Tag Archives: trump

A Free Thinker’s Guide to Voteball 2020

2020 electionIt’s fitting the disastrous but highly entertaining Iowa Caucuses were scheduled one day after the Super Bowl. With the football season over and hockey and basketball far from their own playoff seasons, a large portion of the inhabitants of this continent need something to fill the gap. What could be better than the presidential primaries to take the place of quarterback sacks, slam dunks and breakaways for an entertainment-dependent public?

That was a rhetorical question.

Not all Americans are as fanatical about sports. There is a contingent so uninterested that they playfully chide those who are by referring to all organized athletics, whether amateur or professional, merely as “sportsball.” But that group isn’t nearly as large as the one completely uninterested in politics, regardless of how interested politics is in them.

Almost half the population doesn’t bother to vote in presidential elections. More than half skip Congressional, state and local elections. This august coalition needs its own dismissive, snooty-hip term for all things political. I humbly offer “Voteball.” As the great Nigel Tufnel would say, “It really puts perspective on things, though, doesn’t it.”

Interested or not, Voteball 2020 is upon us and it won’t go away until November 4, when with any luck an 11th season of the Walking Dead will be there to provide amusement a little more connected to reality. In the meantime, politicians, their surrogates, the media and even many of our neighbors will wage a full-frontal assault on our psyches.

Football, baseball and hockey players all wear helmets for safety. In Voteball, even the spectators need to protect themselves. In lieu of hard plastic headgear, I humbly offer the following safety tips:

First and foremost, remember Horton’s Law: Politicians can be counted on to keep all their bad promises, and abandon all their good ones. And don’t forget Mullen’s Corollary: Any minor good done by the current administration will be undone by the next. This will help prevent irrational exuberance over those occasional good promises made amidst all the bad ones.

Mark Twain once wrote, “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe when the legislature is in session.” Most of the candidates running for president or Congress are already legislators. In President Trump’s case, he signs the bills legislators write, making them laws. So, as bad as the campaigns might be, don’t forget that every minute they spend campaigning is a minute they aren’t doing something worse.

English is not the primary language during Voteball season. From now until November, you’ll have to learn to translate a foreign language I call “Dronespeak.” It is important to avoid inadvertently adopting this language yourself as it can permanently warp your thinking. Here are a few examples of Dronespeak expressions to avoid:

“The Trump economy.” The economy is an incredibly complex combination of billions of individual decisions, partially overridden by thousands of government interventions. How well or poorly it might be doing at any given moment has very little to do with anything the president has done, no matter how much credit he or she tries to take. This isn’t directed at Trump. There was no Obama economy, Bush economy, or Clinton economy either. America prospers despite presidents and governments, not because of them.

“The commander in chief.” Yes, the president is commander in chief of the military and it’s perfectly appropriate to use this term when speaking of a strictly military issue. But it’s becoming more and more common to simply refer to the president this way in any context, as if he were commander in chief of the citizens. What an awful concept.

“Run the country.” Voteball doesn’t determine who will “run the country.” This is closely related to the “commander in chief” meme. The president doesn’t run the country. He or she runs the government, which causes enough problems on its own. Let’s not encourage any ambitions beyond that.

“My president.” “The president” is best; “our president” is questionable. “My president” is terrifying. It sounds a lot like those who say they have a personal relationship with God. Theological debate on that concept is fine, but can we agree applying it to a politician is blasphemy in a supposedly free country?

“We.” If Voteball in general is a war on your soul, presumptive use of the first-person plural pronoun is the enemy machine gun fire. It will be flying at you nonstop from every direction and it only takes one hit to take you out. Anytime anyone begins a sentence with, “We need,” “We must,” “We believe,” or “We all agree,” the proper response is, “Who is we?” Or, you could just refer them to Wemus.

