ride from the Bay of Pigs Memorial in Little Havana to Key West — as close to Cuba as possible. We called this our Run for the (Sea)Wall. Here’s my account of the journey.

Forget Little Havana and Calle Ocho — they’re full of gringo and European tourists. All of south Florida has become Cubanized. Ubiquitous are Cuban coffee (espresso brewed with sugar), Cuban sandwiches (roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, and pickles stacked between sliced French bread and ironed in a plancha, a waffle press-like flat grill), and black beans (as a standard side in nearly all restaurants). We heard Spanish more often than English, though everyone, except for the very recent arrivals (mostly Venezuelans), speaks both languages and uses them interchangeably. Unlike immigrant enclaves elsewhere, south Florida is no “enclave” of struggling refugees lacking in skills, knowledge, or financial nous and isolated from its native residents. On the contrary, the mélange is dynamic, inspiring, and surprisingly free of cross-cultural frictions.

My wife Tina and I left Boca Raton on fully loaded bikes in a drizzly dawn, aiming first for Miami. We’d been staying with my Venezuelan cousin, Marta, who’d finally gotten her green card two years ago. Our next destination was Key Biscayne, 72 miles away, where another cousin, MariCris — a Cuban this time — would put us up at her corporate condo.

Forget Little Havana and Calle Ocho — they’re full of gringo and European tourists. All of south Florida has become Cubanized.

We reached Key Biscayne in one day, and on the next met with the president of the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association, Humberto “Chino” Argüelles, and a handful of veterans and family members at the Casa, the museum and headquarters of Brigade 2506. I was presented with a Brigade 2506 emblem and flag. One 82-year-old vet, Emilio “Ernesto Guerra” Martinez Venegas, had not been a member of the invasion force. Instead, he’d been a key participant in the subsequent infiltration programs, had been captured, and had spent 15 years in Castro’s prisons.

After touring the Casa and meeting with some of the veterans, we proceeded to Calle Ocho’s Bay of Pigs Monument, where — over the noise of traffic and tourist passersby — I explained the purpose of our ride: “Today we don’t mourn [the fighters’] defeat; we celebrate their freedom.” Our ride was "in remembrance of the patriots who gave their life, fortunes, and honor for Cuba’s liberty. Today we are all Cubans. Viva Cuba Libre!”

Launch of the ride. L to R: Carlos "Cachorro" León; the author; Humberto "el Chino" Arguelles. At the eternal flame, Bay of Pigs Memorial, Little Havana, Miami.Launch of the ride. L to R: Carlos "Cachorro" León; the author; Humberto "el Chino" Arguelles. At the eternal flame, Bay of Pigs Memorial, Little Havana, Miami.

One passing Danish tourist, captivated by the event, offered to photograph our entire group in front of the monument. Carlos, a veteran paratrooper of the Bay of Pigs (and the cousin earlier mentioned) handed over his camera. Afterward, the Dane asked Carlos if he’d fought “on the Cuban side.” The query was symptomatic of how pervasively the Castro narrative has permeated the public. Carlos, momentarily baffled yet no stranger to such ignorance, just answered “Yes.”

He then offered to take his family members to lunch. I suggested Versailles, the iconic Cuban exile restaurant where the movers and shakers of the Cuban community had met for years to impress one another, argue politics, and concoct financial and insurrectional plans. He gave me the same look he’d given the Danish tourist, saying, “Versailles’ food is no longer what it used to be; Cubans no longer go there; it’s a tourist magnet with long lines. I know a better place.”

He led us to a Spanish restaurant full of old Cubans — all of whom he knew — taking advantage of the $12.95 set lunch, and introduced Tina and me to all of them. He flirted with the waitress — he was a regular — and she reparteed back. After she took our order, Carlos leaned over and said, “She’s Russian.” The fortyish blonde was the daughter of minor Russian functionaries once assigned to Cuba, where she’d grown up and learned Spanish.

The query was symptomatic of how pervasively the Castro narrative has permeated the public.

After a delicious meal of caldo gallego, merluza a la plancha and flan, we went to Books&Books in Coral Gables. It’s the flagship of south Florida’s best book store, and a microcosm of south Florida’s intellectual milieu. Books&Books is old fashioned: huge, rambling, encyclopedic — with books arranged thematically, irrespective of language, on the same dark oak shelves — liberal with easy chairs for tome dipping, and hosting a sophisticated coffee and snack bar. The staff is multilingual, knowledgeable, and very helpful. Apparently, the many customers in the aisles were unaware of the “death of the independent book store.” (And yes, they carried my book, Closing the Circle: A Memoir of Cuba, Exile, the Bay of Pigs and a Trans-Island Bike Journey. Whew!)

The next day we saddled up early and headed for the Florida Keys, along Miami’s M-path, a dedicated bike trail under the city’s elevated tramway. Carlos met us partway on his bike for a photo op along a defile of Royal Palms, the Cuban national tree. Because of injuries acquired at the butt end of a rifle from a sadistic guard in Castro’s Modelo Prison, Carlos has to lay down his bike, step into its triangular frame, lift it up, and step out of the frame to straddle the bike in order to mount it. Afterward we joined him for breakfast at the Rinconcito Cubano, an unassuming breakfast and lunch joint where, again, he knew all the patrons and waitresses and introduced us to them all.

Armandito had been an outsized character at the Battle of the Rotonda in the Bay of Pigs operation, muscling a .30 caliber tripod machine gun continuously during the 48-hour siege of Playa Larga.

By lunchtime we reached Homestead, home of the Air Force base that welcomed the freed Bay of Pigs prisoners back on that Christmas Eve in 1962. Alina Lastra, sister of my late cousin Armandito Lastra, met us along the dedicated, tarmacked bike path. Armandito had been an outsized character at the Battle of the Rotonda in the Bay of Pigs operation, muscling a .30 caliber tripod machine gun continuously during the 48-hour siege of Playa Larga. Again, we took pictures — this time with the Brigade 2506 flag and a rendition of the MAGA hat with “America” replaced by “Cuba.”

