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The Great Game of Politics is Not What You Think



It's tempting to think of geopolitics as a chess game - a game of strategy and goal achievement invented by the Iranians and perfected by the Russians, says Tom Loungo at the Ron Paul Institute's Houston Conference. However, this model is not adequate as it distills geopolitics down to just a two player game. The best game to understand geopolitics is the ancient Chinese game called "go."
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White House Approves 16th Weapons Transfer to Ukraine, Total Security Aid Now Over $8 Billion

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The White House announced a $270 million weapons package Kiev on Friday. The latest transfer will send four additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS and drones to Ukraine.

The additional four HIMARS brings the total number the US has committed to sending to Ukraine to 16. Commander of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley said the other 12 HIMARS have reached Ukraine and have not been destroyed by Russia. The US has provided Ukraine with rockets that can be fired 50 miles by the rocket systems.

John Kirby, communications director for the National Security Council, announced the package on Friday. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told reporters on Wednesday the US would be sending the additional HIMARS.

The package also includes 36,000 rounds of artillery ammunition for howitzers and 560 Phoenix Ghost tactical drones. The latest transfer is the 17th approved by the White House since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. The Biden administration has now committed over $8 billion in weapons to Kiev’s fight.

Russia has been critical of arms assistance to Ukraine from the US and its allies. The HIMARS have drawn particular ire from the Kremlin because of the platform’s long range. Ukrainian officials have recently suggested the HIMARS could be used in an offensive to retake the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014.
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The Truth About Madison and Slavery

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Below is my column in the Washington Times responding to the controversy over changes at the home of James Madison. While I have not been to Montpelier since the reported changes, I wanted to respond to the condemnation of Madison as “an enslaver.” He was indeed an enslaver but the truth is far more complex than presented by critics.

Here is the column:

If there is one concept that captured the brilliant vision of President James Madison for government, it was his statement in Federalist 51: “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.” The use of checks and balances to prevent the concentration of power was key to the stability of the constitutional system that he created. Indeed, his own home at Montpelier may now be an example of what happens when there is such a concentration of power and no check on its excess.

Recently, billionaire David M. Rubenstein gave $10 million to renovate and repair Montpelier. Mr. Rubenstein has given generously through the years to preserve historical documents and buildings. However, he has been accused of unleashing a newly formed, activist board on the property, which has transformed into what critics view as an ideological mission. It is a trend that we have seen at other historical sites, including the National Archives.
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Money Pit: Zelensky govt signals intent to default on tens of billions in foreign debts

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Western governments have allocated well over $100 billion to prop up Ukraine in its war against Russia, with countless billions more flooding into the country at an increasing pace. Yet as each day passes, it’s becoming more and more clear that all of the money awarded and assigned to Ukraine continues to dissolve into a black hole of secrecy, corruption, deceit, and now, default.

On Wednesday, Ukraine finance ministry asked foreign creditors to accept a delay in its debt repayments, requesting a two year freeze on billions of dollars in Eurobonds. Per the Financial Times, “a rescheduling would amount to a Ukrainian default” on Kiev’s tens of billions in foreign debt.

The news comes just one day after the EU ambassador to Kiev insisted that Ukraine would not default on its foreign debt.

The junk-rated sovereign has a balance of about $25 billion of foreign debt, Bloomberg reports.

Despite all of the money coming in from around the world, Ukraine’s budget deficit has spiraled out of control. Zelensky’s office now claims to have a $9 billion monthly budget deficit, up 80% from just last month.
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Digital Authoritarianism: AI Surveillance Signals the Death of Privacy

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Nothing is private.

We teeter on the cusp of a cultural, technological and societal revolution the likes of which have never been seen before.

While the political Left and Right continue to make abortion the face of the debate over the right to privacy in America, the government and its corporate partners, aided by rapidly advancing technology, are reshaping the world into one in which there is no privacy at all.

Nothing that was once private is protected.

We have not even begun to register the fallout from the tsunami bearing down upon us in the form of AI (artificial intelligence) surveillance, and yet it is already re-orienting our world into one in which freedom is almost unrecognizable.

AI surveillance harnesses the power of artificial intelligence and widespread surveillance technology to do what the police state lacks the manpower and resources to do efficiently or effectively: be everywhere, watch everyone and everything, monitor, identify, catalogue, cross-check, cross-reference, and collude.

