Wednesday, March 04, 2015

America Must Reject Netanyahu’s War Cry on Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to Washington this week to prepare the American people for war against Iran. Backed by American neoconservatives, the Israel lobby, and assorted other war hawks, Netanyahu insists that Iran intends to build a nuclear weapon and thus is an “existential threat” to Israel. He has no confidence that President Obama will negotiate an agreement that once and for all will end Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions.
Thus the prime minister’s objective is nothing less than to wreck the current negotiations and push America into a regime-changing war against Iran.
Netanyahu’s narrative is a fabric of lies and omissions.
Read it here.

Friday, February 27, 2015

TGIF: The War of 1812 Was the Health of the State

 Even a war that appears justifiable — Britain conscripted Americans into its navy and interfered with commerce — had enduring illiberal domestic consequences beyond the immediate transgressions of taxes, debt, and trade embargoes — dangerous precedents were set.
Read it here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Domestic Fear Is the Price of Empire

If you find no other argument against American intervention abroad persuasive, how about this one? When the U.S. government invades and occupies other countries, or when it underwrites other governments’ invasions or oppression, the people in the victimized societies become angry enough to want and even to exact revenge — against Americans. 
Is the American empire worth that price? 
We should ask ourselves this question in the wake of the weekend news that al-Shabaab, the militant Islamist organization that rules parts of Somalia ISIS-style, appeared to encourage attacks at American (and Canadian) shopping malls.
Read it here.

TGIF: The Economic Way of Thinking about Health Care

I realize Mike Lupica is a sports columnist — and that Howard Cosell called sports “the toy department of life” — but maybe that’s what makes Lupica’s recent declaration about Obamacare all the more representative a reaction. Appearing on a morning cable news program, Lupica declared that “health insurance for all is a noble idea.” He repeated this a few times, apparently to make sure we all heard it. 
What’s curious is that it was all he felt he needed to say. It’s a noble idea. Period. If you can’t say something nice about it, say nothing at all. 
Apparently it’s of no interest to him what the term health insurance actually represents today. Of even less interest is how this noble idea is to be achieved under the Affordable Care Act, namely, through the exercise of force, specifically the government’s taxing power.
Read it here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Foreign Policy Failure Everywhere

If one tried to design a foreign policy to embroil Americans in endless conflicts that would otherwise be quite remote, one could hardly do better than recent presidents of the United States. What could you do that these men have not done to keep Americans mired in distant turmoil?
Read it here.

Friday, February 13, 2015

TGIF: The Inherently Humble Libertarian

You would think that the advocates of a philosophy of political economy that embraces spontaneous social order, bottom-up rule-making based on peaceful voluntary exchange, and even competing polycentric law at least at some level would be safe from the charge of conceit. How conceited can someone be who forswears compelling other people to live in certain ways, expressing a willingness — no, an eagerness — to leave that to peaceful cooperation among free individuals? Making the “knowledge problem” a centerpiece of one’s worldview is hardly the mark of arrogance. Quite the contrary.
Yet critics of the libertarian philosophy throw the charge of know-it-allness at its exponents all the time. It’s the go-to criticism. When counterarguments fail, accuse the libertarian of hubris.
Read it here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Brian Williams Helped Pave the Way to War

The scandal of the week is NBC anchor Brian Williams’s shabby bid for self-glorification by falsely claiming he was in a U.S. military helicopter forced to land in the Iraqi desert after being hit by ground fire in 2003. Of course so-called news people shouldn’t make up stuff to look good, but there’s something much worse: uncritically passing along official lies intended to prepare the American people for war.
Read it here.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Alledgedly

On Twitter I asked Mika Brzezinski, cohost of MSNBC's Morning Joe, why she referred to "American hero Chris Kyle" rather than "alleged American hero Chris Kyle." Of course I received no answer, but I am reminded of newsman Don Fulsom. He was a rookie news reader at a Buffalo, N.Y., radio station when he was fired after beginning his Easter-morning broadcast with these words:
Today, millions of Christians around the world are celebrating the alleged resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Not that I think Brzezinski said what she said for fear of being fired. She probably believes that Kyle was a real hero.