Anti-Trump protesters welcome Trump back from Helsinki with “traitor” chant

Protesters gathered outside the White House on July 16 and 17 to voice discontent with Trump’s policies generally and his extreme appeasement of Vladimir Putin in Helsinki in particular. Trump had said that he believed Putin’s denial of hacking and interfering in the 2016 election, while criticizing the FBI and Hillary Clinton.

Earlier in the day, July 17, Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti gave a speech.

The crowd had thinned by 9:30 pm, but there were still people there singing national patriotic songs and chanting about the migrant child separation issue.

Protesters expressed that they would keep up protests all week. Russia could be a liability for Trump: A survey released today shows that 55 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the Kremlin.

Mises Institute editor calls for kicking out immigrants (and citizens) from military

Ryan McMaken, editor of the Mises Instute’s Mises Wire, takes issue with my July 9, 2015 article for The Federalist supporting the inclusion of aspiring immigrants in the military. The naturalization-by-fighting program has resulted in over 100,000 patriotic Americans becoming officially recognized as Americans. Now there are reports that some immigrant-soldiers in the process of serving are being discharged (though the nature and extent of such discharges is disputed).

McMaken (link to his article) characterizes the military as both a handout and a “jobs program.” The idea that the military should be treated as a jobs program is something I fiercely disagree with, which was the point of my article. Congressmen were arguing against allowing non-citizens to become soldiers on the basis that it might deny American-born citizens a job. McMaken accurately quoted a representative excerpt: “I’m not worried about the country or origin of those who are fighting to defend us. What matters is that our military is as strong as it can be.”

McMaken thinks that the military is actually treated as a jobs program by legislators and officials. To the extent that it is, I oppose such treatment, as I wrote.

McMaken writes, “The rub, however, is that military spending doesn’t actually improve the economy.” I basically agree with him. Military spending shouldn’t be about improving the economy. It should be about buying a product.

However, while McMaken chooses a nice excerpt, he did not accurately characterize my position:

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U.S. designed the World Trade Organization, TPP to benefit itself; Trump wants to stop the benefits

Donald Trump has made his intentions to leave the World Trade Organization clear with his proposed “FART” bill, which would put the US in violation of WTO rules. He has been telling aids for a while, it has been reported, that he wants to leave the organization.

“We always get fucked by [the WTO] I don’t know why we’re in it. The WTO is designed by the rest of the world to screw the United States,” he said in one such rant.

Statements like this expose the ignorance of Trump and the incoherence of his isolationist positions. It is often the case that the truth is the exact opposite of what Trump says. There could be no better case than this one.

Who does Trump think designed the World Trade Organization, the United Nations, and other international organizations?

“The United States was a leading force in establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995,” the United States Trade Representative wrote.

Of course the United States did. The US is the world’s strongest power and has been since the end of World War II. The US has had the leadership and leverage to influence the rules behind the international organizations it takes the lead in creating. The US leadership since World War II has been a key factor in US hegemony since then. It helped the US win World War II.

It is why America can win special benefits when it negotiates (not when it throws Starbursts at Germany’s PM, as Trump has done):

In 2000, the U.S. won special provisions guaranteeing that the U.S. can export 360,000 tons of rice to Japan each year, nearly half the total amount of tariff-free rice Japan imports. Now that the U.S. is negotiating unilaterally with Japan, it is likely that the U.S. will again win special treatment.

Trump wants to abandon that. He has little to point to when it comes to unfair trade terms with American allies. Trump left the TPP, the deal America was leading the way in writing. He whines about America’s nominal trade deficit with Canada, for example, but American exports to Canada make up 48% of all trade between the US and Canada—it is almost exactly balanced, that is.

Trade has expanded America’s economy and increased its people’s standard of living. Overseas troops expand America’s power projection. International organizations can be utilized for the pursuit of America’s interests.

Without them, America will see its power decline.

Women’s equality is not some kind of war on men (Response to Jordan Peterson)

The fact that the economic playing field has become more fair to women and minorities over the past fifty years has paradoxically been cited by some critics of feminism as an affront on men’s rights. Jordan Peterson and Tucker Carlson see an assault on “masculinity”—an assault that is “a consequence of directed policy,” Peterson said in an appearance on Carlson’s Fox News show.

Cathy Young is sympathetic to Peterson’s case. “Crisis or no, there is certainly evidence that many men and boys have been left struggling by the cultural transformations of recent decades,” she wrote in a Los Angeles Times op-ed published, citing, in part, the fact that the women attending college outnumber men, “working-class men are more likely to be left behind by economic shifts that working-class women,” and jobless men are not attractive as mates.

