In June of 2014, a group of American researchers published an article in the American Journal of Public Health, pointing out that, “Since the end of World War II, there have been 248 armed conflicts in 153 locations around the world. The United States launched 201 overseas military operations between the end of World War II and 2001, and since then, others, including Afghanistan and Iraq.” To be sure, each of these wars was duly explained and justified to the American public and for all those Americans who believe that their government would never deceive them, each war was defensible and fought for a good reason. Nonetheless, the fact that one country has initiated more than 80% of all wars in the last seventy years does require an explanation. Continue reading
Today, (Friday the 13th of all days), President Trump announced that he is withholding certification of the Iran nuclear deal and announced that he would label Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. Again, the U.S. gets confrontational with a rival power in an escalation that could provoke yet another devastating war in the Middle East. As always, this is all perfectly justified: Iran, you see, is a rogue regime, a threat, its military is a terror organization, the country has a general deficit of freedom and democracy, etc…
And let’s not imagine that this is all down to Donald Trump. On July 3, 2015, presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton addressed a an audience at a Dartmouth College campaign event. On the occasion she said, “I want the Iranians to know that if I’m president, we will attack Iran … we would be able to totally obliterate them.” The U.S. establishment has long had Iran in its crosshairs, waiting for a pretext and the opportunity. Continue reading
Update: the book may still be available on Amazon but through other vendors. Kindle version remains unavailable.
It is ironic that just today I posted an article about the paramount importance of free speech, which numerous government bureaucracies and large corporations in the West seek to suppress in their purported endeavor to police “hate speech.” And just today one of the great media behemoths, Amazon.com suppressed my book (as I expected they might). I assure you there’s not even a trace of hate or hate speech in my book. Continue reading
“There is no god higher than truth.” – Mohandas Gandhi
Update: just hours after I posted this article, Amazon.com sadly de-listed my book, “The Killing of William Browder.” (I assure you, there was no trace of hate speech in my book)
Across the Western world, government bureaucracies and large media corporations like Amazon, Google, Twitter and Facebook have been increasingly proactive in suppressing “hate speech,” always with bestest of intentions. However, these efforts are unnecessary and will likely prove counterproductive.
Warning about the danger of “disastrous rise of misplaced power” in our societies, Dwight Eisenhower said in his January 1961 farewell address that, “Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry” can curb the power of the state, “so that security and liberty may prosper together.” Freedom of expression is the essential means of keeping the citizenry alert and knowledgeable. As such it should not be suppressed under any pretext, but encouraged and cultivated. Continue reading
In the Western world, the idea of “working hard” is usually treated as a virtue in its own right. Any time I thought to question this “virtue” I’d invariably find myself on the defensive, as though my questioning of hard work was an affirmation of its opposite, laziness.
Whatever worthy objectives you want to achieve in life, the chances are, you have to work hard to attain them. Many objectives justify such hard work, like wanting to set the world record in some athletic discipline or to become a virtuoso musician or dancer. The same could be said about wanting to write a book, circumnavigate the globe, or any number of such feats. But people inclined to such endeavors do not need to be taught the value of hard work, so its cultural affirmation as a virtue would be superfluous and silly. Continue reading
U.S. Civil War has become a popular topic of late, but as it turns out, what nearly everyone thinks they know about hat event is wrong, in part – and this part is very significant. My high school and university history classes left me with the impression that the war was fought over the issue of slavery: the “North” (good guys) was against slavery and wanted it abolished; the “South” (bad guys) wanted to keep the slaves, so they all went to war. Good guys won, bad guys lost, slaves got their freedom, and the world was made a better place. That, in a nutshell, is what I thought I knew about the Civil War. I’m not sure why I had that idea so, to make sure I wasn’t mistaken I conducted an informal survey among my American friends and acquaintances, all university educated people, some of them with advanced degrees. I asked about a dozen of them what they thought U.S. Civil War was about. To a person, all of them unhesitatingly answered that it was about the abolition of slavery. Furthermore, none of them were aware that Russia played any role at all in the Civil War. It struck me that maybe my friends and I all had the same basic idea about that event because we were meant to have that idea, which is now pretty much part of the popular culture. However, the popular interpretation omits some critical aspects of history. Continue reading
Investors exert a great deal of intellectual effort to determine the correct valuation of securities. Economic value is central to our decision making and it plays a major role in our intuitive psyche. In daily life, when we buy a loaf of bread or a tank of gasoline, we tend to have a good idea about what we think is cheap and what’s expensive. We like bargains, don’t enjoy being ripped off, and just as we are inclined to shop for value as consumers, we find value investing intuitively appealing. But here’s the critical difference between buying goods and investing: shopping for investments is speculative while buying stuff isn’t, and speculation activates the part of our mental circuitry that can heat up to a boiling point and overwhelm any rational consideration of value. Continue reading