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  1. What’s that? It tastes salty. What the . . .? It’s a tear and I could just cry. Peter Israeli Town Named After Trump Appears to be Fake News By TPM Staff June 16, 2019 11:24 pm The founding of the town of “Trump Heights” (Ramat Trump) was greeted with great fanfare. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and American Ambassador David Friedman held a deluxe ceremony to celebrate the new town in the Golan Heights which President Trump officially recognized as part of Israel earlier this year. Trump himself thanked Israel for the honor in a celebratory tweet. But according to an article in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz and multiple reports in the Israeli press, it’s more Potemkin village than Trump Heights. No actual town or village has actually been founded at all. It appears to be little more than a PR stunt to curry favor with the President who continues to openly support Netanyahu as the country moves toward new elections in September. No money has been budgeted for the new town. Nor is there specific location. Indeed, there’s no commitment to build a town at all. The decision will be left to the government that takes power after the next election. In the words of Israeli journalist Barak Ravid: “A settlement by the name of “Trump Heights” or “Ramat Trump” doesn’t exist. It my exist in the future but the Israeli cabinet still hasn’t even decided to do it. For now there’s only a sign.“ The head of the Golan caucus in the Israeli Knesset, Zvi Hauser went even further: “Anyone who reads the fine print of the ‘historic’ decision understands that this is a conceptual decision. There is no funding. There is no planning. There is no location and there is really no committed decision.” The ceremony seems to be an effort to further burnish the current government’s bond with President Trump who loves nothing more than a ribbon cutting ceremony with his name is shiny gold lettering. The decision to build a town may be taken later. Or it may never happen at all . . . . I cut out the cut at the end.
  2. What is the funniest Seinfeld episode? Though I usually don't like Kramer, but in the following episode synopsis I think Kramer was at his best. Peter Jimmy, played by Anthony Starke, is the title character in “The Jimmy”. He always talks about himself in the third person. He then gets George to talk about himself in the third person. He hurts himself and pledges revenge on Kramer, later attacking him at a benefit featuring Mel Tormé. He said, “Jimmy’s gonna get you, Kramer! Jimmy holds grudges!” From Wikipedia. Jerry, George and Kramer finish playing a game of basketball with Jimmy (Anthony Starke), a man who always refers to himself in the third person. Jimmy is wearing special training shoes which supposedly improve vertical leap, and George wants a pair so they can be matching twins. George says he shouldn't have exercised because, even though he took a shower, it doesn't work. Jerry and Kramer are scheduled to see Dr. Tim Whatley, the dentist ("The Mom & Pop Store"). At the New York Yankees meeting Mr. Wilhelm informs George that there have been a series of escalating burglaries of shoes and batting "donuts" and that he thinks it's an "inside job." Meanwhile, George is sweating heavily as a result of exercising, causing him to look suspicious. While Jerry waits to see Tim Whatley, he realizes there are Penthouse magazines in the waiting room. Back at the apartment, Elaine has tickets to a benefit for the Able Mentally Challenged Adults (AMCA) featuring famous crooner Mel Tormé (The Velvet Fog). Elaine also says she wants to meet a handsome blond guy from the health club, but Jerry and George claim to have no idea who she is talking about because they "can't find beauty in a man". Jerry is disgusted about the magazines he found in Whatley's dental office, although he did take a peek. Kramer on the other hand can't wait for his appointment. George says he and Jimmy will make good money by selling the special shoes. Kramer tastes some Kung Pao chicken and finds it too spicy. At the health club Elaine tries to get the attention of the blond man but ends up talking with Jimmy, mistaking his own declarations of interest in her for that of the blonde man because of Jimmy's peculiar way of talking about himself in the third person. Elaine thus agrees to a date with Jimmy. Kramer visits Tim Whatley's office. Later at the health club, because of the Novocaine, Kramer is drooling water all over the floor and speaking awkwardly. Kramer tells Jerry that Whatley has a new "adults-only policy" for his office. Then, because of the puddle of water, Jimmy slips while demonstrating some "rustling positions", severely injures his leg and promises revenge. On the street, Kramer is still wearing the silly-looking training shoes and, still suffering from the effects of the Novocaine, is mistaken for an "Able Mentally Challenged Adult". Kramer shares a taxicab with an executive at the AMCA, who mistakes his Novocaine-induced condition, paired with his problems entering the cab due to the shoes, for that of an AMCA and invites him to the event. Without Jimmy, George fails to demonstrate the value of the training shoes to employees at a sneaker store, as his vertical leap is embarrassingly short. At the apartment, Kramer says he is invited to the benefit as the guest of honor; Jerry and Elaine realize the confusion because of the Novocaine and the shoes, although they admit to each that it's debatable as to whether or not Kramer is in fact "mentally challenged." At a second appointment with Dr. Whatley, Jerry is put to sleep with nitrous oxide. Jerry notices that his regular