Foreign Policy

Trump Assumes Command of the American Church

It's time we learn that killing and dying for an ideology-even so-called liberal democracy- is as bad as doing so for a religion.

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Chris Kleponis/CNP / Polaris/Newscom

As Donald Trump demonstrated in his first address to Congress, no matter how loathsome a ruler may be, he can bring an assembly of politicians to its feet and disarm some critics simply by invoking the quasi-secular faith—Americanism—and eulogizing the latest uniformed war-state employee to sacrifice his life for it. Trump has indeed shown he can fill the job expected of any president: supreme head of what Andrew Bacevich calls the Church of America the Redeemer.

Horace's declaration "Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori"—"It is sweet and proper to die for one's country"is just what poet Wilfred Owen called it: "The old Lie." Screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky extended Owen's point when he had his protagonist in The Americanization of Emily tell a war widow, "We perpetuate war by exalting its sacrifices." How many times must people fall for this ploy before they realize they have been cruelly scammed? (The American Church is sustained by a coalition of profiteers and true believers or what economist Bruce Yandle generically dubbed "bootleggers and Baptists.")

If we are ever to abolish America's bloody and costly permanent war state we will have to rethink the quasi-secular faith which holds that dying—and killing—for one's country is the greatest honor and virtue to which one one can aspire. It is time we learned that killing and dying for an ideology—even so-called liberal democracy— is as bad as doing so for a religion, even so-called radical Islam. (The distinction between ideology and religion is more apparent than real).

In his speech to Congress, Trump milked the moment for all it was worth when talking about a Navy SEAL who died in a bungled special-ops raid in Yemen in late January. (Did you know the U.S. government conducts ground operations there?) It was the first such operation Trump approved, although it was planned during the Obama administration and Trump has shifted responsibility to the generals.

"We are blessed to be joined tonight by Carryn Owens, the widow of a U.S. Navy Special Operator Senior Chief William 'Ryan' Owens," Trump said before Congress. "Ryan died as he lived: a warrior, and a hero—battling against terrorism and securing our nation…. Ryan's legacy is etched into eternity. Thank you. For as the Bible teaches us, 'There is no greater act of love than to lay down one's life for one's friends.' Ryan laid down his life for his friends, for his country, and for our freedom. And we will never forget Ryan."

Everyone stood and applauded for over two minutes, Trump making no effort to bring the ovation to an end. "Ryan is looking down right now," he said. "You know that. And he is very happy because I think he just broke a record."

That's great. Carryn Owens lost her husband, his three children lost their father, but they'll know that he died for the nation-state and that members of Congress stood for a record length of time.

Trump also said: "I just spoke to our great general [and Defense Secretary James] Mattis, just now, who reconfirmed that—and I quote—'Ryan was a part of a highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemies.'"

Of course Trump left some things out of the account. The raid killed at least 25 noncombatants, including children — among them an American citizen: the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, the militant Muslim cleric and American citizen executed without due process in Yemen by an Obama drone nearly six years ago. Nora al-Awlaki's teenage brother, Abdulrahman, also an American citizen, was similarly killed in an Obama drone strike in Yemen.

Moreover, the special-ops raid in January failed in its mission to capture or kill leaders of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). As NBC reported: contrary to Trump's claim, "last month's deadly commando raid in Yemen, which cost the lives of a U.S. Navy SEAL and a number of children, has so far yielded no significant intelligence, U.S. officials told NBC News." (A follow-up report found the same. CNN reports otherwise, and it's certainly possible the raid netted intel. But we must also consider that military officials have a motive to lie: to reinforce the faith that Owens did not die in vain.)

The purpose of the raid has been clouded by conflicting statements. NBC says that initially "Pentagon officials called it a 'site exploitation mission' designed to gather intelligence" but later did not dispute Sen. John McCain's description of the mission as intended to eliminate or catch militants. Adding to the confusion is the Pentagon's description of one of the victims, Sheikh Abdel-Raouf al-Dhahab, as an AQAP leader. NBC says "the Yemeni government disagrees."

The Washington Post reported that "Yemeni and tribal officials described a chaotic scene that followed [the raid], saying that tribal leaders, even those without an affiliation with AQAP, took up arms out of loyalty to Dhahab and a desire to protect their village. 'Any person who has dignity and honor would not stand by and watch his neighbors and relatives and tribesmen being attacked and do nothing,' said Saleh Hussein al-Aameri, a tribal leader who was close enough to hear the gunfire." (Emphasis added.)

Apparently you don't have to be a "radical Islamic terrorist" to resent foreign troops storming your village at night.

"Almost everything that could go wrong did," The New York Times reported. "The death of Chief Petty Officer William Owens came after a chain of mishaps and misjudgments that plunged the elite commandos into a ferocious 50-minute firefight that also left three others wounded and a $75 million aircraft deliberately destroyed." Nevertheless, "the Pentagon is drafting such plans to accelerate activities against the Qaeda branch in Yemen."

According to the quasi-secular faith, reckless disregard for human life doesn't matter. All that matters is that a man gave his life carrying out orders issued by the high priests of the American Church in the name of National Security. It is heresy even to wonder if the death was in vain, if the noncombatant deaths constitute war crimes, or if the operation bore any relation to the actual security of the American people. Woe betide anyone who suggests (as some military people have) that such raids create militants and fill the ranks of people who want revenge against Americans for what they allow their government to do.

As expected, the Trump administration deflected criticism by invoking Owens's martyrdom. Trump press secretary Sean Spicer said that anyone "who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology and [does] a disservice to the life of Chief Owens."

Inconveniently, it was Owens's father who admonished Trump not "to hide behind my son's death to prevent an investigation" of the ill-conceived operation. The elder Owens refused to meet the president when the chief petty officer's remains came to Dover Air Force Base. "My conscience wouldn't let me talk to him," the elder Owens, a veteran, said.

That Trump would exploit a grieving widow and invoke the national quasi-secular faith for his own advantage is hardly surprising. Presidents always do this. What's remarkable is that even some of Trump's critics were taken in. For example, Van Jones, who portrays himself as an edgy left radical, gushed over Trump's shameful use of Owens's death. Trump "became president of the United States in that moment, period," Jones said on CNN. "That was one of the most extraordinary moments you have ever seen in American politics."

Hardly. But it shows that a quasi-secular faith can be as powerful as any religious faith.

Contrary to the national faith, the "war on terror" is neither defensive and nor effective: there was no AQAP before the U.S. military invaded Afghanistan and Iraq roughly 15 years ago, and it has been bombing Yemen for years. (Bizarrely, it also helps AQAP by enabling Saudi Arabia's war against AQAP's enemy, the Houthis.) The 9/11 attacks, which provide the official excuse for the permanent war state, were acts of revenge — albeit immorally directed largely at noncombatants—after decades of oppressive and lethal U.S. actions against Arab Muslims. The already small terrorist threat to Americans could be further reduced by adopting a non-interventionist foreign policy.

But any suggestion that the American Church does wrong is systematically marginalized and kept from the public by the mainstream media's defenders of the official faith. As long as that's the case, innocents in other lands will continue to be murdered and Americans like Ryan Owens will continue to die in vain.

This piece originally appeared at The Libertarian Institute.

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270 responses to “Trump Assumes Command of the American Church

  1. killing and dying for an ideology?even so-called liberal democracy? is as bad as doing so for a religion

    I may not agree with what you say, but I won’t defend to the death your right to say it.

    Give me liberty or give me a severe beating.

    It’s better to live on your knees than to die on your feet.

    I don’t know, man, just doesn’t have a ring to it, ya know?

    1. I believe in a God of ***LOVE***, and I am willing to kill… Kill… ***KILL***, torture, murder, rape, pillage, plunder, steal, rape, tax, interrogate, intimidate; shoot men, women, children, puppies, bunny waaaabbits, and turtle doves, and even call Congressional hearings and appoint committees, till my eyes turn red, purple, and GREEN with hatred and anger, ’cause ****AH BELIEVES**** in my God of LOVE!!!!!

      (WHO among ye will DIE on my hill with me?!?!?)

  2. Herr Trump said he would “tear up” the Treaty with Iran (which is working well despite wingnut lamentations) on his first day in office – ostensibly so we could get on with a war there.

    Of course, like everything he says, he might not really believe it or he just said it because his nutty base wanted to hear it.

    1. Actually, he never said that, Rubio and Cruz did.

    2. Treaty with Iran (which is working well despite wingnut lamentations)

      Working well for who?

      1. It works well for PB, as he fantasizes about being dominated by Persian men one day.

    3. have you payed up yet?

      1. 10th time i have asked?

  3. “War is the health of the state” — too bad the quote is so quaint as to be almost incomprehensible. I certainly agree with what it means, once demystified.

    I sometimes wonder if any country needs a military. The US, for instance, doesn’t need one. What country would possibly want to invade the US? They’d run into so many militia as to make occupation a nightmarish quagmire. WW I was just a repeat of 1870 until the British jumped in to defend Belgium, and Belgium was the worse for it after 4 years of hell. The European part of WW II was just act II of WW I, and while it can be argued that our part in it got rid of a monster, it just made a worse one stronger. The Pacific part of WW II was a result of Europeans messing about in the Far East, especially China, which lead the US to want its own colonies which it got from the voluntary war of 1898 with Spain, and WW II in the Pacific was a direct result of all that acrimony.

    Then there are countries like Poland, Belgium, the Baltics and Balkans. What good did their militaries do when push came to shove? No good, just delayed the inevitable by a few weeks.

    Maybe militaries do Germany and France and Italy and other medium size countries some good when their neighbors also have militaries, and maybe Germany’s military discourages Russia from invasion. That is at least arguable.

    1. Does the US need a nuclear deterrent? I say no, because what kind of a threat is Russia’s nuclear offense? Most of their bellicosity towards the US is because we are bellicose towards them, and support stupid things like Ukraine’s tussle over Crimea, which has been tossed around so much that it has no proper parentage.

      A navy to protect our merchant ships? Again, only necessary when we take sides. If Woodrow Wilson had not entered WW I on Britain’s side unofficially so much before we entered it officially, Germany’s own blockade against Britain as countering Britain’s (illegal by existing rules of war) blockade against Germany would not have bothered us. Sure we would have lost trade, but we also lost trade from Britain’s blockade of Germany. If we had not had the income tax and Fed (both born in 1913) we wouldn’t have had the wherewithal to take Britain’s side.

