Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Dictators’

Keeping The Mideast Safer For Dictators

Posted by M. C. on July 27, 2022

By Eric S. Margolis

Everyone knew Biden had come to Saudi to politely grovel before its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the potentate whom CIA claims ordered critical Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi kidnapped and chopped up into little pieces.

In the Mideast, it’s customary for less important people to go call on their betters, not vice versa.  The more important you are, the longer you keep callers waiting.

US President Joe Biden ignored all these customs on his recent pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, whose de facto ruler he had previously termed a ‘pariah.’

Everyone knew Biden had come to Saudi to politely grovel before its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the potentate whom CIA claims ordered critical Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi kidnapped and chopped up into little pieces.

Prince Mohammed denies any responsibility.

The real reason for Biden’s supplication was, of course, the worldwide shortage of oil which was partly caused by the US-led embargo on Russian oil exports.  Americans are deeply outraged by high oil prices which can be the kiss of death for many a politician.

Americans care about three things above all: gasoline, God and guns.

As everyone knows, gasoline prices have hit the roof just when US midterm elections are on the horizon.  The Biden White House is rightly panicking as the president’s feeble approval ratings drop ever lower.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump sits in his Floridian version of Elba waiting for the time to return to power.  No current Democrat looks capable of standing up to Trump.  One even wonders if the frail-looking Biden will make it to election day.

Many Republicans question Biden’s pouring of at least $74 billion in arms and aid into Ukraine (plus $5 billion to overthrow the democratically elected former government in Kiev).  More US weapons are on the way to Ukraine.

Washington’s plunge into the Ukraine has threatened to provoke a nuclear clash with Moscow over a part of the world in which the US has never had any strategic or historic interest.

This matters little to most Americans or Congress.  The US and Canada are swamped by pro-independence Ukraine agitation.  To some, Ukraine has become a sort of second Israel and is seen as a potential refuge for persecuted European, or even Israeli, Jews.

See the rest here

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Fauci is hopping mad about the courts

Posted by M. C. on April 23, 2022

Not everyone is happy that we’re not wearing masks on airplanes anymore.

Some people are saying it’s too risky to take the masks off. But that means they’re assuming the masks do anything in the first place, and they clearly don’t. We’ve observed the uselessness of masks for a very long time now. That anyone at all is still clinging to them is astonishing.

In case you’d like to buttress your own case against them, here is the definitive masks-don’t-work episode of the Tom Woods Show:
The Fauci response to the decision is worth hearing, because it says so much:

“[I’m] both surprised and disappointed, because those types of things really are the purview of the CDC. This is a public-health issue. And for a court to come in — and if you look at the rationale for that it really is not particularly firm. And we are concerned about that, about courts getting involved in things that are unequivocally public-health decisions. This is a CDC issue. It should not have been a court issue.”

We already knew that’s how Fauci felt about restraints on him or on “public health” at large, but it’s refreshing to hear him state it so clearly.

We can’t have legal recourse against these people because they’re looking out for what’s best for us.

This is how every dictator speaks. Dictators rarely say: “I’m ruling over you because I’m an evil bastard.”

Not to mention: so-called public-health experts have been embarrassingly wrong about masks again and again. Their so-called studies amount to isolating a narrow period of time in which a masked area had better results than an unmasked area. But when you zoom out and look at the entire Covid period we’ve lived through, that pattern no longer holds. They are trying to snow the public. There is no other explanation for behavior like that.

Even someone like CNN medical commentator Leana Wen, who went so far as to favor mandatory vaccination for interstate travel, has said that cloth masks — which Dr. Fauci still defends — are nothing more than facial decoration. But we’re supposed to believe that enough unanimity exists on masks that challenging them is unthinkable?

Fauci’s star keeps fading, as fewer and fewer people care about his recommendations.

It’s about blankety-blank time.

If you took my advice, on the other hand, then (1) you’ve avoided masks because you know they’re useless, and (2) you spent a little time yesterday away from the crazies who hate you and think nothing of ruining your life, and instead did something enriching: you learned about how to create the kind of membership business I myself have three of, and which are an excellent way to create a comfortable side hustle for yourself for when the SOBs come after you again.

For those of you who may not have time for a three-day workshop on the subject, my old podcast guest Stu McLaren is offering a one-session summary version this weekend.

Reserve your spot, or AOC wins:
Tom Woods

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Nearly 3/4 of the World’s Dictators Receive US Weapons and Military Assistance – Original

Posted by M. C. on November 26, 2021

by Matthew Hoh

The US supports nearly 75% of the world’s dictators, autocracies, monarchies, military regimes, etc., with weapons, military training and money. Please remember this the next time someone tells you the US should do X or Y because such and such a nation is bad…

Comparing Freedom House’s list of Not Free nations* to FY 2020 US overseas weapons sales, military training and financial assistance**, we find that of the 57 nations considered undemocratic, 42 receive weapons, training and/or money for their military and security services. This means 74% of the non-democratic nations of the world are supported militarily by the US. Interestingly, the remaining 15 nations are nearly all sanctioned. The world’s countries can be divided into two parts: those who buy/receive weapons from the US and those sanctioned. It seems like it’s a pretty simple arrangement.

74% is a slight increase from four years ago when Rich Whitney at Truthout utilized the Freedom House list and compared it to FY 2015 military assistance data. It is likely no surprise to anyone that US support for non-democratic governments increased under President Trump, but, to be fair, it was a minor increase. The hypocrisy and dissonance between stated US support for democracy, liberty and freedom, and how the US government conducts itself exists whether a Democrat or Republican is in the White House.

