THE GOLD REPORT INTERVIEWS WITH DAVID MORGAN
Statistics: Posted by DIGGER DAN — Sat May 11, 2013 3:46 am
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Christopher A. Preble
I have a new blog post up at US News and World Report discussing Fred Kaplan’s latest book, The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War, a terrific book about a very important subject.
I’m trilled to be hosting Fred at Cato in a few weeks. I’ve been a Kaplan fan for nearly two decades, since I first read his classic, The Wizards of Armageddon. I also thoroughly enjoyed Daydream Believers, about the Bush administration and the war in Iraq. It is an honor to be able to personally welcome him to Cato.
I’m particularly interested in the subject of his latest book: counterinsurgency (COIN). The discussion at Cato, which will also feature comments by Janine Davidson and Spencer Ackerman, hearkens back to several others that I’ve hosted or participated in.
One in particular sticks out. Back in 2006, Cato published a paper on the American way of war by Jeffrey Record of the Air War College. I thought the paper was outstanding at the time, and, upon rereading it this week, I was struck by how much of what Jeff observed overlaps with a discussion about COIN that Petraeus hosted at Fort Leavenworth in February 2006 (the focus of my blog post at US News). He couldn’t know this at the time he was writing, of course, but it just so happens that many of Jeff’s questions and concerns about COIN were shared by many others within the national security establishment, including those who Gen. Petraeus invited to vet the COIN manual. (Those interested in the subject might also want to watch or listen to the event that we hosted with Jeff, Tom Ricks, and Conrad Crane, one of the principle authors of the COIN manual, FM 3-24.)
Here are a few excerpts from the paper:
Barring profound change in America’s political and military cultures, the United States runs a significant risk of failure in entering small wars of choice, and great power intervention in small wars is almost always a matter of choice. Most such wars…do not engage core U.S. security interests other than placing the limits of American military power on embarrassing display. Indeed, the very act of intervention in small wars risks gratuitous damage to America’s military reputation….
If this analysis is correct, the policy choice is obvious: avoidance of direct military involvement in foreign internal wars unless vital national security interests are at stake….
Avoidance of such conflicts means abandonment of regime-change wars that saddle the United States with responsibility for establishing political stability and state building, tasks that have rarely commanded public or congressional enthusiasm.
Other elements of the discussion re: COIN were echoed in a paper that I coauthored with Ben Friedman and Harvey Sapolsky in 2008:
The problem with counterinsurgency warfare is not that its theory of victory is illogical. If you understand the culture, if you avoid counterproductive violence, if you integrate civilians and make reconstruction operations a reward for cooperation, if you train the local forces well, if you pick your allies wisely, if you protect enough civilians and win their loyalty and more, you might succeed. But even avoiding a few of these ifs is too much competence to expect of foreign powers. That is why insurgencies in the last century generally lasted for decades and why the track record of democratic powers pacifying uprisings in foreign lands is abysmal….
Another reason Americans will struggle to master counterinsurgency doctrine is that it requires a foreign policy at odds with our national character…
Americans have historically looked askance at the small wars European powers fought to maintain their imperial holdings, viewing those actions as illiberal and unjust. Misadventures like Vietnam are the exceptions that make the rule. It is no accident that U.S. national security organizations are not designed for occupation duties. When it comes to nation building, brokering civil and ethnic conflict, and waging counterinsurgency, we are our own worst enemy, and that is a sign of our lingering common sense.
In The Insurgents, Fred Kaplan, summarizing a set of questions and comments from those who reviewed the COIN manual before it was published, asks “whether counterinsurgency was even possible? The question,” Kaplan writes, “had two parts. Was the U.S. Army up to the task? And, at least as uncertain, were the American people?”
I think we know the answer now, and we could have known it in 2006, before the Iraq surge, or in 2008, well before the Afghan surge. Instead, we chose to believe the opposite of what history and logic taught us.
What do we have to show for it?
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
Chuck Todd the NBC News Political Director (who I once interned for) just went on Morning Joe and explained that the supposed “liberal” media bias is a myth. That is the reason he explains, why many “conservatives” won’t come on #oldmedia news shows anymore. The problem, according to Todd, is that the younger staffers of these leaders have bought into this myth.
