U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries may be militarily effective, but they are killing innocent civilians in a way that is obscene and immoral. I’m afraid that ignoring this ugly fact makes Americans complicit in murder.
I don’t think it makes all Americans complicit, because many of use did not vote for or support the people who enact these policies, and it’s not like taxes are voluntary. But it does make some of us complicit, and it unquestionably makes our government guilty as — there’s really no other word for it — hell.
Yup. As I noted after Obama’s re-election: “If you voted for Obama, you not only registered your approval of the things you like, you also officially condoned the many atrocities he’s committed and corrupt policies he’s championed. Congratulations, you’re an accomplice to heinous acts.” Those heinous acts being everything from prosecuting whistleblowers, corporatism, and indefinite detainment without due process, to record deportations and the murder of innocent children with drone bombs.
Same applies to Romney-supporters, of course, or supporters of pretty much any politician. But when you re-elect someone who is a confirmed perpetrator of these acts, you can’t feign surprise when he continues to do what he has already done.
(And of course those of us who didn’t support warmongers are not complicit.)
The NSA also claims that as a result of its spying, it has kept us safe. I reject the argument that the government is empowered to take our liberties – here, the right to privacy – by majority vote or by secret fiat as part of an involuntary collective bargain that it needs to monitor us in private in order to protect us in public.
The NSA also claims that as a result of its spying, it has kept us safe.
I reject the argument that the government is empowered to take our liberties – here, the right to privacy – by majority vote or by secret fiat as part of an involuntary collective bargain that it needs to monitor us in private in order to protect us in public.
The FDA’s decision to take Iressa of the market is indicative of how the agency is out of touch with the emerging paradigm of personalized medicine. The FDA’s method of conducting clinical trials is designed to identify drugs that work for the typical or average patient, “but you’re not wholesale, and neither am I,” says Peter Huber, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and the author of The Cure in the Code: How 20th Century Law is Undermining 21st Century Medicine. The war on cancer, Huber argues, will be won using cocktails of drugs tailored to the unique biology of each patient and his or her variant of the disease. Only if the FDA abandons its outdated one-size-fits-all approach to drug regulation will there be more patients like Ed Levitt.
Or, better than merely reforming the FDA, it is completely abolished. Let free people make decisions over their lives themselves, with the consult of trusted doctors and loved ones, instead of waiting for unknown bureaucrats (with other potential interests in mind) to make one-size-fits-all decrees that keep potential remedies from people who want them or make testing cost prohibitive - both outcomes that ultimately leave people dead.
Given the fact that both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations (not to mention Congress) have followed the Keynesian playbook, the sorry results should be enough to discredit Keynesianism, this time for good. Either a theory explains and predicts phenomena or it does not, and it should be clear that Keynesian theory has failed.
Alas, the academic “market test” really does not embrace the actual success or failure of a theory. It seems that many academic economists do not wish to be bothered by what happens in the real world. The vaunted “market test” is not about actual results, but is about what many economists are willing to accept as what they wish to be true and what politicians believe is good for their own electoral purposes.
The assumption that comes with attempting to apply Eugene Fama’s “Perfect Market Hypothesis” to academic economics presupposes that economists are interested only in what actually occurs. Furthermore, the belief presumes that when presented with a set of facts, academic economists will give the same analysis and not be influenced by partisan politics.
Given the interpretations that economists such as Krugman, Alan Blinder, and others have made in the aftermath of the disastrous first week of “ObamaCare,” not to mention their shilling for the Obama administration itself, the latter is clearly untrue. Furthermore, we see there are “gains from trade,” as politicians tend to flock to those economists who can offer the proverbial “quick fix” to whatever ails the economy, as being seen as doing something confers more political benefits than doing the right thing, which is to curb the power, scope, and influence of state power.
Even Krugman admits that the appearance of expertise has fueled the Keynesian bandwagon:
In the 1930s you had a catastrophe, and if you were a public official or even just a layman looking for guidance and understanding, what did you get from institutionalists? Caricaturing, but only slightly, you got long, elliptical explanations that it all had deep historical roots and clearly there was no quick fix. Meanwhile, along came the Keynesians, who were model-oriented, and who basically said “Push this button” — increase G, and all will be well. And the experience of the wartime boom seemed to demonstrate that demand-side expansion did indeed work the way the Keynesians said it did.
