Hating Energy Dependence, Not Loving Energy Independence

Hating Energy Dependence, Not Loving Energy Independence.

I worked on this piece on and off from November 30th to January 21st. I wrote the bulk of it on the first day, and most of the editing since then had been cosmetic. It is somewhat related to a project I was helping a friend with, although that is not the reason I wrote it. This piece originally appeared on January 21st at Notes on Liberty, where it was my first for that blog.

WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT ENERGY DEPENDENCE?

Contrary to what one might be led to think, energy independence need not be the opposite of energy (inter)dependence. Likewise, contrary to what many advocates of free markets and free trade will say, energy dependence (perhaps not their choice of words), is not a good thing. Energy interdependence certainly can be a good thing, but in today’s world I can’t agree that every instance of it always is. Continue reading

One Year Later at PTPOL

One Year Later at PTPOL.

Well, this blog has been registered at WordPress.com for one year now. It took a while to get it off the ground, but it hit the ground running. (How’s that for a mixed – and contradictory – metaphor, by the way?) Click here to learn more about the blog, and here to learn a little bit about it’s author.

140 posts, 6,602 views, 482 comments, 200 WordPress likes, 192 Facebook likes, 54 followers on WordPress, 1150 followers on Twitter.

Not bad for an amateur one-man team, right? Well, its the readers that are more to thank. Without them there really is no point in writing.

Continue reading

Pearl Harbor! Why?

Pearl Harbor! Why?.

World War Two, the last war in which the United States declared its entry in accordance to the Constitution (as in Congress says there is a war and prescribes specifically who against and why, not the UN, not NATO, not the international community, not the president on his own, not the president with Congress making a law giving itself the authority to turn a blind eye ). The Second World War. Not a just war, at least as it pertains to United States entry, but at least a technically “legal” one.

What were the reasons for going to war? There are likely several theories (one of which I formulated myself, but make no claims to being the first). One of them listed here is generally accepted but rests on very shaky ground. Another (also listed) is conventional wisdom, is true even, but relies on circular logic, and the next three I have listed are more plausible but get less play in mainstream circles. They might even be considered conspiratorial. Even more so for the last theory. Until, that is, they are compared to theories that blame the Illuminati or the Jews or the Reptilians among us, which, sorry to tell you, are not listed here.

1. Adolf Hitler was a madman and the Roosevelt Administration and Congress were far sighted enough to realize that if the United States did not go to war (using Germany’s ally, Japan as a pretext), there would be no stopping der Führer from his designs of world conquest. You mainly read this one or very similar ones in the comments section on websites.

This is all so very sensational, and equally absurd. Hitler still had to face down the mighty Soviets (it is true the Soviets suffered the worst losses of the war but they had not yet begun to fight), and his empire was far from a stable one. It remains possible that FDR and company thought Hitler was going to subjugate the entire world, but those arguing this case are likely just projecting pure motives on a man who is their hero for reasons other than his foreign policy. Let me be blunt: Franklin Delano Roosevelt was no hero. He was an effective leader, and by that I mean a tyrant, but not a hero. His administration was probably one of the least transparent, most dishonest, administrations in history, and while some think that his ends were good and therefore all of this is justified, my opinion is that neither his means nor his ends were all that noble.

2. The United States went to war with Japan because Japan provoked the United States. Another mainstream (but less exaggerated) explanation.

This is true on the surface because the declaration of war, in point of fact, did indeed come after the attack on Pearl Harbor. But it is far more accurate to say that Japan went to war with the United States because the United States provoked Japan. Japan made war first by attacking Pearl Harbor (this day 71 years ago), and the United States had little choice but to either lose face and back off from its provocations of Japan or double down and go to war. The same choice that the Japanese faced as a result of the embargoes and sanctions placed on them by the United States and other Western powers. Needless to say, rather than dishonor themselves by relinquishing their conquests Japan chose instead to attack United States soil, shifting the pressure to someone else. Predictably enough, the United States followed suit. This theory still begs the original question. Why?

