Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Israel's Foreign Minister has warned Benjamin Netanyahu that the governing coalition will fall part if the Prime Minister doesn't take punitive measures against the Palestinian Authority for its decision to bid for independent statehood at the United Nations. A report in Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper claims that Avigdor Lieberman has demanded that Netanyahu responds to the unilateral Palestinian step by cancelling the Oslo Accords, annexing the large West Bank settlement blocs and withholding tax transfers to the Authority.
Earlier reports said that Lieberman had threatened the Palestinians with "very serious" consequences in the event of a UN vote in favour of an independent state. Israel, claimed Lieberman, "won't stand still" if a Palestinian state is recognised by the UN. Lieberman's deputy, Danny Ayalon, backed the call for punitive measures, although he expects the UN to reject the Palestinian application.
According to Netanyahu's deputy, Silvan Shalom, the Palestinian bid constitutes a violation of the agreements signed between the two sides.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
A human catastrophe is taking place in Somalia, the result of drought, famine — and the savage war conducted by the Obama administration, complete with a CIA training facility and prison....
The catastrophe is often attributed to natural conditions, but neighboring areas are not experiencing the same threat.
The difference is Obama’s war. In the guise of fighting terrorism the U.S. government, beginning under George W. Bush and continuing with a vengeance under the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Obama, has turned Somalia into a hellhole. If Americans knew what was happening in their name, they would hang their heads in shame. Or would they?
Read the full op-ed: "Peace Prize-Winner Obama Savages Somalia" here.
There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.
Just goes to show, you can start with a valid premise and end up with an invalid conclusion.
Read the full TGIF: "Elizabeth Warren's Non Sequitur" here.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
I.The Constitution has no inherent authority or obligation. It has no authority or obligation at all, unless as a contract between man and man. And it does not so much as even purport to be a contract between persons now existing. It purports, at most, to be only a contract between persons living eighty years ago. And it can be supposed to have been a contract then only between persons who had already come to years of discretion, so as to be competent to make reasonable and obligatory contracts. Furthermore, we know, historically, that only a small portion even of the people then existing were consulted on the subject, or asked, or permitted to express either their consent or dissent in any formal manner. Those persons, if any, who did give their consent formally, are all dead now. Most of them have been dead forty, fifty, sixty, or seventy years. And the constitution, so far as it was their contract, died with them. They had no natural power or right to make it obligatory upon their children. It is not only plainly impossible, in the nature of things, that they could bind their posterity, but they did not even attempt to bind them. That is to say, the instrument does not purport to be an agreement between any body but "the people" then existing; nor does it, either expressly or impliedly, assert any right, power, or disposition, on their part, to bind anybody but themselves. Let us see. Its language is:
Some pundits really don’t understand why libertarians dislike government and therefore want it to do little, if anything at all. Unable to grasp the reason, the pundits assign bad motives to those who disparage government: They don’t like poor people, or workers, or the sick, or education.But what’s so hard to understand? Government is significantly different from anything else in society. It is the only institution that can legally threaten and initiate violence; that is, under color of law its officers may use physical force, up to and including lethal force — not in defense of innocent life but against individuals who have neither threatened nor aggressed against anyone else. “Government is not reason. It is not eloquence,” George Washington reportedly said. “Government is force; like fire it is a dangerous servant — and a fearful master.”That’s not a controversial description of the State. Even people enthusiastic about government would agree.
Given this unique feature, then, why isn’t everyone wary of the State?
Read the full TGIF: "Government Is Force" here.
President Obama won’t use the “stimulus” label to describe his nearly half-trillion-dollar jobs bill, but that refusal can’t hide the fact that he has no idea how economies recover from recessions. “Stimulus” is a tainted label because his $800 billion bill in 2009 was a failure. His economic team promised that passing that bill would keep unemployment from exceeding 8 percent. The bill passed, and unemployment climbed to more than 9 percent and has stayed there ever since.
With election day only 14 months off, one can readily see Obama’s desperation for a job program.
Read the full op-ed, "Stimulus II Won't Work, Either," here.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
I understand Rush Limbaugh has nominated George W. Bush for the next vacancy on Mount Rushmore because “the United States” has not been attacked since 9/11. Okay, if you ignore the fact that more Americans have been killed in aggressive foreign wars since 9/11 than were killed on the day the World Trade Center and Pentagon were hit and that Osama bin Laden got what he was after: American imperial overreach and a financial hemorrhage that won’t be stanched.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
1. Killing one or many innocents, regardless of one's grievances, is monstrous. This elementary principle would seem to apply to George Bush, and now Barack Obama, as much as to Osama bin Laden. Can someone say why it doesn't?
2. Despite all its guarantees -- contrary to its ideological justification for existing -- the state can't protect us -- even from a ragtag group of hijackers. Trillions of dollars spent over many years built a "national security apparatus" that could not stop attacks on the two most prominent buildings in the most prominent city in the country -- or its own headquarters. That says a lot. No. That says it all. The state is a fraud. We have been duped.