This is by no means exhaustive but hopefully this short guide will not only help keep you safe from the dangers identified above but will give you the tools to identify and mitigate many others.  Taking just a few precautions can make all the difference in enjoying a safe and entertaining Voteball season.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Like those 1950s monster movies, the DC empire trots out the same tired old script to justify war with Iran

soleimani funeral

For those of you too young to remember, the Iraq War – now considered at the very least a mistake by just about everyone – was justified at the time with propaganda including the following:

1. A preposterous claim Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11

2. Claims Saddam had “weapons of mass destruction” and was planning “imminent attacks” on the US that could occur “within 45 minutes” (BTW, the definition of “imminent” has been greatly expanded since then)

3. Claims the Iraqi people would thank us for the invasion, later supported by laughable tight shots of a few dozen people (in a city of about 8 million) supposedly celebrating the arrival of US troops in Baghdad.

Like all those 1950s movies about nuclear missile testing creating giant monsters to destroy American cities (a giant octopus, giant ants, a giant lizard, etc), the DC empire simply dusts off the same, tired old script, changing only the names and places. And Americans flock to the ticket booth; then chant USA! USA! all the way to their seats.

This time around, we have Pence claiming Soleimani was involved in 9/11, Pompeo saying the Iraqi and Iranian governments will be upset but the people will thank us (take a look at some pictures of Soleimani’s funeral), and the persistent, decades-old claim Iran is just months away from developing a nuclear weapon.

The United States has not had a war on its soil since 1865. While that is a good thing in and of itself, it seems to have produced generations of Americans who require virtually no justification to support yet another war on somebody else’s soil.

Donald Trump was supposedly elected to end “endless wars.” His destruction of Jeb Bush in a South Carolina debate and subsequent win in its primary was one of the most extraordinary moments of his candidacy. So, why aren’t his supporters holding his feet to the fire as he morphs into George W. Bush? Could it be he was elected in spite of, rather than because of, his sincere-at-the-time promise of a less interventionist foreign policy? Perhaps Trump’s voters elected him purely based on his mercantilist economic and hardline immigration rhetoric, with foreign policy being a non-issue for most. It’s hard to find evidence to the contrary.

And why the seeming abandonment of that “America First” foreign policy (which was itself riddled with wiggle room) by The Donald himself? Is it possible that the Lindsey Grahams of the Republican Party, while no longer in the majority (or are they?), nevertheless represent enough votes in the Senate to join with Democrats in removing him from office and are using that leverage to bend Trump to their will?

That certainly seems more plausible than the monster movie script.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Trump Winning the Trade War Would Make China Stronger, Not Weaker

trump chinaWe don’t win anymore,” said candidate Donald Trump numerous times during his 2016 presidential campaign, referring to America’s trade relationship with other countries. Trump and tens of millions of his supporters hold the protectionist view that trade, like all human relationships, is a war that must be “won.” Rather than exchanges that leave both parties better off, protectionists see trade as a zero-sum game in which one side benefits at the other’s expense.

Fair Trade Over Free Trade

The president has said on more than one occasion that he supports free trade, but he insists it must be fair, meaning that China or other partners reciprocate any relief from tariffs and other burdens placed on their exports. And it is true that China has not treated American exports to China the way America has treated Chinese exports to America.

China has been more protectionist and is likely engaging in some subsidization and/or other government assistance to its exporters, even if it and its effect on America’s trade deficit with China are greatly exaggerated. Americans would be better off with zero tariffs and completely free trade regarding its imports.

Regardless, Trump and his supporters draw completely the wrong conclusion. Persuading Xi Jinping to adopt free trade policies would make China’s economy stronger, not weaker.

Read the rest at Foundation for Economic Education…

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Cut Wasteful Spending on the Obsolete Conventional Military


A15332A0-C600-4068-9614-088791DE7B75What possible reason could there be to increase spending on the mostly obsolete conventional military?

The days of wars ending with one country marching into the capital of another are over, other than when DC invades some destitute, virtually defenseless Third World backwater.

No nuclear power is going to surrender without firing its nukes. No conventional navy is going to survive the first week of a war against a country with a modern missile system.