assistant Jennifer has been replaced by Cheryl (Alison Armitage); Whatley, with a knowing grin, tells Jerry she's at Dr. Sussman's office because "we find it fun to swap now and then." George eats Kung Pao chicken for lunch and is again sweating when individually questioned by Mr. Wilhelm about the stolen goods—who has walked in while George is on the phone with Sports Wholesalers talking about lots of shoes... "beautiful athletic gear." Wilhelm accuses George of being a terrible liar, thinking the sweat is an unmistakable indication of guilt. George, in response, replies in the third person: "George likes his chicken spicy." When Jerry wakes up he has blurred vision but sees Whatley and his nurse putting their clothes back on. At Monk's, Jerry discusses with Elaine that he fears he may have been violated while asleep. Elaine says she has a date with Jimmy; after Jerry's description of his way of talking she realizes she is going with the wrong guy. George enters, talking again in the third person saying he must answer to the team owner, George Steinbrenner for the stolen equipment. Elaine meets Jimmy again at the health club to tell him there's been a "little misunderstanding", to which Jimmy replies "Jimmy and misunderstandings kinda clash". She learns that Hank, the man she liked, is gay, begins to find Jimmy's manner of speech interesting, and decides to keep the date, declaring that she once tried to "convert" a gay man ("The Beard") but will not try that again. At the benefit, Kramer is no longer under the effect of drugs. However, Jimmy arrives and starts fighting with him, slugging him in the face before being dragged out by security, all the while yelling "Jimmy's gonna get you, Kramer! Hands off Jimmy! DON'T TOUCH JIMMY!"; Kramer's lip becomes swollen and he once again looks and speaks as if he is mentally challenged. While facing Steinbrenner, George starts talking in the third person; this confuses Steinbrenner who ends up talking about his lunch and completely forgetting about the stolen equipment. At the benefit, Mel Tormé dedicates his signature song, "When You're Smiling", to a beaming Kramer. In the credits scene, Kramer picks up a copy of Penthouse Magazine and reads a letter from an unnamed dentist, who apparently recently had a little fun with his dental hygienist and one of his patients. Jerry looks on in horror and is assumed to be the victim of sexual assault.
  3. Francis Crick discoverer of the structure of DNA said: . . . . what everyone believed yesterday, and you believe today, only cranks will believe tomorrow.” Dialogue not from “Mayberry RFD,” but it could-er been. Ya gotta release the prisoner, Barney. Witchcraft? Ain’t no such thing. Don’t know why there’s still a law on the books. Then why’re there a word for it, Andy? Stupidity. Same goes with alchemy and sorcery. I ain’t sure about the Big Bang neither cause it may’n just be from the Bible. Then why I gotta know about that, Andy? She broke the law with them potions she was sellin’! Just think Barney. What's taken as common knowledge today that will cause Hee Haw’s in 20 years. Note. Sheriff Andy Taylor was real and portrayed by my Pappy. You believe that? From ListVerse: Alchemy has its roots (in the Western world) in Ancient Egypt where it combined with metallurgy in a form of early science. The Egyptian alchemists discovered the formulas for making mortar, glass, and cosmetics. From Egypt it eventually spread to the rest of the Ancient world and led to modern alchemy in which men would try to turn metals into gold, to conjure up genies, and perform all manner of bizarre not-so-science-like activities. While it has contributed in some ways to modern science, the discipline of true science caused the death of alchemy which could not stand up to the rigorous testing of its pseudoscience. California Island. From the 16th century, European experts in geography were convinced that California was an island separate from the North American mainland. Maps of the time show a large island on the left of the land mass and California continued to appear this way even into the 18th century. There was at the time also a rumor that California was an earthly paradise like the Garden of Eden or Atlantis . . . . Geocentricity is the concept which states that the earth is the center of the Universe and that all other objects move around it. The view was universally embraced in Ancient Greece and very similar ideas were held in Ancient China. The idea was supported by the fact that the sun, stars, and planets appear to revolve around Earth, and the physical perception that the Earth is stable and not moving. This was combined with the belief that the earth was a sphere; belief in a flat earth was well gone by the 3rd century BC. The geocentric model was eventually displaced with the work of of Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler in the 16th Century. The Four Humors In classical antiquity right up to modern times, it was believed that the body contained four humors: blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm. It was believed that the right balance of these four humors made a person healthy but an excess or decrease in any one of these would cause illness. Because of this belief, treatments of sickness would include bloodletting, purges, and emetics. Occasionally a mixture of herbs would be used to restore the balance. The humors were also applied to foods – for example wine was choleric (yellow bile). This classification still exists today to some extent, as we refer to some foods as “hot” and others as “dry”. The concept of humors was not replaced until 1858 when Rudolf Virchow published theories of cellular pathology. Vitalism. Vitalism