Friday, February 3, 2017

U.S. Should Stay Out of Syria: ‘Safe Zones’ Aren’t Safe for Americans

By Doug Bandow

During the Republican primaries Donald Trump was almost alone in resisting the call for U.S. military intervention in Syria. While some of his competitors advocated shooting down Russian planes, Trump pledged to focus on ISIS. Yet he recently promised to “absolutely do safe zones in Syria,” which would put American forces in the middle of Syria’s civil war—apparently fighting on behalf of people he won’t allow to enter the U.S.
The Obama administration’s Syria policy was a failure, but of intervention, not isolation. For instance, Washington unintentionally fueled the conflict by calling for Assad’s ouster and offering the hope of Western support after protests erupted in 2011. Both sides saw less reason to negotiate.
Restless hawks on both right and left called for U.S. military action. They presumed that a few bombs on the right targets would wipe away the Assad regime, enabling pro-Western forces to establish a tolerant democracy, strengthening American influence, safeguarding Israeli security, and undercutting Iran’s Islamist regime.


In the Trump Administration, Islamophobia Is Truly a Family Affair

By Patrick G. Eddington

With the arrival of Sebastian Gorka at the White House, another Islamophobe has joined Team Trump. But first, some background on the significance of this latest personnel move.
As The Intercept noted in November, his wife, Katharine Gorka, a political commentator with well-established anti-Muslim views, would be joining the Trump administration’s “DHS landing team”—the group responsible for vetting future Department of Homeland Security appointees. Like her husband, Gorka is a contributing writer at Breitbart, the far right media outlet previously run by Stephen Bannon. In her writings, Gorka has claimed that:


Gorsuch Is a Jurisprudential Rock Star

By Ilya Shapiro

Neil Gorsuch is a singularly fascinating pick for the current Supreme Court. That may be a strange thing to say about a federal judge who graduated from Harvard Law School, like all the other justices. (Except those who went to Yale, and Elena Kagan, who was solicitor general—the government’s top lawyer at the Court, commonly called “the Tenth Justice”—rather than a judge.)
I’m not even talking about the diversity that the Coloradan would bring to the high court, as the only Protestant on a bench of Catholics and Jews, the only “genuine Westerner” — to quote the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who didn’t count California — and the only holder of a doctorate (in legal philosophy, from Oxford).


Over the Edge and into the Abyss for US-China Trade Relations?

By Daniel J. Ikenson

Trade frictions are nothing new to the U.S.-China relationship. Over the years they’ve ebbed and flowed, but were managed with enough deft to avoid major meltdowns. That seems likely to change under President Donald Trump, an economic nationalist who sees trade as a zero-sum game and the United States emerging “the winner” of a trade war with China.
Since China runs a large bilateral trade surplus with the United States, Trump believes the United States has enormous leverage to compel changes in China’s behavior by threatening and imposing trade restrictions. Trump has support for this provocative tack — a “mandate to blow things up,” as it’s been described — but it would constitute a major departure from over 80 years of U.S. trade policy orthodoxy. It could also devastate the global economy.


Cut Corporate Taxes and Corporate Welfare

By Chris Edwards, Romina Boccia, and Tom Schatz

President Donald Trump is prioritizing major tax reforms, including a large corporate tax rate cut. The cut has broad support and promises to spur growth, but it will face political opposition if it widens the already rising budget deficit. As such, President Trump would do well to pair his corporate tax cut with a cut in “corporate welfare” spending.
Trump promised to “drain the swamp” of Washington special interests, and a great way to do that would be to cut government hand-outs to businesses. We can make American corporations great again by cutting their tax burdens and weaning them off subsidies.


The End Of The Obama World Order


Barack Obama Looking Into A Mirror - Public Domain
For the past eight years, Barack Obama has been using the power of the U.S. presidency to impose his vision of a progressive world order on the entire globe.  As a result, much of the planet will greatly celebrate once the Obama era officially ends on Friday.  The Obama years brought us the Arab Spring, Benghazi, ISIS, civil war in Syria, civil war in Ukraine and the Iran nuclear deal.  On the home front, we have had to deal with Obamacare, “Fast and Furious”, IRS targeting of conservative groups, Solyndra, the VA scandal, NSA spying and the worst “economic recovery” since the end of World War II.  And right at the end of his presidency, Barack Obama has committed the greatest betrayal of Israel in U.S. history and has brought us dangerously close to war with Russia.
So is the end of the Obama world order worth celebrating?
You better believe it is.