3. The United States was doing the bidding of other Western Powers, specifically Anglo-Dutch economic interests, and deliberately provoked Japan to war in order to help the governments, economic interests, and allies of Great Britain and Holland (and the Dutch government in exile) to maintain their colonial and petroleum holdings in Southeast Asia. I like to think of this theory as my own, but it doesn’t seem like it would be that hard for anyone to see the connections.

This sounds awfully conspiratorial, but it follows the same trend of many later US interventions (at least three with Iran, four with Iraq, and two with Libya). The events leading up to Pearl Harbor are compatible with this theory, but don’t necessarily prove it.

4. The United States was doing the bidding of Great Britain, just as it had clearly done it World War One, and was brought in as an ally against Germany, but because Germany had no clear quarrel (at least not one worth it for them to declare war over) with us, needed a pretext and used Japan’s attacks (which were provoked, perhaps deliberately) for one. This is LaRouche type of stuff, but again, it is not hard to see the connections. In my humble opinion, the assertion that World War One was entered by the United States as a favor to Great Britain is beyond reproach (not to mention that it dovetails rather nicely with the passing of the Federal Reserve and Liberty Bond acts, which greatly aided the attempts by the United States to bail out Great Britain after the war, but those might just be convenient coincidences).

Another one with questionable merit at first glance, but again borne out by the US foreign policy trends. United States involvement in World War One was largely the result of the pleading of Great Britain. It is also consistent with Germany’s response to US declaration of War on Japan. In World War Two, Germany avoided declaring war on the United States until after the United States declared war on Japan. But they did declare war first (between Germany and the US). Why would Germany do something so ill-advised? One possible answer is hubris. There is probably some truth to that but it still seems to be missing something. Another possibility is that Germany knew that the United States going to war with Japan was little more than a pretext for war with Germany. According to this line of thinking, war with the United States was inevitable. Why delay it any further? By the same token, if the United States had never gone to war with Japan, it may be that the Germans would never had declared war on the United States.

5. The United States was doing the bidding of the USSR, and drew Japan into war with itself so the Soviets would only have to fight on one front, that of Germany. This theory seems to come originally from Waldo Heinrichs (died 1959), from which work I do not know.

Again I will point to trends. The Yalta Conference (which destroyed the entire British excuse for declaring war on Germany, the liberation of Eastern Europe), the events resulting from Japanese surrender and Allied Occupation of Japan (more communist footholds in Kuomintang/nationalist China resulting in Mao’s Peoples’ Republic of China and the death of 70 million people, diplomatic tensions between mainland China and the US over the Republic of China/Taiwan even in the present day, the Korean War as well as the North’s current criminally insane dictatorship, the Viet Nam War, the Cambodian-Vietnamese War, and the Khmer Rouge’s murder of  2 million in Cambodia, but who’s counting?), and the disgustingly warm Anglo-American-Soviet relations at almost all levels (civil government, military, academia, labor , and even big business) prior to, and at times even during, the Cold War, are consistent with this theory.

6. Japan was the pretext for US involvement in World War Two, but the reason for entering the war at all was to provide a form of public works based economic stimulus, the intention either being recovery from the Great Depression (which was rooted in World War One involvement) or distraction from it (and the domestic policies that deepened and broadened it). Regardless of what was intended by this Keynesian experiment, it seems only to have succeeded in the latter. This argument is usually, but not always made in a retroactive way. As though the “fact” that World War Two led to economic recovery is another reason to justify involvement.

I do not know how strong of a theory this is in terms of the thoughts going through the heads of the Roosevelt Administration and the Democratic Congress. Surely military Keynesianism, whether espoused by Keynes himself or not, was a predictable outcome of a world war even prior to the war. There is no reason that peaceful and wartime spending should have different effects, or that world leaders wouldn’t be aware of that fact. And as Keynes was advocating the former since the 1920s and was taken seriously by the British and American governments in the 1930s, it is not a stretch to think that any stimulative spending, including war, could be motivated by or rationalized on Keynesian ideas.

