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The Islamic State is clearly Islamic. It bases its claims to religious authority on Muslim doctrines drawn from the Quran and from particular hadiths (Islamic prophetic traditions). Disputes concerning the validity of its interpretations are sectarian, of a piece with arguments between Christian denominations over the appropriate method of baptism and so forth.
The Islamic State is also clearly a state. From among many definitions of the word, Hans-Hermann Hoppe's should suffice here: "[A] compulsory territorial monopolist of protection and jurisdiction equipped with the power to tax without unanimous consent." The Islamic State stakes that monopolistic claim over large portions of Iraq and Syria. The people living there are taxed to support it and forced, violently as necessary, to accept its laws and its authority.
Why doesn't Obama want to admit that the Islamic State is a state?
"The Islamic State: Obama Doth Protest Too Much," February 13
"Hardline House GOP conservatives aren't worried about a looming Department of Homeland Security shutdown," reports Cristina Marcos at The Hill. They'd rather let DHS's funding lapse than give up a provision in its new appropriation reversing president Barack Obama's recent executive orders on immigration.
Is it just me, or does this sound more like the promise of ice cream and fireworks than the threat of a spanking? I usually can't think of anything good to say about Congress, let alone its big-spending, war-mongering, Taliban-on-the-Potomac "conservative Republican" contingent, but this is one of those rare exceptions.
The only "security" DHS provides is job security for parasites.
"'Homeland Security': Please, Br'er Conservatives, Don't Throw Us Into the Briar Patch!" February 16
And at The William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism:
Before the ink had time to dry on his February 12 executive order "promoting private sector cybersecurity information sharing," US president Barack Obama launched a campaign to re-write history and make the case for trusting government to bolster network security and data privacy.
"The Snowden disclosures," Obama told Re / code’s Kara Swisher in an interview the next day, "were really harmful in terms of the trust between the government and many of these companies."
Well, no. It was the government -- Obama's administration and its predecessors -- which betrayed the trust of American enterprise, the American people and the world. Edward Snowden is mere heroic messenger, telling us what we should have already known: That any such trust was misplaced.
"Cybersecurity: Beware Untrustworthy Partners," February 15
Article II, Section 2 of the US Constitution is clear and unequivocal: "The President ... shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment."
Per the 1913 edition of Webster's, to reprieve is "[t]o delay the punishment of; to suspend the execution of sentence on ..."
Obama would be well within his constitutional powers to outright pardon every "illegal alien" residing in the United States. But he stopped well short of that, merely allowing a subset of immigrants to request postponement -- reprieve -- of deportation under specific conditions. The states' suit is without merit and deserves immediate dismissal.
"Immigration: 'Deferred Action' is not 'Executive Overreach,'" February 17
Prior to 1884, printed ballots were provided to voters by political parties and candidates. Those voters were also free to write out their own ballots by hand if they didn't vote "straight party ticket." Between 1884 and 1991, the states adopted the "Australian ballot" -- a uniform ballot printed at government expense.
Standardized, one-size-fits all ballots, of course, have to come with rules. And guess who gets to make those rules? The two ruling parties, of course. Over time they have sewn up their "duopoly" with increasingly draconian restrictions.
"Time to End the Elections Duopoly," February 19