Then, earlier today NBC hired David Axelrod, President Obama’s former chief political advisor, the chief political strategist for the Obama campaign in 2012, as an on-air political analyst.
I hear you Chuck. What on earth are the people who think the media has a lefty bias smoking?
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DAVID FRUM: FIREARM MANUFACTURERS SHOULD FACE TOBACCO INDUSTRY-LIKE SENATE HEARINGS
by AWR HAWKINS 18 Feb 2013
CNN Columnist David Frum is calling for Obama to bypass Congress and have the Surgeon General investigate the dangers of gun ownership and to have the Senate convene tobacco industry-style hearings (circa 1990s) on gun manufacturers.
Frum’s argument is that guns, like cigarettes, are dangerous, and that the gun lobby and gun manufacturers have blinded Americans to the truth of this in the same way that cigarette companies allegedly did in years gone by.
In a desperate attempt to bolster this thesis, Frum uses two things: 1. Anecdotal stories that can easily be countered by other anecdotal stories, and 2. Disinformation bordering on purposeful distortion concerning the way firearms are manufactured and the way they operate.
Regarding the anecdotal examples, he says that stories given to justify female ownership of AR-15s for home and self-defense are "Rambo-like" stories that "do not happen in real life." To prove this, he cites a firearm accident involving a father and his child in 1994. He also cites a road rage incident between two women in which one woman got out of the car, approached the other car, and was shot.
That’s it–a firearm accident in 1994 and a road rage incident and voila, gun manufacturers should be subjected to hearings and warning labels on the side of the firearms. (Oops, they already have warning labels on the side of firearms.)
What Frum conveniently overlooks is the story of the Loganville, GA mom who grabbed her children and crawled into an attic to escape a home invader on Jan. 4. Once the perpetrator chased the woman, found where she and the kids were hiding, and tried to get them, she unloaded a .38 Special revolver on him, but having only five shots, was not able to kill him.
Does that woman not posses the right to have more rounds at hand in a gun with a large magazine so she can protect herself and her children?
Frum also overlooked the incident in Miami, FL on Feb. 12, wherein an unarmed father being described as a "super dad" stood between his daughter and home intruders and was shot to death in the process. Could not the outcome have been quite different if the father had a semi-automatic handgun with 13 shots or an AR-15 with 30?
Note: Both the Loganville incident and the Miami incident are the kinds of home invasions Frum said "do not happen in real life."
Beyond this, Frum said gun manufacturers deserve to face scrutiny in hearings because "guns almost never indicate whether a bullet is in the chamber." This is an absolutely embarrassing statement that betrays more about Frum’s ignorance of firearms than it does about firearms themselves.
Among semi-auto handguns alone, loaded indicators are commonplace and have been for decades. They are normally right beside the extractor on any given semi-auto, and are frequently painted red for visibility.
But even if this weren’t true, one of the first rules of gun safety is that you always treat a gun as if it is loaded–always. This is a matter of personal responsibility, not firearm manufacturer liability.
Frum goes on to ask why firearm manufacturers can’t be required to make guns that won’t fire when dropped. Anyone who owns a Glock, Springfield XD, Smith & Wesson M&P, or any number of similar semi-autos knows that these guns are made with an internal disconnect to prevent them from firing when dropped. Moreover, for decades revolver manufacturers have been putting transfer bars in their revolvers to keep them from discharging if dropped.
Here’s the bottom line: Frum is upset that Obama’s ambitious gun control push has met stern resistance among the American people and their Reps. and Sens. in Washington DC, so he’s now grasping at straws.
Far from making the case for Surgeon General studies or Senate hearings, Frum has simply demonstrated he’s another inside-the-beltway commentator whose firearm knowledge could be greatly improved by a class on gun safety, followed by a day of shooting targets at the local gun range.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:06 pm
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DAVID MAMET ON GUN CONTROL
Posted on 26th January 2013 by Yojimbo in Economy
What a brilliantly written essay. Concise and powerful. Essay like this help me understand the mental illness of my fellow Massachusetts residents that we politely call “Liberalism”. First, Liberals actually have a profound TRUST of government, instead of a healthy distrust and skepticism. Second, Liberals fundamentally misunderstand human nature, and believe that, if only given more government intervention and power, the failings of human nature can be perfected. Mamet displays an excellent understanding of the nature of The State and why we must be deeply mistrustful of it.