If someone has alternative theories that they have heard or discovered, or reasons why any of the ones listed above are complete  nonsense, I would love to hear from them. I am temporarily revoking Godwin’s law (actually it is a “law” modeled after the immutable laws of physics, but for the sake of having fun I’ll treat it as a prohibition that has been lifted) for just this post, so fire away.

I have consulted Wikipedia, and yes, my memory of events, for the material facts, and beyond that only this piece.

I have written about some of these things and related matters herehere, and here as well. There will be more to come, including a post on energy independence, which is finished and just needs an opportune moment in which to be showcased.

Tea Party Heroes Ron And Rand Paul Make For A Bitter Brew; Seventh Response

Tea Party Heroes Ron And Rand Paul Make For A Bitter Brew; Seventh Response.

The following is the seventh paragraph of Barry Germansky’s op-ed Tea Party Heroes Ron and Rand Paul Make for a Bitter Brew, from earlier this year, interspersed with my rebuttals from within the last few days.

BARRY GERMANSKY: The Pauls’ default stance of misrepresenting the historical record also helps them peddle the absurd Austrian School idea to deregulate all private businesses and subsequently create a utopian free market.

HENRY MOORE: We have already dealt with the historical record, which you have ignored, but must you now ignore the point of science (economics is a social science, one for which there are many competing theories)? You are here misrepresenting the Austrian School of Economics. To quote Walter BlockNo, Austrian economists can’t oppose or favor anything. To say that they do is to violate the normative positive distinction. Austrians are limited to saying that a given policy will have thus and thus effects; they logically cannot say, qua Austrians, that a policy is good or bad, nor may they favor or oppose it, again qua Austrian economists. Certainly, they can do so as citizens, as ethicists, as philosophers, but economics per se is and must be value free, despite the fact that this stricture is all too often violated, as in the present case.”

So Austrians do not oppose or favor any policy, such as deregulation, privatization, “utopian” free markets, as Austrians. They may do so as libertarians, which many Austrian economists are in varying degrees, but not as members of the economics profession, regardless of the school they find the most useful. Why is adherence to the Austrian school or other free market theories, and to libertarianism often found in the same people? Emphasis on such things as individual choice and individual action, as well as the fact that utility (relative to societal norms) applied to knowledge gleaned from the scientific theory, and the morality of the philosophical/political theory often lead to compatible conclusions.

A general example would be where policy a leads to unintended result b, an Austrian neither favors nor opposes policy a in and of itself, rather its merit depends on whether result b is in line with the original intent of policy a and/or the societal norms that the policy derives from or is in reaction to. To the scientist, the policy and its result have no moral value relative to science, only relative to the purported intentions of the policy in question. To the philosopher, especially one coming from a framework that values liberty highly, the Austrian (though not as an Austrian) may oppose the policy (and favor alternatives) on those grounds, regardless of whether or not he favors or opposes them (or remains objective, in the case of science) on other grounds.

A specific example following these same lines would be economically interventionist policies that intend to increase homeownership rates because the societal norm is that home ownership is a worthy and valuable goal, which then have the result of decreasing homeownership or stopping the growth of home ownership in the long run, or that have myriad other unwelcome (by society, not necessarily the scientist, who is mostly an observer) effects that outweigh those results considered more positive. The Austrian that is also a libertarian might oppose these policies on the grounds that public policies favoring one group (generally socio-ecnomic, ethno-cultural, political, or regional) at the expense of others necessarily violates the rights of the those in other groups. I just described to you the Housing Bubble and ensuing economic crisis.

[It is sometimes observed that Austrian school luminary Ludwig von Mises, though libertarian in his conclusions, was very much a utilitarian/consequentialist, and when coming to conclusions about the moral worth of a policy, applied this to his scientific knowledge, rather than a deontological libertarianism apart from his scientific knowledge. This is somewhat true, taking into account semantics, but upon further study, when all is put into context, the label is somewhat of an oversimplification.]