But now we faced the Everglades’ aptly named Overseas Highway, a single traffic lane each way, with a divider, over 20 miles long, connecting the tip of Florida to Key Largo over swampland and sea. But that is merely the first key in an improbable island chain that stretches 113 miles to Key West (Cayo Hueso). Luckily, the shoulder was six feet wide — wide enough to shield us from the impatient, albeit 55 MPH controlled, continuous traffic. Boring and stressful!

Key West was first connected to the road grid in 1928, with a couple of intermittent ferries. All the bridges along the way, including the famous seven-mile bridge, were completed and open to traffic in 1938, when FDR toured the finished highway. We did not enjoy the amenities of his tour, but after a 64-mile day, we were relieved to find a motel on Key Largo and indulge in a pricey blackened Yellowtail dinner.

An iguana, on the way. It would be hard to leave him out.

An iguana, on the way. It would be hard to leave him out.

Of course, winter’s cold seldom finds the Florida Keys. New Year’s Eve welcomed us with 70 degree temperatures under bright sunshine in the morning. Hurricane Irma debris lined Highway 1 and sometimes blocked the adjacent bike path, a dedicated trail that often included its own connecting bridges separate from the vehicular bridges. Fishermen, some with tents and BBQs, lined these long bike and pedestrian spans. At times we had to dodge colorful iguanas, which otherwise mostly sunbathe on abandoned abutments and supporting berms, scurrying away when troubled.

Fifty-two miles to Marathon Key. Our tiredness and the isolation of our motel shielded us from the New Year's celebrations — raucous in a population given to no-shirts, no-shoes, and lots of recreational boozing.

* * *

Over the years Key Largo and Marathon Key have played a little-publicized but outsized role in US-Cuba relations. After the serial imposition of progressively stricter US embargos on the island, the Castro nomenclatura found itself in want of both luxuries and specialty technical apparatus. Even when these items could be obtained through convoluted schemes involving passthrough countries or ingenious smuggling, little foreign exchange was available to pay for them. So Fidel — or someone close to him who provided plausible deniability to the Comandante en Jefe — came up with a two-part idea implemented by the De la Guardia twins, Tony and Patricio, heroes of the Angola war, with popular (second only to Fidel) General Arnaldo “Negro” Ochoa, also from the Angola (and Somalia) war playing a supporting role.

Some funds for the operation were generated by charging Colombian drug runners a safe passage fee when traversing Cuban territorial waters. These funds were laundered by Fidel’s criminal asylee, Robert Vesco, the fugitive financier. Another part of the scheme involved stealing luxury yachts from Florida marinas. Since these were heavily insured and were owned, after all, by rich capitalists, the insurance companies reimbursed the owners promptly, and little fuss ensued. As Nobel-nominated author Norberto Fuentes, best friend with Ochoa and Tony De la Guardia, relates in his book, Dulces Guerreros Cubanos, the yachts were then employed in the “Caribbean Express,” smuggling Marlboros, specialty arms, and technology obtained through the services of shady Florida arbitragers and go-betweens. The delivery, loading, payment, and shipping took place on Key Largo and Marathon Key. Everyone involved skimmed and squirreled away thousands of dollars (the principals, hundreds of thousands of dollars) — insurance policies, commissions and brokerage fees being frowned upon in socialist Cuba.

Since these stolen yachts were heavily insured and were owned, after all, by rich capitalists, the insurance companies reimbursed the owners promptly, and little fuss ensued.

In 1989, for reasons that I can’t — yet — quite understand, Ochoa, the De la Guardia twins, and author Fuentes, all intimates of the Castros, were purged in a series of show trials reminiscent of Stalin’s in the 1930s. The charges had to do with drugs; the ostensible reason was the Castros’ desire to improve their image before international opinion. But there were other, murkier reasons, all too complex to elaborate here.

Ochoa and Antonio De la Guardia went to the firing squad. When Raúl Castro announced the verdict to Cuba’s rubberstamp constituent assembly, he was drunk and tearful and wore a bullet-proof vest; Arnaldo Ochoa was one of his best friends. Norberto Fuentes was saved through the special pleading of Fidel’s friend, Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Colombian writer. Fuentes now lives in Miami surrounded by his Castro-era memorabilia, in the same building as my cousin Carlos’ son. Fuentes and Carlos were schoolmates before the Revolution.

And the stolen luxury yachts? These became part of the fleet that takes rich tourists out on exclusive fishing excursions around Cuba.

* * *

The run down to Key West, at 48 miles, was our shortest — and most expensive, with a basic Best Western room costing over $300, not untypical of Key West prices. Carlos tells a story of impetuously driving down to Key West 30 years ago on New Year’s Eve for his honeymoon. At the first likely lodging he encountered, he inquired about a room. The attendant asked if he had a reservation.

“No,” answered the newlyweds. The attendant immediately began laughing. Carlos avers that, to this day, the man is still laughing. He adds that every subsequent motel they tried — even as they then began driving back to Miami — was fully booked. Nevertheless, we had our Best Western room and at 5 p.m. headed for El Siboney, a popular Cuban restaurant only two blocks away, hoping to avoid the crowds that are given to much later, Latin eating habits. Still, Tina and I — by now our small group had been reduced to just the two of us, for a variety of reasons, most having to do with age, health and the holidays — had to wait in line.

End of the ride. Author and his wife unfurling the Brigade 2506 flag, Key West.End of the ride. Author and his wife unfurling the Brigade 2506 flag, Key West.

Then, on January 2, at dawn, we packed up and headed the three blocks to the monument that marks the southernmost point of the US and declares in bold print, “90 Miles to Cuba.” It was a blustery day with tourists already posing before the giant faux buoy for pictures. We waited our turn. Then we posed our bikes before the monument, unfurled the Brigade 2506 flag, and recited José Martí’s La Rosa Blanca:

Cultivo una rosa blanca                            I cultivate a white rose
en junio como en enero                              in June as in January
para el amigo sincero                                 for the sincere friend
que me da su mano franca.                        that proffers his open hand.
Pero para el cruel que me arranca             But for the knave that rips out
el corazón con que vivo,                             the heart that gives me life,
cardo ni ortiga cultivo,                              I cultivate neither thistle nor nettle,
cultivo la rosa blanca.                               I cultivate a white rose.