Generals in the Pentagon live in a dreamworld where they’re all Patton marching into Palermo. Let them fantasize on their own dime.

All of this military spending is a complete waste of taxpayer dollars. The 21st-century US military is just a wealth transfer program for a few rich elites and a jobs program for about a million people who would otherwise have to do something productive.

It keeps the latter in a childlike state where they don’t have to face the uncertainty of the real world, where you can be let go even if you’re doing a good job.

It also has the secondary effect of making single payer health care programs in other countries look more viable than they really are, as those countries can stay marginally solvent by not wasting a trillion dollars a year on military spending.

The federal government has to be cut drastically in size and scope, starting with the most economically-damaging spending, military spending, or we’re in for a shocking dose of reality in terms of lower standards of living.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

21 Months Later, Nothing in DC Has Changed Under Trump

Publication1Despite 21 straight months of screaming headlines from both anti-Trump and pro-Trump media, virtually nothing about Washington, DC and it’s empire has changed.

There are still US troops and their suppliers voraciously consuming taxes all over the world. Not a single regulatory agency has been eliminated or significantly cut. Entitlements continue their headlong sprint towards fiscal oblivion. And federal spending continues to outpace inflation, faster under Republicans, as usual.

And honestly, neither Republicans nor Democrats voted against any of that.

Trump was able to win the 2016 election not because he was going to radically change Washington, DC, but because he was going to superficially change its marketing from “progressive” to “conservative.” To be fair, he never promised to cut anything. On the contrary, he promised not to touch Social Security or Medicare and to increase spending on the military. He’s kept both promises.

He did promise to eliminate two regulations for every new one, but that is a very vague promise. Suppose there was one regulation that said all construction workers had to wear hard hats and another regulation that said they all had to wear safety googles. Repealing both regulations and replacing them with one that says, “All construction workers must wear hard hats and safety goggles” is perfectly consistent with Trump’s promise. Is that what his regulators are doing? It’s hard to tell. It appears the federal register is smaller, but is the economy fundamentally less regulated? What happened to getting rid of whole federal departments, as Republicans promised to do just six years ago?

The truth is the so-called Swamp continues because most Americans don’t really want to drain it, despite overwhelming evidence that everything it does creates large-scale human misery. Just ask any ten neighbors if they’d support cutting Social Security or Medicare, much less eliminating either, or cutting the military by even 30% (which would still leave it by far the largest in the world). Ask them if they’d support getting rid of the Departments of Education, Agriculture, or even the completely useless Department of Commerce.

When push comes to shove, they won’t even support getting rid of the TSA, which is Oh-fer in seventeen years on preventing actual terrorist attacks and still has a well over 90% fail rate in detecting dangerous items on its own tests. That’s not to mention the nightmarish surveillance state, five years after Edward Snowden exposed it. Americans are only upset about it when it spies on politicians – a completely backwards position in a supposedly free country.

The mid-term elections are approaching and the usual “this is the last chance to save the republic” rhetoric is already reaching a fever pitch. In reality, nothing about the republic has changed or will change until a critical mass of Americans truly want less government. Right now, that’s hard to imagine considering who wins elections.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Progressives Want to Revive FDR’s Undemocratic Court-Packing Idea

judgeandgavelReeling in horror over President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh (or whomever Trump may have picked) to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, there are now a slew of progressive liberals calling for implementation of one of the most undemocratic ideas in the history of the Democratic Party: FDR’s “court-packing” scheme. Roosevelt responded to the Court striking down some parts of the New Deal by proposing Congress pass a law to allow him to add a new justice to the Court for every current justice over seventy years of age.

The bill was ultimately struck down by the Democrat-controlled Senate in 1937, but only after both the Social Security Act and National Relations Labor Act were ruled constitutional by the Court earlier that year. Opponents of the New Deal specifically or expansion of federal power through SCOTUS in general view these decisions as somewhat coerced by the threat of Roosevelt’s court-packing proposal.