      Maybe, if merchants want to trade with warring countries and run blockades, they should fund their own warships and self-protection. There’s a novel concept!

      Think how much the US economy would benefit from having no military drag and from not taking sides in other countries’ disputes. Probably more than getting rid of all or even most of the government bureaucracy we deal with. There’s a proper defense — make the economy so powerful and flexible that no one would want to fuck with us because we’d be so much more valuable as a trading partner.

      Government sucks. Government is the root of evil.

      1. ^^This^^

        The only thing worth reading here today, SR&C.

        (Sniffs, wipes tear from cheek)

        ((Slowly massages nipples))

      2. Pirates.

        Killing pirates is a legitimate need.

        1. Nothing merchants can’t do themselves, or hire others for protection.

        2. Separate from the question of whether or not we need a standing military – privateers/marques of reprisal. private companies do it.

          Let’s face it – our military spends far less time on piracy patrols than the Coast Guard, alone, spends on looking for drug smugglers.

          1. ^^^^ Amen to all the above! And to think, I once wore the uniform of the USA’s forces…

            Self-defense should be unquestionably, obviously justified. Empires and the defense of “honor” (nationalistic pride, not related to worldwide peace, tranquility, and freedom) should be given a swift kick in the arsehole! And here we are, decades into defending little-boy-sex-slave-molesting tribesmen in Afghanistan, and drug-dealing tribesmen in ditto… But when they are on OUR side, all is forgiven!

            WHEN are we gonna put our dicks back into our pants, and go home, and stay home!?!?!

      3. That is the most unrealistic, childish assessment of world affairs I have heard here. None of that has the slightest bearing in reality. Do you really think that the many strongmen around the world, especially Russia, China, NK, and Iran would behave no worse, or even better in a power vacuum?

        That kind of thinking is as obtuse as Sheldon’s.

        1. Please explain the economics of it. How can an occupation extract value from the US economy cheaper than plain trade, especially if the US economy were freed of bureaucratic red tape and theft by taxation? Especially when you add the costs of on occupying army and the tremendous damage to the US economy of beating down millions of partisans.

          The only non-economic reason to invade and occupy the US is to grab its territory for lebensraum, and that makes no practical sense.

          All that’s let is a mad man worse than Hitler, who at least tried to make up economic reasons, and mad men worse than Hitler don’t last long enough to come to power in any reasonable future.

          1. How can an occupation extract value from the US economy cheaper than plain trade, especially if the US economy were freed of bureaucratic red tape and theft by taxation?

            Because they get resources and land for free instead of having to pay for it?

            1. They are not free. The invasion and occupation army are a cost. The cost of continued production doesn’t go away, unless you postulate a raid which steals existing stockpiles and departs, but even then, the invasion and raiding still costs money, and the theft can’t transport the booty much cheaper than simply buying it in trade.

              The US economy, although not a free market, is still one of the most efficient in the world. Production costs are about the lowest they can be, due to market competition. This includes extraction / production, transport, wholesale distribution and retail sale.

              No foreign pirate grab can lower those costs much at all, and then only by destroying the supply chain such that further production will be limited.

              And if the foreigners want to retain the supply and production for future yeras, then they have to tread lightly or raise the costs even further, far beyond what trade could get them for.

          2. Your rationale relies on the idea that all people are reasonable. They are not. Again, I cited several examples of regimes internationally whose behaviors illustrate that fact. As another example, look at how communist China is constructing artificial islands as part of a plan to claim territorial waters that have never belonged to them. Odds are that the ONLY thing on earth that will get them to back down is the superiority and presence of the US military. This is hardly an isolated example.

            Bottom line: many very ruthless despots around the world simply do not share your point of view. Which makes your premise wrong.

            1. None of these regimes are irrational. They have defined agendas and act in ways that, based on their perceptions, are rational. The idea that everyone who wants things you don’t want is irrational and therefore can’t understand the likely consequences of their actions. But there’s no evidence of this. China is pursuing an agenda that is entirely rational given certain of it’s values, like getting free oil in the South China Sea. NK believes that the USA is trying to destroy it, and therefore it needs nukes etc. Instances of nations that entirely ignore their own interests are rare. You for instance couldn’t find one of them.

              1. This is the right answer. Even Dear Leader is not 100% certifiable bonkers. He learned from Libya and Iran that the best way to keep the US and its allies at bay is to fling poo and have nuclear weapons. If he were so insane as everyone pretends, the generals who do want to live would overthrow him and he would not have the sanity needed to pick which generals were treasonous and reliable — he would kill so many that the remainder would kill him in self-defense. If he were to start killing scientists left right and center, because he could not tell which were helpful and which were a hindrance, the remainder would scatter.

                If the US weren’t in the position of threatening NK, and if there were in fact only one Korea, he would have no enemies to point to as existential threats to keep everybody inline. It’s the same with Cuba and the US trade embargo, which was the best gift the US could have given the Castro brothers — without that, they would have had to modernize and relax their grip log ago.

                1. If the US were not in the position of threatening NK, they would over run the south, and then start rattling their saber at Japan, and others. Japan would then develop their own nukes as a means of threatening NK. Just like we do.

                  Also, “Even Dear Leader is not 100% certifiable bonkers”? That is assuming facts not in evidence, I would never bet my life on that assertion.

                  You greatly underestimate the capacity for true evil and oppression in these regimes. I do not, but I am fairly certain there is no amount of discussion that will change your mind. So we will have to agree to disagree on this point. While I consider your ideas misguided in this area, I appreciate the thought and effort you put into your argument.

          3. Hitler was not a mad man. He is a great example of a reasonably intelligent, badly educated man led horribly astray by his belief in a ludicrous economic theory. Hitler assumed, like many people still do, that wealth is generated by natural resources and is essentially a zero sum game. The more land and resources your nation controls, the safer and wealthier you will be. He had no faith in or real understanding of the benefits of trade, which he saw as a conspiracy to steal resources and benefit the middle man – whom he believed were mostly Jews.

            Unfortunately a lot of people in the world still think this way. I have met many Russians and Middle Easterners who are convinced that the US is wealthy because it is stealing the wealth that should be going to Russia or Egypt or Pakistan, etc. If they can change the world order to make the US “redistribute” all will be well. I think we need a military to protect us from those people.

          4. Would you trade the income tax for tariffs on imports like the old days?

        2. Behave worse to *who*?

        3. All these states as they are resulted from the actions of armies. You need to show armies solving a problem they did not create.

      4. Awesome comment, Scarecrow. I totally agree with your points.

    2. What country would possibly want to invade the US? They’d run into so many militia as to make occupation a nightmarish quagmire.

      A modern military would tear through our “militias” like butter. Occupation is not difficult if you’re sufficiently ruthless.

      1. And we just decided that democracy isn’t worth fighting for. So why bother with militias?

        A better point is that foreign wars cause more harm than good. If we had stayed out of WW1, there might never have been a third Reich.

        1. You know, there is a lot of fiction written about what if Germany won WWII, but I don’t know of any that wonders what if Germany won WWI.

          1. I would say the way Europe is headed that defending them from Germany was a waste of American blood and treasure.

          2. Germany allied with the Union wins WW1 against Britain, France, and the Confederacy in one of Harry Turtledove’s alternate history series.

          3. The Company of the Dead, which largely takes place in the 2000s after a German victory in the First World War, and the second where the German Empire kills communism in its Russian cradle.

            Also the Kaiserreich mod for Hearts of Iron 4.

            1. the German Empire kills communism in its Russian cradle.

              That’s kind of along the lines my mind went when I started thinking about it, that and the Ottomans still in charge of the ME, and perhaps even no Great Depression; what a different century this past one would have been.

              1. I suspect, that once oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia, the west would have move against Istanbul.

          4. If Britain had never allied with Belgium, WW I would have started with a repeat of the 1870 war, but with France surrendering sooner. Then Germany and Austria-Hungary could have been at war with Russia alone. No idea how that would have gone, although the Germans did beat them up pretty severely in the real WW I, so it probably would have started out even more so. But Russia is big and winter was coming on, so no telling how that would have gone.

            Lenin probably wouldn’t have had a chance. Russia was not what he wanted, Germany was, and I don’t think even a Russia stalemate would have created the conditions necessary for a Bolshevik revolution in Germany, if WW I didn’t. Hitler never would have happened because there would have been no stab in the back mythology.

            1. What about slavery in the US? Should Lincoln have refrained from freeing the slaves and reuniting the Republic? How long would slavery have persisted? This is a much better — and spiritually more interesting — discussion to have about the utility of war. I have a feeling the South would’ve resisted the liberation of blacks for a long, long, long, long time. Remember, Abe didn’t actually start the War, but rather reacted to the shelling of Fort Sumter, S.C. Do you think he should’ve just brought home the troops, shrugged his shoulders and issued a “Two Nation Proclamation” and let it go?

              Please weigh in. I can hardly wait!

              1. Depends on how long a “long, long, long, long time” is. 20 years, or a 100 years? Probably someplace in between. Was the death of 620,000 people worth ending slavery for almost 4 million slaves? Or would it have eventually ended on it’s own?
                The sick part is had wiser people been in office, there would not have been war nor slavery.

                1. “had wiser people been in office, there would not have been war nor slavery”

                  Isn’t that kind of a moot point and the problem at hand wiser people are almost never in power other than when George Washington was president. And based on the comments that have been made there is always the utopian assumption that others don’t want to oppress others but it is that oppression that goes back to the begining of man that has started many wars including the revolutionary war that may have brought about more freedom eventually over time than any other war or it was just a continuation of that quest for freedom if not the U.S. it may have been another country. Unfortunately the U.S. has been both an oppressor and a freerer. these days it seems like it is oppressing both outward and inward

              2. Lincoln personally wanted to send all blacks, free and slave, back to Africa.

                He fought to preserve the union regardless of slavery, said so himself many times.

                Leaving the political union ought to be one of the most basic rights of a state.

                And finally, slavery is an economic millstone. The Confederacy would have had to abandon slavery probably within 20 years, almost certainly within 50 years, and there wouldn’t have been 800K dead and 100 years of Jim Crow.

                1. I dunno, slavery was pretty icky…

                2. And finally, slavery is an economic millstone.

                  Feelings about race aren’t rational, and I have no doubt that many would have been very happy to have a lower living standard in exchange for continuing to have second class citizens to kick around.

                  and there wouldn’t have been 800K dead and 100 years of Jim Crow.