I then pivoted towards Cuba, saluted the Castros with a single finger, folded our flag, and headed back to Boca.

* * *

After enduring nearly two years in Castro’s prisons, 240 out of approximately 1,400 Bay of Pigs veterans enlisted in the US military. Most fought in Vietnam. Both operations ended in defeat. Both sets of vets were widely spurned upon their return to the United States. But that attitude is finally changing.

Overlawyered

Free speech roundup
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

You don’t have to think porn’s OK, or that speech never does harm, to see that Ross Douthat’s censorship ideas will fall flat on their face [Rick Garnett/Prawfs, Taylor Millard/Hot Air quoting me, Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Tyler Cowen] Group libel theory meets nationalism in Europe’s censorship creep: “Poland Passes Bill Criminalizing Claims Of Its Complicity […]

Free speech roundup is a post from Overlawyered - Chronicling the high cost of our legal system

Pakistan Supreme Court rules on 100-year-old case
Posted on Thursday February 22, 2018

“The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday gave its verdict in a 100-year-old property inheritance case that had started in a court in Rajasthan in 1918.” The Indian state of Rajasthan, like Pakistan, was part of British India before partition. The top comment: “Our land case in Gaya, Bihar is also going on since 1919. […]

Pakistan Supreme Court rules on 100-year-old case is a post from Overlawyered - Chronicling the high cost of our legal system

Law enforcement for profit roundup
Posted on Thursday February 22, 2018

“When you find yourself threatening to find more reasons to put even more citizens in jail in order to protect your revenue stream, it’s maybe time to take a step back and think about what you’re doing.” [Scott Shackford on Alabama forfeiture debate] How IRS spent $20 million on debt collection program that generated $6.7 […]

Law enforcement for profit roundup is a post from Overlawyered - Chronicling the high cost of our legal system

Second Circuit: Schneiderman can unmask private group’s donors
Posted on Wednesday February 21, 2018

At least since 1958’s NAACP v. Alabama, it has been thought settled that state demands for the disclosure of private organizations’ membership and donor lists poses very real risks of First Amendment infringement to which courts must be sensitive. Recent years, however, have seen concerted efforts to strip anonymity from donors to at least some […]

Second Circuit: Schneiderman can unmask private group’s donors is a post from Overlawyered - Chronicling the high cost of our legal system

February 21 roundup
Posted on Wednesday February 21, 2018

Minimum 18 age for marriage, stadium subsidies, bill requiring landlords to distribute voter registration material, dollar-home programs, and more in my latest Maryland policy roundup [Free State Notes; earlier on NJ first-in-nation ban on under-18 marriage] Now shuttered by California regulation: startup that allowed home cooks to sell meals directly to neighbors [Baylen Linnekin] Guess […]

February 21 roundup is a post from Overlawyered - Chronicling the high cost of our legal system

Spend $3,000 on a vacation? Your call. On an investment? No way!
Posted on Tuesday February 20, 2018

“The SEC’s ‘accredited investor standard’ effectively means that most Americans — unless they have at least $1 million in assets or $200,000 in annual income — are increasingly cut off from investment opportunities.” [Thaya Brook Knight, Cato Policy Analysis and summary] Tags: Securities and Exchange Commission

Spend $3,000 on a vacation? Your call. On an investment? No way! is a post from Overlawyered - Chronicling the high cost of our legal system

Housing roundup
Posted on Tuesday February 20, 2018

“One year ago, Portland enacted inclusionary zoning. One year later, “apartment construction in Portland has fallen off a cliff.”” [@michael_hendrix citing Dirk VanderHart, Portland Mercury] Better policy is to focus on building supposedly unaffordable housing [Scott Sumner] Intractable problems of residential zoning and of public schooling in the U.S. have a great deal to do […]

Housing roundup is a post from Overlawyered - Chronicling the high cost of our legal system

Hospital to pay $89,000 for failing to accommodate employees who objected to flu shots
Posted on Monday February 19, 2018

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has announced that Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C. will pay $89,000 for failing to accommodate employees “who declined flu vaccinations based on their religious beliefs.” [EEOC press release] Mission had in fact agreed to exempt employees from the flu shot based on religious objections, but required that they declare their […]

Hospital to pay $89,000 for failing to accommodate employees who objected to flu shots is a post from Overlawyered - Chronicling the high cost of our legal system

Conservative Tribune

Alarming Issues at Stake in the 2018 Midterm Elections
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

Although it often seems as if the 2016 election season just ended, the 2018 midterm elections are right around the corner. It goes without saying that in order for President Donald Trump and Republicans to continue implementing a conservative agenda and keep Democrat obstruction at bay, they need to retain their majorities in the House…

The post Alarming Issues at Stake in the 2018 Midterm Elections appeared first on Conservative Tribune.

Idaho Takes Major Step Toward Banning Courts from Using Shariah Law
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

Islamic Shariah law has no place in the United States. That’s the stance the Idaho state House took on Tuesday, after a bill intended to prevent Shariah or other foreign codes of law from impacting U.S. freedoms passed by a margin of 44-24. House Bill 419 was introduced by Rep. Eric Redman, and doesn’t mention Shariah by…

The post Idaho Takes Major Step Toward Banning Courts from Using Shariah Law appeared first on Conservative Tribune.

Outrageous: FL Deputy Who Refused to Engage Shooter Thinks He Did a Good Job
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

In the aftermath of the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, people on both sides of the political divide pointed fingers as to who was ultimately responsible for the tragic deaths of 14 students and three faculty members. Democrats, in disgustingly predictable fashion, largely ignored the shooter and cast blame for the…

The post Outrageous: FL Deputy Who Refused to Engage Shooter Thinks He Did a Good Job appeared first on Conservative Tribune.

The New American

NRA’s LaPierre Warns That Socialists Are Smearing Gun Rights Advocates
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

nra-s-lapierre-warns-that-socialists-are-smearing-gun-rights-advocates

Wayne LaPierre of the NRA is right in saying that socialists generally don't value liberty much --- including the right to keep and bear arms.

