Turkey: Thursday is, of course, Thanksgiving. A holiday which celebrates our inconceivable good fortune and tremendous bounty. Most of us celebrate our good fortune – by joining with family and friends to consume massive amounts of bounty.
We are currently marking the hundredth anniversary of the fighting of the First World War. For four years between the summer of 1914 and November 11, 1918, the major world powers were in mortal combat with each other. The conflict radically changed the world. It overthrew the pre-1914 era of relatively limited government and free market economics, and ushered in a new epoch of big government, planned economies, and massive inflations, the full effects from which the world has still not recovered.
According to the new United Nations World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision, the population of the world is projected to rise from 7.3 billion in 2015 to 11.2 billion in 2100. This represents a 53 percent increase. However, over the period, population growth will moderate substantially. This is indicated by the annual growth rate the first year (2015 to 2016), at 1.1 percent, compared to the last year (2099 to 2100) at 0.1 percent. Annual population growth is projected to decline 90 percent from the beginning of the period to the end (Figure 1).
In this episode of the Budget & Tax News podcast, Jesse Hathaway, managing editor of Budget & Tax News speaks with James Roberts. Roberts is an economic research fellow at the Heritage Foundation. Roberts joins Hathaway to talk about Greece’s economic collapse, the “Grexit,” and how problems in the European Union may effect Americans.
Many Social Democrats believed that democracy was both compatible with and an essential complement to a humane socialism, a socialism that did not reduce humanity to obedient cogs in a giant collectivist wheel directed by a “dictatorship of the proletariat.” They wanted socialism with traditional civil liberties, personal freedom and democratic politics.
Gazprom, the Russian state-owned energy giant, has traditionally used its position as the second-largest exporter of natural gas to the European Union (EU) (Norway is the largest) as a means of flexing its political muscle, especially under the leadership of Russian President Vladimir Putin. But it appears Russia’s days as the energy bully may be coming to an end, as years of using energy as a blunt political instrument to advance the Kremlin’s agenda and disruptive new technologies for oil and natural gas extraction threaten Gazprom’s bottom line much like Uber and other innovative ride sharing companies have usurped market share from traditional cab companies.
On climate, EPA relies on computer models and discredited IPCC reports to predict global catastrophes that it insists can be prevented if the United States slashes its fossil fuel use, carbon dioxide emissions and living standards, even if China, India and other developing countries do nothing. Meanwhile, real-world temperatures, hurricanes, tornadoes, polar ice and sea levels continue to defy the fear-mongering. So now the rhetoric has shifted yet again, to alleged national security and asthma threats from climate change.
As hydraulic fracturing and Canadian oil sands development sent North American petroleum production soaring, new pipelines were approved and constructed, including the Keystone system’s first three phases. They augmented 2.5 million miles of liquid petroleum, gas transmission and gas distribution pipelines that already crisscross the U.S.
President Obama had it all wrong in his commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. He warned that climate change “deniers” endanger our national security – denying “undermines the readiness of our forces,” he said.
It was reported by Johathan Allen of Vox, that according to an International Business Times investigation “at least 181 companies, individuals, and foreign governments have given to the Clinton Foundation also lobbied the State Departmentwhen Hillary Clinton ran the place”, and “Bill Clinton accepted more than $2.5 million in speaking fees from 13 major corporation and trade associations that lobbied the U.S. State Department while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.
The anger, outrage and frustration in Alaska are palpable after the president stripped the state of vast stores of its oil and gas wealth. His reckless offshore oil and gas restrictions reduced Alaska’s Arctic Ocean presence to one exploration site each in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas and left us with the lowest number of prospects in the history of the Outer Continental Shelf leasing program.
While the U.S. military continues, for more than a decade now, to fight a war on terrorism on multiple fronts, soldiers are being thrown into danger in Africa in the humanitarian battle against Ebola and a resurgent Russia is testing the United States and Europe with air and sea forays along our national borders. Meanwhile, Obama administration Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his entourage recently joined the defense ministers of 34 other nations in a posh Peruvian resort to discuss the real threat to America and the world: global warming.
The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has laid bare the woeful state of European defense. For decades Europe has been reliant on an American security blanket, one that has put Europe’s various defense departments to sleep. Putin’s recent belligerence has given them a loud wake-up call. What they will do about the aggression on their frontier remains to be seen.
Last week a federal judge ordered Microsoft to hand over its data stores to the government, including data housed overseas. The ruling marks an ominous new chapter in Internet privacy, one that could have lasting impacts on both individuals’ privacy online and the nature of international law.
Since the Reagan administration, the United States has, under various guises, sought to develop technology that would render enemy intercontinental ballistic missiles non-threatening to its people and interests. The national missile defense program has been aimed at bringing about the end of foreign missile threats from rogue states and geopolitical foes alike. Missile defense systems have grown exponentially more effective and sophisticated, and have culminated in an interceptor system that will soon make missile attacks on areas shielded by such systems pointless.
There is a strain of thought in the American pro-liberty movement that argues for what is essentially a return to a policy of isolationism. That is the attitude typified by former Representative Ron Paul and his adherents, who have spent years calling for the withdrawal of the United States from many of its foreign treaty and institutional obligations, including the United Nations. There is a certain attractiveness to this position, especially in light of the recent exhausting and expensive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The claim that the War on Terror and other interventions in various countries’ affairs have created more enemies than they vanquished holds no small amount of truth.
The United States is a political anomaly. Throughout time there has never been a nation so politically, culturally, and militarily dominant. Rome, even at its height, had rivals. So too did the British Empire, which at its apex made pretense to the rule of the waves, in spite of near constant challenges to its power from forces seeking to upset or supplant it. The international stability and peace created by these great empires, the Pax Romana and Pax Britannica, the Roman Peace and the British Peace, served in their times to guarantee security and relative prosperity within their spheres of influence. Yet they could never do so unchallenged.
On March 14, the Obama administration announced it was initiating a process to transfer oversight of the Internet from the United States to some yet-to-be-defined global entity.
Assistant Secretary of Commerce Lawrence Strickling said, “The timing is right to start the transition process.”
You don’t need to be a credentialed foreign-policy expert, however, to harbor reservations concerning the plan to turn over management of key Internet functions to what the Commerce Department called the “global multi-stakeholder community.”
Russian president Vladimir Putin’s power grab and annexation of the Crimea has filled global news headlines as he attempts to reverse what he has called the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century” – the collapse of the Soviet Union. But it needs to be remembered that this conflict has its deeper roots in two ideas that have plagued the world for over two centuries: nationalism and government interventionism into economic affairs.