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War Gaming, Part II: The Flynn-Spin

.(see Part I, Introduction, here.) In December, 1941, America went to war, and that war wasn’t over until September, 1945. Almost four years. The whole …

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Russia’s Putin beyond Constitutional Government: The Case of Aleksei Navalny

With a judge handing down a five-year suspended prison sentence, a fine of 500,000 rubles (about $8,400), and a ban on participating in the upcoming presidential election in 2017, Aleksei Navalny could feel just how power can be wielded by high government officials, including even presidents—power ultimately backed up by stern men with guns with the legal right to use lethal force. This, I submit, is what government comes down to—it’s bottom line.
The true look of a government’s power. (Sergei Brovko/Reuters)

The full essay is at “Russia’s Putin beyond Constitutional Government.”

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Putin, Trump, and False Moral Equivalence

Back in the 1980s, I would get very agitated when folks made excuses for brutal communist regimes by asserting that the United States also did bad things. This “moral equivalence” argument is now being recycled by Donald Trump, who basically excuses Putin’s brutality because America supposedly isn’t in any position to throw stones. Here’s the […]

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Is Putin Being Honest and Accurate about the Benefits of Russia’s Flat Tax?

I’m obviously a big fan of a simple and fair flat tax. In part, my support for fundamental reform is driven by my desire for a low rate, for no double taxation, and for the elimination of loopholes. Those are the economic reasons for reform. But I also am very much motivated by the moral […]

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Less than a Fortnight

We haven’t said much here about Russia. There’s a reason for that. The Adaptive Curmudgeon (wonderful name, BTW) spells out that reason for us and for you. Nobody regrets this advice: “If you’re doing a dumb, dangerous thing for a bad reason, or aren’t really clear on the reason… stop it.” Reasonable people can (and […]

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James Baker proves Rex Tillerson should be rejected as Secretary of State

This week we’ll witness the beginning of the confirmation hearings on Trump’s cabinet picks. And while it’s likely that the Democrats will engage in some political shenanigans as they try to gum-up the works for the president-elect, there are a…

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Syria’s Three (3) Bad Guys Exposed

There were always two bad guys in Syria, ever since the Assad family took over the Ba’ath Party and created a military dictatorship in 1970. …

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Trump names Putin’s favorite CEO as Secretary of State

Following revelations by Roger Stone–the sleazy advisor to the Trump campaign behind the National Inquirer “articles” about Ted Cruz’s non-existent extramarital affairs, and “confirmed” that Ted’s father (Rafael) was an accessory in the JFK assassination–that Trump only interviewed Mitt Romney…

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How American Presidents Are Selected: Beyond Russian Interference

Most delegates in the U.S. Constitutional Convention in 1787 recognized the value of constitutional safeguards against excess democracy, or mob rule. The U.S. House of Representatives was to be the only democratically elected federal institution—the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Supreme Court, and even the U.S. Presidency were to be filled by the state legislatures, the U.S. President and U.S. Senate, and electors elected by citizens, respectively. The people were to be represented in the U.S. House and the State governments in the U.S. Senate. The Constitutional Amendment in the early twentieth century that made U.S. senators selected by the people rather than the governments of the States materially unbalanced the original design. In terms of the selection of the U.S. president by electors, the political parties captured them such that whichever party’s candidate wins a State, the electors there are those of the winning party. Even if the electors could vote contrary to the popular vote in a State, such voting could only be a rare exception given the party-control. Hence the electors have not been able to function as intended—as a check against excess democracy. The case of Russian interference in the presidential election of 2016 presents an additional use for the Electoral College, were it to function as designed and intended. Of course, this is a huge assumption to make, even just in taking into account the American mentality regarding self-governance.

The full essay is at “How American Presidents Are Selected.”

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WikiLeaks: Hillary’s conflicted comments on fracking

One of the recent WikiLeaks email dumps revealed some interesting things about hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. (This enhanced drilling technology is a big part of America’s new era of energy abundance.) First, they add to the growing question…

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Russian Electoral Fraud: A Threat to Constitutional Governance

In spite of Ella Pamfilova’s appointment in March, 2016 to “clean house and oversee transparent, democratic elections,” . . . “a statistical analysis of the official preliminary results of the country’s September 18 [2016] State Duma elections points to a familiar story: massive fraud in favor of the ruling United Russia party.”[1] “The results of the current Duma elections were falsified on the same level as the Duma and presidential elections of 2011, 2008, and 2007, the most falsified elections in post-Soviet history, as far as we can tell,” physicist and data analyst Sergei Shpilkin said to The Atlantic.”  In 2008, Shpilkin estimated that United Russia actually won 277 seats in the Duma instead of the constitutional majority of 315 that it was awarded.[2] This means that Putin’s party could unilaterally amend the Russian constitution. From a constitutional standpoint, either the hurdles in the amendment process are too low or the election fraud has been so massive the entire form of government is impaired.


The full essay is at “Russian Electoral Fraud.”


1. Valentin Baryshnikov and Robert Coalson, “12 Million Extra Votes for Putin’s Party,” The Atlantic, September 21, 2016.