states that the functions of living things are controlled by a “vital force” and not biophysical means. Vitalism has a long history in medical philosophies – and it has ties to the four humors. It is sometimes referred to as a “life spark” and even as the soul. In the Eastern traditions it is essentially the same thing as “qi” or “chi”, which is heavily tied in to oriental medicinal methods. The concept is (as can be expected) completely rejected by most mainstream scientists. In 1967, Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, stated “And so to those of you who may be vitalists I would make this prophecy: what everyone believed yesterday, and you believe today, only cranks will believe tomorrow.” Maternal Impression. Maternal Impression is an old belief that a mother’s thoughts while pregnant can impart special characteristics on the child in her womb. For many years this idea was used to explain congenital disorders and birth defects. Maternal Impression was used to explain the disorder suffered by the Elephant Man: it was suggested that his mother was frightened by an elephant while she was pregnant with him – thereby imprinting the memory of an elephant on her child. Depression was also explained in this manner. If a mother had moments of strong sadness during pregnancy, it was believed that her child would ultimately suffer from depression in later life. Genetic theory caused the almost complete eradication of this belief in the 20th century. Phlogiston. The theory of phlogiston dates to 1667 when Johann Joachim Becher (a German physicist) suggested that there was a fifth element (phlogiston) to go with the four classical elements (Earth, Water, Air, Fire) which was contained within objects that could burn. It was believed that when an object burned, it released its phlogiston (an element without taste, mass, odor or color) and left behind a powdery substance called calx (what we now know to be oxide). Objects that burned in air were considered to be rich in phlogiston and the fact that a fire burned out when oxygen was removed was seen as proof that oxygen could only absorb a limited amount of the substance. This theory also led to the idea that the human need to breathe had a sole function which was to remove phlogiston from the body. The entire concept was superseded by Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier’s discovery that combustion could only occur with the help of a gas such as oxygen. Spontaneous Generation. Before microscopes and theories of cells and germs, man had other ideas about the creation of living things. He bizarrely believed that life arose from inanimate matter (for example, maggots come spontaneously from rotting meat). Proponents of this view (virtually everyone) used the Bible as a source of evidence, due to the fact that God made man from dust. However, the view did exist before Christianity and Aristotle said, in no uncertain terms, that some animals grow spontaneously and not from other animals of their kind. Earlier believers had to come up with some pretty strange ideas to make their theory work: Anaximander (a Greek philosopher who taught Pythagoras) believed that at some point in man’s history, humans had been born from the soil spontaneously in adult form, otherwise they could never have survived. Before we laugh too hard at the ancients, we should note that many Scientists right up to the 19th century believed this, and some even wrote recipe books for making animals. One such recipe (to make a scorpion) calls for basil, placed between two bricks and left in sunlight. The theory was not finally put to rest until 1859, when Louis Pasteur proved it wrong once and for all.
  4. Which countries give America a thumbs down? Egypt. Jordan. Syria. Palestinian territories. Pakistan 59 to 65 percent disapproval rating but they sure want to immigrate here. Iran. Lebanon. Russia. Belarus has a 69% disapproval rating. Greece? 63 percent on a Pew Poll. Argentina 57%. Austria 55. Slovenia - It was 54 before Melania became First Lady so it should be better now. Peter
  5. Here are some ideas to think of in association with President Trump and Iran. Peter Ayn Rand: Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: That the step was first, the road new, the vision un-borrowed, and the response they received - hatred. Drew Schaefer on the old Starship Forums: Peace: the only PROSPERITY. Ken Gordon: The first issue in a democracy is that you are the adults. No one else is going to do this for you. Donald Rumsfeld: Leadership in the right direction finds followers and supporters. Winston Churchill: Let us learn our lessons. Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on that strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.
  6. One more thought. “The moral right but not the duty” objectivist opinion is an excellent perspective, but I would carefully think through any particular utilization of force. Very carefully . . . think through. I will venture an opinion that a majority of Iran’s citizens would not cry if there were a regime change but would not sanction civilian casualties which would include them or their families. That sounds dumb after a reread but I will leave it as is. Peter From the Ayn Rand “Playboy” interview. ‘PLAYBOY: What about force in foreign policy? You have said that any free nation had the right to invade Nazi Germany during World War II. RAND: Certainly. PLAYBOY: . . . And that any free nation today has the moral right -- though not the duty -- to invade Soviet Russia, Cuba, or any other "slave pen." Correct? RAND: Correct. A dictatorship -- a country that violates the rights of its own citizens -- is an outlaw and can claim no rights.