                  Less dead is great, but I fail to see how Jim Crow wouldn’t have happened. Even if they ended slavery voluntarily out of necessity, it wouldn’t have suddenly elevated black people to equals in the eye of southern culture.

                  1. Most Southerners didn’t own slaves, and it was slavery that empowered the Owning class to turn those mass of Southerners into second class citizens.

                  2. Economies may not be internally competitive, but they are externally. Slavery is inefficient and not suited for manufacturing, which would leave the Confederacy as a backwards agricultural economy. Eventually other countries would apply technology to agriculture and the Confederacy wouldn’t even be competitive there, and fall apart or modernize. Either path would eliminate slavery as inefficient and unproductive.

                    I believe much of the reason for Jim Crow was having lost the war. Northerners didn’t hate slavery of blacks so much as they hated the way the 3/5 clause gave the South disproportionate Congressional power. They called it the slavocracy. I have sometimes wondered how history would have changed without that — the South would have lost political power sooner, but the North wouldn’t have been so incensed at being on the wrong end of that bargain.

                    At any rate, without the war and all the mutual hatred, the transition would have been more peaceful and gradual, and I do not think Jim Crow would have been as nasty and long. There would have been no KKK if the South or Confederacy had had to transform on its own, gradually, instead of all at once after 4 years of bitter war and all the martyrdom and victimhood that went with it.

                3. “And finally, slavery is an economic millstone. The Confederacy would have had to abandon slavery probably within 20 years, almost certainly within 50 years, and there wouldn’t have been 800K dead and 100 years of Jim Crow.”

                  That is a lot of assumptions. The alternative might have had equal or greater unpleasant outcomes that have not occurred to you. That would not necessarily be the case.

                4. And finally, slavery is an economic millstone. The Confederacy would have had to abandon slavery probably within 20 years, almost certainly within 50 years,

                  Yes, because after thousands of years people realized that this practice which had worked for millennia actually didn’t work at all and was–despite the richness of slave states and nations–actually making them poor.

                  Sure.

                  Slavery ended reasons of pure human decency and the willingness of people to fight to maintain that decency against those who weren’t feeling it yet.

        2. And we just decided that democracy isn’t worth fighting for.

          We did? Are we Sheldon Richman?

        3. Did the US really change anything about WWI other than the duration of the war and the number of powers that ended up making demands of Germany?

          1. With fresh American bodies going into the meat grinder, it meant the possibility of a German tactical victory or a general ceasefire and white peace was unlikely. You’re correct that the bigger influence was the United States being involved in the peace, which thanks to Wilson’s idiotic ideas about nationalism and race led to a new world map that would plague us for the next century.

            1. This is an interesting article about how the U.S. decision to enter the war can plausibly be blamed for both Nazis and Communism.

              Well, I *was* going to post a link to an interesting article, but apparently a normal URL is considered too long of a word and not postable? Screw that. I’m not typing a bunch of HTML just for one normal length link.

              It’s at Cato.org, Woodrow Wilson’s Great Mistake.

          2. Yes. The UK and France would have been bankrupt within the first year without loans from US banks, who had the tacit backing of the US Government.The US Government also didn’t raise any stink about the UK blockade of Germany, which was illegal by the existing rules of war.

          3. The US involvement was in Russia. When American boys showed up “over there” the war in central Europe was already over. US troops, looking for something to do headed over to Russia. They involved themselves in the Red & White civil war. THIS is an important fact missed frequently. More forigen troops fighting in an already unstable civil war. Backing questionable leaders, arming terrorist, generally being shitty. Until a ruthless, radical group takes power, and in order to stay in power cracks down on it’s own people.
            same shit different day, huh? Rabbit

          4. it helped move the U.S. into the adult table of international interest

            1. Sometimes the ‘Adult’ table is just full of angry bitter old drunks arguing about nonsense from the past. The ‘adult’ table is overrated.

      2. it would only tear through it because we no longer can buy what we used to be able to….fuck off slavers!

        1. When one looks at how much trouble the Ukraine and Poland and Balkan partisans gave the Nazis, and the Soviets for that matter, it’s not hard to imagine the well-armed US giving a lot more grief to an occupier. As notes in my other comment, certainly a sufficiently ruthless occupier could stomp it out, but the Nazis were pretty ruthless and still had partisan trouble. It’s hard to imagine how much more ruthless an occupier would have to be.

          1. The sheer size and vast emty wildernesses within the US would add to the invader’s troubles vs the militias.

            1. That was one of Germany’s problems in the Ukraine. The front lines can be pretty ruthless, being in an active war zone, but the support and occupation troops behind them have other things to do than chase partisans all over such a huge territory. It increases the cost of occupation tremendously.

            2. I don’t see why this would be the case.

              The US isn’t Afghanistan. The percentage of the population that can disappear into the wilderness and survive off the grid for long periods of time is vanishingly small.

              Preventing “civilians” in towns and cities from providing material support for that tiny contingent is where the ruthlessness comes in.

              1. 300M people require a lot of occupation forces to monitor and control. As witnessed by the US occupation forces in Germany, idle bored troops lead to corruption of all kinds, whether it be internal rot, bribery, or outright collusion and treason. Fighting partisans isn’t the same as front line fighting. It would take tens of million occupation troops to keep things under control, and there goes your efficiency and cheap stolen plunder.

          2. You realize that those areas were effectively occupied by the Soviets for over 40 years? Whatever trouble was given was clearly viewed as insignificant by the occupiers. The Nazis were holding the territory fine until the USSR drove them out.

            1. How many rebellions did the Soviets put down? Hungary 1956, Czechoslovakia 1968 were put down, but they never got Yugoslavia under control, East Germany had to build a huge wall which was both expensive and showed the true face of Communism to the world and its own citizens, there were quite a few huge labor strikes which never got much publicity in the west, and their economies stank, both figuratively and literally. One of the few things holding them all together was the constant saber rattling by the US, much as the US embargo on Cuba provided an external threat to keep domestic dissidents under control.

          3. How much trouble did the partisans actually give the Nazis, really? The USSR liked to talk it up, for obvious reasons, but my impression is that partisans spent a lot more time killing “local sympathizers” than taking on actual Germans.

          4. How much trouble did the partisans actually give the Nazis, really? The USSR liked to talk it up, for obvious reasons, but my impression is that partisans spent a lot more time killing “local sympathizers” than taking on actual Germans.

          5. You kind of miss the fact that most underground was supported by other nations, and milions were killed by Nazi to stop the fighters. Always amusing how some fools think that if a nation or whatever was strong enough to defeat USA, the militia would matter.. Using the high tech weapons of today, militia would last about 10 minutes… but always sounds to macho patriotic to disguise how the rag tag militia would stop the bad guns.. even if 100% silly.Isis and other finding out how high tech can ruin their day, and suggest if militia feels they can do any significant resistance, they stock up on pampers as they will need lots of them when shooting starts…just silly to read of them and how they would make life bad for invaders who took over.. watching way to many movies.. fiction movies.. no comparison to WW2 fighters and today’s tech wars..reality check is needed by militia, but as said… it sounds so manly man to blither about such stuff.

      3. I agree, sufficient ruthlessness would overcome our militias. *Sufficient* would have to be quite high, though.

        Why would anyone WANT to occupy the US? Answer that question first.

        1. What I mean is … the only point of occupying the US is for its resources and the people who produce things. There’s no point in occupying a depopulated US; who would mine the resources, grow the crops, and run the factories?

          So you really have to identify why any country would want to occupy the US with the ruthlessness necessary to keep partisan activity to some low rumble which makes the entire occupation worthwhile. I don’t think there is any such happy compromise.

          1. There’s no point in occupying a depopulated US; who would mine the resources, grow the crops, and run the factories?

            Very few Americans are involved with those three activities even now. Assuming most Americans refused to accommodate to the occupation (which I seriously doubt would happen), they could easily be replaced with people from the occupier’s country.

            You seem to be consistently underestimating the capability gap between citizen militia and nation-state military.

            The Enlightenment ideas about “the right of the people to rise up against their government” were formed in times when, at least for land hostilities, the gap was pretty small, enough to be overcome by numbers and defender’s advantage.

            Even by the time of WW2 — which was 70 years ago! — the gap was enormous. You give examples of WW2 partisans, but every one of their “resistances” failed. No nation-state military in WW2 was defeated, or forced to abandon its occupation, by anything but another nation-state military.

            And now it’s flippin 70 years later and the gap is orders of magnitude bigger.

            1. Your commentary assumes that void of state military, private companies to train and augment the militia would not develop. If i had a need to defend myself against a martial invasion of a nationstate, i would develop all the martial force possible. I would certainly heed all news of foreign powers and attempt to develop tools and tactics to counter these powers. I imagine my neighbors, in the abscence,of a standing army, would share the sentiment. Militia would be strong and well enough equipped as they would be sponsored at all levels of society. Insurance companies would train and maintain military readiness policies to protect against invasion because invasions are bad for business. We dont see these things because the free market is specifically outlawed from providing them. Mercenary companies used to ve common. Privateers were common. Citizen-soldiers in the militia equiped with state of the art technology were common. All of this went by the wayside with the accendency of the modern state and it forbidding individual armament for fear of rebellion.

              1. Dude, you’re talking about the 1700s again. When the height of military technology was the musket, it wasn’t hard to have “militia equipped with state of the art military technology”. A few things have changed in the past 250 years. In 2017, the most advanced state of the art military technology can be wielded in its entirety by a small centralized group.

                The first time the “citizen militia” system devised by the Founders (who contrary to libertarian beliefs did not shit gold) was the War of 1812 and they failed miserably, nearly costing us our independence.

                1. Militias and partisans don’t have to win set battles. They just raise the cost of occupation. All those soldiers messing with partisans were troops who the leaders would love to have had at the front lines. That’s all they need to do to swing the calculations such that invasion and occupation are more expensive than trade in getting resources.

              2. You just earned award for one of most silly, illinformed (did not see any source data) and best fiction posts so far.

        2. (1) Great restaruants, long, (2) open stretches of road to drive fast on, and (3) really nice weather (out West, at least) are a few of the reasons …. oh …. add (4) unlimited supplies of fertile farmland, and (5) lots of oil and gas reserves.

          I’m just saying ….

