29 January 2011

Untouchable Military Spending

The passage of time has transformed World War II from a massive tragedy into a morality tale, one that casts opponents of intervention as blackguards. Whether explicitly or implicitly, the debate over how the United States should respond to some ostensible threat -- Iraq in 2003, Iran today -- replays the debate finally ended by the events of December 7, 1941. To express skepticism about the necessity and prudence of using military power is to invite the charge of being an appeaser or an isolationist. Few politicians or individuals aspiring to power will risk the consequences of being tagged with that label.

In this sense, American politics remains stuck in the 1930s -- always discovering a new Hitler, always privileging Churchillian rhetoric -- even though the circumstances in which we live today bear scant resemblance to that earlier time. There was only one Hitler and he’s long dead. As for Churchill, his achievements and legacy are far more mixed than his battalions of defenders are willing to acknowledge. And if any one figure deserves particular credit for demolishing Hitler’s Reich and winning World War II, it’s Josef Stalin, a dictator as vile and murderous as Hitler himself.

Until Americans accept these facts, until they come to a more nuanced view of World War II that takes fully into account the political and moral implications of the U.S. alliance with the Soviet Union and the U.S. campaign of obliteration bombing directed against Germany and Japan, the mythic version of “the Good War” will continue to provide glib justifications for continuing to dodge that perennial question: How much is enough?
Andrew Bacevich on why Military Spending is unstoppable.

20 January 2011

Bipartisan Cooperation

The real problem in Washington and the economy is deeper…it won’t be fixed by bipartisan cooperation – because both parties are wrong. They have to be wrong. They have to respond to the marginal voter, who is a lunkhead.
Bill Bonner on Misconceptions About the Consumer's Role in a US Recovery.

10 January 2011

Truth and Jackasses

You always have to separate the cheap and tawdry from what is really worthwhile. You can't recognize something that is beautiful unless you can also recognize something that is ugly. And you can't really appreciate the truth unless you can compare it to a lie.

"Trouble is, it's not all equally balanced out. For every truth, there are hundreds of lies. For every noble, honorable, sincere and intelligent man there are hundreds of jackasses.
Bill Bonner

05 January 2011


Any account of anything is bound to be selective. The human intellect does not have the capacity for comprehending the sum of things in a single panoramic view. Selection is unavoidable, but it also inevitably arbitrary; and, the greater the mass of information from which a selection has to be made, the more disputable will be the investigator’s choice.
Arnold Toynbee in A Study of History.