  7. One more historical letter that pertains to the current crisis with Iran? If I remember Allen Weingarten was not an Objectivist but highly aware of Ayn's philosophy and he was a hawkish conservative. A quote from below, “The key question is whether or not the Arab-Muslim bloc is in a state of war with us.” As of now, Iran is. As I have urged before, search for the opening of the Iranian legislative sessions on the net, and you will ALWAYS hear them chant, “Death to America!” A defeated and freer Iraq is a “wary, tolerant sort of ally”, since we defeated Sadam. The other Arab nations are now allies or tolerant of our presence in the region. Though they would like to kick the Israeli’s from Arabia they are no longer planning war with them. If any other opinions are out there I would be glad to consider them. Peter From: Hllw To: objectivism Subject: OWL: RE: Solving the Muslim problem Date: Fri, 14 Feb 2003 16:10:54 EST. Mr. James A. Donald writes "Neither are we threatened by Islamic regimes -- the only Islamic regime with any power is Iran. Saddam's regime is not Islamic." Herein is our fundamental disagreement, for I view the Arab-Muslim bloc as in a state of war with us. I gave my arguments for this in an earlier posting of "Threats versus Clear and Present Dangers." These included the fostering and support of sabotage and terrorism, as well as the propaganda, ideological insurgency, and political dealings that incite sedition. As an aside, although Saddam's regime is not Islamic, it pays homage to Islam and cooperates with Islamists (perhaps with Osama bin Laden). Moreover, let us note the extreme fear that the Muslims have of America defeating Saddam. To them, the enemy of America is their friend. He argues that war on Muslims is akin to war on Jews, for it is the war against a religion. However, my position is that the war should be on nations that follow an ideology. Thus America waged war on Germany as it followed fascism, and on the USSR as it followed communism. Unlike Islam which will attack Jews and Christians, merely for their religion, our war ought to be waged on the regimes which foster the destruction of America. Mr. Donald's next point is that "holy war is guaranteed to be long and bloody--guaranteed to cost a great deal, and likely to end inconclusively." I would not refer to this as a holy war. Moreover, the fight with Iraq needn't take any longer than it did in 1991, except to take the added time to destroy his regime. The cost of the war should be offset by taking the oil from Iraq, which never belonged to it in the first place, and was used to subsidize aggression. This would be a conclusive victory, rather than one where Saddam boasts that he remained in power long after President Bush was removed. We also disagree when he writes that the Muslim power base is not the State. Without their support by States, we would not be threatened by Arabs or Muslims, for they would choose other targets, such as one another, as they did before they were given States. Moreover, the Palestinians are not "Palestinians", but are indistinguishable in history and culture from other Arabs. They did not consider themselves Palestinians when they were governed by Jordan, but only decided upon that "nationality" as a weapon against Israel. Next, Mr. Donald writes that the rage of Muslims is produced by their failure. He apparently accepts this rationalization for their totalitarian mindset. If their aim were material benefits they would long ago have cooperated and learned from the West. They know for example how much healthier and wealthier the Arabs are in Israel, but that matters less to them than their desire to destroy. What would the Arab-Muslims have to do before Mr. Donald would conclude that they had hostile intent? If celebrating suicide bombings, or enjoying the destruction of the spacecraft Columbia, does not suffice, then was there ever a regime in history guided by hostile intent? To my comment that religions competing on equal terms is an affront to Islam, Mr. Donald says that it is an affront to Judaism as well. Here, he refers to selected statements in scripture. However, the practice of Judaism (and Christianity) today is not properly measured in that manner. These religions bespeak a tolerance that is in no way found among the Imams. Jews and Christians decry the few extremists among them, in contrast with the lauding by the Muslims of their extremists. Religion is not to viewed by selected verse, but by how its teachings are put into practice today. Next, I do not understand his response, that to wage a war of self-defense would be placing a wall around America, making it cease to be America. Self-defense was precisely the sound guide for war of John Quincy Adams and other Founders. We must defeat the Arab-Muslim bloc, for attacking us, which in no way places a wall around America. Finally, Mr. Donald suggests that my advocacy of war could result "in the same unending war as Israel finds itself in against the Palestinians." That would occur if we engaged in the same accommodation, negotiations and collaboration that Israel practices. Rather we ought to trounce them thoroughly, exacting a price that provides a disincentive for further aggression. To illustrate my perspective, let me recall an event that occurred around 1981. Palestinians demonstrated against Egypt and Israel under similar circumstances. The Egyptians showed up with trucks, opened machine guns, and massacred the demonstrators. The Israelis tried to understand their grievances. The Palestinians harbored no ill will toward the Egyptians, but complained bitterly about the insufficient concessions granted by the Israelis. (Similarly, the Palestinians harbored no grudge against the Jordanians for the massacre of Black September.) If you were a Palestinian, who would you demonstrate against and condemn? Yet most of the above is secondary. The key question is whether or not the Arab-Muslim bloc is in a state of war with us. If they are not, then Mr. Donald is correct. Why initiate a war, when we can resolve matters by negotiations and education. If Islam is no different from Judaism and Christianity, why not live with radical Islamists as we do with one another. However, if they are in a war with us, and committed to our destruction, then the weaker our response, the more they will threaten, undermine and harm us. Allen Weingarten