        3. It’s a pretty simple process. Let’s say China wanted to occupy the US, and somehow got past the military (or as SR&C is suggesting, there is no US military). They would have some simple steps to follow.

          1. Separate out the few Americans who have skills useful to the occupation government, and spare them and perhaps their families from subsequent steps. In our modern service economy, this is going to be a very small number of people getting spared.

          2. Slaughter all remaining males and all females over 30.

          3. Remaining females 15-30 are used for wives for Chinese men who want them, and once you’ve run out of grooms there, the remainder become sex slaves of one sort or another. Females under 15 are kept in reserve for future Chinese boys’ marriage needs. Any children from these marriages are sent to an occupation government boarding school at an early age to prevent them from learning American ways and beliefs from their mothers.

          If you think this is far-fetched, consider the fact that we could easily have done this in Iraq, if we didn’t care about morality or international opinion. Trust me, our enemies are unencumbered by such concerns. So yeah, we need to have a fucking military and make sure it is capable of defending us.

          1. Yes it’s far fetched. All “successful” occupations are small countries taken over by big countries, US vs Afghanistan is a fantastic example of how a huge country cannot take over a small country with a puny economy. Germany vs Ukraine, you can find a zillion examples which show how the US could not be successfully occupied.

            An economy does NOT depend on just some small percentage of the population. Farmers may only be 1% of the US population, but they depend on everybody else for fuel, fertilizer, equipment, seeds, distribution, clothing, and every other aspect of life. No occupier could kill even half the country and keep production going. All males and half the females? What a joke!

            That kind of nonsensical theorizing is just ignorance on a platter. It has no relationship to any reality.

        4. Who would want to rule Russia, North Korea, and mainland China with under totalitarian rule? Who would want to take over Venezuela just to tear down all their industry and reduce the majority of the population to starvation in less than twenty years?

          Clearly there are plenty of takers for those kinds of enterprises. Why would this be any different? Other than feasibility?

      4. Occupations are difficult no matter how ruthless you are – or are you going to say the Soviets ruled with a light hand in Afghanistan?

        1. They were damned ruthless, and they also left in disgrace.

          The Japanese were even more ruthless in China, the Nazis were more ruthless in the conquered lands, and they didn’t win hearts and minds. The Nazis were especially stupid, because The Ukrainians initially greeted them as liberators.

          1. Those occupations were ended by the occupying power’s foreign enemies, not by the occupied people.

            The Nazis could have held the Continent indefinitely were it not for UK/US/USSR (and they probably push the Soviets well into Siberia without Lend-Lease in particular). Likewise with the Japs in China.

          2. A large part of why the Soviets left Afghanistan was the influx of arms from foreign sources. In large part from the US (Watch “Charlie Wilson’s War”). A lesser known factor was that the Soviet army had shockingly poor field sanitation practices that lead to high non combat related casualties.

        2. Pay no attention to the US arming the mujahadeen behind the curtain, and the Soviets having way bigger problems on their hands elsewhere when they finally withdrew.

          1. Stinger Missiles

    3. They’d run into so many militia as to make occupation a nightmarish quagmire.

      The US government never seems to let that stop it from invading other countries. Why would Russia/China/etc. let it stop them? I think the US’s biggest defense after its military is its economic power. Almost everyone else on Earth depends heavily on the US as either a trade partner or an aid provider. (Of course a good deal of that aid is in military form.)

      1. What *productive* country has the US ever occupied, other than the WW II losers? Iraq had oil and nothing else. The US economy is techonological and efficient, and would be far less useful with ruthless partisan oppression.

        Germany after WW II might be a good example. All the Allied victors wanted Germany to be kept technologically primitive to prevent WW III, but it turned out that without technology, they couldn’t feed themselves. The US would be the same, which leaves lebensraum as the only possible reason, and that was obsolete before Hitler came to power; no one recognized how much technology was improving farms already.

        A liberated US economy, without regulatory red tape and confiscatory taxes, booming like no other, without politics saying who we do business with or trade with … any occupation would cost more than simple everyday trade once you add in the cost of an occupation army, dealing with a new bureaucracy, and the reduced morale and productivity from suppressing millions of partisans.

        Sure a mad man could run wild. But mad men like that don’t rise to the top in modern economies. Look at how restrained Putin is by his crap economy, and how little trouble China can actually start without tanking their economy.

        There is simply no plausible scenario where it makes sense for anyone to invade and occupy the US, let alone a US with a liberated and booming economy.

        1. It makes plenty of sense if you’re a bloodthirsty paranoid psychopath like so many despots are around the world. Not sure why you have so much difficulty with this concept. Shorter version: Not everyone thinks the way you do.

    4. I sometimes wonder if any country needs a military. The US, for instance, doesn’t need one. What country would possibly want to invade the US? They’d run into so many militia as to make occupation a nightmarish quagmire.

      This is likely true. But who wants to live in a cave for 25% of their life waiting for the occupier to give up, on the run and getting droned? Resistance fighting isn’t as romantic as it is in the movies.

      1. See my answer above. The sheer bloody minded ruthlessness necessary to occupy the US while keeping partisans cowed is so much that getting anything worthwhile from its farms, factories, mines, etc is impossible. You can have one or the other — productive population or dead partisans. The US is simply too well armed for there to be any decent meeting of those two goals. And there is no point in occupying the US unless you can grab its productivity.

        1. And there is no point in occupying the US unless you can grab its productivity.

          Remind me again, then, why the US is in Iraq and Afghanistan? And explain why other nations can’t come to similar false conclusions and invade the US for similar reasons?

          No, without a military, a nation with a powerful military would give as much consideration to our militia as we gave to the military/militias of Iraq and Afghanistan.

          1. Tell me how China or Russia can make any similar case for invading the US. Then compare the relative sizes of US vs Iraq and Afghanistan, and China or Russia vs the US. And finally, look at all the messes every Afghanistan invader has had, no matter how big they were, or look at how much trouble the US had in Vietnam with 500,000 soldiers and theh biggest air forces in the world.

            It simply cannot be done.

            1. a. They can make any case they want. The reason need not be valid. (As ours wasn’t for invading Iraq and overthrowing the Taliban.) All that needs to happen is for a strong power to feel spurned, rightly or wrongly, and that major power will not bat an eye attacking a militarily weak nation in retaliation to said spurn. Weaker the nation the less spurning is required before someone comes and kicks your ass for it.

              b. I’m not disagreeing with you. Our citizenry would eventually repel a superior force. But who wants to live like that for the 20+ years required to wear down an invader? We’ve been in Afghanistan for 16 years. What do you think the quality of life is for the resistance? Resistance works. It just takes a long time of living a miserable existence. I’d much rather be able to repel any attempted occupation, in very short order, and continue living a happy productive life.

              1. Afghanistan has 1/10 the US population, and they have primitive weapons.

                How could Russia, with half the population, possibly occupy the US for any length of time?

                China has 4-5 times the US population. Do you still think they could occupy the US for any length of time? What are they going to do, send half their population here?

                A standing military degrades the quality of life too. Federal, state, and local governments suck up $8T a year, 40% of the GDP. I wager that if your choices were a fully freed economy with the tiny tiny risk of occupation vs sucking the lifeblood out of the economy as now, you’d take that liberated economy in a heartbeat, that the difference would be as vast as choosing between our current economy and a resistance hell.

                1. It’s not a tiny risk. It is an inevitability. Eventually, someone will try to take your shit… See: history.

                  Without a military, you will eventually have NO economy. Too busy hiding in caves and trying not to get droned.

                  How could Russia, with half the population, possibly occupy the US for any length of time?

                  Um…because their firepower would be several orders of magnitude beyond ours? Numbers have fuck-all to do with it. We’d lose every single battle. We’d win the war through persistent staying power, basically because we have nowhere else to go. They could occupy us as long as they had the will to do so.

                  1. “It’s not a tiny risk. It is an inevitability. Eventually, someone will try to take your shit… See: history.”
                    Actually history is a list of people who had militaries who were invaded.

                    “Um…because their firepower would be several orders of magnitude beyond ours?”
                    First of all no it wouldn’t, secondly how much good did that do them in Afghanistan? They lost against barely literate and that’s (being generous) tribesman less than a tenth their numbers. Anyone who can look at that fact and then say “Yeah We can take 300M yanks” will not rise to a general’s rank.

                    ” We’d lose every single battle. ”
                    So did the Mugabe and friends. Who runs Rhodesia now?

                    “They could occupy us as long as they had the will to do so.”
                    Yes and anyone who could pass OTC would know that wouldn’t be that long and it would cost enough to ruin their government.

            2. That’s insane. I’d rather have a military able to repel an invading force, rather than take a chance that someday we’ll be picking through the rubble trying to put the country back together again.

              1. And how do you calculate how much you should spend on the military without price signals? You can’t. What we currently have is defense socialism. And what do we say about socialism?

                1. And how do you calculate how much you should spend on the military without price signals? You can’t.

                  Umm what? I don’t have price signals telling me how much to spend on home and personal defense either, so does that mean I should stop bothering with it?

                  1. Umm what? I don’t have price signals telling me how much to spend on home and personal defense either, so does that mean I should stop bothering with it?

                    Of course you have price signals. Don’t you know much locks, guns, and alarm systems cost? Don’t you know the likelihood of having a break-in, based on the neighborhood you live in? Don’t you know how much you are willing to spend on home and personal defense, based on your values, the values of the stuff you are trying to protect, how much you want to spend, and how much you can afford?

                    Now try to answer the same questions with respect to the United States and defense spending, and you will see the problem.

                    1. Don’t you know much locks, guns, and alarm systems cost?

                      You do realize the govt has bidding processes for the stuff it buys.

                      Don’t you know how much you are willing to spend on home and personal defense, based on your values, the values of the stuff you are trying to protect, how much you want to spend, and how much you can afford?

                      Govt knows this as much as I do.

                    2. “Govt knows this as much as I do.”
                      But it doesn’t know how much value it gets from any of this, because it has no way of assessing how important anything is to anybody. It’s not a person so it can’t consult it’s onw values, because it has none. it isn’t spending it’s own money so there’s no reason why it should be able to know the value of that money.

    1. Government accounting is so crooked and flexible that it makes Mafia accounting look sane. If you can explain how quantitative easing saves the economy by pumping money into it, without pumping money into it, then you can cook the rest of the government books any way you want.

      1. “Audit the Fed!”