Karl Marx summed up Communism as “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” This is a good, pithy saying, which, in practice, has succeeded in bringing, upon those under its sway, misery, poverty, rape, torture, slavery, and death.
For the saying implies but does not name the effective agency of its supposed utopia. The agency is called “The State,” and the motto, fleshed out, for the benefit of the easily confused must read “The State will take from each according to his ability: the State will give to each according to his needs.” “Needs and abilities” are, of course, subjective. So the operative statement may be reduced to “the State shall take, the State shall give.”
All of us have had dealings with the State, and have found, to our chagrin, or, indeed, terror, that we were not dealing with well-meaning public servants or even with ideologues but with overworked, harried bureaucrats. These, as all bureaucrats, obtain and hold their jobs by complying with directions and suppressing the desire to employ initiative, compassion, or indeed, common sense. They are paid to follow orders.
Rule by bureaucrats and functionaries is an example of the first part of the Marxist equation: that the Government shall determine the individual’s abilities.
As rules by the Government are one-size-fits-all, any governmental determination of an individual’s abilities must be based on a bureaucratic assessment of the lowest possible denominator. The government, for example, has determined that black people (somehow) have fewer abilities than white people, and, so, must be given certain preferences. Anyone acquainted with both black and white people knows this assessment is not only absurd but monstrous. And yet it is the law.
President Obama, in his reelection campaign, referred frequently to the “needs” of himself and his opponent, alleging that each has more money than he “needs.”
But where in the Constitution is it written that the Government is in charge of determining “needs”? And note that the president did not say “I have more money than I need,” but “You and I have more than we need.” Who elected him to speak for another citizen?
It is not the constitutional prerogative of the Government to determine needs. One person may need (or want) more leisure, another more work; one more adventure, another more security, and so on. It is this diversity that makes a country, indeed a state, a city, a church, or a family, healthy. “One-size-fits-all,” and that size determined by the State has a name, and that name is “slavery.”
The Founding Fathers, far from being ideologues, were not even politicians. They were an assortment of businessmen, writers, teachers, planters; men, in short, who knew something of the world, which is to say, of Human Nature. Their struggle to draft a set of rules acceptable to each other was based on the assumption that we human beings, in the mass, are no damned good—that we are biddable, easily confused, and that we may easily be motivated by a Politician, which is to say, a huckster, mounting a soapbox and inflaming our passions.
The Constitution’s drafters did not require a wag to teach them that power corrupts: they had experienced it in the person of King George. The American secession was announced by reference to his abuses of power: “He has obstructed the administration of Justice … he has made Judges dependant on his will alone … He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our Laws … He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass out people and to eat out their substance … imposed taxes upon us without our consent… [He has] fundamentally altered the forms of our government.”
This is a chillingly familiar set of grievances; and its recrudescence was foreseen by the Founders. They realized that King George was not an individual case, but the inevitable outcome of unfettered power; that any person or group with the power to tax, to form laws, and to enforce them by arms will default to dictatorship, absent the constant unflagging scrutiny of the governed, and their severe untempered insistence upon compliance with law.
The Founders recognized that Government is quite literally a necessary evil, that there must be opposition, between its various branches, and between political parties, for these are the only ways to temper the individual’s greed for power and the electorates’ desires for peace by submission to coercion or blandishment.
Healthy government, as that based upon our Constitution, is strife. It awakens anxiety, passion, fervor, and, indeed, hatred and chicanery, both in pursuit of private gain and of public good. Those who promise to relieve us of the burden through their personal or ideological excellence, those who claim to hold the Magic Beans, are simply confidence men. Their emergence is inevitable, and our individual opposition to and rejection of them, as they emerge, must be blunt and sure; if they are arrogant, willful, duplicitous, or simply wrong, they must be replaced, else they will consolidate power, and use the treasury to buy votes, and deprive us of our liberties. It was to guard us against this inevitable decay of government that the Constitution was written. Its purpose was and is not to enthrone a Government superior to an imperfect and confused electorate, but to protect us from such a government.