Furthermore, your idea of regulation is arbitrary. Because there is a public policy and it is called a “regulation,” that automatically means it regulates? No. Often so called “regulations” create irregularities, and occasionally the blame for economic crises rests on their shoulders. The free market, on the other hand, is capable of regulating without the aid of government so-called experts. Markets can regulate themselves because each person only needs knowledge about a small portion of that which affects him, whereas central planners can not regulate markets because there are far fewer of them and by comparison the knowledge required is too vast for them to master, in a given point in time, let only keep tabs on throughout a large span of time. This is an overly simplistic way of looking at it, of course, but when one clearly can not even grasp this concept, up till now I hope, it is pointless to delve much further. Though I have attempted to do so hereherehereherehereherehere, and here.

BARRY GERMANSKY: The Pauls refuse to believe that deregulation caused the Great Depression and the 2008 recession, despite vast quantities of evidence to the contrary.

HENRY MOORE: There is hardly any evidence (it is certainly not vast) that deregulation caused the Great Depression or the 2008 Recession, unless of course we see deregulation (which is often cleverly misused to refer to not only deregulation, but regulation, reform, and combinations of all the aforementioned) as a mitigating factor (e.g., rapid deregulation of a sector accustomed to regulation can indeed cause “problems,”; a separate issue entirely is the fact that these “problems,” though painful for some, are necessary to liquidate malinvestments and to shift misallocations, and that without these temporary wounds reopening, worse infections would fester).

In fact, it is more accurate to blame regulations. I use the term loosely (but nowhere near as loosely as some use the term “deregulation”) to refer to such things (during the 2008 Recession) as the Federal Reserve’s Dual Mandate of price stability and low unemployment, manipulation of interest and exchange and tax rates, price controls, implicit bailouts (this is the  type of regulation most commonly ignored by progressive-types griping about the so-called “repeal” of the Glass-Steagall Act, which often bears the brunt of the blame for the 2008 Recession), the Community Reinvestment Act and related or similar laws, the financial actions of certain Government Sponsored Entities, and the exacerbation of the ensuing problems with things like explicit bailouts, stimulus, and Quantitative Easing.

BARRY GERMANSKY: Following the Great Depression, when FDR introduced strict, compartmentalized regulation of the marketplace, the United States enjoyed a forty-year period of virtually uninterrupted growth, transforming the country into a superpower.

HENRY MOORE: The growth was not the result of any regulations, it was the result of a reinvigorated post-world war private sector, which had been stifled by the Hoover and Roosevelt economic and foreign policies in the 1930s and early 1940s. Without these policies the boom would have been that much sooner and by the time in question that much bigger. This is part of the reason the US became a superpower (it already was prior to the Great Depression, but after World War Two, increasingly so), but just as significant was what occurred with World War Two. The United States was comparatively insulated from the world wars in terms of structural damage. So it recovered from them more readily than the other superpowers, those in Europe and Asia. The competition, even that from the other supposed superpower, the Soviet Union, simply did not compare.

BARRY GERMANSKY: Then, when Reagan took office in the 1980s, he was aided by Alan Greenspan and company to remove the historically-proven regulations.

HENRY MOORE: The regulations were not historically proven. They led to the end of Bretton Woods in 1971, and the regulations imposed because of that (which were diminished some by Carter, Reagan, and Volcker), including wage and price controls, and the slow unravelling of the currency, both of which were major factors in 1970s Stagflation.

A lot of the regulations that Reagan got rid of were not just FDR’s. Some of them were also Nixon’s. Paul Volcker (under Carter and Reagan) actually did more to deregulate than Greenspan (only briefly under Reagan, more closely associated with Bush Senior, Clinton, and Bush Junior) ever did. A lot of Reagan’s policies, including deficit spending were the opposite you make them out to be. Supply-side economics is not the same thing as free market economics. Any “economics” that puts too much (i.e., artificial) emphasis on either the supply side or the demand side (or on both as they are not mutually exclusive) is liable to create distortions. It is true that supply drives demand, but this does not mean supply should be propped up in any way by government. For the record, supply-side economics is subtle corporate welfare (as opposed to that which artificially prop up demand which is things like wage and price controls and welfare for the poor) and has been practiced by every administration and Congress going back for decades, including FDR, often in combination with more policies aimed at propping up demand.