        1. Audit the entire government!

      2. Mafia accounting is actually pretty good. After all the last thing you want is to either steal from those guys or make it look like you stole from them. Remember “Lethal Weapon II”? “Ten thousand here, twenty thousand there, who would notice ?” “Drug dealers, drug dealers would notice.”.

    2. I like how they start the clock when Trump took office.

      The Treasury has been burning through debt-financed money since Andrew Jackson was president.

    3. Obligations vs. allocations.
      That sounds like it could be the answer, but who knows?

  4. I hope Richman has the courage of his convictions. He may remember about 25 years ago when the LP said a soldier killed in the Panama raid to capture Noriega didn’t want to die to capture a drug lord. The soldier’s buddies and his fiancee said, in effect, that he did want to die for such a glorious cause. Shitstorm and death threats followed but, as I recall, the LP never apologized.

    1. Well if that soldier wanted to die for that stupid cause (and I don’t think we should take his family’s word for it) he should have done it on his own dime.

  5. “It’s time we learn that killing and dying for an ideology?even so-called liberal democracy? is as bad as doing so for a religion.”

    The idea that heroism involves sacrificing oneself for others is grounded in Christianity. A typical college survey of western literature (before 1500) course will often focus on heroic epics, and the impact of Christianity becomes obvious. After the introduction of Christianity, heroism became all about sacrificing yourself for others–it’s practically a defining characteristic of western thought and has been for 2,000 years.

    It isn’t going away anytime soon, and that’s probably a good thing. The reason that’s a good thing is rooted in the benefits of altruism generally. And, as we discussed in a another thread last week, altruism arises naturally from evolution and the survival of the fittest, much in the same way that Adam Smith’s invisible hand of benevolence arises from individuals all seeking their own best interests.

    To point to one benefit of our conception of heroism as self-sacrifice being of benefit to society, maybe we should start with the likely alternative to an all volunteer army. In the past, an insufficient number of volunteers hasn’t been an obstacle to war. It’s simply meant conscription. Many of us have avoided serving in the military simply because others volunteered, and that is almost certainly linked to their conception of heroism as self-sacrifice.

    1. Oh, there’s plenty of the same idea in Classical and older literature as well. The Horace quote used in the Wilfred Owen poem “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” — “It is sweet and proper to die for the Fatherland” — is older than Christianity. The Spartans only allowed gravestones for men who died in battle and women who died in childbirth.

      1. That those ideas exist in other traditions and cultures is beside the point. Those ideas permeate our culture because of Christianity.

        1. Or because of Ancient Greece.

          1. Um . . . no.

            That heroism is self-sacrifce, individuals are important because Jesus sacrificed himself for each of them, that you should do unto others as you would have done unto you, etc., these are concepts that permeate western culture because of the influence of Christianity.

            I guess it’s typical for atheists to argue online that early Christians were influenced by other people (as if that were a profound observation), that religion has no positive benefits, etc.?

            Whatever.

            Denying the influence of Christianity on western culture is absurd. If you’re gonna go that route, I might as well argue with a creationist.

            1. The precepts of citizenship are Roman/pagan, not Judeo-Christian. If Christianity is the well-spring of our civics why are we a product of the Renaissance and Enlightenment and not an extension of the Medieval?

              1. I didn’t say it was the wellspring of civics.

                I said it was the ultimate influence on western culture of heroism as self-sacrifice and some other things–like the golden rule.

                1. Those are good points Ken.

            2. I’m not at all arguing that Christianity was the most significant influence on the development of Western Civilization. I am saying that treating death in battle as uniquely heroic wasn’t unique to the West or Christianity. In fact, early Christianity was pretty strongly pacifist, so this is one area where Christian doctrine accommodated earlier thought.

              1. “I am saying that treating death in battle as uniquely heroic wasn’t unique to the West or Christianity.”

                Death in battle and self-sacrifice are not the same thing.

                Pre-Christian tradition reverenced things like bravery, courage, glory, fame, and honor.

                Self-sacrifice, not so much.

                Achilles, Ajax, Agamemnon, Ulysses, which of these heroes were heroic because they sacrificed themselves?

                Jason, Gilgamesh, . . .

                Christianity arrives, and our heroes become martyrs. And that conception of heroism remains with us today. The real heroes are buried in Arlington and Normandy, doncha know, and they aren’t just heroes because they were brave or courageous. They’re heroes because they made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom, for justice, for America, etc.

                A hero today is someone who throws himself on a grenade to save his buddies.

                Achilles wasn’t about to throw himself on a grenade.

            3. Given that western civilization descends from Ancient Greece and that Ancient Greece espoused self sacrifice for fellow man, I would say that your hypothesis is unnecessary and untestable.

              Hell, the early Christians wrote IN GREEK.

              And I say this as a Christian, so I don’t have an atheist dog in this fight.

              1. To whatever extent Greek culture influenced early Christians, you’re right.

                But that influence came to us by way of Christianity–not by way of the Greeks.

                In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God . . . and the Logos was made flesh and dwelt among us . . .”

                Logos is a Greek word. It means “word” as in the word “bird” is a symbol or “logo” for a thing with feathers and wings, but, here, it’s really the meaning as in “logic”. Logic was the idea that the universe is ordered, so that it can be understood by humanity, and the “Logos” was that ordering force.

                It isn’t really a Greek idea, though. The Greeks almost certainly got it from the Persians, whose Zoroastrian priests called that force “asha”. They, in turn, got it from the vedic tradition they reformed, where that force was called “rta”. Is it right then to say that modern western culture has been highly influenced bu the vedic tradition?

                After all, the Magi were Zoroastrian priests!

                Zoroastrianism may have had an influence on both Judaism (during the Babylonian captivity) and Christianity later (December 25th is the rebirth day of Mithras, and there are still several well preserved Mithranium under and within Roman cathedrals today). Regardless, to whatever extent those older traditions influenced western culture, it was only to the extent of and by way of their influence on Christianity.

                Let’s not put the cart before the horse.

    2. The 300 is about christians?

      1. To the ancient Greeks, their heroism was about courage in the face of the overwhelming odds against them, the gods’ unwillingness to suffer Zoroastrians to rule over Greeks in Hellas, etc.

        If the story resonates with us because, in our eyes, it’s about self-sacrifice, that probably says more about us than it does about them.

        1. Ken, have you read the Iliad? The Greeks and Trojans both believed in the same gods – and neither side had exclusive access to their favor.

          1. I’m talking about self-sacrifice as a defining aspect of the modern western conception of heroism.

            What are you talking about?

            1. One could just as easily say that the defining aspect of western heroism is overcoming adversity, not self-sacrifice.

  6. You don’t need to be a Christian to benefit from Christian ideas that permeate western culture either. When gay atheists or Muslims insist that they should be treated the way we would want to be treated if we were them, that argument has traction because the golden rule permeates our culture. Thank goodness for it–where would western civilization be without it, heroism as self-sacrifice or the idea that every individual is important because, “if you have done so unto the least of these you have done so unto me”?

    Once again, altruism arises naturally from the natural world. It doesn’t exist independent from self-interest, but understand the full implications of that. That doesn’t only mean that altruism is never completely divorced from self-interest; it also means that you can’t pull the plug on it without forgoing its legitimate benefits to society. That free individuals evolved a culture where people don’t need to be forced by the government to make sacrifices for each other is something libertarians should celebrate–not bemoan.

    1. This Golden Rule? Yeah, Christianity adopted that like a lot of other things.

      1. Again, I didn’t say those formulations didn’t exist in other cultures.

        I said they came to us in the modern west by way of Christianity.

        1. Yeah man, the Golden Rule thing? Didn’t ya know, it has been superseded by, “Those who have the gold, rule”? ? And today, Government Almighty (and those crony capitalists blessed by said Government Almighty) are those who have the gold! (Brain) case closed!
          Also, the Golden Rule is closely associated with rearligion? And the ***ONLY*** valid and acceptable rearligion today, is the worship of Government Almighty!!!
          I will now demonstrate, logically and impeccably, that Government Almighty is the boss of God?
          Here is PROOF!
          We read in the papers, every day almost, of federal judges (servants of Government Almighty) sitting in judgment (using their magical mind-reading powers) about whether or not our religious beliefs are “sincerely held”, or not.

          Yet I have NEVER heard of credible evidence concerning God Almighty, sitting in judgment about whether or not our beliefs in Government Almighty are “sincerely held”, or not!!!

          Brain case closed, again!!!

          1. Let us now worship!!!
            Scienfoology Song? GAWD = Government Almighty’s Wrath Delivers

            Government loves me, This I know,
            For the Government tells me so,
            Little ones to GAWD belong,
            We are weak, but GAWD is strong!
            Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
            Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
            Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
            My Nannies tell me so!

            GAWD does love me, yes indeed,
            Keeps me safe, and gives me feed,
            Shelters me from bad drugs and weed,
            And gives me all that I might need!
            Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
            Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
            Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
            My Nannies tell me so!

            DEA, CIA, KGB,
            Our protectors, they will be,
            FBI, TSA, and FDA,
            With us, astride us, in every way!
            Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
            Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
            Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
            My Nannies tell me so!

    2. Trump isn’t advocating that people kill and die to protect gay atheists and Muslims, or golden rules that permeate American culture. it’s just all rah-rah flag worship and tribal identity over there. He just passed a travel ban that violates the Golden Rule against people based on their religious faith and country of origin. So no.

      1. The travel ban is a TEMPORARY 90 DAY STAY while security measures are evaluated/improved. All these countries are known to be state sponsors of terror, or the country is not fully controlled by it’s government. Do you not understand this?

        If Trump just wanted to keep Muslims out, there are plenty of other Islamic nations he could have added to that list. He didn’t.

  7. But any suggestion that the American Church does wrong is systematically marginalized and kept from the public

    Except that Trump himself seemed to acknowledge it recently, when he said on Bill O’Reilly’s show “We got a lot of killers. What, you think our country is so innocent?” So does Trump not think that “doing wrong” in the service of the State is, well, wrong? Or does he simply not care about being in any way consistent?

    1. Then there is the idiot-left that bunched up their panties when Trump said we don’t fight to win – as though he were insulting the fighting prowess of the troops (which ironically here is a catechism in American Church).

      I’m not sure what Trump was implying, but it certainly could be read as don’t fight wars you can’t win or have no idea what winning looks like. If so, that isn’t a bad thing at all.

