Interesting analysis of the Coen brothers’ movie, No Country for Old Men, 2007.
Fascinating interview by Scott Horton of Gareth Porter.
— Libertarian Pros (@LibertarianPros) January 30, 2017
If you know this topic well, it means that you follow Scott Horton or Gareth Porter or Anti-war.com, which is where you want to be if you want to know what is actually going on in the Middle East.
What follows are a few of my notes on the interview:
PORTER: David Ignatius. who is in touch with people in the CIA. He’s getting signals from the CIA who no longer feel that they can use the non-jihadist fighters to try to influence the civil war against Assad or Al Qaeda. It’s not viable. CIA program of aiding the armed opposition was phrased in the past tense, signalling that something has changed.
HORTON: No mention of Al Qaeda. It mentions ISIS and Iran. We have this very schizophrenic policy under Obama and under Trump now. “Radical Islam” is the term telling everyone to not differentiate the different sects fighting so that we can continue to arm all sides of the conflict. America is on the Sunni side against the America/Israel/Turkey/Sunni-Arab axis against the Russian, Iran/Syrian/ Lebanon/Hezbollah in Lebanon axis which includes Iraq where America is on Iran and Russia’s side fighting for the Shiites against the Islamic state there which they had helped to build up as John Kerry has admitted and as Joe Biden has admitted, allowing it to grow up . . . into a Sunni insurgency, aka, Al Qaeda in Syria insurgency to grow up and check Iran and it blew back huge into Iraq in the form of the Islam state which we’ve been fighting for two years. And so when they say radical Islam what they mean is stop differentiate between who’s fighting on which side of the sectarian war over there so that we can continue fighting for both sides.
PORTER: National Security state is the permanent war state is permanently tied up in knots because its interests require it to conduct contradictory policies in the Middle East. Heavy, heavy invested interest in maintaining presence in Iraq. Now justified in fighting the Islamic state. Can’t afford not to cooperate with Iran, Shiites, all the people who are supposed to be dangerous to the Middle East. How dangerous is Iran as part of this Islamic extremism? This is all opposed because Iran is part of the meal ticket for the U.S. military and the CIA always will be, always will be since the Islamic Republic in Iran, 1953. One of the pieces to fill the vacancy from the Soviet Union in the U.S.’s Cold War with the Soviet Union.
HORTON: ISIS turned and ran in Fallujah. Most decided to stay and fight. The Iraqi government conceded that they loss. Danny Davis, the Lt. Colonel, the Iraqi army that this coalition may not hold together to finish the battle. ISIS has 20,000 men and they’re still holding out. Policy of backing jihadists to check the Iranians has only expanded Iranian power and influence.
PORTER: Everything that the United States has done in Iraq since the beginning has merely been a de facto assistance to Iran in supporting its fundamental interests there. “Taking on Iran in Iraq.” In the end, the Iranians were the ones who really controlled the government of al-Maliki. Bush administration actually believed its own propaganda that al-Maliki was leaning toward the United States. Iran was the primary factor or primary ally of the al-Maliki government., and it was with the al-Maliki government that Iran who cooked up the agreement that got U.S. troops out of Iraq, which of course, the U.S. news media ignored.
The U.S. is far over its head, having no understanding in any country in the middle east. And the results are dependably disastrous. That has to be repeated over and over again.
Manufactured Crisis, Porter’s book.
Tom Woods is at it again, conducting interviews with successful entrepreneurs who’ve made it based on hard work, ingenuity, and tenacity. The champions this time? Nathan and Anna Bond. Nathan and his wife, a talented designer, launched Rifle Paper Company. I would often tell students of successful entrepreneurs, like the then 11-year old, Hannah Altman, from New York who sold erasers from her bedroom.
Tom did mention Nathan’s Facebook page. Because Woods himself is a kind of master copywriter and finds good and successful social media ads, he felt obligated to feature Nathan’s Facebook page. You’ll find Nathan’s website, Rifle Paper Company at Tom’s site here.
And if you have the time, please watch this business presentation by Anna Bond, Nathan’s wife.
Biggest part of their business, explains Anna, is selling to their retail channels. She explained that she didn’t really know what she was doing when they launched their business. The stationery industry was at its lowest. She’d heard that 30% of stationery stores had closed due to the 2008 recession. And yet tenaciously they launched their efforts. Incredible.
She was one of three businesses featured on The Today Show by Al Roker. So there’s that. So there’s a lot going on with their company and with their marketing efforts through social media, places like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and others.
Anytime war looms, which is almost every year for the United States, always undeclared, of course, but justified somehow through convoluted rationale of a threat to national security, people, in their last refuge of defending the bombing of innocent people love to reference WWII and how that war brought us out of the Great Depression. “See! War returned us to great prosperity!”
Here Tom Woods explains the economic basics of that ludicrous position that says let’s bomb other people to have prosperity at home.
Woods cites Robert Higgs’s presentation on this topic. Check it out.
Check out the rest of the resources that Woods presents. In his usual, elegant style, Dr. Woods goes meticulously through the reasons why this preposterous claim is wrong. Worth a listen and a read. People actually think there was prosperity during the war. Incredulous. The evidence in economic circles that is presented to defend that claim is never consistent.
The reasons why this preposterous claim is wrong:
- If you draft 10 million people into the armed forces, well, you draft 10 million people and, what do you know, unemployment goes down. To a large degree that’s the explanation. Now obviously that’s not the way a healthy economy deals with unemployment. I mean at any time I supposed you could, if you were perverse and insane line up the unemployed, execute them all, and say, hey, [the economy is doing] great.