In the past five years politicians have been pushing “button G” and all is not well. Yet, in this age of unrestrained government, the Keynesian promise of prosperity springing from massive government spending is attractive to politicians, economists, and public intellectuals. That it only makes things worse is irrelevant and beside the point. If the economy falters, politicians and academic economists blame capitalism, not Keynesianism, and they get away with it.
Los Angeles Unified School District has stumbled upon a revolutionary concept in disciplining young schoolchildren: Maybe don’t treat them the way the police department treats parolees? That is to say, LAUSD is pulling back on responding to common child misbehavior with police citations. From theLos Angeles Daily News:
Starting Dec. 1, elementary and some middle school students in Los Angeles Unified will no longer receive police citations for most misbehavior.
According to the new policy, Los Angeles School Police will refrain from writing criminal citations for infractions such as fighting and writing on desks, instead turning students to school officials for campus-based punishment that is more in line with their age and nature of the violations.
“This is an important step, but it also raises concerns that there is more to be done,” said Manuel Criollo, director of organizing for the nonprofit Community Rights Campaign, an L.A. group that has lobbied for the decriminalization of many school-based offenses. “Some of this should be common sense, and the next thing is to expand it in the middle schools. Thirteen- and 14-year-olds should also be covered by this.”
This “new policy” smells remarkably old actually, like how schools handled discipline when those of us who are adults now attended school. Officials have finally realized that treating students like criminals discourages them from doing things like attending school (important, because that’s how school funding is determined):
The directive from LAUSD Police Chief Steven Zipperman asks school-based officers to look at misbehavior of students under the age of 13 as a teaching opportunity rather than a reason to hand out citations that could discourage them from attending class altogether.
If a ticket is issued, officers should have an articulated reason for doing so, as well as the permission of a supervisor. The policy does not cover possession of contraband.
The Community Rights Campaign calculated that school police have handed out more than 4,700 citations to students under the age of 14 for the 2012-13 school year.
House and Senate negotiators are working out details of a big farm bill that may pass this year. No industry in America is as coddled as farming, and no industry is as centrally planned from Washington. The federal sugar program is perhaps the most Soviet of all. Here’s a sketch of the sugar program, which the supposedly conservative, tea party-dominated lower chamber may soon ratify:
- Purpose. The federal sugar program is designed to enrich sugar producers, such as the wealthy Fanjuls, and rip off sugar consumers by keeping domestic prices artificially high. In recent decades, U.S. sugar prices have often been two or more times world prices. The federal government achieves that result by price guarantees, trade restrictions, production quotas, and ethanol giveaways.
- Guaranteed Prices. The Department of Agriculture runs a complex loan program to support sugar prices. Essentially, the government promises to buy sugar from processors at a set price per pound. Processors can sell to the government, or they can sell in the marketplace if the (manipulated) market price is higher.
- Trade Restrictions. Complex import barriers called “tariff rate quotas” help to maintain high domestic sugar prices. Imports are restricted to about one quarter of the U.S. market, and each foreign country (except Mexico) is allocated a particular share of imports.
- Production Quotas. The government imposes quotas, or “marketing allotments,” on U.S. producers. The United States Department of Agriculture decides what total U.S. sugar production ought to be and then allots quotas to beet and cane sugar producers. Most sugar beet production is in Minnesota, Idaho, North Dakota, Michigan, and California. Most sugar cane production is in Florida and Louisiana.
- Ethanol Giveaway. If prices fall below certain levels, the USDA is required to fire up a sugar-for-ethanol program to channel sugar away from the food industry.
The USDA is supposed to run the sugar program at no taxpayer cost, which makes the central planning even trickier. The agency must fiddle to adjust imports, quotas, and the ethanol giveaway to optimally fatten the wallets of sugar producers, while not allowing the domestic (manipulated) market price to fall so low as to impose taxpayer costs.