      1. “we don’t fight to win” may have its roots in frustration over how Vietnam was prosecuted. Innumerable military folks complained about political interference in war-fighting. If you are going to go to war, then let the professional war-fighters do their jobs. Otherwise, don’t go.

  8. “The raid killed at least 25 noncombatants, including children ? among them an American citizen: the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, the militant Muslim cleric and American citizen executed without due process in Yemen by an Obama drone nearly six years ago. Nora al-Awlaki’s teenage brother, Abdulrahman, also an American citizen, was similarly killed in an Obama drone strike in Yemen.”

    Didn’t you get the memo Sheldon? Barack H. Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize winning Constitutional Scholar, has uncovered an al-Awlaki Exception to the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment! It’s right there next to Donald Trump’s Article XII!

  9. Interesting article. Thanks for giving Wilfred Owen some love. He deserves it. (He died a week before the Armistice of WWI, which was, incidentally, AFTER Germany agreed to surrender and the Allies were bickering over the terms.)

    I have two quibbles. One, this isn’t the American Religion. The overweaning regard for those who died in battle can be shown to be as old as civilization and probably is a lot older. Once humans started having leaders who needed to expand territory we got the idea of propaganda. Because we do need, rarely, to fight, humans probably have to have some variant of this attitude. Therefore, my second quibble: the problem isn’t that we treat the death of soldiers with solemn respect, it’s that, in order to avoid appearing disrespectful toward the dead soldier, we refuse to analyze whether the battle in which he died was necessary or correctly prosecuted.

    1. Valhalla

      1. Exactly.

  10. In this case, the father of the dead soldier is open about his contempt for Trump and the raid, which, as noted, killed a lot more people and didn’t actually do any good. The Democrats are in such pants-wetting terror of being called draft dodgers like it’s still 1968 that they won’t do anything, and Trump proposes increasing the military budget enormously, even though we spend as much as the next 27 biggest spenders combined. Under him, we will spend as much as the next fifty or so. I don’t know how to say it in a way that won’t offend someone, somewhere, but the worst thing about this guy’s death is that it was so wasteful. The number of people who died, the expense to the taxpayers, and the dreadful cost to our national reputation, combine to make this death far more wasteful than any random drug dealer murder in any big city last night. “That old lie” indeed.

    1. We cannot rest, and the children cannot be safe, until the entire local cluster of galaxies ALL lies in American hands!!!

      (I have heard of commie-servatives who argue against abortion, in that it kills future possible soldiers, who might otherwise defend the American Empire, All Hail!!!!)

      1. You met my bad college roommate? (Seriously, that was her argument. Also The Dark-Skinned Scary People were going to take over. She and her awful boyfriend chased me away from the Republican Party forever.)

        1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kX8lqXAONg

          “I don’t think there are any Russians!
          And there ain’t no Yanks!
          Just corporate criminals,
          Playing with tanks!”

          One of my fave old-timer tunes…
          Check it out, you might like it…

          1. Thanks! That was fun! I’m wondering how I missed them back in the day.

          2. Nice, always liked the song but never paid attention to the lyrics.

  11. no matter how loathsome a ruler may be

    Q: What’s the difference between “Reason Staff” and a mob of dorky college SWJs?

    A: Slightly different ideas about economics.

  12. It’s time for another thrilling episode of Defend The Donald!

    From the March 4 N.Y. Times:

    In the fall, the F.B.I. examined computer data showing an odd stream of activity between a Trump Organization server and Alfa Bank, one of Russia’s biggest banks, whose owners have longstanding links to Mr. Putin. While some F.B.I. officials initially believed that the computer activity indicated an encrypted channel between Moscow and New York, the bureau ultimately moved away from that view. The activity remains unexplained.
    There is no confirmed evidence that the F.B.I. obtained a court warrant to wiretap the Trump Organization or was capturing communications directly from the Trump Organization.

    10 points if you successfully Defend The Donald!
    5 points if you call the N.Y. Times FAKE NEWS.
    1 point if your Donald defense mentions either “Obummer” or “Hitlery.”

    GO!

    1. an odd stream of activity between a Trump Organization server and Alfa Bank, one of Russia’s biggest banks

      Eliminate the editorial “odd” and include Trump’s business dealings in “Organization” — Voila, Defend The Donald!

    2. What is the Trump Organization? I’ve never heard that term before.

      1. Its the name of the band which travels around the world singing the Putin song and undermining Truth, Justice, and the Never Trump way

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zk_VszbZa_s

        1. Can I get a sex change and nationality change (and maybe a species change as well, depending on who you ask)… Can I get all these “change” operations, hopefully paid for by the taxpayers, as being “medically necessary”… So that the Putin-Uber-Savior will sleep with me?!?! It’s my RIGHTS, ya know!!!!

    3. Look we don’t have any clue what that stream of activity is but it could have well been a request fromTrump to hack the US election with a promise to give Russia the eastern hemisphere ~ NT Times.

      1. That’s clearly fake — no mention of women or minorities.

    4. More fake news for you:

      American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, current and former senior American officials said.

      The F.B.I. is leading the investigations, aided by the National Security Agency, the C.I.A. and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit. The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the officials said. One official said intelligence reports based on some of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House.

  13. I don’t think,much of how the various wars we are involved in are being fought, and a lot of that is down to politics. That said, Trum hasn’t had nearly enough time to overcome the momentum of,ongoing assumptions.

    But we are going to be fighting a war or wars, for the forseeable future.

    Ending Colonialism sounded like a swell idea, back at the end of the Edwardian era. And like a lot of Swell Ideas embraced by the Progressives back then, it turned out to be seriously flawed. The post colonial era has been marked by barbarism, mass murder, famine as a tool of statecraft, kleptocracy, and corruption. And that’s just in the United Nations.

    Sub-Saharan Africa, we could ignore. They don’t have the money to buy the tools to be a serious problem. The Middle East is another matter. They are serious about attcking the West, and we are going to have to do something about them. I hope that we will decide on a campaign if education; a series of nasty object lessons to teach the leaders of Radical Islam that annoying us is a VERY bad idea. I’m afraid that isn’t going to happen. Instead we seemto be set on a course of bootless intermeddling that goes nowhere useful. And that, in turn, is going to lead to a series of attacks on us. And eventually, we are going to get really, bone deep angry, and when we recover we’re going to be in control of the Middle East and God help us.

    1. But the attacks will come whether we are boots down in the Middle East or not. It takes both sides to decide to NOT have a war. The old “What if they decided to have a war and nobody came” slogan is imbecilic. It’s great if really NOBODY comes. But if one side decides to turn up, they win. I really don’t think I’d like a world in which Islam won, and I doubt anyone here would either.

    2. The post colonial era has been marked by barbarism, mass murder, famine as a tool of statecraft, kleptocracy, and corruption.

      Unlike the colonial era…. (slavery, geocide, famine as tool of statecrafy, merchantilism, kleptocracy, etc.)

  14. ANd why were there women and children noncombatant said on site? Because the enemy gained knowledge of the raid and loaded the place up with them so that when they were killed idiot journalists like you would piss and moan about the civilian casualties.

    The jihadists were to blame for that. They have been using civilians as human shields for decades, but of course that’s all our fault isn’t it?

    1. We invaded a village; you know, a place where families live. It’s not like they had a bunch of civilians in a military target. Why the hell were US troops in Yemen? How is that even legal? (Hint: it isn’t)

  15. an American citizen: the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki

    When the raid happened I tried to find out if she was a US citizen, but I couldn’t find the info, so that clears that up I guess.

    NBC says “the Yemeni government disagrees.”

    Which government? Because there is the coup government and the ousted one, right?

    “Almost everything that could go wrong did,” The New York Times reported. “The death of Chief Petty Officer William Owens came after a chain of mishaps and misjudgments that plunged the elite commandos into a ferocious 50-minute firefight that also left three others wounded and a $75 million aircraft deliberately destroyed.”

    A lot like the raid that got Bin Laden, but all the look backs now seem to gloss over those problems because they killed Bin Laden

    1. Maybe my memory is spotty, but I don’t remember the death of a US soldier getting this much coverage in the past 8 years. Did no soldiers die during that span?

      1. I found this when I was refreshing my memory on the Bin Laden raid, and I don’t really remember it being talked about very much.

        1. Pretty easy to Stonewall when press is in your back pocket.

      2. Of course not. The Lightbringer would not allow such a thing!

      3. I seem to recall a certain ambassador’s death that got some minor notice.

        1. Thanks for proving my point. Under Obama, ambassadors being slain in broad daylight inside our consulate building got about the same reaction from the media as soldiers dying in raids of armed-to-the-teeth enemy military strongholds get under Trump.

          1. If by about the same you mean 32 congressional hearings vs. none, sure. And if by about the same you mean Obama got partisan blame for a terrorist attack while Trump gets praise for ordering a failed mission, yeah that too.

            1. 32 congressional hearings

              Congressional hearings are called by the media now? Missed that in my civics class!

  16. Trump’s lastest bombshell accusation is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It’s time to appoint the special prosecutor. The accusations from both sides demand a special prosecutor. There’s no other way. If you have nothing to hide and you see these huge questions that cut to the very heart of the legitimacy of any of this then you have to support allowing a neutral full investigation by a special prosecutor. Jesus fucking christ this has to happen now.

    1. Oh, bullshit. The political Left was going to keep making accusations until they got an ‘investigation’ they could hijack. Trump lashes out in return. Leave ’em alone. If the reckless charges against Trump act to disguise something serious he has or will do, that is a lesson the Left needs to have ground in deep.

    2. I know, if nothing else, Libertarianism is DEFINED by “If you have nothing to hide, you should have no problem with the state doing all kinds of stuff looking into you”

      How about the Left express what CRIME they are accusing Trump of? They have never done so. Nothing any of his people have done in re Russia have even been improper, much less illegal.

  17. Still nothing about Obama’s watergate?

    I guess Bezos hasn’t told the aging libertarian hipsters what to think about it yet.

    1. The main difference being that there was actual proof of Watergate?

      Spicer tweeted this morning that the oompaloomp-in-chief will not comment further until Congress investigates Obama (which is not going to happen), meaning that his handlers have decided that they want this issue to go away. Good luck with that.

      1. Keep telling yourself that Chippy.

        1. Which of my statements do you dispute? Or is that just what you say when you have no argument.

          1. The main difference being that there was actual proof of Watergate?

            After two years of investigations.
            This one will not take anything like that amount of time as the FISA requests will be declassified or leaked shortly.