Young is far from the only commentator to point to such trends. Others have done so with much less elegance and culture than she. The anonymous author of the HipCrime Vocab blog, for instance, wrote in a piece about Peterson, “The rise of the Sheconomy has made the only jobs on offer for men ones that they don’t particularly enjoy doing or are not particularly suited for.” The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh, while not discussing Peterson, cited similar stats about education and claimed, “The eduction system is designed for girls.”

What is striking about these pieces is how little thought the authors engage in about the causes of these supposed problems and whether they really are problems. Is society really biased against men? Is the reason men are reportedly falling behind due to societal discrimination or incentives unfairly stacked against men? Because if that’s not the reason, then there is no problem. It could just be a result of individual choices or circumstances.

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1949 All Over Again? How US-NK Deal Threatens ROK’s National Defense

The June 12 summit between the United States of America and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has been hailed by Trump supporters as a historic success and received generally credulous coverage in the press as a harbinger of peace. The truth could not be farther from this naive wishful thinking. In fact, the real outcome of the Singapore summit was and is frankly miserable.

There was no promise for complete or verifiable dismantlement, not even a promise for any kind of denuclearization whatsoever. North Korea repeated the same vapid rhetoric like they had said many times before. Yet despite Kim Jong-Un giving him few concessions, Trump remarkably caved in on US-Korea joint defense exercises, a long-sought-after goal of the Kim regime, and even defended the thuggish dictator from criticisms of his human rights record.

“Complete, Verifiable, and Irreversible Dismantlement” (CVID) is probably the only denuclearization model that will work with North Korea, considering its track record of lying and dishonest negotiation. In both 1992 and 2005, North Korea, strongly asserted the a willingness for denuclearization and made promises to stick to a process, but each time, the rogue kingdom quickly broke its promises after extracting the concessions it desired. This time, American officials had talked about CVID in the run-up to the meeting, but the statement that emerged out of Singapore made no mention of CVID whatsoever.

An important and critical difference between CVID and the meaningless PR phrases in the document is that simply breaking a CVID agreement could be a direct justification for war in an extreme case. [Editor’s Comment: Is there a source for this?] Not only Trump, but also his officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton who are notable hardliners claimed to make CVID happen in the first place.

Pompeo was angry when asked by reporters about the lack of agreement for verification mechanisms. “I find that question insulting and ridiculous and, frankly, ludicrous. “I just have to be honest with you. It’s a game and one ought not play games with serious matters like this,” he said at a press conference in Seoul on June 13, the day after the meeting. He asserted that there was other work done that did not appear in the public statement. One may forgive observers for not particularly trusting North Korea’s seriousness to follow through on any hypothetical agreement that it did not even agree to put on paper.

Secondly, Trump administration has announced that UFG (Ulchi Freedom Guardian), which is the US-ROK annual joint military exercise, has been cancelled due to the summit. The status of other US-ROK joint exercises remains in doubt as the details of Trump’s promise to end what Trump has referred to as “war games” is ironed out. This decision is extremely irresponsible and ignorant; UFG and other cooperative exercises have existed to practice military and civic operations in wartime contingency. As the name suggests, there are defense operations to maintain preparedness in the face of extreme and intense North Korean threats.

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The Republicans have a problem

The Republicans just nominated alt-right, neo-Confederate Corey Stewart, a friend of Paul Nehlan, for Virginia’s US Senate seat. They nominated a theocratic, race-baiting child predator for Senate, Roy Moore, in Alabama. In other states, the Republicans have avoided the most embarrassing results. Coal baron who was convicted of safety violations connected to the deaths of 29 miners Don Blankenship lost the primary for the nomination for the West Virginia Senate seat. But the winner, as in most states, represented himself as a hardcore Trump supporter who professed his fealty.

The Republicans, of course, nominated Donald Trump for president and elected him to the office. Although the Republican’s national Senate organization has not endorsed Stewart, Trump, whom national Republicans have shown themselves incapable of resisting, praised the bigot heartily.

“Congratulations to Corey Stewart for his great victory for Senator from Virginia. Now he runs against a total stiff, Tim Kaine, who is weak on crime and borders, and wants to raise your taxes through the roof,” Trump said.

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Book Review: The Virtues of Nationalism

History’s revolt against the Liberal Empire

Review: “The Virtue of Nationalism” – Yoram Hazony, Basic Books. September 2018. 304 pages.