A possible wrench in the works of the current farm bill is that the sugar program is on track to cost taxpayers perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars this year (see here and here). So if conservatives in Congress vote for an unreformed sugar program this year, they would be not only voting for central planning, corporate welfare, higher consumer prices, harm to U.S. food manufacturers, and environmental damage, they would be voting for higher taxes as well.
Iraq was not a mercenary war, as Patrick Cockburn contends. It was a U.S. war. Privatizing security (his terms, not mine) in Iraq may have been bad, even very bad, but it was not the recipe for the Iraq disaster. The recipe was the U.S. aggression itself. Mr. Cockburn had it nailed much more clearly in one of his articles in 2003.
Blackwater and other trigger-happy “contractors” or “mercenaries” that worked or still work for the CIA and the U.S. government were and are simply government armed forces. The organization chart looks different than the U.S. Army, because their men under arms are employed by a company being employed by the U.S., but they are directed by the U.S. at the top and that’s who pays them (with taxes).
These mercenaries have absolutely nothing to do with free markets, free market ideology or such market institutions as outsourcing. And just because they are not drafted doesn’t mean that they are some sort of privatized military force. They are a government force, albeit somewhat less directly than inducting soldiers into the official armed forces, and that makes them public. They and their activities should not be confused with privatization of defense or privatized security companies. The same is true of prison companies that work hand in glove for states. They are basically arms of the state, employed and directed by them and paid by them (via taxes).
The Iraq War was never a privatized war. It was always a U.S. war, bought and paid for by the U.S. In all of its wars that it has ever fought, the government always causes profits in the industries that are supplying the means of war. Iraq was not special in this regard.
The Huffington Post's Ryan Reilly notes that President Obama “has pardoned almost as many turkeys as drug offenders,” which is pretty appalling but actually understates how bad Obama’s clemency record is. All of the 11 drug offenders pardoned by Obama had completed their sentences years before, while the 10 turkeys he has pardoned (counting the two today) escaped their “sentences” entirely. Obama has not done anything comparable for any human beings, and he has shortened the sentence of exactly one drug offender, even though he and his attorney general concede that thousands are serving unfairly long prison terms.
If we limit the analysis to offenders whose punishments have been reduced by Obama, his ratio is 10 turkeys to one person. Another enlightening comparison: Attorney General Eric Holder’s recently announced change in charging practices, if fully implemented by federal prosecutors, could result in shorter sentences for about 500 drug offenders each year. That’s just 2 percent of all the federal drug offenders who are sentenced each year, but it is still 2,500 times as impressive as Obama’ commutation record.
Reilly also gives the president too much credit when he says “Obama has granted the fewest pardons of any modern president.” The truth is the Obama has pretty much the worst clemency record ever. He granted fewer pardons and commutations in his first term than any other president, except for George Washington (who probably did not have a lot of applications during the first few years of the nation’s existence) and two presidents, William Henry Harrison and James Garfield, who died shortly after taking office. This year he issued 17 additional pardons. But judging from numbers compiled by P.S. Ruckman Jr., a professor of political science at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois, that did not improve Obama’s standing. Compared to other presidents who served two terms, he is still doing abysmally bad. He makes Richard Nixon look like a softie.
Kathryn Jean Lopez seeks to remind everyone that reads National Review, that "political disengagement is not an option". In other words, you were born into a system where robbing your neighbor, and using force against your neighbor, is your only option. Seeking to live peacefully by not taking part is simply not a choice for you to make.
Lopez writes:If we start thinking that we are above politics, we need to remember that if we don’t get our hands dirty paying attention to who it is we are electing, and to policy and pending decisions, we are shirking a responsibility. Disengagement is dangerous. Engagement is our civic duty.
Peace and non-aggression is ”above politics”. Standing in line (like cattle) at a voting booth does not mean that you’re paying attention to anything. The person that you are electing is not bound to anything. They do not have to (nor do they) tell the truth in order to get your vote. This should be obvious by now. It’s not like this charade started yesterday.
The person you vote for has no idea that you specifically voted for him/her. How on Earth can you possibly be “responsible” for what the politician does? As hard as it is for many to come to grips with, you are responsible for your actions.
Disengagement is dangerous?
Lopez doesn’t say.