  8. The following letters are from a spirited exchange between Tim Starr and Ghs and it pertains to the aggression from Iran. The thread went on for many letters and the quality of thinking was excellent but I will just put George’s letter and a response from Tim. Peter From: "George H. Smith" To: Subject: ATL: Re: War and the Constitutional Convention Date: Mon, 3 Feb 2003 16:36:02 -0800. Tim Starr wrote: "However, your interpretation still doesn't square with the US military prosecution of the Barbary Pirates and the invasion of Tripoli, since the US wasn't "in the midst" of an attack by the Pirates or Tripoli at the time. If your interpretation is correct, then it was unconstitutional for the US to invade Tripoli without a declaration of war from Congress. But that was done within the lifetime of the Founders, under the Presidency of a strict-constructionist like Jefferson, who at other times argued against the constitutionality of the Bank of the United States, the Alien and Sedition Acts, and had serious misgivings about the Louisiana Purchase. It was also authorized by Congress, which presumably would have declared war if such had been considered a constitutional requirement." An adequate response to these remarks would require a detailed historical investigation of the extended conflict between the United States and Tripoli, which is something I have not undertaken. Nevertheless, I think the following preliminary observations (and I stress "preliminary"), based primarily on Jefferson's first annual address to Congress (8 Dec., 1801), may shed some light on this subject. As Jefferson made clear, the Pacha of Tripoli had declared war on the United States ("The bey had already declared war in form"), so a state of war *already* existed between the two countries. This is surely relevant to the lack of congressional protest to Jefferson's unilateral decision to send a naval squadron to the Mediterranean. Although I don't recall the exact protocol in 18th century international law (such as found in Vattel and Burlamaqui), I suspect that a formal declaration of war by ONE side was regarded as sufficient to create a state of war between two sovereign nations. Thus, if there was no insistence that Congress declare a state of war before Jefferson had the authority to act, this is probably because Jefferson and members of Congress understood that the United States was already in a state of war vis-a-vis Tripoli. The invasion of Tripoli that Tim speaks of did not occur until 1805, when U.S. marines stormed the harbor fortress at Derna, but I don't know enough about the events between 1801-1805 that led up to this to say much about it. But there are several pertinent details in Jefferson's 1801 address that are worth mentioning. (1) Tim states that "the US wasn't 'in the midst' of an attack by the Pirates or Tripoli at the time." This was not Jefferson's position, who spoke of an imminent threat, one made plausible by a declaration of war: "The bey had already declared war in form. His cruisers were out. Two had arrived at Gibraltar. Our commerce in the Mediterranean was blockaded. The arrival of our squadron dispelled the danger." (2) It is worth noting that Jefferson did not authorize military action against other nations that harbored Barbary pirates, e.g., Morocco, Algiers, and Tunis. The military response was directly *solely* at Tripoli, which was the only country to declare war against the United States and take concrete hostile actions against American ships. (3) Jefferson's intent was apparently to confine American warships to the role of immediate self-defense, to be used only when American merchant ships were under an immediate threat of attack by pirates. I say this because of Jefferson's interesting remarks about an incident during which the U.S. schooner Enterprise, commanded by Lt. Sterret, boarded and captured a Tripolitan cruiser. Here is how Jefferson interpreted this incident: "UNAUTHORIZED BY THE CONSTITUTION, without the sanction of Congress, TO GO BEYOND THE LINE OF DEFENCE, the [Tripolitan] vessel being disabled from committing further hostilities, was liberated with its crew. The legislature will doubtless consider whether, by authorizing measures of offence, also, they will place our force on an equal footing with that of its adversaries." To sum up, here is how I understand Jefferson's reasoning in this matter. A declaration of war by Congress was not required to authorize Jefferson's actions, since the Pacha (or "Dey") had already instituted a state of war between the U.S. and Tripoli. Jefferson authorized military action ONLY against this country, which had formally declared war against the U.S., put a blockade into effect, and taken actions that clearly indicated its intention to raid American ships. Even so, Jefferson felt that he could only authorize defensive actions. The offensive action by Lt. Sterret, though something that Jefferson praised, was unconstitutional, since it did not have the "sanction of Congress." The essential point here is that there is far more to this series of events than Tim has indicated. To conclude that the founding fathers had no objections whatsoever to a President initiating acts of war, without a declaration of war from Congress, is not justified by the evidence. For one thing, this overlooks the fact that Tripoli had previously declared war against the U.S. -- a fact that is *obviously* relevant to this discussion, since Jefferson emphasized it *twice* in his very brief remarks about Tripoli. Given that Jefferson was attempting to justify his actions to Congress, it is clear that this previous declaration of war by Tripoli was *essential* to his case. Moreover, he candidly admitted that some aspects of the 1801 campaign were "unauthorized by the Constitution." As I said, I don't know enough about the details to say much more about this, but I have had enough experience with history to know there is more going on here than Tim has represented. Rather than accept Tim's interpretation, I think it is more reasonable to suppose that the technical constitutional issue had to do with whether it is necessary for Congress