Greenspan’s policies were far from free market reforms. For a former proponent of the gold standard and follower of Ayn Rand, he had comparatively little to show for it in his actual policies, often moving in the opposite direction.

BARRY GERMANSKY: This helped big businesses make more profits while sending the rest of America into the gutter. This culminated in the 2008 recession.

HENRY MOORE: So is it deregulation or profit that causes recessions? Which is it? Didn’t small businesses get profits too? And didn’t some wages go up in real terms? And weren’t the wages that didn’t go up start on that trend before Reagan and Greenspan? What is it about profit (or deregulation) that sends “the rest of America” to the gutter? Is it that some of these new profits are not in fact new, but simply the same profits but less of them stolen through taxation? In other words, is the reason that some of these Americans were no longer permitted to live off of someone else? If you want a policy to blame for making the middle class poor and the poor desperate, look at things like minimum wage laws, which take the bottom rungs off the employment ladder; unsustainable lines of production encouraged by an elastic currency and cheap credit; dependence on high priced foreign cartel energy sources because the Executive Office, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, and public rent seeking special interests don’t want the United States to access her own abundant natural resources; and outsourcing caused by high tax rates, onerous regulations and managed trade. Those are your culprits.

BARRY GERMANSKY: The Pauls are able to ignore all of these historical events because they treat their personal ideology as more credible than primary evidence. This is a big no-no for any serious historian.

HENRY MOORE: You mention few, if any, actual historical events, and virtually no reliable evidence. Mostly personal ideology and vague platitudes.  And hardly any context to accompany them. You are not a serious historian. Neither are most of the people you have been reading or listening to. You are all certifiable laughing stocks. You and your arguments have no credibility whatsoever.

The October Surprise: A Missed Opportunity and What it Says About the GOP Establishment

The October Surprise: A Missed Opportunity and What it Says About the GOP Establishment.

Please note that I make an assumption throughout: That, if known about before the election,  the Petraeus affair — political scandal with far reaching implications — could have swung in Romney’s favor. In theory, if we use the 332 to 206 electoral votes tally, it need to have only reversed the popular vote in a minimum of four battleground states (Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and New Hampshire for example) for Romney to have walked away with it.

Reading this piece I found out (and maybe this is common knowledge by now, to which I am hopefully only fashionably late) that the leadership of the Republican Party (meaning Eric Cantor, but I don’t doubt for a second he was the only one) knew about the Petraeus Affair before the election (the idea being that the scandal, including its possible relation to the Benghazi incident, which given the fact that. From this I can make many speculations. There may be more possibilities, but these are just the ones I thought of.I may not be the only one making at least some of these connections. The way I went about this may seem strange, but I hope you will be patient with me. 

THE HYPOTHESES

1. The leadership of the Republican Party was told not to disclose this information to the public by the FBI. At this point they had two options;

1.a. They could have done what they were told and not disclosed the information.

1.a.1. This scenario may or may not have played out. Either way, it is clear that this information was not disclosed to the public. Why not?

1.b. They could have leaked this information through channels not traceable to themselves.

1.b.1. This scenario obviously did not play out. Why not?

2. The leadership of the Republican Party was told not to disclose this information to the public by the Romney Campaign. At this point they would have had three options;

2.a. They could have done what they were told and not disclosed the information.

2.a.1. This scenario may or may not have played out. Either way, it is clear that this information was not disclosed to the public. Why not?

2.b. They could have openly disclosed this information thinking that it would help the Romney Campaign. The Romney Campaign does not have the same authority as the FBI.

2.b.1. This scenario obviously did not play out. Why not?

2.c. They could have  leaked this information thinking that it would help the Romney Campaign. The Romney Campaign does not have the resources or expertise of the FBI to discover the leaker.