Whether that’s true or not really misses the point. Seeking to achieve political goals through Supreme Court rulings rather than the constitutional amendment process—when those goals involve the federal government undertaking new powers—amounts to acquiring power without the consent of the governed. It’s ironic that it is again supporters of the “Democratic” Party who are advocating avoiding a vote on their proposals.

Read the rest at Foundation for Economic Education…

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

_102649285_trumprouhanithinner

Leave the Persians alone, President Trump

_102649285_trumprouhanithinnerMr. President,

Just when you had us on our feet cheering your foreign policy courage in meeting with Kim Jong-Un and Vladimir Putin, with all of the Swamp against you, you send an all-caps tweet threatening war with Iran.

I realize this appears to be the same tactic you used with Kim of North Korea – very tough talk ahead of the summit, to put the United States in a position of strength. However, in neither the North Korea nor Russia exchanges were you doing the PNAC crowd’s bidding. They don’t want hot wars with North Korea or Russia; they want the Cold War with Russia back, so they can funnel tax revenues to their friends.

Not so with Iran. They’ve been trying to pick that fight since at least the Clinton years and they’ll do anything they can to paint you into a corner to force you to back up your bellicose statements. Please don’t hand them the paint can and brush, especially after you just stood toe to toe with them on Russia and told them to pound sand.

Here is a request from a net taxpayer: leave the Persians alone. Neither you nor American taxpayers will benefit from a war with Iran. AIPAC is going to deliver over 70% of the Jewish vote to the Democrats no matter what you do (check the Jewish vote totals in the 2004 and 2008 elections after Bush’s Middle East Wars). Taxpayers will sacrifice blood and treasure for…nothing.

Honestly, we don’t even benefit from sanctions on Iran. Reducing the supply of oil and other Iranian exports just makes the whole world poorer than it would be if Iran could trade freely – I don’ t need to explain supply and demand to a Wharton Business School graduate.

Neither do American taxpayers derive any benefit from Israeli hegemony in the Middle East. I know that’s political heresy, but I’m talking to the man who got elected for heretical speech. Ask yourself: Why should American taxpayers care which is the most powerful country in the Middle East? They shouldn’t. That they have any interest in the question is just a PNAC Jedi mind trick.

We should be the well-wishers to Israel’s freedom and independence, but the defender only of our own. Besides, Iran is never going to attack Israel. If you are truly concerned they might, then negotiate a mutual defense treaty with Israel and send it to the Senate for ratification. I’d rather we stop handing out war guarantees, but this is one that will never be used.

The truth is the anti-Iran drumbeat is just more of the Swamp’s failed foreign policy you campaigned against in 2016. Don’t let them trick you into thinking it’s any different. America First!

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Trump under siege by the PNAC crowd for seeking peace with Russia

pnacTwenty-one years ago, Bill Kristol, Paul Wolfowicz, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and a host of other “neoconservatives” collaborated on the “Project for the New American Century.” That produced, among other documents, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” in which Thomas Donnelly posited the US had an opportunity after the fall of the Soviet Union to do whatever it wanted militarily, before a new power rose to challenge it.

Dominating foreign policy and entrenched throughout the military and intelligence establishments ever since, these neocons have attempted to prolong that unchallenged status, including doing all they can to ensure Russia would not again become a superpower rival. To that end, the U.S. government has:

– Broken its promise to Gorbachev that NATO would not move “one inch eastward;” instead rolling the alliance right up to Russia’s borders

– Waged a proxy regime change war against Syria and covertly helped overthrow the elected president of Ukraine, threatening Russia’s only two warm water ports that remain ice-free year round.

– Meddled in Russia’s 2012 elections to attempt to prevent Putin’s re-election, in response to which Russian intelligence retaliated pathetically and ineffectively during the 2016 U.S. presidential election

– Generally done all it can to keep its boot on Russia’s neck and reignite the Cold War, which they’ve somewhat succeeded in doing. This continued throughout the Bush and Obama years – these people don’t care who is president or what you voted for.