to make a formal declaration against an enemy that has *already* declared war against the U.S. This is a different issue than the one raised by Tim, and I would be willing to bet dollars to donuts that *this* accounts for the lack of constitutional objections by the founding fathers. Ghs From: Tim Starr To: atlantis Subject: ATL: To the Shores of Tripoli Date: Wed, 5 Feb 2003 00:38:26 -0800 (PST) I stopped at Moe's Books in Berkeley on my way home from my martial arts class tonight, and looked up "Tripoli" in the index of Dumas Malone's multi-volume biography of Thomas Jefferson, to see what he had to say about the war against Tripoli and the Barbary Pirates. Interestingly, the argument George has made about the declaration of war by Tripoli being sufficient to both establish a state of war between the USA and Tripoli and justify Jefferson in ordering the Navy to attack Tripoli in his role as Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. military, was not made by Jefferson at the time, it was made by Jefferson's political enemy, Alexander Hamilton. Jefferson's position was that only self-defense by U.S. ships was justified without prior authorization from Congress. However, Jefferson didn't think that Congressional authorization had to come in the form of a declaration of war, as he neither asked for nor did Congress make any such declaration. That is basically the same argument I've been making about the authority of the POTUS to send the U.S. military to war: it doesn't necessarily require a declaration of war by Congress, it just requires Congressional authorization, such as in the Southeast Asia Resolution (a.k.a., the Tonkin Gulf Resolution), the Resolution which authorized Gulf War I, or the Resolution which authorized the U.S. overthrow of the Taliban. I would be happy to stipulate that this can only be done when there is a pre-existing state of war between the US and the party against which the US military is going to war, as long as it is understood that such things as violation of international treaties intended to settle prior conflicts can cause such states of war, or other international laws codified in treaties to which both the US and the other State are signatories. By that standard, the Vietnam War and Gulf War I would both be constitutional, while the Korean War would be arguably unconstitutional and the Kosovo War definitely unconstitutional. I do not mean to suggest that just because a war may be constitutional that it is good, wise, prudent, or just either in its cause or methods. Those are separate questions. After all, both Congress and the President can be wrong, foolish, imprudent, or unjust. Many anti-warmongers use the constitutional argument as a substitute for arguments against the prudence or goodness of the wars they oppose. This is a mistake. I really wish anti-warmongers would get beyond silly arguments about the alleged unconstitutionality of the wars they oppose, and stick to prudential or moral arguments. When the antiwar movement does so, it will be a sign that it has grown out of its adolescence. Tim Starr
  9. If human transportation could near the speed of light, we could be at “Teegarden’s Star” in 12 years. I would send an unmanned probe to reconnoiter, with a scientific vehicle to land and explore the two temperate planets. Peter From National Geographic. A tiny, old star just 12 light-years away might host two temperate, rocky planets, astronomers announced today. If they’re confirmed, both of the newly spotted worlds are nearly identical to Earth in mass, and both planets are in orbits that could allow liquid water to trickle and puddle on their surfaces. Scientists estimate that the stellar host, known as Teegarden’s star, is at least eight billion years old, or nearly twice the sun’s age. That means any planets orbiting it are presumably as ancient, so life as we know it has had more than enough time to evolve. And for now, the star is remarkably quiet, with few indications of the tumultuous stellar quakes and flares that tend to erupt from such objects. These factors, plus the system’s relative proximity, makes the system an intriguing target for astronomers seeking to train next-generation telescopes on other worlds and scan for signs of life beyond Earth.
  10. The Trump campaign kicks off today in Florida, per CBS. Will the crowds be big and rowdy? People stood in line overnight to see him today. A massive removal of illegal immigrants by ICE is scheduled to start next week. By announcing this action in advance, it may allow some illegals to disappear, but it also gives illegals, their families, and their duped employers who thought their documents were legitimate, a chance to prepare. I see this announcement as benevolent, though a million Hispanics may be sent home. The Trump Doctrine seems to be freedom and prosperity at home, communicating directly to the world for transparency, and to “speak loudly to avoid using a big stick.” And he has been successful at it. Any exceptions? The news about 1000 additional American troops being sent to the Middle East, may be true or an *under exaggeration*, to disguise our response to a crisis. Generally for strategic reasons, Military secrets don’t count as a lack of transparency. They are necessary to not allow an enemy to prepare a counter attack. Peter From Wikipedia.The Reagan Doctrine was stated by Reagan in his State of the Union message on February 6, 1985: "We must not break faith with those who are risking their lives--on every continent from Afghanistan to Nicaragua--to defy Soviet-supported aggression and secure rights which have been ours from birth." It was a strategy implemented by the Reagan Administration to overwhelm the global influence of the Soviet Union in the late Cold War. The doctrine was a centerpiece of United States foreign policy from the early 1980s until the end of the Cold War in 1991. Under the Reagan Doctrine, the United States provided overt and covert aid to anti-communist guerrillas and resistance movements in an effort to "roll back" Soviet-backed pro-communist governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The doctrine was designed to diminish Soviet influence in these regions as part of the administration's overall strategy to win the Cold War.
