Sales Tax Is Still Theft

Source: Libertarian Institute
by Ron Paul

“A group of House Republicans is supporting legislation that would replace federal income, payroll, estate, and gift taxes with a 30 percent national sales tax. The bill also eliminates the Internal Revenue Service, giving states the responsibility to collect the sales tax and send the revenue to DC. This deputizing of states to act as federal tax collectors violates the principles of federalism, especially since the plan forces states that have chosen not to make their residents pay sales taxes create a mechanism for collecting sales tax. A 30 percent sales tax on all goods with no exceptions and no deductions will increase taxes imposed on millions of Americans.” (02/07/23)

Ukraine and Belarus Are Fighting the Same War

Source: Foreign Policy
by Eric S Edelman, Vlad Kobets, & David J Kramer

“Rumors abound that Russia is planning a new wave of offensives in Ukraine. According to public sources and Ukrainian intelligence assessments, these may include another attempt to push its forces into Ukraine from the north, from Belarus. … this prospect should remind Western decision-makers that they cannot ignore Belarus in their calculations about the war in Ukraine — and that the conflict will continue to have consequences outside its borders. … A Ukrainian victory would also benefit the people of Belarus, who have for 29 years lived under Aleksandr Lukashenko, often referred to as the ‘last dictator in Europe,’ and whose political livelihood is dependent on Russian President Vladimir Putin. A Russian defeat in Ukraine would weaken Putin significantly enough that he can no longer bail out his fellow dictator — and could embolden Belarusians to try their hand at removing Lukashenko once more.” (02/07/23)

Russia-Ukraine conflict exposes Biden security team’s inability to plan ahead

Source: Fox News
by Rebekah Koffler

“As the largest war in Europe nears its first anniversary, it has become evident to all that President Biden and his security team have failed in their ongoing planning for Ukraine. The prevailing thinking in the White House and the Pentagon revolves around giving to Ukraine the ‘right kit’: first, Stingers and Javelins, then HIMARs, Patriots, Bradleys, and now Abrams tanks. Is this endless stream of high-tech military hardware supposed to make Vladimir Putin surrender? Here are three reasons why the Biden administration’s inability to craft a serious strategy, based on realistic goals and affordable costs, puts us all in danger. President Biden evidently understands the risks of getting more and more involved in what is promising to be an unwinnable war.” (02/07/23)

The Collecting Addiction: Who Needs Originals When a Forgery Will Do?

Source: Cato Institute
by Doug Bandow

“I blame my parents, first, and a great friend of nearly four decades, second, for my collecting addiction. Without a wife at home to tell me no, I always find room for another fine acquisition. … Alas, I’m not in the league of a Malcolm Forbes, Peggy Guggenheim, Frederick Koch, J. Paul Getty, or one of the many other wealthy art aficionados. I’ve long wondered what it would be like to bid in an auction, with price no object. Instead of looking for items with a couple zeroes, one could go to six, seven, eight, or even nine digits if pressed. … I read an interesting interview in the Washington Post and realized that there was another way. The Post ran a delightful conversation with the author of a new autobiography. His job? A forger. A very fine forger.” (02/07/23)

Trumpism Without Trump

Source: The Atlantic
by David A Graham

“Who’s afraid of Donald Trump? Not Nikki Haley, who is reportedly on the verge of announcing a run for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Not Ron DeSantis, whose own run seems certain, and who has been agitating the former president to no end. Not Mike Pompeo, who has published the sort of memoir that usually foretells a candidacy, and which criticizes Trump. Trump is furious about these challenges, especially DeSantis’s. … For years, pundits have discussed the possibility of a Trumpism without Trump, and largely concluded that it was a chimera. … The case against Trumpism without Trump was compelling: It barely existed, it had been tried and had failed, and his grip on the GOP made a challenge quixotic. All of this logic was sound, and yet it now appears to have been wrong.” (02/07/23)

Republicans Coming With Knives to Gut FDR’s New Deal

Source: Common Dreams
by Thom Hartmann

“Sometimes a little socialism is a very good thing. But don’t tell Mike Pence or the billionaires who bankroll him and his GOP colleagues. Or, for that matter, the 109 Democrats who were suckered into joining every single Republican in the House of Representatives to vote for a resolution saying that: ‘Congress denounces socialism in all its forms, and opposes the implementation of socialist policies in the United States of America.’ The resolution leads up to that conclusion by quoting President Thomas Jefferson wildly out of context.” (02/07/23)

Why Libertarians Should Support the Multipolar World

Source: Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Finn Andreen

“Current international tensions have intensified a debate that has existed for at least a decade between two radically different views of the world and international relations: the unipolar world and the multipolar world. When libertarians disagree on foreign policy, the underlying cause is often this difference in worldview. The purpose of this article is to show that a unipolar world is contrary to the principles of libertarianism and that a multipolar world is an important step toward global liberty.” (02/07/23)

Questions for a Congressional Inquiry

Source: Brownstone Institute
by Steve Templeton

“The governments of European countries have begun to conduct public inquiries into their COVID responses, including Norway, Sweden, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Denmark. It is past time for the United States to join this list, and critical given the worldwide influence of the CDC, FDA, and NIH/NIAID. Members of the US Congress are conducting such an inquiry, and their efforts require the help of physicians, scientists and public health policy experts to identify key policy decisions and provide a rationale for investigating those policies and the officials and government agencies that devised and implemented them, with the ultimate goal of meaningful reform. With help from Brownstone Institute, the Norfolk Group was organized in May, 2022, with the goal of providing a blueprint containing key questions for a congressional inquiry into the public health aspects of the US response to the COVID-19 pandemic.” (02/07/23)

Unified American Hysteria

Source: The American Conservative
by Sumantra Maitra

“Some of the greatest champions of public opinion in republican Rome were often xenophobic about a rival Carthage, which, paradoxically provided Rome with the exact foil needed to get domestic issues in order. The Venetian republic belatedly realized the need for unity only when the Ottoman threat was upon their shores. The French republic was brutal on domestic enemies, often thought as an extension of designs by peer rivals. The Irish might have a very different recollection about the short-lived Cromwellians than the future Americans. The history of the American republic is practically mirrored as a reaction to hegemonic rivals in Europe and Asia. … While the rise of China belatedly provides a sense of purpose and priority to an internally fractured, overstretched, and utopian American republic, it could also be dangerously exploited by those seeking to transform the globe.” (02/07/23)

The tedious China scare in Latin America

Source: Responsible Statecraft
by Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

“In a January article for Foreign Affairs, former Peruvian presidential candidate Julio Armando Guzman depicts increased Chinese investment in Latin America as an existential threat to the region’s democracies. The piece reflects an emerging bipartisan consensus in Washington that Chinese influence (ill-defined as that term may be) will undermine the sovereignty of Latin American and Caribbean countries in ways designed to pry them loose from Washington’s sphere of influence. But as seductive as it may be, the Cold War thinking implicit in pieces like this one is rife with unresolved contradictions and misconceptions about China’s role in the region. Policies based on this inflation of China’s security challenges to U.S. regional interests serve only to alienate the region’s vibrant non-aligned movement, stall progress on issues of common interest, and erode the democratic progress they claim to defend.” (02/07/23)