"Handbook of Tyranny" Presents Infographic Evidence of Despotic Excess
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

handbook-of-tyranny-presents-infographic-evidence-of-despotic-excess

Theo Deutinger's Handbook of Tyranny presents a compilation of infographics exposing the excesses of tyranny.

President Trump Thinking About Pulling ICE Agents Out of California
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

president-trump-thinking-about-pulling-ice-agents-out-of-california

President Trump is so frustrated by California officials’ refusal to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement that he is thinking of pulling ICE from the state.

China Advises the United States to Adopt Stricter Gun Control
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

china-advises-the-united-states-to-adopt-stricter-gun-control

China, in typical Communist and Orwellian fashion, says that the U.S. government should protect rights by taking away rights.

Yale Offers Course to Counteract “Whiteness” in Society
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

yale-offers-course-to-counteract-whiteness-in-society

Yale University is the latest school to make the problem of "whiteness" an academic subject.

Hoover Institution

Condoleezza Rice, Susan Rice To Speak On Campus
Posted on Wednesday April 11, 2018

Condoleezza Rice gives the before-dinner remarks titled “US Global Leadership?”

In the News
via Hamilton

Condoleezza Rice and Susan Rice, two former national security advisors with differing points of view, will discuss current issues on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, at 7 p.m. in the College’s Margaret Scott Bundy Field House.

Independent Institute

Frederick Douglass: Lion of Individualist Liberalism
Posted on Wednesday February 21, 2018

Blight, the Yale historian, is hardly unique in his misrepresentation of the classical liberal tradition.

Commonsense Firearm Regulation
Posted on Tuesday February 20, 2018

Are there any gun regulations that would actually work?

Misdiagnosing Right-to-try Laws
Posted on Thursday February 15, 2018

Right-to-try laws only apply to terminally ill patients who have exhausted all other options.

Roving Bandit, Stationary Bandit, and Income Tax
Posted on Tuesday February 13, 2018

Many libertarians have embraced the slogan "taxation is theft."

Panic Attacks Startle Wall Street
Posted on Monday February 12, 2018

The danger of seeing the stock market as a measure of political performance is that the government will be tempted to intervene.

Mises.org


Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969


Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969


Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Walter E Williams

Will Automation Kill Our Jobs? for 02/21/2018
Posted on Wednesday February 21, 2018

A recent article in The Guardian dons the foreboding title "Robots will destroy our jobs — and we're not ready for it." The article claims, "For every job created by robotic automation, several more will be eliminated entirely. ... This disruption will have a devastating impact on our workforce." According to an article in MIT Technology Review, business researchers Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee believe that rapid technological change has been destroying jobs faster than it is creating them, contributing to the stagnation of median income and the growth of inequality in the United States.

If technology is destroying jobs faster than it's creating them, it is the first time in human history that it's done so. Actually, the number of jobs is unlimited, for the simple reason that human wants are unlimited — or they don't frequently reveal their bounds. People always want more of something that will create a job for someone. To suggest that there are a finite number of jobs commits an error known as the "lump of labor fallacy." That fallacy suggests that when automation or technology eliminates a job, there's nothing that people want that would create employment for the person displaced by the automation. In other words, all human wants have been satisfied.

Updated: Wed Feb 21, 2018

Black History Month for 02/14/2018
Posted on Wednesday February 14, 2018

Carter G. Woodson, noted scholar, historian and educator, created "Negro History Week" in 1926, which became Black History Month in 1976. Woodson chose February because it coincided with the birthdays of black abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. Americans should be proud of the tremendous gains made since emancipation. Black Americans, as a group, have made the greatest gains, over some of the highest hurdles, in a shorter span of time than any other racial group in mankind's history.

What's the evidence? If one totaled black income and thought of us as a separate nation with our own gross domestic product, black Americans would rank among the world's 20 richest nations. It was a black American, Colin Powell, who, as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, headed the world's mightiest military. There are a few black Americans who are among the world's richest and most famous personalities. The significance of these achievements is that in 1865, neither a former slave nor a former slave owner would have believed that such gains would be possible in a little over a century. As such, it speaks well of the intestinal fortitude of a people. Just as importantly, it speaks well of a nation in which such gains were possible. Those gains would have been impossible anywhere other than the U.S.

Updated: Wed Feb 14, 2018

Let's Limit Spending for 02/07/2018
Posted on Wednesday February 07, 2018

Some people have called for a balanced budget amendment to our Constitution as a means of reining in a big-spending Congress. That's a misguided vision, for the simple reason that in any real economic sense, as opposed to an accounting sense, the federal budget is always balanced. The value of what we produced in 2017 — our gross domestic product — totaled about $19 trillion. If the Congress spent $4 trillion of the $19 trillion that we produced, unless you believe in Santa Claus, you know that Congress must force us to spend $4 trillion less privately.

Taxing us is one way that Congress can do that. But federal revenue estimates for 2017 are about $3.5 trillion, leaving an accounting deficit of about $500 billion. So taxes are not enough to cover Congress' spending. Another way Congress can get us to spend less privately is to enter the bond market. It can borrow. Borrowing forces us to spend less privately, and it drives up interest rates and crowds out private investment. Finally, the most dishonest way to get us to spend less is to inflate our currency. Higher prices for goods and services reduce our real spending.

Updated: Wed Feb 07, 2018

Anti-War

Who Will Be Israel’s Next Prime Minister?
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

I have a confession to make: I don’t hate Binyamin Netanyahu. I don’t hate Sara’le either. I generally don’t hate people. With the sole exception of people who have betrayed the trust I put in them and tried to stick a knife in my back. Not more than three or four in all my life. … Continue reading "Who Will Be Israel’s Next Prime Minister?"

The post Who Will Be Israel’s Next Prime Minister? appeared first on Antiwar.com Original.