2.c.1. This scenario obviously did not play out. Why not?

3. The leadership of the Republican Party decided on its own accord to not disclose this information to the public. At this point they would have had one option;

3.a. They could have kept the information to themselves and not disclosed it.

3.a.1. This scenario may or may not have played out. Either way, it is clear that this information was not disclosed to the public?

THE ANALYSIS

Given that the information was not disclosed, the still possible hypotheses are 1.a., 2.a., and 3.a., and their extensions, 1.a.1., 2.a.1., and 3.a.1. Keep in mind that the “they” is the Republican leadership and the “information” is the Petraeus affair.

1.a. They could have done what they were told [by the FBI] and not disclosed the information.

1.a.1. This scenario may or may not have played out. Either way, it is clear that this information was not disclosed to the public. Why not?

2.a. They could have done what they were told [by the Romney Campaign] and not disclosed the information.

2.a.1. This scenario may or may not have played out. Either way, it is clear that this information was not disclosed to the public. Why not?

3.a. They could have kept the information to themselves and not disclosed it.

3.a.1. This scenario may or may not have played out. Either way, it is clear that this information was not disclosed to the public?

So what we have is three possible reasons why the Republican leadership may not have disclosed this information to the Public before November 6 (Election Day).

In hypothesis 1.a., why wouldn’t they have disclosed the information? The obvious answer, if we assume hypothesis 1.a. is correct, is that the information was confidential and the FBI, who in theory could have prosecuted them, told them not to. But in hypothesis 1.b. I brought up the possibility of them leaking the information in a way not traceable to them. And I asked Why didn’t they just do this? Here, the answer may not be so obvious, so a new round of speculation and hypotheses is necessary. That will come later. Just keep the question in your mind: Why didn’t the Republican Party leadership disclose information that might have helped Mitt Romney win the Presidency?

In hypothesis 2.a., why wouldn’t they have disclosed the information? The obvious answer, if we assume hypothesis 2.a. is correct, is that they did not want to alienate the Mitt Romney Campaign. But this creates two entirely new questions. Would the Republican Leadership rather win the Presidential election and temporarily alienate their candidate, but who might later thank them for their services, or would they rather be on good terms with their candidate throughout the Presidential election but potentially have him lose and fade away from the scenery forever because of it? This question is related to later questions, so I will attempt to answer it when I ask those later questions. The second entirely new question is Why would the Romney campaign itself not wish to have this information disclosed? There are two possible answers. The first is that they thought it would backfire and look like dirty politics. The second answer I will address later. Just bear in mind the question (Why would the Romney campaign not want a disclosure?).

Back to the first answer to the second entirely new question again. I will reformulate that answer into yet another question: Why would they claim that this would backfire and look like dirty politics when it could (at least I assume) easily be made to look like the information was not leaked by anyone even connected to the Romney campaign or the GOP? The first possible answer is that they actually thought it would look like dirty politics, in which case I maintain they were unwilling to take any risks (which begs the question Why is the Romney campaign so mealy mouthed when supposedly the whole conservative movement has their backs and is counting on them to do anything to win?) or they just said that (i.e., they lied) to convince the Republican leadership to keep its mouth shut (which begs the question, one I already asked you to remember, only this time replace “Republican Leadership” with “Romney campaign”: Why didn’t the Romney campaign disclose information that might have helped Mitt Romney win the Presidency?).

Let me refresh once on the questions that I want you to keep asking yourself:

Why didn’t the Republican Party leadership disclose information that might have helped Mitt Romney win the Presidency?

Would the Republican Leadership rather win the Presidential election and temporarily alienate their candidate, but who might later thank them for their services, or would they rather be on good terms with their candidate throughout the Presidential election but potentially have him lose and fade away from the scenery forever because of it?

Why would the Romney campaign not want a disclosure?

Why is the Romney campaign so mealy mouthed when supposedly the whole conservative movement has their backs and is counting on them to do anything to win?

Why didn’t the Romney campaign disclose information that might have helped Mitt Romney win the Presidency?