Her job is to make sure people keep believing. The fact that she’s writing on this subject means that the believers must be going through a phase where their faith is being tested. That darn Internet must be making them second guess a few things.Cynicism about politics can be seductive, too. The media thrive on conflict and scandal, and so it’s often the worst of political life that we focus on. But politics is necessary. “Politics is,” [Charles] Krauthammer explains, “the moat, the walls, beyond which lie the barbarians. Fail to keep them at bay, and everything burns.
Oh sure it’s the media’s fault. They just focus on the worst.
Politics is the worst. For it the use of violence and force to settle your disputes. It’s a never-ending struggle to gain control of the monopolistic use of violence. If you don’t control it, someone else will, and they’ll beat you over the head with it.
And Lopez wants us to believe that "politics is necessary"?
One can see why those who control The State would want you to think its necessary; and why they would want to keep everyone “Rocking The Vote”. But mankind’s long history of failed governments has proven that for 99.999% of everyone who has ever lived, politics is poison.
Finally, is Lopez really trotting out a quote for Charles Krauthammer? This is a man who never saw a bomb that he didn’t want dropped on some non-American. And he’s the voice who is to tell us that without politics “barbarians” will take over and “everything burns”?
Governments have killed so many hundreds of millions that it’s impossible to keep count anymore. No other group of organized individuals could possibly accomplish such a feat.
It’s time to stop buying into the stories of the real barbarians. It’s imperative to celebrate when people “politically disengage”. For it can possibly a sign that people are becoming more virtuous.
My son, Thomas, is ten. I hope that he graduates from college and has a satisfying and lucrative career. But I’d much rather that he be even a janitor or a used-car salesman than become a successful politician. To succeed at politics - especially at the national level – requires duplicity and shamelessness rivaled only by arrogance. For my son to become President he would have to abandon nearly every moral precept that his mother and I try hard now to impart to him: honesty, forthrightness, decency, respect for others, and modesty. We emphatically do not want our son to yearn for power, for to do so would inevitably corrode his humanity. Thomas, like nearly everyone else in this world, will be fit to rule himself when he is an adult. He is not, and never will be – again like everyone else – fit to rule others, even if those others elect him to do so.
My son, Thomas, is ten. I hope that he graduates from college and has a satisfying and lucrative career. But I’d much rather that he be even a janitor or a used-car salesman than become a successful politician. To succeed at politics - especially at the national level – requires duplicity and shamelessness rivaled only by arrogance. For my son to become President he would have to abandon nearly every moral precept that his mother and I try hard now to impart to him: honesty, forthrightness, decency, respect for others, and modesty. We emphatically do not want our son to yearn for power, for to do so would inevitably corrode his humanity.
Thomas, like nearly everyone else in this world, will be fit to rule himself when he is an adult. He is not, and never will be – again like everyone else – fit to rule others, even if those others elect him to do so.
The Federal Reserve was created in 1913, and during its first 73 years it grew its balance sheet in turtle-like fashion at a few billion dollars a year, reaching $250 billion by 1987—-at which time Alan Greenspan, the lapsed gold bug disciple of Ayn Rand, took over the Fed and chanced to discover the printing press in the basement of the Eccles Building.
Alas, the Fed’s balance sheet is now nearly $4 trillion, meaning that it exploded by sixteen hundred percent in the last 25 years, and is currently emitting $4 billion of make-believe money each and every business day.
So we can summarize the last quarter century thus: What has been growing is the wealth of the rich, the remit of the state, the girth of Wall Street, the debt burden of the people, the prosperity of the beltway and the sway of the three great branches of government which are domiciled there—-that is, the warfare state, the welfare state and the central bank.
What is flailing, by contrast, is the vast expanse of the Main Street economy where the great majority has experienced stagnant living standards, rising job insecurity, failure to accumulate any material savings, rapidly approaching old age and the certainty of a Hobbesian future where, inexorably, taxes will rise and social benefits will be cut.
And what is positively falling is the lower ranks of society whose prospects for jobs, income and a decent living standard have been steadily darkening.
I call this condition “Sundown in America”. It marks the arrival of a dystopic “new normal” where historic notions of perpetual progress and robust economic growth no longer pertain. Even more crucially, these baleful realities are being dangerously obfuscated by the ideological nostrums of both Left and Right.