The Tragicomedy of Russiagate
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

The whole election-meddling distraction is remarkable in both comic and tragic ways. The tragedy can be summed up in three words: New Cold War. At a time when the U.S. and Russian governments ought to be working toward nuclear disarmament, relations are deteriorating dangerously. As the estimable Australian writer Caitlin Johnstone, notes, despite Donald Trump’s … Continue reading "The Tragicomedy of Russiagate"

The post The Tragicomedy of Russiagate appeared first on Antiwar.com Original.

Bodies Found Under Rubble; 91 Killed in Iraq
Posted on Thursday February 22, 2018

Civilian and militant bodies were discovered in the rubble in northern Iraq.

The post Bodies Found Under Rubble; 91 Killed in Iraq appeared first on Antiwar.com Original.

More Than a Fight over Couscous: Why the Palestinian Narrative Must Be Embraced
Posted on Thursday February 22, 2018

As soon as Virgin Atlantic Airlines introduced a couscous-style salad “inspired by the flavors of Palestine”, a controversy ensued. Israel’s supporters ignited a social media storm and sent many complaints to the company, obliging the airline to remove the reference to Palestine. In the Zionist narrative, Palestine does not exist – nor is it allowed … Continue reading "More Than a Fight over Couscous: Why the Palestinian Narrative Must Be Embraced"

The post More Than a Fight over Couscous: Why the Palestinian Narrative Must Be Embraced appeared first on Antiwar.com Original.

The 9/11 Hijackers Were Iraqis, Right?
Posted on Thursday February 22, 2018

Originally posted at TomDispatch. I was teaching the day the airplanes hit the World Trade Center. It was the second meeting of “The Communist Manifesto for Seminarians,” a course for my fellow graduate students. By the time I got to class, both towers had collapsed. A few hours later, Building 7 came down as well. … Continue reading "The 9/11 Hijackers Were Iraqis, Right?"

The post The 9/11 Hijackers Were Iraqis, Right? appeared first on Antiwar.com Original.

Let’s Acknowledge US Interference in Foreign Elections
Posted on Thursday February 22, 2018

Last week, the Mueller investigative team indicted 13 Russian nationals for charges related to interference in the 2016 election. One of the individuals is a Russian billionaire, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is allegedly the financier of the "troll farm." This company that is solely dedicated to sowing political discord via fake news and false online identities … Continue reading "Let’s Acknowledge US Interference in Foreign Elections"

The post Let’s Acknowledge US Interference in Foreign Elections appeared first on Antiwar.com Original.

ISIS Attacks Truck Drivers at Border; 114 Killed in Iraq
Posted on Wednesday February 21, 2018

Militants attacked truck drivers waiting to drive across the border. Also, a mass grave was found.

The post ISIS Attacks Truck Drivers at Border; 114 Killed in Iraq appeared first on Antiwar.com Original.

Mueller’s Comic Book Indictment: How To Prosecute a Great Big Nothingburger
Posted on Wednesday February 21, 2018

We have always heard that a determined government prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich, and now we know it’s true. After 38 years in the prosecution racket, Robert Mueller just made his biggest score ever – that is, he nailed a great big Nothingburger. But he also did a lot more than that. Mueller’s 37-page … Continue reading "Mueller’s Comic Book Indictment: How To Prosecute a Great Big Nothingburger"

The post Mueller’s Comic Book Indictment: How To Prosecute a Great Big Nothingburger appeared first on Antiwar.com Original.

Mueller’s Fraudulent Indictment
Posted on Wednesday February 21, 2018

The indictment handed down by Robert Mueller against 13 Russians connected to the Internet Research Agency, a Russian-owned- and- operated clickbait farm, is the capstone of my case that we have indeed entered Bizarro World, an alternate universe where up is down, black is white and truth is a ridiculous falsehood. Yes, I said clickbait … Continue reading "Mueller’s Fraudulent Indictment"

The post Mueller’s Fraudulent Indictment appeared first on Antiwar.com Original.

US Empire Still Incoherent After All These Years
Posted on Wednesday February 21, 2018

I recently reread Michael Mann’s book, Incoherent Empire, which he wrote in 2003, soon after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Mann is a sociology professor at UCLA and the author of a four-volume series called The Sources of Social Power, in which he explained the major developments of world history as the interplay between four … Continue reading "US Empire Still Incoherent After All These Years"

The post US Empire Still Incoherent After All These Years appeared first on Antiwar.com Original.

Volokh Conspiracy

[Orin Kerr] Final Pre-Argument Thoughts on the Microsoft Case
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

(cross-posted at Lawfare)

I have blogged a lot over the last two years on the pending case of United States v. Microsoft, the case on whether Microsoft must comply with a search warrant for foreign-stored e-mails. With oral argument scheduled for next Tuesday, I thought I would add a few final thoughts before we finally get a sense of where the Justices might be.

(1) The briefing in this case is exceedingly weird. As I explained in glorious detail back in November, the big problem in the case is that the parties are debating the wrong law. Whether Microsoft must assist with the execution of a search warrant is an issue under the All Writs Act, not the Stored Communications Act (SCA). The SCA just requires the government to have a search warrant before providers can hand over e-mail. That was a huge deal in 1986 because Congress understandably assumed after Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735 (1979), that the Fourth Amendment probably didn't impose the same requirement. Here the government has a warrant, which is all that the SCA requires if it applies. As a result, the parties are arguing about a statute that has nothing to do with the issue in the case. (I should add that Jen Daskal disagreed with my view; I explained why I am not persuaded by her approach in this Twitter thread.)

The result is that the briefing in the case has an almost metaphysical quality. Because the briefs incorrectly assume that Microsoft only has to comply with the warrant if the SCA applies, the parties end up analyzing very weird questions: For example, where on the Internet is privacy? Where is the "focus" of a law that was designed to require a warrant when the government already has a warant? What are the alternative ways of obtaining foreign-stored e-mail if a warrant can't be used, based purely on guesses and instinct and no actual caselaw? It's a very odd set of questions to ponder, and it's set up by the parties' briefing the case under the wrong law.