3. The shameless state will stop at nothing to keep people's support by scaring the hell out of them. (Robert Higgs writes about this.) That people have taken its claims about "why they hate us" seriously after 9/11 shows what the public schools and the mass media are capable of doing to people. But the people are not absolved of responsibility: They could think their way out of this if they cared to make the effort.
4. Blowback is real. Foreign-policy-makers never think how their decisions will harm Americans, much less others. They never wonder how their actions will look to their targets. That's because they are state employees.
5. As Randolph Bourne said, getting into a war is like riding a wild elephant. You may think you are in control -- you may believe your objectives and only your objectives are what count. If so, you are deluded. Consider the tens of thousands of dead and maimed Iraqi and Afghanis (and dead Pakistanis and Yemenis and Somalis and Libyans). What did they have to do with 9/11?
6. No one likes an occupying power.
7. Victims of foreign intervention don't forget, even if the perpetrators and their subjects do.
8. Terrorism is not an enemy. It's a tactic, one used by many different kinds of people in causes of varying moral hues, often against far stronger imperial powers. Declaring all those people one's enemy is criminally reckless. But it's a damn good way for a government to achieve potentially total power over its subjects.
9. They say the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Maybe, maybe not. But it seems abundantly clear that the enemy of my friend is also likely to be my enemy. See the U.S.-Israel relationship for details.
10. Assume "your" government is lying.
(Adapted and re-posted from 2006.)
Friday, September 09, 2011
Thursday, September 08, 2011
Ron Paul’s position on what I’ll call unauthorized immigration—or immigration sans government permission--is indeed strange. He calls for “secure borders” but opposes employer sanctions, Real ID, and a border wall (which he says could be used to keep people in as well as out). He also minimizes the importance of unauthorized immigration by saying it wouldn’t be such an issue if the economy were healthy (people are worried about jobs now) and the welfare state didn’t exist.
That odd mix leads me to wonder if Ron Paul is actually for open borders but doesn’t want to say it. (He was for open borders when he was the Libertarian Party nominee for president in 1988.) True, there are arguments against my speculation. His website says, “A nation without borders is no nation at all,” he’s against birthright citizenship, and he opposes amnesty, which it claims “will only encourage more law-breaking.” (I oppose amnesty too. There’s no need to forgive people for doing what they have a perfect right to do.)
But can one really be against unauthorized immigration if one opposes steps that seem necessary to even begin to stop it? Who wills the end, wills the means, it is said.
Hence my suspicion that Ron Paul secretly favors open borders. That may be the good news. The bad news is that if it is so, it doesn’t speak well of the candidate. Why not say what you think—that people, no matter where they were born, have a natural right to move in freedom? Imagine what a splash he would make with such a statement at a debate.
What does he have to lose? He's not even running for reelection to Congress.
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
For the life of me, I can't see why "capitalism" fits the hitherto-unrealized free market better than it fits the actual American system of business privilege favored by Hamilton, Clay, Lincoln, and their successors up to the present.
Monday, September 05, 2011
[Cleveland] and its sponsors intended it not as a celebration of leisure but as a promotion of the great American work ethic. Work, they believed, was the highest calling in life, and Labor Day was a reminder to get back to it. It was placed at the end of summer to declare an end to the season of indolence, and also to distance it from May Day, the spring event that had become a symbol of the radical labor movement.I note that Wikipedia says:
Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894 after the [Pullman] strike when President Grover Cleveland and Congress made appeasement of organized labor a top priority. Legislation for the holiday was pushed through Congress six days after the strike ended. Samuel Gompers, head of American Federation of Labor, which had sided with the government in its effort to end the strike by the American Railway Union, spoke out in favor of the holiday.As Russell writes:
When President Cleveland signed Labor Day into existence in 1884, the conservative American Federation of Labor endorsed the new holiday. In deliberate contrast to “slackers,” union members used their government-approved day off to march in their work clothes alongside floats showing off the tools of their trades. They carried signs declaring the “honor” and “nobility” of work. Labor Day marches were praised by the press as “sober, clean, quiet” demonstrations of “the honest American workingman.”Bottom line: Labor was being co-opted with promises of a junior partnership in the corporate state long before the New Deal and National Labor Relations Act.
Social Security: Ponzi scheme or not? I think we have to say it once was, but is no more, because Social Security was unmasked as a coercive transfer scheme long ago and critics remind us of that fact constantly. If everyone knows (or can easily find out) something is a Ponzi scheme, it’s no longer a Ponzi scheme. Anyone who thinks Social Security is insurance just isn’t paying attention.
Caveat adsiduus. Taxpayer beware.
Read the full TGIF: Ponzi Unmasked.
Barack Obama will no doubt list the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi in Libya as one of his foreign-policy triumphs. But anyone paying close attention will realize that Obama should be ashamed of what he did. Indeed, Congress should be inquiring whether he committed an impeachable offense.