Contrary to their respective talking points, what needs fixing is not the remnants of our private capitalist economy —-which both parties propose to artificially goose, stimulate, incentivize and otherwise levitate by means of one or another beltway originated policy interventions.
Instead, what is failing is the American state itself——a floundering leviathan which has been given one assignment after another over the past eight decades to manage the business cycle, even out the regions, roll out a giant social insurance blanket, end poverty, save the cities, house the nation, flood higher education with hundreds of billions, massively subsidize medical care, prop-up old industries like wheat and the merchant marine, foster new ones like wind turbines and electric cars, and most especially, police the world and bring the blessings of Coca Cola, the ballot box and satellite TV to the backward peoples of the earth.
In the fullness of time, therefore, the Federal government has become corpulent and distended—-a Savior State which can no longer save the economy and society because it has fallen victim to its own inherent short-comings and inefficacies. …
What is really happening is that Washington’s machinery of national governance is literally melting-down. It is the victim of 80 years of Keynesian error—-much of it nurtured in the environs of Harvard Yard—— about the nature of the business cycle and the capacity of the state—-especially its central banking branch—- to ameliorate the alleged imperfections of free market capitalism.
As to the proof, we need look no further than last week’s unaccountable decision by the Fed to keep Wall Street on its monetary heroin addiction by continuing to purchase $85 billion per month of government and GSE debt.
Never mind that the first $2.5 trillion of QE has done virtually nothing for jobs and the Main Street economy or that we are now in month number 51 of the current economic recovery—- a milestone that approximates the average total duration of all ten business cycle expansions since 1950. So why does the Fed have the stimulus accelerator pressed to the floor board when the business cycle is already so long in the tooth——and when it is evident that the problem is structural, not cyclical? …
The answer is capture by its clients,that is, it is doing the bidding of Wall Street and the vast machinery of hedge funds and speculation that have built-up during decades of cheap money and financial market coddling by the Greenspan and Bernanke regimes. The truth is that the monetary politburo of 12 men and women holed up in the Eccles Building is terrified that Wall Street will have a hissy fit if it tapers its daily injections of dope.
So we now have the spectacle of the state’s central banking branch blindly adhering to a policy that has but one principal effect: namely, the massive and continuous transfer of income and wealth from the middle and lower ranks of American society to the 1 percent.
The great hedge fund industry founder and legendary trader who broke the Bank of England in 1992, Stanley Druckenmiller, summed-up the case succinctly after Bernanke’s abject capitulation last week. “I love this stuff”, he said, “…. (It’s) fantastic for every rich person. It’s the biggest redistribution of wealth from the poor and middles classes to the rich ever”. …
If this sounds like the next best thing to legalized bank robbery, it is. And dubious economics is only the half of it.
… [T]he other side of the virtually free money being manufactured by the Fed on behalf of speculators is massive thievery from savers. Tens of millions of the latter are earning infinitesimal returns on upwards of $8 trillion of bank deposits not because the free market in the supply and demand for saving produces bank account yields of 0.4 percent, but because price controllers at the Fed have decreed it.
For all intents and purposes, in fact, the Fed is conducting a massive fiscal transfer from the have nots to the haves without so much as a House vote or even a Senate filibuster. The scale of the transfer—-upwards of $300 billion per year——causes most other Capitol Hill pursuits to pale into insignificance, and, in any event, would be shouted down in a hail of thunderous outrage were it ever to actually be put to the people’s representatives for a vote.
Read the whole thing; it’s well worth your time.
Member of EU parliament Godfrey Bloom quotes Murray Rothbard, spits hot fire*:
"Oh, well, Mr. President, I’m minded actually to quote the great American philosopher Murray Rothbard here that the state — the state is an institution of theft writ large. Tax is just about a system where politicians and bureaucrats steal money from their citizens to squander in the most disgraceful manner. This place is no exception. Fascinatingly, and I really don’t know how you manage to keep a straight face when you’re talking about tax evasion, the whole Commission and the Commission bureaucracy avoid their taxes. You don’t pay taxes like citizens pay taxes; you have all sorts of special deals. Composite tax rates, high tax thresholds, non-contribute pension schemes. You are the biggest tax avoiders in Europe, and here you sit pontificating. Well, the message is getting home to the people of the European Union. You’re going to find that euroskeptics are coming back in June in ever greater numbers — in ever greater numbers. And I can tell you worse, as the people get your number, it won’t be long before they storm this chamber and they hang you, and they’ll be right.”