The list of nations is below. I have listed occupied territories with the nations that are occupying them; so, Gaza and West Bank are under Israel, Western Sahara is under Morocco, Tibet is under China, and Donbas and Crimea are under Russia. Also, please note, this list only includes nations not considered democracies. Nations that are listed as partly free or free by Freedom House, but are clear and gross violators of human rights, and that are recipients of US weapons, military training and military assistance funding, like Columbia, Honduras, India, Pakistan, Philippines, and Ukraine are not included.

Y denotes received weapons, military training or military funding assistance, or a combination.

Afghanistan Y
Algeria Y
Angola Y
Azerbaijan Y
Bahrain Y
Belarus N
Brunei N
Burundi Y
Cambodia Y
Cameroon Y
Central African Republic Y
Chad Y
China (includes Tibet) N
Cuba N
Democratic Republic of the Congo Y
Djibouti Y
Egypt Y
Equatorial Guinea N
Eritrea N
Eswatini N
Ethiopia Y
Israel Y
Jordan Y
Gabon Y
Iran N
Iraq Y
Kazakhstan Y
Kyrgyzstan Y
Laos Y
Libya Y
Mali Y
Morocco (Western Sahara) Y
Myanmar Y
Nicaragua N
North Korea N
Oman Y
Qatar N
Republic of the Congo Y
Russia (includes Crimea and Donbass) N
Rwanda Y
Saudi Arabia Y
Somalia Y
South Sudan Y
Sudan N
Syria N
Tajikistan Y
Tanzania Y
Thailand Y
Turkey Y
Turkmenistan Y
Uganda Y
United Arab Emirates Y
Uzbekistan Y
Venezuela N
Vietnam Y
Yemen Y
Zimbabwe Y

*This is not an endorsement of Freedom House or its methodology. However, Freedom House is an excellent source for this purpose as no one will accuse Freedom House of being anti-American, pacifist or isolationist in their ideology, leftist or libertarian in their political leanings, non-believers in American Exceptionalism, etc.

**Information on FY 2020 US weapons sales, training and military assistance provided by Center for International Policy’s Security Assistance Monitor Program.

Matthew Hoh is a member of the advisory boards of Expose Facts, Veterans For Peace and World Beyond War. In 2009 he resigned his position with the State Department in Afghanistan in protest of the escalation of the Afghan War by the Obama Administration. He previously had been in Iraq with a State Department team and with the U.S. Marines. He is a Senior Fellow with the Center for International Policy.

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Politicians Have Used This Crisis to Remind Us They’re Mostly Wannabe Dictators | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on March 28, 2020

The virus has unleashed petite tyrants to haunt their tiny jurisdictions, using the cover of crisis to arrogate powers belonging to the people.

Witness Robert J. Taylor, mayor of Ostrander, Ohio (population: 643 in the 2010 census), who just declared his village to be in a “state of emergency.” Along with this declaration, the self-righteous mayor instructed constituents to get their news from “trusted sources, which may not include social media in many cases.”

In addition, he admonished them to “Also, please look out for your neighbors and the elderly, in particular.”

Sure, petty nonsense from a petty man. But he also added this, “As warranted, additional measures may be taken until the threat from this virus has subsided.”

So, should our equally petty governor adopt enabling acts and deputize mayors, so to speak, Taylor will gleefully nail decrees on the telephone poles lining either side of main street (really, the only street in his village). And, should those decrees not be given the respect he deems sufficient, he will employ the full force of the apparatus of coercion and compulsion: the state. Measures must always be enforced.

As Hayek showed in his seminal work, Road to Serfdom, “the worst” rise to the top in centrally planned states. However, those trying to move up in a burgeoning centrally planned state can be as evil, given the chance. So, in many ways, the difference between the evil leader on top and those deeper in the nomenklatura is not one of degree, but of opportunity.

I have no idea what drives folks like Taylor—what is truly in their hearts. Nevertheless, the study of human action allows me to assess his actions as means to achieve desired ends. Folks like Taylor use politics as the means to their personal ends. What those ends are, I can only guess, although I do know that he is acting for a reason—a reason, I claim, that does not consider the best interests of his constituents.

Maybe, in an attempt to position himself for the next higher office, he is playing to the media, looking for a guest spot on some local news show—he is already getting local newspaper headlines. Maybe he has aspirations to be county commissioner or governor. Who knows? We do know that he acted, and acted for a reason.

You may object that Taylor really hasn’t instituted some quarantine lockdown or shuttered business, as Ohio governor DeWine has. Taylor is just a shout in the wind. Yet, I believe there is more here. And I fully expect a viral outbreak of similar declarations from other petite officials.

Taylor most certainly read pronouncements from big city mayors. And, if you are in the minors and want to play in the big leagues (should the big leagues ever be allowed to play again), you always need to hit to the fence. Home runs get you noticed, not the odd grounded single. And if each swing further annuls liberty, it’s the old eggs to omelets shrug. Nothing else.

Years ago, I was a petite (possibly petty as well) elected official. I witnessed “the worst” rise to higher office. I always wondered how my fellow school board members would have acted if provided a slightly longer leash. For some, I think, Taylor serves as an example.

Maybe I would have acted the same way with a longer leash, or, better yet, a longer leash and a “crisis” with panicked, loud voices crying for leadership and action.

Yes, Hayek was right, “the worst” rise to the top. However, I believe that there is a codicil as well. Many of “the worst” on their way up are constrained by their current office. Likely, they will not see the top. But that doesn’t mean that, given the opportunity, they would not mimic those who have made it all the way.

The solution, even in a time of “crisis,” is not a haunting state and its officials, petite or otherwise. It is liberty.


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