Epochal events in history, of course, never stops, and predicting or explaining such events is fraught with dangers, something Francis Fukuyama found out to his credit. 2016 was one such year, where British exit from the European Union and the election of Donald Trump marked the end of the Post-Cold war unipolarity and globalization. At least those are the two events we paid the most attention too. But other than Trump and Brexit, Nationalism in differing forms returned in Hungary, Austria, Italy, Poland, while India, Russia, and China continued on their respective nationalist revival. Yoram Hazony’s new book “The virtues of Nationalism” adds to the already growing literature and seeks to explain the phenomena. Hazony, the President of Israel’s Herzl Institute and director of the John Templeton Foundations’s Project in Jewish Philosophical Theology, lays the blame on the liberal empire and the “globalists” for their imperial overstretch, and often contradictory and incoherent ideas about what constitutes good and bad nationalism.

READ the full review HERE.

On Trump’s meltdown at the G7

On the day the G7 started, Donald Trump was agitating for Russia to be allowed to join the G7/G8, despite the fact that Russia still occupies Ukrainian land and interfered in the American election (and the U.S. has a nominal trade deficit with Russia, an issue Trump makes of G7 members). Then after Trump had already agreed to the G7 joint statement and left the meeting early, he withdrew his agreement in a fit of social media rage after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a statement against Trump’s tariffs.

Initial reactions from B+D Facebook page and Editor:

At a secret conference in Oxford

I recently attended a colloquium at Christ Church, Oxford, which was organised in utter secrecy, without any social media promotion.  It was a fairly normal conference, without any protest, perhaps due to the secrecy beforehand.

I wrote about it, in The Federalist.

Nevertheless, the secrecy is what was the key takeaway from the colloquium, and perhaps a sign of things to come in Western academy. The Brits lack the enforceable legal right to free speech Americans enjoy. But as Joy Pullmann pointed out, this decolonize madness has now spread to Yale and Stanford, after Cambridge. Statues will be toppled and disciplines ruined, because of historical revisionism, and the whims of a certain section of scholars and academics who choose to act like Soviet commissars.

Oxford especially is under constant assault, as it remains the bastion of free speech, meritocracy and open research and has so far refused to cave in to egalitarian demands of affirmative action and censorship. But as revolutionary and activist tactics spread, secrecy seems to be the only option to continue research without the worry of mob violence.

 

Read it here, in full.

 

 

I also had an opportunity to take an interview of Dr Nigel Biggar, when I was there, for Quillette Magazine.

 

 

 

 

It is now highly unlikely that I will choose to involve any of the signatories in the project, since I have no confidence in their readiness to engage in the reciprocal and forbearing exchange of reasons.

What is more, if I want to hold lectures or seminars on the topic of empire, I will do so privately, since I cannot be sure that my critics will behave civilly. On one occasion recently, I held a day-conference to discuss Bruce Gilley’s controversial article, “The Case for Colonialism,” and found myself having to use pseudonyms to hide the identities of some participants. One young scholar only attended on condition that his name nowhere appear on print, nor his face on any photograph, lest his senior colleagues find out and kill his career.  

Read it here, in full.

 

 

U.S. doesn’t need anything from North Korea and shouldn’t meet

Kim Jong-un has threatened twice in the past week to cancel the meeting that he himself proposed with U.S. president Donald Trump. He appears to be acting out in his typical manner in order to try to put pressure on the United States and Korea and to win concessions.

The United States isn’t in a dire position, however, and the U.S. doesn’t need anything from Kim Jong-un so badly as to justify making extreme concessions. If Kim doesn’t want to denuclearize for limited concessions, if he is unwilling to negotiate sincerely, then the U.S. shouldn’t meet him.

The first time Kim threatened to pull out was after Trump’s National Security Advisor and former Bush advisor John Bolton called for a “Libya-style” denuclearization. Bolton is a hawk who has long called openly for overthrow of the North Korea regime, a worthy and moral goal (if reasonably possible) to be sure, but talking about or implying it obviously isn’t something that will help get to an agreement for Kim to voluntarily denuclearize.

The next and present reason Kim is using to threaten going forward with the meeting is much less reasonable. He wants the U.S. and Republic of Korea to end joint-self defense exercises. He thinks those exercises–and indeed the presence of U.S. troops in Korea–threaten his regime. Those troops are present because his grandfather invaded the Republic of Korea, his father sunk a Korean ship, and he shelled an island with civilian residents. They kidnapped Koreans and Japanese and tortured people for watching DVDs. Aggressive acts and attacks beyond borders are almost always caused by the totalitarian regime north of the 38th parallel.

The U.S. and Korea have already delayed military exercises, before the Korean Olympics, and now before the proposed meeting. But North Korea’s foreign ministry continues to make demands, saying, as characterized by Reuters, “the future of summit is entirely up to Washington.”

Well, if Kim doesn’t want this summit to happen, then it doesn’t have to happen. Washington doesn’t have to–and shouldn’t–do anything more for it to happen than it already has.

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