Many are opposed to private ownership of firearms, and their opposition comes under several heads. Their specific objections are answerable retail, but a wholesale response is that the Second Amendment guarantees the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms. On a lower level of abstraction, there are more than 2 million instances a year of the armed citizen deterring or stopping armed criminals; a number four times that of all crimes involving firearms.
The Left loves a phantom statistic that a firearm in the hands of a citizen is X times more likely to cause accidental damage than to be used in the prevention of crime, but what is there about criminals that ensures that their gun use is accident-free? If, indeed, a firearm were more dangerous to its possessors than to potential aggressors, would it not make sense for the government to arm all criminals, and let them accidentally shoot themselves? Is this absurd? Yes, and yet the government, of course, is arming criminals.
Violence by firearms is most prevalent in big cities with the strictest gun laws. In Chicago and Washington, D.C., for example, it is only the criminals who have guns, the law-abiding populace having been disarmed, and so crime runs riot.
Cities of similar size in Texas, Florida, Arizona, and elsewhere, which leave the citizen the right to keep and bear arms, guaranteed in the Constitution, typically are much safer. More legal guns equal less crime. What criminal would be foolish enough to rob a gun store? But the government alleges that the citizen does not need this or that gun, number of guns, or amount of ammunition.
But President Obama, it seems, does.
He has just passed a bill that extends to him and his family protection, around the clock and for life, by the Secret Service. He, evidently, feels that he is best qualified to determine his needs, and, of course, he is. As I am best qualified to determine mine.
For it is, again, only the Marxists who assert that the government, which is to say the busy, corrupted, and hypocritical fools most elected officials are (have you ever had lunch with one?) should regulate gun ownership based on its assessment of needs.
Q. Who “needs” an assault rifle?
A. No one outside the military and the police. I concur.
An assault weapon is that which used to be called a “submachine gun.” That is, a handheld long gun that will fire continuously as long as the trigger is held down.
These have been illegal in private hands (barring those collectors who have passed the stringent scrutiny of the Federal Government) since 1934. Outside these few legal possessors, there are none in private hands. They may be found in the hands of criminals. But criminals, let us reflect, by definition, are those who will not abide by the laws. What purpose will passing more laws serve?
My grandmother came from Russian Poland, near the Polish city of Chelm. Chelm was celebrated, by the Ashkenazi Jews, as the place where the fools dwelt. And my grandmother loved to tell the traditional stories of Chelm.
Its residents, for example, once decided that there was no point in having the sun shine during the day, when it was light out—it would be better should it shine at night, when it was dark. Similarly, we modern Solons delight in passing gun laws that, in their entirety, amount to “making crime illegal.”
What possible purpose in declaring schools “gun-free zones”? Who bringing a gun, with evil intent, into a school would be deterred by the sign?
Ah, but perhaps one, legally carrying a gun, might bring it into the school.
We need more armed citizens in the schools.
Walk down Madison Avenue in New York. Many posh stores have, on view, or behind a two-way mirror, an armed guard. Walk into most any pawnshop, jewelry story, currency exchange, gold store in the country, and there will be an armed guard nearby. Why? As currency, jewelry, gold are precious. Who complains about the presence of these armed guards? And is this wealth more precious than our children?
Apparently it is: for the Left adduces arguments against armed presence in the school but not in the wristwatch stores. Q. How many accidental shootings occurred last year in jewelry stores, or on any premises with armed security guards?
Why not then, for the love of God, have an armed presence in the schools? It could be done at the cost of a pistol (several hundred dollars), and a few hours of training (that’s all the security guards get). Why not offer teachers, administrators, custodians, a small extra stipend for completing a firearms-safety course and carrying a concealed weapon to school? The arguments to the contrary escape me.
Why do I specify concealed carry? As if the weapons are concealed, any potential malefactor must assume that anyone on the premises he means to disrupt may be armed—a deterrent of even attempted violence.
Yes, but we should check all applicants for firearms for a criminal record?