The headline of the latest Gallup Poll on the subject says it all: “For First Time, Americans Favor Legalizing Marijuana.” Fully 58 percent of respondents agreed that “the use of marijuana should be made legal.” Not decriminalized, medicalized, or any other weasel-worded synonym to keep the squares and the cops and the addiction-industry lobbyists from getting the vapors and reaching for a legal chill pill. Legalized. This year’s figure represents a massive, 10-point bounce from last year and an even longer, stranger trip from 1969, the first year Gallup popped the question, when just 12 percent said pot ought to be sold like beer, wine, and alcohol.
The only voters by age that still just say no are folks 65 years and older, and no matter how regularly they vote, they’re facing the harshest buzz kill of all, the one imposed by the conqueror worm. They will be replaced over time by cohorts of pot-friendly citizens. Despite the continuing presence of ardent drug warriors such as Joe Biden, who effectively created the drug czar’s office, Gallup finds fully 65 percent of Democrats say yes to legal pot. So do 62 percent of independents, the single-largest bloc of voters in the U.S. A shamefully low 35 percent of Republicans are in favor of ending marijuana prohibition, but they will either change their tune on this issue or fade away into obscurity …
All it took was annually arresting as many as thee-quarters of a million Americans for simple possession of weed and conducting 50,000 SWAT raids a year by poorly trained, armed-to-the-teeth cops who seem more likely to shoot your dog or bust into the wrong house as nab your friendly neighborhood drug kingpin. And an economic downturn that suddenly made the $50 billion we spend a year on direct costs for the drug war finally seem too steep a price (never mind the incalculable and disproportional toll paid by minority families and communities). Depressions and recessions—not to mention ballooning budget deficits and mounting national debt—really help make the case for limited government.
It helped, too, that California voters first passed a medical marijuana law in 1996 and the idea—approved by about 80 percent of Americans—has since spread to 19 more states and the District of Columbia. No real trouble has ensued (unless you are a chronic pain patient living in a non-medical marijuana state) and use rates among kids or anyone else haven’t jacked up. And it’s helped that 48 percent of Americans ages 12 and older have tried an “illicit drug” (the government’s preferred term) at least once in their lifetime, overwhelmingly without becoming addicted or even using the substance again. Then there’s the last three presidents of these United States, all of whom are known drug users. Indeed, Sen. Barack Obama even yukked it up publicly about how inhaling “was the point,” not long before setting a record for busting medical marijuana dispensaries as president.
For all these reasons and many more, the war on pot is over. A large majority of Americans favor legalizing it and that’s not going to change. No politician is going to ever again gain votes or win an election by talking tough about pot.
And make no mistake: There is no war on drugs without the war on pot, which is the only illegal drug that anyone uses with any frequency. According to the government’sown stats, 7.2 percent of Americans cop to having smoked pot in the past 30 days, an imperfect but rough measure of regular use. The 30-day-use figures for other illegal—sorry, illicit—drugs are almost too small to measure: 0.1 percent for heroin, 0.2 percent for crack, 0.2 percent for methamphetamine, 0.1 percent for LSD, 0.2 percent for ecstasy. The only other substances that even top one percent are “nonmedical use of psychotherapeutics,” a category that includes prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin and anti-anxiety drugs such as Xanax. Even when bundled together, just 2.6 percent of Americans misuse prescription drugs in a given month.
Who supports keeping the drug-war gulag open to punish the 0.1 percent of acid eaters left in America, or even the 2.6 percent of sad-sack pill addicts? Lord knows we are slow to wisdom, but we’ve finally realized that prohibition exacerbates all the ills it’s supposed to prevent and only makes substance abusers less likely to seek treatment (who wants to admit to being a criminal on top of a junky?). The only question left—and it’s not a small one, for sure—is the one Secretary of State John Kerry asked as a Vietnam protester: Who’s going to be the last man to die for this mistake?