(2) I had considered writing an amicus brief in Microsoft along the lines of my November blog post to flag the issue for the Justices, but I decided against it mostly for a practical reason. Even in the extremely unlikely event that the Justices would turn directions in the case based on this problem, Microsoft is only a statutory case. It demands a clear answer one way or the other. And a clear answer under the wrong statute is still a clear answer. Cf. Burnet v. Coronado Oil & Gas Co., 285 U.S. 393 (1932) (Brandeis, J., dissenting) ("[I]n most matters, it is more important that the applicable rule of law be settled than that it be settled right."). And besides, an amicus brief would have been due around the time I was moving to California. Talk about bad timing. So I figured I would sit back and just watch this one rather than participate.

(3) However the Justices decide the case, I hope they don't think of Microsoft as a Fourth Amendment case. Microsoft is a statutory dispute involving a statute that was enacted because the Fourth Amendment itself was suspected not to apply. As I wrote back in 2004 in A User's Guide to the Stored Communications Act, the SCA reflected the understanding in 1986 that Internet architecture would likely thwart Fourth Amendment protection. It therefore "creates a set of Fourth Amendment-like privacy protections by statute, regulating the relationship between government investigators and service providers in possession of users' private information." Whatever the SCA means, I don't think it is answered by modern interpretations of the Fourth Amendment.

To be sure, there are fascinating Fourth Amendment issues raised by the facts of Microsoft. I go into great detail on those issues in my article, The Fourth Amendment and the Global Internet, 67 Stan. L. Rev. 286 (2015). Questions include, who has Fourth Amendment rights online? When a government agent copies information online in one country, and then zips it to another country where it is opened, where has the search or seizure occurred? And if there are different standards of reasonableness in different countries, as lower court caselaw has held, what standards of reasonableness should apply to a copy made in one country and a disclosure made in another country?

These are great question that I attempted to answer in my article. But they're just not raised by the Microsoft case, as it's only a statutory case. The briefing sometimes looks to the Fourth Amendment, perhaps in part because the statutory focus involves the wrong statute. At least the Fourth Amendment is the correct amendment. But even so, I hope the Justices realize this is purely a statutory case.

Zero Hedge

What Would An "America First!" Security Policy Look Like?

Authored by James George Jatras via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Republicans love to caricature Democrats as big spenders whose only approach to any problem is to throw money at it. As with most caricatures, it is made easy by the fact that it is mostly true. At least when it comes to domestic entitlement programs, nobody can top the party of FDR and JFK when it comes to doling out goodies to favored constituencies paid for by picking someone else’s pocket.

However, Republicans are hardly the zealous guardians of the public purse they would have us believe. While quick to trash their partisan opponents for making free with taxpayers’ money, they are no less happy to do the same – at least when it’s called “national defense.”

Over the next five years, the Trump administration will spend $3.6 trillion on the military. The GOP-controlled Congress’s approved, with Republicans voting overwhelmingly in the affirmative, the “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018” (HR 1892) and the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018” (HR 2810). With respect to the former, the watchdog National Taxpayers Union urged a No vote:

‘An initial estimate of approximately $300 billion in new spending above the law’s caps barely scratches the surface in terms of total spending. The two-year deal also includes $155 billion in defense and non-defense Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) spending, $5 billion in emergency spending for defense, and more than $80 billion in disaster funding. $100 billion in proposed offsets are comprised of the same budget gimmicks taxpayers have seen used as pay-fors over and over and are unlikely to generate much of a down-payment on this new spending.’  

Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) poses the question that few in Washington – and certainly few Republicans – are willing to ask: “Is our military budget too small, or is our mission too large?” He notes:

‘Since 2001, the U.S. military budget has more than doubled in nominal terms and grown over 37% accounting for inflation. The U.S. spends more than the next eight countries combined.

It’s really hard to argue that our military is underfunded, so perhaps our mission has grown too large. That mission includes being currently involved in combat operations in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Niger, Libya, and Yemen. We have troops in over 50 of 54 African countries. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost over a trillion dollars and lasted for over 15 years.’

Defense spending is about survival, right? If you need to spend it, you spend it. But realistically, how does one assess whether spending is too much or too little without looking at the strategy the military is tasked with carrying out, and whether it makes any sense?

Proponents of increased – always increased – spending, like Defense Secretary James Mattis, point to real problems with increased accident rates due to poor training or equipment maintenance or the fact that most army brigades and navy planes are not ready for combat. But is that a symptom of too little money or of a force stretched beyond its limits by conducting operations anywhere and everywhere with little regard for actual U.S. interests?

That doesn’t matter politically, though. The message is, if you don’t support giving more money, you are guilty of neglecting the nation’s security and of killing service personnel. No wonder only a brave handful of Republican legislators consistently are willing to say No, like Senator Paul and a few House members: Justin Amash (Michigan), John Duncan (Tennessee), Walter Jones (North Carolina), Raul Labrador (Idaho), and Thomas Massie (Kentucky).

Here’s a crazy idea. What if instead of taking for granted a national security policy that seeks to maintain U.S. supremacy over every square inch of the globe we figure out what our real defense needs are – protecting our own country, not mucking about in the rest of the world – and then structure and fund the forces we need? What would that look like?

To start with, we know what it doesn’t look like: the policies followed by Presidents and Congresses of both parties for the past three decades since the Berlin Wall came down.  While the Trump administration’s new National Security Strategy (NSS) takes a commendable but befuddled nod toward genuine American interests – Pillar I (defense of American borders and tightening immigration controls to keep dangerous people out) and Pillar II (ending unfair trade practices and restoring America’s industrial base) – the real meat and potatoes is in Pillar III (“Preserve Peace Through Strength”), which could have been drafted by any gaggle of George W. Bush retreads – and no doubt was – or for that matter by Obama holdovers.

The NSS’s Pillar III is little more than a rehash of the usual litany of “threats” from China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, etc. It’s symptomatic that these are clustered under “Strategy in a Regional Context” as Indo-Pacific (a perfectly ridiculous concept that could best be summed up as “China – bad!”), Europe (“Russia – bad!”), Middle East (“Iran – bad!”), and South and Central Asia.  Next comes the region that should be our first concern, but isn’t: the Western Hemisphere (“Cuba and Venezuela – bad!”).  Last comes Africa (well, at least we can agree on something), but we still need a dedicated Africa Command (which for some reason is located not in Africa but in Stuttgart, Germany).