2. Robert Coalson, “Russia: How the Kremlin Manages to Get the Right Results,” Radio Free Europe, March 7, 2008.

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Donald J Trump Foundation: Another reason Trump should release tax returns

Trump’s tax returns are in the news again this week, including recent revelations about questionable activity by the Donald J. Trump Foundation. First, we received notice from Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, that he and The Donald will be releasing…

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Seriously, Do the Russians Really Prefer Donald Trump as Our Next President?

Everyone remembers Obama’s accidental open-mic comment to Russian President Medvedev in March, 2012, that permanently established his place as Vladimir Putin’s Number One patsy. Hold …

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Putin Gets Slapped Badly – By Iran!!

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Russia’s Vladimir Putin just suffered a major setback in the Middle East…delivered by no less than Iran’s Supreme leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei.

A few days ago, there was a news story out that sent a shock through the foreign policy establishment here in the U.S. and elsewhere, that Russia would now base a squadron of its Tupolev 22M3 heavy bombers and support aircraft in Iran’s Nojef airbase. This was, of course, a huge game changer and Russia’s Foreign ministry proudly trumpeted the news in world media as a major sign of Russian dominance in the region.

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Except it wasn’t. The whole thing blew up in the Russian’s faces, and in a particularly humiliating way.

The deal was arranged by Iran’s President Rouhani, who made the mistake of forgetting his place. He summoned the national supreme military council and, without consulting with Khamenei, simply informed them of his decision to make the Nojeh air base available to the Russian air force.

Aside from being angered that Rouhani made this decision without getting an OK from him, Khamenei was reportedly upset that the Russians showed every intent of making the base their permanent turf complete with sophisticate S-300 and S-400 defense systems to protect it. The last thing Khamenei and the ayatollahs want is a base deep in Iran controlled by a foreign country.

Khamenei orchestrated major disapproval from the Majlis, Iran’s version of a parliament that actually does the bidding of the Ayatollah Khamenei and his Council of Guardians. It was more than enough to kill the deal and force the Russians out bag and baggage after just three sorties into Syria.

So the Iranian defense ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi announced in a press conference August 22nd that the Russian mission is over for now, that it was always only a temporary use base on a Russian request.

And if that wasn’t enough of a slap, Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan insulted the Russians openly for “showing off” over the air base in an “ungentlemanly manner” and a “betrayal of trust.”

“We have not given any military base to the Russians and they are not here to stay.”

But wait, there’s more.

The Russians make a fair amount of badly needed cash selling weaponry to other countries,including Iran. The Ayatollah Khamenei wasn’t finished with them yet. He forced President Rouhani to make amends and show who really runs Iran by forcing Rouhani to be photographed posing with an Iranian-made Bavar-373 missile defense system and to tell the press that with this new, home manufactured system, Iran won’t need to purchase any more expensive Russian S-300s, “because the Bavar-373 is just as good.”

The Ayatollah was not just telling the Russians that Iran wouldn’t be buying any more of what they had to sell, but that Iran was going to be further hitting them in the wallet by putting out a competing, less expensive alternative to potential customers.

While I felt I understood why he was doing it, I’ve written before that Vladimir Putin was making a huge mistake making common cause with Iran. It’s the same mistake Stalin made with Hitler,supplying him with oil and other raw materials literally until the day Hitler’s armies attacked him.

What Khamenei was reminding Putin that ‘You’re a useful infidel at present, but you’re still an infidel.’

It’s as simple as that.

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Kellyanne Conway was for releasing Trump’s tax returns before she was against it

Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump’s newest campaign manager–how many is that now?–told CNN in an interview that “Donald Trump’s tax returns aren’t [transparent], I would like to see them transparent.” Wait a minute [papers rustling]. I’m sorry, that was from an…

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Paul Manifort: Trump’s Putin-gate saga continues

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about Putin-gate, the growing scandal involving Donald Trump, Paul Manafort, and Russian President, Vladimir Putin. The catalyst for the article was a comment made by Trump at the time about how the…

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Are Donald Trump’s tax returns proof of his Russian entanglements?

Earlier this week, I wrote an article that asked the rhetorical question about how the letter T and P in the original Donald Trump presidential logo might actually stand for Trump-Putin instead of Trump-Pence. In that article, I documented the…

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Perpetual war for perpetual peace

What are the sources of the interminable wars throughout the world today? Why are militant Muslims terrorizing Europe and America? What has caused the turmoil in Ukraine? Is Vladimir Putin desirous of reigniting the Cold War? Does he represent a…

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Are There Any Men in Europe?

Jess’ choice yesterday to lead with Yeats’ Second Coming was in my view directly on point. I also agree with everything she said in the post. It does seem darker than the thirty’s do in retrospect, at least. For all the aberrations at Oxford then (“We resolve not to fight for King and Country”) and […]

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The tectonic plates shift?

I grew up, as most of us did, in a world where the Cold War was a constant. In between the bouts of anxiety at times like Cuba or the deployment of Cruise Missiles, it was almost restful, if that’s not too odd a way of putting it. You knew where you were, who the […]

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