10 Ways That Donald Trump Could Try To Reverse The Curse That Obama Has Put On America


trump-wall
When Barack Obama betrayed Israel at the United Nations, that put a curse on our nation.  But that doesn’t mean that we have to stay cursed.  In the coming days, the new Trump administration should immediately start taking steps to reverse the curse that we are under as a result of what Obama has done.  Perhaps if Donald Trump takes strong enough steps to try to undo what Obama has done, instead of being cursed we can once again return to being blessed.
One thing that Trump will not be able to undo is UN Security Council Resolution 2334.  It would take another UN Security Council resolution to undo it, and the votes simply wouldn’t be there.  UN Security Council Resolution 2334 passed by a vote of 14 to zero with the U.S. abstaining.  And even if Trump could miraculously pull together enough votes, one of the other permanent members of the Security Council (Russia, China, the UK or France) could just veto it.


Employment Boom: 10 Companies That Have Promised To Add Jobs In The United States Since Trump Was Elected


Hiring - Public Domain
One of the primary things that Trump’s presidency will be judged upon is his ability to encourage the creation of good paying jobs for American workers, and so far the results have been quite promising.  Since Trump’s surprise election victory in November, a whole bunch of companies have either promised to bring jobs back into the country or have pledged to create new ones.  Ultimately time will tell if those jobs actually materialize, but for the moment there is a tremendous amount of optimism in the air.  In fact, I don’t know if we have ever seen anything quite like this at the beginning of a new presidency.  The following are 10 companies that have promised to add jobs in the United States since the election of Donald Trump…


The United States Is On The Precipice Of Widespread Civil Unrest


SFO Muslim Ban Protest - Photo by Quinn Norton
It doesn’t take much of a trigger to push extremely large crowds of very angry protesters into committing acts of rioting and violence.  And rioting and violence can ultimately lead to widespread civil unrest and calls for “revolution”.  The election of Donald Trump was perhaps the single most galvanizing moment for the radical left in modern American history, and we have already seen that a single move by Trump can literally cause protests to erupt from coast to coast within 48 hours.  On Friday, Trump signed an executive order that banned refugees from Syria indefinitely and that placed a 90 day ban on travel to the United States for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.  Within hours, protesters began to storm major airports, and by Sunday very large crowds were taking to the streets all over the country


Gorsuch Will Not Shift The Balance Of Power On The Supreme Court As Much As You May Think

By Michael Snyder

Neil Gorsuch And Donald Trump - Public DomainOn Tuesday, President Trump announced that he would nominate Neil Gorsuch to fill the open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.  Gorsuch currently serves on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, and he was confirmed unanimously by the Senate when he was appointed to that position by President George W. Bush in 2006.  Gorsuch appears to have some strong similarities to Antonin Scalia, and many conservatives are hoping that when Gorsuch fills Scalia’s seat that it will represent a shift in the balance of power on the Supreme Court.  Because for almost a year, the court has been operating with only eight justices.  Four of them were nominated by Republican presidents and four of them were nominated by Democrats, and so many Republicans are anticipating that there will now be a Supreme Court majority for conservatives.


How Fascism Comes to America

How Fascism Comes to America

How Fascism Comes to America
 
I think there are really only two good reasons for having a significant amount of money: To maintain a high standard of living and to ensure your personal freedom. There are other, lesser reasons, of course, including: to prove you can do it, to compensate for failings in other things, to impress others, to leave a legacy, to help perpetuate your genes, or maybe because you just can't think of something better to do with your time.
But I'll put aside those lesser motives, which I tend to view as psychological foibles. Basically, money gives you the freedom to do what you'd like – and when, how, and with whom you prefer to do it. Money allows you to have things and do things and can even assist you to be something you want to be. Unfortunately, money is a chimera in today's world and will wind up savaging billions in the years to come.


20/20

by Jeff Thomas

20/20
 
In 1978, ABC News created a new programme in the US, named for the “20/20” measurement of visual acuity. For 38 years, the programme has remained popular through its format of in-depth news stories.

20,000

The 20/20 number is itself of significance in the present year’s news events. In January of this year, the Dow closed above 20,000 for the first time in history. New President Donald Trump glowed in the event, which many of his supporters say is due to the expectations of what his presidency will do for business.
If, however, we measure the Dow against the price of gold (the foremost measure of wealth for the last several thousand years) the Dow presently comes in at roughly 18.1 ounces of gold. However, the Dow reached its peak as compared to gold in 1999, at 49 ounces. Since that time, the Dow has fallen more than 62%.