  11. Brant wrote: As for trade, sanctions are acts of war. No they are not. You are trying to conflate the freedom to trade or not to trade involving individual traders, with the addition of State controls which is still trade . . . but no longer complete or laissez fair, free trade. Darn. You may be partially right, but it is still not war. Define war.
  12. Shoot. Frank, of The Atlas Society died in 2012. Young Onset Alzheimer's disease? Crap. So long Frank. Bubb, Frank W., 65, a former resident of Boca Raton, passed away on November 8 after a five-year struggle with Young Onset Alzheimer's disease. Born in St. Louis, MO, Frank grew up in surrounding Webster Groves and earned his bachelor's degree in economics, Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Washington University in St Louis. Frank attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School where he met his wife, Diana Paulonis. They were married in 1971. Frank was employed by Scott Paper Company as staff vice president and chief financial counsel. The Bubbs relocated to Boca Raton in 1995 where he served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of The Sports Authority until he retired in 2003. Frank was a respected intellectual and influential political activist in the Libertarian and Objectivist movements throughout his adult life. He enjoyed sharing his passion for his principles through dialogue and writing. Through the early and mid-1980s, Frank wrote numerous op-ed articles that were distributed nationally by the Cato Institute or placed directly with such newspapers as the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Orange County Register. He also wrote articles for The New Individualist and its predecessor publication, Navigator. Frank was a founding contributor of the Society of Individual Liberty and The Atlas Society - where he served on the Board of Trustees - and was an active member of the Libertarian party. In 1980, he ran as the Libertarian candidate for Pennsylvania State Treasurer. Frank is survived by his wife, Diana, two sons, Daniel of Swarthmore, PA, and David of New York City. He is also survived by his mother, three brothers, and a sister. Frank was an extraordinarily kind and gentle man, a loving father and a devoted husband. He brightened the lives of those around him - quick to engage in intellectual discussion and spur fun and games with friends and family. There will be a Memorial Celebration in Frank's honor on January 5 at Springhaven Club in Wallingford, PA at 11:30 am. Published in Sun-Sentinel on Nov. 16, 2012
  13. What if we drop sanctions on Iran and North Korea, and instead allow a free trade policy? Is the following intuitive, or do the following two sentences NOT make sense? Frank wrote about trade with China: "If one of these vendors decided to ‘screw’ us, we would have no effective legal recourse. Yet these vendors are honest and deliver quality products on time." end quote From: Frank Bubb To: objectivism Subject: OWL: Trade Is A Free Society's Best "Weapon" Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2001 20:54:24 EDT. Within Objectivist circles there seems to be significant support for the view that the best way to deal with those societies which virulently oppose American values is to refuse to ‘sanction’ their evil by cutting them off from the benefits of dealing with our society. See, e.g., the post entitled ‘Economic Exclusion Now’ by Ralph Hertle. I will argue that this strategy is 180 degrees out of phase with reality, that trade is a free society’s best ‘weapon’ in the fight against dictatorship and terrorism. From the standpoint of every dictator, trade spreads the cancer of individual independence, mutual understanding with ‘foreign devils’ and unwillingness to believe or obey the dictator. THE POSITIVE EFFECTS OF TRADE. Most Objectivists understand the moral benefit to the individual of dealing with others by trade for mutual benefit, and the role of habits in developing a moral personality. Regardless of one’s moral starting point, the experience of trading with others on a regular basis implicitly and often imperceptibly inculcates certain habits, such as (1) honesty, (2) productiveness (to have something worth trading), (3) dependability, (4) expecting to receive value in an exchange, (5) understanding the other party’s need to receive value in an exchange, and (6) perceiving one’s trading counterpart as a human being with similar core interests. These benefits apply both to trade in one’s immediate locale and to trade with people in other lands. The latter has the additional benefit of making one aware of the fact that people with very different customs and initial beliefs are still human beings (not ‘foreign devils’) who share one’s core interests. I work as general counsel for a sporting goods retailer. One of my colleagues is in charge of importing significant quantities of sporting goods from China. He travels regularly to China and deals extensively with various factories and trading companies. If one of these vendors decided to ‘screw’ us, we would have no effective legal recourse. Yet these vendors are honest and deliver quality products on time. Despite their government's policies, they and millions others like them have become part of a vast network of people who in fact operate substantially in accordance with the moral standards of modern commercial culture. Most Objectivists readily understand that foreign aid shifts power and influence in the recipient society from the private sector toward those with political power. It should be as readily understood that trade has the reverse effect, imperceptibly but ultimately shifting power and influence in a society toward those who engage in trade. Traders benefit economically. As they hire or contract with others in their society to support their trade with outsiders, they bring these others into the ambit of the habits and beliefs they have developed. Finally, trade gives those in each society a stake in continued peaceful relations with those in the other society. Whatever influence the trading culture in a society has at any given time, that influence will be in favor of continued trade and its prerequisite, peace. THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF BANNING TRADE. Imposing trade sanctions against regimes or societies we oppose not only deprives Americans of the positive benefits listed above, but also imposes the following costs on us. To the extent people are harmed by our government’s trade sanctions, the people who are harmed grow to hate the American government and, by association, the capitalist system it represents (granted, they may have hated it already, but sanctions tend to reinforce their hatred). This hatred is not confined to the target country. A couple of my colleagues at work are from the Middle East. They confirm what is sometimes reported in our media: America’s sanctions against Iraq have inflamed hatred of America through the entire region, as stories of starving Iraqi children are a staple in media reports in that region. Trade sanctions give dictators an excuse, a scapegoat, for the failure of their state-run economies, and create patriotic sympathy and support for the very regimes our sanctions are designed to hurt. Finally, our government’s trade sanctions hinder its own human intelligence efforts. To the extent that Americans have numerous contacts in a country, those contacts are a natural source of human intelligence that could benefit our government in times of emergency. It is no accident that our government is virtually clueless about what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. CONNECTING THE DOTS. This post has done nothing more than ‘connect the dots’ on some very standard Objectivist and free market theory. Yet it runs totally counter to much of the bluster being emitted from various quarters within the Objectivist movement. Those who work themselves into a righteous froth over the Islamic world in general should ‘check their premises,’ and discover just how far they have strayed from them. There is no reason to believe the trader principle stops at America’s borders. Frank Bubb
  14. Americans are more fascinated with the female wearers of the crown, Elizabeth the First, Elizabeth the Second and Queen Victoria. And Henry the 8th in a negative way. In the PBS theme to the show Victoria, the words, “Gloriana” and “Hallelujah” are used beautifully. Queen Victoria was born in 1819, just five years after hostilities ceased, and she died in 1901. The War started June 18, 1812 and ended Feb 17, 1815. By then I think we may have become friendlier with some friction during the Civil War. The reason for this call? I was thinking about how we treat prisoners of war compared to other countries. The War of Independence and the War of 1812 were not so hot for us or the Brits. Of course we were being invaded in 1814 but come on! It’s was the British, our predominant cultural ancestor and I am extremely happy, that was the case. Peter What are the English lyrics to “My country tis of thee?” God save our gracious Queen! Long live our noble Queen! God save the Queen! Send her victorious, Happy and glorious, Long to reign over us, God save the Queen. The War of 1812, was fought over issues that continued to plague relations between the United States and Britain after the Revolutionary War, like impressment of American sailors and trade restrictions on American shipping. From PBS: Military captives in the War of 1812 posed a particular problem for both sides. Neither the British nor the Americans could maintain large prisons – they lacked the military facilities and the manpower to hold soldiers for long periods of time. And, in a war that stretched along half of North America, prisoners posed a logistical nightmare – prisoners taken in battle were often hundreds of miles away from the nearest military garrison. The British often paroled captured militiamen and army officers, releasing them after they’d made a pledge to stay out of the war for the duration. Regular troops and militia officers were not paroled; they were imprisoned and often kept in filthy, vermin-ridden barracks, with inadequate food and almost no medical care. The American prisoners usually ended up in Quebec, the British were sent deep into US territory. Both were used as bargaining chips for the exchange of prisoners. Wikipedia: The two nations are bound together by shared history, an overlap in religion and a common language and legal system, and kinship ties that reach back hundreds of years, including kindred, ancestral lines among English Americans, Scottish Americans, Welsh Americans, Scotch-Irish Americans, Irish Americans, and American Britons, respectively. Today, large numbers of expatriates live in both countries. Through times of war and rebellion, peace and estrangement, as well as becoming friends and allies, Britain and the US cemented these deeply rooted links during World War II into what is known as the "Special Relationship". In long-term perspective, the historian Paul Johnson has called it the "cornerstone of the modern, democratic world order".
  15. Hawkish Robert Tracinski wrote on June 16th “If it were up to me, this is the moment I would tell the Iranians "nice navy you used to have." It is, after all, a longstanding mission of the United States Navy to guarantee freedom of navigation, particularly for such a strategic area as the Persian Gulf. So far, for all of this president's penchant for blustering on Twitter, his actual response has been much more cautious and timid.” end quote I am more cautious though I think Robert is spot on with what Ayn Rand would advocate. Isn't the Iranian military navy a bunch of speed boats? And weren't the boats used in these attacks part of the "Revolutionary Guard?" I suppose drones with small explosives could put a hole in every one of those without killing everyone on board, fanatic or not. A lot of expat Iranians are now Americans with families still there. So the use of force could be moderated. Iranians, especially the young in Iran have had protests to stop the theocratic dictatorship. Unless this becomes a *war* as with Nazi Germany or Japan I am for the use of retaliatory force beyond a fire cracker, but less than a kaboom that kills all aboard or near the vessel in dry dock. I remember President Trump warned the Russians and therefor the Syrians when we were going to bomb some of the Syrian facilities. If one more incident occurs I would support such action. Peter