Anyone applying to purchase a handgun has, since 1968, filled out a form certifying he is not a fugitive from justice, a convicted criminal, or mentally deficient. These forms, tens and tens of millions of them, rest, conceivably, somewhere in the vast repository. How are they checked? Are they checked? By what agency, with what monies? The country is broke. Do we actually want another agency staffed by bureaucrats for whom there is no funding?
The police do not exist to protect the individual. They exist to cordon off the crime scene and attempt to apprehend the criminal. We individuals are guaranteed by the Constitution the right to self-defense. This right is not the Government’s to “award” us. They have never been granted it.
The so-called assault weapons ban is a hoax. It is a political appeal to the ignorant. The guns it supposedly banned have been illegal (as above) for 78 years. Did the ban make them “more” illegal? The ban addresses only the appearance of weapons, not their operation.
Will increased cosmetic measures make anyone safer? They, like all efforts at disarmament, will put the citizenry more at risk. Disarmament rests on the assumption that all people are good, and, basically, want the same things.
But if all people were basically good, why would we, increasingly, pass more and more elaborate laws?
The individual is not only best qualified to provide his own personal defense, he is the only one qualified to do so: and his right to do so is guaranteed by the Constitution.
President Obama seems to understand the Constitution as a “set of suggestions.” I cannot endorse his performance in office, but he wins my respect for taking those steps he deems necessary to ensure the safety of his family. Why would he want to prohibit me from doing the same?
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:52 am
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We posted this video last fall when it originally aired, but the video is even better now. Stockman calls it dead on. We won’t resolve anything until bond yields move up. As long as lawmakers think they can borrow for nothing, that debt has no cost, they will continue to kick the can of reckoning (to the degree they can) down the road.
He explains that we will see a long stretch where this country lurches from one “crisis” to the next, never resolving anything but creating overall uncertainty on a general decline down.
How right he was. Everyone in Washington is already posturing for the next showdown in March.
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David Kelley is a political philosopher, writer, and the executive director of the Atlas Society. Kelley is a strong proponent of Objectivism and has published a wide range of literature including A Life of One’s Own (1998) and The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand (2000).
In this lecture, which was given at the International Society for Individual Liberty’s 1991 conference, Kelley talks about Ayn Rand’s contribution to the free-market individualist movement. He says that as Aristotle defined metaphysical individualism, the Austrian economists defined methodological individualism, and John Locke and other Enlightenment philosophers defined political individualism, Ayn Rand defined ethical individualism and cognitive individualism through her philosophy, Objectivism. Kelley also answers an extensive list of questions from the audience about everything from epistemology to metaphysics.
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David D. Friedman is an economist, political philosopher, and the author of many books including The Machinery of Freedom: Guide to a Radical Capitalism, wherein he lays the groundwork for a society based exclusively on voluntary transactions.
In this lecture, Friedman examines the differences between civil and criminal systems of law. He imagines what the U.S. legal system would look like if criminal law were dissolved — that is, if the legal system was composed entirely of individuals bringing claims against each other. Friedman anticipates the problems raised by such a system and attempts to come up with solutions to the contrary.
View full post on Libertarianism.org
David Kelley is a political philosopher, writer, and the executive director of the Atlas Society. Kelley is a strong proponent of objectivism and has published a wide range of literature including A Life of One’s Own (1998) and The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand (2000).
In this video from a seminar in Aix-en-Provence, France in 1991, Kelley delivers a lecture about two types of social justice systems: egalitarianism and welfare rights. He claims that “the welfare state is subject to all the same problems that have made socialism unworkable. It creates perverse incentives among the people it tries to serve; it is run by a vast bureaucracy that is more interested in preserving its own power than in achieving results.”
Kelley then outlines the basic structure of a system of individualist ethics created by the American novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand. This system, Objectivism, attempts to provide a moral justification in addition to a political justification for the ethical implications of individualism.
View full post on Libertarianism.org
Ellis Martin Report with David Morgan–Silver Manipulation Investigaton Dropped
Ellis Martin interviews David Morgan regarding the CFTC’s recent decision to drop their four year investigation into the possible manipulation and/or suppression of silver. Also reviewed are long term possible investment strategies for the coming weeks before a potential fall rally for precious metals
Statistics: Posted by DIGGER DAN — Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:55 pm
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