Will Donald Trump Reverse the War on Cash?

Will Donald Trump Reverse the War on Cash?

Will Donald Trump Reverse the War on Cash?
 
I recently sat down with my friend Jason Burack from Wall St for Main St.
Jason and I had an in-depth discussion on the decline of globalism, the War on Cash, and more.
I think you’ll enjoy our conversation.
Until next time,
Nick Giambruno
Senior Editor
International Man

Jason Burack: It seems that globalism may be on the retreat. What’s your opinion about that, in light of Brexit, Donald Trump winning, and the Italian referendum failing?
Nick Giambruno: I think you’re right, Jason. Right now globalism is on the decline. But let’s define “globalism” before I explain why. This word gets thrown around a lot. But most people don’t really know what it means.
It’s very simple. Globalism is the centralization of power into a couple of global institutions: the EU, the United Nations, the IMF, the World Bank, NAFTA, NATO, and so on. It’s really just a polite way of describing world government, or what George H.W. Bush termed the New World Order.
I think globalism and the centralization of power is always a bad thing. People who value individual freedom and economic freedom… really, freedom in general, should oppose it.
It’s an interesting moment in history. Those three things you just mentioned—Brexit, Trump, and the failure of the Italian referendum—are clear signs that globalism is losing steam.
Whether it’s a sort of one step back, two steps forward thing or the ideology of globalism is really on its way out remains to be seen.


The Great Depression

by Hans F. Sennholz

Although the Great Depression engulfed the world economy many years ago, it lives on as a nightmare for individuals old enough to remember and as a frightening specter in the textbooks of our youth.
Some 13 million Americans were unemployed, "not wanted" in the production process. One worker out of every four was walking the streets in want and despair. Thousands of banks, hundreds of thousands of businesses, and millions of farmers fell into bankruptcy or ceased operations entirely.
Nearly everyone suffered painful losses of wealth and income.
Many Americans are convinced that the Great Depression reflected the breakdown of an old economic order built on unhampered markets, unbridled competition, speculation, property rights, and the profit motive. According to them, the Great Depression proved the inevitability of a new order built on government intervention, political and bureaucratic control, human rights, and government welfare. Such persons, under the influence of Keynes, blame businessmen for precipitating depressions by their selfish refusal to spend enough money to maintain or improve the people's purchasing power. This is why they advocate vast governmental expenditures and deficit spending — resulting in an age of money inflation and credit expansion.
Classical economists learned a different lesson. In their view, the Great Depression consisted of four consecutive depressions rolled into one. The causes of each phase differed, but the consequences were all the same: business stagnation and unemployment.


Hyperinflation in Germany, 1914-1923

Hyperinflation in Germany, 1914-1923



The German inflation of 1914–1923 had an inconspicuous beginning, a creeping rate of one to two percent. On the first day of the war, the German Reichsbank, like the other central banks of the belligerent powers, suspended redeemability of its notes in order to prevent a run on its gold reserves.
Like all the other banks, it offered assistance to the central government in financing the war effort. Since taxes are always unpopular, the German government preferred to borrow the needed amounts of money rather than raise its taxes substantially. To this end it was readily assisted by the Reichsbank, which discounted most treasury obligations.
A growing percentage of government debt thus found its way into the vaults of the central bank and an equivalent amount of printing press money into people's cash holdings. In short, the central bank was monetizing the growing government debt.
By the end of the war the amount of money in circulation had risen fourfold and prices some 140 percent. Yet the German mark had suffered no more than the British pound, was somewhat weaker than the American dollar but stronger than the French franc. Five years later, in December 1923, the Reichsbank had issued 496.5 quintillion marks, each of which had fallen to one-trillionth of its 1914 gold value.1


Democracy Has Been Weaponized. By Ralph Raico


THE AUSTRIAN: Among those of us who are very laissez-faire, Europe’s liberal nineteenth century seems like ancient history, and people like Richard Cobden seem to be incredibly far from what is now the mainstream. And yet, leftists seem to believe that “neoliberalism” (i.e., the ideology of “limited government”) is making gains everywhere. Can you put things into perspective for us? Historically speaking, how much cache does liberalism have right now?
RALPH RAICO: Yes, today Cobden is far from the mainstream, which is a pity. He was the best classical liberal (or libertarian) theorist of international relations who ever lived, and his incisive critiques of the greatest empire of his day, Britain’s, are totally pertinent to the greatest empire of our own time, America’s.
Leftists generally have been mistaken regarding our philosophy. What is called “neoliberalism” is in reality simply a center-right point of view, far from what authentic liberalism meant historically — so-called neoliberals include the Christian Democrats in Germany and Italy, for instance, and the Conservatives in Britain. The true anti-state position is represented by a number of relatively small groups, most of them associated with or inspired by the Mises Institute itself.