I will condense these into just two questions and then move on to analysis of hypothesis 3.a.:

Why didn’t the Republican leadership and/or Romney campaign want this information disclosed?

Would the Republican leadership and/or Romney campaign rather have the White House in GOP control or would they rather continue to be glass jawed, tiptoeing, dishonest, feckless, has-been losers just so nobodies toes get stepped on?

These are the only two questions you will now need to remember. Moving on to the final hypothesis. I will remind you that “they” refers to the Republican leadership and the “information” refers to the Petraeus affair.

In hypothesis 3.a., why wouldn’t they have disclosed the information? The answer is far from obvious and by this time you have probably forgotten what hypothesis 3.a. was, so let me put it into the form of a clear, easily understood question:

Why wouldn’t the Republican leadership, assuming neither the FBI nor the Romney campaign, told them not to, just disclose the information of their own accord?

I will now attempt to answer this question along with the two I asked you to remember. For they are in essence, all the same question.

Unfortunately, I must first confess that there is, yet again, more than one possible answer. But I assure you, they lead me to the same conclusion.

First possible answer: The Republican leadership and/or Romney campaign did not have what it takes to win. Whether they were too stupid or too cowardly, they blew their chance of an October surprise because they didn’t think they could handle the disclosure of the information without either incriminating themselves or looking like dishonorable politicians. Despite of the fact that they told their constituents, and let their pundits tell their audiences that Barack Obama had to go in order to save the Republic, they refused to give all that it takes. They were undeserving of the trust that was given to them.

Second possible answer: The Republican leadership and/or Romney campaign did not want to win. They blew their chance of an October surprise because they had deliberately set themselves up for a fall from the start. As conspiratorial as this sounds, it is one of the conclusions I have reached from looking at the evidence. on the whole, it is just one possibility among many and therefore is not necessarily the most likely.

THE CONCLUSION

The GOP Establishment is a cynical group of people, which is why, though they may have wanted Romney to win (and not because they care about this country, but because they are cronies), they decided, perhaps using a cost benefit analysis of sorts, that it was much better for them, all of whom will be comfy and cozy no matter what happens in the next four years, to have this country under the Obama administration for another term and keep themselves free or prosecution, ridicule, or damage to their credibility and reputations. So they either thought there was a genuine difference between Obama (as a liberal) and Romney (as a conservative) but didn’t care because “they’ve got theirs” already, or that there was not enough difference between Obama (a moderate fascist) and Romney (a moderate fascist) for them to actually stick there neck out for Romney.

If there is one thing you take away from this it should be that these men (and women) are NOT public servants. They are thugs of the lowest order who dress, speak, and act nicely, but have no scruples and probably no soul. But I didn’t need the Petraeus Affair to help me conclude that.

Happy Armistice Day

Happy Armistice Day.

Please read it here.

That’s what it’s actually called. I have no problem with honoring veterans, per se, although taken to the logical extreme someone who volunteers for an unjust war is either ignorant or evil. Here are possible exceptions:

First exception. The war itself was not unjust. Therefore, the individual soldiers that fought in it may have been genuinely fulfilling a moral duty to protect them and theirs. A just war is a defensive war. There are many scenarios that could lead to a defensive war, not all of which necessarily require being fired upon first. But outside of the most obvious reason for going to war defensively, in retaliation or defense against invasion or attack, the legitimacy of the reasons for going to war come into play. Especially in the context of previous wars of aggression.

Consider this scenario: Iraq is alleged to have weapons of mass destruction that they intend to use against the United States, either directly against the homeland or against Americans abroad (let us ignore for now the fact that many Americans “abroad” have no business being so in the first place), or in conjunction with terrorists who intend to do the same. So we go to war against them only to later find out three things: there were no WMDs (that really does depend on how that term was defined), there were no intentions to attack America or Americans, and there were no ties to terrorists with a focus on attacking the United States or its citizens.