            It’s public record that Obamas administration wiretapped AP reporters, a Fox reporter and senate offices. The patter of behavior makes the charge credible. Certainly worthy of investigation by “journalists”.

            As to spiders tweets, he’s clearly attempting to juijitsu the Russophobic hysteria back onto the media and Obama.

            1. “he’s clearly attempting to juijitsu the Russophobic hysteria back onto the media and Obama.”

              Exactly. You want investigations? How many do you want? How long before he brings the Clinton’s shady behavior back into the picture? He’ll try to make the media sorry they ever went down this road.

              1. Not just Clinton. Plenty of congress critters have engaged in shady activities. Charley Rangel’s tax fraud, and Chris Dodd’s pay for play with the mortgage banking industry come to mind.

                There could be plenty of investigations opened up on democrats, and even some dissident republicans.

                1. Yeah, why don’t we just investigate everybody! How libertarian!

                  1. As long as they are politicians, why not. They work for us, we have a right to know how they are doing their jobs.

                  2. How is it not libertarian to investigate sleazy rent-seeking crooked politicians that exist above the law? You think it’s libertarian for congressmen to engage in pay for play?

    2. You do realize that if there was such an attempt by the Obama administration, Trump could publish the actual warrant application and supporting documents to prove that rather than just Twittering about it, right?

      1. This. Wiretaps have a long paper trail. Trump is, y’know, President and can order people to release anything required and redact the secret stuff.

        1. Except one of the problems is that the people Obama left behind aren’t, you know, doing their job and it is exceptionally difficult to fire employees.

          Trump should fire all of them en masse and argue that Congress does not have the power to limit how the Executive Branch handles its employment in the same way the President cannot determine how the Executive can control how Congress handles its employees. It would seem to violate the separation of powers for the Legislature to force the Executive to keep employees unwanted and unneeded.

  18. I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Richman. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Richman, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something. That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Richman… and it’s worth fighting for.

    1. thank you for stopping before the love scene.

  19. Excellent post Mr. Richman. I assume you will be withdrawing your support for Palestinian nationalism and Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in the near future in order to be consistent. Unless of course you have some quasi-secular faith in worldview where other nations are just always responding to Western/American aggression and are free to kill and die as they please for their own ideologies.

    1. If everyone in America just handed over their wallets to foreigners (not Israelis though) and all slit our own throats, world peace and prosperity would ensue. At least in Sheldon’s world view.

  20. “Ryan is looking down right now,” he said. “You know that. And he is very happy because I think I just broke a record. I mean he broke a record. The dead guy. Not me. Not that I couldn’t break the record if I really wanted to. It’s easy for me because I’m very smart. I’m a smart guy. Thank you. Where were we? Oh yeah, God. He loves me. I mean you.”

    1. So, let’s see — a Fox news report, featuring someone identified as “liberal journalist,” but who also worked in “senior advisor in the Bush administration,” says an anonymous source in the “White House” told her this happened, with no explanation as to how the anonymous source would even know this. Sounds legit. (And keep in mind that Trump himself could publish the actual warrant application and supporting documents to unequivocally prove the allegations if he wanted to do so, but instead Spicer is running around saying Trump’s position is that Congress should investigate the issue, which makes no sense if Trump actually has any evidence.)

      1. What she said pretty much matches the original NYT reporting. There was a warrant, there was wiretapping, there was an investigation into collusion with the Russians, and the White House was briefed.

    2. “Chocolate Nixon”

  21. TRUMP: I need another dead SEAL. Now.
    BANNON: We don’t have one at the moment. Unfortunately.
    TRUMP: Then I’m calling another address to Congress.
    CONWAY: Um I don’t think you can do that again unless there’s like an emergency or something —
    TRUMP: Shut up, Melania. The men are talking.
    CONWAY: I’m Kellyanne!
    BANNON: Make me a sammich, Melania!
    TRUMP: Hahahaha!
    BANNON: Hahahaha! Sir.

    1. Trumpty Dumpty, He’s quite off-the-wall,
      Trumpty Dumpty won’t stay in His toilet stall
      He just goes ahead and takes His shits,
      Totally regardless of whereever He sits
      Whenever He simply, no way, can sleep,
      He Twits us His thoughts, they’re all SOOO deep!
      He simply must, He MUST, Twit us His bird,
      No matter the words, however absurd!
      He sits and snorts His coke with a spoon,
      Then He brazenly shoots us His moon!
      They say He’ll be impeached by June,
      Man, oh man, June cannot come too soon!
      So He sits and jiggles His balls,
      Then He Twitters upon the walls
      “Some come here to sit and think,
      Some come here to shit and stink
      But I come here to scratch my balls,
      And read the writings on the walls
      Here I sit, My cheeks a-flexin’
      Giving birth to another Texan!
      He who writes these lines of wit,
      Wraps His Trump in little balls,
      He who reads these lines of wit,
      Eats those loser’s balls of shit!”

  22. Sorry guys, you went overboard on this one. You can criticize Trump for using the standard patriotic rhetorical device in his speech to Congress. You did that in the first paragraph. Sheldon Richman does not lead you in the right direction, though. By the end of your article, you criticize Owens himself, with an argument that says his actions compare to those of ISIS fighters and other jihadists. That conclusion is not supportable at all.

    1. Welcome to Reason. You will love Dalmia.

      1. Forget it, Jake. It’s Richmantown.

      2. You should make a Dalmia pi?ata and fill it with Obama phones. Therapy for CWS (Constant Whining Syndrome).

    2. By the end of your article, you criticize Owens himself, with an argument that says his actions compare to those of ISIS fighters and other jihadists.

      For Sheldon and other clerico libertarians, they are the same.

      For them, libertarianism is a secular religion of guilt avoidance. “Thou shalt not initiate force”. Until someone has plunged a knife into your chest, any use of force on your part against them is Evil.

      That such a policy would consign the world to rule by totalitarians means nothing to them. They will remain pure.

      Same thing with Open Borders Uber Alles.

      It is evil to prevent people from immigrating to the US, no matter the consequences. Libertarianism is in avoiding sin, not in preserving and expanding Liberty.

  23. In a way, this is a perfect article. Everyone can read into it what they want to read.

  24. But…but…uttering “RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM” was sufficient I thought.

    1. You’re not saying it right. It’s Radical (pause for effect) Islamic (pause for effect) Terrorism.
      Saying it like that makes the hillbillies whoop and holler and The Caliphate? quake in its minarets.

      1. Because you know, it’s not like anyone is currently trying to establish said Caliphate or anything…

  25. I can’t think of any other circumstance where the wife of a dead guy attends as guest of honor a ceremony of praise of the guy who killed him.

    1. I’m sure it happens at some Mafia funerals. At least it did on The Sopranos. So which fat lout in a track suit is the Donald?

      1. TV mafioso is how DT has always come across to me.

        1. Yet so much better than the alternative which was Hillary. What does that say for your party?

    2. Maybe he kept forgetting about anniversaries.

    3. No President, in history, had the spouse of a dead soldier KIA at the SOTU speech? Really?

  26. Still nothing from the Cosmos on Obamacare?

    Apparently the libertarian moment includes ignoring blatant abuse of presidential power.

    1. Your guy won. Get over Obama and enjoy the Cheeto while you still have a chance.

      1. Actually it might be a good thing to prosecute Obama finally.

    2. Well does he have an R after his name? R is for fReedom!

      1. ‘Freedom’: something that is anathema to a progressive.

    3. On the plus side, at least we now know the real reason for all the “Russian influence” fake news bullshit the JournoList has been pushing so hard since the election.

      It’s clearly because once Trump won, they knew it was only a matter of time until Obama’s junior grade Nixonian wiretapping of him and his associates eventually exploded into the general news, and thus they would inevitably need some pretext to try and justify it when that happened.

      1. What cobwebby ass rightwing website are you still trolling around to get your stupid fucking thoughts from? Journolist? I still don’t even know what that is after a fucking decade and I’m supposed to be part of the conspiracy.

        My god you people are so fucking dumb.

        1. Nobody can FORCE you to educate yourself on a topic.

          You’re aware that Jorunolist was very much real and the discussions therein were very much publicized, right?

          If not, you might want to read something once in a while.

        2. Tony, as you are a subnormal ignoramus of epic proportions, you should probably dial back any attacks on the intellect of others. And no one thinks you’re a conspirator. ‘Useful idiot’ is more your place i the scheme of things.

      2. Yep.

        You’d think a ‘libertarian’ website would be interested in government abuse of power being covered up by the media.

  27. I watched the original pilot of The Beverly Hillbillies last night and at a point about halfway through it I suddenly understood how Trump got elected: America’s hillbillies had been holding a grudge against Hollywood and the coastal liberal elites for 54 years and they finally enjoyed their revenge. Weee doggies, Granny!

    1. Trump is the first white trash President since Millard Fillmore.

      1. Er, Harry Truman?

        1. Not to mention we recently had a president whose nickname was “Bubba”

    2. Trump’s entire brand is coastal elite. I guess his vulgar racism is what appeals to the hillbillies?

      1. Tony|3.5.17 @ 7:50PM|#
        “Trump’s entire brand is coastal elite. I guess his vulgar racism is what appeals to the hillbillies?”

        Whatever it is, it seems to put off slimy lefties.

      2. Of what racism do you speak? His companies are hardly whitewashed, and he has no history of racist behavior.

        Oh wait! Racists are anyone who dissents against the progressive agenda!

  28. Comey Asks Justice Dept. to Reject Trump’s Wiretapping Claim

    Mr. Comey’s request is a remarkable rebuke of a sitting president, putting the nation’s top law enforcement official in the position of questioning Mr. Trump’s truthfulness. The confrontation between the two is the most serious consequence of Mr. Trump’s weekend Twitter outburst, and it underscores the dangers of what the president and his aides have unleashed by accusing the former president of a conspiracy to undermine Mr. Trump’s young administration.

    https://tinyurl.com/zzejtba

    1. I like how the NYT’s reporting completely ignores the fact that THEY were the ones reporting that this happened. So we go from:

      American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, current and former senior American officials said.

      The F.B.I. is leading the investigations, aided by the National Security Agency, the C.I.A. and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit. The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the officials said. One official said intelligence reports based on some of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House.

      to

      Senior law enforcement and intelligence officials who worked in the Obama administration have said there were no secret intelligence warrants regarding Mr. Trump. Asked whether such a warrant existed, James R. Clapper Jr., a former director of national intelligence, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program, “Not to my knowledge, no.”