Rethinking Churchill. By Ralph Raico

Churchill as Icon

When, in a very few years, the pundits start to pontificate on the great question: “Who was the Man of the Century?” there is little doubt that they will reach virtually instant consensus. Inevitably, the answer will be: Winston Churchill. Indeed, Professor Harry Jaffa has already informed us that Churchill was not only the Man of the Twentieth Century, but the Man of Many Centuries.[1]
In a way, Churchill as Man of the Century will be appropriate. This has been the century of the State — of the rise and hypertrophic growth of the welfare-warfare state — and Churchill was from first to last a Man of the State, of the welfare state and of the warfare state. War, of course, was his lifelong passion; and, as an admiring historian has written: “Among his other claims to fame, Winston Churchill ranks as one of the founders of the welfare state.”[2] Thus, while Churchill never had a principle he did not in the end betray,[3] this does not mean that there was no slant to his actions, no systematic bias. There was, and that bias was towards lowering the barriers to state power.


Liberals have no case against Gorsuch

Liberals have at their disposal three kinds of arguments against confirming Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
They can say that the mainstream judicial conservatism that he undoubtedly represents is dangerously wrong. A lot of liberals probably believe this. But most people find that argument unreasonable, so few liberals make it.¹
They can say that Gorsuch should not be confirmed to keep Republicans from being rewarded for their refusal even to consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland for the same seat on the Supreme Court. But voters didn’t much care about Garland’s plight last year, when his nomination was live, and are unlikely to care more about it now.
Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch watches as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley (R-IA) speaks to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch watches as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley (R-IA) speaks to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
This leaves door number three: Liberals can pretend that Gorsuch is a far-right extremist. Many liberals are rushing right in.


Can Trump really go after the ‘bad hombres’ in Mexico?

Both sides deny it, but the Associated Press reports that President Trump warned Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in their phone call that if Mexico did not do something about the “bad hombres down there,” Trump might just send American forces to Mexico to “take care of it.”
Team Trump says his comments were “lighthearted” and not meant as a threat. Peña Nieto’s spokesman says, “It is absolutely false that the president of the United States threatened to send troops to Mexico.” CNN reports that Trump actually offered to help, saying, “You have some pretty tough hombres in Mexico that you may need help with. We are willing to help with that big-league, but they have to be knocked out and you have not done a good job knocking them out.”
A general view shows part of the Loma Blanca neighbourhood as a section of the border fence marking the boundarie with El Paso, U.S. is seen on the background, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico January 18, 2017. Picture taken January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo.
A general view shows part of the Loma Blanca neighbourhood as a section of the border fence marking the boundarie with El Paso, US is seen on the background, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico January 18, 2017. Picture taken January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo.

Trump is keeping his promises

Donald Trump’s second week as president has been full of surprises and sturm und drang.
His Friday afternoon executive order barring for 90 days immigration from seven countries designated by the Obama administration was obviously ill-vetted and prompted nationwide and international protests. His Tuesday night nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court triggered well-rehearsed protests but also some unexpected support.
Both of Trump’s actions were in line with his campaign promises and were executed without the leaks so common in Washington. Both elicited outraged reaction, including some transparently spurious arguments. But Trump seems likely to come out the winner, politically and on substance.
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with representatives of Harley-Davidson, including CEO Matthew Levatich (R), at the White House in Washington, U.S. February 2, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with representatives of Harley-Davidson, including CEO Matthew Levatich (R), at the White House in Washington, U.S. February 2, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
The immigration order was widely and inaccurately labeled a “Muslim ban” — a policy Trump advocated on the campaign trail, but abandoned many months before he was nominated and elected.
Many protesters argued that any limit based on nationality or religion is “un-American.” But American law has long given preference to those persecuted for their religion. And asserting that discriminating by nationality is verboten is only a short step from the proposition that everyone in the world has a right to move to the United States.