They are also likely the primary source of all the propaganda about Trump’s visit to Russia, and the Mueller/Russiagate hoax in general. They will stop at nothing to prevent a normalization of relations with Russia, including fomenting what amounts to mass hysteria among a well-meaning but incredibly naive populace, ready to hate another boogeyman, just like Saddam Hussein (their work as well). Remember “freedom fries?”

Anyone who has read any of my writing knows I am often critical of Trump’s policies, but when you join in on this “treason” nonsense, just be aware of whose side you’re taking. I implore you to look up the document I mentioned for yourselves and check my story.

No, this is not “blaming America” for anything Russia or any other foreign actor does. “America” and the entrenched, unelected bureaucracy in Washington, D.C. are not remotely the same thing, something the American people instinctively grasped during the last election, regardless of whether you believe their candidate was the best solution. And as for anyone who reflexively yells “treason” or even “unpatriotic,” I’d remind them that blind allegiance to one’s government is about as un-American as it gets.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Why the Bull Market May Be a Jedi Mind Trick

Publication1The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that over 300,000 jobs were created in February, making it the best single-month total since July 2016. And unless you’ve been exploring the Arctic Circle or were kicked off Twitter for expressing politically incorrect views, you know that’s just the latest “great” news about the booming economy, bull market in stocks, and, best of all, the significant new job creation since Donald Trump became president.

Certainly, there is no denying that the stock market has continued to rise, with the S&P 500 up over 27 percent since 11/7/2016, as of this writing. But as for the overall economy and, specifically, job creation, even the Trump-hating liberal media seems to have fallen for an economic Jedi mind trick. Regardless of single-month spikes like the one that occurred last month, it only takes one click of the mouse to see that job creation continued to fallin 2017, as it had the previous two years. Looking at yearly totals over the past ten years, job creation looks a lot more like a protracted version of the last business cycle leading up to the 2008 crash.

Read the rest at Foundation for Economic Education…

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Economics Was Invented to Refute Trump’s Tariff Arguments

twoboatsWhen Adam Smith wrote Wealth of Nations, it wasn’t to refute the “godless socialists” 21st-century Republican voters believe are taking over the world. It was to refute the kinds of protectionist ideas championed by conservatives like Edmund Burke and Alexander Hamilton in Smith’s day, Abraham Lincoln eighty years later, and Trump today.

Bastiat remade Smith’s case in 1848. Henry Hazlitt did so again in 1946. Still, these economic fallacies persist because they offer the victims of other bad economic policies villains they can blame for largely self-inflicted wounds.

The Broken Window Fallacy

Every time a Trump supporter sees “Made in China” on a pair of sneakers, he throws up his hands and says, “Do you see that? They’re stealing our manufacturing jobs.” He then repeats a version of Bastiat’s broken windowfallacy. It goes something like this:

China puts tariffs on our products so our exports can’t compete in its markets. But we don’t put tariffs on China’s exports, making their sneakers cheaper than we can make them here. American sneaker manufacturing jobs go to China, but no Chinese manufacturing jobs come to the United States.

Not only do millions of Americans lose their jobs, say the protectionists, but all of the money they would have spent domestically is instead spent in China. This causes other American businesses to fail, cut production, or not expand as much as they otherwise would. The unemployed American factory worker doesn’t eat out at the local restaurant. The restaurant needs fewer wait staff and cooks, who in turn don’t have money to spend on new clothing, etc.

As Bastiat would say, this is “what is seen.” But their argument ignores what is unseen.

What is unseen is the money American consumers no longer have when the tariffs are put in place. For example, the tariff may result in them paying $200 for the same pair of sneakers they previously paid $100 for. That means they no longer have $100 they previously had after buying the sneakers, which they could spend on other products. Whatever jobs they were supporting with that $100 are now lost.

Read the rest at Foundation for Economic Education…