Still, just suppose that by some wild unpredictable accident we ended up with a strategy that in some way resembled the “America First!” prioritization Donald Trump promised us? Here’s a possible broad sketch:

1. Western Hemisphere comes first, not last. As they say in New England, “Good fences make good neighbors.” Presumably good walls make even better neighbors. Whatever happened to controlling our own border with Mexico, which was the cornerstone of President Donald Trump’s campaign? That remains hostage to political horse-trading and a budgetary game of chicken in the Washington Swamp. As far as the political class is concerned, the Wall can wait until mañana.

At the same time, the U.S. is all too happy to meddle in our neighbors’ internal affairs under the justification of “democracy promotion.” Recently Secretary of State Rex Tillerson claimed such meddling was an expression of the Monroe Doctrine, which he said “clearly has been a success, because… what binds us together in this hemisphere are shared democratic values.” Really? That would have been big news to President James Monroe, who promulgated the Doctrine back in 1823 when no other country in the Americas could be described as a democracy and when even most of the U.S. Founding Fathers would have disputed that label for the Republic they sought to create. Monroe’s declaration had nothing to do with democracy. Rather, its core was a warning to other powers not to establish colonies in our hemisphere, an exclusion which we have considered essential to our security for almost two centuries. Even as a relative infant on the international scene, long before our young nation had emerged as a power on a par with those of Europe, the United States considered it reasonable to ask other powers not to step on our toes in our own neighborhood.

2. Respecting the “Monroe Doctrines” of other powers: The regional deference the United States has demanded in our own area for nearly 200 years is precisely the one we today refuse to accord to other respectable powers, namely China and Russia, by conceding the primacy of their security interests in, respectively, the former Soviet space and in the western Pacific. Instead – as under Bill ClintonBarack ObamaGeorge W. Bush – the Trump administration still rejects the principle of “spheres of influence,” which in practice means not only asserting mastery in the Western Hemisphere but over every square inch of the globe. Today not a single sparrow falls to the ground anywhere but that a divinely omniscient and omnipotent Washington must have the last word about it – generously lubricated with rhetoric about democracy, human rights, rule of law, and other invocations of “universal principles.”

Despite suggestions from the foreign policy establishment, neither China nor anyone else is threatening the sea lanes in the South China Sea. Even America’s closest regional partners do not want to be pushed into a military confrontation with China to suit the agenda of “indispensables” in Washington. American concerns about North Korea can only be solved with Beijing’s security respected – and without the presence on the peninsula of almost 30,000 American “tripwire” troops and tens of thousands more in Japan.

In Europe, NATO forces should stand back from Russia’s borders and territorial waters.  NATO expansion should be ended – even after the Trump administrations ill-advised decision to induct tiny and corrupt Montenegro – while a new security architecture in Europe takes shape. The Alliance’s 2008 pledge to bring in Georgia and Ukraine should be withdrawn. Better yet, get us out of NATO entirely! We and our European friends should be finding a way to cooperate with Russia on pulling Ukraine out of its political and economic crisis as a united, neutral state, not pumping in lethal weapons so touch off renewed large-scale fighting.

An American accord with Russia and China is the stable tripod of any rational global peace, and no one else really matters at the moment. Russia boasts the world’s greatest landmass and natural resources unrivalled by any other country. She also has the only nuclear arsenal comparable to America’s. China is the most populous country in the world, with an economy achieving a par with ours and a burgeoning military sector. If American policy had been designed to alienate both of these giants and drive them to cooperate against us – and maybe it was designed to do that – it could not have been more successful.

3. Get the hell out of the Middle East and Central Asia. The NSS risibly refers to the undesirability of America’s earlier “disengagement” from the region, evidently a reference to the Obama administration’s not being quite as bellicose as its authors might prefer (for example, only supporting terrorists in Syria, not invading the place outright), Of dubious value even in its time, President Jimmy Carter’s 1980 declaration that the Persian Gulf region lies within thevital interests of the United States is only a dangerous absurdity now.  The entire region designated under the goofy moniker “Greater Middle East” is a welter of ethnic and religious antagonisms and unstable states that for America have only two things in common: (1) they ain’t us, and (2) they ain’t nowhere near us. It’s not America’s job to sort the place out, via such fool’s errands as nation-wrecking in Libya and Syrianation-building in Afghanistan and Iraq (after wrecking them), and “mediating” to “solve the problem” of the Israelis and the Palestinians.

The sole interest the U.S. and the American people have in the region is to ensure that jihad terrorism doesn’t achieve a sufficient foothold as to present a threat to us here. However, our regional efforts have instead served to increase and import that threat, not diminish it. American policy toward the region should rest on two pillars: (1) limiting our contact with it, above all drastically cutting down immigration from the area and, hence, the prospect of importing more terrorists; and (2) instead of favoring terrorism-supporting regimes like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, defer to countries with more direct interests in the region but who also have a fundamentally anti-jihad outlook, principally Russia, China, and India. Let them babysit Afghanistan.

Other than that – include us out.

Granted, this is only an outline, but it’s a start.

Back to the matter of Republicans’ penchant for overspending on the military, the force needed for this concept of “America First!” – one that focuses first of all on defending our territory and people – could only be a fraction of what we spend now.

Wouldn’t it be great to finally get that “Peace Dividend” we were promised until George H.W. Bush decided he’d rather build a New World Order starting in Kuwait?

Beacon

Real Homesharing Stories
Posted on Thursday February 22, 2018

See the real victims of Nashville's assault on property rights.

3 Transit Myths
Posted on Tuesday February 13, 2018

Detractors have come out against our messaging about the Nashville transit plan. We want to set the record straight and address a few key concerns that have come up.

Red Tape Hurts Military Families
Posted on Thursday February 08, 2018

Tennessee should take into consideration the harm our occupational licensing laws cause our military and seek to do better by them.