- Second, if we’re going to believe these crazy GDP numbers from the early 1940’s, that tell us oh, wow, what a great bout of prosperity we had, we also have to believe these same figures when they also tell us that 1946 was a terrible depression year. Yet we know that 1946 was the probably most prosperous year in all of American history from the point of view of production. Private production increased by 35% in one year. We’ve never seen anything before or since that would even touch that. But according to these same figures, this was a time of depression.
- During the war the most skilled sector of the labor force was sent off to Europe or to the Pacific to fight. What did that mean on the home front? That meant that the labor force was increasing composed of people with much less work experience. Much younger people, or women, many of whom had no prior experience in the labor force or elderly men, and yet during those years when we have this unbelievable and very abrupt resource constraint where the best, most-skilled, experienced workers are gone fighting, and yet we get growth rates of 13% per year which had never been seen since and smashed all previous records. Is the path to prosperity constraining resources?
- During the war, a huge portions of the economy were controlled. And consisted of government purchases of military equipment. That’s not a free market. That’s the government and some firm reaching an agreement and has no basis on consumer choice. GDP figures for this period are a whole bunch of non-sense numbers added up to give you a giant non-sense number. Finally economists are looking at it closer and saying the claim is absurd.
- 2 our of 5 people in the work force were not producing consumer goods. Now you may say, “But we needed them to fight the war.” That’s a separate issue. Those people are not producing consumer goods. No consumer buys a tank. 2/5 of the labor force is producing stuff that from the point of view of the consumers might as well never have been produced. All the inputs going into the economy, from the consumer’s point of view, are a waste. Meanwhile, the other 60% are now being taxed to pay for those 40% not to produce any consumer goods. That means we have less production Less production going on and less monetary wherewithal with which the remainder of the people can buy those goods. How can that possibly be prosperity? Not to mention the price controls, not to mention the product quality deterioration which is how private firms have to deal with price controls. How do you deal with the fact that entire classes of consumer goods could not be acquired during the war? You put all this together and the result is this was not a time of great prosperity. It was a time of great deprivation. from the point of view of the private economy. That’s what matters. You have to disaggregate from these figures–what were people actually able to buy? What were the goods that people could buy to improve their standard of living? Not how many tanks were produced, because nobody could actually, it turns out, eat a tank.
First, Trump is lying.
If he’s not lying, he was given bad information.
And if he was given bad information, the fact that he failed to fact-check his information means that he’s loose with facts and is okay with lying, the same complaint that he’s leveled ad nauseam about the press’s
lies reports on his history during his campaign. There is only so much milk you can get from that cow, Donald.
The homicide rate in the U.S. is the lowest it has been in 51 years, not the highest. Even Chicago’s murder rate, when you put their numbers in a historical context, is the lowest it has been in 51 years. Donald Trump is lying to the American people so as to allow sheriffs across the counties of the United States to pilfer the pockets of Americans. Is he a dictator?
One commentator noted that “The next president is worse than the last over and over again.” That’s a tough call, since each one is bad in their own way. Trump has already green-lighted the murder of people in Yemen. Where is the conviction? Where is the due process? Where is the trial? Verdict? Appeal? From the U.S. government none.
The Constitution’s Fifth Amendment says property shall not be taken without just compensation, and the 14th Amendment says it shall not be taken without due process of law. President Trump, 18 days from having sworn to “preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution, sympathized with the sheriffs’ complaint that they are being pressured to reform civil forfeiture practices. –George Will
The technique has been called (by this columnist) “immunity through profusion.” By keeping the molten lava of falsehoods flowing, the volcano that is Donald Trump can inundate the public and overwhelm his auditors’ capacity to produce a comparable flow of corrections. This technique was on display the other day when the president met with some sheriffs.
He treated them to a whopper that is one of his hardy perennials, market-tested during the campaign: He said the U.S. murder rate is “the highest it’s been in 47 years.” (Not even close: The rate — killings per 100,000 residents — is far below the rates in the 1970s and 1980s.) This Trump Truth (Sen. Eugene McCarthy’s axiom: Anything said three times in Washington becomes a fact) distracted attention from his assertion to the sheriffs that there is “no reason” to reform law enforcement’s civil forfeiture practices.
There is no reason for the sheriffs to want to reform a racket that lines their pockets. For the rest of us, strengthening the rule of law and eliminating moral hazard are each sufficient reasons.
And here is why the sheriffs probably purred contentedly when Trump endorsed civil forfeiture law — if something so devoid of due process can be dignified as law: Predatory law enforcement agencies can pocket the proceeds from the sale of property they seize.
video h/t Target Liberty
As college campuses are run amok with identity politics, the anti-war response against the U.S. government and against Trump are silenced and will be diluted by sexual orientation. The Left has won. From an anarchist demonstration opposing free speech to a women’s march on Washington, D. C. led by Ms. Raunch herself, Madonna, the anti-war efforts have gone to the swamp. All the while Donald J. Trump and the U.S. war machine prepare for nuclear war with Iran. What has happened to Trump’s call for non-intervention and the elimination of NATO? And he just nominated Elliott Abrams, super Neocon, to the position of Deputy Secretary of State. The wars in the middle east will continue unabated through Bush II, then Obama, now Donald J. Trump. When did America become so weak diplomatically?
Modern civilization is possible because of the magic of division of labor and specialization. So specialize and you’ll increase your value in the market place.