Everything that was once private is now up for grabs to the right buyer.
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The Language Vandals

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Language is a critical tool for communication among humans; we cry "watch out" when a speeding car hurtles toward a pedestrian. We also think of language as a cognitive tool for society at large, since all human learning is closely tied to how we learn and process language.

et sometimes we forget language is also an important social and cultural institution. And like all institutions, it is subject to corruption, in the form of capture by elites with agendas quite contrary to those of average people. Since language shapes our understanding of all human interactions, academics from all disciplines—but particularly social scientists—ought to pay more attention to linguistic corruption. When language becomes politicized, managed, and policed, we ought to notice, and we ought to fight back.

I make this very point in an upcoming article titled "Evolution or Corruption: The Imposition of Political Language in the West Today," which will be published this fall in the Italian journal Etica e politica (put out by the University of Trieste Department of Philosophy).
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McConnell’s ‘Wartime’ COVID Investments Come Home to Roost

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“Bidenflation” existed before he staggered into office on January 20, 2021. It was catalyzed when nearly every Republican supported the worst piece of legislation in American history on March 25, 2020, which set off a cascade of several other pieces of legislation underwriting, incentivizing, and consummating COVID lockdowns. The chief cheerleader of the bill at the time was none other than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the man whom Republicans are pining to see become floor leader once again next year to solve the inflation crisis.
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Worshipping Dead Horses

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Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus, known to history as Caligula, ruled as the Emperor of Rome from A.D. 37 to 41. For those who are unaware, Caligula, the great grandson of Rome’s first emperor, the brilliant Augustus Caesar, squandered the enormous wealth of the Roman State, declared himself to be a god, appointed his favorite racehorse to serve in the Roman Senate, and according to some sources, considered deifying the animal. 

After a little less than four years in office, Caligula was removed. Rome’s citizens, as well as its legions, were spared the indignity of having to worship a dead horse. Americans and Europeans are not so lucky.

Determined to fight his proxy war with Russia to the finishBiden is losing the fight in Ukraine and his favorite, deified horse, NATO, is on life support. The only things sinking faster than Biden’s approval ratings are the American and European economies.
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Joe Biden’s Secret War in Ukraine

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The White House keeps insisting that it will not directly involve American soldiers in the war in Ukraine, but it keeps taking steps that will inevitably lead to a large-scale open combat role for the US against Russia. Among the most recent moves to increase the pressure on the Kremlin, Biden revealed at a NATO summit meeting in Madrid on June 29th that the US will establish a permanent headquarters in Poland for the Fifth Army Corps, maintain an additional rotational brigade of thousands of troops in Romania and bolster other deployments in the Baltic states. Also, the number of US troops in Europe, currently approaching 100,000, will be increased. Biden also was pleased to learn that Turkey had been enticed to drop its objection to Finland and Sweden joining NATO.

On the way to the NATO summit aboard Air Force One, Biden’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan advised that “By the end of the summit what you will see is a more robust, more effective, more combat credible, more capable and more determined force posture to take account of a more acute and aggravated Russian threat.” Presumably Sullivan was reading from a prepared script, but the objective surely seemed to be to heighten tension with Moscow rather than attempt to reduce it and come to some kind of diplomatic settlement.
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Dr. Birx Praises Herself While Revealing Ignorance, Treachery, and Deceit

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The December 2020 resignation of Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator under Trump, revealed predictable hypocrisy. Like so many other government officials around the world, she was caught violating her own stay-at-home order. Therefore she finally left her post following nine months of causing unfathomable amounts of damage to life, liberty, property, and the very idea of hope for the future. 

Even if Anthony Fauci had been the front man for the media, it was Birx who was the main influence in the White House behind the nationwide lockdowns that did not stop or control the pathogen but have caused immense suffering and continue to roil and wreck the world. So it was significant that she would not and could not comply with her own dictates, even as her fellow citizens were being hunted down for the same infractions against “public health.” 

In the days before Thanksgiving 2020, she had warned Americans to “assume you’re infected” and to restrict gatherings to “your immediate household.” Then she packed her bags and headed to Fenwick Island in Delaware where she met with four generations for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, as if she were free to make normal choices and live a normal life while everyone else had to shelter in place.
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