A Tale of Redemption: The Lindsay Holloway Story
Posted on Thursday February 01, 2018

Watch the story of Lindsay Holloway

Watch the Gubernatorial Forum Live
Posted on Wednesday January 31, 2018

Watch the Gubernatorial Forum live!

Nashville Is At It Again
Posted on Tuesday January 30, 2018

Nashville bans homesharing going back on a decision to allow homesharing in the city and going against the wishes of the legislature. Now it is the responsibility of the legislature to stop this serious infringement on property rights.

Beacon Center Sends Letter to the Cosmetology Board
Posted on Friday January 19, 2018

The letter asks the Board to join the Beacon Center in working to eliminate high school degree requirement to become a barber.

Beacon Releases New Criminal Justice Package
Posted on Thursday January 18, 2018

Advancing Sensible Justice Reform package.

Tennessee Should Lead on Medicaid Work Requirements
Posted on Tuesday January 16, 2018

These reforms are necessary as we move programs forward and assist individuals in reaching self-sufficiency

Advancing Sensible Justice
Posted on Monday January 01, 2018

You can read the Advancing Sensible Justice report by clicking here or on the picture below.

reason.com

Meet Mark Janus, Whose Supreme Court Case May End Compulsory Union Dues: Podcast
Posted on Friday February 23, 2018

Mark Janus is a "child-support specialist" who works for the state of Illinois to ensure that minors are taken care of when it comes to divorce and guardianship. He's also at the center of a Supreme Court case that may end the ability of public-sector unions to collect dues even from workers who are not members and don't want to be represented in collective bargaining. Oral arguments in Janus v. AFSCME will be heard on Monday, February 23 and decided by the end of June. In 22 states, public-sector unions can force non-members to pay for costs related to collective bargaining and workplace representation. Janus tells Reason's Nick Gillespie he was never told about that arrangement until he saw dues being deducted from his first paycheck. He argues that forcing him to pay for a service he doesn't want provided by a group to which he doesn't belong violates his First Amendment guarantees of voluntary association and free speech (his union explicitly supports candidates in elections). "The union voice is not my voice" he's written. "The union’s fight is not my fight." The case, writes Eric Boehm at Reason, "is best thought of as a sequel to Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a 2016 Supreme Court case that raised the same question about whether public-sector unions can extract political dues from recalcitrant members. That case ended in a 4-4 draw after Justice Antonin Scalia's sudden death left the Court with an even number of conservative and liberal members. For obvious reasons, that means all eyes in this case will be fixed on the newest justice, Neil Gorsuch."

After Pablo Escobar: Murder, Chaos, and the Failure of U.S. Drug Policy in Colombia
Posted on Wednesday February 21, 2018

"The whole premise of the war on drugs is that if you focus on the supply side, you'll solve all of the U.S.'s problems with problematic drug use," says Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. But "no matter how much money you put into fighting organized crime, there are always going to be new leaders ready to step into the shoes of those who've been arrested." The failure of that supply-side approach is an overarching theme in McFarland's new book, There Are No Dead Here: A Story of Murder and Denial in Colombia. It recounts the bloody aftermath of cocaine trafficker Pablo Escobar's death, when the Colombian military, surviving drug lords, left-wing terrorists, and paramilitary groups vied for power. Focusing on three individuals who helped expose the atrocities and win justice, the book examines the impact of U.S. intervention in Colombia's drug trade. Before joining the Drug Policy Alliance last September, McFarland spent over a decade as a drug policy analyst at Human Rights Watch. Reason's Nick Gillespie sat down with McFarland recently in New York City Edited by Mark McDaniel. Music: Modem by Kai Engel. All music licensed under Creative Commons. (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US.)

Are Libertarian Responses to Mass Shootings Persuasive?: Podcast
Posted on Tuesday February 20, 2018

When mass shootings take place, libertarians at Reason and elsewhere usually respond by pointing out that gun violence is declining even as the number of weapons in circulation is climbing; that mass shootings are not increasing in number; and that most proposed solutions either won't work and raise serious civil-liberties concerns. These points are all true and important. But are they the limit of all meaningful response? In today's Reason Podcast, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Peter Suderman, Robby Soave, and Nick Gillespie discuss what if any policies might mitigate the frequency and casualties of mass shootings. They also talk about how Rush Limbaugh, of all people, has advanced the most progressive immigration policy heard in several months, whether the investigation of Russian influence into the 2016 election will undermine belief in American politics, and the deeper meanings of Black Panther, the latest Marvel superhero movie that is setting box-office records.

Poker Champion Annie Duke on Making Smart Bets in Life, Politics, and Football
Posted on Tuesday February 20, 2018

"Life is poker, not chess," says Annie Duke, a former professional poker player and the author of a new book, Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts. Chess is a game of skill with "very little luck involved," while in poker good decisions and good outcomes often don't go together. Duke cites Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll's decision in the 2015 Super Bowl to call for a pass play that was intercepted. Since the interception rate in situation like this is about one or two percent, it was a good decision that didn't work out. In football, like life, humans are prone to draw the wrong conclusions from situations involving bad luck. "We go around and we change our decision making because we've evaluated the quality of a decision based on one outcome," says Duke. "Try and cordon yourself off from the outcome [and] recognize the uncertainty of the future." Reason's Nick Gillespie sat down with Duke to discuss life, chess, poker, football, and why we can all benefit from exposure to dissenting opinions. Edited by Austin Bragg.

Forget Speech Codes, Trigger Warnings: These Students Protest FOR "Peace, Love, Liberty" (Podcast)
Posted on Friday February 16, 2018

Students from all over the world will descend on Washington, DC on March 2nd to attend LibertyCon, the annual meeting for Students For Liberty. Active in 110 countries and hundreds of college campuses, the group is the leading organization working to educate, empower, and train the next generation of libertarian leaders who are in interested in maximizing individual autonomy and minimizing coercive policies that reduce free expression, lifestyle freedom, and economic rights. Reason's Nick Gillespie spoke with SFL leader Wolf von Laer about the upcoming conference, what his group hopes to achieve in the coming year, and the top issues for freedom-minded students both in the United States and abroad.