The mounts of piety: A case study in Christian innovation

Source: Acton Institute
by Marcin Rzegocki

“Hard times require brave solutions. In times of economic hardship, it is important to look for ethical and moral solutions to address social problems and alleviate material poverty. One such example is the phenomenon of the montes pietatis, or the mounts of piety, a series of medieval Christian banking institutions that provided an innovative response to difficult times. Mounts of piety were small credit institutions conceived in late medieval Italy to support the poor in their personal and family difficulties.” (06/23/21)

The Police Can’t Be Reformed

Source: CounterPunch
by Nick Pemberton

“Last year I predicted that as a ploy to get more support for police officers, the media would frame a defunded police force as the reason for a rising crime rate. The headlines by the same media companies who claim to be woke read daily about crime. The media intends to scare the public. But their plan has hit a hiccup. The police are the ones scared, not the public. What am I referring to? The movement by police to cancel themselves and go on leave! While this did create the shortage of cops the media fear mongered about it looks a little different when the cops walked out on their comrades.” (06/23/21)

“Rules-Based International Order” Means Washington-Based International Order

Source: Caitlin Johnstone, Rogue Journalist
by Caitlin Johnstone

“The US government has shut down multiple news media websites based in the Middle East, including Iran’s state-owned Press TV, and al-Masirah TV which is owned by the Houthi group Ansarullah in Yemen. The Department of Justice said on Tuesday it had seized 36 Iranian-linked websites, claiming without evidence that they were associated with ‘either disinformation activities or violent organizations’ and were shut down for a violation of US sanctions. This would be the same US government that is imprisoning Julian Assange for journalism which exposed US war crimes, the same US government which paid for the weapons used to destroy more than 20 Palestinian media outlets in Gaza last month, the same US government whose unipolar domination of the planet is made possible by the journalism-destroying propaganda of the media-owning plutocratic class in alliance with sociopathic government agencies.” (06/23/21)

Rough waters ahead for Afghan withdrawal optics

Source: Responsible Statecraft
by Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

“‘Long hot summer’ is the perfect descriptor for what awaits the Biden administration — and the American people — as troops and equipment roll out of Afghanistan for the promised withdrawal by September 11. The Taliban has taken over 40 districts and more territory everyday — including key provincial centers and yesterday, the country’s main border crossing with Tajikistan. Meanwhile, the Pentagon seems really restless and squirmy with the idea of fully leaving Afghanistan — despite all of its modulated talk to the contrary. In fact, a dip into one of its press conferences is much like peering through a kaleidoscope — it all sounds on the up-and-up, but in retrospect what you’ve got is a jumbled word salad that when re-assembled, doesn’t read as positive as it desires to be.” (06/23/21)

Bukele’s Bitcoin Blunder for El Salvador

Source: Cato Institute
by Steve H Hanke & Nicholas Hanlon

“In the middle of the night of June 8, El Salvador passed a new law making bitcoin legal tender — actually, forced tender. The high priest of El Salvador’s bitcoin evangelicals is none other than President Nayib Bukele. One of his favorite sermons is ‘The Beauty of Bitcoin.’ The reverend claims that bitcoin will result in a dramatic reduction in the cost of transmitting remittances to El Salvadorans. If that’s not bad enough, Jack Mallers, one of Bukele’s deacons and the CEO of the mobile‐​payments app Strike, a company that will apparently be granted a monopoly franchise over El Salvador’s bitcoin remittance scheme, sermonizes that, ‘If you send $50 to El Salvador, it will cost 25 bucks.’ Are these sermons factually based?” (06/23/21)

Arrogant Narcissism: The Essence Of US Foreign Policy

Source: The American Conservative
by Ted Galen Carpenter

“U.S. leaders routinely intone that the United States stands for a ‘rules-based international order,’ and that Washington has always tried to play its role as benevolent global leader. The reality is decidedly less savory and far more self-centered. Washington’s actual attitude since World War II is one of arrogant national narcissism, and the problem persists in our own era.” (06/23/21)

The Deep State Defeat of Donald Trump

by James Bovard

“‘The Trump-Deep State clash is a showdown between a presidency that is far too powerful versus federal agencies that have become fiefdoms with immunity for almost any and all abuses,’ I wrote in an FFF article a year ago. Since then, Donald Trump lost the 2020 election by fewer than 50,000 votes in a handful of swing states that determined the Electoral College result. There were numerous issues that could drive that relatively small number of votes. But machinations by the Deep State probably cost Trump far more votes than it took to seal his loss.” (06/23/21)

We live in a time where we can’t speak the truth especially about biology

Source: Fox News Forum
by Greg Gutfeld

“Now, if you told my ten-year-old self that I’d have Caitlin Jenner on my talk show. I’d be like, I have a talk show? And who is Caitlin Jenner? And then, I would tell my ten-year-old self who Caitlin Jenner is, and I’d be like holy s***! What the hell is going on with this world? Then I would ask if Mr. T is still Mr. T? But then I would calm down, and be totally psyched. So when you have a sports legend on your show, who is also trans, you’re gunna have to tackle the elephant in the room. … Yes, the Olympics welcomes its first trans athlete. And thankfully we have a few athletes on this panel tonight talk about this.” [editor’s note: Read the whole thing waiting for him to cover “the truth about biology.” He never got there – TLK] (06/22/21)

Biden Looks for a New, New START

Source: Foreign Policy
by Jack Detsch

“When U.S. and Russian negotiators first shook hands on a comprehensive arms control deal in 2010 that put stiff limits on the nuclear stockpiles of the world’s two biggest atomic powers, the White House saw signs of a thaw in the post-Cold War relationship. … But more than a decade later, even though the Biden administration and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top deputies in the Kremlin are optimistic about a follow-up nuclear deal, there’s little hope for any breaking of bread or clinking of glasses. As the U.S. State Department plots its negotiating strategy with the Russians ahead of an expected follow-up arms control talk … the talks are increasingly seen as less of a new start and merely a new starting point for a diminished relationship where the two sides can agree on avoiding nuclear war — but perhaps little else.” (06/22/21)