As in so many other urgent situations, Barack Obama’s widely praised ability to whip up sweet-and-sticky word-clouds of rhetorical cotton candy has abandoned him. In late August, nearly a year after Colorado and Washington state voters overwhelmingly rejected federal marijuana prohibition and legalize cannabis at the state level, the Obama Justice Department finally issued vague guidelines that kinda-sorta said that the feds wouldn’t prosecute producers and consumers of medical and recreational pot in states that had legalized such activities.
Unless, that is, the feds felt they should. As Tom Angell, the head of Marijuana Majority, told my Reason colleague Jacob Sullum, “My optimism is tempered by the fact that despite the Justice Department’s 2009 announcement that it shouldn’t be a priority to bust medical marijuana providers operating in accordance with state law, this administration went on to close down more state-legal marijuana businesses in one term than the Bush administration did in two terms.”
But who knows? As he struggles in his second term to fashion an unambiguous, unambivalent legacy, perhaps Obama will embrace the end of the drug war as his signature achievement, one that will surely outlive any political accomplishment of the 21st century so far.
Barack Obama and Joe Biden debate Barack Obama and Joe Biden on the filibuster. Who won? (Read more here)
It’s almost as if it were all about control, and politicians only care about checks on power when their party is not in the majority.
It’s difficult for the common partisan to acknowledge that he or she has been played this whole time, even when it is so obvious. To make such an acknowledgement would mean to undermine the very theology of the state that they have created. Too much of their dogmatic values are tied up in such beliefs, and their faith is unshakable in the face of truth and logic.
If a draft agreement between the Obama administration and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan is finalized, U.S. troops will remain in that country indefinitely — instead of being withdrawn at the end of 2014, as the administration has said.
This is a confession of failure. America’s longest war is nowhere near its end. …
The draft agreement … states,
This Agreement shall enter into force on January 1, 2015.… It shall remain in force until the end of 2024 and beyond, unless terminated pursuant to paragraph 4 of this Article [requiring two years written notice]. [Emphasis added.]
Under the proposed agreement, the U.S. government would continue to train, arm, and assist the Afghan military. “In addition,” the unsigned document continues, “the Parties acknowledge that continued U.S. military operations to defeat al-Qaeda and its affiliates may be appropriate and agree to continue their close cooperation and coordination toward that end.”
“Continued U.S. military operations” reportedly includes raids on the homes of Afghans, which have created so much anti-American sentiment. The issue of raids has held up a final agreement, but the New York Times reports that the logjam was broken when the Obama administration agreed to write a letter “acknowledging American military mistakes in Afghanistan and vowing not to repeat them.”
The Times said the two governments have agreed to terms “allowing American-led raids on Afghan homes under ‘extraordinary circumstances’ to save the lives of American soldiers.” …
Despite a $17 trillion national debt, American taxpayers will continue to be on the hook, as the agreement commits the U.S. government to
seek funds on a yearly basis to support the training, equipping, advising and sustaining of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), so that Afghanistan can independently secure and defend itself against internal and external threats, and help ensure that terrorists never again encroach on Afghan soil and threaten Afghanistan, the region, and the world.
One wonders how independent Afghanistan can be if Americans are footing the bill. …
Under the terms of the agreement, the U.S. government would continue to be the guarantor of Afghanistan’s sovereignty and its authoritarian regime, a commitment that could endanger Americans, as well as cost them much money. …
Thousands of Afghan noncombatants have died in the 12-year war, yet Afghanistan remains a dangerous place, and reports of U.S. progress are not merely gross exaggerations, but outright lies. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and its offshoots have spread to Iraq, Syria, the Arabian Peninsula, and Africa.
In other words, the U.S. government has lost a war it never should have begun.
Further U.S.-inflicted bloodshed will do nothing but make matters worse. It’s time for the U.S. military to leave.
I wonder where Obama keeps his Nobel Peace Prize. Does he proudly display it next to his bowling trophies and his Certificate of Completion from that HTML course he took or does he tuck it away in a sock drawer?