      “There was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president-elect at the time as a candidate or against his campaign,” Mr. Clapper added.

      ….with no mention of previous sources who told them wiretapping HAD happened.

      1. “No such wiretap activity” was in response to a question about “secret intelligence warrants”. The previously-reported “wiretapped communications” were in relation to an investigation by the FBI “aided by the National Security Agency, the C.I.A. and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit”. See? Two totally different things.

        Do you even speak Clintonese? You gotta parse every word.

        1. What DanO would like you to ignore is that, unless the NYT is completely full of shit, one of two things happened: Either there was wiretapping and an investigation, or multiple “senior law enforcement and intelligence officials” maliciously lied to reporters to make it look like there was.

          And if the warrant is real, and they obtained it based on possible criminal banking activity, it will be interesting to see if that was used to investigate outside of the confines of the warrant. According to that report, the investigation produced intelligence which was then provided to the White House. Why would the White House be briefed on a simple banking investigation that turned up nothing?

        2. Am independent as do not trust either party, nor speak “Clionese”, but this line of BS from trump, about as good as million of fraudulent voters bused in NH and various other fables… but amusing that his very desperate supporters buy into any fable… which is not a slam of their ignorance, rather a praise of how really fed up and desperate many are of various government… to accept a continued posting of blither that kind of indicates a guy who is about at 3AM, tweeting, has access to nuke codes. just might not be good for this nation, is a understatement..yet in desperation to be noted, very desperate supporters and desperate pol’s put on lleming masks and bay at fake Moon’s.

          Kind of graphically displays how badly our nations education systems handled that “Boring stuff in school we will never use”, hisory, civics, government, money, money math, and other such “boring stuff”.. Seems USA headed to Beer Hall government with a Czar T and the Rasputin brothers Bannon/Kushner…

  29. “A cardinal rule of the Obama Administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice,” Kevin Lewis said in a statement.

    However, he had no compunction whatever about interfering in a local investigation of a burglary (beer summit?) or interfering with a private citizen’s right to a fair trial (Zimmerman) or interfering in local investigations by interjecting race and the FBI (Zimmerman, Michael Brown).

    So one wonders, does everyone covering the national news have selective amnesia? Or is it only when someone who they like is in power?

    1. Talking about selective amnesia, see my reply to DanO one thread up. They conveniently forget their own reporting from just a couple of months ago, when the new narrative calls for something different.

      1. Fatty Bolger|3.5.17 @ 7:46PM|#
        “Talking about selective amnesia”

        “‘The Blacklist’: Here are the media outlets banned by Donald Trump”
        http://money.cnn.com/2016/06/1…..index.html
        Horrible! Unprecedented! Maybe illegal!

        Well, uh:
        “Obama kicks dissenting reporters off plane”
        http://hotair.com/archives/200…..off-plane/

  30. So no one should physically fight for libertarianism even though it will maximize the individual negative liberty of all humanity? Even that ideology is not worth killing and dying for? Who is John Galt?

  31. Here’s something from the Wall Street Journal not long ago:

    “From a March 28, 1786, letter written by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who were American diplomats at the time, to U.S. Secretary of Foreign Affairs John Jay reporting on their conversation in London with the ambassador from Tripoli regarding piracy by the Barbary States:

    We took the liberty to make some enquiries concerning the ground of their pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury, and observed that we considered all mankind as our friends who had done us no wrong, nor had given us any provocation.

    The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the laws of their Prophet; that it was written in their Koran; that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners; that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners; and that every Mussulman [Muslim] who was slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise. ”

    We can choose not to fight back, but that won’t save us.

  32. The horror of Trump presidency in just one story!:

    “Income tax audits plummet as IRS loses agents to budget cuts”
    http://www.msn.com/en-us/money…..smsnnews11

    Imagine denying the pleasure of an audit to all those taxpayers!
    Yeah, my last ended up being a wash after 4-5 months of ‘negotiation’, so it didn’t cost anything.
    Except the $12K in legal and accounting fees…

    1. “We are the only agency if you give us more people and money, we give you more money back,” Koskinen said

      *** rising intonation ***

      Think we have a solution to our economic woes.

      1. “We are the only agency if you give us more people and money, we give you more money back,” Koskinen said

        Koskinen…. or the sherrif of nottingham.

        1. Reality check
          Or the phony elected at all levels…. purchased, owned and irected by the money…

      2. In a ‘death of a thousand cuts’, we could have paid the (‘more than’ symbol; fuck you, HTML) $7K disputed amount at the start and saved money, so, yeah that slimy organization can be a profit center.
        ‘Nice little tax return you got there. Shame if something happened to it’.

  33. I am opposed to violence and killing of all sorts.

    I say that for context. Now take a look at the photos from Mosul in the Mirror.

    I don’t have a dog in that fight. But damn if those ISIS folks don’t make me want to eradicate their particular form of evil from the world.

    1. Different strokes for different folks. The pictures there just reminded me to always wear clean underwear.

    2. Even self defense?

      1. Opposed to and wouldn’t do are entirely different things.

        I’m opposed to violence.

        I would drag anyone who harmed my girls through town butt-ass naked with a pair of vice grips on their junk.

        There endeth the lesson in the difference between discussion of what would be best, and what would happen if.

        (I stole the vice grips idea from an actual example from Atlanta in the 90’s. It seems a little girl got raped. And nobody could find the guy for a couple of weeks, and then suddenly the police “find” him in the middle of the street in College Park…. naked and having been dragged there using a pair of vice grips on his junk. It seems that her cousins must have found the guy before the police could get there. And magically, even though this all happened in broad daylight, nobody saw anything. They interviewed the chief of police…. apparently he was just fine with the investigation as it stood. And repeated the notion that nobody saw anything. So sometimes stuff like that actually happens.)

  34. A Conspiracy Theory’s Journey From Talk Radio to Trump’s Twitter

    It began at 6 p.m. Thursday as a conspiratorial rant on conservative talk radio: President Barack Obama had used the “instrumentalities of the federal government” to wiretap the Republican seeking to succeed him. This “is the big scandal,” Mark Levin, the host, told his listeners.

    By Friday morning, the unsubstantiated allegation had been picked up by Breitbart News, the site once headed by President Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon. Less than 24 hours later, the president embraced the conspiracy in a series of Twitter posts accusing his predecessor of spying on him, setting in motion the latest head-spinning, did-he-really-say-that furor of Mr. Trump’s six-week-old presidency.

    Previous presidents usually measured their words to avoid a media feeding frenzy, but Mr. Trump showed again over the weekend that he feeds off the frenzy. Uninhibited by the traditional protocols of his office, he makes the most incendiary assertions based on shreds of suspicion. He does so without consulting some of his most senior aides, or even agencies of his own government that might have contrary information. After setting off a public firestorm with no proof, he then calls for an investigation to find the missing evidence.

    https://tinyurl.com/hnvbjy9

    1. Pretty sure it’s been obvious from the time no one expected him to last two months that he’s a blowhard. If he keeps appointing folks like De Vos and Gorsuch, I’ll take that as opposed to lies about ‘Your doctor!’.

    2. Brietbart picked up the story from the NYT who picked it up from a site called Heat Street.

      1. The story went through several hands and iterations, evolving and morphing each time into the conspiracy-theory crap that Levin vomited, Breitbart lapped up and Trump swallowed hook, line and sinker.

        1. You must really hate them for broadcasting something other than progressive propaganda, don’t you? I suspect when you watch ‘1984’ you get real pleasure watching Winston Smith being tortured by the state for daring to dispute their narrative.

    3. Kind of like “millions of voter fraud in NH:, which seems to have vanished…wonder when he will be impeached as R’s want him gone and Pence there ripping us all off.. and big money always, gets what it wants.. every time>

  35. Everyone stood and applauded for over two minutes

    Everyone in the chamber, everyone across the country.

    And Reason decides to bring Sheldon back for his first article in months to urinate on that moment.
    “Libertarian Moment.”

    If it wasn’t clear before, it should be clear now. SJWs have taken over Reason, and are methodically burning it to the ground.

    “How can we thoroughly discredit libertarians? Take their flagship publication, and make all Americans *despise* it.”

    1. Classic Alinsky-Cloward-Piven 101. Infiltrate and destroy from within.

    2. So make like a real free-markets kind of guy and leave. It’s easy. If you don’t like the product, stop using it.

      1. I know I am providing zero revenue to Reason.

  36. That Trump would exploit a grieving widow

    Foolish vagina was happy to have a nation honor her husband, but lady parts, and those who have them, have no agency.

  37. In India they have the military draft. It applies to all their citizens except members of the Jan religious sect simply because they won’t fight. 3% of the people of the colonists wanted independence so that means 97% didn’t or did not care. At that time we were ruled by a government that did not care about the wants or needs of the colonists. Today we are ruled by liars cheats and sexual deviants. If you would not fight and die to support the King against a 3% band of rebels why on earth would you fight and die for the bunch of sick clowns in Washington DC. Don’t people realize the News media and Hollywood are just tools of the ruling class. Can you honestly say we are better off now than if we had stayed a colony like Canada.

    1. Befoe you get t harsh, the commoners sent these folks to DC, state caps etc…so mirror mirror on the wall, who really is responsible for USA decency, corruption and privileged criminals that lead us all?
      (dare we ask,
      dare we tell,
      dare we look in mirror for source(s)?)

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  39. It would be great if the nationalism that Trump represents actually was about dying for an ideology. But it isn’t. it’s about dying for “America”, independent of what America is supposed to represent ideologically.
    It’s about dying for a flag – an arbitrary arrangement of colors on a rectangular piece of cloth, an arbitrary arrangement of imaginary lines on a map. Or, worse, it’s about killing and dying for people based on their racial, ethnic, or linguistic characteristics (the alt-right would happily embrace this concept), rather than based on shared ideology. It’s about tribal identity, divorced from ideology.

    There’s lots of values and principles that are worth dying in defense of. But the concept of killing and dying in obedience to one’s “nation” disembodied from principle – THAT is a concept that is dangerous and should be disgarded.

  40. If your an American living in an ISIS camp then you have to expect to be treated as an enemy combatant. No Trial need

    1. One can only hope that such a treasonous shitbag suffers as much and as long as possible before finally being granted their death.

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