More than a decade later we find the exact same people making the exact same claims about Iran. This should lead us to a question: even if they are right (there is simply no reason to believe that they are as not only are they proven liars and have obvious conflicts of interest, but the facts point in the opposite direction than that which they would lead us), Would that war be just?

Of course that war would be just. But because of past deviations from a just and peaceful and honest foreign policy, there is simply no reason to risk it without actual proof first. Some worry that that proof might come in the form of a dirty bomb. Others in the form of a warhead sent right into the US or a region heavily populated with Americans. And others still in the form of an attack against our “ally” Israel.

The first possibility is not absurd, per se, but because of how tenuous it is, it in and of itself is not a justification for war. If there was a legitimate fear of that sort of thing happening, it would easily be prevented, then the answer is not going to war but security checks. And if it did happen, it was because there was no real effort made to prevent it, in which case the indication should be that the players would not have been known, as the attack itself was not ofreseen. The second and third possibilities truly are absurd, as there are such things as nuclear defense shields. The US and Israel both have that area covered. Further, there is the possibility of retaliation. For those that maintain that the Iranians just want to see the world go up and smoke and don’t mind dying to accomplish that, the idea of retaliation is not an objection to their fears. But it is still a losing battle for the Iranians. More than that, its a battle in which they wouldn’t even be able to land a blow.

And the possibility of an attack on Israel is the most absurd of all. And not because it can’t or won’t happen, but because it truly is none of our concern. Some think it is cruel to say such things, and not just because they are our “ally”, but because they are human beings. They might even be right were it not for the fact that Israel can and will take care of itself and doesn’t even need our help (though some interests in that nation and in ours will see to it that we are permanently entangled, and not always with simplistic or well-understood motives).

Second exception. The soldiers were drafted. This is slavery. There may have been ways for them to avoid this draft, but it won’t have been without its own set of risks. Some might feel it is better to go “over there” and risk their lives than it is to be in hiding the rest of their days and risk not only their lives, but their livelihoods, and to disquiet the lives or comforts of their families. Whether this line of thinking is right or not, and regardless of which route they take, they are no less victims for it.

Third exception. The soldiers volunteered on their own terms rather than be drafted on the state’s terms. There was a draft in effect, but in order to avoid getting the short end of the stick, they volunteered knowing the deal they got would not be quite so raw. Just as with the draftees, they are forced to choose between two choices, neither of which is entirely moral on their part and neither of which is moral at all on the state’s part. Thus, they are, once again, the victims.

Fourth exception. The soldiers volunteered in a time of peace expecting that their duly elected representatives would only send them to die for a just cause. But then an unjust war is waged and they have no choice but to serve or become a fugitive. This applies to the US Army, US Navy, US Marine Corps, and the US Air Force (although it is worth noting the Air Force is unconstitutional.)

Fifth exception. The soldiers volunteered for a branch of the service that is only called forth for combat duty in a time of invasion or rebellion, but then are sent to combat in a foreign land against which the United States is the clear aggressor. This applies to the various National Guard groups.

Of course, one can question the idea of a “public” military itself. But it is reasonable that so long as the Westphalian Nation State is the prime mode of political organization and that citizens a part of and within that paradigm are in need of protection that can not be adequately provided (in theory they could, but such a society does not exist yet) in some other way, that the state-controlled standing army is a necessary evil that can, and has at times, been used in a moral way, even with a nonvolunteer force. Though this in no way cancels out the underlying violation of rights that such systems of defense (and offense) are predicated on in the first place.

So, join with me to celebrate the Armistice that was declared to end the Great War. That war in which many men were enthralled and then brutally murdered. That war which ever since, every US-involved conflict can be easily traced to the entanglements that arose therefrom. And if you know a veteran, you might even consider understanding his story before you either thank him or condemn him.

Veterans Day, as it is now called, has become just another excuse to get into a flag waving frenzy and to feel good about things that perhaps no one should be feeling good about. But if you’ve read what I’ve written, don’t take this day for granted. Rather, commemorate the day in the way it was intended. Reflectively. Soberly. With an eye towards peace.